Friday, October 31, 2008
When I sent out my first submission, I expected an acceptance letter. After all, I wanted to write, I’d been told in high school that I had a talent, and I’d read this magazine for years. When I opened my SASE, my little bubble burst and I was thrust into the real world of writing as I read my first rejection letter. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach and I couldn’t understand why the magazine editor hated me and thought I was a bad person.
Well, I’ve learned a lot since that first rejection. Yes, every rejection still stings, but I’ve realized that the editor, or publisher, isn’t rejecting me as a person, but rather the work I submitted. I’ve also learned that a rejection doesn’t necessarily mean the work isn’t valuable or well written, it may mean that what I submitted wasn’t right for that particular publisher.
For those of us addicted to creating with the written word, rejection is as much a part of the writing process as acceptance. Sure, we all want to have our blood, sweat, and tears published for the world to see and appreciate, but rejection also has its place. A rejection may spur us on to study, ponder, and recreate something we’ve written. It may motivate us to become even better writers. It may also help us be more compassionate toward others as well as appreciate even more when the acceptance comes.
I’ve found the following things to help me recover from a rejection:
1. Send it right back out to the next market on the list. I’ve sold stories to magazines that have been rejected a few times by other magazines, and with no changes to the story.
2. Keep working on another project. Focusing on a different project can help divert attention away from the rejection.
3. Send out more submissions. The more work I have out there, the more likely it is something will find a home.
4. Commiserate with my writing friends. No one understands more how much a rejection can sting than other writers. We have such a great support system in ANWA!
5. Drown my sorrows with chocolate. This one works every time for me. Sometimes, a bowl of ice cream, a workout, or playtime with my kids will make me feel much better and rev up my creative engine enough to get back in the race.
Rejection stinks and it stings, but there’s no getting around it in the publishing industry. We’ve all heard stories about now-famous writers that had dozens, even hundreds, of rejections before finding publication. The bottom line is, if we love to write and aspire to publication, we must deal with rejection. It’s just part of this crazy writing process.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Our club decided early on that "borrowing" was a very non-specific term. In the case of non-fiction, it was easy to spot and easy to fix. Just mention it in a footnote or a reference list. In fiction, it's almost impossible to track down.
For example, I write in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. You could say it's all borrowing because the formula is essentially the same. Worlds peopled by many different creatures, bad guy, good guy, mentor, duel, moral crisis, followed by victory. Joseph Campbell wrote the bible on how to write fantasy in particular and heavily influenced the well-known Star Wars series which in turn was startling close to the Lens series, and we won't even make a comparison to Lord of the Rings trilogy.
My point and that of my club is how on earth can you even know you're borrowing, especially in fiction. Most of my genre actively borrows from one another posed as what we call a nod. For example, the latest Stargate Atlantis "nodded" to a Star Trek episode by calling a coalition a sort of federation then placed the characters on trial for their deeds in the Pegasus galaxy very much akin to the Star Trek story where Captain Picard was put on trial for the sins of mankind. Unless you were well familiar with both series, wouldn't you assume Atlantis plagiarised?
Did Stargate borrow? You betcha. Did the "nod" to Star Trek "cover" the borrowing? Well, all I can say is that in this genre, yes, it's considered very cool. In fact, as readers, we rather enjoy such nods especially when they are very subtle. The Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites writer does this nodding all the time in a very delightful way. Is the "other" source mentioned by name? Rarely, hence the word "nod."
So what about this borrowing? How much is really new under the sun? How can you not be influenced by that you have read when you write? Isn't really a case of just a "new" spin on an old story? What say you all.
Monday, October 27, 2008
by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
Away beyond the Jarboe house
I saw a different kind of tree.
Its trunk was old and large and bent,
And I could feel it look at me.
The road was going on and on
Beyond to reach some other place.
I saw a tree that looked at me,
And yet it did not have a face.
It looked at me with all its limbs;
It looked at me with all its bark.
The yellow wrinkles on its sides
Were bent and dark.
And then I ran to get away,
But when I stopped and turned to see,
The tree was bending to the side
And leaning out to look at me.
(From Silver Pennies: A Collection of Modern Poems for Boys and Girls, by Blanche Jennings Thompson)
Have a Happy Halloween!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I’m late writing this blog, because I’ve been searching through http://www.lds.org/ for a scripture. Several years ago, in a Sunday School class, the teacher interpreted a scripture to mean that prior the Second Coming, the continents would have to move back together in fulfillment of prophecy. Do any of you know it? I thought it was in the Doctrine and Covenants, but I couldn’t find it. I was skeptical at the time we were discussing it, but you know, I think it’s happened. If I’m remembering the scripture correctly, I think the prophecy is fulfilled.
Let me explain.
Do any of you know about yourLDSneighborhood? It’s a commercial web site for Latter-day Saint businesses to advertise and sell their wares. It’s set up with different ‘blocks’ of merchants with the bonus of a blogger on each block, too. I blog on the ‘Services’ block, and my blog is all about service. It’s hard to describe, but if you check it out, you’ll see what I’m trying to say.
They also have a non-commercial site called Neighborhood and Friends, a Facebook-type setup where you can join discussion groups and gather friends for easy mass communication of news about yourself.
There are book groups and home decorating groups—even one about service (I moderate that one). One of the most popular Neighborhood groups is The Neighborhood Jukebox, a place you can go to listen to music posted by LDS composers and artists.
Some ANWA members already have pages on Neighborhood and Friends, and I was looking through the membership list thinking I’d ask them to be my friends, when I came upon the name and picture of a lady from New Zealand. She's not one of my ANWA sisters, but on a whim, I sent her a friend request. With her acceptance, she asked me to listen to some music she had posted on The Jukebox. It’s music she and some other New Zealanders composed for a production about the life of the prophet, Joseph Smith.
I listened to the music, and that’s when I felt the continents shift and thud together. Though we’re half a world apart and from different countries, we’re no longer strangers . With the internet tools we have at our disposal, and with the ability to fly from one continent to another in the same day, we truly all inhabit the same land. We are of the same household. Check out my music, Liz, she says. Sure, Ivoga, I reply, and two minutes later, I’m listening to this marvelous tribute to Joseph Smith, and I feel a connection to this internet friend because I know we're grounded in the same faith.
I hope you'll check out Ivoga Green’s music, either on The Neighborhood Jukebox or on the web site for the musical production, and feel the miles disappear.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
By Christine Thackeray
Okay, you may have noticed that I missed my assignment to blog here two weeks ago. I suppose I could have pre-blogged, although I haven't figured out yet how to time delay posting, if I had remembered but the truth was 100% of my extra brain cells were focused on preparing for my presentation for the writer's retreat at Silver Lake.
I know you've probably already read about it but I'll still add my two cents. The facility was beautiful, a nice place right on the lake. I rode up from the Portland area with three friends who all left heavy family responsibilities behind to spend a weekend playing- we felt like Thelma and Louis, a little.
Liz was the first person to greet us. She is so gracious- that's how I'd describe her- incredibly gracious. Then Anna Arnet welcomed us who came all the way from Arizona. She kept me in stitches the whole weekend. We met so many incredible women with bright ideas and a love of sharing them that I hated to go to sleep each night, afraid to miss a single second.
My presentation was on the building blocks of a good story and I covered among other things the basics of a story arc. A story arc is the spine of your story and is based on the center conflict. Within the first few pages, the main character should be clarified and if the conflict hasn't exploded, it should at least be hinted at. Then as the story progresses, obstacle after obstacle is thrown at your character. Finally when all seems lost (the great BLACK MOMENT), the protagonist much reach beyond himself and grow in order to achieve the final outcome.
There are millions of story arc variations and I suppose that many books don't even use this formula but a majority do and the reality is after writing a story, if you try to simplify your plot to these basic elements, you can sometimes improve your story considerably. Case in point, my own work in progress. I'm writing the next visiting teaching adventure and I keep being too nice to Lindsay. The darkest I'll go is DARK GRAY- I like her too much. At writer's group on Thursday Julia pulled me out on the carpet. She told me that I had to just let it go and sob while I typed because Lindsay has to hit the wall.
Okay, so I did it yesterday. Lindsay fell as far as a young mother can and today I'm up early, excited to get her out of this mess. Actually, she gets herself out of it. But that's another story.
Friday, October 24, 2008
***My 4th child will be baptized tomorrow. I found this as I was looking for something I'd already written to post today, and thought it was appropriate for the state of mind I am in.***
You know, it just wasn’t fair. I had wrestled with myself all night to try and work up the courage to walk down the long, sloping hill to one of the gardens in my grandparent's backyard. I knew that I needed someone to baptize me soon, and I decided I wanted my grandfather to be the one to actually baptize me. Making that decision was the easy part, and it wasn't what scared me, the part that scared me was the fact that my mother insisted that I ask Grandpa myself that scared me.
I was never afraid of Grandpa, but for some reason, this was awkward, odd, and yes, even downright scary. My father had baptized my brother just 18 months before and yet, due to my parents divorce, he was now gone, and I had to find someone else to do the job that he would have done had he still been in our home. I was such a shy girl, that talking to an adult about something important was intimidating to me. However, I knew that in order to actually get to be baptized, I would need to get past my fear, and just ask.
I don’t remember that hill leading to the lower garden ever being so long. As I walked down the dirt slope, I pondered on the many thoughts running through my head: What if he said no? What would it be like to actually go under the water? Did I really have to be baptized on the same day as all of the other kids in the Stake? My brother had been the only one baptized on the day he was baptized, could I have my own baptism too? Finally I reached Grandpa, working in the garden, and before I lost my nerve, blurted out the words “Will you baptize me?” I don’t remember his exact reply, but I know he was very reassuring, and yes, even willing to perform this very important ordinance for me.
The evening of my baptism soon arrived. I put on my white eyelet dress and rubbed my fingers on the velvety ribbon that went around the waist. I loved that soft feeling against my fingertips. I felt very pretty with my hair twisted into two braided buns on the sides of my head.
I don’t remember feeling that my baptism night was really mine. The talks at the service were given by friends or relatives of some of the other 9 or 10 children getting baptized that night. The Primary songs were songs I knew, but none of them were ones that I had chosen. My birthday was late in the month, and so I was one of the last ones to actually be baptized. My excitement about the actual baptism ordinance was real. I knew that I wanted to be clean, and never make any mistakes ever again, and I knew that by being baptized, I would have the opportunity to start over with all of my sins washed away.
I loved the feeling I had when I came up out of the water. I felt warm and happy, and I knew that my decision was a good one. I was confirmed the next day, in Sacrament meeting. I never did understand as a child that by renewing my baptismal covenants on a weekly basis, the ordinance of the sacrament could actually help me become as clean as the night of my baptism . How I wish I had been more spiritually prepared for such an important event.
However unprepared I actually was for the event, I do know a few things in regards to the decision I made that day. It was my decision. My mother did not force me, or automatically expect me to be baptized. She actually let me choose whether or not that was what I wanted. I knew that I felt good and right making this choice, and that I wanted to follow Jesus. I knew that no matter who baptized me, it was the same in Heavenly Father’s eyes, and that I would be washed clean. As an adult, I am so grateful for this particular decision I made as a young child, the decision to go forward in faith, and make a positive impact on my future and my life.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I didn't know what to say today. My heart aches for all my brothers and sisters who are carrying large and heavy burdens. Recently, a ward member lost a loved one to suicide. That's the fourth person in as many weeks whom I personally know that has taken their own life. No less than 5 couples in our ward alone are getting divorced, or contemplating it. I see people everywhere losing their jobs, their homes, and their families. As I was praying about how to help my friends and neighbors, I read this scripture: "...it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them. Therefore all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren,...and their curse was taken from them."( 3 Nephi 2:11-16)
Doctrine and Covenants 38 tells the parable of the 12 sons. The commandment given is to be one, and my notes in the margins point out that whenever the Spirit of the Lord is present there will be unity! In Doctrine and Covenants 38:27, the Lord says, "If ye are not one ye are not mine." In LDS.org, I found the following quotes under "Unity":
"We can seek and promote this standard of unity in our families and in the Church. If we are married, we and our spouse can be unified in purpose and action. We can allow our unique qualities to complement one another as we face challenges together and grow in love and understanding. We can also be unified with other family members and with members of the Church by serving together, teaching one another, and encouraging one another. We can become one with the President of the Church and other Church leaders as we study their words and follow their counsel.As the Church grows throughout the world, all Latter-day Saints can be united. Our hearts can be “knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21)."
I want to add my testimony to all of yours that I know that Jesus Christ is the son of the God. He is my Savior and Redeemer. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. My ancestors knew it and I know it. The Spirit has witnessed to me of other prophets, such as Spencer W. Kimball, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas s. Monson. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the word of God and the Doctrine and Covenants is the word of God given to his prophets in these latter days. This is a time to unite in gratitude for the many tender mercies we are sent each day to help us through these difficult times. As we are united, we never need carry our burdens on our own.
These are exciting times! As we pull our loads together, we will witness many miracles, large and small, that will strengthen us. May God be with you, friends...always and forever.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Last week I felt spiritually warmed to the depths with love, acceptance, and pure enjoyment, though I seldom felt physically warmer than chilled. Washington weather can be a shock to a desert rat. But with wearing double of every clothing piece, and with the downy bedding Liz furnished,I not only managed, but thrived. Liz has already reported on the great retreat, and I've found myself raving in emails, but I'd still like to tell you how completely fascinating the whole experience was for me, and how much I love and admire not only the friendship, but the talent and vivacity of the approximately 20 sisters there. We had lively discussions, but never a cross word that I heard. I came home knowing that ANWA is thriving everywhere, and has talent unlimited.
Visiting with my brother's family was another highlight. I'm not sure I've seen my sister-in-law even once in the last fifty years. (Of course, my memory . . . but we won't go into that.) And going to the Seattle temple (which is not really in Seattle) and enjoying its beauty, inside and out, was another wonderful first.
Coming home to four hundred unread emails has been a challenge. The more I read, the more come in. I haven't gotten below three hundred in four days trying. Maybe I'll be forever behind. So what else is new?
Now for the frustrations. It's election time. I went for a training class on Monday to get reminded of all the details necessary to making the voting process available and positive for the votors. There are always the disgruntled ones who exclaim, "What do you mean I can't vote here? this is where I've always voted. No, I didn't check my notice in the mail. I shouldn't have to." So we feel sorry for them, but still have to point on the map how to find their new place. That's seemingly unavoidable annoyances, and fsirly easily soothed by a soft answer and courteous consideration.
But the soap box I've mentally jumped on today is how the whole political process has, in my mind, degenerated into a charade I'm not at all pleased with. It seems to me there's very little positive, dependable promises. Oh, they make great ones, but how many campaign promisses are actually kept? Even if one tried his best? TWe get the idea that the President can bring about whatever he decids to do. But as I read the Constitution, the President is listed second to the bicameral Congress. And as another counterbalance there's the Supreme Court. What gives everybody the idea that one man at the head can control everything in the nation? Or be blamed for everything? The campaign promises made seem about as possible to fulfil as those of a high school hoping to be elected student body president by promising root beer in all the drinking fountains.
I watched "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", that old classic where Jimmy Stewart battles the moneyed power behind the Senate. I wonder at emails, letters, and phone calls urging me to donate as much as I can to counteract the 'lies' the opposition is pouring out. There's something inside me that rebels. Are we voting for the best man, or are we actually selling the Presidency of the United States to the highest bidder -- the party that can raise the most so they can sling the most mud. Don't thinking people realize you can't sling mud without getting yourself soiled? And just who gets the millions, even billions, spent on campaigning? TV? Newspapers? Sign makers? Would the country go bankrupt without that kind of spending? Or with it? Could it be better used elsewhere?
I suspect it will take better minds than mine to work out these problems, but I'm just gullible enough to like the electoral college as I pictured it. I've got a neat Stake President. I could vote him in as an elector, and send him to study the issues and vote for me. After all, that's all we do for Clongress. No interrupting our lives with campaign rhetoric. Oh, I know I'm just dreaming. There are flaws. I even see some myself. Have you wondered how our Heavenly Father feels as He watches us? Maybe like we watch our teenagers battle with temptation. Or watch our toddlers toddle.
Well,if you've read this far, thanks for your charity. You've really gone the second mile.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We live in uncertain times. All around us people are losing jobs and homes and hope. Why this family so deeply affected, but not that one? Why are some required to go through certain challenges, while others face different trials? A friend’s recent blog quoted the hopeful words found in Isaiah 41:10…”Fear thou not; for I am with thee…” After reading that verse, I noticed I had the first few verses of Isaiah 43 marked as well:
Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name;
thou art mine. When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with
thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou
walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the
flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of
Israel, thy Savior.
What comfort to know that not only is Christ our Savior in a big way—that through him we are able to gain eternal salvation with our Heavenly Father--but also in small ways, like right now, when we are passing through deep waters or walking through the fire. He saves us then, too.
Victor Hugo said, "Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
"We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
"We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
"We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
http://www.livescience.com/culture/081015-political-news.html This is the URL of a recent story titled "Americans Flunk Simple 3-Question Political Survey". I read it on-line and felt sad that I fell in the flunk catagory myself. I thought I was pretty well informed because I listen to NPR and have listened to the recent presidential debates. When I saw the correct answers I told myself - oh yeah, I knew that - but somehow I couldn't pull it out of my hat at the moment.
I have received e-mail from family and acquaintences that share their views on various issues. This is one way to become active. One thing I caution about is not to blindly send things forward, unless you know for sure that the "facts" are true. Participating in mud slinging doesn't do anyone any good.
With the general presidential elections only a couple of weeks away, I decided we (that includes me, myself and I) need to prepare to vote. This election may very well be the most important one in recent history. In our state we have the issue of Marriage Protection, and like everyone else in the world we all have the economy glaring us in the face. Whether we are Republican, Democrat, Independant or belong to another party, we need to let our voices be heard - and our voice needs to be informed. So I have decided I will do all the research I possibly can on our candidates, and all of the referendums that will be on this ballot, so that I don't mistakenly vote for the wrong person or item.
Our church has always stayed politically neutral - but that doesn't mean they don't want us to participate. In fact they encouraged us to register to vote and in the past have encouraged us to take an active part in our communities. Using prayer and personal revelation we can make wise decisions - ones that will influence the future for our children and grandchildren. Let us make the time to be politically active and savy for the sake of our family, our God Blessed Country, and the hope of the free world.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Since October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month I created this video, Extra C, about my son and posted it at YouTube. I'm hoping to raise awareness about Down syndrome and to maybe change a few attitudes. Please, feel free to pass it on to your family and friends.
And, if you're interested, you can visit my blog and enter my contest to win a copy of my book.
I hope you enjoy the video.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Well, I’m STILL sick and I’ve been resting all week during Fall Break because I have to be well to go back to teaching on Monday… so, hopefully, by the end of the week, I will be better.
As a result of my “lounging around” I have been watching a little too much TV. I should be reading, I know, but TV is just easier. And I think there is always something to learn in every moment of our lives, even watching TV ~ yep, and I’m here to share with you my observations.
You know me, this might be a little lengthy as I set this up, but I hope you take the time to read it, because it really made me think on this “desperately seeking heaven” idea quite a bit.
I got hooked last Spring on “Eli Stone.” (It actually started midseason). I was over at my daughter’s house (Shannon), holding my then new little grandson so she could get something done and she said, “Mom, you would really love this new show. I’ve been tapping it. Why don’t you watch it while you hold Steven?” I protested that I didn’t want to get involved with another show and that it probably wasn’t that good anyway. She handed me the baby and turned the first episode of “Eli Stone.” When it was over, I sat there and watched the next two episodes.
She was right. I LOVED it. “Eli Stone” is sharp, funny, well-written and well-acted. I never miss an episode. Well, it started up again this week and I watched the season premiere and was not disappointed. It was fabulous. If you are unaware of this show, the premise is a San Francisco lawyer has a brain aneurysm and it causes him to have “visions” (of the heavenly kind) but they are so random and goofy ~ they are often like little mini musicals that can range from solo performances by George Michael to elaborate production numbers by the entire cast ~ you would have to watch it to see what I mean. He gets messages that are important to him or his loved ones or even total strangers like when he predicted an earthquake and fought to get some people evacuated ahead of time. And during that vision, the song playing was “I Felt the Earth Move Under My Feet.” Getting anyone to believe him is his biggest challenge because they say he is hallucinating from the aneurysm (despite a pretty good track record) and in this week's episode his boss was in a building that collapsed. Eli knew he was trapped in the stairwell but rescuers were looking elsewhere saying he would have taken the elevator and must be on the main floor. Eli even tried to get a court order to force them to look there (they wouldn’t because they said that area was unstable and the boss wouldn’t be there anyway). I won’t spoil it in case you get to see it sometime but all’s well that end’s well.
But it got me thinking that the world is desperately seeking heaven. I mean, just look at all the TV shows and movies over the years that pertain to some heavenly connection: Touched by an Angel, Highway to Heaven, Joan of Arcadia, Heaven Can Wait, Just Like Heaven, Angels in the Outfield, Unlikely Angel, For Heaven’s Sake, The Preacher’s Wife (& The Bishop’s Wife), It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol (& all its variations), and the list could go on and on.
Why? I think a lot of our brothers and sisters are seeking some confirmation that God is in His heaven and all is well with the world. Sadly, some don’t know where to find such comfort. Maybe we can share what we know with people who are desperately seeking heaven. I do believe that by the choices we make and the service we give, it is possible to have heaven on earth.
I want to thank all those in my life who have been there for me and I hope I’ve been able to be there for someone else when they needed that reassurance that Heavenly Father is in charge of this world and that He loves us and no one needs to feel desperate.
(But I do hope they keep making those kinds of movies and TV shows, because they are some of my favorites).
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Suddenly, I had a flash of brilliance. So I IM'ed the new idea, she liked it. I wrote it up. Then something happened. She thought it was the next scene, I thought we were starting over with a better "hook." So we argued about that until we decided to call it quits for the night.
Having never married or had children, I never really had to compromise much except at work. So this whole concept of compromise is alien to me to begin with, and I must say I don't like it. I couldn't see her POV, she couldn't see mine. We signed off both feeling a bit angry at each other and frustrated with our story.
After exchanging emails, we decided to keep the new scene and see if it fits into the story. Ok, that's what I told her. But the truth is, I don't like what we've written before, it's boring.
Am I suppose to compromise here and hope she comes around to my POV or take my stand on this hill? Any ideas out there?
BTW, I'm super excited about our online chapter and can't wait to get started. Thanks ANWA for coming up with a great idea for those of us who are far away from active chapters. The timing was perfect for the two of us here on the Gulf Coast.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Okay, this year there’s no excuse. I gave you fair warning last October and told you all to circle October 14 to celebrate….c’mon, you all remember! Don’t make me say it by myself. I know you haven’t forgotten! (It involves cake, so how could you?) Let’s shout it out all together now. October 14th is…Norman Conquest Day!
I knew you hadn’t forgotten! And in the very unlikely case that a few of you did (some of you are new to the ANWA blog, after all), the good news is, today is October 13th, so you still have a day to prepare.
If you don’t know about Norman Conquest Day, you can read my post about it from last year at http://anwafounder.blogspot.com/2007/10/tell-me-you-didnt-forget.html.
Once again, I prepared by buying another cake and once more decorating it with knights from my pewter collection. This year, the blue rose symbolizes the hill near the town of Hastings where the native English Saxons took up their defensive position against the Norman invaders on October 14, 1066. The Normans utilized a relatively new military tactic—armed knights fighting on horseback, while the Saxons clung to their traditional “fighting on foot” strategy. You might think this would give the Normans an overwhelming advantage, but the Saxons held off the invaders for most of the day. In the end, it was not a charging knight, but a lowly Norman archer who successfully shot an arrow over the shields of the Saxons and killed the Saxon King Harold, more or less by sheer “good luck”. (Or “bad luck”, if you happened to be King Harold!) Hence, the “knights” standing on foot on my cake represent the Saxons, while the knights on horseback represent the Normans. Unfortunately, I don’t have an archer in my pewter collection. (Well, unless you count one of my centaurs, but I’m pretty sure there weren’t any centaurs at the Battle of Hastings, so he doesn’t get to come to my party.) And if the knights on my cake look a little blurry, just remember—it’s hard to snap a clear photo when knights are in motion, riding into battle!
So come tomorrow, I’ll be sitting down to a nice piece of Norman Conquest Day Cake. And since cake simply cries out for a goblet of milk, I’ll also be using my Norman Soldier coasters to set my goblet on.
Why would I want to celebrate a battle where one nation (Normandy) invaded another (England)? Because for those of us with English heritage, we wouldn’t be who we are today had that invasion—or Conquest—not occurred. So to whatever Norman blood is running through my veins, I’ll be raising a goblet of milk tomorrow. And if you have English blood as well, then I invite you to take at least a moment to raise a cup (if you haven’t got a goblet) of milk to your Norman ancestors, as well!
(Okay, okay, so my Norman ancestors would probably have preferred a goblet of ale, but milk is what you get when your descendant turns out to be a Mormon Norman.)
You can read more about the Norman Conquest if you’d like on EyeWitnesss to History.com.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
MaryLou Bailey, author of four books on games for family, learning, and special occasions, began with an energetic and captivating presentation entitled “Seize the Trout” that invited us all to get started writing. After hearing about all the marvelous games she had written, I put her on the spot and asked her to conduct an impromptu ‘get acquainted game’. She didn’t miss a beat and instantly had us involved in a clever exercise that broke the ice for this group where very few knew more than three people, and some didn’t know anyone.
Our next presenter, Friday morning, was Linda P. Adams, author of the Thy Kingdom Come series. I had asked her to present about using the internet to market your work, and she responded ably, exposing us to the possibilities of web sites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace. Several non-bloggers were declaring intentions to begin as a result of Linda's class.
Along with lunch, we had a writing exercise where we broke into groups and the sisters were given ten minutes to plot a story from some random facts. One sister who had never tried fiction said she was amazed at how quickly she came to care about the characters in the story she and her group came up with, though we all agreed that middle-aged Alfred, in his distinctive attire, was not a sympathetic character at all.
Anna Arnett won every heart as she taught us about how to scan poetry and then recited some of her favorites and a few of her own compositions. One attendee said she was going to go home and have her homeschool students start learning to memorize poems.
Three people had brought pieces to critique, and since the four who came from Oregon belong to a critique group, they were asked to demonstrate how a critique group should function. We were all impressed with three things: 1) the quality of writing that was offered for critique, 2) the balance, pro and con, of comments made and 3) the effectiveness of a well-run critique group.
After supper we got back to the important stuff: writing. Christine Thackeray, author of The Crayon Messages and Latter-day Truths in Narnia, gave a rousing lesson on the building blocks of a good plot. Her enthusiasm and down-to-earth pointers made each of us vow to follow her formula to become better writers. During one of Christine’s writing exercises, Ann Acton brought down the house when she persuasively wrote about middle-aged Alfred’s tolerable qualities, in spite of his taste in clothing.
We ended the conference Saturday morning with an illuminating writing exercise led by Linda P. Adams. She referred to President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s Relief Society Conference talk where he spoke of Woman’s innate ability to create. He admonished us to rely on the Spirit as we try to create something that will improve the world around us. In doing so, we’ll also improve the world within us and increase our creative capacity.
As I looked at each of the women there and thought about the things I had heard each share, I felt blessed to be in the presence of such abundant gifts. The willingness to try, the determination to become better, and the sheer enthusiasm of these women energized me so that I smiled all the way home. I miss them already and can’t wait for next year’s retreat.
Friday, October 10, 2008
It's really not as daunting as it sounds to have multiple children other than our own here, especially when they all have a friend near their age, in fact, sometimes, the children occupy each other better when they do have friend over.
However, I did lose sight of the fact that I needed to blog...well into the late hours of Sunday night.
Today started out a little harried.
I knew I needed to make another trip to the elementary school today to discuss my son's IEP (That's an Individualized Education Plan for those who haven't been exposed the educational slang...and it's to ensure his needs are being met in a way that are inclusive and appropriate for his disability) but needed to wait for a phone call from the Special Ed. teacher who would inform me when the Teacher for the Visually Impaired (TVI) had arrived.
I did my morning run of dropping older kids at the Jr. high, younger kids at the elementary school, and headed home.
I knew I needed to hurry and get a few chores finished (if anything was going to get done today), before the phone call happened, but also knew I needed to gather some books and treats for my 1 year old and 3 year old to use during this meeting.
A diaper change, a phone call, and a trip to the bathroom intercepted those plans and before I knew it, the Special Ed teacher was calling to tell me to head into the school.
I quickly gathered a few "new" distractions and swept them into the diaper bag for my boys and headed to the school...hoping the meeting would be productive.
I left an hour and 15 minutes later, having met with 2 teachers and not really getting any more answers than I had yesterday.
I did fill in an order form (which I dropped of a month ago) for supplemental materials for my Thomas, so I don't feel that the meeting was a complete waste.
By the time I reached home, I needed to make some business phone calls, make lunch for myself and the boys, put the boys down for a nap, and take a nap myself due to lagging energy and a slight headache.
After my hour long nap (which was just what I needed), I made a couple more phone calls, finalized some details for a trip I am taking at the end of October, ran to first pick up little kids and then big kids from the bus stop, came home, ran the budget numbers with my husband (ugh.), got a healthy snack, headed out for an hour long ballroom dancing class (tonight was the last night...how sad), went to a late, light dinner with my husband, and came home to finish some projects to sell at our local scrapbooking store. As I checked my e-mail before heading into my craft room, I remembered that today was my day to blog.
So, here's my post.
It's still Friday.
I am a crazy, busy mom of many, looking for opportunities to better myself and help my family.
Some days are a little insane, some are more calm...but if I remember the most important things daily, (breathe, pray, smile, hug, read, write, create), I count that day a success.
Today I did those things, therefore, today, in my book, is a success.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
by Kari Pike
I learned a wonderful lesson yesterday -- from a two-year-old. Enok wanted something and I failed to interpret his two-year-old language correctly. After several attempts to make himself understood, and obviously annoyed at my inability to get it right, Enok placed his chubby little hand over my mouth, glared at me, and said, “NO!” When I made another attempt to interpret his need, Enok covered my mouth again with a resounding, “NO!” He then firmly planted his sturdy legs, scowled ferociously, and with great determination pushed on my shoulder to make me lie down. I had no problem understanding the next word Enok pronounced: “NAP!”
My fifteen-year-old daughter came up with a word to describe the sudden disappearance of a person or possession right when you need them. You know what I mean. You’re running out the door, late for work, keys in hand…well… they used to be in your hand. Where are they? You know you had them. My daughter would tell you that your keys have “invisiblated.” It can happen with words and thoughts as well; usually in the middle of trying to make a point at the height of a debate, or when you’re writing the best part of the entire book and your character is just about to….do something…or you look at your spouse as you begin to introduce him to someone…and you can’t remember his name!!! Augh! Sometimes I think my entire brain invisiblates.
So, next time my brain invisiblates, I think I’m going to follow Enok’s advice and lie down for a nap.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Maybe it's because I hear so many sisters talking about entering the Arizona Mother's whatever contest, but more probably because I dug out some things to take to the Retreat up in Washington, where I'm invited (after twisting Liz's arm) to teach a class in poetry. Sometimes I think I'm quite a pro, and at other times, well I just don't know. Anyway, I'm thinking of entering a poem I wrote way back when the Equal Rights Movement was under way, hot, heavy, and controverial. Does it still fit today? Ought I to enter it? Here it is:
JUST A WOMAN
"I'm just a woman," cried a lonely one,
"Can I compete with men in this world of strife?
What have I to offer, how can I obtain the heights
My soul longs for when frustration fills my life?
To her the spirit whispereth, "My daughter, lift your head,
For you are very precious unto me.
The rosebush was not meant to be a tree -- nor you a man --
But each has a special place, now and throughout eternity.
To be a woman is a special gift;
For women have a softening effect on men.
'Tis they inspire culture, bring refinement to the land,
And help make the earth a garden once again.
'Twas just a woman back in Eden's bliss,
Who hungered after knowledge and a better life.
So, when the tempter promised her there was no other way,
She partook the fruit, thus introducing strife.
Was Eve forever afterwards regretful of her choice?
No! She rejoiced in overcoming trials.
And ever since, her gallant daughters, filled with courage strong,
Pass through sorrows armed with fortitude, and Mona Lisa smiles!
When God made women, 'twas a special gift.
Though sometimes they seem frivolous, bejeweled and curled,
Yet they're the wives and mothers upon whom mankind depends,
For those who rear the children guide the world.
'Twas just a woman who in Bethlehem,
Once held a tiny baby to her loving breast;
While angels sang with glory, shepherds bowed and Magi came,
And through Mary's Son the whole wide world was blessed.
Was Mary's life made easy after having given birth?
Was rearing Christ the Lord a simple chore?
Were Mary's thoughts and attitudes reflected in her Son?
Did she feel a deep responsibility through trials sore?
To be a mother is a special gift.
It's challenging, and frightening, delightful, too.
Especially in a partnership where love and trust abound,
And I'm glad that I'm a woman, aren't you?
Anna Laurene Arnett
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
My checkbook and debit card are no longer on speaking terms. Not that they were ever that close, but still, it doesn’t seem right. The two should be buds, two compadres in a common cause, but whatever they did have is no longer.
I guess Checkbook can only take so much—she’s had it up to HERE, she says. It seems Debit Card has a nasty habit of not reporting transactions to Check Register. That was supposed to be the deal—spend money, write it down in Check Register. Oh, Checkbook has been diligent. When she spends money on something like school lunch or tithing, she meticulously records each item down to its amount, date, and even the reason for the transaction. She is definitely a stickler for details. Debit Card—not so much.
Frankly, she’s like a crazy woman—a discount T-shirt from Walmart here, a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk there, but does she let Check Register know? No. She goes on her merry way as if nothing happened. Eat, drink and wear cheap T-shirts seems to be her motto.
So when a $2.37 debit to Sonic shows up on Bank Balance, Checkbook says, “Hey, what’s up, Check Register? I don’t see an entry for $2.37 to Sonic." (Yummy strawberry banana smoothie, by the way). Check register can only lift her tiny little arms in defeat. “Don’t look at me. I didn’t know nothing about no smoothie.” (Her grammar’s not the best when she’s stressed). Again, Debit Card is the culprit. Bad, Debit Card, very, very bad.
Well, Debit Card, I hope you’ve enjoyed your little party because now the jig is up (and we all know when the jig is up, it’s serious--sorry to be harsh, but sometimes you’ve just got to take a stand). No longer will you hold your hallowed go-to position in the wallet. You’re banished to its deep dark recesses between the auto glass company business card and the sub sandwich punch card, and if you don’t mend your ways it’s the desk drawer for you, my friend!
But first, let me make a quick Walmart run…then you’re banished, my friend…banished to the deep dark recesses of the…
Note to Self: Please step up your writing efforts so you can actually sell something, earn some money, and make Bank Balance happy. ‘Cause if Bank Balance ain’t happy…well, you know the rest.
Monday, October 6, 2008
It is autumn and the subtle, seasonal changes of southern Arizona are in the air—cooler mornings, shorter days, brighter, bluer skies . To the west of town at a spot in the road called Three Points, fields of pumpkins show bright orange balls ripening underneath a dying canopy of leaves. In my own front yard, dense with desert vegetation, I filled buckets with burgundy colored prickly pear fruit and now my pantry shelves are stacked with jars of jelly. It is the season of harvest, of plenty, of thanksgiving.
And so this Monday morning as I gaze out the window and watch dawn happen—the lightening of sky, and return of color to the landscape as the sun illuminates and turns to morning gold the tops of my eucalyptus tree, the highest in the neighborhood and the first to catch those early rays, I am filled with gratitude. Two days of spiritual feasting are over, our own semi-annual general conference, watched in the comfort of my family room, the anticipated marker of both autumn and spring.
In this season of harvest and thanksgiving, I think of feasts, of the grand preparation of food for the body that marks the holiday of Thanksgiving, of what it means to feast, and recall the words of Nephi that “if ye shall press forward feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father, ye shall have eternal life.” 2 Ne 31:20.
To feast means to enjoy some unusual pleasure or delight. A feast is an elaborate and abundant meal, often accompanied with some kind of ceremony. To partake means to ingest, to take into yourself some of that abundant nourishment, pleasure and delight.
Press forward feasting upon the word of Christ—for two days I was spoon fed; all that was required of me was that I listened, equivalent to opening my spiritual mouth to receive the delicious words of truth. I feel invigorated, more able, and strengthened in my charge to press forward. I feel blessed.
How I wish this spiritual feast which is available to all, were partaken of by all. I would love to walk over to my neighbor’s and say “Didn’t you just love what President Uchtdorf said when he talked about hope? Weren’t you touched by the words of our prophet? It is so good to have a prophet.”
There is a bit of circular reasoning in Nephi’s words, in his charge to press forward feasting upon the words of Christ and endure to the end, for that is how we receive the strength and resolve to do it. This weekend has been a time of feasting, a time of harvest, a time of plenty. And I am grateful.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I have enjoyed the spiritual feast of this weekend. President Monson's announcement of five new temples is getting a lot of comment on the blogosphere, as I'm sure it is among families and Church units and friends who reside in the areas where they will be built. Imagine the jubilant phone calls and emails. Greater Kansas City and Rome are spectacular, but no less welcome are Calgary, Cordoba, and Philadelphia. What blessings will come!
I loved so many quotes and sterling teachings.
Elder Anderson: "You don't know everything, but you know enough--to keep the commandments."
Elder Oaks' charge to priests to speak slowly and distinctly when officiating over sacred emblems.
President Uchtdorf's story of his mother's faith, hope and prayer that resulted in finding her precious children again.
Elder Wirthlin's quote (again, from his mother): "Come what may, and love it!"
President Eyring's emotional and heart-felt delivery.
Elder Nelson's straight talk on Celestial Marriage.
I'm looking forward to postings of the talks so I can savor them again, and to receiving my Conference DVD.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
For those who believe in the Bible, the first mother on this earth was Eve – the mother of all living. She is the model that all the rest of the feminine population emulates. She was the brave one that ate of the forbidden fruit and then convinced Adam to do likewise so they could remain together and populate the earth. It had to be hard for her – having no one to follow or example to look to. She had to grow her own food, help provide the home to raise her family in, and then start and provide the first ever home school. She was the first one to see that each child had their own unique personality. Some were obedient, kind and eager to do what was right. Others were rebellious, uncaring and quick to do what was easy. She was the first to grieve for the death of her child – caused by the actions of another of her offspring. It had to tear her heart into pieces to realize no matter how hard she and Adam tried to do what was right that they couldn’t always keep their children close to home, doing what they should.
There are girls having babies that have yet to grow up themselves. Are they less of a mother than the older woman who finally has a baby after years of infertility treatments? How about the woman that never has a fetus in her womb? If she adopts someone else’s child and raises them as her own is she still a mother? How about the lady that never marries? Is there any way for her to be a mother? Does nursing or teaching count as mothering? What other service or activity counts as mothering? And what about all the “steps” out there? Are they mothers? With all the mixed families in the world how does one choose which one is the mother?
Those of us who have been mothers know that mothering entails several roles including but not limited to cooking, cleaning, taxi driver, doctor and nurse, teacher, coach, scout leader, counselor, friend, disciplinarian, baby sitter, diaper changer, fashion consultant, hair stylist, comforter, magician, comedian, actress, accountant, legal advisor, homework consultant, seamstress, caretaker of pets, all knowing, all seeing and finder of lost everything. All of these are done in addition to holding down a job, being a wife, being a productive citizen.
Mothers nag, cajole, bargain, bribe, beg, nag, harass, nurture, empathize, sympathize, mesmerize and anything else in their power to encourage their children to become the best they can be. Does anyone that uses these tactics qualify as a mother? How about men? Single Dads that have to play both roles – are they mothers? How about the homosexual couples that have children – two men – are they both mother and father? Two women – are they both mother and father? How about women who donate eggs? Are they mothers to the zygotes that are formed in petri dishes or are the test tube and scientist the mother? How about the surrogate mothers that incubate a child and then turn them over to the couple who paid them to have the child. Is she a mother? Are you more of a mother if you breast feed? Are you less of a mother if you bottle feed?
There are soft, warm and tender women who mother with overabundant love. There are women that mother with an iron hand, and strict discipline. Are they less that the first? There are a few unfortunate cases where women abandon their babies, abuse their children, or otherwise act in ways that are incomprehensible. Are they no longer mothers? And where do the females that abort their fetuses fit? Are they mothers? Are they mothers if and only if they later have viable babies – or do they no longer qualify for the noble title?
After thinking about all these various situations I’ve come to my own conclusions which you may or may not agree with. Mothers come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. No matter what culture, country, ethnicity or religion they are mothers. They may not show their love or devotion in the same way but they do have several things in common. First a mother is a female. Males may try to do mothering tasks, but they can never be a mother. Second a mother is the female who raises the child, not the egg donor or womb provider. Whether you breast or bottle feed doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you hold, cuddle and love the infant. Third it is ideal if the mother is successfully and happily married prior to conception – thus providing the best environment for her children to grow and learn. Fourth it is wonderful and commendable if a mother can stay at home full time – but if circumstances are such that the mother must work to provide necessities for her children – she is no less of a mother – but rather a person on who is producing herculean efforts in order to fulfill her duties. Fifth is that anyone male or female, who nurtures, loves and provides for a child is assisting the mother, or substituting for the mother, and should be commended for their kind acts.
She is not always perfect
But she is the perfect one for me.
I did not always choose correctly,
But I hope my children love me.
In old age she feels her job is never done.
In youth she wonders if it will ever come.
Something every little girl wants to be.
Friday, October 3, 2008
It’s amazing how technology has advanced in the last 25 years. When I was in high school, no one had a cell phone or a personal computer. We all had to use landlines to speak with our friends and we used typewriters for our research papers. Yes, gasp, we had to actually know how to type (or at least know how to use the correction tape properly).
I remember my grandpa’s old typewriter and how the “e” always looked like an “o.” When I received a sleek new manual typewriter as a gift, I was thrilled. I was even happier when I was able to purchase a snazzy electric typewriter with the correction tape already loaded—talk about up-to-the-date technology.
I can still remember the papery thin feel of the onionskin paper and the ding when I needed to return the carriage on my manual machine. I remember the clicking of the keys and the pinging as the metal letters hit against the page. I can still hear the soft clicking as I moved the roller to load the paper. Of course, I also remember the frustration of finding a typo or misspelling and trying desperately to correct it.
When I was finishing my senior year at BYU, my husband tried to convince me to use a computer. I refused. I wasn’t comfortable with a computer and couldn’t see how it was any easier than using a typewriter—silly me. After several months, he finally persuaded me to try a computer and when I saw the ease of the “delete” key, I was sold.
Technology has come a long way. True, it can be used irresponsibly, but it can also provide us with a wealth of information at our fingertips as well as connect us to people all over the world. When I first started writing, I had no groups, no connection to other writers. I had no one to ask questions. I knew nothing about publishing. I didn’t even know how to really find the needed information so I kind of bumbled around in the dark hoping to figure it all out.
Then, the internet hit and, boom, I could access information from my computer in my own home. It didn’t even matter that I lived in the middle of a hay field. I found groups. I was suddenly connected to the world.
Because of the new technology and the internet, authors can do what time, distance, and money prevented them from doing pre-internet. Authors can now take advantage of blogging to create a web presence, create websites, participate in blog book tours, join online groups like our newest ANWA group Cyber Scrybers, ask questions in forums, and promote books by simply attaching a link on all outgoing email. We can promote our work while sitting in our pajamas. How cool is that?
The newest tool to promote our work is now on a site called YouTube. Our own wonderfully talented Marsha Ward has created her own book trailer for “The Man from Shenandoah.” This is the future for authors to promote their books online. See what you think.
And to show you a little different approach, here is a YouTube by LDS author Jewel Adams promoting her fantasy novel, “The Journey.”
Even if technology seems difficult or foreign, it’s definitely in our best interest to embrace the new ways of communicating with our friends and with those who may want to read our books.
I’ll let you know if I ever fully embrace it and have a YouTube on Heaven Scent.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Well, I'm home sick today and feeling pretty terrible (running a fever and chills, swollen glands, coughing, the whole bit).
I toyed with the idea of writing a blog today but I'm just not up to it so I'll just recommend a WONDERFUL DVD that you all should rent (in fact, I think you should BUY it). It's an independent film that I saw months ago at a premiere and then it never really opened. I've been waiting for it to come out on DVD and it did a couple of weeks ago.
It's called "Young @ Heart" and is a delightful documentary of a senior citizen chorus (average age is around 80) that sings ROCK MUSIC and it is just plain fun. It shows them rehearsing and interviews them, etc. and shows several music videos in the making. I thought I would pee my pants
This sweet little chorus brightens the day for many and this DVD will brighten yours as well. I'm feeling so icky that I'm done ~ headed back to bed. Take care. Love to all.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
From service to family
From church to home
From school to garden
From cook to nurse
From healer to helper
From intellect to nurturer
From humble to learned
From learner to giver
And so much more
Lighting in all directions
You are my star shinning brightly