Monday, April 30, 2012

If you can't find gloves...

          I was amazed when I went out to take care of our animals a couple of mornings ago to find the RABBIT'S WATER BOTTLE FROZEN SHUT! The poor bunnies couldn't get a drink, only lick at a bland popsicle of a water spout, so I took pity on their little blue noses and gave them a bowl of water.
          I don't know why this sudden shift in late April temperatures should amaze me, since I live in the unpredictable mountains, and since I actually witnessed snow falling on June 1st, 1990. But that is not a common sight, so I can still act surprised when it freezes this close to May, even though I'm not. Not really.
          The thing is, what are you going to do when you can't find your gloves? Stay inside? How about if you look around for something else to do the job? Like my husband once said, if you need to drive a nail, you don't need a hammer. You just need something to drive the nail. That opens up so many more possibilities that makes you freer than if you insist on a hammer. (You could pick up a rock about anywhere in my yard!)
          So the next time you're faced with a surprise situation, what are you going to do? Insist on the tried and true? Or go out and find something, anything, to get the job done?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Motherhood Matters

Wow, there are a lot of little kids running around here. Hey, look at those big people chairs across the room. Do you think we can make it? Let’s go for it. Be careful where you step, there are some crawlers mixed in with the toddlers.
Ew, what’s that smell? Yeah, I think so, too. Whaddya mean, if we ignore it then it will go away? Believe me, that kind of smell only gets worse with time. There have got to be diapers around here somewhere. What? There aren’t? I don’t believe it. Well, if you seriously can’t find any, then we can always use book pages. How about his one? What’s it called? Motherhood Matters by Connie E. Sokol. That sounds appropriate. Hm. It’s not very big, though. Just 6 by 7 inches and 114 pages, kind of like a special candy box. Let’s open it.
Wait just a minute, I changed my mind. I’m not tearing any pages out of this book. It’s full of delicious tidbits of wisdom and humor, just the right size for a busy mother to pluck out a gem of sanity on the fly. Go ahead and use a dishtowel or something, I’m going to read some more.
Do you hear that? Someone’s coming. It looks like a walking package. Whatever they’ve got is so big, I can’t even see their head. Can you see who it is?
Oh, it’s Connie E. Sokol herself, and she brought diapers! A lot of diapers. Way to go Connie, woo-hoo! How did you know we needed those? It seems that you’ll need to be saving some for your new little one. Lucky for you that you have other potential diaper changers at your house.
Connie: There are definite perks to having a caboose, especially at 46! My other children are the hands I didn't have when I had four children six and under. Those were stressful days:)
Shirley: I really like the short chapters in your book. Was that by design or serendipity?
Connie:  Absolutely by design. I wanted something a woman could pick up after a long day of mothering and say, "I need to be rejuvenated." Short, to the point, but uplifting, that's what I need after a tough day, or any day.
Shirley: Look out for the dripping binky flying through the air! Wow, you have quick reflexes! Did you study about loving children when they’re unlovable and lightening up from books, or did you learn your mothering wisdom by field research?
Connie: Both, which I think is how most moms learn. Talking with other women, reading the parenting books (and often rolling your eyes), and learning everyday on-the-job. With every child, I've learned so much not only about being a mother but about myself. I LOVE being at the stage of having older children because you get to see them through all those major stages. Once my son went to college I had a better feel for, oh, those were just stages he was going through. Hello. So I love that after six children, I still feel clueless in a lot of things, but other things I feel like, "Bring it on" because you just get wise to some of the things that will be coming.
Shirley: I think we’d all like to be loved when we’re acting unlovable. Ack. Someone very small is sitting on my foot. Aw, look at that toothless smile. I’d better appreciate this moment with this infant, as it only comes around once. Or, in your case, seven times. How did you learn to appreciate your moments with your children?
Connie: I think it's a daily thing, and a timeline thing. When they were all young, it was really hard to appreciate moments with my children because so many of them were in a sleep-deprived state (that would be me) or hormone haze. Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley wisely said, "There are some years we won't want to remember." Amen! But as I've gotten older--another plus for aging--I've learned better to sort what matters most and drop what doesn't. And without guilt. I've learned to have more fun and to let things go (i.e. another broken wii controller, the boys' bathroom that NEVER seems to stay clean, etc.) And to make a more conscious effort to be in the present and make a simple memory. The other night it was surprisingly nice weather so I said let's pack a quick picnic basket, just what we had in the house, and go to the park. So all eight of us, 18 down to six, ate and played and hung out together, laughing and having fun. Notwithstanding the usual fusses, it was just such a beautiful connecting night. That's the moments I've really learned to appreciate. You don't have to schedule a week-long trip to Disneyland to make a memory.   
Shirley: Although Disneyland might work, too! I absolutely loved your reminder that “…daily we’re not just doing tasks…We are showing love to those who matter most.” It really put housework and mundane chores in perspective. Of course, I’ll probably have to refer to your inspiring book at least once a week to keep all these cheerful gems of wisdom in the forefront of my thoughts. Are you planning on writing other books?
Connie: Yes, I have another one in the works (besides a romance novel available in at the end of May). This one will draw more from many women's experiences so it's not just me blah-blahing.
Shirley: I happen to like your blah-blah’s. It’s been so nice talking to you. Wow, look at the time! No wonder I’m hungry. Do you want the soggy graham crackers or the half-eaten strained peas?
Connie: How about we focus on "Joy in Motherhood" this week and I take us all to lunch. All for the cause, of course.
Shirley: That sounds better than spreading peas on graham crackers and calling it a “mother moment.”
Connie: That could work, too. Don't forget the peanut butter, it covers a multitude of cooking sins…
Shirley: Ooo, and peanut butter and chocolate are SO GOOD together! Thanks for joining us, Connie. Wow, you changed that diaper so fast I didn’t even notice except that the air suddenly smells fresher! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
Please order Connie’s book at: Order Motherhood Matters!
You can visit her website for media, video, podcasts, reviews, and more fun at:
Find the joy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Turn Over in Your Sleep

 Besides chairing "Write Here in Ephraim" last week, I've been running ever since with Story Time and writing class and my son's broken arm and helping record the music video for the upcoming LDStorymaker conference. I've found myself eating more fast food and falling asleep at odd moments in untraditional places. One bit of advice, however... don't fall asleep on your turnover. (They still taste good, but they lose that satisfying puffy crunch.)
Sleep can be so annoying when there are so many other things you want to do. Yet various studies show that sleep is beneficial to making a person more productive, such as: "Unless your brain is functioning at its maximum level, you may not be getting as much work done as you think."
Aha! And if sleep doesn't do it, then you can always stuff yourself with a sugar-blast-of-energy turnover!
What is it that energizes you when you're feeling draggy?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Write Here In Ephraim 2012 Success!

Write Here in Ephraim 2012, was a rousing success! (Picture by 12-year-old Michael Bahlmann.) Here I am, standing in the back (my usual spot since growing to nearly six feet tall in elementary school) reading a "First Page Shred" entry for participating authors to critique. (That ray of light above my head is a great idea striking me, a rare moment caught on camera, sort of like those light orbs that some ghost hunters manage to capture on film!) The authors in this picture are, from right to left: Andrea Pearson, Julie Wright, Michael Young, and Kathryn Jones. There were twenty two other participating authors, and I will post pictures of them on my website soon!
There were a few more attendees than last year, and we received overall positive feedback. The new location at Snow College was much more spacious and gracious and accommodating for those in attendance than last year's facility. Several people expressed interest in coming next year. If you missed it this time, and really want to come, we hope you'll be able to make it in 2013!
If writing conferences aren't your favorite, what is something you would really love to do? (I'm going to see the castles in Europe and visit a tropical island and become an international bestselling author!) Come on, spill it, what do you really want to do?

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Tawt I Taw a Putty Tat!

This is my son's kitty cat wanting to come in.    (Is she scared of the Easter Bunny, I wonder?) She is tenacious, that's for sure, hanging on the screen by her toenails, trusting that someone will open the door and let her in.
I heard a cool thing in church yesterday. If we trusted Jesus as our Savior in the life before this one, then why do some of us have such a hard time trusting him now? Considering what he did for us, he obviously loves us all very much. There's no reason He would fail us when we need him the most. 
So let's ramp up our tenacity for faith, for love, and for expanding our talents! (Write away! And judging by the picture, I also need to get my window washing talents in line.)
What is the marvelous, heart-warming talent you want most to expand on?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Some People Should Never Eat in the Car!

We had a long drive ahead of us and no time to stop, so we got food to go. Bob ate his. Michael ate his. I wore mine. (Some people should never be allowed to eat in the car, and I am one of them!) As soon as I realized I'd dribbled and dropped on my top, I got out at the next stop and washed my shirt in the bathroom sink. (I hate those wavy-hand faucets! I never know exactly where to wave to make them turn on! They make me feel like an ineffectual magician.) The soap was lusciously puffy, the water wonderfully warm, the shirt clean and WET!
So I stepped outside the store and caught the breeze. (Fortunately, I'd wore another shirt underneath.) It looked like I was holding a purple wind sock! Then Michael came along and lent a hand.
So when you've dribbled your ideas on paper and your manuscript looks messy, what are you going to do about it? You can throw your shirt away, but if you really like the shirt underneath, go ahead and clean it up. One of my writing class members has discovered that he hates re-writing. It's true that some spots may take more scrubbing than others, but most shirts (and stories) are worth saving. Are you going to save yours?
Now hop on over to SKYLEEFAIR.BLOGSPOT.COM to see what Anedra and the Fish Prince are doing in their fairy tale!