kmduvalois's Xanga

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012!

I am not sad to see you go.

I'm sorry if this was a good year for you, but for me, not so much.

I don't particularly have high expectations of 2013 (it is an Odd Number and the number 13 after all...) but it is, at last, a new beginning, which is a good thing, in my opinion.

Not much on the schedule for me tonight. I will be happy if I make it to midnight. Princess friend is performing at Times Square tonight and that's exciting. I think the kids have something they want to do but I don't know for sure.

Superman got the recipe for Olie Bollen from his mother. We are having a sandwich buffet (YUM!) for dinner and other than that...

We're ready for our New Beginning!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gospel vs. Church

Sunday is a day to theorize on things spiritual. I wanted to talk a little bit about the idea of Gospel teachings versus Church organizations. This is a general treatise, not specifically (except where stated) a commentary on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They are different things. They are not necessarily synonymous either. The Gospel is known as The Good News. The Good News is that we can be forgiven of our sins and reunited with God and with our families. This is all part of the Plan of God. This is not a random idea, it’s something He, or God, came up with way back when, or as I believe (and other Mormons, or LDS), before we were born. 

The Church, on the other hand, is only organized as a tool to help us serve one another. It is the launchpad for Preaching the Gospel, Perfecting the Saints (or members of God’s Kingdom on Earth, however you want to call that) and Redeeming the Dead. Those are the purposes of my church. Those were the purposes of the covenant made with our Father Abraham way back in the day as well. The idea of our "works" or our behavior being a reflection of how we can act for God toward others.

Sometimes when I hear people say they hate organized religion I wonder what their experience is. It’s sad to me that a “tool” of humans to be kind and be of service to one another is also used as something to hide behind to disguise hate, prejudice and evil deeds. A church that denies the Gospel is something else. It’s some kind of organization but if you are not perpetuating goodness then I don’t know what purpose you are serving.

Moral behavior should never ever be forced. Ever.

Many things have been and will probably continue to be done in the name of a church that is not in congruency with the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was a peace loving hippie type that embraced love of all mankind and no judgment (read the whole “cast the first stone” story)! His purpose is to spread the Good News that we can all be forgiven and move on with our progression.

Being good does have some rewards but not the kind you think and forgiveness is not earned, it’s given freely. We are obedient because we love Him. We are grateful to Him for this Gift. That’s what it’s supposed to be about. Sure, it’s a little more complicated than that but for the most part… yeah. That’s it.

Now. Go be a good human, please.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Write Right Away!

My writing goals for the coming year are pretty much the same they have been since my birthday or when I started this daily blogging project. 

1. Blog daily
2. Work writing 2,500 words per week
3. Fiction writing 10,000 words per week
4. Miscellaneous writing (other work writing) 
5. Journaling

I like doing things in fives so it makes sense that my writing goals should be in a set of five. I don't know that Journaling is last on my list in terms of priority because it's important to me on many levels. One because I am a record-keeper. I like to do it, it's kind of my "thing." One of these years my goal is going to be scrapbookking my family's history; my brothers and parents and whoever else I can include in that process.

Blogging daily is now a given. Even if sometimes I have to do some catch-up. Even if sometimes I have to do  a short post with only a few sentences strung together to create just a couple of paragraphs. I have to do it. It's a commitment to myself and if I can't keep that then I'm lost. 

My work writing is what will fund some of the material and support I need to do all the other writing and free up some of my time from other things that create stress in my life. You know; Laundry, housecleaning...that kind of thing... What a dream, huh? Plus, I agreed to do it and it's not happening and needs to happen. Same with the miscellaneous "work" writing.

So it all points to my fiction writing. My dream. My goal. My if-money-were-no-object-and-I-had-all-the-time-in-the-world thing. I found my writing goals for the year and I have to revamp them. I'm still working on that because The Brother and I are still working on our Fantasy Trilogy. We want to start revising (middle of January) and get started on Books 2 & 3 but I also want to spend some time on my own stories; particularly The Ranch Hand & Lucky Penny. Those are the two on my brain and my fingers are itching to get to them! 

The most important thing about all of this is that I want to create a habit of fiction writing. Butt in chair. 2,000 words a day, minimum. 10K per week. 40K a month. Maybe more if I can. I might have to start shutting myself up in a closet. Been considering that for a while now. No. Really. My closet. It'll work. 

Writing. It's what I want to do.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Food as Medicine (or Drug!)

I was doing a little prep work for my New Year's goals toward better health and fitness and came across a list of the 10 Worst Foods you can eat. Really it was a (Too. Long.) sales pitch for a service that I don't need. There wasn't anything they said that I didn't already know. So what does that mean? It means that I know the right way to eat (and don't) I know that it's more about nutrition than it is about exercising (although exercise is GREAT for overall health and well-being). Yeah, it kind of made me feel smart.

Since I missed what some of the Ten Worst were I thought I would encapsulate it to a Top 5 and give a list of the Top 5 things you should most definitely NOT be putting in your mouths or bodies... 

Like, ever.

1. Simple sugars.

The website said fruit juices, but I think it depends on the juice. Obviously if you are making your own with a juicer that's not bad but most juices in the grocery store are horrible. They have been over-processed and have added sugars that are terrible for your body. Soda was another thing. Full-sugar sodas are terrible for you. Even diet sodas have some issues, but mostly it's the sugars.

2. Margarine.

This is not news to me. I would rather use butter anyway and now they are saying (no surprise to me) that margarine is actually higher in trans fats then butter. Smart Balance is a good substitute if you just can't bring yourself to eat butter but truthfully, butter won't hurt you!

3. Low Fat

This is the biggest lie our food industry is feeding us --literally. Most low fat or fat free foods are substituting sugars for the fat. This is much Much worse! I have a distaste for most things low or non-fat but now it's coming out that these so-called "healthier" choices are really worse for you than their higher fat counterparts. Just eat less, they say. Well, try anyway. The truth is what they are substituting in place of the fat they are removing is so much WORSE for you!

4. Microwave popcorn.

Huh? Really? This was news to me but apparently the crap they put in those bags is so bad for you that there is actually a disease that has occurred because of it. From, ""popcorn lung"—a.k.a. bronchiolitis obliterans—a severe respiratory disease." Yep. It's that bad for you. Pop it yourself. In butter.

5. Almost all carbs, including "whole wheat bread"

Well, if you don't know by now that "whole wheat" bread is really made from the non-nutritious part of the wheat that's left after they've processed it to death. Basically it's not the wheat (or the sugar, or the fat) that will necessarily kill you but the processed stuff that does it.

Processed foods can be linked to Cancers, diseases, obesity, etc. etc. etc.

Not a shocker if you're a student of dieting like I am.

Which one will you add to your New Year's Resolutions to eliminate?

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Today is a traveling day. We are on our way to St. George to see what they have to offer for the New Year!

Actually, am hoping to have a bit of a "vacay" after the crazy rush of holiday.

Any travel plans for anyone else?

It is also my Beloved mother's birthday. I'm not sure what the big plan is to celebrate. We probably won't be able to do much because it's a six hour drive. We sang to her this morning before leaving. I had no idea my family was such a choir on their own. 

We all love Grandma! <3 font="font">

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ronald Reagan? The ACTOR?

One of the best lines of the first Back to the Future movie is when Marty tries to convince Doc that he really is from the future and tells him that the current POTUS (I just figured out that this means President Of The United States--if I knew this before I do not remember so now it's cool to use it. Yeah, that's me, cool usage of political slang...) is Ronald Reagan. Doc's response is, The Actor! Which is, of course, hilarious. Because in 1955 that was pretty much Ronnie's claim to fame. That and his somewhat scandalous divorce from Jane Wyman (think she ever regretted that?).

Anyway, the point being that today we headed out to the Ronald Reagan Library located within about an hour's drive of our home. Considering we live so close, none of us had ever been there before. My parents gifted us a day there to view the Disney (D23) collection. They have been there before. Of course, because they live out of state. Anyway, we scurried through most of the Ron stuff and went straight through to the Disney Collection. There were pictures of the original Oswald Bunny (Mickey started out as a rabbit... I knew that, but forgot). Saw the iconic picture of Walt that someone copied with Ryan Gosling's face (which Princess did not hesitate to point out as RG is one of her heartthrobs). 

There were several costumes and replicas. Most of the good stuff was covered in glass. An entire section about the Marvel acquisition, the Pirates movies and the Hall of Presidents, which was actually a tad creepy. 

Overall, a good time was had by all.

A good gift!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas SOS Report Day 40

Why I did this and what I learned...
My goal in doing the Season of Sanctification for Christmas was to bring the Spirit of Christmas into my life and lives of those around me. The biggest and loudest message I have received over this time has been of service. I do not feel I have done enough service and I hope that changes over the next few months.

1. Christmas Movie:

Honestly I am not ready to give up my Christmas movie or music for the season. I guess maybe another week (until New Year's) isn't completely outrageous but my family might mind. 

This action did help bring the spirit of Christmas into my life and I will definitely add this to my list of things to do again...

2. House & Home:

I am still not adjusted to what I can and cannot do with my Fibromyalgia. This is causing me some annoyance. I did learn that I can live with things not being done exactly right as long as they are done. I am a perfectionist and by that I mean if I cannot do it right then I don't want to do it at all. That might be stupid but it's how I feel.

I am learning to flow better and be happy with what I get. I am also learning to readjust to my bodies new rhythms. I'm still figuring that out.

3. Write:

While my blogging has been able to stay fairly consistent my fiction and work writing is nil. I don't like that. I need to be more disciplined because it's what I want and who I want to be. This is an area that needs more focus and prioritizing!

4. Serve:

I absolutely did not get enough service time in during this holiday season. Even my goals to have treats made did not happen. I got a bunch of stuff made but we never got it out and delivered. This bugs me. It bugs me every year. 

I think when I do my Lenten Sanctification Season that I will make this a priority because it really brings the spirit of what and who Christ is to my life and that is what I need the most!

5. Pray & Read Scriptures:

This has not been a real challenge for me until recently and I can say that this hurdle has been overcome. I do feel that I am doing better at bringing the Spirit into my life on a daily basis. It's not perfect but it's getting there and that is what I consider Success!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Top 5

Top 5 Christmas Movies
...the ones I consider Must See during the holiday season. 

1. It's a Wonderful Life 1946
If I have not talked enough about this movie I have no idea why. [g] This is my favorite movie of all time. Frank Capra combined with Jimmy Stewart just equals classic and heart-tweaking for me! 

2. Christmas Vacation 1989
A good, old-fashioned family Christmas with the dysfunctional Griswold's. What could possibly go wrong? Everything! Hilarity ensues. 

3. A Christmas Story 1983
Ralphie and his family and his memorable Red Ryder B.B. gun story. [You'll shoot your eye out, kid!] Instant classic!

4. Elf 2003
Six foot three Will Ferrel as an errant Elf seeking his bio dad in New York City. Directed by Jon Favreau. Awesome stuff!

5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town 1970 & Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer 1964 (claymation version)
Classic. Mickey Rooney & Co. Rudolf, Hermey & Yukon Cornelius. There are no words. They will never go out of style for me.

Top 5 Christmas Albums
...the ones I buy when the music output changes (i.e. vinyl to tape to CD to iTunes-LOL)

1. Bing Crosby: White Christmas
I grew up listening to this one. There was another one and I occasionally hear the Little Drummer Boy version I remember from growing up but have no idea who the artist was/were. 

2. Amy Grant: Home for Christmas
I have already talked about this. I just like this whole album. Great versions of old songs and a few new ones included. 

3. John Denver: Rocky Mountain Christmas
We were John Denver fans growing up. We had every album (even on 8-track) when I was little. It reminds me of home and family.

4. Kenny G.: Miracles
Beautiful instrumental versions of classics as well as his own stuff. Great album!

5. Various Artists: TimeLife Treasury collection. 
Since I couldn't find just one more album I decided to go with a Various Artist because I love Nat King Cole (he does a few) as well as Harry Belafonte, Elvis, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, and more.

What are your favorite movie and album for Christmas?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SOS Report Days 32-39

"The celebration of Christmas helps us keep our promise to always remember Him and His gifts to us. And that remembrance creates a desire in us to give gifts to Him. He has told us what we could give Him to bring Him joy. First, we can, out of faith in Him, give a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We can repent and make sacred covenants with Him. . . . Second, you can give Him the gift of doing for others what He would do for them."

—Henry B. Eyring, "The Gift of a Savior", 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 2010

My "Season of Sanctification" is supposed to be my "gift" to Christ but I'm not doing so well. I think I will get better at this the more I practice. Usually I just pick one thing; like not eating chocolate. Going for five was a big leap.

I am nearing the end but I will give this another shot in the spring around Easter time (Lenten season). 

1. Christmas Movie:

Sunday On the 2nd Day of Christmas Starring Mary Stuart Masterson & Mark Ruffalo. Super-cute movie and other than the two lovebirds "falling in love" too quickly (I'm actually okay with that) I really liked this story of a woman and her orphaned niece who get "babysat" by 
a very young Mark Ruffalo! Good deeds, crime, a "bad" Santa, a "good" elf (who moonlights as a lawyer?) played by Howard Hesseman, a family gathering, and a missing bicycle all play a role in this cute romantic romp in Christmas-sphere.

Monday Christmas Do-Over Christmas, Groundhog Day style. I actually liked this movie more than I thought I would. It started out kind of "off" but eventually "Kevin" gets it. Gypsy and I said it was similar to the stages of grief; denial, blame, acceptance, and finally learning from it and thinking of others before himself. The life lessons are priceless! Daphne Zuniga & Jay Mohr (SNL, Jeff Foxworthy, Suburgatory) star.

Tuesday: Christmas Lodge Based on a Thomas Kinkade painting (I'm not sure what came first; the painting or the movie), this movie is about a lovely lodge nestled in a forest that needs restoration. There is family history in one family that works construction and building restoration and the family that owns the building. Romance ensues as well as teamwork, and old-fashioned-family-values celebrating. 

Wednesday A Christmas Kiss Positively charming! "Decorated" as the Nutcracker's Blue Fairy a girl gets kissed in an elevator only to discover he is the boyfriend of her very demanding (and calculating, and devious, and all-around poopy-headed) boss. He is (seemingly) unaware of who she is when they meet again later but cultivate a friendship based on their working relationship. Another one where they fall in love too fast? but hey, it's Brendan Fehr... can you blame her? ;) 

Thursday Dear Santa Enchanting! Amy Acker (OUATs Grumpy's girlfriend, the fairy/aka nun) "accidentally" receives and reads a letter to Santa asking for a wife for her "daddy" aka Hottie-With-The Blue-Eyes, David Haydn-Jones. He already has a girlfriend (who saw him through the doom and gloom of his wife's passing...that seems to be a theme of Christmas movies, mommy or daddy dies, sad!) but that doesn't stop the irrepressible Crystal from volunteering at his soup kitchen and offering to babysit and in many other ways just "happen" to show up... So what happens when he realizes she planned it all? It's an HEA so just watch it, it's cute! 

Friday Christmas Town Nicole De Boer (of Metal Tornado!) in Hollyville for a visit to her dad with her 10-year-old son, Mason. He believes in Santa and that they are really visiting the town where Santa lives and works. N.P. Enterprises is the main business (warehouse) of the town and come to find out N.P. stands for North Pole. Patrick Muldoon (looking old and less hot than I remember...) is the local cafe owner where her previously business crazy father now works as a cook. Dumbfounded, she is stranded, and repairs on her car are delayed because of a "special project" the local mechanic is working on for N.P. Enterprises. Cute but trite. Eh.

Saturday Holiday in Handcuffs I love this movie. I watched it last year and think it's adorable. Starring Melissa Joan Hart (my Favorite Teenage Witch) and Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell). The movie tells the story of a girl kind of traumatized by her mother to BE more of something she isn't and kind of SNAPS! She kidnaps Mario and takes him out to the middle of nowhere to play her boyfriend for her family Christmas gathering. It's all fun. Love it! Also stars Markie Post as her mom and June Lockhart as the Grandma. [Don't call me that!] Haha!

2. House & Home:

Sunday I returned home from OC. Had a surprise waiting for me... no, not by a pet, but Princess home early! Yay!

Monday Productive! I got all my packages ready and Mailed! Yes, you read that right, Mailed! There are going to be a few surprised peeps in the next week or so. For dinner I intended to make a Chicken Pot Pie but ended up making more of a Chicken Stew and fresh bread. We ate one whole loaf! 

Tuesday I cleaned my bathroom. Still working on Laundry (no, it never Ever EVER ends), went Visiting Teaching. Princess made dinner, a "Mexican" dish. It was yummy!

Wednesday I made the Pumpkin Poppers today, with homemade pizza for dinner. My VT came to visit and gave me chocolates and a sweet gift! I just LOVE HER TO DEATH! She made me feel better. I got my Sandy Hook Angels printed and pictures of all the kids/adults to make my memorial. My family didn't like the Pumpkin Poppers telling me they were "too cinnamony," as if there is such a thing! ;) LOL

Thursday Working on my baking and my Angels. 



3. Write:

Sunday is my day of rest.

Monday I "tried" to work on my blogs. Eh.

Tuesday Blogging caught up and BEYOND. Received more writing from my co-writer/brother so I'm way behind. It's there. It's festering. It's gonna be good when it finally peels off my fingertips! Or my frontal lobe...

Wednesday: More blogging, not much else. 




4. Serve:

Sunday I didn't even get to serve my babies today because I missed church. I did get up off my lazy buttocks and go out with Gypsy, because she wanted to. Not sure I call the "Service," but I did something I didn't want to do out of love for someone else. I think it counts.

Monday I did a little cleaning and laundry. I also mailed things off to friends, some have been waiting... several years?

Tuesday Today was a real "serve" day because I went Visiting Teaching. I go again tomorrow and will also be visited. I'm hoping that I do more tomorrow, though.

Wednesday I got Visit Taught. :)

Thursday Working on my Angels for the Sandy Hook display in my yard. Calling that my service for today. 



5. Pray & Read Scriptures:

Sunday Traveling. Not an excuse.

Monday Yes. I have to slow down, I'm beyond the lessons now. Oops.

Tuesday Yes. The end of the Book of Mormon has some Good Stuff!

Wednesday Got distracted...

Thursday Got it done. Finished the Book of Mormon, not sure what next year's study is... I should know but I'm...



Saturday, December 22, 2012

SOS Report Days 25-31

Sunday, December 9-Saturday, December 16, 2012 
A little late but thorough...

Season of Sanctification report:

1. Christmas Movie:

Christmas with a Capital C A little preachy but a good message about being kind regardless of return behavior or expectation of reward. Also, starring Ted McGinley and a Baldwin brother (Daniel).

Monday A Christmas Too Many This was essentially a lousy movie but got better toward the end. It's a Hollywood piece, the best part being the appearance of Mickey Rooney. The worst part? Marla Maples. Ugh.

Tuesday A Perfect Day A writer movie. What's not to like? Rob Lowe. He's pretty good in this role (and I'm not a huge rob Lowe fan). I didn't think it was so much a Christmas movie except that the climactic events do take place on Christmas. Also, it's a good message for how to respond to "fame & fortune." (Because, as you all know, first-time authors always get huge book/movie deals -- $300K advance? WTF?)

Wednesday: Noel Kind of sweet. A lot like another movie I watched, Midnight Clearabout a bunch of strangers and their interactions on Christmas Eve. The cast was pretty impressive; Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Paul Waters, Penelope Cruz, Alan Arkin... That was pretty cool. 

Thursday: Snow Snow 2: Brainfreeze So Tom Cavanaugh is now my favorite Christmas movie actor. What a cutie, and funny! Here is a modern twist on the Santa Story, how he finds (and re-finds) Mrs. Claus, his mischievous reindeer and wicked ("that's naughty!") tracker/hunter "friend" in these two movies. Loveliness and hilarity. 

Friday: Christmas with Holly The IMDB description of this wonderful movie is wrong. Holly is a little girl who was recently orphaned and is now under the guardianship of her uncle (mother's brother-played DELICOUSLY by Sean Faris of Forever Strong). Based on a Lisa Kleypas book (which is Right Now waiting for me at the Library!), the movie starts with the standing up of a lovely woman on her wedding day. On a ferry to make her new start, aka "Plan B" (I have to love that!), that woman meets young Holly & her (dare I say, freakishly HOTTTTTTttttttssss) uncle. Later we discover that the uncle has moved Holly back to his hometown to raise her with his brothers at the school he attended because her previous school wants to put Holly in a special program because she isn't speaking. Yathink? We learn that her mother passed away only three months before. Ah. A story with MEAT! 

Saturday Recipe for a Perfect Christmas Food & Christmas, they basically say the same thing; Love! And this cute love story starts in a magazine about food and the paring of a food critic, her mother and new restauranteur love triangle. Intrigued? Good. I enjoyed this movie, more than I thought I would. Christine Baranski (no, it's not Cheryl Hines, Kat!) leads this lovely cast on inevitable Christmas misadventures. Another one where they "fall in love too soon," but I don't mind. It is, after all, television.

2. House & Home:

Sunday: Roast for dinner, a clean house & Christmas decorating. Not the best day to be doing housecleaning but it got done and we got our tree decorated, and the rest of the house too. The Festive look makes me happy.

Monday I got dinner out first thing in the morning and going in the crockpot and oven before 2! Go me! Good thing because I went to bed early. Not such a good Fibro day for mommy.

Tuesday: I made a Miracle Masterpiece for dinner. Dry pasta, marinara, water, rotellini? and Italian sausage; cover in foil and bake for an hour until the pasta is soft. Remove cover, stir, add mozzarella cheese and bake for another 20-30 minutes and Voila! Dinner. 
I had a date with the Relief Society (church women's organization) Progressive Dinner. It was fabulous, of course and we got a lovely decoration of "Joy" on blocks; Jesus, Others, Yourself. Lovely!

Wednesday: The two older boys (Snap & Crackle) had a church outing (looking at lights in SCV) & Pop had a "Winter Program" that Superman and I attended. It was nice. Pop is in the "special" singing group and he did a great job! Afterwards the three of us went to a local Mexican place for dinner as they were sponsoring a fundraiser for said school that night. Pop had a quesadilla while Superman and I shared an Enchilada. It was delicious. 

Thursday: Today I did laundry. Superman is going out of town to work. Boys and I went to Costco and ordered Glasses for Crackle & contacts for me. Then we went to Tommy's Burgers for dinner. Chili Cheese Fries... YUM!

Friday: Snap with a friend; Pop with a friend; Crackle & I out to eat on our way to OC for the weekend. Bye-bye messy house!

Saturday: Gone baby gone. 

3. Write:

Yes, another lousy week.

4. Serve:

Yes, another lousy week.

5. Pray & Read Scriptures:

On a pretty good roll as long as I can get online to journal and listen on my phone to the scriptures.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Heart of Christmas

Two things today about Christmas and the Christmas Spirit.

First, I love the Amy Grant Home for Christmas CD. It's one of my favorites. Two songs on this album speak to me.

One of them is "The Night Before Christmas" originally written and performed by Carly Simon;


Children carry through the streets  A brightly painted star
Angels gather 'round the hearth  Strumming on guitars
And men of great renown and faith  Say prayers on boulevards
It's the night before Christmas

But you don't have to be an angel  To sing harmony
You don't have to be a child  To love the mystery
And you don't have to be a wise man On bended knee
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me

The night before Christmas, The night before Christmas

If your heart's been longing  You've been afraid to try
Sorrow's kept you company  And the dance has passed you by
I'll lift you up and blaze with you  Across the moonlit sky
On the night before Christmas

Cause you don't have to be an angel To sing harmony
You don't have to be a child To love the mystery
And you don't have to be a wise man On bended knee
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me,
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me

The night before Christmas, The night before Christmas

We are the Heart of Christmas. We are the Heart of Every Christmas. It's not about the presents or Santa or movies or even songs, it's about feeling something. It's about sharing that feeling.

In my pursuit of 40 Christmas movies I came across this movie; The Heart of ChristmasBased on a true story, this movie tells the tale of a child with cancer. The story is told by the child's mother and how it affects those that read it (her blog) and those that know them. This is a beautiful story that is less about Christmas and more about human spirit and giving nature of compassion. More than that, it's about cherishing the moments. 
One of the quotes in the movie is from Psalm 90:12 (KJB) "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." or the NIV version: "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

We do not know when someone might be snatched away from us. I have experienced both the shocking and terrifying "accidental" death. The death of a young person (I'm talking under 30, and specifically under 10) is devastating. There is no question about that. The death of 20 children under the age of 8 is annihilation. 

My heart has been annihilated. 

I have also experienced the prolonged death of a loved one by illness. Neither is better or worse than the other. They are both devastating. 

Death of a loved one, and I believe the death of a child (which I have not experienced), is the Ultimate Challenge. Survival is all about the Earth revolving and not being able to do a damn thing about it. It's about a "New Normal." There is no "Back to Normal," in death. No such thing. Time lessens the pain but it is never eliminated until that love runs out. I have, so far in my life, not run out of love for someone, anyone, I have lost.

And finally, another song from the same CD is "My Grown Up Christmas List" which was originally written by David Foster and performed by Natalie Cole. Apparently Amy Grant added a verse when she added the song to her album. It has since been redone by Kelly Clarkson, Donny Osmond, Barbra Streisand, Michael Buble', among others.


Do you remember me? I sat upon your knee 
I wrote to you With childhood fantasies
Well, I'm all grown-up now And still need help somehow 
I'm not a child But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish, 
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself, But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart 
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

As children we believed 
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely Wrapped beneath our tree
Well heaven surely knows That packages and bows
Can never heal A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown-up Christmas list
This is my grown-up Christmas list

This song has been at the forefront of my mind this holiday season more than most, I suppose, because of unrest in the Middle East, divorce, deaths, illnesses and cancer in loved ones,  the shootings in Aurora, Colorado and of course, Connecticut. As 2012 ends all I can feel is good riddance and hope for a brighter tomorrow. 

More than ever I feel we need healing of our hearts

We need no more lives torn apart, no more wars, and no loneliness or depression, but that will never happen. It's not really even part of God's plan. We are supposed to be challenged. We are supposed to have Faith and Strength in order to Grow. We don't always have to understand it, even though we think we do. We need to look for the good around us. Look for the helpers. Look for things to be grateful for every day. 

It isn't easy. Believe me, I know. I know despair. I know loss. I know heartbreak. I know it. I've lived it. 

I've also known joy. I know happy. I know contentment. 

I know anger. I know frustration. I know fear.

And above and beyond it all, I know love. I know the love of a parent. I know the love of a child. I know the love of God. For that knowledge I am truly the most grateful.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Be Inspired

"This joyful season brings to all of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree to which we have turned our minds, feelings, and actions to the Savior, whose birth we celebrate."

—Thomas S. Monson, "A Bright Shining Star", 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 2010

I consider myself a Christian first. My life and Be-ing revolves around Him and my belief in His Atonement and Love for me. I say this not to offend or preach but to explain my point of view. I have opinions and they are all measured against my basic beliefs first and foremost. I try to keep an open mind to others thoughts, feelings and beliefs. I try not to discount others convictions because I believe God is everywhere. There is an essence of Energy in everything; our Spirits, the Earth, the Universe. I think this Energy is fluid in that we can call it in or expel depending on our thoughts and Faith.

I don't know exactly how to explain this.

Some people call it "vibes" or "thoughts." I consider it similar to prayer, but it can be done through meditation or directed energy. I know I have blessed the lives of people I have never met because I sent a Prayer of Good Energy in their direction. I have also been the recipient of such Energy so I know it exists. I can no more explain it than I can explain cinnamon. It's just yummy and makes pumpkin and chocolate better. It's just comforting and makes trials and despair easier. 

I believe that we are what we think we are. If we have chronic negative thoughts then we will attract negative Energy. If we have Gratitude in our hearts we will attract abundance. Gratitude is the outward exhibition of our inner abundance. We give when we feel abundant in some area. I do not have an abundance of physical energy. I do not have an abundance of money, but I do have an abundance of Love and I am more than happy to share it. 

I am planning a memorial area in my front yard for the 28 deaths in Connecticut last Friday. I plan on including the perpetrator in my memorial. I do not know why he did what he did. I do not know if he suffers now, in his spirit state, for what he has done. I do not know if he still feels isolated and unloved. I do not know how much he understood what he was doing. I will not create a monument of equality with the others I plan to create. What I do know is that the only way to endure this kind of tragedy is to Forgive and Love.

I believe the children are innocent and will be rewarded for that innocence. I believe that bad works will be counted against those the perpetrated those works. The Nazis that gassed the thousands upon thousands of Jewish people, gay people, disabled and mentally challenged people will have to pay for that choice. They killed innocents, buried them in mass graves after desecrating their bodies and using their hair for furniture. Removed gold fillings and stealing personal jewelry right off their mutilated bodies for their own gain. Some were baked in ovens make large enough for a body. Their ashes mixed with mud and manure. It was a choice. What of these fiends? 

We must Forgive. We must Love. We must let God be the Judge and Punisher. As long as we are able we must stop such travesty from ever occurring but where those things are done and the perpetrator is denied his "day in court" because he "took the coward's way out" then God will Judge and God will Punish.

I believe that. I know it.

To truly find peace and contentment in our hearts we must Forgive, but Not Forget. This is why I need a memorial. I am afraid we will forget. I am afraid my uber Conservative neighbors will want their rights to their assault weapons simply to comfort themselves. I am afraid the Extreme left will remove all guns from circulation thus creating a similar environ to Prohibition era alcohol. Not pretty. Mobsters. Murders. Death & destruction. Bad. Bad. Bad.

I do not know the answer to this horrible question but until there is some real resolution I will have 28 angels lurking in my front yard. And, I might just start making new ones for every UN-Justified shooting death in the United States. Assault weapons are for police and military personnel. They should never be available to the general public. That's ridiculous. I know the 2nd Amendment rights had to do with warfare, but do we want our children going to war against each other on the playgrounds of elementary schools? This is what's happening and it's crazy.

We're all taking Crazy Pills if we keep doing what we've been doing. We will have more Aurora's and more Virginia Tech's and more Sandy Hooks and there will be no beauty or joy left in the world. 

Then what will we find to be grateful for? 

Stop the violence. Stop the death. Stop the bullying. Stop the abuse. 
Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!

We need to come together for a solution. We need to stop fiddling with statistics to prove our point (numbers are BS, and if you don't know that then go take a statistics class and we'll talk). 

Please. Please stop the crazy.

And as the message that I started with says, without thoughts of the Savior, or at least His message (of LOVE NOT HATE!), will touch your heart this season. May all be blessed with some goodness of the Universe to come your way and bring you some measure of Joy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: Eloisa James "Fool For Love"

Fool For Love (Duchess Quartet #2)

Eloisa James

Published by Avon Books, July 2003

Paperback, 373 pages.

Listed $6.99, I borrowed it from the Library.

Book Description:

The Woman

Lady Henrietta Maclellan longs for the romantic swirl of a London season. But as a rusticating country maiden, she has always kept her sensuous nature firmly under wraps -- until she meets Simon Darby. Simon makes her want to whisper promises late at night, exchange kisses on a balcony, receive illicit love notes. So Henrietta lets her imagination soar and writes...

The Letter

A very steamy love letter that becomes shockingly public. Everyone supposes that he has written it to her, but the truth hardly matters in the face of the scandal to come if they don't marry at once. But nothing has quite prepared Henrietta for the pure sensuality of...

The Man

Simon has vowed he will never turn himself into a fool over a woman. So, while debutantes swoon as he disdainfully strides past the lovely ladies of the ton, he ignores them all...until Henrietta. Could it be possible that he has been the foolish one all along?

I really Really REALLY liked this book! I liked it better than the first one. Lady Henrietta reminded me a little of myself; headstrong, opinionated, acts before thinking, a true romantic and a dreamer. I liked her a lot! Simon was also an enjoyable character. Although a bit of a "dandy," surprisingly, he wasn't self-absorbed. Even though the description says Simon, "disdainfully" ignores other women, I did not think it was mean-spirited or hurtful. 

Both characters were likable and I cared about their romance. It was a little racy in places and would not recommend this book to those that are offended by semi-descriptive sex scenes. I like also that we get to see some of the characters from the first book (the point of reading a series). 


I especially liked Simon's two step-sisters. They were definitely well-written and the author knows her little ones! The scenes with them were particularly hilarious and/or wince-inducing which I enjoyed immensely!

The only criticism I have is with the final chapter or epilogue. The entire book has details of a certain pregnancy and uncertain parentage of said babe, but the delivery time and date is simply overlooked. No discussion or even mention of what would have been a definitive moment for both characters was odd. I felt that was an oversight of the author; which may have been intentional as this is book two of four. 

I just picked up book three from the library so another review is pending in this delightful series!

Next up: Book 2 of Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series; When Snow Falls.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I am a mother.
I am a spouse.
I am going to school to become a teacher.
I am so anti-violence I would rather kneel in prayer and allow a shooter to kill me rather than fight. There are a number of reasons for this; the first thing that comes to mind is an experience I had as a teen. I was home sick from school and I was watching TV. Suddenly a news report came on and I was mesmerized.

October 6, 1981. During a victory parade celebrating Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal, Live TV showed the assassination and aftermath of Anwar Sadat. Loved (by the West) and hated (by the Middle Easterners--including his own country) for his peace negotiations with Israel called the Camp David Accords, Sadat was targeted by an insurgent fatwa. (There is speculation that his successor and VP Mubarak orchestrated the attack, however he was injured so...?) I watched completely stunned as grenades were thrown into the crowd and gunmen opened fire with what appeared to be machine guns (I do not know guns, I have no idea). People were screaming. I saw a man with half an arm. I know I saw other things but they suddenly cut the feed.

I started crying.

By the time my mother came home I was a hot mess. I was sobbing my eyes out and my mother had difficulty understanding me. It took me about three or four tries to finally get the story out. I'm not even sure my mother even knew who Anwar Sadat was (she probably did, but I know I was a wreck!). I don't remember anything else. 

I was sixteen (barely). Ever since then I have hated violence of every kind. (Don't ask about the Zombie fetish, I don't get it either. Maybe because it's make-believe?) I don't like guns and fortunately for me, my husband doesn't give a rat's behind about them either. I do not begrudge others use and skill with guns. I appreciate it, actually. I also appreciate those that can handle firearms and are not afraid to use them. I cannot. I will not. Ever.

Also, I suffer from clinical depression. This means I need medication just to function. I have enough Faith. I have enough confidence. I just have a tweak in my system that makes me unable to cope. You can argue with me about this but I won't listen. I know what I am dealing with; I have had many years to come to terms with this illness. (Yes, I consider Depression an Illness the likes of Diabetes or Asthma.) 

I was similarly devastated by my visit to the Nazi Germany Concentration Camp in Dachau, Germany. I find the treatment of humans toward each other sometimes so distressing I want to just fold into myself and cry my guts out. When I think about genocide or mass murder I am seriously distressed.

After 9/11 I had issues. I was thrown into a depression that took months to recover from. I realize that many others, the whole nation even, struggled so that's not surprising. The shooting incident on Friday has about destroyed me, except this time I feel energized to DO something, but what? I want to believe in people. I want to see more good than bad.

The thing is, I know why bad things happen. We are not being "abandoned" by God. He allows us all agency. This agency can be used for good deeds or bad ones. We get to choose. We do not get to choose the consequences of behavior. Also, there is no guarantee that all good behavior will be rewarded (except with peace of mind and other "internal" type "blessings") or bad behavior punished until The End. This does not mean I like it, or even accept it. I am devastated by the way humans treat each other. I don't understand it. I will never understand it.

Humanity should be about love, not hate. Religion should teach love and tolerance. Religion should never Ever EVER be an excuse for murder or intolerance. My opinion, of course, but this is my blog so...

I think I have come up with something to do to exert some of my excess energy and show my feelings about this event. I'll post more later.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

SOS Report Days 18-24

Better late than never...?

1. Christmas Movie:

Sunday Christmas Angel with Della Reese, Kevin Sorbo & Teri Polo. This was a recent release but we found it on Netflix! It was cute but trite. I found the story nice but not compelling.

Monday Dreamworks Holiday Classics A bundle of Dreamworks pictures with the Shrek cast, Madagascar cast, including the Penguins and a Dragon training holiday! 

Tuesday All She Wants for Christmas A semi-cutish, hometown rescue movie of a Christmas decoration factory. Typical mis-communication keeping true loves apart. Other than that, I liked it. 

Wednesday A Golden Christmas, A Golden Christmas 2: 3 Holiday Tails I watched both of these together because they both feature Golden Retrievers (which will be the breed of my "next" dog) and I watched the first one last year (but forgot). The first one is better. It features a boy-meets-girl story and stars Xander of Buffy. Yay! The second one has K.C. Clyde of The Best Two Years and was also cute. Both about childhood "sweethearts" reunited. 

Thursday One Magic Christmas This was another one that I watched last year. Featuring a very young Mary Steenburgen as a frazzled mother facing eviction, husband's unemployment and a myriad other "typical" Mom issues but has no joy in her life. A Christmas angel is sent (Gideon) to help her re-believe. There is some tragedy and heartache but she learns what is most important to her and gets a chance to show the true spirit of Christmas.

Friday Holiday Engagement Not willing to face her family without her fiance', a girl hires an "actor" to pretend to be him. Hilarity and true love ensues. Liked this one a lot!

Saturday Shadow Island: The Last Christmas A murder-mystery of sorts with a treasure hunt, family intrigue and mental illness. No family Christmas would be complete without it! 

2. House & Home:

Sunday -- Saturday Just trying to stay afloat. Made dinner relatively consistently. Minimal housecleaning. It all goes to pot when Mom feels like dirge.

3. Write:

Not quite a "fail" but not successful either. Really need more accountability or alone time or guilt or something.

4. Serve:

Another area I am failing at. Ergh. Once my Christmas baking gets Started and Finished then I can work on giving goodies away. Other than that I am limited to just trying to be the best mom/wife so at least my family is blessed.

5. Pray & Read Scriptures:

This is an area that I actually feel good about. I am listening to my scriptures and taking time to mark and make notes about my thoughts and feelings about what I'm reading. I am caught up with the Sunday School lessons and should be ahead soon!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Book Review: Brenda Novak "When Lightning Strikes"

When Lightning Strikes (Whiskey Creek)

Brenda Novak

Published by Harlequin Mira; August 2012

Paperback, 441 pages.

Listed $7.99, I borrowed it from the Library.

Book Description

Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has accumulated a roster of A-list clients, including the biggest box office hit of all--sexy and unpredictable Simon O'Neal. But Simon, who's just been through a turbulent divorce, is so busy self-destructing he won't listen to anything she says. She drops him from her list--and he retaliates by taking the rest of her clients with him.

Desperate to save her company, Gail has to humble herself by making a deal with Simon. The one thing he wants is custody of his son, but that's going to require a whole new image. He needs to marry some squeaky-clean girl who'll drag him off to some small obscure place like Whiskey Creek...

Gail's the only one he can trust. She agrees to become his wife--reluctantly. But she isn't reluctant because he's too hard to like. It's because he's too hard not to love!


I am a huge fan of Brenda Novak's! I especially love her romances. I read all of her books in the Dundee, Idaho series and this one proves to be similar in spirit and fun. 

Normally I do not like books with fake "rich and famous" people but this one was actually believable and not annoying. Gail DeMarco is someone I would admire and I think her honesty and integrity are not far-fetched. Maybe to some, but not to me. 

Simon O'Neal is also not an annoying or unbelievable movie-star character with issues. Of course he has issues. Both of the main characters have issues but they are not totally insurmountable. Simon's are more intense and his relative stupidity when it comes to women is a tad cliche'. 

Whiskey Creek is someplace I would like to live. I do kind of live in that kind of environment. We don't have a haunted Inn but we do have a haunted house. We have a couple of diners that have been here forever, so I get that part of the community and I love it! 

The DeMarco family is semi-dysfunctional (hello, issues.), but they have down-to-earth values and love each other. Simon's family is a train-wreck but that works for a Hollywood Hottie. His ex & his agent however, make me want to vomit, or punch someone. So considering I got emotional about it, I guess you could say I "fell for" the characters.

Overall I liked the novel and am looking forward to the next installment.

Currently reading: When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek #2)!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Pride is bad. I'm not certain if there is a "good kind" of pride. I know I am "proud" of my children when they do something good because I feel like I have either a) taught them something worthwhile & they were listening, or b) they learned goodness in spite of me. Is there a better word for that? I don't feel like I am better than anyone else, just that I am grateful to see them doing things I think will make them happy. 

Sometimes when my pride is put in check because of the actions of another I am shocked. When I am complimented, given a gift, or told I inspired someone I am honestly surprised by that. I wonder if people saw me, the "real" me, if they would even talk to me. Then there are those who DO see the real me and love me anyway. That flabbergasts me. 

Thank you.

Thank you to D. who gave me a gift today that cracked me up. I loved your Christmas letter, it was newsworthy without being braggy. My favorite! You inspired me! (I am working on my letter. Every year it tortures me.) Thank you for always telling me that my blog inspires you. I cannot tell you how much that means to me!

Thank you C. for always listening to me and reading my stuff and telling me you believe in me. Thank you for thinking I could actually finish something and make a living at this amazing job of writing. I need to borrow some of that so I will believe enough in myself to DO it, finally!

Thank you G, my brother. You are my best friend. Thank you God for bringing you into my life when I was 11 and for being a boy even though I wanted a sister. 

Thank you L (aka Gypsy/PLLAASABIDSA) for always loving me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. It baffles me. I will never get tired of your phone calls. I will always be your sister. Always. And you and I will someday be old ladies wearing purple with doggies in our rocking chair laps. It's gonna happen

Thank you Mommy for loving me and always making sure I know it.

Thank you my children for blowing my mind with your goodness and love.

Thank you Daddy for loving me unconditionally all my life and making me feel special and sometimes even smart.

Thank you Superman for loving me more than I even imagine and am surprised that you still do. After everything I know you love me. Thank you for marrying me for eternity. We deserve each other and I'm thankful God knew what we needed even though you and I had no clue. 

Thank you TT Ladies, Betties and Cherries for always making me feel like I can come to you with anything, ask you any question, tell you anything and you still make me feel "normal." (Normal is as Normal does around here, I guess!)

Thank you Universe for giving me spiritual acuity. I have no idea why or how I got such unwavering Faith but I thank You for it. And I thank you for the blessings that Pour into my life when I least expect it. 
It's kind of crazy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

30 Day Book Meme

Saw this on another blog and I think it's a fantastic idea! I think I will do this in January, starting Jan 1st. Anyone else?

30 Day Book Meme:

Day 01 - The best book you read this year.
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

Day 03 – Your favorite series

Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series

Day 05 – A book that makes you happy

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

Day 07 – Most underrated book

Day 08 – Most overrated book

Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Day 10 – Favorite classic book

Day 11 – A book you hated

Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore

Day 13 – Your favorite writer

Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer

Day 15 – Favorite male character

Day 16 – Favorite female character

Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you

Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie

Day 20 – Favorite romance book

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood

Day 22 – Favorite book you own

Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

Day 28 – Favorite title

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time