Feb 28, 2013

We Also Sing

By Susan Knight

I was quite farklempt* and distracted today at work in anticipation of the dress rehearsal tonight for my women’s chorus, “We Also Sing.”
Butterflies. All day.
We, my daughter and I, are performing at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City for Temple Square Performances Friday night!!! Our chorus is about 364 women's voices, all extraordinary.
The 2013 "We Also Sing" Women's Chorus dress rehearsal at the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
I had to sneak taking pictures. Our director, Merrilee Webb,
told us to behave as we would want our children to behave.
I would want my children to take pictures :-S
I’m sure I’ll have loads of stories to tell next time. Hopefully some better pictures, too.
Who would have thought, when I moved to Utah, I’d ever get to sing in the Tabernacle? The dream was too big; it never even occurred to me to dream it.
Because of my damaged ankle, I couldn't climb the stairs and ended up in the front row with the "sitting people." It's all good. I found out I can't stand the whole hour we'll be singing, so I'll just sit. I am just as happy. I get to be in that spectacular hall with the echo and the reverb and the Spirit!
 How blessed am I?
The view from where I sit. Up close and personal to the organ. Yee-ha!
*Yiddish for "upset"

Feb 27, 2013

Fear Not

by Kami Cornwall

Fear, Anxiety and Depression. I have been learning about it and hearing from so many people who are facing those three monsters on a daily basis. In the course of a semester I have learned three very important ways to combat it. Ready for it? This is going to blow your mind. Faith, Hope and Charity.

Now at first you are thinking I'm getting all preachy and you're going to skim down to the end of this and mark it as "read." This isn't something coming from a religious leader. These are three separate answers that have been made clear by various professors this semester.

The thing that helps people overcome fear is having faith. Have faith that you are being guided, that things are going to work out, that you can come through this alive and relatively unscathed, that things will get better. Having faith in whatever supreme being you have faith in will help overcome fear. Also have faith in yourself.

In various therapy sessions the first and most important thing a therapist needs to instill is hope. People need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. They have to have some hope for the future, that it will be brighter. Hope shines bright in a world filled with anxiety. Things can change if you are willing to work on them.

Charity helps combat depression because it not only gets people outside of themselves and takes the focus away from their own problems, but it gives them a sense of altruism - that they have done something good for someone else - and the reward in that does wonders for the soul. It boosts self-esteem. Powerful.

I know, this is way too "fluffy" and "feel-goody" for me, right? But I thought this information was so amazingly useful and easy to remember that it HAD to be shared. I'll let you go as deep into this concept as you want and I'll leave it at that. Fear, Anxiety, Depression vs. Faith, Hope and Charity. Spread the love!

Feb 26, 2013

Stop Wasting Your Time

by Terri Wagner

Lately, I find myself asking myself do I really need to be doing this? Isn't this just a waste of time? What could I be doing instead? For me the saddest song I ever heard was Wasted Time by the Eagles.

So I resolved early on in my life I would not waste my time. This journey has been interesting. When I was much younger of course I felt I wasted time in high school. I mean really do we need that last year? And what about those first two years in college (btw this is better now)? I worked through college and in the summers...talk about wasting time!!!

Then in my YA years I began to play with my time. I did the serious stuff but made sure I had plenty of time for the play stuff. Ok, sometimes the play stuff took over. Like the time this guy and I played some Nintento game ALL night and we both had to work the next day. Or the play time I spent doing things that had no eternal perspective at all. Or the memorable moment I realized God can't take vacation time...hmmmm!!!!

Then came Might and Magic. I justified that one because I played with a couple and their high school aged son in a misguided attempt to bring the gospel to them. Moving along, then came online games like Farm Town and Castleville. I needed a break from the seriousness of life, right? That was my justification.

I think I'm taking another turn in my life. Suddenly I find myself asking myself you actually feel obligated to continue playing Castleville when you don't even understand the game, it takes way too much time, and you "owe" this online people to "tend" to their castles just to "help" them out? And how many cyber fields can you plow just to "catch" up to all the other people who seem to jump a million levels when the new ones come out? What are you doing? Aren't there better ways to get away from it all?

Then that old devil's advocate says to me. You need a break; it's just for fun; it's helping people; it's relaxing. Then the "new" voice responds, "But wait it's not relaxing...it's a nightmare trying to keep up and move ahead. And I don't even know if these people really exist. I could be tending castles with a computer-generated group of people."

So I've been reevaluating things. I want to help real people I actually know that have real problems that need my help. I want to work on family search indexing more. I want to do my own genealogy. And my dogs are always up for a walk. There are better ways to relax.

I am reminded of what someone once said: As Mormons, our choices are not always good vs. evil, but good vs. better. I'm not putting anyone down that plays any of these games. Lives change; circumstances change. Obviously I'm changing.

So I guess I should go post a notice in FB that I'm dropping out of the online gaming world for a while. I need to set some priorities and choose the better part for my life for right now.

Someday when appropriate I may come back to online gaming. But for now, I'm going to spend time with the next generation.

Feb 25, 2013

Ancestry and Writing Histories

By Claire Enos

Mom and I around Mother's Day when I was 12 or 13.

The other day, I was writing up the Ancestral History I was doing for my Family History Research class. I chose to write it on my mom, so I sent her an email with a few questions for her to answer to give me more information for the 10-page history. She sent me back a document full of information, over five pages single-spaced, with not only stories from her childhood and about her mom and dad but also a bunch of information about my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents as well. I am overjoyed that I have so much I can choose to write about.

My mom is amazing and I'm so proud to be her eldest daughter! I love her, and writing this history just made me appreciate her even more! I'm glad I've been given the chance to get to know her better than I ever did growing up.

I'd like to encourage writers everywhere to take time to get to know your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents as well as you can. Even your aunts and uncles and so on. Anyone who you might be related to. We have the unique gift of being able to write better than most, because we are constantly perfecting this ability each time we write and take a class on writing. Why not get to know our relatives and write them a history? Print it up for them or email it to them. They'd love to read something you've written, and it makes it more special when it's about them by a loved one.

Pretty soon, I'll be starting my personal history for that same class. I'm looking forward to this, and exploring myself more. I might even ask my mom to supply some details for my personal history that I can add. Then I can print it up and share it with my family members, along with another project I'm working on about my family and growing up with them.
My family in front of our house this past July 2011.

It's days like this that I realize how lucky I am to have been given the talent of writing, and to have parents who encourage me in all I do, and to be in a wonderful Church that is supportive of developing my talents as well.

So on that note, continue writing! And if you have time, try writing a little more auto-biographical! Your family will love it!


Me now, at age 21

Feb 24, 2013

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead: A Tribute to the Juice Fast. I'm Taking the Plunge!

By Jennifer Debenham

About a week ago, my husband and I found ourselves with an extra hour or two in our weekend and we decided to peruse Netflix to see if anything caught our fancy. "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" sure had the hook necessary to catch our attention. As far as titles go, it performed impeccably, and the 1 1/2 hour documentary proved every bit as fascinating as the title predicted.

It starts by following a forty-something, successful businessman from Australia who has lived large most of his adult life and who, because of his unhealthy lifestyle and extra pounds, developed a debilitating rash--apparently his body's response to all the unhealthy things he was consuming. After visiting several doctors and consuming numerous medications, he had had enough. He recalled when he was a boy and would get a skinned knee that his body could heal itself. If it could heal itself then, why not now? After further study, he elected to go on a cleansing, 60-day juice fast. And he decided to do it in America. Thirty days in New York City and then thirty days traveling the entire country, juicing from the back of his car.

His story is compelling, interesting, and inspiring, but I liked it even moreso because of the the people he inspired along the way, especially the truck driver who joins him on his juicing journey. I don't want to say more because it's worth it for you to watch it yourself.

If the 60-day fast is not for you (most people don't need this), he recommends a more popular 5-, 6-, or 10-day cleanse.

So . . .

Starting tomorrow . . .

I am going to embark on a cleanse of my own.

My refrigerator is stocked with all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables.

My juicer is sparkling clean and ready to go on the counter.

And I am going to do a 10-day juice fast.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Feb 22, 2013

The ANWA Writers Conference has begun!

by Marsha Ward

It's only just begun, with a lot of hoop-la, educational and informative classes, and merriment in profusion, but today, at the remove of one year, I want to mention something that happened at the end of last year's Conference. During the closing, I heard something like this:

The American Night Writers Association would like to announce a new award to be presented annually at our Conference. It will be called the American Night Writers Association Service Award. We want to recognize those who go above and beyond the call of duty and show their faith and vision to serve.

The person wrapping up the Conference went on to say something to the effect that a selection process would be announced on the website at some point.

To give you an idea of what we are looking for, we looked to the example of our founder, Marsha Ward, whose long-term service has been not only to ANWA, but to the writing community at large.  She has truly knocked herself out!

Today we commence this prestigious award by giving this knock-out plaque to our Founder, Friend, Leader and Exemplar, Marsha Ward.

And then they called me up to the front and put this in my hands:

You cannot imagine how difficult it is to find a background that will make the inscription pop, but my bedspread finally did the trick.

I felt as though I had truly been knocked out. Flabbergasted. That was me.

It tickles me a great deal to know that someone else will experience that same feeling tomorrow night. Huzzah!

Feb 21, 2013

Friends Stand For Each Other

by Kari Diane Pike

I'm a little sad today. Today is the beginning of ANWA's magnificent annual writer's conference and I can't be there. But like Daniel Tiger learned, "When you're disappointed about something, turn it around and find something good." (Yes, I live with a two-year-old, and I love it.)

So, something good: I can watch my social media for the bits and pieces of wisdom my friends are going to write about...and learn from them. I can take time to do my own research and answer questions I have about writing. I can look forward to attending next year! It also means I have time to give to a friend in need today.

Which leads me to some thoughts I had during scripture study this morning. I was reading Alma, chapter 20, in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The prophet Ammon was asked by his friend King Lamoni to go to the land of Nephi to meet his father, the king over all the land. Lamoni really wanted to introduce his father to this great friend and prophet of God.

But the Lord told Ammon that it was a bad idea. The king would try to kill Ammon. Besides that, some of Ammon's brethren were imprisoned in Middoni and they needed his help. As much as Ammon loved Lamoni, he put the Lord first. He told Lamoni what he needed to do...go to Middoni and free his friends. Ammon had never before given Lamoni any reason to doubt his word. Ammon had shown he was honest, loyal, and obedient to God. Lamoni jumped right in and offered to help.

On the way to Middoni, however, who should appear but Lamoni's father the king. Seeing his son with a Nephite, a "son of a liar" and an enemy to the Lamanites, made the king angry. He demanded Lamoni slay Ammon. Lamoni not only refused to kill his friend, but he stood up to the king and told him he intended to help free Ammon's friends, as well. This put the king in such a rage he drew his sword with the intention to kill his own son.

Ammon "stood forth" and spoke in Lamoni's defense. The angry king turned his sword upon Ammon who, in defending himself, wounded the king and told him that unless the king let his brethren go, he would slay him. The king pleaded for his life, offering Ammon up to half of his kingdom. Ammon spared the king, asking only for the freedom of his friends and that Lamoni be left to run his part of the kingdom and live his life in the manner he desired.

Ammon used his power to stand for truth and righteousness. He did not abuse his power over the king and his actions resulted in the softening of the king's heart. The king had witnessed friendship, love, loyalty and integrity to a degree that "astonished" him and he wanted to know more. He granted Ammon's desires and Ammon and Lamoni were able to free his friends from prison.

The example that Ammon and Lamoni set have me asking myself a lot of questions. Do I support and sustain my friends, while at the same time recognizing what the Lord wants? Do my friends respect my choices? Have I given them reason to doubt my intentions? Do I live my life in such a way that others around me would have no cause to doubt the truth of anything I say or do? Do I listen and follow the promptings of the Spirit so that I can come to the aid of others when they need it most?

I know I can do better.  I want to be a better friend and a better servant of the Lord. I don't have a cool sword, but I do have capable hands with which to serve others. And words. Words can be very powerful. Especially when they are given to me from the Holy Spirit. This makes me very happy!

What are you going to write about today?


Feb 16, 2013

The Departure

by Cindy R. Williams

The following is how the writing brain combined with the heart sees the big picture:
Missionary Departure:

Last of the last week lasts! Packed – check, leave for the airport – check, turn back around for “forgot something” – check, small talk chatter avoid the impending bigness of two years apart – check, wait at the the gate bouncing up and down, holding back tears – check, “time to go” melt down by the Mom – check, walked like  man through the gate – check, flying to SLC – check, Only 729 days to go – smile and groan, both at the same time. What a ride!!!!!!

Feb 14, 2013

The Face of God, and Other Faces

By Susan Knight


As we pulled up to the parking lot at church on a recent Sunday, I mentioned to my daughter, Jewely, about how much easier it was back east to be in a ward where I knew everyone. When someone new came to church it was only one person or family to remember.

There are hundreds of new people to meet in a new ward. That is a challenge for me, so I've come to understand.

When I was at LDStorymakers boot camp one year, the mentor at my table told us to forgive her if she walked by us during conference without acknowledging us. She told us she has a condition whereby she doesn’t recognize faces well. That was a revelation to me.

I sought her out to hear what she had to say. I have the same problem but didn’t know it was a real condition. I, naively, thought everyone was like me, though I noticed some people were better at facial recognition.

Though my “face blindness” is not extreme, I have a problem unless I have many interactions or have known someone a long time. And if a woman changes her hairdo or hair color, I’m doomed.

At one ANWA chapter meeting, I erroneously introduced one sister as another when she came to my door for her first meeting. She was gracious and politely corrected her name. (Insert blushing smiley face here.)

Thank goodness for Facebook. I determined to study our chapter’s page and pictures before the meetings. Please forgive me, my wonderful chapter sisters.

I always wondered how people could identify actors so readily in movies. And who can describe eyes, a nose, a mouth or chin to a police sketch artist, or pick someone from a lineup? They all look alike! For me, there’s no way.

When I had been at my job in Utah for four months, I told a friend I finally got a handle on who everyone was. That was seeing my co-workers every day.

In my ward, I can’t distinguish people unless I’m their visiting teacher or they’re mine. I need to see the bishopric or Relief Society presidency sitting up front each week, or do something together with someone many times.

A thought came to me that Sunday morning. This could be what it’s like to be familiar with Deity. How will we know our Savior if we don’t make him part of our everyday lives through prayer and fasting, reading our scriptures or attending the temple? We won’t be able to distinguish when the Holy Ghost is near unless we have “met” more than once or twice. We must interact every day in order to be acquainted with the countenances of divine beings.

Perhaps some of you are more perceptive at discerning facial features, but I’m sure, without a doubt, I will know the face of Christ when I finally see Him.

Yes, I’m sure of it.

Feb 13, 2013

She's Gone Mental

by Kami Cornwall

Today I am thankful for my mental health. Why, you ask? Because I spend most of my time telling my two boys to do things like make their beds and put their clothes in the hamper and EMPTY their lunchboxes before they take them home. What? You have to repeat those things to your kids? Yes...but it seems as though it takes a catastrophic event for anything to sink in!

Today my seven-year-old announced upon opening the door that he was going to take everything off outside and then bring it in. It appeared he had stopped off at the chocolate milk factory and filled up his backpack with chocolate milk so he could share it with my CARPET. He failed to think about the fact that his phone (which he only uses to listen to music) and headphones, and take-home folder were all swimming in it too.

I believe today is the day HIS music died. Because the phone...it is no more.

Can I count on him having learned a lesson from all of this? Maybe. The length of time he has to go without listening to his music might determine how much he learned from it.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to scream, "THAT'S WHY I TELL YOU TO EMPTY YOUR LUNCHBOX BEFORE YOU COME HOME!!!" and instead say, "Well...you could have thrown all of this away...and then it wouldn't have created such a mess in your backpack, honey." This is all while I'm gulping air and counting to ten.

Sanity. Overrated?

Feb 12, 2013

Bon Ton Roulet

by Terri Wagner

Yep, it's Throw Me Something Mister Please time on the Gulf Coast. And no rain, unless accompanied by lightening and thunder, will stop the parades, the moonpies, the beads, or the sheer fun of just gazing at a myriad of creative floats. Fortunately where I live Mardi Gras is kid and pet friendly. In fact, one parade is the annual order Mystic of Mutts. It's a group of local shelters, and the dogs are adorable, well, more than dogs of course. Most of the animals are adoptable and wear little kits so saying. Kids and dogs...can't go wrong with that parade.

Until I moved here, I never saw a thing good about February, lol. Somehow I always managed to be thoroughly single by Valentine's Day...and so usually gave myself a box of chocolates to compensate. Probably that never was a very good idea, giggle, but there you have it. A sort of pity party.

Now, Valentine's Day really gets lost down here. Everyone, Catholic or not, discusses what they will give up for Lent, which is the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter. I have decided to participate this year. I'll let you know what happens, if I succeed. Let's call it a call to arms...we Christians need to start sticking together and standing as one. Things are looking grim at least according to well frankly most people I know on both sides of the aisle. How we got ourselves in such a predicament is a whole 'nother blog entry, and we all need each other.

So Let the Good Times Roll!!!

Introducing Shadow and Maddie, king and queen of the ancient order of the Mystic of Mutts...gotta love it...aren't they too cute for words?

Feb 11, 2013

A Chance of.... Fate?

By Claire Enos

It was a chance of fate. Or at least, that's what my friends would say. Those who don't have the same beliefs I do. I decided to sign up for Advanced Creative Writing for the following semester. A friend told me they'd signed up already, and told me which class so I decided to sign up as well. We were already all signed up and everything before we realized that the class happened to be Creative Non-Fiction Writing. We were not pleased. We write fiction, not non-fiction.

Honestly, I'm glad we made such a simple mistake. We got the teacher we wanted and we get to learn something that we didn't realize was such a good thing to know.

Yesterday, I was trying to decide what to post, when I realized exactly what my Creative Non-Fiction Writing class has taught me so far. Because of that class, I now have a better idea of how to write non-fiction that is interesting to read, and fun to write. I would definitely recommend taking a creative non-fiction writing class to anyone who aspires to be a writer. It helps with blog writing, and with overall writing skills as well.

So, if you ever get the chance, definitely take a creative non-fiction writing class! I guarantee you'll love it, or at the very least learn something from it that will help with your writing!

Have a great week!


Feb 10, 2013

Adding a Squeeze of Lime to Life

By Jennifer Debenham

I have a philosophy that I've been working on for the past few years that probably goes along with the "You Only Live Once" mentality, or YOLO, as my teenagers tell me. Of course they've changed it to YOLF (You Only Live Forever), which puts a different spin on things, doesn't it?

Anyway, my philosophy is that I always look for little ways to give myself a "treat" throughout my day--especially if I ever have to do something that isn't super fun.

Case in point: recently I had to work my way through a LARGE pile of mail and contact every business from said pile to let them know of our address change. Tedious? Yes. But not so much so with "Castle" episodes keeping me company while I worked. And when I have to make the 25-minute drive into town, darned if I'm not listening to a book on CD to make the drive more pleasant! And the drive back home just wouldn't be the same without a little stop at the McDonalds drive-thru to get a large soda with extra ice and maybe some french fries too if I'm a bit peckish. Recently my sister-in-law informed me that Taco Bell and Arctic Circle will give you a slice of lime in your soda, if you ask for it. Now that's what I'm talking about!

I've been working on instilling this philosophy within my husband too. He's a hardworking, self-sacrificing sort of guy, who rarely takes the time to do anything for himself. I have been telling him he should look for ways to make his day a little happier. I think sometimes we get so used to denying ourselves certain things that we fail to realize there are many wholesome ways we can add a little joy. I'm starting to realize if we seek these little things out and allow ourselves little pleasures, we are happier. Maybe it's just the fact that we've spent time looking for something positive and then allowed ourselves a moment to enjoy it.

Of course the trick to everything is balance. One can not live on "treats" alone, but it sure is nice to allow ourselves little pieces of joy in every day.

So I wonder . . . How do you add a squeeze of lime to your life?

Happy Writing!

Feb 8, 2013


by Marsha Ward

Yesterday brought an announcement that brightened a few smiles among our ANWA members. The novels by LDS authors which have achieved the status of "Finalist" were revealed.

Four ANWA members were among those whose novels were so acclaimed:
In the category of GENERAL NOVEL, A Night on Moon Hill, by Tanya Parker Mills;

In the category of HISTORICAL NOVEL, Spinster's Folly, by Marsha Ward;

In the category of ROMANCE NOVEL, Of Grace and Chocolate, by Krista Lynne Jensen;

In the category of SPECULATIVE NOVEL, Earthbound, by Theresa Sneed.

Winners of the Whitney Awards will be announced at the Whitney Gala following the LDStorymakers' Writers Conference on May 11, 2013, at the Provo Marriott in Provo, Utah.

Feb 7, 2013

Finding My Truth

by Kari Diane Pike

One of the things I enjoy most about ANWA chapter meetings is critiques. I can learn more about the writing process in one thirty  to forty-five minute session than I learned in an entire semester of college English. Of course, when it comes time to put my own writing out there, I'm not quite so enthusiastic about the process. I'm less inclined to seek out pain. At the same time, growth is painful. And I want to grow as a writer. Actually, I want more than that. I want to bloom.

I'm ashamed to admit that it's been almost a year since I wrote anything besides school papers and posts for this blog. After being humiliated in front of a writing class last year, I've felt like I just don't have what it takes to be a good writer.

A couple of months ago, I mustered up the courage to share one of my essays during a chapter meeting. I knew I was in a safe place and that the critiques would be gentle...but honest and forthright. My friends did not let me down. Who could predict that what turned out to be essentially the same advice, could have such a different affect on me? Instead of telling me that my writing was craptastic and that I just didn't get it, I heard that what I wrote was interesting and thought provoking -- it just lacked a special something -- that one line of truth that could set my writing apart and make it riveting and breathtaking.

I've been struggling to find that truth inside of me and trying to learn how to bring it out. Then yesterday, I came across this article: http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/12174  in which "A Scholar Tells Why Joseph Smith's First Vision Account is Remarkable."

I'm not trying to compare my writing to that of a prophet. That's not the point at all. But Brother King explains how and why the telling of the First Vision deeply impressed a scholar who was not inclined to be impressed. He approaches the account as if it were a scholarly essay. He critiques each verse and points out the simplicity, humility, coolness, and rationality. He describes modifiers, points out humor, and defines good prose. Arthur shows how Joseph Smith simply told the truth.

I'm still searching for my "truth," (in a writing sense -- I know the Gospel is true!) and I am grateful for good friends and the opportunity to learn and grow, knowing all the time that no matter what, I am loved. Thanks ANWA!


Feb 5, 2013

Bucket List

By Leesa Ostrander

An article on WritesDigest.com titled, “5 Things That Should Be On Every Writer’s Bucket List” http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/5-things-that-should-be-on-every-writers-bucket-list gives five things writer’s should have on a list of must do.

The five must do list is: do something bizarre just to write about it, self-publish something, find a mentor, edit your favorite novel, live poor for a few months (or years).

I agree with the list, each has valid necessity.

The first I have done. I had to do a norm disruption project in college. The assignment was to go against a norm and write about the reaction and outcome. One of the examples I did was trying to convince a grocery store clerk that my change was hers. This was 15 years ago. I enjoyed writing on the frustrated reaction of the clerk. I wonder how this situation would play our today. Expanding on this list item, I have not done anything crazy just to write about it. I feel that I am missing some fun in my conservative, shy state of being.

The article mentions to self-publish anything. This action builds confidence even if you already published. Self-publishing can be blog posts, newsletters, website content and other forms of technical writing as well as creative writing. I picked up King County Library systems 2012 poetry finalists book. My daughter read the full book and exclaimed, “Whoa, these poems are in a book!”

Next, find a mentor. YES! Please! It is important to have a guide, even if you are an experienced writer. It is good to have another person to help guide in the creative process and give another point of view. A mentor can also help build confidence by giving more knowledge in your writing toolkit.

Now, the next list item I have done and find I have to put some books down because I spend more time correcting than reading. Edit your favorite novel can be daunting if they author is wonderful with a solid editing and publishing company behind them. Yet, I still find errors in top author’s books. If you are not looking for errors then edit a section where you rewrite for better flow, different meaning or using different words for the same outcome. This can also fit into a daily writing practice  list item substitution.  

Lastly, live poor for a while. Living outside your means or with less money coming in than going out does give a different perspective. You get creative on how to make everything work. It also creates an avenue of learning a lesson and understanding being humble. When humble creativity flows at a different level and understanding.

What do you or would you add to this bucket list?

Feb 2, 2013


By Cindy R. Williams

Line upon line, precept upon precept.
One step at a time.
One day at a time.
Minute by minute.
Put one foot in front of the other.
You have to begin to find the end.
Stay put and fail.

There are tons of cliché’s along these lines. Simple? Yes. Profound YES!

The only way to live is RIGHT NOW! This second.

You would be better off getting up right now and taking care of that thing you know you should be doing rather than reading this. However, if you choose to read on, I hope you will find some food for thought that will help you make the most out of your life.

You only have this moment to change your past. Think about it.

We don't live our lives in chunks. We live it right now, second by second.

"Are we there yet?" How many times have you heard this while traveling somewhere? Many of us think that we will be happy when we finish this, or when this is or that is over. This is NOT TRUE. We can and should be happy RIGHT NOW!

When writer Erma Bombeck was dying from cancer she penned a list of things she regretted and would have liked a "do-over." Here are a few items:

ü  "I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day."

ü  "I would have talked less and listened more."

ü  "I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage."

ü  "I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded."

ü  "I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life."

ü  "There would have been more 'I love you's' and more 'I'm sorry's.'"

ü  "Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us."

ü  "But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it ... live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!

Good advice Erma!

CHOOSE to live RIGHT NOW! Stop living in the past. It is GONE. We can't change it. Let's focus on the happy parts, the good things we did, not the mistakes. Let's live right this minute, think better thoughts and toss that rewinding loop of "Why I Can't Do Something" that rattles in our brain day and night. Toss it right out of your left ear or your right one if you prefer. Just banish it from your brilliant mind.

 Goals are great. Living in the moment is greater!

Yes, they go hand in hand. We set our goals, and then we do a little something each day to get there. But it's the getting there that is what it's all about.

Let's ENJOY the ride. Let's take each second and choose to live.


Life Is All About The "Ing."

By Cindy R. Williams

Some serving, some writing, some working, some praying,

Some studying, some eating, some sleeping, some playing,

Some giving, some taking, some going, some staying,

Some crying, some singing and some day after daying.

Now here's the thing, the most important "ing",

The secret of life is living and loving.

One last cliché I read in the wrapper of a piece of Dove chocolate, "I am flawed and fabulous!"

Are we there yet? Yes!

That special day is today! Choose to live this moment well and when you climb into bed tonight, smile. Tomorrow is another special day!


Feb 1, 2013

Road Less Shaken

By Beckie Carlson

I couldn't get any homework done today. I came home from work early to do it and ended up holding my grandson. Who could blame me? I was seduced by his incredibly cute dimples. I loved every minute of it. He even fell asleep on my lap, pinning me to the spot far from my homework supplies. Sigh...killed by cuteness.
When my services were no longer needed by Teddy, i.e. he got hungry, I did go into the den of books and try to do a bit of studying. I failed. My eyes were suddenly as heavy as sandbags in a wading pool. I could not keep them open. I decided it was fruitless to try so, I went and laid down on my bed. It would have been perfect had it not been for a strange scratching sound coming from the kitchen that woke me up every time my eyes shut. I can't complain....the scratching is producing a wonderful backsplash in my kitchen, but still....no sleep.
I finally got up and went back out to the land of the living and tried again. It just wasn't going to happen today. Every time I tried to read a riveting article on the different ways to teach mathnlkd,.........zz.zzzzzzzz  oops, happened again. I'm afraid I'm doomed!
I wish I had a buddy that was taking this class with me that I could study with. Misery loves company, and it is easier to learn something when you can talk about it. When ever I try to talk to my kids about school, they end up in comas. The doctor bills are getting high. I would talk to a friend, but guess what? I don't have any. It kind of sucks.
Being married for almost twenty years really has an impact on your friend 'bank.' Brad was my best friend. He talked to me a lot. Sometimes, as I have said, too much. I didn't need other friends much because I had him. I had friends wherever we lived, but...they were casual and now they are far away doing their own thing. It usually doesn't bother me, but sometimes, when I"m feeling like I just want to run away from homework and just do something or hang out, I notice the lack of others in my life.
I'm not really whining, not really. When I think about it logically, I don't have any time for friends. I really am busy with kids, home, work and school. If I have extra time I should really address the pile of potting soil the cats dumped behind the table last week. Besides, what would I do? I'm not the 'go to the bar and hang out' kind of gal....I really haven't a clue. So, I retreat to my room, run a hot bath that gets cold way to fast, turn off my phone (why??), and watch three episodes of "How I Met Your Mother." They might not be 'real' people, but they can be my friends for now....cause I said so.