Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mid-Month Make-something Madness

I had so much fun making the Snuggies (correction; Cuddles from Carolyn) and putting them on my blog, I've decided to do something like that every month, hence the name of this post: Mid-Month Make-something Madness. I'm always making things, creating patterns, recipes, etc. This will be a good outlet for my energy, and maybe, just maybe I might get some hits on my sit. I actually got one comment posted on my Snuggy pattern. That was exciting.

So make sure you come back to my blog next month (from the 12th to the 18th, that's what I consider mid-month), and see what creative new idea I've come up with.

For now, I'll leave you with a photo of me with one of the snuggies I made. Hopefully this will give those of you who want to make one a better idea of how easy they will be to make.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Pattern to Make Your Own Snuggie for Less Than $12.00

Last week my daughter got one of those infamous Snuggies as a white elephant gift at a party. When she showed it to me I couldn't believe how easy it would be to make. So I made myself a pattern (more of a recipe. I first wrote the dimensions on a recipe card in case I wanted to make another one), and then made a

Snuggie. It zipped up so fast I made another, and another. I was able to buy polar fleece from Hancock fabric for $3.99/yard. It only took 2 3/4 yard of fabric, so it cost less than $12 to make. By the way, Hancock will continue to have their polar fleece on sale at that price until Christmas. I wrapped myself up in one of them and watched a movie one night. They are really quite comfy, especially made with the heavier, better quality fabric than the official Snuggie my daughter has. I even made an unofficial offical tag like the real snuggies just for fun. But instead of calling it a Snuggie, I've made a tag that reads, "This is not a Snuggie, it's a CUDDLE from Carolyn.

I would love to share my "recipe" with those of you who like to sew and or are looking for a cheap easy gift to give for Christmas. I've upgraded my pattern from a recipe card, but if you can't read this clearly, feel free to email me and I'll send you the pattern via e-mail in a pdf format. Contact me at carolynfrank@rocketmail.com

Have a Cuddly Christmas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Walnut tree named Wally

Though the ground lay frozen under a cover of snow and my favorite trees have traded in their folaige for a vacation of dormancy, my yard still whispers to me "I'm beautiful." I love trees, I love to garden.

Last fall my husband bought and planted for me an English walnut tree. It was hard to find. The first few nurseries we went to said they no longer carry walnut trees because no one wants them--too much work, too messy. Well, I wanted one. We finally found one at Tri-city nursery in Kaysville. When we asked if they had an English Walnut, some of the employees shook their heads, "I don't think so," they said. But one young man spoke up. "Wait a minute, I think I saw one this morning." He took us in his golfcart-come-tree-finder to the far side of the nursery. There he moved aside the low-lying branches of an aspen and a birch to reveal the distinctive broad, compound leaves of an English walnut. It was almost as if that tree was hiding there, out-of-place and forgotten, waiting for me. The price on the tag revealed the cost of a tree much younger than the sturdy three inch diameter trunk that wore the tag like a fat lady in a size 4 dress.After some major work uprooting it from it's "temporary" location in the nursery, we took it home, pruned its roots and branches, soothed the tramatized roots with a cocktail of plant hormones, and planted it in the middle of our north lawn. I named him Wally. It was so enjoyable naming him a common name. Sure, he already had a name, Juglens regia, given to him centuries ago by some taxonimist, but naming it Wally made him mine. I had so much fun I gave all of the other trees in my yard their own personalized name. My kids thought I was nuts. I didn't care. I had fun. Nature is a joy. Gardening is just another creative outlet for me. Wheter it's through the miraculous science of plants, the creation of beauty through the placement of petals on a canvas of soil, or through the personification of trees named Wally, Jim, Semour, and Ashley, I enjoy my garden.  With that I want to leave a thought I found somewhere ages ago--I can't remember where.

If one isn't willing to turn the soil; to do the work or make an effort; if one doesn't plant the seeds for success, fertilize, weed, and water them, then life just passes him by. / Failure, as much-if not more than success is the apprentice to wisdom, for wisdom comes not from age (as so many think). Rather, it comes from experience (living life). We do grow wiser as the years accumulate, not because we have grown older, but because we have had time to experience more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Never Win Anything, But I Won This

This past month I had lots of support as I participated in NaNoWriMo. My fellow members of A.I. (Authors Incognito, an LDS writers group) cheered each other on and came up with a different contest each week to help motivated us as we undertook the challenge to write 50,000 words in a single month. Well, I won the third week challange, which was to creatively use or mention toenail or fingernail clippers in our manuscript. Each writer was to submit a few sentences implimenting this and the rest of the group would vote on our annonymous entries for the best one. At first I baulked at the challenge, thinking a Nazi Germany war story written for kids would not really have a realistic need to include the use of fingernail clippers in the story. But one night as I came home the cresent moon hanging low in the evening sky gave me the inspiration for my entry. And by the way, I felt that implimenting the result of this challenge in my manuscript made this passage much better than it would have been if left to my own devices.

Below is my entry. In preface, Max is in the process of escaping from camp, where he is a prisoner of the Americans. He didn't actually use the fingernail clippers, but the group said just to mention anything to do with the clipping of nails would be sufficient.

The mid-summer night darkness took forever to fall. Luck appeared to be on Max’s side; the moon rested in the western sky like a thumbnail of gold waiting to be trimmed. Only the blaring beacon of the search light lit up the camp.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Finished My 50,000 Pages, Thus I Won

I just downloaded my complete novel of 50209 pages to the NaNoWriMo website. I'm finished with my book, Hitler's Promise and it feels so good. Now I can enjoy the rest of the Month of November. But come January I will have some major revisions to do on the novel. As all those who have ever participated in this brain stimulating, disiplinary writing exercise will atest, the manuscript can't help but suck at the moment. But I am not regretful. I think this contest helped me get my ideas out, on to paper, and on the road of completing the finished product much faster than if I had left it up to my regular way of writing. Because this novel is targeted to middle grade, whose books usually range around 40,000 to 50,000 pages, I ended up having to put an epilog in the novel to make my word count. The story was done in 48,500 words.

In any case, I'm excited to be finished and to have accomplished writing a novel in a month. To all of you other authors who reached you goal--CONGRATULATIONS!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hitler's Promise

Hitler promised to make Germany better. "Give me ten years and you will not recognize Germany," he had said. It was probably the only promise that he made good on--no one certainly could recognize Germany after he got through with it. We are all familiar with the ravaging effects of World War II on his own country, not to mention the world.

This is the basis for my new Middle Grade historical fiction book that I am currently working on as my NaNoWriMo project. The main source of my information is a former Nazi soldier who was drafted into Hitler's army at age 16 near the end of the war. He remember's Hitler's speech when he made the above mentioned promise. Having lived through the war, seeing his home town of Saarbruecken bombed, evactuated twice, and being separated from his parents while in his youth to fight for a man he knew was evil, he saw first hand that Hitler was nothing but a liar--except for that one statement: "You won't recognize Germany . . " From this and his stories I gained the inspriation for my book. It is based very closely on the amazing experiences of this young German boy, now an old man in his eighties.

The picture I have attached is not that of my main character of course, but I think it expresses a poignant depiction of how many Germans felt (including Max, the story's MC) about having to salute Hitler and his Nazi reign of terror.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

SCBWI Fall Workshop, SLC

Yesterday I attened my local chapter of SCBWI's fall workshop. They held it in the Salt Lake City main library. We met in a window filled room on the fourth floor. The view was inspirational and quite fitting for writers. On the west we looked out over the historic county building. On the East we had rows and rows of books to motivate us on the other side of a large glass partion.

My most rewarding part of the workshop was my one on one session with Elizabeth Law of Egmont Publishing. She liked my story idea and had little critisizm of my manusript, EXCEPT, she would like to see the story changed from a high school setting to a jr. high setting. She commented on my energy and enthusiasm. Hopefully that impression can stay alive within her memory, at least until I make the necessary changes in my manuscript and get it sent off to her.

That can't happen until December at the earliest. I'm still plugging away at my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm barely keeping on track. That's okay. I think my Hitler's Promis novel has some real promise. I'm determined to finish the rough draft by the end of November.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Dang Dandy Day to Dig Dahlias

I went outside today to hang out my "No UPS" sign to let my driver know I had nothing to ship (from my two internet businesses). It was such a beautiful day I found myself looking for a reason to stay wrapped in the warm breeze and sunshine. There sat my dahlias, foliage shrieveled from the previous frost, begging to be put to sleep for the winter in the garage. So I whipped and my shovel and pruners and went to work, savouring the last remnants of Indian summer, shedding my sweatshirt halfway through.

There were a host of other shriveled plants begging to be cleared from my flower bed. But being utterly dead and no chance of a spring resurrection, I ignored their ugliness, knowing a cover of white would soon hide them from my eyes, and went back into the house. I've got a novel to write this month. I had let myself wear my gardener hat long enough. Now its time to put on my writing cap and get back to work.

My novel, entitled Hitler's Promise is coming along nicely. It's about a young boy growing up in Nazi Germany with handicapped brother. He loses his brother to Hitler's push for the master race and gains a fear of having to fight for a man he knows is evil. I'll tell you more at the end of November. But right now, I've got to go write.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo and Toilet Paper; They are Connected

I've got a new book I have just barely started. I really wanted to finish it by the end of the year because I have another idea that has surfaced in my brain, and it's itching to be written. So when other members of A.I., a chat group of fellow LDS writers, were all jumping on board to do NaNoWriMo, I decided to join them.

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a challange to anyone who would like participate in trying to write an entire novel in one month (It's always in November, but personally I wish they would pick January because there are no holidays to cook, shop and decorate for, and quite frankly, January is boring--a perfect month to challange oneself to the challange of writing a 50,000 word book in 30 days).

This will take a lot of disipline and time. I've been wanting to do this for the past 2 years but have always been in the middle of some other project. But this year I'm excited for the challange. Yesterday I experienced something akin to the nesting instinct that kicks in right before you give birth to a child. I deep cleaned our computer room and my sewing/writing room. (Tasks that had been long neglected). I also fixed broken toilet paper roller holders in two bathrooms. (You know how after 10 years in a house those molly bolts give way and tear out of the wall leaving the holders dangling and useless, forcing you to sit the toilet paper on the back of the toilet becaus after all, who wants to take the time to fix something so boring and unnecessary?)

So even if I don't accomplish my goal of 50,000 words, and get my name on a computer screen somewhere (the only reward for completing the task--besides the sense of accomplishment), at least my creative space got a good cleaning and my trips to the bathroom will be facilitated by easy toliet tissue dispensement!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hobson's Choice

Last weekend I watched the most delightful movie with my husband. It was one of those old black and white relics that my children turn up their noses at like a stinky bathroom. In the movie, entitled Hobson's Choice, boozy widower Henry Hobson (played by Charles Laughton) runs a successful boot shop in Victorian England. He dominates his employees and his three daughters, but when his eldest, Maggie (Brenda DeBanzie), and his asistant (John Mills) marry and set up a rival business, Hobson must change his autocratic ways. Hobson's Choice garnered several British Academy Award nominations in 1954, taking the prize for Best Film.

Not only was it a delightful film with amazingly authentic sets, the story was the epitome of good writing. As a writer, whether in workshops or in text books, we are constantly bombarded with the advice to "show, don't tell." This movie did a superb job of showing the characters intentions and motivation, not telling about them. If, by chance, you are a new writer trying to understand that concept, I urge you to get this movie and watch it, carefully examining how the story unfolded. If you can't find it in your local video shop, which you most likely will not be able to, try NetFlix, that's where we got it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Old Train Tracks Transformed into Awesome Walking Trail

I am very fortunate to have near my house, a terrific walking/biking trail. It used to be the sight of some old rail road tracks. UTA owns the property and has removed the tracks and paved it for the express purpose of a public walking trail. It runs from Layton south to Farmington, maybe beyond, I've never ventured that far. I'm still recovering from arthritis (as a result of knee surgery), so I only walk about a mile a day. But the scenery is beautiful and the access is easy. It beats a treadmill by leaps and bounds. I know that it is also becoming a favorite spot for bikers. If you every get the chance, you should check it out. I've posted some pictures for you to get a taste of what I mean. My favorite one is of this huge pumpkin patch. I took the photos on October 16. Today they still have not harvested all of the pumpkins. All I can say is, they'd better hurry. Halloween is next week, and who wants to buy pumpkins after Halloween?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Baby Step for me--Facebook

For some time I have coward myself into a comfortable corner antiquation. Coming from an era of 8-track tapes and streaking, I let myself be scared by the unexercised brain cells it might take to tackle the task. But last night I finally took the plunge; a "big" step (for me) toward being better connected with the 21st century. I got myself a Facebook account and smattered it with facts and photos. Okay, my 21 year old daughter, Allison helped me. But atleast I did it. And amazingly, it wasnt that difficult. Of course, she was there to direct my every click of the mouse. But I think I can move forward now with confidence.

The experience brought an interesting analogy to my mind. As I was interviewing an old Nazi soldier for my newest book, he said something that planted the seeds to this analogy. He didn't have much exposure to English until he immigrated to the US after WWII, while in his early twenties. He attributed his thick German accent to the fact that he was mature by the time he learned English.

It is a well known fact that when children are exposed to two languages at an early age, they easily pick up both languages, speaking each fluently without a trace of accents. That is how I view the ease at which the youth of today pickup on technology, using it with a fluency that often intimadates their parents. They become immersed in at an age when their brains are still forming, thus it comes to them as easily as learning to say "mama." To people like me, who's gray matter has already long ago established its furrows, and live in fear that the storm, that will inevitably begin the erosion process, is just around the bend, looks at becoming aquainted with technolgy like learning German. It's intimadating.

Enough said. I always wanted to learn another language. Here's my chance to take another baby step.
Buenos dias.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Time to Stand Up

I just watched a segment from a recent Glenn Beck show. I wanted to pass it along to my friends, as it goes along with my last post. Watch it, it brought tears to my eyes and a burning desire to stand up for my country. Click on the title to this post to view the video. See what you think

We The People Need to Stand Up

Is our country going to Hell in a hand basket? I'm wondering what others feel, for I certainly do not feel the same stability that was part of my childhood and early adulthood. Life is so much more uncertain now, at least where it comes to my country. I love my country. I have always loved my country. There is never a time when I think back to the sacrifice of our founding fathers that I don't get a lump in my throat. They helped create the greatest democracy that ever was, and now this generation is chiseling away at its foundation. And we all know what happens to great structures with damaged foundations--they fall. It could happen. I pray it doesn't, but what else can little old me and you do to stop it?

Have a tea party.

Click on the title of to view a YouTube video clip . . .and then join the movement.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NPR Study about Virtual Reality

If you love to read, you'll love this.

Reading has been found to be in essence, a form of virtual reality. A study done in the psychology department at Washington University in St. Louis made this discovery. They made MRI scans of peoples' brains as they read, and found that the brain waves were similar for a person reading about an activty and actually performing that activity.

When I first heard about this study on NPR I was blown away. Not just because I found it extremely interesting, but because it was it was almost a made-to-order bit of research that brings a bit of real science to the science fiction novel I was working on at the time.

In my book Literary Loom, 15 year old Josh travels through books in a virtual reality type experience. I wove in the science behind the research done at Washington University, I think, making my manuscript more believeable.

To access this NPR article, click on the title of this post, as it is a link to the article.

If you are interested in learning more about my novel, Literary Loom, stay posted to my blog, as I will post updates on its progress. Yesterday I sent a query to Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I am waiting to hear back from here as to how and when I can send my manuscript to her. At the recent SCBWI conference in LA I met with Kelly and she expressed interest in my book. In the past few weeks have furiously tried to trim off several thousand words, as per her instructions, so I could send it into her for consideration.

Wish me Luck.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

SCBWI National Conference gets an X rating . . . or . . .Whatever happened to the days of Beatrix Potter?

I only heard the "F" word six times today, and at least it was not coming over the pulpit from a keynote speaker like the the last two days. Where am I at, you might ask? A high school gym, a construction site, a convention of uneducated grammar-impared neophytes? No--a national convention for children's book writers and illustrators. Though the gratuitous use of this feeble-minded word left me squirming in my seat, it was nothing more than an off-key song compared to the descriptions of sex and drug use rolled into the discussion and instructions of "finding the teen voice" in various workshops.

This was my first national SCBWI conference, and my eyes have been opened wide by the current trend in Y.A. fiction, and I didn't like what I saw. In fact, the first day of the conference I sidled away to a remote corner and showered my over-priced, underdressed sandwich with tears. Literally. I cried for the children of this great country. They live in a world filled with sex, violence and pain on a daily basis, not only in real life, but on the screen. I used to live in a Polyana world where I thought these kids could atl least turn to literature to escape, my biggest concern being that alot of teen fiction was merely candy for the brain. But no, what I found is that YA authors are no longer content with candy. The stuff they are writing now smells more like poison.

"But this is the way kids talk, the way they think, they way they feel. We have to write what they want to hear, or they won't be moved and thus read or buy books," they say.

Is this the best solution to help kids deal with the mountain load of problems today's society heaps upon them--give them what they want? That would be like giving a malnourished child soda pop and Snickers in the place of vegetables to nurse them back to health.

Fortunately, the conference has had some bright spots, one being Richard Peck's address. INSPIRING (and without the use of the "F" word I might add). And that's what he did, inspire me to write what's in my heart, which up until that moment I feared no one wanted any more--meat and potatoes for the brain, with a side of vegetables.

My YA novel is not only squeaky clean, it lifts and enlightens. It's entitled Literary Loom. Its about a boy who experiences the virtual reality rush of book travel with the help of a Literary Loom and is able to delve into books, reliving history and discovering the ultimate source of all freedom.

To all of you fellow child writers who create the same kind of work, keep going too. We must bond together, not be bullied into the background, and produce healthy literature for the children of this world--the future of this world.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

High-concept Books; I Think Mine Fits

To my multitude of readers, (ha, ha), sorry for the my lapse in posting on my blog. I've been trying to recuperate from burning my candle from both ends and thus burning myself out physically. I'm doing better now. No promises that I will be better at posting, because I've got to spend my spare time polishing up my novel Literary Loom. I'm attending the SCBWI national conference in LA in a few weeks. I hope to find an agent or a publisher while there.

After reading an article in the August Children's Writer newsletter, I'm optimistic about my manuscript. In the artilce they talked about high-concept books. These are works that can be described and pitched in a single sentence. The primary appeal of the work is right there in the concept. There's a straightforward hook to snag an audience. With increasing frequency, editors and agents are requesting and buying high-concept projects. I was told that my book fits into this catagory by a fellow writer in my critique group, Matt Kirby (who, by the way, recently sold his first novel to Scholastic).

So here's my high-concept pitch. Let me know what you think--if you want.

Fifteen year old Josh experiences book travel with the help of a Literary Loom and is able to delve into books, reliving history and discovering the ultimate source of all freedom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shingles Aren't Just for the Roof

Shingles are for roofs and old people. I'm neither. I'm young. At least my brain still thinks I'm twenty. Unfortunately, this last week my body had to break the news to my head that it is not young, and I can no longer operate at the break-neck pace of a twenty year old. It did this by putting out a notice, a declaration, a shingle if you will. Several shingles.

Those of you who have had shingles, or a loved one who has, knows they are very painful and annoying. They are a viral infection of the nerves, related to herpes and chicken pox. And they aren't just for old people and roofs, they are for people like me who don't know how to say no (not to drugs, but to everyone's pet projects--including their own). They are for people who burn the candle at both ends and push their 50 year old body like it was years younger. Yeah, I have shingles.

So now I have to take it easy (doctor's orders). I guess that means "No" to the jungle of weeds in my garden for a while, "No" to my sister-in-law's sewing project she needs help with, and no to that room that needs painting. Oh well. But what can a person who is used to keeping busy do that has to take it easy for awhile? I guess I'll just have to sit down more . . . and write on the computer . . . perhaps finish that manuscript that I've been praying for help to finally get to.

Be careful what you pray for. You might get it. Just not in the way you had envisioned.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Teen Writers Conferece

My 13 year old daughter Danielle attended the Teen Writers Conference at Weber State yesterday. She absolutely loved it, telling me that she learned lots and wants to be a New York Best selling author one day.

I want to applaud the organizers of the conference. There were well over 100 attendees (they originally thought they might only get about 30 participants), and the price was nominal. I'm sure most of the authors donated their time and services. What an awesome thing to do to help encourage these young kids to write. I wish they would have had a conference like this when I was a teen, (then maybe it wouldn't have taken until I was 50 to discover I want to be an author).

It's known in many circles that Utah produces more good YA/children's authors than any other state per capita. I'm sure this first annual teen writers conference will only add to the number of good authors produced by this state. Go kids!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Don't Be Afraid to Fail

You've failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn't you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy htters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out many times.

R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
English novelist John Creasey recieved 753 rejection letters before he published 564 books.
Babe Ruth sturck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don't worry about failure.
Worry aout the chances you miss when you don't even try.

So you fellow writers out there, keep at it. Also, make sure you check out Danyelle Furgesen's awesome contest. You could have a chance to win some of my puppets.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Computer Misfit vs. Technology

I should have been born in the 1800's. I think I'm allergic to computers. Either that or I have some sort of electromagnetic field that I give off that jams them from functioning properly for me, but they do just fine for everyone else. I have had a number of friends comment via e-mail that they can not leave comments on my blog. I have pushed every button, enabled every field, even leaving it open to spam in hopes of getting that little "comment" word to show up at the bottom of my posts. It used to. Take a look at my earlier blogs. The only thing I can think of is that when I started to use my fancy background it somehow interfered with the ability to leave a comment. I don't want to wiped it out to find out. That took forever to get it to stick (and then I had to recruit the help of my 13 year old daughter to help.

I'm pathetic, I know, but if anyone can give me some tips I would appreciate it. I'm going to try one more time to enable my comment ability. If you want to lend help, but still can leave a comment, try my e-mail.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quick Book Review: The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

If you liked Twilight, you'll love this book. It has the same teen and romance elements, but I felt a lot stronger plot and character development. The fantasy element was more believeable. You know it is a fantasy because there is no such thing as time travel, but she does it in a way that the fantasy element does not blare in your face with its ficticious element. Because she is a debut author I could detect some of the pitfalls that new writers often succomb to, such as the over use of adverbs and lengthy superflous descriptions. But if I were not a writer I would have never noticed these flaws. They didn't distract from the story.

This review would not be complete without mentioning the response of my 13 year old daughter. She is an absolute Twilight fan. I recomended this book to her. She read it in two day and has now listed it in her top three favorite books of all time, (and she is an avid reader). Her favorite book/books is the Twilight series. Her second is A Walk to Remember, by Nickolus Sparks, and her third now is The Hourglass Door. If you happen to read this review Lisa (fat chance), then you should feel good, and give yourself kudos for ranking up there with such famous authors.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Story about Cookies . . . and Life

The following is an awesome story I heard a few months ago. A day or so ago I recieved it as part of a newsletter from our commercial real estate broker. I liked it so much I thought I would pass it on. (Please note that I typed it in as written in the newsletter. As a writer, the liberal use of exclaimation marks made me a bit squeamish, but the message in the story compensated for them).

It is entitled simply, The Cookies.

A young lady was waiting for her flight in the boarding room of a big airport. As she would need to wait many hours, she deieded to buy a book to spend her time. She also bought a packet of cookies. She sat down in an armchir, in the VIP room of the airport, to rest and read in peace.

Beside the arm chir where the packet of cookies lay, a man sat down in the next seat, opening his magazine and started reading. When she took out the first cookie, the man took one also. She felt irritated but said nothing. She just thought: "What nerve! If I was in the mood, I would punch him for daring!" For each cookie she took, the man took one too. This was infuriating her but she didn't want to cause a scene.

When only one cookie remained, she thought: "What is this man to do mow?" Then, the man, taking the last cookie, divided it into half, givging her one half. Ah! That was too much! She was much too angry now! In a huff, she took her book, her things and stormed to the boarding gate. When she sat down in her seat, inside the plane, she looked into her purse to get her eyeglasses, and, to her surprise, her packet of cookies was there, untouched, unopened!

She felt so ashamed! She realized that she was wrong . . .she had forgotten that her cookies were in her purse. The man had divided his cookies with her, without feeling angered or bitter . . . while she was dividing her cookies with him. And now there was no chance to explain herself or to apologize.

There are some things that you cannot recover:
The stone . . . after it's thrown.
The word . . . after it's said.
The time . . . after it's gone.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Joan of Arc, a Woman of Courage and Faith

Less than two years ago Joan of Arc was nothing more to me than some historical figure that got burned at the stake. The mention of her name affected me about as much as a five mile per hour breeze on an August afternoon. Ignorance is not bliss.
When my neighborhood book club read Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain it was as if a gale force wind engulfed me. Her story stirred something inside of me. Now the mention of her name evokes passion and a desire to speak up and tell others of the amazing young life of this courageous girl.
I say courageous rather than brave—for many think of her as brave, leading armies into battle against insurmountable odds—because of what she did before her infamous storming of bastilles. What she did required much more than bravery. Bravery implies fearlessness in meeting danger. Courage means dealing with something difficult instead of withdrawing from it. She received communication from God and acted upon it with pure child-like faith, nothing wavering. That took tremendous courage.
Imagine yourself in her shoes. How would you react if God asked you to leave your family, go in search for a disinherited king in enemy territory, persuade him to let you lead his demoralized army against a parasitic military power that is taking over your country, and then promise to be victorious within a few months time—and help the king gain his rightful crown to boot? I would dare say you would be more qualified than her, having an education and living in a day when women are recognized as something more than a free servant or a step above the livestock
I know how I would react; shun the impossible task. I would not have the courage to do what God asked of me. I would lack the faith.
She was an unschooled peasant girl of seventeen who never stepped foot out of her home village of Domremy, and filled her days by tending sheep. But when the call came she did not doubt her worth in God’s eyes. She did not doubt God’s power to accomplish His task, even if His chosen vessel appeared in the view of the world as the most unlikely candidate for the job.
She believed that with God all things were possible. Her willingness to listen to God and follow in faith inspired me with a desire to improve my own ability to do this.
The inspiration of Joan’s story didn’t stop there.
As I read the book, often a question arose in my mind. Why did God care so much about France that He had to send this young girl to save it from the clutches of the English? Throughout time hundreds of countries had been taken over by their neighbors. Why was this conflict any different?
And then the answer came. It slipped into my thoughts, starting as a quiet whispering, then spreading through my entire body with an “ah-ha” realization of truth. France needed to remain free so they could help America to be free. And America needed to be free so that God could re-establish the truth of His gospel once again on the earth.
What I gained from Joan’s story moved me such that I shelved the idea of the book I was writing and started on a new one. I needed to tell Joan’s story in a way that would reach young readers. That is the impetus for my current work in progress, Literary Loom. This manuscript has pulled me further into Joan’s life, as well as other great figures in history, and enlightened me as to God’s hand in history.
Thank you, Joan, for your story.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Combat Arthritis: cut out refined foods

I promised I would eat better this week. Well, the first of the week I started out with a bang. Big salads with lots of healthy greens for lunch or a freshly juiced glass of carrot apple juice, that was Monday and Tuesday. Immediately my knees started feeling better.

Let me backtrack for a minute. Last January I went in for a bit of same day surgery. I had a torn miniscus on my left knee. It seemed like forever before the pain went a way and I could walk again for fun. Just as my knee started to feel somewhat normal, I moved my business. I over-worked my knees, along with bumping them around more than was good. It sent my knees back to how they felt in January.

Now you might be thinking, hey, I thought she said she had surgery on only one knee. Why is she suddenly refering to pain in both of them. Well, my other knee has been diagnosis with arthritis.

Now comes the cool part. Both knees have started feeling better immediately upon illiminating refined foods from my diet and increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. The latter part of the week I attended a paraeducator's conference in Salt Lake City, where I sold some puppets left over from my previous business. It's hard to eat good when you sit all day in a hotel conference room selling stuff. The pain in my knees has returned to some degree.

I'm thinking the knee that had surgery is maybe succumbing to arthritis. The doctor said it should be healed from surgery by now. I have heard that there is a correation between nutrition and the natural cortizone that your body produces. I'm going to try again this week to eat lots of fresh food and illiminate the junk. We'll see how my knees are doing next week.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

LDS Storymaker writing conference: healthy for me

I attended the LDS Storymaker conference this past weekend. It was awesome. I learned tons! I came away with a commitment to become more technologically up to date and be the best I can be. So, you know what I'm going to do?

I'm starting a new blog--and with it a new commitment to do more things that are healthy for me. There are three areas I know I need (and everyone needs)to keep balanced so as to maintain all around health.
*Feed my physical body with wholesome food and exercise
*Feed my brain by reading good books and maintaining a healthy creative outlet
*Feed my spiritual side by serving others and appreciating nature.

These are all things that have been important to me. But now I'm going to write about them on a weekly basis. In order to come up with new and exciting things to write about them, I will have to delve into them even more so than before.

Balance helps even out the ups and downs of life.