Thursday, July 30, 2015

This Too Shall Pass

by Susan Allred

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Felt Impressed to Stay

by Terri Wagner

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Motivation through quotes

by Cassie Shiels

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Embracing Change

by Kari Diane Pike

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

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

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

My children had the nerve to leave home.

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

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

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

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

hugs~



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Annual Payson Book Festival

by Marsha Ward

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

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

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

Here’s a map of the layout:


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

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

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Power of Words

NOTE:  Sorry this one is late!  I was out of town for a family reunion and realized too late that I hadn't scheduled my Thursday blog
.  Instead, you get it on Sunday! I hope everyone had a wonderful week!


Every night I climb onto my treadmill and go for a walk. Rain or shine, winter or summer, it doesn't matter. I go for a walk. My treadmill isn't situated in front of the window where I can watch the comings and goings around me. It isn't in front of the television, and I get motion sickness if I read a book or magazine. It's facing a wall. And before that, half of the treadmill was underneath the stairs, with just a single barren light bulb to illuminate the dingy space as I walked.

How then, did I find the motivation to get on that mechanical hamster wheel night after night, month after month for up to an hour at a time? Words. All around me are thousands of motivational quotes from a vast array of individuals. You'll find Socrates, Thomas S. Monson, Rocky Balboa, James Bischoff, Jillian Michaels, Confucious, Dahli Llama, Mahamed Ali, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, and just about everything in between.

The other day, as drip was dripping down my face, and I was reading one of my favorite quotes, I considered the power of the written word and how it affects nearly every individual in the world. Words can uplift, or annihilate one's spirit. They can motivate or depress; They can bring a person to action, or cause a person to shrink in fear. Words are eternal.

We find them in scrolls, etched into caves, written in hundreds or thousands of different languages and dialects. Words enable us to express the deepest desires of our hearts and our brains.

Oh what power we as writers have by choosing to use words as our means of communication. What potential we have to affect those who choose to read our words. You and I, each of us writers, have the power to change the life of one person, or millions by the words that we write.

We have the power to change another's mindset, to entertain, to enlighten, or to help others escape this reality into another, carefully crafted reality filled with characters and worlds that we have created.

We have the potential to be the next Shakespeare – offering up words that will live long after we have returned to our maker.


Oh, the power of words. Oh what power you, as a writer, have. What will you do with that power – the talent that your Father in Heaven has entrusted to you?   

Saturday, July 18, 2015

ANWA Retreat, Facts Only -- No Fluff, Really!

By Cindy R. Williams

No hype, no fuss, no exaggeration, nothing but the facts. ANWA Retreats are one of the Heavenly events available to us here in this busy and often troubled world.

I recently attending my 10th ANWA Retreat. Each one is unique. Each one is supurb.

Facts:

  • Un-interrupted writing time.
  • There is chocolate.
  • Surrounded by other writers.
  • Writers all around you mean you are accepted by all, not considered weird like in the general world of non-writers.
  • These writers share your same standards.
  • There is lovely chocolate.
  • Catching up time with old friends.
  • Meeting new friends.
  • Plenty of delicious chocolate.
  • You may take a nap without putting anyone out.
  • Giggles
  • Much writing accomplished.
  • Goals reached.
  • Enough chocolate to fill your wildest dreams.
ANWA Retreats . . . maybe we should consider calling them "Time Out For Chocolate!"




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Research Power

by Terri Wagner

I was asked to help edit a book in a genre I am very unfamiliar with....horror. Thank goodness it is not paranormal, I scare myself with stories about ghosts. This is a twisted horror story that has the best and worst of mankind pitted against each other. And unlike fantasy, which is my personal preference, it ends more real than it begins if that makes sense. This is not your typical Stephen King novel, more like Criminal Minds. I make it a habit of not watching any show that's too real. The tragedy of true life is more than I can handle, I don't want to read about it. But I was asked to edit, and so I am doing it.

The first chapter focuses on what becomes the bad guy. Getting into the head of a psycho killer is not something I would take lightly. I am actually struggling with the fact that first chapter isn't scary enough. The third chapter he morphs into a truly horrifying enigma. So I am trying to steer the author into a direction where either chapter 2 becomes 1 or the killer's sickness is unveiled earlier.

However, the author doesn't quite trust me (imagine that?) and asked for a beta reader. Recently, the author asked me to check over the beta reader's comments. The first one off the bat made me laugh and blush a bit because I did not catch it. But then why would I? I know nothing about drugs.

The beta reader noted that if a person's teeth were that damaged by meth use, they would not be thinking that clearly. They would be more like an animal. The reasoning power of the person would be gone. Only the basic survival instinct to live and get more of the drug would be left. I don't know if that's true, but I do know this first chapter needs to place the killer firmly in the mind of the reader. So how do you research all that?

I watched about a month of the show Intervention only to conclude the intervention is for the family to basically draw a line in the sand. Rarely does the drug rehab "cure" the abuser, but it does give the family that one last chance to save their loved one, and then get back to some semblance of normalcy. It's a hard hard road for everyone involved.

Bottom line: both the author and editor (me) should have caught that. I should have researched the details. You really do live and die by the details. Never underestimate the power of research...or the need for it.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Don't bury your talent, choose to fight your dragon

Hello all! My name is Cassie Shiels and I am the new blogger on every other Saturday! I am very excited about this opportunity and challenge.  :D

                                                               *            *           *         *

     Many of us know the parable of the talents. The one who got the five talents doubled his talents. The one who got two talents gained two more. But the one who only got one talent buried it.
     I have been blessed with different talents in my life. Some have been easier to work on then others. Some I work harder at growing then others. But I am sure we are all the same in that area.
     One of the talents I feel like I have been given is writing. I would never claim to be a great master, but I am trying to grow my writing talents, because I love it. I love to create stories.
     I do have a big weakness in the area of writing, that might be very obvious to some reading this post. Grammar! I struggle with it and a few years ago I let it get the better of me.
     I gave up writing! (I will wait for the screams of horror to subside)
     I decided that I couldn't do it, not with my weakness. So I decided to "bury" my writing talent away. I kept telling myself that, "there is a time and a season."At that time I was a young mom with two small babies only 17 months apart and to be honest I was scared to fight my dragon of weakness. I made the decision to put away my writing until later, when my kids were older perhaps. Maybe I would pick it up again, maybe not.
     Part of this decision was influenced by me sending my finished manuscript to a friend, who had agreed to do a grammar edit. When I got her email back, I couldn't bring myself to open the edits. I flat out gave up. I said, "I can't do it, my weakness is to great!" I was like a scared little knight who took one look at a huge red flaming dragon and, and said, "no, it's too big!" So I turned tail and ran.
     I did do good things during my almost 2 years as a non-writer. I did grow some other talents that I didn't know I even had. I know I claimed that I had given up, but the stories would not leave me alone. I was still creating stories in my head, even if I didn't write any of them down. Making stories was just a part of me.
     Finally almost two years after I gave up, a spark of bravery ignited in my heart. My younger brother started talking about his writing dreams and I felt his excitement, and I wanted that too. Things started to look different to me. When watching my favorite T.V. shows instead of just enjoying them, my heart started to hurt, as I realized I was watching other story tellers' dreams come true. That thought made it harder to enjoy my T.V. shows. But I was still scared, I had a huge dragon waiting for me and I didn't know if I was really willing to fight it.
     My husband started encouraging me to write a non-fiction book for my childbirth classes, and that was less scary so I started with that. It was going to be mostly pictures. I was brave enough to write a little book like that, so I took a deep breath and plunged in.
     Occasionally I thought about that finished manuscript with the grammar edit just waiting for me but I let the fear convince me out of facing it. Finally another one of my brothers challenged me to just open the email, and he set a deadline for me to do so. So one night when I was feeling particularly brave. I donned my armor, sword, and shield and I opened the email and faced my dragon. You know what it wasn't as bad as I thought.
     I dug up my talent and got excited about my writing again. I did find that I had lost a lot of momentum and skills, but not all was lost. I worked through that edit, and a few edits after that and I am now a published author.
     I gave up for a while. If you find yourself giving up at some point too, it's okay. It happens. But know that just because you say you can't do it today, doesn't mean you can't do it tomorrow. If you find yourself burying something you love just because its hard, I challenge you to dig it up. Give it another try.
     There might be a time and a season for some things, but for other things we just need to find a way to make it work in our life. Not letting it take over, mind you, but joining in. And if you have a dragon to fight like me, just know that I am still fighting it. My grammar weakness will not go away overnight. I am fighting it everyday, but now at least, I am not running away.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Power of Words

by Kari Diane Pike

Last Sunday, my sister-in-law made a quick comment in a lesson she taught in Relief Society that took my breath away.

"Never underestimate the power of words. God said, "Let there be light" and there was light. The world was created by the power of the Word.

That small bit of her wonderful lesson has been swirling around in my brain ever since. How often did I hear that childhood rhyme, "Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? When I was growing up, that was the go-to retort when someone called me names or spoke hurtful words. But those words did hurt--a lot-- and left emotional scars far deeper than any proverbial stick or stone could inflict.

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi wrote that his purpose for keeping his record was to "persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham and be saved" (1 Nephi 6 - chapter heading). He commanded his descendants to write nothing on the plates "which are not of worth unto the children of men" (1 Nephi 6:6). Alma taught that the word of God "had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them--" (Alma 31: 5). Pres. Boyd K. Packer explained "The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior" (Ensign, Nov. 1986).

What have I written that might of worth to future generations? What have I written or said that has wounded a tender heart? When I make comments on social media do I stop to think about how the things I write might affect another person? Or do I post status updates the way I drive on the freeway, all too often seeing only the cars cutting me off or speeding carelessly, and forgetting there is a real person, living a real life, behind the wheel? I heard at a seminar last year that by the end of one week, something posted on Facebook will have been seen by more than 150,000 people. And that's if it doesn't go viral. I want the words I say and write to uplift, enable and enlighten those who hear and read them.

Something else that has been on my mind the past few weeks has to do with my actions. More than at any other time in my life, I have witnessed that if you truly want to learn to love another person, do something for them. The more inconvenient for you, the better. Sometimes, that service may be nothing more than saying a kind word along with a smile and a hug. Other times, the kindness can be found in the words not allowed to roll off the tongue or onto a page.

Words are powerful. Never underestimate the power of words - both said and unsaid. What are you going to create with the words you use?

hugs~

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hold On!

by Marsha Ward

Life has been topsy-turvy for me lately: my younger brother's heart attack, two-week + coma, and death; two trips in two weeks during that time, including a physical trip and fall; an out-of-control government on all sides; weather on the rampage; the unkindness of our fellow human beings; my writing time taking a beating.

Sometimes it feels like I've come to the end of my rope. At those times, I've learned that it's best to tie a knot in the rope and Hold On!

A beloved LDS composer and singer, Michael McLean, wrote a song about how one feels at such times, and gives encouragement that has uplifted me many times before this. I'd like to share it with you.

HOLD ON, THE LIGHT WILL COME

Words and Music by Michael McLean

The message of this moment is so clear;
And as certain as the rising of the sun.
If your world is filled with darkness, doubt, and fear,
Just hold on, Hold on, the light will come.

Ev'ryone who's ever tried and failed
Stands much taller when the victory's won.
And those who've been in darkness for a while
Kneel much longer when the light has come.

It's a message ev'ry one of us must learn;
That the answers never come without a fight.
And when it seems you've struggled far too long,
Just hold on, hold on, there will be light.

Hold on. Hold on. The light will come.

If you feel trapped inside a never-ending night.
If you've forgotten how it feels to feel the light,
If you're half crazy thinking you're the only one
Who's afraid the light will never really come

Just hold on. Hold on! The light will come.

The message of this moment is so clear;
And as certain as the rising of the sun.
If your world is filled with darkness doubt and fear.
Just hold on, hold on, the light will come.

(Here's a video with the music:)


Hold On!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy July 4th!

by Cindy R. Williams

Happy Birthday to the United States of America. I cry as I write this. I love my country. It is hard to see such selfish, willful, and often misguided minds controlling this great land. I pray that the Lord will not forget us. I pray that we will be willing to rise up and be counted on the Lord's side. No more going with the flow, because the flow is going the wrong direction.

So many men and women have sacrificed their lives for us and our freedoms. We are now losing so many of those freedoms at the hands of our own citizens as they push extremes and begin to infringe on our religious freedoms.

I want to share a story, or at last part of the story of why I will stand firm and fight if necessary for my religious freedoms.

Once upon a time there was a gregarious young man who grew up on a ranch/farm. He loved everyone he met. At 19, he was called to serve a mission to Helsinki, Finland. While in the Missionary Center in SLC, he was drafted by the United States of America to serve in the Korean War. Soon he found himself in another country, on the front lines, guarding a General's life instead of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This new assignment meant he often slept under the General's cot. Several times he woke up needing to protect the General from the enemy creeping into the tent, He was trained to use his hands and body as a killing machine and learned to do his job well. This was a great sacrifice for him personally, but he knew what he was called to do was protecting his great country.

One day, while out running the hills for exercise, he and 12 other soldiers were captured by the enemy. They were shoved into dirt floor huts with guards placed at the door. Days later, thirsty and almost starved to death, they planned a night time escape. When the enemy settled in for the night with their usual drinking, they waited until their guards started snoring and crept out. They were recaptured not too far from camp by another group.

Each American soldier was stabbed by baynettes through the knee caps and hands, then tossed back onto the dirt floor in their hut. The guards celebrated their recapture with more drink. This young farming man crawled to each of the other 12, helping to bind their woulds and encourage them to try again while all were now sufficiently drunk. They all were in great pain and it seemed their spirits were broken. None could, or would, make another try for freedom that night.

The young man went on his own, using his elbows to crawl and drag his useless legs. He continued for several days, drinking dew, eating roots, passing out. Finally he saw a convoy truck and with his last energy, pulled himself into the back and blacked out. He woke up in an American Military Hospital. He told his story. The company went back to the site where the others were being held. Fighting, and arrests were made. None of the other American soldiers survived.

This young man lived the rest of his life sorrowing over his 12 friends, and wondering if he could have somehow saved them. He went on to build a good live with a wife and three children. He became a teacher and coach in hopes to help build others. He loved his country and never, ever regretted serving in the military.

This man was my father.

I am one of the lucky ones. So many have died for us. How can we not show them our love and appreciation by protecting our country.

I will stand up, even though it is not "politically correct" for God's words and fight on the Lords side.
I will make my fathers proud, both earthly and Heavenly.

Happy Birthday, United States of American, my country!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why I Joined ANWA - Comments From a Newbie

For those of you who don't know me, which should be nearly everyone, let me introduce myself. My name is Susan Allred and I am a writer. I am also your new Thursday blogger alternating with Kari Pike for the next six months.

 At least that's what I keep telling myself. :) I am brand new to this whole writing thing. I began writing a couple of years ago when my little sister, an English teacher at Washington State University, called and informed me that there was this thing called NaNoWriMo and a National Novel Writing Month. I was already five pages into a story about my oldest daughter, so I figured, 'why not?'

On the first day, Patty had written 56 words, and I had 1200 words from the story I'd already started. By day two, I'd penned 2000 words, and Patty had 56 words. By day three, I had 2300 words. Patty had...56. She e-mailed me and said she was quitting, but best of luck with my book. By then, I was enmeshed in my story and there was no going back. I finished my 10,000 words by the end of the month, and that was just the beginning. Since then, my single story has turned into a seven-book series, of which I have completed my first editing group on my first book, in the process of editing my second, and writing my third book.

 After the first book was in it's fourth draft, my dear friend Kathryn Rosenbaum found out I was a writer and asked to read the manuscript. Then, she invited me to the Seattle area ANWA retreat in October. I agreed, since I didn't know another living soul who had written a book and Kathryn was willing to take me under her wing.

I followed that poor woman around like a lost puppy dog the entire weekend, met some amazing women, gathered invaluable information from the workshops and speakers, and came home enriched, enlightened, and excited to pursue writing my series. Whether I publish or not, doesn't matter to me. When all is said and done, I will have written a book with each of my children as a main character that they can keep and show to their own children when they get older.

Since that fateful weekend when I was introduced to ANWA, Kathryn and I have begun to form our own chapter in the Spokane, Washington area, and I am now blogging on the ANWA Founder and Friends Blog. What a difference a year makes. And thank you, to all of you – some that I've met already, and others that I hope to meet in the near future - for being such an amazing group of women. This experience has been one of support, encouragement, and sharing every step of the way. It truly is a sisterhood in it's finest form. I look forward to getting to know each of you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summers Can Be Weird

by Terri Wagner

I'm late, I'm late and it's 7 am CST. How can I already be late? Because the last time I was supposed to post I was sitting in Foley High School unable to access the Internet working with the Educational Technology group. I got a text message to call my sister immediately, my mother's boarder had passed away. Everything including posting went out of my head. I raced up to my mom's which is about 3 hours away, and tried to help her through all of this. It was unfortunately a very dramatic way to go. After being very restless and agitated (I had spoken with mom about 10 pm Sunday night), he awoke suddenly around 1 am. Sat up in bed, roused my mom who was snoozing in a chair, stood up, fell over and banged his head on the oxygen tank. He's bleeding copiously, she's calling 911, he calls out to her. She runs back in and is trying to control the bleeding. He grabs at his chest and slumps over. The paramedics work on him for about an hour before announcing time of death. Because he was at home, because there was an injury, the cops have to come and question my mother.

She had to arrange all of the funeral because his family has been and remains either cleverly helpless or truly helpless. It was funny, a sorta of Mormon funeral in a Methodist church. We got through all that. Packed mom up and made her come back with us for a week. It was tough because my mom is at best difficult. And this was not easy or fun. Halfway through I was becoming exasperated when the Spirit whispered, "You are here to serve." I chuckled and reminded myself of that daily as I struggled to help my mom.

Yesterday when I was supposed to post, I was at Gulf Shores High doing more ET work. When I am with them, there is a lot of tech talk, I need to listen too. And at noon I get another text from my sister telling me I'd better plan to go back to mom's over the Fourth weekend. She is melting down again. I had plans!!!! But then remembered, I am here to serve. So back I go. That's why I didn't post June 16 and am late for June 30. Let's hope things calm down by July.