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Friday, November 30, 2012

"Diet" Decisions

I have been amazing this week! I am so excited that I was able to run two more days of C25K (Couch to 5K). I also did one day of strength training. It's full body and I used my weights for the first time in months! I am sore from my heal to the top of my head (it isolated behind my eye). My entire right side aches. That kind of sucks but I'm still proud of myself for sticking it out.

My personal fitness is a point of concern for me because my ability to function is reliant on my health. I was reading some posts on a friends Facebook status and got some excellent pointers:

A Jenny wrote: successful weight loss is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise. Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat. Muscle is greater in density. Make sure you are consuming minimum of 72oz of water per day! Make sure you are consuming enough calories per day. If you are not, you are putting your body into starvation mode. What you do eat, your body will hold on to and store as fat because it doesn't know when you are going to feed it again. Versus when you eat every 2-3 hours your body knows its ok to expend that "energy" because it will be replaced.

This is very good advice and I'm going to take it.

One thing I mentioned is that for good health and weight loss, AND for a vegetarian, gluten free lifestyle I recommend green smoothies and juices. My brother and his wife, who practice a lot of vegan and gluten free eating styles said I could make the smoothies in my food processor with the blade attachment. I have never tried that so now I have no excuse not to take my own advice!

I'm not sure what goes in the green smoothies but I know Kale is nasty stuff and that seems to be a key ingredient to the best/healthiest juices and smoothies. I'd like to have something else if anyone has suggestions.

I like spinach and cucumbers. I'm good with most fruit, especially apples and berries.I guess I'm going to have to start researching and figuring out how to do this and stay away from the cookie dough. ::sigh:: Yes, that's what I've had this week. The sweet craving usually hits me in the afternoon then I can skip dinner. I don't skip breakfast but I can go without eating pretty much after 4.

I also know that carbs mess with me and I have to be careful. I can't seem to go without them anymore like I could before (the Fibro diagnosis). I haven't quite figured out the connection yet and that annoys me. (LOL)

So my focus is on the 80% nutrition. Getting the amount of water I need. I'm usually good with my water drinking but I haven't been measuring it lately. So I need to be sure whatever I eat is enough calories to keep my body from starving, and that my carb calories come from fruit and vegetables.

So here we go! Fitness, health and wellness, in spite of the holiday craziness. Bring it on!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Benefits of Gratitude!

Here is another cheat. 

I got this image at this website

This is "The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life" I talked about in my Gratitude post last week.

Look at that! It's incredible! He even has a free book you can download.

Be Grateful for something today!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why I Write.

Not so many days ago I wrote about why I'm not writing and today I am going to talk about why I Write. Why do I torture myself with the attempts? A few things pop into my head immediately but I am going to limit this to a Top 5 because... while I don't believe I will "win" Nano this year [insert AWWWWs here] I feel that I "won" because it's the end of the month and I am consciously making time and effort toward writing.
For me that's winning.

1. It's what I've always wanted to do.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. Stories appeal to me. I don't even know when it started. The first book I truly remember reading that "spoke" to me was Little House in the Big Woods which I read in one day when I was in 2nd grade (I think). I went back and got the next book. And so on
The first attempts at writing that I remember were first an adaptation of A Christmas Carol (6th grade). Not sure what happened with that but I know it was a school thing. The next thing I remember writing is a sequel to a random book from a series The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (by 8th grade). I think it was a book I must have read over and over because I remember weird details (like how the mom would hide pennies for the duster-child to find, thus they received their payment for a job well done--brilliant idea!)... 
Where was I?
Oh, right. The sequel. It was a romance. Of course. My one True Love, True Love

2. I can't stop the ideas.
I dream them. I see someone and create a character. Sometimes someone else tells me a dream or an experience and I think, You can't make this stuff up! The women are strong. The men are Alpha-males (my favorite... have you met Superman?). The sub-characters are awesome. The only thing is I cannot tell a story to save my life. I am a horrible joke teller... but apparently I can write. 

3. I can write.
There is no essay test I haven't aced. It's true. I know how to write. I've been told I comma splice and sentence fragment but... whatever. If there is an essay involved, I am guaranteed a good grade. I figured that out early on and that's how I passed World History in high school. English was always my favorite subject and maybe not grammar and punctuation but the reading? Wow. Love. LOVE love!

4. I love stories.
Movies, TV, radio, magazines, books, the backs of cereal boxes... yep. I love them. I love stories. I love analyzing them. I love commenting. I love characters and settings and suspense and mystery. Love stories. I love Love Stories! For a while I did not believe in love but then I met Superman. He is absolutely the love of my life. I know I'm lucky (blessed) to have found him. I did not think I would. For a little while, after we were first married, I couldn't read my Romances because they paled in comparison to my own life. It's true! So what better story to tell than that of True Love? 

5. I want Women to believe in themselves, to love themselves and believe they are worthy of True Love.
I don't care if that sounds corny, it's the truth. I know many women that do not believe in love. Maybe they were thwarted, maybe they just never found it, maybe they just believe they aren't worthy of a Superman. I don't know, what I do know is that Women Rock and they don't know it.
I don't consider myself a feminist in the traditional sense (Femi-Nazi--beh!) but I think Women need other Women to lead the way to self discovery. I think Women don't tap into their true power and allow themselves to Be all they can Be. I have worked very hard to be ME and it's amazing. I want to share that with as many people (women and those who love women) as possible. 
That's why I write this blog. That's why I want to write Women's fiction or Romance.
Because Women need people like me to guide them to the truth. Or at least entertain them and give them hope.

Thank you to London Mabel who mentioned Brene' Brown.

So... that's why. FYI.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beauty Is As Beauty Does.

My momma did not always say that but my Beautiful mother was never so preoccupied with Being Beautiful that she forgot to be a good person. AAMOF (As A Matter Of Fact), I submit that my mother is every whit as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside... maybe more so. 
And yes, I'm biased.
Sue me.

So for today's thought-provoking beauty post I give you this:

(Stolen from a FB friend.)

Have a Happy and Beautiful Day!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Global Warming.

In general I think extremism is poppycock and I think it's insane to get all hyper about controversial stuff. Until recently I believed that "global warming" was a bunch of stuff and nonsense ...and in some ways I still do... but the issue is generating some good things that need doing so I'm not sure if jumping on the tree-hugging-environmentalist bandwagon is necessarily a bad thing.

I definitely believe in the National Park and National Preserve program. I think it was a great thing Roosevelt (both of them) did to create them and enhance them. I do not like that they have turned Yosemite and Yellowstone into tourist spots where the natural beauty has been altered to the point of near destruction (some parts are destroyed, the natural beauty and wildlife that once lived there is gone completely).

Some articles I have read recently discuss the impact of humans on nature. This article talks about Greenhouse Gasses. Those are the bad ones. Those are the ones created by the burning of fuels and the resulting toxic gas is released into the atmosphere and causes a "warming" effect.

Another article I read discusses the ozone layer, which was a big hulla-baloo when I was a kid, and how the whole is getting smaller. This is a good thing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to (Not) Be a Writer

This is really going to be about what I'm not doing that Writers are supposed to do. I am not doing it because of various reasons. I suppose I could do a Top 5 Reasons why I'm Not Writing ... and How to Fix That! 

1. Guilt: 
Yep. I feel guilty about writing. Especially fiction writing. I wrestled with my genre (Romance) for years and years and decided that I am not a writer of "women's porn" but of Empowering Women to embrace their sexuality, their femininity and their POWER as women. I do not believe that Women understand their influence and significance. I want to give that to them. I feel guilty because I do not always remember either. So who am I to talk about such things? Yet, the more I write about them the more I believe and remember myself. 

Also, I am constantly reminded that my first priorities are my family. They are very time consuming. I hide from those responsibilities on occasion. The way I hide? Watching TV & movies, reading books and sleeping. 

There it is. All laid out for your inspection and chastisement. 

2. I turn off the voices.
The crazies in the attic, the girls in the basement, whatever you want to call them; they are there and I have learned to shut them off. It's not my internal "editor" I worry so much about but my ability to shut off the source of my stories. They are there; the characters, the settings, sometimes even the sub-characters like cats and horses and even cars. They talk to me and I shut them off. I can't do that right now, is what I tell myself and so I do the laundry, I make dinner, I turn off the computer so Superman can sleep and turn the voices off. So I have forgotten how to tap into my "magic." It's there but I've learned to shut it down.

3. Time:
I have the time. My kids are all in school. I have approximately five un-interrupted hours of work time four days a week (Superman is home on Fridays and I cannot shut out the world when he is home--that's just how it is). Yet, I am able to occupy that time by fretting over dishes, laundry and watching "my shows." (See #1 above about how I can "waste time.") 

4. Fear of Success:
Yep. That's another one. Not the, Oh My, what will do with the billions and billions of dollars I make when my book goes viral (like Twilight!). Hell No. I don't believe that will happen to me for a second (don't want it to!) but what if I write one book and it doesn't sell (failure) OR what if I do sell it then I have to stick to deadlines and due dates--which I'm not so good at. This is one reason why I have made the commitment to write every day in my blog. Because if I can do that then I can be successful at whatever I want to do (which I do believe I can, in my heart) and I won't let someone down. I have failed at the daily posting thing but I am getting better. Also, by making myself write SOMETHING every day I am writing every day, and every day I write ANYTHING I am closer to my dream

I want to believe I CAN DO THIS. It doesn't matter what anyone else believes (if I can or if I can't), If I Don't Believe It, It's Not Going To Happen. End of story.

5. Not Writing:
I open the Word program and it sits there. I don't go in. If I do it's to Thesaurus a word for my blog. I will start a blog post in there (sometimes, lately I've just been writing right into the Blogger program) but my own ideas, my fiction? No. I'm not doing it. And that is the killer. I just have to do it. The first day of NaNoWriMo I opened it up and wrote gobbly-gook until I figured it out and started writing. I like dialogue but I'm not so good at exposition (sometimes a good thing) so where is the dialogue taking place? My characters are "real" to me so it's not about not knowing my characters. I just need to let them loose and not be afraid of the process


Being a "real" writer always starts with "butt in chair" and ends with "finished product." Not necessarily ending with "publication" or "sale" which is fine with me, Finished Product would be sufficient to make me content. Satisfied. 

Finishing stuff makes me a Real Writer

When I grow up (Lord, help me to Grow Up!) I want to be a Real Writer. 

The End.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Why it's okay to be fat!

It turns out that researchers are discovering that being fat is not necessarily a bad thing.

This report talks about the same gene that causes obesity also fights against depression!

"They" have also discovered that "even" if you are Obese (even morbidly Obese) exercise is so beneficial that it can counteract some of the "bad things" that obesity causes, like diabetes. (Thank you Betty Fokker for posting about this!)
Who Knew?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks.

There is no way I could let this day go by without talking about Giving Thanks and Gratitude! Rather than think about the Pilgrims that came here I spend this day thinking about the subsequent generations that may or may not have made the best choices, but those choices have led to my being able to enjoy a life free of tyranny and oppression. Unlike some, I have lived in other countries. I can say without hesitation that I am proud to be an American. I am proud to live in the United States. I am grateful for those who gave their lives so I can be free to pursue happiness in my life and encourage my children to be whoever they want to be.

For me Thanksgiving is about Family. Yes, of course it's about Food, yummy Yummy food! However, I also think about those who are no longer with us. I think fondly of holidays past when we laughed and shared moments that are indelible memories and can never be taken from me. One of the reasons I love the Winter Holidays is because from Halloween on we are encouraged give, give thanks, give of ourselves and yes, give gifts (which I believe should be a reflection of love and gratitude for a person, not a monetary symbol). 

Giving of yourself is the greatest gift you can give a person. Be thankful today for someone who gave for you; a mother, a soldier, an historical figure, a religious leader. While Thanksgiving is a holiday particular to America (Canada has one in October--we call it Columbus Day) I believe every day should be a day of thanks. And if you don't believe me then check out this website! I am going to spend the next few weeks checking out what this guy has to say about Gratitude and how it can change your life. I know it did for me. I know it can for anyone who wants to find greater joy and peace.

Happy Thanksgiving and may all your days be filled with thanks!

Season of Sanctification: Day 7 & 8

Tuesday and Wednesday, November 21-22

1. Christmas Movie: Tuesday we traveled, so no movie. Wednesday I watched half of two movies we found on the Hallmark Channel. I love that my mom and I like the same kinds of shows!
First we caught the second half of Christmas Song which I really liked. Glee style stuff. I recognized the girl from Eli Stone but nobody else. 
Then we watched The Case for Santa Claus with cutie Dean Cain and Rachel Blanchard (of Clueless the TV show fame). Super cute & the girl is still adorable. 

2. House & Home: Tuesday we traveled. I cleaned my bathroom and the kitchen. I made sure the washer was empty before we left. I am happy that we will be coming home to a clean house. Although I will be doing laundry for a while... catch-up, the funnest game for Mom! Said no mother, ever.

Wednesday I helped as much as I could with dinner prep and making sure my mother was not bothered. I also dusted the downstairs (which I am sure nobody noticed). I tried to make myself available to my mother even though I was in a lot of Fibro pain. I finally got into the jacuzzi (because I could) just before dinner and felt much better. I feel even better today! 

3. Write: Not much either day. Traveling and subsequent travel-exhaustion are lame.

4. Serve: Tuesday I tried to help Superman with getting everything ready. He had the boys wash the car (Really?), took Snap for a haircut (Really?) before packing. He was frazzled as usual for a travel day for us. We arrived in St. George too late for dinner but Grandma had some stuff available, including the yummiest eggnog ever made! (Southern Comfort brand, really.)

Wednesday I tried to be available, as I said, for dinner and etc. I don't think my children or I were bothersome (I hope). The cousins played together pretty well and took the two 10-year-olds out when I got in the jacuzzi. 

5. Pray & Read Scriptures: I feel that I am always praying. I see requests on Facebook and immediately comply with a short prayer. I currently have several people on my mind. One is a man from our area that belongs to our church and I know him from a distance. He is a good man & in need of prayers. For more information click Here.
The second one is a family I found on Facebook (I cannot remember how I found it). The father is a military man and the mother is in need of prayers. For their information click Here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review: Eloisa James "Duchess in Love"

 “A book review is a description, critical analysis, and an evaluation on the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling.”

Title: Duchess in Love

Author: Eloisa James

Publisher: Avon, Historical Fiction

Date 1st Published: 2002

Book Description 

Ambrogina Serrard, Duchess of Girton had not seen her husband, Camden Serrard, erstwhile Duke of Girton, since their wedding day when she was merely twelve years old. An eighteen-year-old rebel himself, he had snuck out the window and escaped to the continent leaving Gina to fend for herself against his father and her mother. He did not return home for his father’s funeral but would return home to grant Gina an annulment so she could marry her love; Sebastian, Marquess Bonnington.

Ensconced in the English countryside at a houseparty, Gina and her friends strive to both avoid and attract their estranged husbands. Hilarity, miscommunication and midnight trysts ensue. While trying to prove that her “fiance’” won’t stop loving her after marriage, she unwittingly inspires, of all things, the love of her “husband.”

An illegitimate Duchess, hypocritical aristocracy much lust and some love, death, pregnancy, scandal and naked sculptures make this novel both fun and semi-typical.

Critical analysis and evaluation on quality, meaning and significance:

While this proverbial “romp” in the English countryside is both enjoyable and intriguing, it is not Georgette Heyer. But I don’t want to compare Eloisa James to the Historical romance goddess, and I’ll just say that I liked this book; I was not bored, I did not find it too predictable and the setting was fun. I found some editing mistakes but I suppose those always exist.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that there is much meaning and significance in this work. I really can’t use that measure for my fun fiction so I’m going to have find a different appraisal strategy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 6 of 40


1. Christmas Movie:

2. House & Home: Leave. Arrive in St. George with love and happiness and lots of family togetherness! Woot!

3. Write: Happy with the awesome beauty blog post.

4. Serve:

5. Pray & Read Scriptures

Say it, "I am Beautiful!"

Lots of reasons to talk about why you are beautiful. If you are a parent then it is imperative that you share with your children (boys or girls, IMO) that you believe that you are beautiful.

Beauty is so much more than physical appearance. True beauty is a reflection on the outside of who you are on the inside. Physical scars, time, age, disfigurement are all outer signs of enduring. Embrace your beauty and share YOU with others, most importantly with your children.
I recently read an amazing post and since I cannot do it justice I am reposting. (You can see it on the original site here.)

I've started telling my girls I'm beautiful by Amanda

I've started telling my girls that I think I'm beautiful. It's been so easy to tell them how beautiful THEY are, because it's obvious. They are the thing beauty is made of. They are the reason we started worshipping beauty. They sparkle and dance. When they're sleeping, they turn into soft cloud babies, little perfect tufts of white on the moonlight.

There are a lot of people like me. Women who know things. Women who have seen things. Women with diseases in their livers. There are a lot of women with scars on their arms and words that carry themselves like sparrows. There are women who were too big for this town, who had their backs bent carrying things like religion and a history that originated somewhere in the crook of a branch that extended over a stream. A place where a patch of the sky was visible through the leaves, where a little girl let her bare leg dangle too far down.

There are a lot of people like me, because we're all the same. We're all blood and electricity. We're lonely under the gaze of god. We're all wet with dew and swallowing hard against DO THIS, CONSUME, SHUT UP and BE AFRAID to die.

All of you women with lines on your brow, with cracks between your fingers… it's been a long winter. All of you, you are beautiful and so am I.

The thing is, my children are perfect. I am the grown up, so I'm supposed to show them everything about life. When they wake up in the morning, though, I stare at them and they're new. They teach me everything. They are babies and they teach me what it means to be a person. It's easy to see that they're beautiful.

I am slow and I am tired. I am round and sagging. I am harried. I am sexless. I am getting older.

I am beautiful. How can this be? How can any of this be true?
I don't want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that's what women do. That's what mommy did. I want them to become women who remember me modeling impossible beauty. Modeling beauty in the face of a mean world, a scary world, a world where we don't know what to make of ourselves.

"Look at me, girls!" I say to them. "Look at how beautiful I am. I feel really beautiful, today."

I see it behind their eyes, the calculating and impression. I see it behind their shining brown eyes, how glad they are that I believe I am beautiful. They love me. To them, I am love and guidance and warm, soft blankets and early mornings. They have never doubted how wonderful I am. They have never doubted my beauty. How confusing it must have been for them to see me furrowing my brow in the mirror and sucking in my stomach and sighing.

How confusing it must have been to have me say to them, "You think I am beautiful, but you are wrong. You are small and you love me, so you're not smart enough to know how unattractive I am. I know I am ugly because I see myself with mean eyes. You are my child and I love you, but I will not allow myself to be pretty, for you. No matter how shining you are when you watch me brushing my hair and pulling my dress over my head. No matter how much you want to be just like me, I can't be beautiful for you and I don't know why."

It's working, a little bit. I've even stopped hating myself, a little bit.

I'll be what they see. They see me through eyes of love. I'd do anything for them, even this.

I am beautiful.

No matter your scars, external and internal, it's important to recognize them for being part of you. The things you experience be it suffering or joy, create who you are now. Who you are now is becoming who you will be and being is Beautiful.

Say it again, "I am Beautiful!"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Because... First of all... 5/40

Honestly not feeling it today.

So much to do. so many people home. Such a small house. I think I'm going to post my blog, pack my bag for the trip and just call it a night. I'm mentally and emotionally zapped.

Have I shared the First of all story yet? I have I repost this loveliness from August 15, 2011!

Several years ago my friend (Gypsy) and I joined an online group called “Crappy Advice.” The premise was , obviously, that the group would give you tongue in cheek (aka "crappy") advice to your posted problems. I proceeded to complain about some issues I was having with the PTA I was currently involved with at the time. The response I received began with, “First of all, you have too many children, get rid of a few.”

Yeah. I laughed. A lot. And now, whenever I feel overwhelmed all I have to say is, “First of all…” and my friend gets it! I have five children. All mine. All delivered naturally with virtually no medication. All with the same father, to whom I am still married, happily.
The pressure to be a good parent is enormous. My idea of good parenting is having a good relationship with my children so that they know no matter what I love them. I also believe in a bit of a loose leash. I try to trust them until they break that trust. Truth be told I am sure that some think I’m not a good parent but fortunately I only worry about what I think (and God, but that’s another post as well). I have been lucky in that my husband and I generally agree on discipline and expectations. There are few differences but for the most part we are united. That helps.

It is strange to me to reflect on our family when the kids were all little, in elementary school or even before and see the progression in parenting needs and style. It is very different to have four teens at home than it was to have four preschoolers. I am glad I enjoyed my children when they were little and glad I can enjoy them now. With all the challenges and trials I would not get rid of any, not even a few.

Shortly after I wrote this post Sunshine left for college. Princess left this last fall and now I have (just) three kids at home but it is still a lot of work. I joked today that I think it's going to take me until February to get caught up with my laundry... not really kidding though. I have a lot of blankets and sheets and towels that I did not wash (just washed the same few over and over) because they sucked being dried on the line. Superman and I joked about the "cardboard" towels. Yeah, it's that bad.

Anyway. I still love my kids and I am very excited to see all my family this week but yes, it's exhausting and I'm probably stressed out and anxious. Also because... First of all... 

Goal/Report for today:

1. Christmas Movie: Watched the Veggietales version of It's a Wonderful Life called It's a Meaningful Life. It was cute. I like Veggietales though. I think their Jonah movie is awesome. If you think they're too religious then ...yeah, they are. But it's Christmas!

2. House & Home: Laundry up the wazoo. Still have more to fold/sort/put away/ hang up. Oy.

3. Write: Blog? Done (once this posts--lol), Nano? Ugh. Maybe after packing if I have any energy left. Work-related? Not yet, but that's only 500 words and I might. Writing does relax me and I need to relax. I also did not do the school work I wanted to do but it's okay, I can do some of that as well or at least by Wednesday because it's technically not due until Sunday so I'm good.

4. Serve: I made some difficult phone calls today. When you get older you have to report things like friends parents deaths. It makes me sad. RIP my lovely friend. You are a wonderful person and will be missed.

5. Pray & Read Scriptures: This too may or may not be done after all is said and organized. 

Major anxiety issues today. Not sure if it's dietary or emotional or what but UGH! I do not like it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It Is A Wonderful Life! 4/40 REPORT

I don't care what anyone says, It's a Wonderful Life makes me happy no matter how many times I've seen it. I'm sure it's flawed but the indelible impression it has left on my soul makes my heart swell with joy. Yeah. It's terribly corny, I know. I can't help it. I pretty much have the entire movie memorized but I can tell you that I find something new about it every time I watch (even now, I have it on so low nobody can hear it--especially me!), which is a little nuts. 
Welcome home, Mr. Bailey...

From the very beginning when the three constellations gather to "discuss" what to do, to the definitive AH-OO-GA! horn that honks at the poor man that gazes too long at Violet Bick's arse, to the automatic pool/floor dance, to the breaking of windows... All the way to Uncle Billy's pet raven (I hate ravens!), squirrel and myriad other oddities that make Uncle Billy (including one of my favorite lines, "I'm all right! I'm all right!" copied by Kronk in the Emperor's New Groove), train whistles, anchor chains ...

It is terribly sentimental and you can take a depressing, doom & gloom point of view, like some reviewers have, or you can look at it as one man's awakening to his true character and influence. How do we know how much we may influence or affect another? Do we have to see what life would be like, not just without us, but as if we never existed? I hope I don't (which is the point btw) and by watching this movie over and over again we can learn from George's mistake (undervaluing himself) and sacrifice (there are always so many more things bigger than himself) and be better ourselves! Glory!

We cannot all have a Clarence Odbody around, can we? "You're about the kind of Guardian Angel I would get."

I know it's in black and white (they do have colorized versions if you're into that kind of bastardization of your classic movies) that adds to its charm if you ask me! This was a time when people set aside their personal selfishness for the greater good. Those kinds of values are lost on this generation.

Just a few last little tidbits of fun then I'll move on...

  • The swimming pool/gymnasium floor is real. It's located at the Beverly Hills High School.
  • Seneca Falls, NY thinks they are the model Frank Capra took to create Bedford Falls (which was all built on a lot in Encino). Subsequently they have It's A Wonderful Life Festival every December with a museum and a hotel called, The Hotel Clarence.
  • While I cannot imagine Mary being played by anyone but the impeccable Donna Reed (who was a mere 18!), actresses considered & offered before her include; Ginger Rogers, Jean Arthur & Olivia de Havilland.

  • And finally, Ward Bond, who play Bert the Cop (who may or may not be the inspiration behind "Bert" of "Bert and Ernie") was quite the character... literally! BFF to John Wayne he was the hard-working-est actor in Hollywood for 30 years and died of a massive heart attack at the age of 57.

...and equally impressive?
Bond was in the most films (seven) of the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies: It Happened One Night (1934),Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940) , The Maltese Falcon (1941), It's a Wonderful Life (1946) andThe Searchers (1956). (IMDB Ward Bond Biography)

Fascinating stuff!


1. Christmas Movie: CHECK!

2. House & Home: Folded most of the stuff that was already clean. Didn't do too much "new" stuff which was okay, better.

3. Write: eh. I'm not behind... yet.

4. Serve: Not so much unless you count making dinner for my family...

5. Pray & Read Scriptures: eh. 

Tomorrow is Monday! Although it's going to be get-it-all-done-so-we-can-leave-at-the-crack-of-dawn-Tuesday day.

Goals 4/40

Here are my Season of Sanctification Goals for today, Sunday, December 18th.

1. Christmas Movie: It's a Wonderful Life. This is my favorite movie of all time. It's not just for Christmas in my book but it's the only time my kids don't give me a hard time about it. 

2. House & Home: Unfortunately, I have to keep doing laundry today even though it's my Sabbath. I normally don't on Sundays but we are traveling and I've been behind for so long I need to at least get the things we need done. 

3. Write: getting my blog posts done ahead of time (as much as possible) so I can enjoy this holiday week and get some NaNoWriMo writing done (which I will not be doing today).

4. Serve: Sunday is a good day for service. Not sure yet what I want to do today but maybe something will "hit me" and I can report later.

5. Pray & Read Scriptures: This should be done before we have to leave at 9:00 AM-ish for our church meetings today. 

I'll report on my goals later tonight.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Report 3/40

1. Christmas Movie: I watched two today 12 Dates of Christmas with Amy Smart & Mark-Paul Gosselaar which I really liked and will probably watch again with Princess, it's her kind of movie. and Snowglobe with Christina Milian, which was mostly lame. I kept waiting for her to "wake up" ala Dorothy Gale in Wizard of Oz but she never did and so unbelievable. ::sigh:: Too bad. Anyway, it had a nice message about Family and the Perfect Christmas is whatever Your Christmas is. Tomorrow I am watching It's a Wonderful Life. Yes. I. Am!

2. House & Home: Still working on Laundry. I organized my meds (because I am afraid that I might take them twice).

3. Write: Blog is up-to-date, and now I will write & work on homework.

4. Serve: I helped Princess figure out her school strategy. Considering I don't feel well, that's the best I can do.

5. Pray & Read Scriptures: Prayed this morning. Still have time to get the scripture thing in tonight but not sure I will. Working on PM prayers because they are a challenge.

Guest Blogger: What Makes A Great Writer? Top 5

For today's blog I have another Guest Blogger!  I am excited to have my Beta beta reader to blog today about what makes a good writer. I have to say that I totally agree with her Top 5 What Makes A Great Writer (and how happy it makes me that she thinks I'm a great writer)!

Like Katrina I love a good story. I am not a snob when it comes to reading but I have my favorite authors. Here are the tops 5 things that keep me coming back.
1. A great writer draws you in from the start. Get my attention right away and hold it until the story begins to unfold. A great writer pulls me in from the first page and makes me to want to read on. I always finish what I start but if I’m not enjoying the read from the beginning I might read only a page or two a day and I probably won’t read another book by that author again.
2. A great writer has a beginning, middle and an end. This one is pretty self explanatory but for those of you who don’t get it, your story needs to flow. Also don’t leave me hanging. Having a book 2 or 3 is no excuse.
3. A great writer stays focused. I enjoy side stories woven throughout a book but leading me too far astray is frustrating and annoying.
4. A great writer uses at least a grain of truth and does his/her homework. Threads of truth help me believe in what I'm reading. Futuristic stories can reference some truth even if it is just with the use of logic. There is nothing like reading a story set in a particular time period or a real place and knowing the writer didn’t do the proper research. Especially today when with a little help from the internet everyone can be a fact checker.
5. A great writer writes with depth. I want descriptions but not so detailed that half a page goes by before the story picks up again. Being able to picture where the characters are is important. I want to feel like I know the place. Set the stage and move forward. Write characters I want to care about. I want a clear picture of what they look like, what they wear, their quirks and their personality. If you do it right I’ll feel like I know them or want to meet them or in some cases never want to meet them. Writing with that kind of depth is where the magic happens!
There really is something wonderful about reading a book. For a while I get to escape into a world outside my own. I can meet people real or imagined that I might otherwise never have the opportunity to meet. I can travel to places I might never otherwise see. I can live in a time not my own. I can be informed and sometimes expand my vocabulary. A truly great writer can make that kind of magic happen.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Doing It All... NOT! 2/40

Technically I missed yesterday but I was busy being good and doing good/right things with my time; specifically spending it with Superman. I like it. I get to do that all next week along with ALL my kids and even my extended family and probably a stranger or two. In the meantime, here is a recap for Friday...

1. Christmas Movie: I watched about 5 minutes of  "Crackling Fire" with music. Awesome. 

2. House & Home: Even though I had three kids to get out the door, myself to get ready & All-That-That-Implies, I did get laundry started and moving. Go. Me. AND the bed got made, always a good sign.

3. Write: Late blog and no fiction or work writing done. :(

4. Serve: Because I served in the temple yesterday, I did serve someone outside my family. It was kind of cool though because I got a Family File name from a friend and it turned out to be a Dutch name; Cornelia van de Vlerge--who may or may not be related to Superman's family (all 100% Dutch). Cornelia is a nice name. I am considering it for a character now...

5. Pray & Read Scriptures: No reading or studying but I did pray. I struggle with my nighttime prayers. Partly because I am in pain at night. Bummer. Working on that.

Today is Stake Conference (tonight) but I'm not feeling well. Superman got to go to Thousand Oaks with his car-show/fishing buddy. It looks like a night in because I'm not feeling well and basically put on sweats and am sitting with my laptop, in my lap. Lots to do. Homework notwithstanding.

I checked my school schedule today and turns out I have another class that I started and had to drop so I thought I had already taken it. It's Development & Learning. I think. Another doozie, in December. Loveliness. I just have to wrap my head around it early. I should have my current class done by tomorrow night (a week-ish early!) so I can enjoy my "vacation." 

I am looking forward to the holiday week. We leave for St. George, UT on Tuesday, early enough to be with the family by dinner time. That's the plan anyway. I am not tracking my eating so much although my current nausea could be because all I've had today was bagels. Western Bagel bagels but still, way too much carbs for me. 

The other thing I have done today is PLAN! I Love Planning. It's a thing. I planned through December and just short of all of January because I need to see if this method works--I am always changing how I list and plan because I haven't had anything that really worked for me since I started having kids. I love Flylady but I just can't seem to "stick" to anything. I have to rework my routines (again) and make sure I know what they are (simple but do-able) and then make sure I check my calendar every day. 
Yeah, not really my strong suit, truthfully.

So, I'm not doing it all yet, but I have plans and I have plans for those plans. IYKWIM...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Starting... 1/40

Thankful Thursday! One week away from Thanksgiving and today marks 40 days before Christmas.

I am supposed to start my 40-Day-Lenten-ish Fast aka Season of Sanctification but I want or need a new name because all those are taken, officially.

I think I'm going to be continuing my usual blogging but developing this idea as I go along. I am not fully prepared but I will do a few things purposefully because the point behind this concept is to prepare me for Christmas. I want to feel "the Christmas Spirit" or the Goodness that I used to feel around this time of year. I suppose I could wax on about how the world is changed and 25-30 years ago was a "simpler time," but I think that's hogwash. I believe this can be a magical time for me and my family and this is what matters to me.  I am starting a little 'early" by some standards (some people would prefer to wait until at least the day after Thanksgiving before moving toward Christmas) but since I want it to be Forty Days (symbolism here) I have to start now.

So between now and Christmas, or the next 40 days, I hope to:

1. Watch a Christmas movie every day.

2. Be as much in tune with getting stuff done that needs to be done (house/family) as possible.

3. Continue with my blogging and writing as scheduled. Be mindful of the time, and the season & prioritize. 

4. Serve someone every day (try not to make it the "default" family member).

5. Stay close to the Lord through prayer and scripture study, daily.

I think if I do those things during this time that it will help me to be in tune for the feelings of Christmas that I crave so much.

While I am always grateful, I am grateful especially at this time because while this holiday may have started as a pagan celebration of seasonal change, Christians turned it into a celebration of the most important being to be born on this Earth. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Have I talked about Bones? I love this show! I watched the latest episode earlier (kind of break from life) and it was a good one. So I wanted to talk about the Top 5 reasons I love this show.

1. Dead people. 
Okay, so ya'll already know I have a thing for Zombies but I also have a thing for human anatomy. Yes I took Anatomy in college and have seen (and touched) an actual dead body. I recently took a Forensics class for "fun" and of course the flies and decomp sections fascinated me. 
It's kind of sick, I realize this but hey, I don't create the dead bodies, I just like to study them (yeah, even toyed with the idea of getting a job in the Coroner's office, but that died... pun intended). 

2. Emily Deschanel.
Truth is I love Zooey Deschanel, mostly from Elf and Yes Man more than New Girl but she's she's just so "adorkable," and this is her beautiful, older sister. She guest starred on an episode once as a long-lost relative of Temperance "Bones" Brennan and it was awesome. Emily is great in the part of Bones because she is supposed to be socially awkward and she plays it off excellently. 

Emily & Zooey Deschanel

3. David Boreanaz.
I hear he's a jerk but what do I know? I love Seeley Booth, his character on Bones. Booth is amazing. A Desert Storm Veteran he is very patriotic & like the actor he is Catholic. I'm not sure how "practicing" he is but he does defend his Faith to Dr. Brennan "Bones" frequently; which I think takes guts. He is a good dad and last but certainly not least of all; he is very Easy On The Eyes. Yes, Yummy.

4. Hodgins. 
The bug and slime guy. He is into conspiracy theories and gets excited about insects and sludge. Really, really cool. Plus he "caught" the exotic Angela whose dad is played by a ZZ Top dude. I mean really guys, if you are not watching this show yet, you should be! 

TJ Thyne & Michaela Conlin of Bones
aka Hodgins & Angela

The first couple of seasons were awesome because Hodgins and Dr. Brennan's intern Zack did all kinds of experiments that required blowing stuff up and creating a mess. Awesome!

5. The whole crime-solving through science thing.
Yeah. I love that. In my other life I am a scientist of the geekiest kind. I get off on the crazy and the creepy. It's fascinating that the life cycle of a bug can tell you when a person died and/or if their body was moved before or after death. Also, more than being about fingerprints it's about what is found ON the body or IN the body or on the BONES themselves, which I'm sorry is FREAKING COOL!

So there's my Top 5 reasons why you should be watching Bones.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beautiful Is As Beautiful Does.

It turns out that if I don't write I don't feel productive and when I don't feel productive I feel bad about myself. And when I feel bad about myself I don't do the things that are best for me. Because I believe that beauty on the inside is way more important than beauty on the outside I wanted to talk about what that means. 

1. When you are beautiful on the inside you do not talk about others. If you see a need you do what you can about it but don't talk to others to find out how that need got created. Do. Something. 

2. When you are beautiful on the inside you do not treat yourself like a piece of meat. You wear clean and modest clothing but that doesn't mean you can't dress nicely or attractively. I think the term "modest" might be interpreted by some to be turtle necks and ankle-length skirts but that's not what it is to me. There should be no danger of a wardrobe malfunction that would cause your body to be pixelated. If You Know What I Mean.

3. When you are beautiful on the inside you don't put harmful things into your body. Smoking is a nasty habit mostly because it makes you not smell nice, stains your teeth and your fingers and can make you or those around you sick. Drugs and alcohol are for illnesses and treating medical issues. I am not generally opposed to recreational drinking (I hear wine is tasty) but as a practicing LDS I do not drink. Drinking to get drunk baffles me... but that's because I am also a control freak. LOL

4. When you are beautiful on the inside you treat yourself and everyone around you with RESPECT! Don't call names. Don't tell someone that disagrees with you that they are stupid. Recognize differences and RESPECT them. You cannot get respect if you do not give respect. Just saying.

5. When you are beautiful on the inside the most beautiful thing you can wear is a smile and warm greeting to all you meet. Obviously creepers are excluded but even they deserve a certain amount of kindness (not in a dark alley). It's an interesting experiment to greet people with a smile and a kind word. You might try it just to see what kind of response you get (from Wo, crazy chick! to Wo, Hot Chick!).

I think Intelligence is the greatest sign of beauty. If you are intelligent then these five suggestions will make sense to you. If they don't feel free to contact me on my Facebook Page.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I am not actually afraid of much. The things I am most afraid of are intangibles; death, illness, the unknown, failure... and success. I think I talked about my fear of success when I started this daily blog thing because I have a hard time keeping commitments to myself. Regardless of others, if I cannot keep a commitment to myself then what am I worth? Who am I? It might surprise some to see that I fear success but the truth is, especially with regard to writing; if I am successful at one book then I will need to meet deadlines and put forth more work and that scares me. It's true. 

I know I have talked about this because I remember relating an experience I had with my father and him asking me if I was afraid of failure. I am afraid of failure, but I am more afraid of committing to something and not being able to follow through. This has been something I've struggled with since my babies were little. Sometimes when you are a mom of a lot of kids and they are all small your commitments can be overwhelming. I know mine were for me. 

When Sunshine started Kindergarten, Crackle was a newborn. She was on year-round school and they started in late July or early August so he was literally New. born. since his birthday is July 18th. Sunshine was in Kindergarten, Princess was in preschool, Snap was little (18 months old) and Crackle was a tiny baby, and he was challenged. I have mentioned that it took me until he was over nine months old before I could get a referral from my pediatrician to take Crackle to a specialist. That journey took us over a year because he was two when we got the diagnosis from his chromosome analysis. So, you can imagine that my life was full. I think both Sunshine and Princess were in dance but they might not have been because I was overwhelmed. I do remember that I had to drive Sunshine to school, get everyone out of the car and walk her to her classroom. 


Very quickly I realized how little I could do. I am sure that my ability to follow through on commitments may have started before that but I don't remember it that way. Pretty much from the time Snap was born until about three years ago is kind of a blur to me. That makes me sad because there are a lot of years there that I just do not remember. I kept journals so it's not completely lost but really, I don't remember a lot. During that time I am sure that I have bowed out of, declined, just said no or simply FAILED to show up for something or other. 

It is something I hate about myself.

So here I am embarking on a journey that is all about keeping commitments to myself. Somewhat to others but mostly to me. I want to do it. I need to do it. I need to show myself that I can do it because I believe in myself. I just have gotten out of the habit. It became easier and easier to say no or to become a flake, but I don't like it about myself. I need it to change.

I know I can do it. But will I make it enough of a priority to pull it off? I need to bite off in bits, chew thoroughly and then swallow. It's hard for me though. I have to create new habits. But that is my point. 

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month right now (why oh why November?), I am also taking an online Teacher Education class on Special Education (perfect, actually, it's helping me with some of Crackle's stuff!), committed to my blog, and writing this fantasy novel (a genre I am seriously lacking in experience) with my brother--and yet, I feel hopeful. I am approximately 16,000 words behind but I still think I can do this. No. I know I can. I just have to stay committed! I have to just prioritize accordingly for the time that I have. Next week we are heading out of town for Thanksgiving and it will either be a productive week or I'll have to throw in the towel...

I do not plan to throw in the towel. 

I need to do this because I know I can and I want to and I have some others counting on me to do it. 
I can. I know I can.

Ganbarimasho, ne!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Election Truth or Fail?

So I got into my first “Facebook fight” of this election year The DAY AFTER the election. Yeah. I did. Lame. I did not mean to engage, but I made a comment knowing it would cause a bit of a raucous, but what I did not know was that I would be totally alone in my views. I have gotten “into it” before over some of my “pet” issues (*cough* immigration *cough*) which led to my posting an academic paper I did about it to clarify my stance. In that crowd I was called a Liberal. (You can stop laughing now.) In this crowd I got called, among other things, a “bigot” as well as ignorant and “hiding behind my religion.” Ano sa huh? (aka WTF in Okinawa-speak).

Those things don’t sit so well with me. I admit it. So today I am going to attempt some “netiquette” training for those that enjoy engaging the enemy in online, social media discussions. Or even if you are talking with friends or forwarding an email; Please Pay Attention!

I don’t like reading lies. I have issues with lies. While I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be 100% truthful 100% of the time –because honestly I will not tell you that you look fat in those pants, I won’t—but when it comes to repeating slander, I have major issues. Let me introduce to you a couple of websites I have been using for years to clarify whether something is true or not:—if you are not familiar with this site, then get familiar. If you feel the need to forward something, anything, please check here first. Some lies I have caught?

Lies by Barack Obama—including the fact that he is Muslim (he isn’t—not that it really matters) is an excellent source for verifying facts as well as email chain letters, revealing truths, etc. This list is pretty inclusive for lies told about Obama. Also, if only voters had checked this page before and after ever debate and particularly before going to the polls on Tuesday. Just to be sure they were voting for the right person for the right reason. Just saying. As I said, I hate lies. Lies on both sides seriously annoy me. Tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth at least don’t forward a lie. That’s all I ask.

I have to admit that I was annoyed a bit on Tuesday evening when news stations were calling the winner before polls even closed (I live in California) and I said, “It’s not over until someone gives a concession speech!” so I waited. When it finally happened and Romney “technically” threw in the towel, I was satisfied. You can brag, cry, moan, gloat all you want once that is done. But STFU until then. You annoy me. I would have expected the same from Obama if that had been the case.

And now, the cry of “Voter Fraud” annoys me. Unless Romney is going to file a lawsuit and, as I put it, “pull an Al Gore,” it’s over. I do think any fraudulent activity needs to be investigated but be careful, again, of perpetuating lies. Please don’t do that. I don’t care if you’re happy or disgusted over the outcome. DO NOT PERPETUATE A LIE. Fact check. Snopes. Consider the source, etc. etc. etc. I don’t even know why that has to be said!

But that’s me.

I would like to refer to Mitt Romney’s seriously GRACIOUS concession speech for a moment.

     “This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.” 

     “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”

     “…the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.”

Regardless of what you might believe about Barack Obama, he is our Elected President. If we are unhappy about the Electoral College then let’s start a writing campaign to our representatives in Washington D.C. and to the President of the United States (POTUS). If we believe, in sincerity—not sour grapes, that Voter Fraud has occurred, then again I encourage WRITING to the Powers That Be to make changes. That is the beauty of our nation. That is the Glory of being a part of these United States! We have the FREEDOM to say and DO those things! 

What I encourage you NOT to do is talk smack about our POTUS. If you are going to talk negatively, then at least make sure your comments are based on TRUTH and not on Your Opinion. Also, you are entitled to your opinion but make sure you are making that claim! Be wary of anything that is extreme on the one side or the other because chances are good it is NOT entirely true. Please use and before saying crap. Please? It really makes me crazy and just causes contention when there need be none.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guest Blogger: Michaelbrent Collings

So... I cannot tell you how very Very excited I am to have a "real" writer as a guest on my blog today as I try to "catch up" on my NaNoWriMo project. And his subject is one that I, yes I did, asked him to talk about.

Typing Down and Dirty – Gettin’ ‘Er Done Fast, Gettin’ ‘Er Done Right

By Michaelbrent Collings

Something I’m often asked about is how I manage to write so quickly.  I’m also often asked about how I manage to murder with a smile on my face, and why Honey Boo-Boo is so popular with the American public.  Two of these questions are Deep Mysteries, only answerable by God and perhaps certain network television execs.  One of them, however, is within my grasp and understanding.

And no, it’s not the “murder” one.

It’s the writing thing.  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a full-time writer.  I’m a bestselling novelist and produced screenwriter who has had the great honor of having major Hollywood studios butcher his screenplays for borderline obscene amounts of money.  I’m one of the bestselling horror writers on my latest horror novel, Apparition, has been sitting pretty on the bestselling “ghost horror” books there pretty much since it came out, and my YA series The Billy Saga has been doing great business for two years straight.

So I write.  That’s my thing.  It’s what I do.  And I do a lot of it.  In the past two years, I’ve written over a dozen books, plus an additional dozen screenplays.  That’s on top of countless articles, guest blogs like this one, and basically a caboodle (that’s classy talk for “a buttload”) of other writings, short and long.  That sandwiched in among conventions, author signings, and other promotional events.  Plus I occasionally try to show up and be a good dad and husband.  ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

It’s not unusual for me to crank out 10,000 words before dinner.  Sometimes closer to 15,000.

Now, I know it’s the middle of NaNoWriMo as I type these words, so some of you might be looking at your computer screens and wishing you could reach through them and throttle me via the magic of the internet.  Luckily for me you can’t.   And for you, too, because my point in all this isn’t to brag.  It’s to bring a message of hope, and a statement of belief: I believe that most of YOU can write that fast.  I think that many people sell themselves short when they write; that they believe less of themselves than they are capable of.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think that you’re going to finish this article and start instantly blasting out thousands of quality words.  I’m not magic.  You want that, you go to Tony Robbins.  But I do think I can whisper a bit of a secret to you, the elusive secret that so few writers seem to know, the secret to writing fast, and writing good stuff fast.


The secret to writing fast is… writing fast.

Okay, don’t get out your special Mob Kits (only $49.95, patent pending) and come looking for my blood.  There is a method to this madness. What I mean is this: very often on the best days of writing, the more you do, the better you write, and the better you write, the more you do.  It’s the opposite of a vicious cycle, it’s a “happy cycle,” for lack of anything better to call it.  A lot of authors look at it as some rare visitation of their muse, but in reality it is just them getting out of their own ways, letting themselves do what they’re already good at.

So you… let’s say you do an average of 3,500 words a day during NaNo.  So tomorrow when you type, worry less about quality than quantity.  And yes, you read that right.  Go for 4,000 words.  Even if it’s crap.   Crap is okay, that’s what God invented the delete key.

But here’s the thing: if you start writing, if you just let go and start “feelin’ it,” just movin’ and groovin’ and letting your fingers do the talking, I bet when you hit that 4,000 word mark you’ll look back and be amazed at how few words need serious revision.

There’s a lot of craftsmanship to writing.  A lot of practice, a lot of effort.  But like most things, once you’ve learned to a certain level the secret isn’t concentration, it’s getting out of your own way and letting yourself perform at the level you’ve trained for.

10,000 words?  Bah.  Watch me hit 15,000 tomorrow.  The only real limit is how fast I can type.  And I’m not even so sure about that one.

Michaelbrent Collings has written numerous bestselling novels and is a produced screenwriter and member of the Writers Guild of America, Horror Writers of America, and a couple of other fancy-sounding things.  His wife and mommy think he is a can that is chock-full of awesome sauce.  Check him out at or