Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Bomb!

I have been blessed to meet many wonderful people through my writing career. Rob Wells is one of those people. He founded the Whitney Awards, has written amazing books, championed so many people in their own careers, and he's made incredible sacrifices for his education and family. Beyond that, I've had an exclusive seat to a few backstage battles he's taken on where he stood up and made unpopular statements without apology because they were the right thing to do. I'm grateful to have been able to see just how dedicated he is to important things and it's been a blessing to me in my current position within The Whitney Award organization because I've had to do hard things and he set the stage for it.

He's currently facing a personal battle involving Severe Panic Disorder that has changed his life and recently led to him losing his job. It might be easy to say "He's a national author, he got an advance, he's fine," but it doesn't work that way. In this Appendix Podcast he explains how the money works--very eye opening.

All that goes back to the fact that, in his own way, Rob has changed the world, and some of the people who think he's amazing are out to change HIS world a little bit.

There are several bloggers hosting contests for this Book Bomb, where we'll buy his books, up his online ranking, increase his sales, and just show him that we not only wish him well, but we'll do our part to prove it. And instead of doing my own blog contest about it, I would like to refer you to my friend Luisa Perkin's blog. She not only explains the campaign wonderfully, but she's hosting a contest to help encourage it. I couldn't do better than that, so I'm going to support her efforts instead (And I'm hoping to win a copy of her cookbook Comfortably Yum). Please head over to Novembrance and read up on how she's contributing to this cause.

AND, if you haven't read Variant (Rob's book) it is AWESOME and Publisher's Weekly agrees with me. Click HERE to learn why.

I'll be following Luisa's example and buying copies for my kid's school libraries as well as some Christmas gifts. Would love for you to join in!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Help me Name Book 8!

I have encountered serious writer's block in regard to naming Book 8. The story is coming together (sort of) but the title has eluded me. Shadow Mountain came up with a solution--ask readers to help. I thought that was a brilliant idea, so consider this your official invitation to go through your recipes and see if you have just the right dish. Here are the things to keep in mind:
  • The recipe must be a dessert
  • The book is set in New Mexico, specifically Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
  • The recipe should reflect the Southwest
  • The submission must include the recipe so we can try it out.
If your submitted recipe is chosen you'll get a copy of the book when it comes out in Fall 2012, you will also become a character in the book, and you get a 12 cup Cuisinart Food Processor!
For full details and to submit your Southwestern dessert recipe, go HERE  Do NOT submit to me--Shadow Mountain is heading this one up and all submissions must go through them.
Thanks so much for the great support!

Entries due by November 27!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

SoJo 2011 1/2 Marathon Re-cap

This was the first time I've done the SoJo, in fact I had never even heard of it before a friend told me about it. After that, I did see it listed on some running sites, but if I weren't looking for it, I wouldn't have realized what it was AND even when I was looking for the website, it was really hard to find in google searches--often not coming up on the first page of results which would make me re-enter criteria in an attempt to find it. In fact, that was my biggest complaint about the event, the website lacked good SEO and the writing could have been tighter and more clear in explaining things. Actually, that's my only complaint because other than that, it was awesome and if I had to choose one detail to be off, it would be the website. Here's how it went:

First, I signed up for this race because I was unable to do the Snow Canyon 1/2 marathon on November 5th and felt like I needed another race after Top Of Utah to keep me from sitting on my tush after I finished that race. I mentioned this in a facebook group I belong to (Buns of Steel) and one of the other members, Alison Taylor, gave me the race info. Honestly, SHE was the very best thing about this race. I had a ton of things going on and she kept checking in with me and helping me stay connected to the event. She was absolutely fabulous.

I ended up signing up via the paper registration option on the very last day the event was open to early registration--Sept 15. I had only done short runs after Top of Utah and it wasn't until I mailed in that registration that I started doing longer and more consistent runs. In the four weeks between registration and the race, I averaged running 20 miles a week until this week, when I only ran 4 miles. I hit this weird "I hate running" bubble and could not get myself out the door. Because of that I really worried about the race today. I had only gotten back up to 11 miles on my long runs and just didn't feel like I'd trained the way I would have liked to, but I hoped that it wouldn't be too bad.

A couple days before the race, I decided to get a hotel room. I was going to stay at my sister's house in Sugarhouse but worried about sleeping on a couch and waking up everyone else when I had to get up in the morning or being late to the start so I found a reasonably priced room at the Sleep Inn in South Jordan which ended up being about a mile away from the finish line. My son and nephew were both running the 5 K, which started and finished at the Marathon finish lines, so I picked Chris up from school and picked up Trevor in Salt Lake on the way to the hotel. I dropped them off, then drove down to Alison's house where she drove me through the course which started at a school in Daybreak, and ended at West Riverside Park in South Jordan. I have this idea in my head that the west side of Salt Lake is downhill from the East side, so coming from West Daybreak up to nearly I-15 would be uphill the whole time. Totally not true. There were two small hills but other than that most of the run was either flat or on a very gentle downgrade. I was really glad we did that, it made the next days run much more familiar to me.

Driving the course brought us to the finish line (surprise, surprise :-) and we got our packets nice and easy--they included a vinyl decal which was awesome--the volunteers were great. I was back at the hotel around 7:30 and took the boys to Sweet Tomatoes to carb up. Turned out to be a great choice (Thanks Alison for the suggestion) and I had salad and soup and pasta and dessert to my little heart's content. The boys were able to eat and eat and eat as well. We got home a little before 9:00 and the boys went swimming while I obsessively set out my stuff. I took a melatonin for fear that I wouldn't sleep and by the time the boys got back at 10:30 I was ready for bed. I slept great and though I was in and out after 4:00 a.m. it was the best pre-race sleep I've had for any race so far.

This morning, we got up at 5:50 and got ready. The boys had the complimentary breakfast the hotel provided and I had a protein shake--my breakfast of choice before long runs. We headed for West Riverside Park, where the boys were going to wait on their own. The weather was a bit nippy, but not too bad. I left the boys in the car and waited for Alison and her husband to pick me up. This race allowed runners to get dropped off at the start, which was great because it meant we didn't have to wait for the bus which meant we didn't have to be there so early. Alison picked me up around 6:45 and we went to Riverton where we picked up her friend Carrie and then Alison's husband, Mark, took us to the start. I'm not sure how many runners were registered, but it was a very reasonable number. The potty lines were great and there wasn't a 'congested' feel to it at all which I liked a lot. Top of Utah was packed and I enjoyed the extra elbow room.

They called us to the start almost 15 minutes before they actually started, which was kind of annoying but not that big a deal. I like to start at the back of races, being in the 'pack' makes me kind of anxious so I left Carrie and Alison to run with the wolves and went to the back of the runners. I had time to put my jacket in a gear bag, it wasn't that cold at all and I didn't want to bother with it later. They started with the release of some balloons and a confetti pop, which was fun, and we started moving. In the other races I've done the start line is a carpet covered strip that activates your 'chip' and I kept looking for that but didn't see it anywhere. I thought we were heading toward the start line for over a minute and then realized I must have missed it. I found out later the start was two thin wires stretched across the road. Had I been at the front of the race, I'd have probably heard that :-) So I didn't start my watch until 2 minutes into the run. I also started the audiobook I'd purchased for this race--Variant by Robison Wells. Turned out to be a great choice, I might audiobook every race I ever run from here on out since it distracted me just enough to keep me from obsessively tracking my distance. And it's a great book.

The sun was up within fifteen minutes of the start, which worried me due to how lousy the sun was for me at TOU, but the morning chill made our relationship must better this time around and it wasn't a big deal. The course went through Daybreak, then in front of the Oquirrih Temple--hill number one--and around some other neighborhoods. The mile signs were awesome and easy to find, the aid stations were fabulous, they had police directing traffic at all the intersections, there was variety in the 'view' as we ran, there was a lot of shade, the road was clearly marked off, the potty stops were excellent and without lines--honestly the course and the resources set up around it were fabulous. The full marathon used the 1/2 marathon route for the last 13 miles, so each mile mark had one sign for the 1/2 and one for full. They had extra snacks for the marathon runners, like pretzels and de-fizzed Coke, and several other things. I'm sure if I'd taken some they'd have let me, but I didn't need it. There were people here and there along the route cheering on the runners, which is always fun.

I was worried about burning out like I did with TOU so I didn't push things but kept pretty consistent at 11 1/2 minute miles. I had taken a 5 hour energy 20 minutes before the start and took a GU pack at mile 6, following it up with some water and rinsing my mouth to make sure I didn't get sticky-mouth from it, like I did last time. They provided Poweraide gels but since I'd never tried those, I was nervous about taking it so I passed. I only took one potty stop at mile 8 and there was no line, which was sweet. By mile ten I was still feeling really good and I considered really speeding up but didn't dare so I kept things steady. At mile 11 we entered a trail area which was awesome, very pretty, shaded, smooth, and I always like getting away from traffic. At mile 12 I finally felt confident enough to speed it up. At mile 12 1/2 a guy about 50 yards ahead of me collapsed. I feel bad I didn't stop, but a couple of women already had. He was trying to crawl forward and they were trying to convince him to sit. I felt bad for the guy--he was so close, but I ran right past cause I'm compassionate like that, and sent a little prayer in his direction, then laid it on even thicker.

There were lots of people lined up along the last 100 yards and they cheered and clapped and just really kept the energy up. This was the first race I've done where they called out your name as you crossed the finish, but it was awesome, and there were people all over the place clapping and cheering for me. They handed me my medal and removed the ankle bracelet timing chip (which I thought I would hate, it looked horrible, but I didn't even feel it as I ran) Great finish!

They had the best after-race snacks I have ever seen! First, the station was RIGHT behind the finish line so I didn't have to look for it. Chick-Fil-A was the main sponsor and they had chicken sandwiches available (if you like chicken, which I don't but the boys loved) They also had Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches, yogurt parfaits with granola topping, Winder Dairy Chocolate recovery drink which tastes like chocolate milk, water, Gatorade, fruit, multi-grain bagels--honestly it was awesome and the boys had been waiting there for two hours and were therefore stuffed by the time I arrived. People milled around but it wasn't congested.

My time ended up being 2:28.05 which was probably slower in actual run time than TOU (which was 2:30) because my one potty stop was so quick on this one, and about 5 minutes at the other one. However, I felt good at the finish and hadn't trained really well and so I'm very happy with how it worked out. Trevor placed 2nd in his age division--he ran a 5K in 20 minutes. Holy moley! Chris shaved 4 minutes off of his 5K PR, coming it at 30 minutes. I was very proud of both of them and they were wonderful sports about all the waiting around they did.

I will definitely run this race again and suspect it will quickly become one of the more popular 1/2 marathon's in the valley. As I said, my only complaint was the website and maybe the ankle chip but that didn't turn out to be so bad. The time of year worries me because it COULD have been rainy, and yet today's weather was absolutely perfect. It was cool, but not cold, the sun was out, but not hot. I thought they started it at the perfect time (I think TOU could have started 1/2 an hour earlier) the course was great and the overall planning and organization was the best I've ever seen.

All in all, a very good race--my favorite of the three I have run. The only thing that would have made it better would be to have had my sister, Crystal, there with me. She's been at both the other races and is just great company. Alison made a fabulous replacement, however, and was beyond supportive and helpful to me. She really did make this possible for me. I'm am blessed to have great people in my life!

I somehow managed to not take a single picture. Lame! If a race photo ends up half decent I'll post it later.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where I was on September 11, 2001

I was 5 1/2 months pregnant with my youngest child and partial bed rest, meaning I did as little as I could. Lee's niece, Lindsy, was living with us during her senior in high-school. She was getting ready for school and I'd just woken up Breanna who was in second grade. A neighbor boy, Josh Crittenden, sometimes got a ride with Lindsy in the morning and he came to the front door and told us a plane had just hit a building in New York. I turned on the TV and we all watched the live report. I had no doubt it was a horrible accident. How could a plane go off course like that?

Smoke was pouring out the building, they were talking about all the people trapped on the top floors and then while we watched, a second plane hit a second building. We all went quiet--the whole world did as all doubt that this was an accident disappeared. Lindsy and Josh left for school, I finished getting Breanna ready. Just before she left, the first tower fell. It was horrible. I thought of all the moms who'd sent their kids to school that morning before going to work. All the people with pregnant wives or who were pregnant themselves--people like me who'd had a normal morning. I sat on the couch, watching the replay over and over again and wondering what would happen next. Then the plane hit the pentagon. And then the flight in Boston crashed into the field.

I had never been so grateful to live in little Willard, Utah. I felt safe here. I watched all the broadcasts until I couldn't take it anymore. I cried, I prayed, I wondered what the future would be like for my children.

Six weeks later I had my last child two months early. The following April my oldest child was baptized. In June Lindsy got married. Life went on. I didn't know anyone who died in the towers. I didn't know anyone who knew anyone who died in the towers. But it did change things. My children have grown up in a world that has been at constant war. Some of Lee's family have joined the armed forces. My oldest daughter wants to go into the military. I have the same fear of the future I had then, and yet I have the same faith I had too. Faith that we are strong, that we will move forward, and faith that those people who died were embraced by loved ones on the other side. I believe the intensity of September 11th will happen again. Perhaps several times in my lifetime. It scares me to think about that. I hope that fear is a healthy one, though. That it drives me to hold my children a little tighter, and teach them a little better about what I believe life is about. I still get emotional when I think of that day, and I still pray for those who lost so much. And I still hope for the strength to endure what might come next.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon 2011 Report

On Saturday, August 27th, my sister Crystal and I ran the Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon in Cache Valley Utah. It was my second 1/2 marathon. Because I had surgery in June, my training was affected (Yeah, yeah, that's it, nothing else like laziness got in my way. Certainly not). I started running again in mid-July and was back up to 7 miles by August. I ran between 12 and 25 miles a week for the next three weeks and did my last long run (12.5) 9 days before the race. I felt ready.

Crystal came up from Southern Utah two days prior and that was great too, she is so much to fun to hang out with and we really enjoy our time together. Friday afternoon we drove up to Providence and stood in line for our goodie bag with our number, some coupons and our shirt. The shirt was AWESOME. It was a woman's fit and I absolutely love it. I didn't know what I was going to wear until I got it, and then I knew I would be wearing that shirt. I've worn it for every run since then and am considering buying a second one if I can figure out how.

Friday night we carbed up on spaghetti and salad and ice cream. I over-hydrated myself which meant I was up every hour most the night to use the bathroom--not sure I will do that again. I did not sleep great and finally took 1/2 a Tylenol PM. I slept about four hours, but I felt good when I got up. We left my house in Willard at 4:50 and stood in line for a good 20 minutes waiting to get on the bus. At one point we both popped out of line to use the bathrooms, but that was scary cause it was dark and there were two thousand people there and we got close to losing one another, but we reconnected, got on the bus, and headed up the canyon and drank our 5 hour energies.

It was getting lighter by the time we arrived and since we are girls and we were nervous, we got in line for the bathrooms again. They had lots of port a potties which was so appreciated. Just as we got up to our 'turn' in line, they told us to start lining up. We are seasoned pros and therefore smirked as people took off from the lines they'd been waiting in for the potties to get in line. We knew there was still a good ten minutes. We took our second pit stop and mosied over to the starting line. TOU put up signs that helped the runners 'seed' themselves based on how fast they expected to be. This was a great idea, I thought, and we got in line but then spotted another bathroom and thought 'what the hell' let's go one more time. It was a chipped run, meaning you have a microchip that's activated once you cross the starting line. Until you cross the line, your clock doesn't start. We used the bathrooms and because of our time-takingness we were the very last two people to cross the line. But this is brilliant, in my opinion, because you only pass people for the first little while.

The canyon was awesome. It was beautiful, only a few annoying cars that couldn't figure out how to pass 2,600 people (losers!), downhill but not a steep grade. For most of the canyon part there was a breeze that was just right. At the six mile mark I stopped to use the potties (Yes, I'm paranoid) and made squinty eyes at all the men who would just hop of the trail for thirty seconds and then hop back on. Not fair, but I can buy cuter running clothes so I guess it all works out.

After that pit stop, which took about 6 minutes, I set my cap to catch up with Crystal and was feeling pretty dang good. The sun came up over the mountain at about mile 8. I no like running in the sun and I could honestly feel my energy begin to plummet after that. We entered some neighborhoods at the base of the canyon with blessed shade and at mile 9 I took a GU packet and some water. I caught up to Crystal at mile 10 and didn't feel like the GU kicked in. By mile 11 I was really struggling. I was starting to feel sick to my stomach and the blasted sun was killing me. We'd been running for two hours by that point and I was barely getting my feet off the ground. Thank goodness for Crystal. She kept me talking and reminded me to lift my knees and keep my arms moving.

At mile 12 we caught up with a friend of Crystals who had slowed to a walk. Crystal cheered her on too. She ran with us until the last 1/2 mile when she finally had to walk again. I was seriously sick by this point and although I could see the finish line, I did not know that I was going to make it. It was the hardest mile I have ever run. Crystal was a trooper though and just kept pumping me up. Finally when there was only about 200 yards left I told Crystal to go and she was able to move ahead. I hope I wasn't holding her back. I don't know that I've ever been so relieved when I finally crossed that finish line. They handed me the snazzy medal and Crystal was there to hug me. She's fabulous. then we went on the hunt for water. We could see people with cups but couldn't tell where it was, which was really frustrating. There were two thousand people milling around this tiny area and it felt like it took forever for us to find the water and food station. They had some fruit and rolls and fat boy ice cream sandwiches. All I wanted was a banana and lots of water. I was really feeling icky.

They did prize drawing for an hour. The prizes were awesome, and they were running it quickly, but it was still an hour and I felt like absolute garbage by the time they finished. The trophies were awesome--little native American metal cut outs on natural stone. I didn't even come close to winning one but they were cute and unique.

After the prizes (of which neither of us won) We headed to Jamba Juice for smoothies and Einstein's for bagels. Yum, Yum. We ate and rehashed the race and figured out everything they needed to do to improve it while agreeing it was still a good run. Then we headed home.

Now, as a little aside, my dad was a track coach when I was younger which meant as a teenager I had no choice but to hate running because he loved it. I also hated avocados and artichokes for the same reason. I grew up, love avocados and artichokes and ... running. When he was track coach at Taylorsville High he created what he called the Buick club based on the fact that when someone throws up, they make a sound kind of like the word Buick. He made up t-shirts and when one of his runners ran so hard they pukes, they got a shirt. It was very cool.

I have never run hard enough to buick. Never. There's only been a time or two that I ran hard enough to feel queasy. However, on the way home from the run the queasy I'd felt since mile 12 started getting worse. I tried to ignore it but about the time we came around the bend and I could see Mantua reservoir I knew I was not going to make it home. I announced my situation to Crystal and then started pulling over. I made it about ten yard off the highway before I lost my smoothie and bagel into the sagebrush. I had officially joined the Buick club. It wasn't nearly as cool as I thought it was when my dad made up those shirts, though.

Crystal drove the rest of the way home and shortly thereafter Lee took all our kids to the pool in North Ogden. The goal was to shower and sleep while they were gone. The shower part was great, but though I laid there for an hour, I couldn't sleep. Instead, I got myself a coke Slurpee on my way to the pool to relieve Lee (He's working on his Master's degree and has homework all the time). I stayed at the pool for a few hours while Crystal cleaned the house for a BBQ (certainly my being gone wasn't part of a bigger plan :-) We had a great BBQ and then we went to bed. I couldn't sleep again, but took another 1/2 a Tylenol PM and manged to get a little bit.

I had an awesome Sunday nap, though.

So, all in all, it was a good run on a great course. I wish I'd trained better (I only ran three times a week) and I wish it hadn't been so hot. I wish the water station had been easier to find at the end, but other than that it was great. I would like to run it again. My time was not great, 2:30:29--8 minutes slower than my time at the Snow Canyon 1/2 last year, but I'd only had 6 weeks to train after my gall bladder surgery and I'm 5 pounds heavier.

Crys and I are trying to find another 1/2 to do this fall/winter and I'm working hard to improve my time.

BUT I can officially say "I ran Top of Utah and I have the shirt to prove it!"

Friday, September 02, 2011

iPad Contest, Wanna enter?

I am so excited for the release of Pumpkin Roll! This book will be published by, Shadow Mountain, my publishers national imprint and have better availability nationwide. In addition, Deseret Book has recently added their own ebook line, DB Bookshelf, which is available a free app for iPhone, iPad, and iPad Touch. To celebrate these exciting events for us, Shadow Mountain and I are sponsoring a contest for a new iPad2 as part of the national launch for Pumpkin Roll. There are multiple ways to enter between now and November 1, 2011. Winners will be announced and notified November 3th 2011.

How to enter:

*Leave a comment on a participating blog
*Become a participating blog and post about the contest
*Post contest or book release announcement on Social Networks
*Pre-order or purchase a copy of Pumpkin Roll
*Enter drawing at a Live Event
*Answer a question from Chapter One of Pumpkin Roll available at

Click HERE for detailed entry information.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Winner--Diana!

Thanks to everyone who entered the first round of the Book Bloggers Cookbook contest. We had 15 entries, each of whom are still eligible for the Kindle portion of the contest, and of those "Diana" was the winner of the cookbook and a signed copy of Lemon Tart. Diana, please contact me at and I'll get your address information so we can get the books to you.

Don't forget that the second phase of this contest for a brand new Kindle e-reader is still open until July 22nd. To enter, leave a comment on the original post, HERE, before July 22nd. You can get additional entries by posting about the contest on Facebook, Twitter, and your own blog. Go to that original post for more information.

Thanks for participating, y'all. Also, don't forget the Countdown to Summer. The drawing takes place in just a few more days, don't miss your chance to win!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wanna Kindle? Wanna Cookbook?

 A few months ago, I was contacted by Christy Dorrity about a project she was working on—a Book Blogger cookbook with recipes from authors. She wanted to know if I would like to participate with my book, Lemon Tart and it's featured recipe. Yes I did! That project is now a Kindle e-book and available on for the amazing price of 2.99. I bought my copy last week and am very, very impressed with both the recipes and the overall format and design of this book. The books pared with recipes are awesome and include, The Maze Runner, The Hourglass Door, Wings, and Princess at the Midnight Ball. This was my first Kindle cook book, but what a great one to start with!

I also have the opportunity to blog about the book, Christy, and give you the chance to enter a couple promotional contests. The first contest will be for a copy of the ebook and a copy of my book featured there, Lemon Tart--only those who comment on this post will be entered. In addition to that contest, by commenting here you will also be entered into a larger contest to win your own Kindle and some books from Book Bloggers. To enter both contests, just leave a comment in the comment thread of this post. The winner of my contest will be chosen on Monday, June 20th. The winner of the overall contest will be drawn on July 22nd. You can get more entries through spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blog--just come back here and tell us where you talked it up, your entries will be counted.
AND, if that isn’t enough, I got to interview Christy for this blog, which was a lot of fun. So, without further ado, here’s a little more about the project straight from the top:

What inspired this idea?
When I started a blog, the two things I wanted to write about were food and books.  I saw a contest on Debbie’s blog over at Cranberry Fries <>  that challenged readers to make a cake based on the Hunger Games series.  I love the idea of putting food and reading together to create an experience.

Right now this is a Kindle book, do you anticipate other formats in the future?
Hmmm. It’s hard to say. I would love to  publish it in hard copy at some point.  In fact, I did approach a few publishers about the cookbook. Although there was interest, I really feel that the book is better suited to ebook. There are links to bloggers’ and authors’ websites in the cookbook that would be clumsy in a hard bound copy.

How did you choose which authors you asked to participate?
When I started my blog I didn’t have the cookbook in mind so I read whatever I was interested in. From the books I reviewed in the past year, I chose the twenty books that I thought would appeal to a wide, mainstream audience.  Each book in the Book Blogger’s Cookbook is one that I highly recommend.

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your personal level of skill in the kitchen?
Ha! Right now I am a busy mom and writer, and gourmet often consists of macaroni and cheese from a box.  But I love to try new recipes, especially desserts.  I would rate myself an 8.  My husband and I plan to attend cooking school in the distant future.  Perhaps then I will be a 10.

What is YOUR favorite personal recipe and why?
One of my favorite recipes I recently paired with Elana Johnson’s book Possession <> .  I call it Jagged Ham <>  and it’s the perfect recipe-easy to make, and everyone loves it.  My other stand-by recipe is a cookie recipe that one of my college roommates shared with me.  My son recently made a batch that cooked up 12 dozen!

Do you have any ideas for a follow up project?
You bet. The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook is the first in a volume of books that will be published every summer.  

For more information about the featured books and how to order the book for just $2.99, go to The Book Blogger website for all the details!

Thank you, Chrissy, for the chance to participate. I wish you guys the very best.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Hello? ( tap, tap) Is This Thing on?

When I was a younger mom and my kids were little I couldn't wait until they were older and all in school so I would have more time to get things done. I was certain nothing was harder than raising young children and trying to keep up with them.

Ignorance was bliss.

I had no idea that as I got older, my interests, abilities, and goals would increase in direct proportion to my children's interests, abilities, and goals. My world was smaller back then, as was theirs, and now they are exploring and I'm the ball boy running hither and yon trying to keep the game in motion. I think I've finally accepted the truth many people have tried to tell me--it doesn't get easier, the playingfield just changes.

But some things haven't changed. I'm still trying to get them to do things my way--although I lose more than I used to. I'm still trying to get them to bed at a decent hour--although that's now midnight instead of 9:30. I'm still trying to get them to finish their dinners--although dinner is frozen pizza more often than it's a casserole. And I'm still trying to teach them what's right and wrong--only they can make those choices for themselves more than they used to.

This year has been a whirlwind but I'm giving up the fantasy that it's going to stop anytime soon. I guess that's okay, I just need to keep the goggles on and be ready for anything.

So in the process of the madness, I haven't kept up with my blog as well as I'd have liked. I love blogging, and I love reading blogs but there is not more room in this ten gallon hat of mine. So I'll be here, and I hope to see familiar faces in the comments when I do, but I understand that life takes so much that there isn't always much left over.

I hope life is treating you all well or that, like me, you're managing to keep up, if just barely.

Happy Summer, all.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

*My sister Lizz shared this poem with me last week and I loved it. I must be growing up because what I once thought was beautiful is morphing. Maybe that's my own middle-age justification coming through, but ... so what? It feels good to notice beautiful eyes on someone who is relatively average or note a nice shape even if it's not a size 2. It's nice to look in the mirror and not mind the imperfections that once made me crazy (now they only make me crazy half the time :-). I thought this poem summed up what really makes a woman wonderful--the last stanza (probably the wrong word) is my favorite and I believe as we embrace this kind of confidence, life just gets better. I know it's something I'm working on. Enjoy~!

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome 2011--Now, what will I do with you?

**I accidentally posted this to the wrong blog--so surprising, right?--so I am reposting it here for my own journalling purposes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again and again and again :-) I enjoy setting goals. I do get annoyed when I don't meet them the way I plan to, but can take pride in "Working Toward" rather than simply "Did It" and that's the spirit in which I shall report on 2010 and lay out my goals for 2011.

1--Lose 5 pounds --um. . . not only did I not lose five pounds, I gained ten. I am at my highest non-pregnancy weight of my adult life.

How do I feel about that?

I'm not even going to embarrass myself by answering. How does anyone woman feel about having 10 extra pounds?


2--Run a 10K --I did not run a 10K, but I DID run a half marathon, which had been a 2009 goal I hadn't met that year.

How do I feel about that?

Stinkin' Awesome! I continued to have knee problems, but I resolved them. In March of 2010 I signed up for a triathlon and a 1/2 marathon spur of the moment . . . then ended up with major surgery in July that made both events impossible. But my sister, Crystal, ran a half and watching her do it kept my fire lit. Following surgery I was able to train for a November race and and not only did I complete the marathon, but I ran the whole thing. My final time was 2:22 and I could not be more pleased with that time. It was a fabulous, wonderful, confidence boosting experience.

3--Love better --I really made it a focus to love the people around me, and learn more about love. I discovered that when I'm judging people, I can't love them. So, the root of love was not being so dang judgmental. And this lended itself toward judging myself as well and therefore loving myself better.

How do I feel about that?

Really good. I'm very proud of myself for working on this--it didn't just happen. It took focus, it took prayer, and it took working through some very hard emotional baggage that was getting in the way of my ability to truly trust people, which is a big part of love for me. Not only do I feel good about what I accomplished, I am so very grateful for having set it as a goal in the first place. It was a little ambiguous a goal to set and yet the results are solid and life changing. I still have distance to cover, but I made some profound discoveries and feel good about that.

4--Read 50 books. --I did not read 50 books. I was probably closer to 35.

How do I feel about that?

Disappointed. I really wanted to read more this year and instead I think I read less than I did last year. I'm only counting books I finish, and I bet I started 15 books that simply didn't hold my interest. That's disappointing, and yet I read some wonderful books that I really enjoyed. For instance, I discovered Kate Morton, who has a beautiful way with words. I read Train to Potevka which was wonderful, and The Message which was also very good. So, while I didn't meet my goal of 50 books, I'm still glad I set it and worked toward it.

5--Cook dinner. --I had hoped to cook dinner 4-5 times a week. I didn't do this consistently and probably averaged 2-3, which is more than it was in 2009 but not what I was shooting for.

How do I feel about that?

Frustrated. I love to cook and I love food and I love to eat with my family, so not fulfilling this goal means I missed out on three things I love. I am glad I improved and that's encouraging but I had hoped to make it more of a priority and I didn't do that.

6--Write at least 1 hour a day, 6 days a week. --HA--I did not even get close to this one. I started out strong, but it completely fell apart come March. Everything this year felt rushed and my writing was no different. I ended up doing most of my writing in chunks of time I had to carve out of regular life. Daily writing hasn't happened for me in months.

How do I feel about that?

Angry. Not sure why that's the one word answer, but that's how I feel. It should not be THAT hard for me to find 1 hour a day to write, and I know from experience that when I write this way I am much more calm and focused on my writing. I'm angry that I didn't make more time...and yet, this was a really tough year in a lot of ways and I did complete two novels and make good progress on another one. The result, therefore, was still good, but I would have liked a better process.

So, what's in store for 2011:

1--Love my body. Though I gained weight this year, and I'm not thrilled about that, I had several experiences this year that made me realize how unappreciative I am for the body I have. Both in regard to health and appearance, I am blessed and have not been kind to myself about that. This year, I'm not going to focus on weight, but instead am going to work on my fitness and my feelings toward the body I have, which is a gift from my Father in Heaven and deserves to be treated as such.

2--Run a 1/2 marathon in 2:10. That would be 12 minutes off my time, which would be almost a minute per mile faster than I did the one this year.

3--Complete 3 novels. I'm almost half way in one, another is started and another is only a pipe dream, but I want to finish them all by the end of the year.

4--52 Thank you cards. I often have the thought to send a thank you card to people, I have lots of thoughts, but I don't send many because the process to do so takes more time than I can find. I've recently started using an online greeting card company that sends real cards and it makes it so easy that I can take that thought and make it into an action without too much trouble. I have so many wonderful people in my life that I'm excited to do a better job at showing them. One thank you card a week shouldn't be that hard to do. (I also learned that Melanie Jacobsen is working on a book with this title, which is super awesome.)

5--Keep a better house. I've really let myself and my family fall into bad habits of not cleaning up after ourselves but I have pushed it to the back burner because it's not the most important thing I've needed to deal with. However, I feel better when my house is picked up and I feel that I have the ability and the commitment to do better this year.

6--Develop and follow a menu plan. I need to organize my dinner plans and have things on hand so I can make meals without having to take a trip to the store.

7--Expand and keep up on my freelance work. I have been able to develop my writing abilities through freelance work in the past, and I really enjoy it--both the challenge and the security of knowing I can write in a variety of ways. I didn't do much in 2010 and want to keep it fresh this year. I'd like to submit 4 articles in 2011 and keep my eyes open for other opportunities.

I think that will do it--if I can make progress on all of these things, I will consider 2011 a success!