Tuesday, May 31, 2011

End of another month

Good bye Spring, hello SUMMER!
Changes coming and hopefully NEW
OPPORTUNITIES as well as challenges.

It's called LIFE and there's always
something to look FORWARD to plus
challenges to overcome and UNDERSTAND.

HEAT to enjoy as winter's cold becomes
a distant memory and we long for COOLNESS.
We are NEVER satisfied it seems.

The desert is BLOOMING as summer sneaks in...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Visiting family graves and decorating
each headstone with a potted flower gives me
time to reflect back on memories shared
when our lives intermingled and to look
forward to future times when we'll met again.
Too many soldiers lost their lives in battles
to maintain our freedom and way of life.
I hope they realize our gratitude for their sacrifices
for service and dedication given so willingly.

Last but not least my own deceased parents
whose lives made it possible for me to be born here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Twins Birthday

Well Emilee (below) and Heather (above) are "finally 13"
Since they are my first grandchildren that's significant,
I've been a grandmother for 13 years and got to practice
with them. Now I have four more grandchildren plus many
step grandchildren-sixteen in fact plus two great grands
expected in the fall. Life is amazing how fast it passes.

Birthdays are family holidays that bring us together
to celebrate, feast and visit. Taking time from our busy
lives to remember we are family-here to support one
another through good and bad times...giving loves and
hugs plus words of encouragement on special occasions
and just on normal days when we each need a little lift.

A family day: 5 of my 6 grandchildren and 3 of my 4 sons.
Back row: sons Brook, Daniel and Jeffrey
Front row-twins' cousin, James, Emilee, Heather, Lorien and Nathan

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Article #152 Errors and Rewriting

The age of technology has certainly made life easier and especially for would be writers or historians IF you are computer literate. After your rough draft is written, it’s time to use a spell and grammar check on your computer to catch errors. If you stop to do this earlier as you’re writing, you may never get your story down. A rough draft should have mistakes as it is written freely and quickly to get your creative juices going. If you’re not familiar with computer software, ask someone in your family for help with this stage of editing the project or hire a college student or friend with expertise. (Using photos shows clearly your history. My seventh birthday.)

You don’t have to accept all the corrections or suggestions that are given. Remember you want your writing to reflect your way of thinking and talking. Some grammar errors truly reflect regional or educational backgrounds of people that can get lost, if you correct them to make your story sound like a college English paper. Having someone in your family who is good at writing read your story and give suggestions for improving it as far as shortening or tightening up paragraphs, adding more descriptive words or not rambling can be a great help. Even reading your history out loud will amaze you at how it sounds or errors that you missed reading it silently.

Refining your outline as you go can make your story flow better. Some parts can be deleted or added. Whether you are writing chronologically or just episodes from your life, they need to be interesting not boring. Add some humor or details to bring your experiences alive. What are you trying to say? Is there a theme to your story? What were your feelings and did you learn something from your life’s challenges? Remember to add photos, maps, certificates etc on almost every page to add interest.

Also chapter heading and shorter paragraphs can keep the story moving along. Try to summarize or condense what you are writing. Don’t bore your audience to death with too many details, but remember no descriptions can make for dull reading. Get others’ ideas and suggestions for improvement. It doesn’t have to be perfect but does need to reflect who you are and want to be remembered. Discover your unique voice by editing your story and connecting with other family members or friends as you seek feedback on your biography or history.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Letting it all out!

I was talking with a close friend today about the need
every once in a while to just let it all out and SCREAM!
Of course you have to make sure you are all alone or
the cops could be called or people could think you're crazy.

Pressures in life seem to build at times in our lives
and we all need to let off steam or else explode or
worse implode and break down or loose control.
After a particularly trying day, I just let out a SCREAM!

It was okay, I was in the freeway driving all alone;
so no one could hear me or worry that I was hurt, etc.
It was so freeing to just release all that negative energy
pent up for so long or another idea is to try hitting pillows.

Stacked them on your bed when no one is around and just
let it go-all anger, frustration and exasperation into
the poor defenseless pillows. It's much more healthy
than taking it out on yourself or others. Believe me!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cleaning off the desk

It's that time again, too many piles on my desk and in my mind
needing sorting, throwing away or filing somewhere for a later look.
Time for change, new ideas, new routines as I return to summertime.
My long neglected water aerobics exercise as well as eating wiser
await my attention, then my ever patient hubby-I need to spend
time with to get reacquainted after my flurry of Spring activities.

Are there new projects to develop or new interests to entertain?
I've bought books on poetry to devour, but first some surgery
to fix cataracts in both eyes-that will slow me down some.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leap into SUMMER?

Our fickle weather goes from 90 degrees to rain,
then cooler temperatures and back again.
Summer is ready to leap in, I can tell because
sometimes we our air conditioner comes on at nights.

A sure sign that coolness as we know it will soon
be a distant memory and 90 degrees will sound cool.
Thank goodness for AC available 24/7 in our lives.
I remember once when it was 116 degrees in Los Angeles.

We had no cooling system to save us only the beach
nearby with its cooling breezes brought relief.
Unfortunately there is no ocean or water nearby
where I live, only rivers that are flooding from storms.

Weather is our friend or foe depending on its whims.
I feel for those who live in the midwest where tornados
can arrive at anytime. All we fear here are earthquakes,
floods and fires. Nature is to be respected and appreciated.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Schedules and Opportunities

How does one decide how to use their free time?
Guess that not a problem for most people except
those that are retired and freed of many responsibilities.
As summer comes I have more opportunities available.

Not much success thus far in marketing my book
and I don't really want to focus much time on that.
It's fun to write or create, but then to sell it is difficult.
Despite lots of publicity, my customers are few.

So I'll keep trying but focus on other areas of my life.
Would like to do more with my husband but his interests
and hobbies are very narrow: archery and computers.
I like to write, blog, do water aerobics and read books.

Traveling is an interest of mine and boating is one of his.
Now if we could just find a boat we could travel together.
In the meantime, we are both exploring possibilities
as they come and spending a slow relaxing summer.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Every once in a while,
we need a day off for good behavior.
A time to just relax, regroup
and think through our life.
Where am I going really,
are there changes I need to make?
Writing my honest thoughts down
can help me do that.

Then sharing them with those
closest to me and with my Father.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Where are we going?

The road begun in innocence may not lead to where you want to go,
but the trip will be full of experiences both easy and difficult.
The destination depends on decisions made with love and sacrifice;
the journey's joyous ending awaits the patient traveler's efforts.

Unexpected blooms can develop amid hostile circumstances,
but only when blind faith motivates enduring to the end.

Examining closely between blessings and challenges,
all can bring opportunities for growth and blooming.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Article #151 Editing vs. Censoring

Are there parts of your life story that you should edit or censor? Definitely. Keeping in mind your audience and your purpose for writing your history will determine what to leave out. Your history shouldn’t be a fairy tale giving the false notion that everything always turns out hunky dory-it doesn’t. Life is full of challenges. It’s possible that your young grandchildren will want to read what you’ve written. So, keep that in mind. (Photo l-r of my mother and me with my three sons newly arrived in Utah after my divorce.)

Focus on trials or challenges as a lesson you’ve learned from rather than dwelling on poor me or having a pity party. That can be a waste of time and depressing for anyone to read. While writing a journal is great therapy, sharing every negative or critical thought you’ve ever had is NOT a good idea. Point out what you’ve learned from all your experiences. Which brings me to another point. Always write in first person such as I remember…Not second person she recalls…unless of course you are writing your family history about someone else in your family.

As I wrote about my divorce in my biography, it would have been easy to drift into negative criticism of my ex-spouse but that wasn’t necessary. I simply stated how I adjusted, then went on with my life. Forgiveness was a lesson learned and freely given to my former husband and to myself, so I could continue on in a positive way as a single parent. Remember-what you write critically about others says more about your own character than it does about the other person’s misbehavior.

Do write openly and honestly about your life, but then take a critical look or have someone else you trust assist you in editing out remarks, judgments or issues that don’t need to be part of your life’s record forever. If you’ve had a particular difficult relationship with an in-law or other family member or friend, you may not need all the details in your history but just the major understandings that came to you because of this difficulty. Be sensitive to the feelings of others still living in sharing their part in your life. The purpose of your biography should be to build family unity and bonding not to create misunderstandings or to seek revenge. (Photo-Just one happy family with two little boys so far.)

There is a balance to be found between the naked truth, reality and your version of your life’s experiences.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ying-YANG Effect

Life is full of vivid contrasts as
successes and failures intermingle
making each day an adventure.

A divided mind and purpose
can lead to no direction, aimlessly
wandering through life looking
but not finding purpose or meaning.

Only if one observes carefully the journey
and appreciates each step along the way
can happiness be found and captured.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Truly BLANK Verse

Living with indecision can drive one crazy,
expectations give an exactness that comforts.
Not knowing or being unable to decide is easier
but is a barrier and only leads towards nothingness.

As no progress is made, and no movement
undertaken because the result is not known,
doubts dance taking control of one's life
as little voices whisper fears and insecurity reigns.
(Photos by me of our early and disappearing Spring.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I drove to where we used to live 30 miles away and saw this beautiful view of the Kolobs, part of Zions Park. The fields are so luscious and green now, but it was a cold and windy day. So fun to visit neighbors and friends we used to live close to four years ago before moving to St. George. It takes effort and time to keep in touch with old friends...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Find Your Voice or Talents

I was asked in church last Sunday to talk to the Relief Society-our women's organization about finding YOUR VOICE, your talent or unique qualities that only you can develop. I not talking necessarily about just the arts, but people skills too-sensitivity to others, listening, nurturing, encouraging, teaching, leadership, as well as talents in cooking, sewing, crafts, music, art, dance, teaching, speaking, etc.

Stephen R. Covey, LDS Author and my former Bishop at BYU in 1961-50 years ago, said on his blog- The power to discover your VOICE lies in the potential that was bequeathed you at birth. Latent and undeveloped, the seeds of greatness were planted. You were given magnificent “birth-gifts”-talents, capacities, privileges, intelligences, opportunities-that would remain largely unopened except through your own decision and effort. Open these gifts. Learn what taps your talents and fuels your passion-that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet-therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul’s code.

I’ve tried many different avenues of expressing my talents-music wasn’t it, dance was-but my body aged. I love teaching, be it dance, family history, writing or poetry but WRITING really clicked for me: I wrote in a diary when in Jr. High, free verse poems in college, taught poetry in Relief Society while a young mother, was a newletter editor many times, gathered genealogy for 50 years, and wrote 10 or more family histories, then my own bio when I turned 60, a weekly column when I turned 65, a daily blog, and now books self published in my 70s: Looking Back at the Good Old Days, Nature Notes for Kids and my latest FHE for Empty Nesters and Singles. I’ve FOUND my thing. My next book will be entitled How to Find Your Voice through Writing: Journaling, Biography and Poetry.

What is your excitement or passion in your life?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Miss Lorien

She's growing up, my youngest grand daughter
looking so cute and sweet in her fun little dresses.
It won't be long before she's a heart breaker
of some little boy who falls in love with her.

How fun to watch her growth and development
into a real little personality. She's mostly quiet
and shy, but intensely interested and checking
out her environment and anything new or different.

I wait for her to come to me, curious about my
golden heart necklace filled with my family photos.
One day I'll tell her about my life as a little girl
with my loving parents, Mom and Dad, now gone.

(Thanks to Lorien's mom Rachel for taking the photos
and to my son Jeff the daddy for emailing them to me.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Locked Out

I went to a book marketing workshop last week on a Saturday in Salt Lake City. Someone in class wanted to buy my new book, so I slipped out of the building during a break from our workshop, grabbed the book and returned to the building BUT...the door was locked. Well, here I am outside a three story building which is empty, except for our workshop on the third floor with 1.5 hrs left of this expensive class and I'm locked out. So what do I do...write a poem and wait, eventually someone left class early and I got back in for the last .5 hrs of my workshop. Life!

Door locked, I'm out
They are in
But no one misses me
or checks to see what
may have happened to me.

Kidnapped or mugged?
It's a mystery,
I'm just gone!
Missing out on the last hour
of an expensive workshop.

How dumb-all to sell
a copy of my book for $10.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Article #150 Life's Decisions

What were the most difficult decisions in your life, and how did you go about making them? For most individuals the choice of a career and who to marry are vitally important. Where to live, work and raise a family are closely connected to those decisions. Perhaps you went away to college or took a job in a new location that necessitated you to move away from your roots or perhaps you joined the military and left this country to serve in a foreign land.

I remember coming back to Utah at age 20 as a transfer student from a Junior College in California. Although I had extended family in Utah, it was my first time to live on my own without my mother around. It was a difficult time and I was homesick a lot, but yet excited to be going forward with my life. I looked forward to meeting someone special, marrying and starting my own family. The education I got from my BYU roommates turned out to be the most valuable learning of my whole life. How to clean, cook, and get along with others my own age were skills I mastered from dorm life. (My engagement photo 1964.)

In the “good old days” families were raised, married, worked and died in the same community without the necessity of traveling hundreds of miles away for careers, college or other reasons. My husband was raised in the same community in rural Texas with his parents, and both sets of grandparents lived not far away. He grew up with a strong sense of family unity and traditions. Later he left his hometown after college graduation for a career in the Forest Service in faraway states.

Nowadays it’s rare for an extended family to live in the same community all their lives. I believe we are missing the strong bonds, and interactions that could support us as we become a modern family with children and parents living in a new community far away from our roots. How do you feel about that? There are benefits as our grown children become independent and learn to make their own way, but relationships with grandchildren and parents are weakened by not living in closer proximity. It’s important to try to preserve family traditions and gather together at holidays and reunions whenever possible to strengthen relationships. Families can be a security blanket, a wealth of advice and needed wisdom in this frantic world.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th Again

My lucky day as I met my husband 19 years ago at a dance
on Friday Nov 13, 1992. I submitted my photos recently to
our Image Catchers club contest and won on several.
(You don't win if you don't enter contests.)

Second place on Panoramas...my first from 4 handheld photos
put together in Photoshop Elements photomerge program.

2nd place-Caryn bringing costumes to our Poetry in Action group.

1st place for flowers, I love the old house in the background.

First place-the only entry in the category Flash,
it was a dark cloudy day!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


So how do you launch a book, it's like selling vacuums or some other thing door to door. By word of mouth or in my case sending out 130 emails plus press releases to the local papers, and flyers to distribute to friends and others. It's a lot of work if you don't have a publisher or agent working for you, even then they expect you to do most of the work. I know lots of people in many locations but my audience is quite narrow as my book's subject matter is "Family Home Evenings for Empty Nesters and Singles."

FHEs are a practice that Mormons participate in as their family are being raised. Each Monday night is set aside for scripture study, singing hymns, a short lesson followed by refreshments and games. There is a lot of material published by our Church for families but little for the retired folks or empty nesters. Come to think of it people of other faiths would do well to implement a family time into their lives also.

My GOSPEL DOCTRINE handouts topics are: Faith-Our Foundation, the Repentance Process, Prayer and Fasting, the Baptismal Covenant, Holy Ghost and Revelation, Testimony Strengthening, Improve Scripture Study, the Atonement and Resurrection, Integrity and Honesty, and Priesthood Leaders complete with discussion questions and scripture references.

A section on FAMILY HISTORY includes: Find Your Roots, Your Family Heritage, Collecting Family Histories, Online Genealogy, Purpose of Temples, Family Reunions, Childhood Memories, Writing Your Life Story, Publishing Your History, and Pioneers in Your Family.

The next section is on SELF IMPROVEMENT-Journaling, Who Me?, Agency and Obedience, Don’t Procrastinate, Personal Goals, Patriarchal Blessings, Hobbies-Recreation. Addictions-Balance, Gratitude Attitude, Personal Fitness, and Sense of Humor.
Following is RELATIONSHIPS: Communication Helps, Elderly Parents Care, Importance of Forgiveness, Gossip and Criticism, Internet Possibilities, True Friends, The Single Life, Marriage Challenges, Citizenship Opportunities, and Community Involvement.

The last section is on PROVIDENT LIVING: Word of Wisdom Promises, Healthy Snacks, Food Storage Inventory, 72 Hour Survival Kit, Self Reliance and You, Gardening Ideas, Water Storage Tips, Tithing Blessings, Avoid Debt, and Budgeting Helps.

There are two additional HOLIDAY handouts: Christmas Traditions, and Gifts of the Heart. Order today for $10 plus shipping from lin at sunrivertoday.com or through PayPal.