Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What Do You Do When Your Pep is Pooped?

by Marsha Ward

This weekend was not the best of my life. Not the worst (and surely not as bad as some of our blog team have experienced lately!), but kinda yuck. On Saturday night I experienced a spell of food poisoning (this is getting ridiculous), although I ingested no mushrooms. Perhaps that chicken was past its prime . . . but I digress.

The consequence was that I was sick all night long, and into Sunday morning. At 8 a.m. I got up and texted, emailed, and called/left a voicemail message for someone, asking her to please take my duties at church, then went back to bed, hoping the recipient would get one of my messages before church meetings began.

I got a text in the affirmative just before the first church meeting, so I went to sleep and didn't wake up until evening.

Yesterday I felt somewhat better, so I got up and did a few things that needed to be done.

But today, I could not get out of bed. My pep was thoroughly pooped.

I only got up to conclude a text conversation with my daughter, who had concerns on a variety of topics, including my health.

I'm trying to take her counsel to rest and have a light-duty day, but as you can see, my blog post is pretty late, and I still have one major task on my list to fulfill. Can I put it off until tomorrow? I think I have to, because my pep is still pooped.

What do you do when your energy is flagging and you have a long list of tasks to accomplish?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Writers Worries, I Don't Have Enough Time To Write

by Cindy R. Williams

"I don't have enough time to write" is a false statement. You make time for the things you CARE about--for the things you WANT and NEED to do. Make up your mind if you are going to write or not.

Here are a few examples:

A former Stake President and Court Judge in Thatcher, Arizona got up at 4:00 AM to write two hours each day before his work-day began.

A single mother of seven wrote 12 novellas in 1 year, while working outside her home to support her family.

Many women write late at night, after their daily work is done, outside and inside the home, and their family is sound asleep. This is how ANWA, American Night Writers Association got its name. There are over 300 women in ANWA currently, and many still live by this pattern.

One woman with three children was bedridden the last half of her pregnancy, so she wrote a book.

The mother of five fed her children cereal for dinner for a week so that she could meet a writing deadline. The kids lived.

One single lady with a full time job, ghost wrote a book in a month from scratch. That is amazing enough in itself, but there is more to it. She had to transcribe the notes from a tape, organize topics, fill in the transcriptions, format, edited, and send the to the printers for hard copies and create an ebook version--all while fighting a stomach problem that required hospitalization and three major tests and treatments performed.

Stop the excuses. If you truly want to be a writer . . . MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This Too Shall Pass

by Susan Allred

The last two weeks have been exhausting for my family and I, as I'm sure it is for nearly all of us during the summer. I don't know where the term "summer vacation" was ever derived, but around here it has been anything but.

In the past two weeks we've spent ten days in Montana at Glacier National Park for my husband's family reunion with more than sixty other relatives. During that time, I found myself in the ER with complications from my IUD and a urinary tract infection, then spent nearly the rest of the week laying on an air mattress while the rest of the family reunion continued on without me. When we returned to our home, we attended my family's reunion a week later.

In that week's time, my daughter had surgery. While she was coming out of anesthesia, I got a phone call from my husband saying he was being ordered to the ER due to sky-high enzyme levels. Three hours later, my husband was out of the hospital (he was out of town, of course) and back on the road to his destination, my daughter was ready to go home, and I was preparing for a tonsillectomy for my youngest son the following Monday.

By the time I finished my three doctor's appointments today (our family has endured a total of ten doctor's appointments this week) I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I was beginning to feel a bit like Job's neighbor, wondering if some of his luck had rubbed off on me.

Then, in the quiet of the night, after the little ones are tucked into bed, I meditate on the last several week's activities and how I will get through the rest of this week. I feel the scriptures calling to me, beckoning me to open them and to fill my now-empty cup.

How easy it is to be thrown to and fro in life, reacting to one event after another rather than preparing ourselves each morning spiritually for what may lie ahead. How much easier would it be for us to be able to weather our own personal storms if we had the Savior's arm around us, guiding us through the chaos of everyday life. All we need to do is grab hold of his perpetually outstretched hand, and he will never let go.

So, tonight I will put down my mile-long to-do list, and will curl up with my scriptures to seek comfort in knowing my Father in Heaven knows and loves me, and that this too shall pass...like a kidney stone.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Felt Impressed to Stay

by Terri Wagner

Due to the weird circumstances of my life for the past 20 odd years living with dad, I have been in Relief Society off and on. When I was in the presidency of course I felt obligated to be there as much as possible. But lately I confess I have missed it much more often than I have been attending. So this past Sunday I was without any of my normal family responsibilities and felt impressed to stay for RS. I have no idea why, maybe you can help me out.

The lesson was on a conference talk by Elder Pearson Stay by the Tree. The teacher was emphasizing the distractions and deceptions that Satan uses to keep our attention away from the things that matter eternally. It was a good discussion. One sister when asked to read an excerpt from the talk went on a rant about Facebook. She is a gentle soul that finds the kind of shall we say frank and spirited discussion of politics on FB harsh and mean. She had decided to absent herself from FB for some time until she could figure out how to deal with the incivility. All well and good until that caused the discussion to slide over into technology is wrong and wicked and the root of all trouble with the younger generation.

Fast forward to my turn to read out an excerpt. Part of that excerpt mentioned earnest scripture study as one of those things we need to do that has eternal consequences. I just had to do it...so I said most of my FB friends are LDS. And while at times the discussions can get spirited for the most part they are uplifting and enlightening. That technology simply is...it is how you use it that makes it "good" or "bad." I even talked about how I use old world maps and Google to help me put scripture events into historical context which sometimes helps to see the broader picture. I moved the discussion in the other direction. But at least I put my two cents in for what it was worth.

But I walked out of church wondering why I was impressed to go. No, I really don't think it was the discussion. I doubt I changed anyone's mind. We all have our own opinion of technology and our experiences reflect that. I know I'm "suppose" to go to all my Sunday meetings, but I just wonder if after all it was simply a small obedience test. If so, I hoped I passed with flying colors considering I even contributed LOL. Do you ever wonder though why a certain nudge and yet fail to see clearly the purpose?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Motivation through quotes

by Cassie Shiels

     We all have different types of motivation. But often it boils down to this: we have a story that we just have to write. A story that we can't let stay stuck in our minds. We do lots of different things to help our motivation from conferences, books, articles, goals… etc.
     But I find it is also helpful if I have motivational quotes while I write. The quotes that I really like, I have taped to the wall by my desk so that even during writing time I can look up at those quotes and be reminded of things I feel are important without having to walk away from what I am doing. There are many different quotes out there to fit every writer's need, and I am sure many of you might have a quote or two lying around the house, or at your writing place, too. I have had different quotes at different times to fit my needs.
     Right now, since I am currently writing the first draft of my next novel, this quote hangs on my wall, and HAS helped when I get the sudden urge to start rewriting something. Or when the sneaky thought creeps into my mind of "how about I start at the beginning again and make it better before I finish the end? That will be okay." (And it is, if you really feel that is the right path for you.) BUT I wanted to finish this draft first before I got sucked into the rewriting phase, so this quote has been really helpful. I am not sure who said it.
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story!" I added, "Keep going!"
     I can go back and add in better descriptions and choose different words later. Right now I need to see what this story is and how it will unfold, so that quote has been keeping me on task.
     The other quote I want to share with you has been helpful when I am trying to decide how I want to write a scene, how much of it I want to go into, etc. This quote has been really helpful to me.
"You don't want to give your readers information, you want to give them experiences." (It's from the book: Self editing for fiction writers.)
     Right after I read that quote, I start thinking, okay, show don't tell. It has helped me refocus my writing.
     Now these two quotes have been my best pals lately, but I am sure there are many great ones out there that many writers could benefit from. If you have a great writing quote that has or is helping you, feel free to post it in the comments. Who knows? Maybe your favorite quote will go up on another author's wall and really help them with their writing!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Embracing Change

by Kari Diane Pike

Change. Isn't that an interesting word? We can change our clothes, our minds, and even make change. I've changed countless diapers over the years. The seasons change. The earth is in a constant state of change. Lightening strikes and the landscape changes in a flash. The wind blows fine grains of sand against mighty mountains and over centuries creates magnificent granite monuments. Life changes come about in a similar way. Some are gradual, giving me time to adapt and accept them. Others jump in front of me and make alter my course so fast I almost drive off the edge.

One of the things I miss most living in the Sonoran Desert is changing seasons. I grew up in the northwest mountains of Montana. I loved  watching the colors on the mountains change: trees budding, blooming, bearing fruit, changing color, dropping their leaves, and then everything wiped clean and fresh and white and starting over again. We have seasons where I live now. I call them hot, hotter, and the whiny season, aka, "Isn't it ever going to cool off?" or "If it doesn't cool off by October 15th, I'm putting contracts out on all the weathermen."

I used to love change. Change held the promise of adventure and learning something new. Change introduced me to fascinating people, interesting foods, and new perspectives. I delighted (and continue to delight) in watching my children grow and learn and change. I never tired of witnessing their first words, first steps, and first days of school. Then something happened.

My children had the nerve to leave home.

At first, it was exciting. They kept coming back. I enjoyed the comings and goings. But then they got married. Don't get me wrong. I love the eternal companions they chose. I find great joy in watching their own families grow. And yet, I've launched each child with less and less enthusiasm. Nine children and thirty-six years later, our metaphorical nest is about to be empty. This is the one change that I have truly dreaded.

Until now. A couple of weeks ago we drove north to Utah and Idaho to help take care of grandchildren and spend some time with our adult children. They taught me how to milk a goat and introduced me to butterscotch soda (butter beer). We watched movies when we wanted, signed up on the spur of the moment for the Temple to Temple 5K run/walk and attended the temple.

If I still had dependent children, I wouldn't have been able to these things nearly so easily, if at all. I'm still not thrilled by the idea of an empty nest, but now I can see the upside. I love getting to know my children as adults. I love witnessing how they have all become unique individuals, while at the same time continue to value the most important things--faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and family.They are magnificent.

I'm going to change my heart and embrace this change. New and exciting things are about to happen and I can't wait to see what they are! Life is magnificent.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Annual Payson Book Festival

by Marsha Ward

Yes, the first annual Payson Book Festival takes place on Saturday, this Saturday, July 25, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson, ARIZONA (because other states have a Payson, too).

2015-PBF-Logo-with-Event-datetime_smlI will be at Table 46 in Room 403 throughout the day, except when I am giving my presentation, “Literacy Begins at Home: Build Reading into Family Activities,” from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. in Room 401.

All of my Owen Family Saga novels will be in the Bookstore in Room 402 for your purchase. I'll be happy to sign and personalize your books.

Here’s a map of the layout:

Come meet over 60 authors from Arizona who will be on hand to talk to you about their books. Their work represents many genres, including children's books; mystery, western, fantasy, and romance fiction; and non fiction. Entertainment and food vendors are a part of the fun.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday! Please tell your friends about this family-friendly event.