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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Three Cheers--Ronda Hinrichsen

I've said before that one of the blessings of writing is the really great people it's brought into my life--one of those people is Ronda Hinrichsen. She and I presented at the same Enrichment night--I talked about writing books and she talked about the dozens of articles she'd written over the years. I think she was the one that thought up the idea of forming a writing group. As I came to get to know Ronda, I have been consistently impressed with the woman she is. She played the piano and teaches lessons, sings and teaches lessons, helps run their family farm, and currently serves as the Young Women's president in her ward. She has three kids, two of which are serving missions in Brazil right now and a radiant smile that she liberally applies to life. She's a steady woman, a hard working woman, and a woman who keeps her priorities and principles in the right place at all times. Therefore, it's exciting to see her attaining the goals she has worked toward for so many years.

Throughout the six years we've been in the same writing group, both of us have moved forward and experienced the ups and downs of the writing profession. This week has been a GREAT week for Ronda! She'd had a novel accepted last spring, and finally got the cover and release date this week. You can see it at her BLOG and it will be available in October. She also won first place in the League of Utah Writer's contest for her other book, Trapped--which is an AMAZING story. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. There are so many not-so-great moments in a writing carreer, and it just thrills me that Ronda has been able to experinece so many of the golden moments this week.

It's exciting to see all the hard work beginning to pay off, and it's only the beginning--Ronda is both talented and persistent, two of the most important things any writer can have.

Way to go Ronda! I wish you the very best. Run over to her blog and give her a pat on the back, she totally deserves it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Four Sell!

 *My ad as posted on KSL today. It's okay to have a little personality, right? Sales price $9,600 due to the high miles. Actual ad is HERE

*****

THIS is a mini van with style! No, that is not an oxymoron. Seriously, this is loaded.

I'm going to start with the not-quite-perfect parts of my van. Because, while I love and am dang impressed with the condition it is in, we drove it off the lot 6 years ago and we have four kids. This is a working van and some of that 'work' has taken it's toll. However, I'm hoping that my honesty will endear you enough that you read through the good stuff--cause it's pretty awesome.

1) 140K is a lot of miles, I won't argue that point. However, you have to undertand that we live 10 miles from everything, and I work 20 miles away in the other direction. Just to do basic things we have to cover a lot of ground. Most of that ground is affectionately termed I-15 in these parts. So, while the miles are high, most of them are freeway miles. We get 20-25/gallon too, which is dang good for a minivan.

2) There are exactly two tears in the leather interior. They are both on one of the headrests for the middle seats. Apparently, this head rest took a little adventure into the flower bed for an undisclosed amount of time. I cleaned it up once I discovered it among my Petunias, which is when I found the tears. It is also stained from it's adventures and hence is not the prettiest headrest you've ever seen. If I had any idea how the headrest got there, that kid would be so grounded! The rest of the interior is in perfect condition.

3) There is a 3/4 inch scratch in the dashboard above the jockey box. I don't know how it got there. It could be easily covered with a smiley face sticker from wal-mart. Your kids would thing that was very cute.

4) There is some kind of scratch or scrape on each of the four sides of the exterior of the van. This is due to my apparent lack of depth perception. None of them are down to the metal or otherwise serious, but they are there. However, my depth perception aside, I have never been in an accident and there has been no body repair done on the vehicle.

5) About two years after we purchased the van, the headphone system for the DVD began to screech. The kids hated that. The DVD still works, you just have to listen to it through the stereo system. The upside is that the kids don't fight over who gets the nice headphones. I took it to the dealership to get it fixed but or course it didn't do it when it was in the shop. Go figure. I just make sure I take my iPod so I can listen to something other than Scooby Doo.

6) I mentioned the 6 years and 4 kids, right? Yeah, well that kind of equation does not yeild pristine carpets. I think most of it would shampoo out, but there are no guarantees.

There you have it; all the negatives. Now for the good stuff:

DVD, CD/tape stereo, all leather seats, middle seats are removable--I can do it myself--and can be in a variety of arrangements (okay, by variety I mean three, but still, that's cool, right?), back seat folds into back storage compartment, storage compartment is big; like Costco big, and includes a washable bin so that should you spill, I don't know, laundry soap, back there you can clean it up really easy. Duel automatice doors (and let me tell you, it's the coolest thing ever. There are button controls on the key chain and by the steering wheel. You never have to let your kids in and out again!) Power windows & doors, front and back AC/heat, cruise control, seat heaters, an adjustable middle console area, power outlets in the front and the back--we had the AC recharged for the first time in June, so it's nice and cool. Van does great in the snow. Back windows are tinted.

We put new brakes in 5/09 and new tires 8/09. I'm paranoid about breaking down, so we've been obsessive about maintenance and we started using synthetic oil when we hit 100,000 miles. We have had no mechanical problems with this vehicle. Most the maintenance has been done by the dealership. We do not smoke and we do not transport pets in the car.

A couple extra things I love--a 'secret' compartment under the passenger seat; great for hiding cookies. Little hooks that drop down from the 'chicken' bars in the back are perfect for dry cleaning. When the back seat is down and the middle seats are out you can fit like 80 cases of girl scout cookies back there! I think it would fit a full size inflatable mattress too, but I haven't tried it.

We've had this paid off for a few years but want to sell it so we can pay off our other vehicle. It's really been a great car for our family, but one we don't need the way we did in the beginning. If I somehow didn't answer any of your questions, feel free to drop me a line.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Catching up

Well, the monsters went back to school last week--normal kids, like mine, did too. It was fabulous. Not only to have some time in a quiet house, but also to have their brains occupied with something other than facebook, PS2, and picking fights with one another. They like school with varying degrees of enthusiasm but like I tell them "Enjoying what you do is a luxury. Get over it." I like to lift their spirits with inspirational sayings like that. Another favorite is "Don't worry what people think of you, cause they don't." That was one I got from my father, you know, the type you swore you'd never repeat. Yep, I'm repeating and my kids like it about as much as I did back then. Such is the eternal round of parental mistakes.

BEFORE they went back to school, I had the opportunity to do a podcast with the lovely ladies of the LDS Women's Book Review--always an awesome time to chat with these gals, and I got to share the podcast with Michele Holmes, whose second novel, All the Stars in Heaven, has just come out with Covenant. Her first book, Counting Stars won the Whitney Award for romance in 2007. Anyway, it was a fun time. You can listen to or download the podcast HERE.

Included in the podcast is a super-fun-and-exciting announcement--I won't spill the beans here because we're still working on some details, but it's gunna be awesome and if you listen to the podcast you'll have the heads up before I announce it in detail here :-)

AND, I'm on the final, final leg of my current book--Devil's Food Cake. No, I don't know who did it for sure, and I'm not done. Yes, it is giving me an ulcer, which takes a lot of the fun out of the writing process. But, I'm still optimistic that I can have it done by my deadline, which is the 15th. Cross your fingers, light a candle, say a little prayer, bake cookies or something otherwise inspiring if you have a minute. I could use all the help I can get!

So, that's what's up with me. More to come next week, I hope.