Aug 30, 2014


by Cindy R. Williams

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

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

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

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

Anyone have any tools and experiences they can share?

Aug 27, 2014

The Day Doug Died

By Susan Knight

I have a dear friend who is a widow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



by Andilyn Jenkins

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“Do you know where his list is?”

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

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

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

“Why did he cross out my name?”

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

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

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

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

Aug 26, 2014

I did not forget

by Terri Wagner

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

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

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

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

Aug 25, 2014

Carpe Diem!

By Claire Enos

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

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

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

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


Aug 23, 2014

Surrounding Ourselves with Good Works Keeps Us Afloat

Here is a wonderful object lesson for Family Home Evening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 22, 2014

Method in my Madness

by Marsha Ward

I'm up to my waist in details for launching my newest novel, Gone for a Soldier. They say the devil is in the details. I've never been sure exactly what that means, but I interpret it as saying if you don't take care of all the details, they will bite you.

One such detail is the actual availability of the book for purchase. One would think that a book should become available on its release date, which I previously designated as September 18. One might be wrong in that assumption. It becomes complicated when at least two formats are involved: ebook and print book.

I have decided that, for reasons of my own I won't divulge here, I would go live with the Smashwords edition of the ebook this week, and so I did. (Click on the link to view and purchase it.)

The Amazon Kindle edition is available for pre-order, and will be delivered on September 10.

The print edition will be available at,, and other online retailers sometime after I check over the printed proof copy and give the go-ahead for production. That could be before the official date of September 18, on which I will celebrate the birth of Gone for a Soldier with a grand Launch Party via Facebook's Events. A Blog Book Tour will follow, during the week of October 6 through 12.

I learned a lot about book launch parties and blog tours when I released Spinster's Folly in 2012. The biggest lesson for me was don't ever do this by yourself again! To that end, I hired a party and tour planner, and they're doing a good job for me. I've had to provide them with information and images, but that has gone pretty smoothly.

Just a few more details to take care of, and I can return to writing. That makes me as happy as attending a party I don't have to host!

In case you've never heard of Gone for a Soldier, here's the book description:

Rulon Owen loves two things more than life--his country and Mary Hilbrands.
When Virginia secedes from the Union, Rulon enlists, and finds himself fighting foes both in battle and in his own camp. He struggles to stay alive against all odds, with a knife-wielding tent-mate and a Union army that seems impossible to defeat. It will take every ounce of vigilance he has to survive and, with a little luck, he might make it home to his wife and the son he's never seen.

Forced to live with her parents for the duration, Mary faces a battle for independence. With a mother whispering that her husband won't come home to her and a son who needs her to be both father and mother, Mary has to dig deep for strength to overcome her overwhelming loneliness and the unknown future ahead.

Separated by war and circumstance, Rulon and Mary discover that not all enemies wear the Union blue.

Aug 21, 2014

Ponderings on Gratitude

by Kari Diane Pike
A tangled garland of emerald green and "Tardis" blue ribbon trails across the bed in the spare room - the last vestige of the mountain of wedding decorations that once spilled out the door and took over the living room and kitchen. Plastic bins filled with laundered chair covers, table cloths, sashes and table-runners rest in the back of my van, and wait their turn to be reunited with their rightful owners. Another bin of book page flowers and silk carnations sits in the corner until I find the courage to shut it behind closet doors.
As I untangle the knotted ribbons, memories dance around me - their ghost-like images accompanied by the echoes of my daughter's giggles, cheering at soccer games, screams of delight during epic rounds of hand-and-foot and Risk, her father's laughter as he holds her in each of her three white dresses, and whispers of "I'll love you forever, all the way around the world and back again to infinity and beyond."
I expected to feel the after-wedding-let-down, but I wasn't prepared for this emotional flood. I didn't know it would be so difficult breathe. I didn't know it would be a challenge to get up in the morning to the quiet of just three of us in the house. The thought that in less than a year, my once crowded, noisy, happy, cranky, spirited, cluttered, peanut-butter-and-jam-smeared, joyful nest will be empty of all but myself and my eternal companion triggers memories of nearly drowning. 
From my journal: I realize that part of my problem is that I don't have a specific goal or plan in mind. Another challenge is my tendency to "borrow a jack" - or in other words - worry and fret about things that haven't happened yet, and most likely won't ever happen. Too often I let those concerns stop me from moving forward. The thing is - I know the path I want to be on - and I am on it. I have a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As long as I stay true to my covenants and remain steadfast in Christ - everything will turn out okay. If I want to write a book, I can write a book. If I want to sell _______, I can sell ________. I just need to do it prayerfully and listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit. 
Lehi saw in his vision (1 Nephi 8:21) that people all over the world are searching for the sweet fruit of the gospel. I have the opportunity to help share that message through my editing for Gospel Ideals International. D&C 123:12 teaches that many people are searching for truth and are deceived because they don't know where to look. I can help them find it! It's time to buckle down and devote time to writing, to editing and to family history.
Then I came across this quote: "Thankfulness is measured by words. Gratitude is measured by the nature of our actions." ~David O. McKay
Part of my dilemma as an almost empty-nester is whether or not I need to find employment outside of my home or start a  business or....maybe, possibly, use my time to write the things of my heart. My priority is to strengthen home and family and keep my covenants and serve the Lord. I've been promised through priesthood blessings that as long as I stay true to my covenants, there will be enough and to spare in my home. The Scriptures teach me that the Lord knows all things from the beginning. He prepares me and prepares the way to accomplish "all his works among the children of men." If the Lord guides me to make writing my "business", He will help me.
The Lord has given me many gifts and while I can verbally thank Him in my prayers, I don't really show gratitude until I use those gifts to praise and honor Him. True conversion comes through the Holy Ghost and is demonstrated through "doing" and "becoming." Gratitude is shown through respect and care and proper use of the gift. I can show gratitude for my physical body by caring for it properly, for my family and friends by serving them and for the gospel by sharing its divine message with others. Gratitude, like forgiveness, is a spiritual gift - a gift available to all who seek it. 
My gratitude for God's gifts - particularly the gift of His Son - and my desire to share this message is a gift. It is a good gift and since all good gifts come from God (James 1:17), I have my answer. Write. Serve God through writing and song. Use these gifts to serve and strengthen my family and others.By doing that, I will be living a life of gratitude to God for His magnificent gifts.

Aug 20, 2014

Marin at the Well

by H. Linn Murphy

I'm writing a fiction story about Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus as seen through the eyes of a modern seminary student. I'm going to include a note which outlines the fact that I've messed with the story a bit--adding a couple of details about the girls' and Lazarus' life that aren't mentioned in the Bible. I've made Lazarus a merchant so he has a reason to be away so often. I made Mary blind and had Christ heal her, making them avid followers out of sheer gratitude at first. And I also inserted two modern kids into the mix.

I'm wondering how close I have to stay without getting into troubled, sacrilegious waters. This is a book I hope YA (Seminary) kids will enjoy reading and maybe buoy up their testimonies. I know there's a line. I just don't want to tromp over it in my quest to have Marin "be there in the moment" as a modern girl.

Mary and Martha were there for some of the most sacred happenings of Christ's life. I don't want to trample on that, but to reveal how I would have felt in Mary's place. I think it can be a powerful teaching tool if done right.

Any wisdom?

Aug 19, 2014

Being a Writer Is...

by Lucinda Whitney 

School started today which means I can start with the rewrites on my book.

Last month I applied the edits I received from my editor.
This is what it looked like: Word document from my editor on the left, and my Scrivener project on the right (thank goodness for a wide screen).


It was a slow process, and a very hard one where I was continuously forced to face my shortcomings.  

But it's also the way I'm learning to get better, word by word and line by line. I've learned how bad I am at action beats ('smile' and 'nod' are my enemies), how much telling I have instead of showing, and how much more work this story really needs.

And the greatest lesson I've taken from this process is that, for me, being a writer is about perseverance.


What is being a writer to you?

Aug 16, 2014

My Day to Post

by Cindy R. Williams

August 16 is my day to post. I am sunk. We moved my MIL (Mother-in-law) into our home. She has Alzheimer's. I thought I knew what I was doing and how to deal with this, since my Dad died of this horrible disease and although my Sainted mother was his primary care giver, I helped her as a support person.

Bottom line, I was dead wrong. I am so out of my element. Each day is a new tornado, and I am spinning.

More later if I survive.

Aug 15, 2014

Toe choppers

By Beckie Carlson
This week was brutal. I am just plain exhausted. It is only the third week of school and I feel I have been fed through a meat grinder, stuck in a blender, pounded with a jackhammer and then pushed through an old time clothes washer. My whole body aches. So, this is what it is like to be a real, full time, from the beginning of the year, nobody else to blame, teacher. Holy heck.
I love what I do, I really do....but it is not a small feat to teach thirty pre-pubescant-just-barely kids all day. They would all much rather be home playing video games, running around like animals, eating Cheetos, or sleeping. I have to constantly change my 'dog-and-pony" dance to keep their attention. We did a ton of testing over the last two weeks and everyone's brains were fried by the end of the week.
There were many high lights, but the one I will share happened today. I had invited a friend from the community that is running for City Council. Should I mention him here as an endorsement? Okay, I will. It was Trevor Hansen from Mesa. I kinda knew him because I kinda knew his wife a while ago when I kinda knew her mom at church. So, yeah, we are reeeeal close. We're talking, Facebook close.
I messaged Trevor on Facebook and asked if he would come speak to the kids about being a leader in the community, the importance of making a difference, how to give a speech, and how to write a speech. My admin gave him two five minute slots and a half hour Q&A with the fifth grade. I really had no idea what to expect, but figured it made me look good to have community involvement. yay me!
He was basically amazing. He talked to the kids like he was one of them, bloody toes, gross stuff, acting tough, anti-bully stories....the works. The kids ate it up and didn't want him to leave. The clencher was when he showed them a picture of his toe which he almost cut off.
Trevor wasn't there to get votes or tell kids about issues or even to sway any parents lurking in the background. In fact, he was speaking to an audience that lived outside the city he was running to help lead. He came and talked to them because he really is a great guy that really does care. He gave them examples of how to be a leader and a good follower. At one point, I got chills. It was exactly what we wanted...and we didn't even know it.
My kids came back to the room fired up and ready to run for mayor of our city at our JABiztown field trip. I had about three wanting to run before he came, now I have fifteen. I'd say he did his job well. For free.
I'm not here to promote anyone or be all political or anything, but this is a guy that is a real guy that really cares and....I just may vote. Cause I said so.

Photo credit:

Aug 14, 2014

My Anniversary of Freedom

By Susan Knight
Celebrating today my Fourth Anniversary of Freedom.
On this date in 2010, I woke up—homeless.
I slept in a nice, warm bed in the in-law suite of my best friend, but I realized, on awakening, I was homeless.
The day before, on what was, ironically, my 33rd wedding anniversary, I left my husband, my home, my community, my ward family, my siblings, nieces and nephews. I left a job I loved, the reputation I had built for over twenty years in my community, and began my journey to freedom.
It wasn’t easy.
But if I did it, anybody can.
Below is my blog URL. I hope the writing there will convey to other women who are going through, or have lived through, a "Triple A" divorce--abuse, adultery, addiction (pornography)--that courage doesn't mean you're not afraid.
If you know someone, you might want to steer them to my blog:
And, on my blog is a link to the first three chapters of my divorce memoir, for which I just won a third place award in a chapter contest from the League of Utah Writers, Oquirrh Writers Chapter:
Please be aware, there is "bold" content on the subject.

It is taking courage for me to post about it here. But I feel led by the Spirit that I must do this. I realize I can't keep my story a secret. I sure needed to read about someone's experiences, and, at the time I was going through it, I couldn't find anything that was . . . bold. I don't mince words on my blog. I tell the real story in my memoir. It's not for the faint hearted. It's for those who want some answers to "how could this happen to me?" "did I cause this?" "what should I do next?"

Aug 13, 2014


by Andilyn Jenkins

In one of my creative writing courses, we discussed breaking through writer's block, and this activity has proved helpful to me, so I thought I would share. Write a scene from three varying perspectives: far away, medium, and close. This scene is a reoccurring one from my own childhood and one I cherish. I can still feel her wet fur on my lips. Ginger was my dog and a great friend. It's no exaggeration to say I miss her every day. So, enjoy.


Blue blobs wink in the sunlight next to each house. Eight-foot cinderblock walls separate each property from the next. Cars are parked in driveways but none on streets because of the HOA. Some backyards have green grass—others brown. Most have no grass at all. Every house has orange trees with white-painted trunks.

A white car is parked out front on the grey concrete driveway. A hazy pool of water glimmers at the end of the black asphalt street, but upon approaching, it retreats. Two orange trees stand out back, with two wooden swings between them. On the side of the house, next to old bicycles, a lawn-mower, and the black, blue, and green garbage cans is a yellow playhouse with a purple door. On the opposite side of the yard lies the pool, surrounded by an iron fence. A Yellow Labrador runs across the dead grass, pounces, and runs back. The dog runs again, but stops at the pool fence and barks.

A 14 year old girl stands on the back porch, playing with her dog, Ginger. The girl scoops up the sun-bleached, saturated tennis ball and chucks it across the backyard. It bounces off the cinderblock wall with a splat, leaving a slobbery stain in its place. The wall drinks up the saliva, leaving scorched blocks behind. Ginger chases the ball, catches it in her teeth and runs back, dropping the ball with a slobbery grin. Ginger’s tail wags and she hops up and down, waiting for the girl to throw the ball again. The girl picks up the ball and chucks it, but it soars over the pool fence and hits the water with a plop. Ginger runs after the ball, sees it in the water, saliva bubbles oozing from around it, and barks and jumps and whines. The girl walks over to the pool gate, Ginger at her heels. Ginger noses her way past the girl’s leg and belly-flops into the pool—splash—doggy-paddling her way to the ball. Ginger clutches the ball in her mouth, gallops out of the pool and shakes—beginning innocently with her head and ending violently with her tail. The girl’s shorts, shirt, and face drip with chlorinated water. Ginger runs over to the girl, drops the ball, hops, and runs again. The girl laughs and bends on one knee, welcoming the wet, smelly dog back. Ginger drops the ball, and the girl hugs Ginger around the neck, planting a dry kiss on the top of her wet head.

Aug 12, 2014

Robin Williams

by Terri Wagner

Sometimes an event takes you so by shock you find yourself stopping for a moment and remembering. I am in the Mork and Mindy age group. I loved the first season, lost interest around the second. But Mr. Williams went on much funnier and seriouser (ok not really a word), and I followed.

Not every movie, certainly not his stand up which usually was profanity laced. But I liked him. He was a successful, funny person.

Yes, I knew about the drugs, the alcohol, and the depression, but somehow you just never really expect death to come that way. I think about those I love who struggle with this disease. I remember how I went through a sort of depression when I lost my job, and struggled so long it seemed to find another.

Mostly I just remember that laughter is good for you, and Mr. Williams had it in bucketfuls.

I hope someday I can meet him on the other side and thank him for the laughs...especially the ones that came when I needed it the most.

Probably my very favorite Robin Williams and enjoy

Aug 9, 2014

Sally and Her Hip Replacement, Episode 4

"Ohhhh, I's in a lot of pain." Sally groans as I enter her small apartment. She tells me her physical therapist hasn't worked her hard enough. She's not got the strength in her legs she needs to have. 

I sit on the seat of the walker next to her bed and listen.

"I cain't get no mo' pain pills until the first of the month," she says.
"Did you ask the doctor?" I say.
She shakes her head. "He won't do it."
She's a recovering drug addict who did time for her problem. I can see the doctor's point.

She abruptly changes the subject. "I needs some sausage."
"I can take you to the store," I say, "but I can't buy you any more groceries. You have to use your food stamps."
"Alright," she sighs and moans.

She puts $300.00 a month in the bank because she's saving for a car to get to church. She takes whatever she can from others so she doesn't have to spend her own money.

We drive to the store. She wants to ride in a motorized wheel chair when we get there. She laughs and wheels down the aisles at break-neck speed.

After we check out, she heads her vehicle toward the car. She looks at me with a cute little twinkle in her eye. "Now you have to drive this back into the store." She laughs. 

Too late, I know this was a set-up. I've never driven one of these carts before, and I don't want to now, but I have no choice. She climbs out and I climb in. I press the handle and move out.
She laughs. "Drive careful, Miss Christy."
I shake my head. I am so gullible.

We drive toward home, and she tells me she needs to go down town.
"What for?" I ask.
"Because my friend is giving me some drugs."
I quiz her and the whole story comes out. She called a friend yesterday, and he went to his VA doctor and got some pain meds for her. She wants me to take her to pick them up.

So, not only was driving the cart a set up, but coming to the store was a ploy to get me to take her for drugs.
"That's illegal," I say. "I can't become your drug runner."
At this she bursts out laughing. "Miss Christy, the drug runner." She laughs and laughs. "Wait till I tell my sister." (Ms. Truck driver she means.)
I can't run drugs! Goodness!

We go to Taco Bell instead. (She's in a different dress because we've done Taco Bell a couple of times.)

So Sally struggles along—cleverly manipulating others. She's working to become independent, working to recover her strength, working to gain a testimony and find joy in her existence.

Have I made a difference in her life? I don't know about that, but she's made a difference in mine. My capacity to love others has increased. With all her faults, I do find her adorable, and she feels the same about me.

Two people who are so very different, yet so very much the same, find joy in being together. Isn't that what the gospel and life are all about?

Aug 8, 2014

Stand Against Plagiarism!

by Marsha Ward
A fellow author's life has been turned topsy-turvy this week. She was contacted by a total stranger, a book review blogger, who told her that her Christian novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder), had possibly been plagiarized.

The author is Rachel Ann Nunes. Get her account of the bizarre events here.

When is it okay to copy/paste an author's work, change the point of view to First Person, add a lot of smut, send out tons of ARCs to get glowing reviews, and schedule the book to be published? Actually, I must qualify that to say "published in the US," because the fraudulent work was already for sale in the UK (See Rachel's blog post for evidence).

I answer: NEVER!

This is never okay.

Adapting an idea or a story from Shakespeare or Jane Austen to give it a contemporary update or to add a twist aka the mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith, is totally different.

Stealing an author's work is criminal behavior. We must take a stand against such corruption. Author Danyelle Ferguson has posted avatars/buttons in her photo album "Awareness" that you may use on your Facebook profile and elsewhere. Many Facebook inhabitants and bloggers are spreading the word about this theft of intellectual property. I urge you to help in quashing malevolent tendencies and/or outright ignorance by sharing your opinions about plagiarism on your blogs, Facebook, or whatever social media you employ.

Thank you!

Aug 7, 2014

Hearts of My Fathers

by Kari Diane Pike

I wish the rocks and shoals of North Scituate Beach could speak. What tales they could tell of sailing ships and fishing vessels, military attacks and lovers strolling in the moonlight! Not far off the shore, a rocky ledge lies beneath the fickle waters of the Atlantic and holds even more secrets. Today, Collamore Ledge is a scenic spot for sport fishing, but the day my story begins, it was a death trap. A poetic narrative by Charles Otis Ellms (1831 – 1913) describes the event:
Off North Scituate Beach lies a ledge, where at time the breakers lash with dismal roar, leaving the sea white with foaming crests, as the nearby watch tower casts it's warning light. Then at times the water seems petrified like polished blue marble, tempting one to walk on its treacherous surface, as the billows softly roll with no hostile aspect towards a friendly shore. On the 16th day of December, 1693, Captain Anthony Collamore, with five persons, sailed from Scituate Harbor in a sloop laden with wood for Boston, and was cast away and all lost on this ledge, which has borne the name of Collamore ever since.  
Captain Anthony Collamer’s lumber-laden ship had barely taken off for Boston when a fierce snowstorm caught them by surprise. While blowing snow and sleet most likely decreased visibility and hid the jagged rocks below, and forceful gales made steering the ship difficult at best, what caused the ship to actually sink will forever be a matter of speculation. There were no survivors. Searchers recovered Captain Anthony’s body several days after his ship sank and his family buried him under arms in the First Parish Cemetery at Scituate Harbor.

So ended the life of my first direct line Collamore ancestor on the North American continent. A ship pilot by trade, Captain Anthony Collamore  was the nephew of Peter Collamore, the first Collamore to come to North America, sometime before 1639 . According to tradition, the “Collamore” ancestors first lived in the north of France and crossed over into England from Normandy, with William the Conqueror, in about 1066 A.D.

Writing this story sparked a burning desire to record life histories for my parents and my one living grandmother while they are still here to share their perspective in their own words. What a joy it is to capture their voices describing their childhood, their triumphs, their trials and their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The process has humbled me and strengthened my own testimony.

When asked what accomplishments he was most proud of, Dad Collamer said,

"My research."

As he said this, he pointed at a huge sheet of tag board covered with hundreds of family names in a pedigree chart and shelves of binders with even more names and documentation. And that doesn't count the dozens of friends and family members he has helped seek out their heritage. He even helped one of my friends find his birth parents when their family needed access to important medical histories.

At Dad Newcomb's 75th birthday party, one of my daughters asked him if he had accomplished the things in this life that he wanted to and if so, what would those things be. Daddy said,

"Well, I know I accomplished some things I never dreamed of - like seeing 23 great-grandchildren. I do have one item on my bucket list. I want to live to see all of my grandchildren get married - especially in the temple. I would love to live long enough to see another generation - and have your Grandma Ellen witness the birth of a sixth generation. It's totally possible."

Neither of my fathers spoke about the degrees they earned or championships they won or their business successes. They spoke about family - both past, present and future. They spoke of  Christ and their testimony of His Atonement. They showed me who I am, where I come from, and what it means when I read:
An he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. (Doctrine and Covenants 2:2 - see also Malachi 4:6; Doctrine and Covenants 98:16; 27:9 and 3Nephi 25:6)
 Do you know who you are? Do you know where you came from? Where is your heart? Take some time and visit or even

I know you're curious. I dare you not to get hooked!

Aug 6, 2014

According to the Book of Heidi

Recently my blog posts have been spotty at best. And I have loads of excuses, the chief of them being that my children have been out of school for the summer and I rarely get work done when they are home watching and listening to and playing things. I'm also a Relief Society president and work for the Boy Scouts. And I've been trying to get one of my books published while simultaneously writing on several of my other books and editing a couple of other people's books. I also do reviews for the local church book store. So that and wasting time on the Internet means I don't write much.

Picture of other golden plates.
But today, as I got out my scriptures to read, it occurred to me that we have it so easy. So in the interest of less whining, for the rest of this blog I shall pretend to write in the manner of prophets of old. (Though I am no prophet and these are not inspired scriptures.)

1. Therefore I, Heidi, did endeavor to keep a record of my people. 2. Having not the papyrus of the Egyptians nor the ink on which to inscribe, I did travel for three days into the mountains round about the desert and mine ore therefrom and did lug it homeward on the back of a donkey.
3. And it came to pass that I did molten out the ore and formed molds from which I might fashion rings and pages of gold. I endeavored to make the pages flat and uniform and not ragged on the edges that they might catch and cut. I did punch the holes for the rings that the malleable pages might be kept together in one book and in good order.
4. And I did shine the pages and render them smooth that I might write upon them with a stylus.
5. And I did write much that is worthy unto my children and husband and friends and family and far-away passing acquaintances.
6. And I did hope exceedingly that my family and passing acquaintances might read of my words and gain a more firm understanding of life and of silliness and fiction and ultimately of our God.
7. And because of the great amount of verbiage, I did make my way again unto the mountains to mine more ore therefrom. And once more did I devise pages of gold. And I did repair those pages which had been torn or broken.
Same here.
8. And I did employ a servant to carry the book about from town to town in order to show it unto the people that they might learn of it in great numbers.
9. It came to pass that upon waking from my vision, I did appreciate the ease with which my life has proceeded unto this point. And I did rejoice exceedingly that I needs not indeed molten ore from the mountains.
10. And it came to pass that I did thank my Heavenly Father for devices which fling my words into the air for my family and friends and passing acquaintances to read. I did thank Him for those devices which dispense knowledge unto me at an amazingly speedy rate, and that I might pluck a likeness from the air and apply it unto my finished page.
11. And I did recognize that it was good.
12. And also I did know for what reason the scribes had in times past kept their verbiage to a minimum. For I was exhausted merely from the vision thereof.
(This is not meant in any way to be sacrilegious.)