Saturday, June 18, 2011


"God himself chose to be called, simply, Father."
I believe this quote is attributed to Boyd K. Packer.

I just want to say thanks to the dads in my life.

Grandpa Lish (now passed) for his quiet strength, his help in time of crisis, and the shiny quarters whenever we said goodbye.

Grandpa Willford (now passed) for having the most fun place to play with my cousins, giving me farm experience, teaching me about rough characters who have a heart of gold, and for showing me how to sit on a one legged milking stool.

Dad for always caring and loving me, no matter what.

Grandpa Tom (father-in-law now passed) for giving me the opportunity to see and do some things that I never would have been able to do.

Jeff for being my best friend and the person I most like to spend time with. For teaching our boys good values and work ethic. For being a strong leader of our family.

My son Ian, first for just being you, second, for marrying Dani (a wise decision) and third, for being a good dad to Sunny. You're great.

My son Chris for making me laugh, for marrying Ann (a match made in heaven) and for being a good dad to Alicia. I salute you Sergeant!

And to my son Andre who I know will be a good dad someday because he's an awesome teenager. Yes, I said it, he's awesome and a teenager.

I love you all.
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Author Websites

So, I was watching TV this evening, too tired to really think or do much and decided to look at some author websites, just to see what those who have already become professional writers are up to.

I was surprised. I checked out some of the really famous authors - I'm not going to name them, just trust me - they make a living with their little writing hobby! What surprised me was how simple their websites were. Beautiful, and pleasing to look at - really nice photos of the author, etc., but not all that showy or creative. (Ok, I admit it, I'm a visual person and I like interactive stuff.)

The twenty or so adult authors that I checked did what a website is supposed to do - told about the author and their books - they just didn't jump out and grab me.

Dan Brown's is the exception. His site is an adventure - and I liked it.

I decided to go to some YA authors sites, and as expected, they were a little more exciting - I'm sure because of who they are targeting. I have to admit that I've always liked JK Rowling's site because it looks like a messy desk and that's somehow comforting to me?

Kid's authors, for obvious reasons, have a lot of the stuff I like: animation, funny pictures, lots of stuff to explore. These are a few that I liked how they used animation:

Judy Blume                                       Shel Silverstein                                    Roald Dahl

Seth Godin, I think is kind of a marketing, non-fiction guy. What I liked about his site, is that you click on his bald head to read his blog - that's creative.

Then I decided to see how LDS authors stacked up. Of the ten or so I checked out, I found them professional and pleasing. I would rate them a little above the other adult sites I looked at. I don't know, maybe I'm biased.

Here's a couple that I liked, mostly because they made me laugh.

 Sarah Eden's site has a lot going on, which is cool, and the picture in the header is gorrrrgeous. (sorry, a little too much Haley Mills last weekend.) And the bruise on her chin with accompanying story today convinced me that I'm not the only one.

Tristi Pinkston also made me laugh because of the Friday funny 911 cat at the top. There's a ton of stuff on her site that could keep even my mind occupied for a good while.

I'm going to keep looking up sites when I'm at those moments between ideas. I love that when I read a good book, I can immediately go to the web and find out about the person who gave me the story.

 Have a great website? Any suggestions, please pass them along.

Before I close, here's one more site I stumbled on in my search. It spoke to me, and unfortunately probably reveals more about me than I want people to know.

a funny site

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Favorite Things

I watched Oprah yesterday - something I haven't done for years - and even though it was a rerun, I enjoyed it. The cast from The Sound of Music was reunited for the first time since the movie was made 45 years ago. It was a nice memory lane visit and was fun to see how the experience had affected each of them - especially the kids.

It made me think about some of my favorite things and two of them have surrounded me the last few weeks.

This has been a record year for lilacs. I think it's the combination of lots of rain and the cooler weather and the results have been amazing. Everywhere I drive around town, the bushes are loaded down with lilacs. Mostly the light purple ones, but some very dark ones, some reddish purple, and even a few white ones, but the light purple ones are my favorite. I've had a bouquet in my living room for the last few weeks and love catching the smell of them as I pass by. Lilacs - my favorite flower.

This is the time of year in Wyoming that we can hear meadowlarks singing. I'm lucky enough to live just out of town, and have lots of trees on my land. That means lots of birds - everything from tiny yellow finches to mountain bluebirds and it's fun to see all of them. But my favorite is the meadowlark. I remember studying about them in fourth grade when we were required to take Wyoming history. The meadowlark is our state bird, but I'd love these birds, even if they weren't.

They are unmistakable when you see them from the front because they have a bright yellow belly and a black V at their neck that looks like a collar. But their real value is their song. I love getting up early, opening the windows and listening for the clear, pure song. Many times they will sound very close, but it's because their song carries so well. If you stand still and listen, you can usually pinpoint where the bird is and he will be farther away than he sounds. See a picture and listen to the song here.

Yes, I like raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, maybe not as much, but I do love lilacs and meadowlarks. They are a part of the best of Wyoming. And I love living in Wyoming!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something Worth Saying

Tonight I'm pasting in a quote from an article published today in Meridian Magazine
The author is Larry Barkdull and the article is Some Observations on Art and Writing.

He talks about our innate talent - that spark of genius that each of us has and the responsibility we have to develop our talent. He discusses the responsibility we have to say something worth saying and taking responsibility for our gift. 

It made me think of what I write. Is it worthwhile? Does it serve a purpose? Can I say something worth saying, in a way that's different from the way everyone else would say it? It's a challenge. But a fun challenge.

Here's the quote:

"You and your talent are needed. Your gift is rare. Be humble enough to acknowledge the Source. Take the responsibility to develop your gift through hard work. Take the further responsibility to say something worthwhile. After all is said and done, be accountable. Pay the price to find out why you were given such an ability and learn what you are expected to do with it. You are in for a great ride!"

I think I'm paying the price right now - trying to find out why I was given my talent. I just wish a note would fall from heaven telling me what I'm expected to do with it . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Music 2

Yesterday I wrote about my Batdorf & McLean CD and I've been thinking about that post since then. I was wondering why something like this speaks to my soul, when so much other music doesn't.

I love music. In church, during musical numbers, I close my eyes so I can concentrate completely on the music. When I attend the Nutcracker, I go for the music, more than the performance. The same with the Phantom of the Opera - it was the music I loved.

So, why don't I listen to popular music? I haven't missed American Idol since the 2nd season started - so it's not that I don't like this music - it's just that I don't buy it and listen to it. Here's why: The songs get stuck in my head. Seriously stuck.

Last week, I saw a Justin Bieber look alike on American's Got Talent. A line from the song she sang has been going around and around in my head since. It's so bad, that if I wake up in the night, those words are there and when I get up, etc. Anytime I'm not consciously thinking of something else, that tape is playing in my head.

What's wrong with that? A couple of weeks ago, I listened to one of my favorites, Natasha Bedingfield, while I exercised. For the next week I found myself singing "I'm single and I like it that way" over and over. Well, I'm neither single, nor do I want to go through any of the things that would make me that way, so even though I like the song, I didn't like the verse that stayed with me.

However, with Batdorf & McLean, I figure I'm generally safe. If I repeat "I will not be afraid" or "All that's wrong in your life, let it go" or "from the broken pieces of my life, you could see all I could be if I was whole . . ." I don't feel like I'm programming something negative into my brain by repetition.

Mostly, I think there's something different about music that invites the Spirit. It doesn't invade my mind. I can easily recall it when I want to and it makes me feel good every time, but it doesn't plant itself in there and refuse to go away.

I don't know - maybe I'm the only one that has this problem. All I know is that I'm more careful these days with the music I repeatedly listen to. It makes me kind of wish that Pyotr Tchaikovsky was still here writing music.

I'm just glad for the modern composers who write the songs that lift my soul.
I thank you all.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Last week when I took my husband to Billings for a doctor's appointment, we stopped in at the bookstore so he could look into freeze dried food (eeww). As I was looking around, casually trying to avoid tasting powdered pineapple, I stopped at the CD display. There on the front of one of the rows was my very, very favorite music recording ever.

I've had the cassette tape for a long time. One year, I drove my dad's truck to the family reunion in Idaho and lost my tape somewhere over the weekend. I went right out and bought another one - only to find the original in Dad's truck later. So, I have two cassette tapes of the same thing. I even remember looking for the CD one time and figured that this was a once and done deal.

This recording was the inspiration behind my Promise Ranch series of books. As I sat one day, listening to the sweet love songs, suddenly pieces of stories, characters, and situations started jumping together and I started writing them down. By the time the tape was over, I had titles, brief descriptions and main characters for six of the books in the series. See why I like this music so much?

Of course, years later, I actually got to see one of these performers at Time Out For Women and loved ever second of it.

So what is my new CD that has already been ripped and synced to my MP3 player where I've probably listened to it twelve times already? (lawn mowing just flew by today).

Batdorf & McLean - Don't You Know

Don't know why, but it just speaks to me. Unfortunately, when I went to look up the links for these two performers, I saw new music by each of them and songs I didn't know they had done together. So much for getting anymore writing done tonight . . .

Got just over my 2000 words for WOW today.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Amos or Aimless

Our speaker in church today talked about a horse he worked with years ago on a historic farm. The horse was easily distracted and had to be handled very precisely. He was a good work horse to train new employees on because if they didn't learn to use the reins just right, Amos would run circles around them.

The speaker discovered that when Amos was given a job - a heavy load to pull, he buckled down, focused, and turned into the excellent draft horse he was born to be.

I started wondering if I'm like Amos. When I have too much free time, I tend to get distracted and have the attitude that I have plenty of time. But when I have those weeks when I have a lot scheduled or I'm getting ready to go out of town and have a list, I tend to be more focused and get my goals accomplished.

I think I'll try out this theory this week. Since I'm committed to the ANWA Week of Writing starting tomorrow, that will give me the framework for my week. I have a couple of meetings and writing group, as well as regular duties around the house, but I'm going to try to focus better this week and see just how much I can get accomplished.

While I'm at it, I think I'll come up with a good reward for the end of the week - if I succeed at my goals.

Here's to a week of letting go of aimless . . .