Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #28

Patch is headed off to scout camp in a few weeks. He has his physical this upcoming week, and then the following week he is off. I think this mom has the right idea for how to handle scout camp homecomings!

Hope your weekend
is going great!

Happy Memorial Day!

{Image credit}

Scripture of the Day: 1 John 4:7

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thoughts on the Last Day of School

Yesterday was the last day of school. Patch and Kitty were up extra early with the anticipation. And of course there was little to do to get ready to leave. We are done with piano practicing until the fall. No homework to do. No tests to study for. So instead they watched a little television, teased each other a lot, and planned what they were going to do in all their free time this summer.

Soon after school started I went and enjoyed some time with Sweetie Peach at her water party. It was fun to see her tossing water balloons, get soaking wet on the slip-n-slide, and interact with all her class friends. I was glad I went and took a few photos of her before heading home to do some of my research work. I tried to really enjoy the quietness at home... I may not get much of that over the upcoming months.

Soon enough the school day ended and the kids came trudging home from school, excited to be done and full of things to tell me about the day. And they brought home with them so much junk! Back packs and grocery sacks full of papers, broken crayons, dirty pencil boxes, and worn out erasers. I spent an hour sorting through all of the papers, choosing those I would save and tossing the rest. I keep a file box for each child and each school year has a file. It was nice to have it all filed away and cleared off the dining room table. It was also time to throw away their very worn out back packs (we had used them for two years). I was tempted to throw away their lunch boxes, but decided to hold onto them another year.

I am proud of the kids for the good year they have had in school. They are all good students, but are especially well known for being well behaved. All three were recognized this past year for being good citizens. Some things I hope to remember about this year include:

- Patch was inducted into NJHS, bringing home projects from his shop class, and working with him to get his Civil War report done.

- Kitty started violin in the school orchestra, had a lot of fun with student council by volunteering in the student store and helping with other projects, and always surpassing her AR reading goals.

- Sweetie Peach was my turkey trot partner at the school last fall, we had fun attending her penguin unit evening, and as her class mom ("the party mom") I organized and attended all of her fun parties.

Time for some summer fun and a change of pace!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 5:16

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last Day of School? Already?

Tomorrow is the last day of school and I feel unprepared {read: stressed}. I know it has been coming, and I have tried to wrap my brain around it, but it just won't fit. I just do not feel ready for such a big schedule change again. I just am getting into a groove with the whole work schedule change, and now this. I will have to pray for extra flexibility. Why is it so hard for me to be flexible?

It is only 12 weeks. I know I can do this. My kids are so excited for summer to be here--to be free of classes and homework! And although I wish I could take a three month sabbatical to stay home with them, somehow it will all work out.

Heavenly Father knows what he is doing.

{Even if I don't.}

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 3:19

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

I spent much of yesterday evening finishing A Thousand Splendid Suns, a novel by Khaled Hosseini. I have had this book sitting around my house unread for more than a year. Maybe it is because Middle Eastern topics do not greatly interest me, or maybe because my hardback copy did not have an attractive cover. But I eventually picked it up and was glad for the excellent read.

The main plot of A Thousand Splendid Suns revolves around two women (Mariam and Laila) from Afghanistan and the hardships they encounter in life due to political strife, religion, and abusive men. The book takes place from 1965 to current time (it ends, I believe, in 2003), which made it all the more interesting. The comparison of lifestyles -- my life to theirs -- is so vastly different; it is hard not to be all the more grateful for the blessings I have been given.

Note: A Thousand Splendid Suns addresses some very serious topics, including child and spousal abuse, pregnancy/miscarriage, and death. I did not feel there was anything gratuitous about the author's handling of these subjects, though.

PS, Don't forget to bid on my book to help raise money for diabetes research. Here is the link again--scroll down to item number 1747812. Thanks!

Scripture of the Day: Ezekiel 11:19

Monday, May 24, 2010

LDS Author Roylaties

**Note: This post was updated on June 2 after 5 additional authors completed the survey**

I know many people wonder how much an author makes. Even more assume authors are rolling in the dough, when in fact the opposite is true for a strong majority of authors. If you have ever heard the phrase "starving artist" then it should not be a surprise to know his brother is the "malnourished author."

To help clarify what authors earn, especially LDS authors, I posted an online survey and then spent the past two months pestering fellow authors to take the survey. I was successful in getting 41 to do so. Here are the general results of that survey:

Number of books published per author
One book - 29%
Two books - 20%
Three books - 10%
Four books - 10%
Five books - 5%
Six or more books - 27%

More than half of the authors, or 68%, indicated only one or two of the books they have published are currently still available on the market.

The vast majority (83% or 37 authors) indicated none of their books had sold more than 10,000 copies.

Market Targeted by Author
National market - 32%
LDS market - 46%
Both - 22%

Royalties Earned in 2009
Less than $250 - 40%
$251 to $500 - 8%
$501 to $1000 - 15%
$1001 to $1550 - 5%
$1551 to $2000 - 5%
More than $2000 - 28%

2009 Royalties Compared to 2008 Royalties
Higher - 28%
Lower - 23%
The same - 26%
2009 was first year earned royalties - 23%

Of course, greater participation in this survey would help to ensure the data is more reliable. If you are an author and have not yet taken this little survey (8 questions total), please do so! If I get another five authors to participate I will re-post with the updated results.

Click here to take survey

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 5:2 and 7

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #27

Hope your weekend is fabulous!

Scripture of the Day: JSH 1:26

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Broken Heart

Once, when I was in high school, I decided to run for student council--treasurer, specifically. I made lots of posters and handed out many fliers. I felt like I invested so much time and energy. But I still lost. It was hard to lose, but within a few weeks I had found other activities to participate in and the feelings gradually faded.

Then a few weeks ago my Kitty decided to run for vice president at her school. Memories of my feelings of losing started sneaking back into my head. I worried she might lose because she would only be in fifth grade next year. I worried her speech wasn't good enough. I worried when my DH suggested she use sock puppets for her speech. I worried her poster did not look neat enough. I worried and worried and worried.

But my worry was to no avail.

Sure enough, today Kitty lost the election. For the most part she has been brave, but there have been a few tears. Hopefully a few weeks from now the feelings of losing will have faded dramatically.

And there is always next year.

Kitty, I am proud of you for trying!

Scripture of the Day: 3 Nephi 7:21

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review: Pickup Games

I won a copy of Marcia Mickelson's novel Pickup Games several months ago and meant to write a review. But somehow it fell off of my to-do list. In fact, I realized I have not done any book reviews for over a month. Sorry for being such a slacker! But now I am back on the job and Pickup Games is definitely worth mentioning.

From the back of the book:

Since the murder of his fiancee, the only security in Mick Webber's life is sports. His excitement for living builds when he lands a promising job on a college basketball show--until he learns he has a female co-host.

Cara Jones has her own package of problems from a failed relationship and little patience for the male egos in the arena. Right from the start, careers collide.

Pickup Games will have you on the edge of your seat, jumping up to cheer and yelling at the refs when life isn't fair.

Pickup Games has a very fun storyline, especially if you like basketball. There is a nice balance of romance, humor, and even a bit of mystery. Cara's character depicts a strong, yet feminine, woman succeeding in a traditionally male profession. This is somewhat unique, particularly in LDS literature. I find her very likable and well written. Mick's character is charming and fun; he has interesting past experiences that motivate his behaviors. I was not quite sure a real person would be able to work through some of his problems as quickly as Mick was able to do in the book--but that fantasy is often why we read.

Marcia Mickelson is also the author of Reasonable Doubt and Star Shining Brightly.

Scripture of the day: James 3:13

Monday, May 17, 2010

High Tech FHE

Yesterday my family learned how to use Skype. In the morning, before church, we Skyped (I think a new verb has now been added to the English language) with my SIL and her children. They live in San Francisco and we rarely see them. It was fun to watch my niece and nephew showing us their toys and and making rabbit ears on each other.

Then, yesterday evening we used Skype to hold a Family Home Evening with my brother's family in Denver. We started with a song and a prayer, just like normal, and then my SIL taught a simple lesson about fathers. We even played a fun game with each other. Again, the kids really enjoyed seeing their cousins and it was nice to have someone else teach the lesson. We thought it went really well and have decided to try doing a joint Skype FHE once a month.

Yes, we are getting SO high tech around here now.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 50:11-14

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #26

Have a great weekend!

Don't forget to bid on my book to help raise money for diabetes research. Here is the link again--scroll down to item number 1747812. Thanks!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 25:6

Friday, May 14, 2010

Free Time

A miracle occurred today.

I got 3 hours all to myself.

No kids.

No husband.


And I did not have to arrange for it to happen.
It just fell into my lap.
And, considering the history of my days in
parenthood, this is a miraculous event.

So what did I do with all that time?

1. A session at the temple

2. A bit of cleaning

3. Wrote this blog post

4. Worked on my WIP


5. Ate a fudgesicle


Scripture of the Day: John 12:40

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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This is a smoking deal on my first book e-mailed out yesterday by Deseret Book! This is even cheaper than what I can buy them for at cost. I may go get a few of them myself.

Scripture of the Day: Luke 22:32

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diabetes Fundraiser...Please Bid on Me!!

More than ten years ago my father was diagnosed with late-onset diabetes (type 2). Since then my mother, several aunts on both sides of the family, and my MIL have all been diagnosed with this disease as well. Personally I worry I will end up being diabetic myself. I have lost over 40 lbs. and have been learning to eat better in an effort to mitigate my risk. But still I wonder.

So when I was asked recently to participate in a fundraiser for finding a cure for diabetes I was more than happy to help. Please take a minute to browse the many books and items that have been donated to this worthy cause (click on link below). And, if you like, you can bid here on an autographed copy of Family Home Evening Adventures! Thanks in advance for taking part in the 2010 Brenda Novak online auction to Benefit Diabetes Research.

Image credit

Scripture of the Day: Acts 28:27

Monday, May 10, 2010

Today's Post

Come and check my post out today on ANWA.
I tell about my Mother's Day and
how it could have gone so wrong.

See ya there!

Scripture of the Day: 4 Nephi 1:2

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #25

Here's hoping your kids make more than
"a bit of an effort" at cleaning their rooms!

Happy Mother's Day!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 112:13

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I've been Thinking

Yesterday I watched this video and it made me think a lot (as well as cry).

I thought about me not being my body.

I thought about the importance of being a mom and how I could do better at that.

I thought about how the Lord uses trials to make us better people and increase our faith (if we let our trials do that).

But mostly I have been thinking that I wish I knew (as well as Stephanie knows) what my mission is here on earth. I have so much going on in my life, but now I am wondering how much of all that is really what the Lord wants me to do. I know most of it is... like my church calling and being a mom and a wife. But what am I supposed to be doing in each of these areas?

Why am I here?

What is my purpose?

Much of the time I feel like I am white knuckling it; just barely getting through one day at a time. And sometimes not even all that well. Maybe that is because I am doing too much of whatever instead of enough of what's right.

What I want is to really know what God wants me to be doing. And then to not worry about any of the rest of it.

I guess it all begins with asking.

Scripture of the day: Psalms 19:7

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thanks, Nancy!

A few days ago this cute travel jewelry case arrived in the mail. I won it on my friend Nancy's blog. I met Nancy a few years ago when she attended a focus group I was moderating. She is the sister of my friend, Becky. Nancy has a fun crafting gene and is very creative. What I love about her blog are the fun tutorials she has on how to make things. Check out her tutorial to make my travel jewelry case, how to make a pretty jewelry display, and her silhouette tutorial (which would be darling for Mom's Day, if you need an idea). I wish I had more time so I could make more of Nancy's craft ideas, as well as try out some of her yummy recipes. Be sure to check her out and have a little fun yourself!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 24:6

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Gila Valley Temple Tour

Last Friday afternoon Steve and I took a few hours off of work, pulled the kids out of school, and headed over to Safford for the Gila Valley Temple open house. We arrived later for our tickets, but we did not get asked to show them anyway. First there was a good video shown at the church house next to the temple. It explained the history and importance of temples, as well as the history of the Saints in the Gila Valley. Then we were taken over to the temple and given a tour, starting with the baptistery. I loved the soft, muted colors used throughout the temple--blues and tans and other pastels. It was a beautiful experience and I was so grateful to be able to take the kids there. Patch had to miss a birthday party of a friend and was not exactly pleased. But I tried to explain how few open houses he would get to go to in his life compared to birthday parties. I think he understands...

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 15:5-7

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Month, New Theme

The Conversion of Peter, by Caravaggio

Time for a new month and new scripture theme. I have to say I will miss the General Conference theme; I enjoyed it a lot and am continuing to read the talks. Hopefully the new theme this month -- conversion -- will be just as enjoyable.

From President Faust:

Peter’s conversion to the great principle that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone is another example of this slowness to comprehend. He had been an eyewitness, as he stated in 2 Peter: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16). To what had he been an eyewitness? He had been an eyewitness to everything in the Savior’s ministry.

Following Christ’s encounter with the Samaritan at the well of Jacob, Peter had seen the Savior welcome the Samaritans, who were loathed by the Jews (see John 4). But when Peter saw a vision and heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (Acts 10:15), he was thoroughly confused. Finally, when Peter was fully converted to the instruction and had received a spiritual confirmation, he “opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34–35).

James E. Faust, “The Surety of a Better Testament,” Ensign, Sep 2003, 2–6

Scripture of the Day: 2 Peter 1:16 (as linked above in President Faust's quote)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #24

I am still here--just very busy. I have plenty to post about, just not enough time! I promise to do better next week.

Scripture of the Day: Matt. 18:3