Monday, September 1, 2014

August was Poetry Month?

By Stacy Johnson
I joined a postcard poetry party for the month of August. I'd like to say thank you to Lara, my new ANWA sister who organized the group. I wasn't able to write much during the craziness of June and July and I needed something simple and easy to get me back in the habit when the kids went back to school and I tried to find my groove. I'm glad August was that month to write a simple poem small enough to fit on a postcard. It was really all my frazzled brain could handle and I did write every day even if I didn't get my postcards sent out in a timely matter (that's a whole different challenge).

I had a stressful month personally and it was interesting to read what I wrote on specific days and re-live how I was feeling. Some of my poems were light hearted and some were dark. Each one allowed me a way to vent and get things off my chest in a creative way, in a way that helped me understand some of my frustration, anger and loneliness as well as be reminded of the many joys I have in my life.

What I re-learned this month was that when I choose to make a goal to write everyday, I am constantly thinking about writing whether it is an article for the newspaper, an entry to my blog, a journal entry or a poem. My brain kept thinking about things that I wanted to say and now I feel like I'm back into writing mode so that September will be much more productive.

An Acrostic Poem
Because I need to relax and
Escape. I relish
The peaceful harmonies.
Hearing the bow dance on the violin strings
Or the cello's low melodic tones, drowns the
Vexations of my responsibilities allowing me to
Experience a little peace and makes me a
Nicer person.

Thank you for the month long therapy session Lara. You were an answer to prayers that I didn't know I was going to ask for.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


by Cindy R. Williams

My last post, I talked about my MIL (mother-in-law) with Alzheimer's is now living in our home. I'm the primary care giver and it has been eight weeks.

Each day is a new tornado of bizarre behavior, temper tantrums, repetitive speech loops.

I thought I had patience, but now I know it is time to grow some. I thought I was calm, but now I know I need to learn how to remain peaceful. I thought I was capable of doing everything, now I know I am really nothing. That it is all going to depend upon blessing from my Father.

Prayers and love are the only thing keeping me glued together.

Anyone have any tools and experiences they can share?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Day Doug Died

By Susan Knight

I have a dear friend who is a widow.

Have you ever heard of Stephanie Nielson? She is the woman who went down in a plane crash in 2008 and was burned over 80% of her body (and her husband was burned, too). She has fought her way back—and even had a baby recently. She was one of the original Mommy Bloggers (NieNie Dialogues) before it was even popular. ABC’s “2020” and Glenn Beck, among others, did interviews with her and her husband.

My friend’s husband, Doug Kinneard, died in that crash. You never hear about him. He was Christian Nielson’s flight instructor and flew with them that day.

After the plane crash, on August 16, 2008, Doug lived for a day—just long enough for his family to make it to the hospital room to say good-bye to him. He was forty-eight years old.

I spoke with Roslyn a few months after the crash. I received a long letter in a Christmas card and, shocked and saddened, called her. She told me the whole sad, but spiritual, story of his death.

Every year, on the anniversary of Doug’s death, the Nielson’s send Roslyn a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and Roslyn and her children and grandchildren visit Doug’s grave. Sometimes, like this year, she went to the temple with family and did sealings.

Roslyn is one of the most spiritual people I know. She and her family lived in our ward in Pennsylvania when Doug, Canadian-born but American military, worked for Boeing, until he got transferred. Our kids were the same age. I remember babysitting for them when Roslyn went to the hospital to have her fourth and last child, who is now serving a mission.

I honor Roslyn.
For some reason, I couldn't upload my pictures. I'll try to do this at a later date.



by Andilyn Jenkins

One of our ANWA sisters, Allison Barton, has a blog, Ideas for Writing Your Personal History, and it's marvelous for writing prompts.  So tonight I went to Allison’s blog for some help. Today’s prompt, “Not Good Enough As You Are?”, launched me into a clear but distant (and terribly embarrassing) memory. In college, we called these kinds of memories River Teeth (a creative non-fiction, short-story book worth the read; disclaimer: adult content).

I’ll spare the boy in my memory by eliminating his name. Not that it should matter—we were six, people. We’ll rename him Scott. His dog’s name will be Scooter. And I don’t remember the other girl’s name, so let’s call her Raegan. I also wish to qualify, everything is true to the best of my twenty-year memory. Forgive my creative liberties.


I was six nearing seven, and I had a boyfriend. I would chase him around the playground and try to kiss him on the cheek—kissing tag, we called it—our inventive abilities much keener than our relationship skills.

I would go to his house after school and play, and when I got to his house, I always took off my shoes. His mom would tell me I was such a sweet girl for removing my shoes. So, while I did it out of courtesy the first time, after that I did it because I had set a standard at my future in-laws’ house, and I wasn’t going to disappoint. As I sat to take off my laced-up sneakers, the dog Scooter would race to me and lick my face. I’d rub him down, covering myself in blonde dog hair. Scooter loved me.

Scott and I played Donkey Kong on Super Nintendo religiously. And he would show me his list of “favorite girls” that he kept hidden under his mattress. The paper was torn out of a notebook, folded and crumpled, and still had the spiral edges that my teacher loathed and called “paper hair.” My name was on the top with a star next to it, and I knew that meant we would always be together.

But my life was disrupted when our mutual but older friend broke the news. “Andi,” he said, “you’re not Scott’s girlfriend anymore.”

“Sure I am; I’m on the top of his list.”

“Do you know where his list is?”

“Yes. It’s under his mattress,” I countered, determined to be the one with the right information.

“Nope. His mom found it, now he keeps it in the couch cushion. He didn't want you to know he moved it. I’ll show you."

And there it was—under the couch cushion. A dark graphite “X” through my name and a new number 1 scribbled over the old number 2, next to “Raegan.” I felt jealousy’s hot pang in my lungs.  I knew Raegan. She had golden-blonde hair and pretty bangs that were always curled perfectly at her forehead. My dirty-blonde hair was often slicked back and braided, and I didn’t have bangs. But I was pretty sure I was the only girl in our grade that was a decent rival at Donkey Kong.

“Why did he cross out my name?”

“He wanted me to tell you that his mom says he’s too young to have a girlfriend. But he didn’t want me to tell you that really it’s because you have freckles.”

My face turned red. I remember that my face turned red because I was embarrassed that it magnified my ghastly freckles. At home, I went into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror: two buck teeth, red face, slicked-back hair, and freckles. Everywhere, I saw freckles—on my nose, around my eyes, dusted on my cheeks. I thought back to the grocery store at the checkout with my mom. The cashier told me how he knew I must be wonderful because the angels loved me enough to give me so many kisses. It made me blush then, and I had to ask my mom how he knew the angels kissed me. When she explained, I felt so proud of my freckles, my angel kisses. But now, at almost-seven, staring at my red-faced reflection, I promised myself that as soon as I turned thirteen, when I was allowed to wear makeup, I would paint over my freckles and hide them forever.

I went to my bedroom and held my stuffed bear and pretended to cry. I gasped for air and sobbed like I had seen in movies when a girl’s heart was broken. I pressed my hand on my heart to hold it together, but it didn’t work. I was humiliated and alone—no longer someone’s favorite girl. I wrote in my diary, my purple, sparkly diary, with a lock on the outside, and I told my diary how sad I was and how mean Scott was, and I finished off the entry with a few forced tears making the ink smear and the paper bubble.

Life would go on. Scott would turn out to be a life-long friend, despite this inept six-year-old break-up (who says break-ups ruin friendships?). And I grew to really love my freckles. In fact, my acceptance and love of my freckles always finds its way back to this River Tooth. Because from this point on I understood that, for better or worse, my freckles mattered. So I made a choice. I, maybe even defiantly, always defended my freckles as angel kisses.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I did not forget

by Terri Wagner

I have been busy deploying computers at school. Forty one of them are unsuable...that is a problem. And it appears I am the last man standing in the field trying to explain why this happened. Which brings me to my biggest gripe about myself...why can't I be like people who just smilingly say the obvious...I am not in charge, and I feel badly about this, and maybe it will get better soon. Let's hope so.

Instead I'm the idiot who really does feel the pain, and tries to fix it asap. I am not alone in this craziness I'm willing to bet.

How many of us over promise, thinking, well hoping, we really can make it right? And for what? Because I can assure you my motive is not to make me look like a hero. I just honestly feel bad about it.

I'm going to work on that, just as soon as I figure out how to get 41 computers working even though I'm not the geek, LOL. Then I'm going to work on this character failing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Carpe Diem!

By Claire Enos

Wow! I can't believe I've missed so many weeks! The last few weeks have just melted together in that way that the last few weeks of summer tend to do. Apparently, my siblings in Las Vegas started school today, and here in Oregon the kids start school next week! For those of you who didn't see on facebook, there is a new addition to my family these days, his name is Rocky and he's the most adorable guinea pig ever! Here is a picture of him the day I got him. He will be one this September! I am so lucky to have him, and I'm looking forward to many more weeks and months with the little guy!

On a totally different note: I was talking with one of my best friends about her recent break up. She was talking about why she broke up with him, and I saw some similarities between this guy and who I was a year or two ago. And who I still am to some extent. And again, a similar subject came up when I texted another old friend of mine and he enthusiastically responded, genuinely happy to hear from me, and then when I said he could text me whenever he said: "Yeah, I have just been working 14 hours a day 7 days a week and always think 'next time I have spare time'" Which of course never happens because there is no such thing. So, what am I talking about?! Well, Carpe Diem!

I'm sure we all know this old phrase meaning "Seize the Day." Nothing is going to happen if we don't start now. We aren't going to become authors if we don't write right now. We aren't going to travel and see the world if we don't start planning and saving. We aren't going to make a new friend or meet someone and fall in love if we don't get out there and meet new people! And another thing: Do stuff! Try something out you've always wanted to do! Maybe learn how to fence, or try archery! Or maybe, if you're like me, wander into a Wiccan store or test Buddhist customs in the name of research. Or even try something you don't think you'll like that everyone keeps telling you to try, just so that you can say you've done it!

Sometimes, our problem is that we're too afraid of failing that we keep thinking we'll fail and so we never try! What's the harm in trying? What's the worst that can happen? We fail? Aren't we just back to square one then? Just get out and DO! I promise, it will be well worth your while! And, you may even get some cool stories out of it!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Surrounding Ourselves with Good Works Keeps Us Afloat

Here is a wonderful object lesson for Family Home Evening.

At our Zone Conference our mission president's wife shared this. It's easy, effective and fun.

Materials: 2 oranges, one with the rind on and the other peeled. (Save the peelings)

Notice the blemishes on the orange. None of us are perfect.

Premise: Surrounding ourselves with good works - like this orange peel - will keep us close to Heavenly Father

            Personal prayer
            Family prayer
            Blessings on the food
            Family Home Evenings
            Fun with kids and grandkids
            Reading scriptures daily
            Allowing only G rated media into our homes.

            Write the list according to you and your family. Each piece of the peeling represents acts things we do each day to keep ourselves close to the Spirit.

If we wrap ourselves in righteousness, we will find joy, positive energy as we live close to the Spirit.

If we allow ourselves to become vulnerable to the things of the world, we can drowned in negative energy, depression, and lose closeness to our Heavenly Father.