Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Season of Sacrifice, by Tristi Pinkston

Author Tristi Pinkston writes history as though she'd been there. Her books carry a sense of place and time that belie her youth, and make a reader believe the author must be a sage of many years. Her new book, "Season of Sacrifice," was a compelling read with many emotional twists and turns. It gets to the heart of a controversial lifestyle that some see as barbaric and others view as supremely loving. Whether you agree with it or not, polygamy has been a part of Utah’s history, and Pinkston uses her proven skill with words to portray the close bond between sisters that builds up to the breaking point when the oldest sister’s husband proposes to the younger sister. As a reader, I could not imagine how the heartbreak caused by the emotional rift could ever be resolved. But Pinkston managed it with her characteristic flair.

Woven into the tale of affairs of the heart is the incredible story of a tenacious group of settlers who would not let an impossible pass through a natural hole in the rock remain impossible. Their journey is an inspiration to anyone who faces obstacles of any size in their life.

When you reach the end of Pinkston’s story, all the more remarkable because it is true, you are left with a sense of wonder and a renewed belief in the power of love.

Get your copy of the wonder and miracle of love, "Season of Sacrifice," at

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Simple Hug

by Shirley Bahlmann
It's Mr. Bahlmann's and my 30th anniversary next month. You'd think after 30 years we'd know each other so well that we could communicate without words. Well, I love my guy, I really do, but human-ness comes in and makes us less than perfect.
I tend to be sensitive to anger. Even mild disapproval makes me want to leave the room and go find the dog to hug. This morning Bob and I had a misunderstanding just before I left for work. But I've recently determined that no matter what, whenever I leave and Bob's still at home, I'm going to kiss him and tell him goodbye. So I walked in to where he sat at his computer chair, said, "Good bye," and bent over to kiss him. That's when he surprised me by reaching up and giving me a hug that told me without words that he still loved me.
So my message to you is to go out and do a simple act of kindness. Don't hug everybody, because even though that's one of my favorites, not everyone likes it, but go ahead and smile at someone, pay them a compliment, or pass along some words of appreciation. It won't kill you, and it might just save their sanity. What power you hold in your decision to simply be kind!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Weird Award

by Shirley Bahlmann
The principal I work with walked into the office, carrying something with extra care. I moved closer and peered through the clear plastic wrap printed with red stars. I could make out some kind of silver emblem in the center, but no details. "What is it?" I asked.
"Our school won the Community Partner Award," the principal answered proudly.
I reverently took the award from him so I could see it more closely. The silver thing inside was sliding around. I hoped I hadn't broken it. Finally, I made out what the blob of silver was. A shiver ran down my back.
It was a disembodied hand.
I was instantly and unwillingly taken back to the night of my youth when my brother's friend told a story on a dark and stormy night about a hand severed from its owner that crawled around choking people. Creepazoid! Now I held in my own two hands an award that had memorialized the nefarious hand in metal.
"I like it," said the school counselor, looking over my shoulder. "I think that free-form art stuff is really interesting."
She'd obviously never heard the same story I did.
I'll admit, I would like to win an award before I die. Or two or three. But if it's going to be the creepy hand award, then I'll pass, thank you!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Leprosy Legs

by Shirley Bahlmann
As the weather warms, more of my marshmallow white skin shows. I'm not a fan of tanning, not only do I think it's bad for my skin, but it's boring. So when I want to wear a kicky pair of capris, I shave my legs and rub in the "fake bake"(self tanning lotion). I've done two applications this week, one for Sunday, and another one today. When I was standing outside this evening, my 14-year-old looked down at my legs and said, "Mom! What did you do?"
"What?" I looked down, too, wondering if I had some horrendous wound that was spouting blood all over our nice new green grass.
"You look like you have leprosy," my son said. "Your feet are all... splotchy."
Well, he was right. The Sunday fake bake was wearing off underneath the fresh application, and I'm never very particular about my feet. That's what shoes are for, right?
I'm sticking with the tanning lotion. I'll just have to walk faster so the blotches blur together.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't Kick a Box in Flops

by Shirley Bahlmann
It's nice to have a fresh start, clean laundry, clean sheets, and raking your yard after a winter pileup of late-dropping leaves.
That's what we did last Saturday, we went outside and cleaned our yard - as much as wasn't frozen in the snow piles that clung to the north side of our house. Part of my self-imposed cleaning was moving boxes back to the shed. When I set one down partially in the doorway, I gave it a kick to nudge it into place.
I neglected to mention a favorite fresh spring fashion accessory. I love to wear flip flops, but they are not good for kicking boxes. It can really mess up your toenail polish, not to mention your toe.
If you don't believe me, I'll peel back the bandaid for you to see for yourself. So wear shoes when you do yard work, or you may be wearing a half size smaller.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Coupon Togetherness

by Shirley Bahlmann
The printed word is magic. You can learn about anything in the world if you can read. My always hungry 14-year-old proved that point yesterday when he pulled a sheet of fast food coupons out of the trash, where his eat-at-home-loving dad had tossed them.
"Hey, Mom, let's go get some cinna-blobs," he said, pointed to a picture of a cinnamon roll that had been chopped to bits and stacked in a small plastic tray.
I think fast food is way over priced, but I went ahead and read the coupon. Well, whaddya know, buy one, get one free. I had errands to run, so I was fine with getting a snack if my 17-year-old would drive. He was happy to do so, and away we went.
When we got back home, all was well until my 8-year-old returned from playing at a friend's house and found the evidence: little boxes with smears of frosting in the corners.
"Hey," he asked, "where did these come from?"
I was cornered. Furtively, I admitted, "I bought them."
"I want some."
So I sent him on a clandestine mission on his bike with a pocketful of pennies and another coupon. His mission failed when he came home and reported that they were all out of cinna-blobs. "We can try again tomorrow," I told him to his frowny face.
So as soon as he got up this morning, he began chanting, "Go get food, go get food, go get food." Sleep had done nothing to fog his memory. I'd said we'd try again, so I slid my bare feet into a pair of flip flops and drove the few blocks to the fast food store, blinking at the girl through the little glass window. "Two cinna-blobs, please."
When we reached home, my 8-year-old hurried inside to share his bounty with his big brothers, regardless of the fact that they'd inhaled everything they'd gotten the day before.
Who would have guessed that coupons would bring our family closer together? Besides that, I didn't have to cook breakfast. It was a good morning after all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Losing It

by Shirley Bahlmann
I don't know what possessed me. I must have been as full as a stuffed turkey when I challenged my husband, Bob, to a weight loss contest.
"Let's see who can lose 20 pounds first," I said.
Bob raised one eyebrow. "What does the winner get?"
A cream filled Boston Cream pie came to mind, but before the words reached my mouth, I realized it was a counter-productive reward. Hm. What would be worth losing weight for?
Then it hit me. "Whoever wins gets to pick the tile for our kitchen when we remodel," I said.
I think Bob nodded. Maybe he lowered his head to his hand, but I turned away so fast I can't be sure.
We started out on even ground. But three days ago, I caught Bob cheating. Can you believe it? He caught some kind of germ that made him so sick he couldn't keep anything down for two days.
Today, he announced cheerfully, "I lost eight pounds."
Maybe I'll tell him he needs to lose 28 pounds to my 20. It's only fair.

Monday, April 7, 2008

J. Scott Savage's Far Out Farworld!

I've never read such an interesting YA protagonist before as the young man in J. Scott Savage's upcoming release, Farworld. This author has amazing and versatile talent, with his ability to write anything from thrillers to drama to mysteries. Now he's into young adult literature with the same zeal and quality, yet with a slightly different name so you won't expect high tech computer villains to pop out at you while you trip over dead bodies... at least, not human bodies.
Get ready, get set, for an adventure that you'll remember for a long, long time.
Check out his site at:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cement Head

by Shirley Bahlmann
It was a flashback to my childhood. When my husband, Bob, complained that some of us watching a late movie at our son's house last weekend was so loud he couldn't sleep, I told him he should develop a cement head, like me.
He gave me a funny look and said, "But you used to get mad at the kids who called you 'Rock Brain' in school."
"No," I said. "I mean you should make your head so heavy and dense that when it hits the pillow, you can sleep and no noises will bother you."
His face did not light up. Apparently, he didn't get it.
Maybe it's just something inborn, that blessed ability to shut out the noise and confusion from the world outside your head so you can create characters and places inside your mind that eventually find their way on paper for others to read. And don't forget that wonderful cement head ability to sleep any where, any time. I've slept in station wagons with seven siblings and two parents (one of whom was driving.) I've slept on airport floors, restrooms, and in church. I've even slept in the bathtub. (Glub, glub.)
There's something to be said for knowing what's going on around you at all times, but I'll leave that to Bob. I'm happy with my cement head and all the wonderfully tangled adventures inside it.