Friday, August 21, 2015

Letter to My Children

Did I tell you the importance of teaching your own the vital things of life? Of making sure you pass on to the next generation all the good you have discovered - all the good you have learned? And teaching them what to avoid so they won't be hurt as you have been.

Did I tell you to laugh, to dance, to sing? There is a lot in life that is hard, but take it as it comes and find the good....then make time to sing, to read, to pray.

Did I tell you to be creative - to explore the seed within you? Find your creative spirit and let it grow!

And did I tell you the joy and challenge of being a woman? The joy of having a child...knowing and sharing a new life. The joy of making a home...the center but not the limit for the lives of those you love. The joy of exploring a third dimension....a world of your own, discovering and fulfilling your own capabilities.

Did I tell you these things as we went along the way? If I did, I am humbly grateful. If I did not, it is never too late to learn them - to choose for yourself to integrate them into your life.

Did I tell you to search for truth and good? When you find it, and it has meaning, accept it and make it your own. If it does not, discard it. Your life is yours to build as you choose.

And did I tell you? I hope it will be a good life. Mine has been.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Falling To the End of Summer


There is a definite zing in the air in this mountain valley--letting us know that summer is on the decline, and fall is just around the corner. Temperatures have dropped into the mid to upper 30's at night, causing those of us who braved planting a garden a bit of stress. Such is life in our neck of the woods. ;)

The huckleberries came on early, and I'm hearing that the chokecherries are not far behind. These are signs that the frantic pace of the past three months will soon be replaced by the equally crazy months of autumn. Some of us will be canning various items from our gardens/farmer's markets. Some will be gathering firewood for the cold months ahead. Others will be prepping for hunting season. Still others are trying desperately to cram in a few more summertime activities before school starts again.

To me, this time of year signals a fresh start. I know for most people, the beginning of a new year offers a blank page for life. Others herald spring as a time of rejuvenation, renewal, etc. Myself, I have always considered fall to be a time for a changing perspective. I suppose that tendency started during my grade school years. Each fall as we began a new school year, we prepared by purchasing new shoes, clothes, and school supplies. There was an excitement in the air as the first day of the school year approached. It was a new beginning--a magical time of endless possibilities.

Each fall it seemed like there were intriguing challenges, unique things to learn, and social skills to master. It was a chance to improve upon the year before, and to verify that we were retaining items already learned. (Sometimes.)

I love all of the seasons, but I do possess an especially warm spot in my heart for fall--a time for sweaters, fun fall camping adventures, welcoming fires, and cold noses. (Mostly at night.) Leaves magically turn impressive colors. Life seems to slow down before the holiday rush. Hot chocolate appeals, as well as pumpkin pie spice, and beautiful sunflowers.

This year we will be welcoming our newest member of the family about mid October. That will also make fall a favorite time of year. =) Little Spud Crane will be welcomed into the family with open arms. =D As one of his grandmothers, I can hardly wait.

So, don't be too sad as summer winds down. Though I love the summer months, to my way of thinking, there is always something fun to anticipate as time marches on. I doubt there's anything any of us can do to stop it from pressing on, so make the best of the last of the nice, warm days, and savor the season that is coming.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

THREE LITTLE WORDS


Yay! I have two releases scheduled within the next six months.  My novel By the River is scheduled for November and the compilation of three love stories which will include my novella Rescuing Bailey is set for January. The other two writers who are joining me in this endeavor are Aubrey Mace and K. C. Grant.

Having just read a couple of romance novels, attended two family weddings, celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary, will attend a party for a brother's fiftieth anniversary this weekend, and finished the edit of Rescuing Bailey, I've been thinking about weddings more than usual. Then recently I sat at lunch with a group of friends and the conversation turned to weddings.  No, not more of that wedding stuff. One of my friends remarked, "Something goes wrong at every wedding no matter how hard everyone tries to make it perfect." Her comments brought on a flurry of stories of personal disasters.

One said her mother took over her wedding and wouldn't let her have any invitations to send to her friends. Her mother insisted it was her party and she was paying for it, so she was only going to invite her (the mother's) friends. The bride knew very few of the guests at her reception.

At one wedding the bride's mother wanted to make the wedding cake. She arrived late for the wedding with undecorated cake layers and a big bowl of icing. She said she just hadn't had time to finish it.

When I got married my parents and most of my family didn't make it to the wedding or open house afterward because a blizzard caused the highway patrol to close the road and they couldn't get through. I didn't have a cake because my mother made it and was planning to bring it with them. So my one brother who lived in the same city I did rushed out to buy cookies and lemonade.

At my older sister's wedding, mothers of both the bride and groom sat with a broken leg propped on a chair in front of them.

A large ceramic vase full of flowers was positioned too close to the father of the groom at a recent wedding reception. As he turned to embrace a guest, the vase went flying to shatter all over the area where the reception line had formed.

We followed the snowplow from our house to a brother's wedding in Montana that was four hours late due to the roads being impassable. (My family really should learn to avoid winter weddings.)

We survived the weddings of all five of our children and that of a grandson. Each one was an adventure. Working at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, I see a lot of brides which is fun. I often see and meet their mothers, attendants, and other family and friends. I can truthfully say most bridal parties laugh off the forgotten recommends, missing rings, impatient photographers, squashed bouquets, awkward attempts at humor by well-meaning guests, and ignore some of the more absurd attendants' dresses. Most couples see only each other and the beautiful ceremony.

Someone once said those who focus on the details and mishaps of the wedding will never be as  happy as those who enter into marriage only seeing each other. Those who are unaware or laugh off the mishaps are destined for a much happier marriage than those who bemoan the quirks that "ruined" their marriage. This is as true in novels as in real life; the best romances are those that focus on the relationship instead of on exotic settings, fabulous wardrobes, or detailed graphics. After all it's Three Little Words that really matter and that's to be the title of our compilation.  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Good Advice!

I'm still cleaning out files and came across this Postscript from a Real Simple Rewards magazine from 2006. It was good advice then - still good today:

The best reason to take your time is that this time is the only time you'll ever have. You must take it, or it will be taken from you. It is telling that the phrase "taking your time" is synonymous with slowing down. If we want to live life fully, we do best to slow down. I don't suggest that we turn back the clock, trying to retrieve a bygone era when life was slower. We couldn't, even if we wanted to. But I don't believe we should want to. We should revel in our electronically super charged, unbounded world. But, to make the most out of this new world, to avoid feeling overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, to make modern life become better than life has ever been, a person must learn how to do what matters most first. Otherwise, you will bulldoze over life's best moments. You won't notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane into the extraordinary."  Excerpted from Crazybusy by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.

Discovering what matters most is definitely the key. So here's to taking our time, deciding on priorities, noticing the little charms that make life enjoyable, and savoring those extraordinary moments instead of rushing through them!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

WHEW! WHAT A MONTH!


Several people have asked if I've been having health problems again since it has been three weeks since my last blog. Actually I'm doing fine; life has just been a little crazy. My husband and I decided it was time to do some major work on our kitchen; granite counter tops, new flooring, shutters, back splash, cupboard hardware. It's been exciting and still is; we're not finished yet. It's time consuming too.  I'll post pictures when it's finished.

In the middle of our renovation project I got the edit back for By the River, my next book which is scheduled to be released in November. Even though it didn't require a lot of rewriting, it still took a great deal of time to go through it thoroughly, but I got it turned in. (By the way, I'll be participating in Salt Lake County Library's Local Authors Event on November 7 and I'm hoping By the River will be available by then).

Along with preparing and teaching a Relief Society lesson, attending a grandson's soccer games, a holiday, and all of the usual trivia of life, these two projects have consumed time I might have otherwise spent blogging. And guess what! The edit for the novella I wrote for one of those compilations of three novellas arrived this afternoon!  

My novella edit for Rescuing Bailey is due August 13th and our kitchen project is supposed to be finished around the first of September. August is shaping up to be a lot like July so if my blogs are few and far between for a little while it's not permanent, I'm not sick, and I promise to do better in the fall.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Tale of Three Cats.

This is how I remember these events and my memory may be a little faulty, but we'll go with this version anyway:

When my daughter and her family moved to Las Vegas, the cat belonging to her husband's boss had kittens. He brought one home - the cutest little black and white kitten you ever saw. They named him Dobie. Dobie needed a friend. The kids picked out a cuddly gray one at the animal shelter so everyone was happy, most of all Shadow who now had a loving family and the family had two delightfully playful kittens they adored. They put in a cat door so the kittens could go in and out by themselves.

A neighborhood cat decided he liked the food better at their house than at his own home, so he came daily through the cat door to dine and lounge around with his feline friends. This was an unusual cat - it had six toes on each paw, funny round short ears and short curly hair. They named him Padfoot because of his very large feet. Padfoot's family moved, leaving him behind, and Padfoot was happy to stay with his new friends.

When my daughter took him to the vet to have his shots, the vet was amazed. This was a very unusual and rather rare cat - a Rex. The extra toes, funny ears and curly hair revealed his identity. Thus, the family now had three cats that grew up during the four years they were in Las Vegas. The cats became hunters. They brought all sorts of wonderful presents to their owners like birds that were still alive, mice that were still able to run around the house, and other delightful (shudder!) gifts that made the girls scream and sent the son scrambling to catch and dispose of the creatures that belonged outside, not inside.

The cats went with them to South Dakota. Much different climate. Snow! The cat door had to be adjusted with a tunnel so the snow didn't blow directly into the house when blizzards arrived. The cats didn't like that as much, but loved basking in the sun on the picnic table on the deck. They still delivered dreadful presents when spring and summer came.

Then in two years another move. This time across the country to South Carolina. The cats went along in carriers - but they couldn't be left in hot cars so there was no sightseeing along the way. Just get to their new home so the cats wouldn't suffer. But the nights in the motels were an endless nightmare. No sleep. Cats awake all night. Noisy, jumping on the beds. Not all motels will take animals so they were not able to stay in the nicer ones they preferred. A totally miserable trip for everyone, cats included.

But the worst was yet to come. They stayed in a hotel for 3 weeks while house-hunting and the cats continued their nighttime routine. After three nights of no sleep, a boarding house needed to be found for the felines. $600 for three weeks! Expensive pets.

Fast forward one year. South Carolina was hot, humid, muggy, lots of bugs. Rain nearly every day. The family hated it. The cats hated it. A new job back in California solved that problem, but the cats presented one additional problem - how to transport them from coast to coast and be able to sleep at night, in a decent motel, and still stop and see a few things along the way. They would ship the cats to California via plane. Gramma would meet the plane and keep the cats till the family arrived in California. The cats would be happier. The family would be able to visit the presidential libraries and sleep at night!

They bought two carriers: two of the cats get along very well. They could travel together. Dobie gets along with no one. Dobie got his own carrier. But when they delivered the cats and carriers to the airline to be shipped, the lady at the desk says Dobie's carrier is not big enough. They've already spent a LOT of money on these carriers, so my daughter asks what can they do? "Go to Wal-Mart and buy a dog carrier", she said. "They are only about $75 to $100." Good Grief!

So the cats returned home, throwing up all the way. Good thing they didn't fly. It would not have been pleasant to cross country in the mess in their carriers.

Needless to say, the trip from South Carolina to California was another nightmare - long travel days to get here as quickly as possible, no stopping and leaving the cats in hot cars to sight-see.

I was waiting at their new home (for which we had searched and searched until we found what we thought they'd like, forwarded pictures, and got their approval.) Suddenly the door flew open and three cats bounded into the house before any humans appeared. Release from captivity! Freedom is a wonderful thing, for all species. Now the cats are happy, the family is happy, and we are happy to have our kids closer.

I'm glad we no longer have pets. My husband's favorite saying is: Retirement begins when the last child leaves home and the dog dies. In this case, the cats. My last cat lived 13 years. These are only seven years old. So about the time their youngest daughter leaves home in five or six years.................

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Tiny Taste of Heaven




Last week our entire clan was able to get together for a few days of fun and relaxation. The last time we were able to get everyone together was a little over a year ago. This is due in part to everyone's schedules and current locations. For instance, our youngest son and his wife now live in Pennsylvania while he attends med school, so family gatherings are a rare and precious occasion. After everyone arrived and we had visited, partaken of luscious grilled hamburgers, etc. not to mention spent a bit of time playing favorite games, I felt a deep sense of happy peace. The thought came to mind, "This must be what it will be like in heaven someday, when everyone is all together." I'm not sure why that particular image settled inside my heart, but it did and I've reflected on it since.

To me, the family is the most important unit in existence. The love shared by family members is crucial, and how wonderful it is when negativity, judgement, and criticism are replaced by respect, patience, and devotion. I don't think any family can be perfect in this mortal realm, but I do believe we get a tiny glimpse of heaven when we spend time together in a good and positive way.

It saddens me to see some of the horrible news stories depicting families that are are torn apart by selfish acts of abuse, bitterness, and cruelty. There are days when I can't bring myself to watch the news because of the horrific scenes that are often displayed. 

We do live in a troubled time, but there are a lot of good things taking place as well. Though some families are struggling, there are many more who are pulling together in love, eager to help each other to succeed despite tremendous obstacles. 

I believe that's part of why we're here--and why families are so important. We weren't meant to exist alone. We are social creatures who need each other to survive. When we support and love each other, great things can take place and the world becomes a better place. 

It was sad to see everyone in our clan depart, one by one last week. However, there is an eternal bond between us that makes our time apart bearable. We know these temporary separations are just that, temporary. Someday, we'll be together again--how grateful I am for the knowledge that families are truly meant to be together forever. That belief is the light in the darkness that often seems to prevail during these interesting latter days.