Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Follow Your Dreams

As most of you know, I love reading.  I've wanted to become a writer forever, so I went back to school to get a degree in creative writing.  I've learned so much and I've finally gotten to a place where I'm excited to share one of my stories, Twists in Time, a young adult, fun, clean, romantic science fiction novel.  It's currently available on swoonreads.com to read for free.

If I can get enough people to read, comment, and share, there is a possibility of Twists in Time getting published.  If you're interested in reading it, go to swoonreads.com, create an account, find Twists in Time under sci-fi, and start reading.  A big "THANK YOU!" before hand.

@Swoonreads #swoonreads

Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Personal Identity Crisis

A couple of months ago I went to a doctor's appointment.  After checking in, the nurse took me to an exam room and began asking me the birthing history of my children: how many kids I had, if they were full-term, etc. 

And then the nurse said, "When was your abortion?"

"I'm sorry," I said, thinking I hadn't heard her correctly. "What did you ask?"

"It says here you had an abortion between your first and second child, " the nurse said clarifying. "What year was that?"

"I didn't have an abortion," I said shocked that I was having to explain myself.  "I miscarried and was hemorrhaging so badly that I had to have an emergency D and C."

"Okay," the nurse said nonchalantly and went on to ask some more questions.

I didn't hear what she asked or said next as my mind was stuck on the word "abortion."

But the nurse carried on unaware of the turmoil roiling inside my brain.  Never before had I felt so utterly misrepresented.  My insides were screaming to clear my identity.

"I'm sorry," I said stopping the nurse's words.  "I don't mean to be rude, but I need to clarify something.  Do you mean to tell me that my personal medical records say that I had an abortion?

"Yes," the nurse said as a matter of fact.

"Can you please change them so that it is explained why I had a D and C?  I'm having a hard time concentrating on anything else your saying knowing that 'abortion' is on my records."

The nurse was very understanding and accommodating, and said she'd fix it.  Then she continued with her standard questioning before leaving me to wait for the doctor.

By sharing this, I am by no means trying to condemn or shame other women for their personal choices concerning motherhood. I also hope that those who are not mothers, and perhaps deeply desire children, will understand that I share my experience being very much aware and sensitive to those desires. Despite my personal feelings and deep religious beliefs, I don't know the intent of other's hearts and thoughts.  Nor do I know the circumstances to which influence/ed other's choices.  

Buts as I waited for my doctor to come in, I couldn't help thinking about how I defined my personal identity, especially in relation to my role as a mother.  To have my name and identity linked with having an abortion was very disturbing.  I knew that there would be very few people who would ever see my personal medical records.  But I just couldn't get over the fact that there was a physical record, with my name on it, stating I'd had an abortion.  I couldn't help feeling personally violated somehow.  And I wanted to make it very clear to myself and the world that I loved being a woman and mother.

A couple of weeks later I was studying Hamlet in my Shakespeare class.  One line in particular stuck out to me.  Hamlet says, "...I have that within which passeth show-" (1.2.85.)  I love Hamlet's words.  But I can't help noting that, even though there is so much more to who we are as individuals besides what the world sees, there's a huge part of me that identifies myself by what I "show" to the world. 

So, I will end in saying that this small personal identity crisis mattered to me.  Part of my "showing" what was truly inside myself was having my medical records changed, which I made sure had been done at my next Dr.'s appointment.  It matters that we stand up for what we are and claim our identities.  And I claim my identity as a mother and hope to do so even on the days when mothering is difficult.

P.S. Yeah, I know.  Mothering wasn't too difficult when this picture was taken.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Yay! It's finally here!  "A Faerie's Revenge," which is Rachel Morgan's fifth book in the bestselling Creepy Hollow series.  Can I just tell you how much I love these books?  I discovered them a couple of years ago when I read "The Faerie Guardian," and I completely fell in love with Rachel's writing, and the Creepy Hollow world.

I was content to read, over and over again, "The Faerie Guardian," "The Faerie Prince," and "The Faerie War," to get my Creepy Hollow fix. So I about peed my pants with excitement when Ms. Morgan announced she was writing six more Creepy Hollow books!

And I was not disappointed.  "A Faerie's Secret" picked up about ten years after "The Faerie War," and introduced me to Calla, the main character of the next three books in the Creepy Hollow series. I fell in love with Calla as a female heroine, and when "A Faerie's Secret" ended, I was so bummed I had to wait for the next book.

But I'm so glad I was patient, because "A Faerie's Revenge" was fantastic and continued Calla's story so masterfully. There was awesome action and incredible magical world-building.  But what I loved the most was how masterful the characters, relationships, and plot were developed. The hesitant romance between Calla and Chase was swoon worthy and believable. The way trust, forgiveness, and the allowance of second chances played into their relationship was so realistic. These qualities gave "A Faerie's Revenge" a depth that I expect to find in Rachel's stories.

 Another way "A Faerie's Revenge" brought depth to Calla's story was how she was faced with real ethical challenges in her role as a guardian. Calla's journey on how she faces those challenges made the story that much more engaging. Calla is a strong female heroine.  But she is challenged with questions of whether or not "the good guys" are really the good guys.  Especially when she witnesses first hand "the bad guys" being the only ones in the the faerie world who make a difference by standing up for what is right.

Calla's story is complicated and so perfectly detailed with action, hesitant romance, the bonds of family and friends, and the reality of trying to figure out who she really is and what she stands for.  It's about redemption, and forgiving those who have made mistakes, even when those mistakes are ginormous.  And of course, it's about romance, the kind that lasts and everyone hopes for.

So, do yourself a favor and get lost in the Creepy Hollow world by reading Calla's story in "A Faerie's Revenge," and be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one Creepy Hollow paperback and signed Creepy Hollow swag.

                              GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | KOBO

Rachel Morgan is a South African author who spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics,she decided science wasn’t for her—after all, they didn’t approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart. She is the author of the bestselling Creepy Hollow series, and the lighthearted contemporary romance Trouble series.

You can find her online at the following places:
Email | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | tsu | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest | YouTube | Linkedin

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Monday Oct. 26

Tuesday Oct. 27
Jen's Book Review 
The Nerdy Girl's Book 
Random Things in Action
Wednesday Oct. 28

Thursday Oct. 29
Escape with a Story 

Saturday, October 17, 2015


I just wanted to share some of my most recent good entertainment finds.

"All The Light We Cannot See" won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, and it's not wonder why it did. I just finished this book, and I loved it for so many reasons. But most of all, I loved it for how it taught me to recognize that there are so many wonderful things, in my life, that are filled with light, that I am not seeing. If you haven't read it, read it. You'll be a better person for it.

My hubby and I watched The Martian, and despite the swearing, we loved it for its wonderful message of determination to keep moving forward, even if' it's just for one day at a time.  We also loved it for how it showed what humans are capable of they put their minds to it.  A very fun movie!

I just reread "Fahrenheit 451" and I wanted to share some of my favorite lines.  They aren't necessarily awe inspiring, but they spoke to me of the power and beauty that can be found in words when they are crafted together perfectly.

"Her dress was white and whispered."

"Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine." (Bradbury quoting Jules Verne)

"He lay far across from her, on a winter island separated by an empty sea."

"We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed.  As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over." (Bradbury quoting James Boswell)

Aren't those just fabulous! I love good books.

In my Shakespeare class I've discovered that the history plays are some of my favorites.  I've especially fallen in love with Henry V.  Let me tell you why.

Henry V is a play about a man who finds himself a king, and desperately tries to figure out what makes him noble.  He has to leave off the frivolity of his youth to be noble, but he struggles with knowing when and how to be merciful and full of justice.  Although he questions what makes him worthy to be king, he gives glory to God at all times, ever acknowledging his weaknesses.  What an awesome historical figure.

And my love for awesome noble men leads me to my latest movie find.

Brock and I just watched Bridge of Spies.  It was such a fabulous show, and portrayed the true events of James Donovan representing a Russian spy, named Rudolf Abel.

What I loved most about this movie was the argument that Mr. Donovan made in favor of defending Mr. Abel.  When Donovan stood before the Supreme Court he said, "Mr. Abel has acted as a true Russian spy. He has not divulged any of his country's secrets.  He has been loyal to the war he is fighting for. Shouldn't the United States government be loyal to the war they are fighting for and honor what they stand for in believing that all people should be represented fairly, and give Mr. Abel a fair trial?" (You just witnessed a lot of paraphrasing)

Obviously standing up for a Russian's rights was a hard thing to do at the height of The Cold War, but I loved the message.  At one point in the show Tom Hanks, acting as James Donovan, says to a CIA agent trying to convince Mr. Donovan that there are no rules the government has to follow when it comes to espionage, "My heritage stems from Ireland, and your heritage stems from Germany, but we are both American.  And what makes us American's?  It's our belief in The Constitution that says there are rules Americans follow and believe in, especially when it comes to individual human rights."

I loved this. It's not always convenient to stand up for what it right, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out.

So there you have it.  Thanks for letting me share some of my good entertainment finds.  See! We're surrounded by wonderful things filled with light.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

To Remember on Christmas Day

A couple of days before Christmas, my oldest daughter Catherine, made up a game to play with her siblings. She put different tasks into a jar and pulled one out at a time for everyone to fulfill. Whoever was able to complete the task the quickest was the winner. One of the tasks was to make a New Year's resolution list, even though they were still waiting for Christmas. My eight year old Michael, and five year old Eliza, were most excited to play. Neither of them really understood what resolutions were. So, we explained resolutions were personal goals you made to help you be a better person in the new year. Michael was excited and started coming up with goals. Eliza needed a little help. As a mom, who really loves for her children to be self-sufficient, I came up with goals that were pretty selfish on my part. Some of these goals included: to stop sucking her thumb, to learn to read better, to bathe, dry off, and get dressed by herself without asking for mommy's help. This last goal mostly stemmed from the fact that this is something this five year old used to do all the time, but since starting Kindergarten, she has wanted me to do everything for her, especially tasks that she was perfectly capable of performing before school. A lot of kids go through some kind of separation anxiety when they go to school. They are repeatedly learning new things they are expected to do by themselves. My five year old has loved school and has had so much fun learning new things and then showing us what she can do. At the same time, she has become really clingy and has wanted me to do everything for her. If I were a better person, I would relish these opportunities to do whatever she asks of me. But instead, I have felt frustrated at her constant need for me to be right by her side to accomplish simple tasks. I have prayed for patience and a desire to enjoy helping her. I have asked to be more loving and kind when she wants extra attention. There have been times I have been patient and more kind, and there have been times I have felt very frustrated at her need for me to do everything. However, sometimes things happen that put everything into perspective. On Christmas Eve Eliza was riding bikes with Michael. We live in a new subdivision with a couple of empty lots. Unknown to me, one of the lots the kids like to play on, has become a dumping ground for some of the other home building sites. We did not know there was potentially dangerous material our children were playing with. We thought the lot was just a fun open field for them to run around on. When Eliza and Michael stopped to play on Christmas Eve afternoon, they found a hollow, metal copper, tube that was completely rusted. Michael bent it into two pieces so they each had a "stick" to play with. They were pounding their metal sticks into the ground to see how far they would sink. Eliza found a dumped pile of dried cement and tried to poke her stick through. While doing so the stick bounced or ricocheted off the cement back up her arm and into her right eye, severely damaging the pupil and Iris. Michael came running into our house telling us Eliza was bleeding. I calmly walked to find her, hoping it wasn't too serious. When I saw her closed eye was seeping watery blood, I knew it wasn't just a scratch on the skin. I gently lifted her lid and saw that the damage was a very serious injury to the eye. I called a friend who is an optometrist/opthalmologist and asked if we should go to the ER or somewhere else. He had us meet him at his office where he examined the eye, and then told us we needed to immediately go to the ER at the El Paso Children's Hospital, forty five minutes away, because there was no one in Las Cruces who could fix Eliza's eye. We made it to El Paso, where eventually Eliza was operated on. The on-call Dr. and staff were amazing and did a wonderful job repairing Eliza's eye as best as they could. We were able to come home on Christmas day. Now we are in the waiting period for the wound to heal to see what kind of sight-loss has occurred. Her recovery will be a long process, with more operations over the next three to four months. In the meantime, Eliza has needed a lot of help doing everything. The night she came home she kept both of her eyes closed. She has a patch to protect her injured eye, but it's hard for her to use just one eye, so she keeps them both closed sometimes. We have had to lead her to the bath, wash her, help her step out, dry off, lead her to her room, help her get dressed, and lead and guide her through many other tasks she had been able to do by herself before her injury. The New Year's resolution list has come to mind on many occasions, and I can't help but think how stupid I am sometimes. I still want my kids to be as independent and self-sufficient as possible, but who cares if they want or need a little extra help. I do not believe Eliza's injury is punishment for my impatience. However, I do believe the Lord can teach us with any situation, good or bad, if we are willing to let him show us our strengths and weaknesses. Christmas was totally different this year. Some of our kids said it was the worst Christmas ever. We tried our best to salvage what we could when we got home from the hospital to feel the love, peace, and happiness all parents wish for their children on Christmas day. In years to come, it's possible we'll remember this Christmas as being one of the best Christmas' ever. For family night Christmas evening we read about the birth of the Savior. Then Brock shared his favorite quote from "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, which has really helped me find meaning in these last couple of days. It reads: "And how did little Tim behave" asked Mrs. Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart's content. "As good as gold," said Bob, "and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Me and the Priesthood

One night, when I was a little girl, I remember lying in my bed and feeling scared. At the foot of my bed I could see my open closet. I was certain something bad was lurking inside. I became more and more frightened of some dark presence hiding in my room. As my fear intensified, I hugged my pillow and blanket tightly around me for protection. Then I remembered the words of my mother, "Angie. Believe in God and that He will protect you as you call on his name. Jesus Christ has more power than anything on this earth." I sat up and said, in my small little girl voice, "I command you, in the name of Jesus Christ, to leave me alone." Immediately the fear I felt left, and again my room felt safe and sure. When I was in college, I got an ear infection, but for some reason I forgot I could go to the doctor and get better. The ear infection became worse and worse, constantly aching and pounding in my head. The pain went on and on for over a month. I finally remembered I should ask for a priesthood blessing and that I could be healed. My father laid his hands on my head and said, "By the power of the priesthood, and by the faith you hold, in the name of Jesus Christ, I command the pain in your ear to leave!" I knew that God could heal me. I believed that He could take my pain away. Immediately, at my fathers words, and by my faith to be healed, the pain left my ears. One sunny day, down a dusty road in a small town of Campinas, Brazil, my Brazilian companion and I were confronted my a man on a motorcycle. I felt the same fear that I had felt as a little girl lying in my bed with the dark closet before me. My companion and I started to walk quickly towards the mouth of the road to reach a more open area. The man walked quickly behind us and grabbed my back side. We quickened our pace. I could hear the man's feet coming up behind us even faster. I turned around and yelled with all the power and depth of my voice, "Do not touch me!" I felt adrenaline and fire coursing through me like I had never felt before. I was scared, and knew that this man could hurt me and my companion. But I also knew that I was in control if I believed God would help me. I felt like the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi, when he commanded his brothers who wanted to kill him to, "Touch me not!" As I yelled at the man, I felt God's power protecting me. I imagined an angel standing above and around me holding a flaming sword that would cut the man down if he came any closer. The man ran to his motorcycle and rode away as fast as he could. As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I have never felt like I have been limited in my actions or faith because I am not an official holder of God's priesthood. On the contrary. All my life I have felt that men value my opinion and believe that my faith in God is just as important and powerful as their holding of the priesthood. As I have served in callings, I have felt strengthened by men all around me. I have felt their support and their belief that, as a woman, I am wonderful and have the potential to do anything that my faith in God demands or needs. I am thankful to be a woman. I believe in God and that he has given both men and women the opportunity to learn and grow in life regardless of the responsibilities they hold. As a woman of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have never felt restricted in my power to call upon the name of God and ask for help. I know He is there when and wherever I may need him.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Motherhood and Kentucky Part 1

I have this ache that lives deep inside me. Occasionally it will rise to my throat and sting my eyes. Sometimes it pulses with great intensity, but usually it’s a dull throbbing. I’ve become so used to it that sometimes I forget about it. But then I’ll be in a grocery store, or at the library, or at a park and I will hear a new born cry, and, Bam! There it is again. Sometimes a certain smell triggers it. Most of the time the ache comes when I’m talking to an expectant mother, with her swollen belly, and her “any time now.” I envy her, and the ache flares again. The other day I went to a yearly OBGYN check-up. It had been longer than a year since my last one and I was over-due. I was planning on asking my doctor about some permanent birth control. Although the ache was still there, it had taken me a very long time to come to this decision. Before my doctor arrived I started looking at the birth control pamphlets hung on the wall in the plastic container. I picked up one that had written at the top “When your family is complete choose essure.” It had a picture of an older couple on the front and I thought to myself as I looked at the lady, “I don’t look that old, do I?” When my doctor arrived she saw the pamphlet in my hand and upon my inquiry started telling me about it. She explained that essure was a procedure where small coiled springs were placed in the opening of each fallopian tube and that over three months the body would build a natural scar tissue barrier around the coil, completely blocking off the chance of a sperm or egg reaching each other, thus preventing conception. She then went on to explain how this procedure compared to having your tubes tied, and said that though tying your tubes was just as effective as essure, it was a much more invasive form of birth control. I felt an inner conflict as I listened to her. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that by choosing one of these two forms of birth control I was ensuring that I would never again feel the joy or happiness I have felt from being pregnant or from nursing. I couldn’t accept the finality of it. The ache started to throb. I went home with these conflicting thoughts and emotions stewing and stirring inside my brain. With the ache more pronounced, I wondered if God was telling me I was supposed to have another baby. But then Catherine needed to be driven to flute, Matthew needed help with his math, Michael needed help with a reading work sheet, and Eliza needed to get ready for ballet, and the confusing ache started to lessen. However, the frustration from my doctor appointment didn’t go away, and when Brock and I got into bed that night I spewed forth my frustrations to him. With very careful wording and tender reminders Brock helped me with my frustrations, and the ache lessoned more ad we reminisced about the year we lived in Corbin, Kentucky.