Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Tina

Today is a special birthday for my daughter-in-law Tina who is married to my son Daniel and the mother of four of my grandchildren: Emilee, Heather, Nathan and James. Have a good day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Article #119 Blended and Step Families

Egads, sometimes you think life can’t get more complicated, then it does. My new husband from Sweden had graduated from BYU with an Elementary Education degree but because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen he couldn’t teach in the states. When he returned to Sweden after graduation, he couldn’t work there because his credential was from America. So, he got a job at Volvo making fenders. After we married in Utah, now he could apply for a green card and get a job in the states as that he was married to an American. That, however, took several months during which time I found myself still working, this time to support a new spouse as well as my three sons.

If parenting has no manual, step parenting has less. It’s even trickier especially if you’ve never been a parent. We tried to solve that by adding another child to our family as I became a mother again at age 42 to a bouncing baby boy. Even though my sonogram had predicted “he” would be a “girl,” another female name went unused "Anna Christina." But we were all overjoyed to have this sweet newborn join our blended family. We now had "hers" and "our" children.

Our young son when growing up loved to joke about how he had one and a half brothers because he had three half brothers. He tried to figure out what his relationship was with my ex-husband, the father of his half brothers. I kept telling him there was no connection there. Then my former spouse and his companion added two girls to their family adding to the assortment of relationships.

Stepfamilies are complex and adding another child doesn’t always strengthen a family, but can cause divisions and additional stress. With a newborn son, I felt the need to be home fulltime. I quit my teaching job as soon as my new husband was hired at Signetics to make wafers for personal computers. Struggling financially for a year, we finally decided that my spouse needed to go back to school to get a master’s degree in some better paying field like English as a Second Language or Educational Administration. That meant we needed to get a student loan since I was home fulltime raising four sons. Luckily, my husband got a job after graduation and was hired to teach first grade in our local community. So, we lived happily ever after?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunflower Dance

Fall sunflowers turn their faces upward
following the sun's path across the sky.
Then wait silently for a new day
and the rhythmic ritual dance to begin again.

How cheerful are their bright yellow pedals
accented by a deep brown center.
Bringing beauty as our weather quickly cools,
and we wait dreading the cold winter to come.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gathering Fruit

To everything there is a season:
a time of planting, giving birth,
nurturing and training the little one,
watching his growth and independence,
preparing him to be self sufficient.

Then a goodbye as he leaves.
Hopefully one day, to return
with fruit to share-a family of his own
and little ones to love-grandchildren,
the fruit of the harvest.
(Photo by me.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grandparents Day again!

My son Daniel and his wife Tina have two sons, one in elementary and one in preschool now. They were having grandparents day so my hubby and I visited the boys school last Friday. It brought back memories of being a mom and going to parent teacher conferences for my sons and also being a school librarian. Now I'm retired, and I'm the grandparent visiting in the school classroom. Time moves on.

I was able to visit my twin grand daughter's new Jr. High school for parent teacher conferences with their dad, my son Daniel. Above l-r Heather, Emilee and Daniel.

Doing a project with my grandson Nathan for grandparents day was fun. We traced our hands and then compared the sizes of them.

James is only in pre-school at age 4 but was excited to have both grandma and grandpa visit his classroom and hear him sing a little song with his other classmates. (See below.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Family News

Check it out, I'm a guest columnist on my niece Jocelyn's blog today. Talking about how I supported the FAMILY PROCLAMATION as a working mom.

CONGRATULATIONS to my daughter-in-law Nedret who celebrates her BIRTHDAY today! She's the wife of my oldest son Frank, and the mother of Hakan, one of my three grandsons. A very busy business woman who sells imported rugs and carpets from Turkey and other places in a shop in Santa Fe, she is amazing. Wish she lived closer so we could visit more.

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Writing Project

While at the LUW Writer's Conference this past weekend. I arranged to see a publisher to present some ideas I have for possible books. Well, when the time came I couldn't find my publisher Deseret Book, but I did see a man who looked like he could be the fellow named Dirk I was looking for. I asked him if he was representing Deseret Book. He said yes, and his name was Kirk, so I sat down and started talking.

Later I found out it wasn't the company I had an appointment with. But it is owned by Deseret Book, and called Covenant Book. They also print LDS or Mormon books. Luckily no one else had an appointment with him for that 15 minutes. So I gave him some background about me as a writer, and showed him my self published book LOOKING BACK. He listened politely, then said he didn't think my book would sell. It's non-fiction biographical stuff.

So, I presented another idea for a book called FAMILY HOME EVENINGS for EMPTY NESTERS. And he liked the idea and suggested I expand it to include all single adults without children in the church. I later did a little survey of books on FHEs that are out there now and found 18. Only one of them is for couples without children, so I think I've found a niche. However, he suggested I sent him the "complete manuscript." Well that will take me a little time as I have some notes and lots of ideas, but it does give me my next writing project which I'm now working on. I think I will call the book FAMILY HOME EVENING IDEAS for ADULTS ONLY or Family Home Evenings are For Everyone: Ideas for Singles and Empty Nesters. Now I need to get to work.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Early morning brisk walking
hurrying to exercise more,
but what's that at the side
of the path-secret beauties.

Cactuses about to bloom,
opportunities overlooked.
Slow can be better or even
stopping to observe life.

Friends' glances hiding hurts,
hugs needed and missed,
listening ears and hearts
wanting to open and heal.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Article #118 Dating Again

So I met someone to start dating. It was so awkward, like reliving high school again. Waiting for his call, trying not to be too anxious or forward because I certainly didn’t want to scare off an eligible suitor. Then there are always those helpful friends who have the perfect person for you and arrange a “blind date.” I had several of those. One was a bachelor who lived back east. We wrote letters and send photos, and then he decided to fly out to Utah from Washington, DC. Meeting at the airport, he arrived with flowers, candy and a big smile. I greeted him with fear and trepidation wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner with my family which included my sons and my parents. Yikes!

Well, we made it through the holiday dinner; then we mutually agreed to forego any more activities together during his weekend stay. I’m not sure if you can judge a relationship’s possibilities that soon, but I was new at the dating game and still healing from my divorce. I think he, too, may have been overwhelmed as a bachelor by the thoughts of raising someone else’s children.

Within a few months I was again in the same situation. This time my neighbor had met an eligible fellow from Sweden who had been vacationing in Utah. She wanted me to write him. I did and we became pen pals. After a few months of lengthy letters and a phone call or two, he arranged to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to meet me. Within 2 weeks we were engaged and then married a month later. Can you really come to know someone through letters where you put forth only your best foot? We had many adjustments because my new husband had never been married. Then he suddenly became an instant father to three sons plus living in the USA. Talk about “culture shock” in reverse.

Try dealing with a new homesick spouse, three teenagers and later a newborn for challenges. Sometimes there are worse things than being a single parent, but after four years of being alone I needed companionship. Talk about more adjustments for my sons with a new stepfather plus their own father who was now also in a serious relationship. We struggled through individual, couple, and family counseling; then after 13 years of marriage were divorced. My pen pal husband returned to his homeland in Sweden, but not before adding a son to our step family. (Photo from our wedding announcements of our blended family with the new stepdad.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

More photos from LUW Conference

It was a fun conference and our chapter Heritage Writers Guild won numerous awards.

We enjoyed lots of great buffet food for lunch and dinners

My very heavy Journalism portfolio won me a 1st place tie and $50.

Betty won a prize for her original book Bible Stories for Adults Only.

I won 2nd prize plus $75 for my Nature Notes for Kids book

My friend Pat won several awards for her excellent writing.

Betty was chosen Utah Writer of the Year 2010-a well deserved award.

Betty won numerous awards for her prolific writing.

Beth and Marilyn at our booth selling our self published books.

Marilyn taught an informative workshop on self publishing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

League of Utah Writers Conference

I'm in Salt Lake City near the airport for our annual League of Utah Writers Roundup Conference. A fun time to immerse myself in classes on how to write better, publish, etc. I'll also be meeting with an agent and a local publisher-Deseret Books to see IF I can interest them in any of my publications. A long shot, but something I've never done before so I decided to give it a try! There's no PROGRESS without RISKING...

Last year I won a prize for my poem IT for Wordsmith Award for most humorous. This year I only submitted for two categories and I tied for first prize in: Journalism Portfolio-a collection of all my writings for the past two years including my work as editor for the Heritage Writers Newsletter-18 issues, my weekly column LOOKING BACK... for the Sr. Sampler-108 issues, various magazine articles: 10 for Desert Saints, 2 in US Archery, 1 almost in Ensign-that's another story, and my online sites including my blog (you are there) and my family history website. Sometimes I've felt like a writing machine-which isn't all bad but very releasing and creative. The other category I entered was Prose for Tweens ages 9-12-my entry was my then unpublished book NATURE NOTES for KIDS-animal poetry for kids, a new attempt and genre for me. I even won money 2nd prize and $75 for my kids book. Fun times
The real test of any kid's book, my grandson James looks at Nature Notes. He looks a little like a raccoon cause he fell and got stitches across his nose. Typical!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Girls nite out

My cousin Marion and I met in SLC where I'm going for a writers conference. We're doing the town-sightseeing, dining and will see the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love" with Julia Roberts. I read the book, then we'll have most of the next day to sightsee and do whatever-lots of talking. We've known each other since we were kids living in So. California. We've shared our lives from playing dolls to marrying to divorcing to remarrying to empty nesting.

We took a tour of the LDS Conference Center which is near the Church's headquarters and across from the Salt Lake temple and the new Family History Library. What a huge building that holds 21,000 in the audience for conferences. Completed in 2000, it's truly beautiful with an extensive 10 acre arboretum on the rooftop, gorgeous views in every direction as well as a collection of magnificent religious artwork, and architecture of granite to match the nearby temple.

Beautiful surroundings, well kept flowers, gorgeous buildings and the Spirit of the Lord is there on Temple Square-what more could you ask for on a beautiful autumn day walking around Salt Lake City?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One and Only YOU

by Michael McLean

"There is a place here that only YOU can fill
And this empty space awaits the magic YOU instill
For YOUr warm embrace does what nothing else can do
YOU’re second to none because YOU’re the one and only YOU."

"Something was missing until YOU came along
And someone’s been wishing YOU would fill their heart with song
For no other melody can touch them like YOU do
Their song goes unsung if not for the one and only YOU."

"So don’t waste your energy chasing some destiny
YOU were not sent here to claim
That isn’t the reason YOU came and YOU know that it’s true.
YOU cannot truly be anything else
So reach for the best in YOUrself
YOU’re more than a miracle
YOU’re the original YOU."

"And if YOU should wonder if this could be the truth
The hearts you have lifted up
Are more than living proof
And if you are listening a message is coming through
With thanks from above, and love for the one
And only YOU
For not other melody can touch us like you do
And this song is sung, with love for the one and only YOU."

I love the lyrics to this song by a popular LDS musician which praises each of us and our uniqueness. Yet so many of us try to be different, to compete, to become like others rather than become the very best person we can be.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Choices and Trials

"God knew just what He was doing when He placed us in these mortal bodies so prone to pain, and in this environment so likely to thrust us into affliction and trials...I see over and over—that the tough times are most likely to disclose life’s meaning and bring us closest to each other and to the Lord...All that really matters in the end is what kind of person we become because of the way we choose to respond to our trials—whether we turn in and shrivel, or reach up to the Heavens for help...We can choose to grow through our losses and develop more substance of character, or we can choose to be diminished by them, or we can choose to become a soggy mess.” ("Silver Linings" by Darla Isackson, Meridian Magazine online-Sep 10, 2010

As I (Lin) have been sorting through so many old notes, journals, etc. from the past, I've been amazed at my life (and everyone else's) as we each have our own struggles and trials to face. Many try to do it alone while others turn in faith to their God for comfort, inspiration and direction. I can't imagine trying to do it alone, though I do know that family and friends can help us, To tap into the powers of Heaven has always brought peace to my soul and comfort to my mind as I've tried to ACT and not REACT to a trying situation, that same process continues today. (My sunset photo above.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Finished project

It's looking better, my office work computer area.
I even know where lots of things are and have
lightened my load of paper stuff. Throughout the
years I doubt I've thrown many handouts away.

From classes taken or taught, I have a paper trail
just like Hansel and Gretel-I can trace my steps
back through the past. Fascinating to reread some
my old letters and journals from decades ago.

Even found my love letters from my sweetie
and it brought back pleasant memories of our
courtship. I lived in Utah and he worked in NM
so we wrote letters when apart-precious times.

Looking back does reinforce the growth you've
made and experiences you've passed through.
Writing your life story, does that too. I hope
everyone takes the time to do that someday.

I even tidied up my husband's work area.
Now the trick is to keep it all organized!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Article #117 Back in Circulation

Just try having a social life as a newly divorced mother of three rambunctious boys. First of all even having the energy after working fulltime all week to support a family, then trying to get over fears of risking again was daunting. Any new relationship had two strikes against it. Plus add in dependent children and their feelings and fears about their missing parent being replaced, and you can see what was involved. Our church organized dances for singles of all ages on weekends. The single men at the social activities were few and far between. The numerous females at any dance or activity outnumbered the males by at least 4 to 1. Nevertheless, they were well attended by single women. Some shy men probably hated these socials and didn’t come. (Photo above my cousin Marion and I dressed and ready for a singles dress-up dance.)

Let me describe the dances for you. First of all they reminded me of a “cattle auction.” The women all lined up in little groups around the outside of the dance floor (a church cultural hall gym.) The men came in usually alone or with another single male friend. Making the walk around the gym floor, they quickly sized up who they wanted to ask to dance. Of course, there were always those few brave single women who took the situation into their own hands. Upon spotting a new eligible (they hoped) gentleman at the dance, a brave woman could be known to go up and ask the man for a dance. Fortunately I was one of those, and eventually met the man I have been married to for the last 17 years. My cousins Marion and Jody both meet their second husbands that way. But that’s an exception to what generally happens.

Becoming a wall flower and not being asked to dance because you aren’t one of the courageous few who seeks out a partner, is embarrassing and lowers your self esteem greatly. As you stand around in the subdued lighting of the cultural hall, you wonder why in the world you hired a babysitter to stay home with your kids and expose yourself to being rejected again. I remember many dances and activities where I decided this was the last time I would attend. But you don’t find another husband by sitting at home alone with your kids. It may take years of these kinds of activities to get results or you may never find another mate willing to take on the added responsibilities. (Photo above of my ex-husband and our three sons.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


It's always fun to make NEW friends.
We've met our neighbors from Ohio
who retired and moved out west.
A fireman and an educator joined us.

Bringing new ideas and enthusiasm,
Wanda and I walk together daily.
Rick is helping my hubby with targets
for the Huntsman Senior Games.

We've joined a family home evening
group together and went on a double
date for Mexican Food then just sat
around and talked for hours-FUN!
(Wanda's a quilter and very talented.)