Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Celebrating Life - No Matter What Age We Are

In June of 2008, my husband, children and I traveled to St. George to visit my Grandma Ashman. She was the inspiration for my book, "A Candle in the Window." Grandma has always been like a second mom to me and is one of the most wonderful, faithful women I have ever met. The main reason we wanted to see her was because we knew she was on her death bed and we wanted to see her one last time. Grandma was 99 at the time. We were sad to see her go but ready to let her pass on. My Grandpa Ashman died in 1967. She's been alone a long time and misses him terribly. We were excited for her to be with him again, and her mother she'd lost when was only 8 years old. These reunions with loved ones would bring her much joy and help us not miss her so much.I've spent a lot of time with my grandma and have always loved hearing stories of her childhood and life. She told me about being a young girl in Scipio, Utah, and how she saw an airplane fly overhead for the first time and what a thrill that was for her. I thought about when I was a little girl and saw on black and white TV, a man walk on the moon for the first time. I think of all the inventions she's seen in her life, all the advances in science, all the wars and global happenings, and the miraculous growth of the gospel and I wonder, if I live to be her age, what amazing things will I witness?Well, it is now the end of January, 2009, and guess who is still with us . . . my dear, sweet grandmother. She is actually quite sick of the rest home and wants to go back to her home and live. I have always loved her spunk and vigor. She served a full-time mission to Arkansas and when I was struggling with some decisions in my life, she was the one who suggested that I go on a mission and then supported me when I went. Her strength, her zest for life, her positive outlook, unconditional love and her unwavering faith, is a legacy she has passed on to all of her children and posterity. She has always made the best out of every situation and has lived her life to the fullest.I turn 50 this year. She turns 100. I'm pretty sure I'll make it to my birthday, and I hope like crazy that she makes it to hers. But if not, she will receive a welcome home party fit for a queen. Here's to celebrating life no matter what age we are!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Top Twelve Reasons Why I Can't Find Enough Time to Write

Time . . . it pretty much rules and ruins my day. I never have enough. When people say they are bored, I seriously think, "what does that feel like?" I can't remember the last time I had nothing to do.

I am anxiously working on my next book, the second in my "Butterfly Box" series. It's slow going to say the least. Not because I don't love the story, or want to write, it's a matter of priorities and . . . time.

Below is my list of reasons. Not that you care, nor that you need to know. It's mostly for my sake. Maybe it will help me quit beating myself up that I cannot get as much accomplished as some of my other colleagues who seem to have more time in their day. I'm amazed at some of the women out there who churn out books like they've got a full staff of maids, taxi drivers, cooks and clones, working for them.

This is in no way meant to be a whining or complaining list, because the bottom line is, there are some very important things in my life that take priority over everything and that is my husband, my family and my church service. These are non-negotiables in my life. And I've learned, the hard way (another blog for another day) that when I keep those priorities in line, the rest usually falls into place for me. But lately, I feel like I'm being pulled in a dozen directions. I try to stay calm and not freak out, but somedays I wake up in the morning with a headache and a sore jaw from clenching my teeth together. Amazingly enough, chocolate seems to cure both problems, but adds to the other of trying to outrun the fact that I'm getting older faster than I'm getting in shape, which adds to my frustration.

So from twelve to one, here are my reasons for not getting enough writing done.

12. Sleep. Reasons one to eleven are to blame for this. There just simply isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. When I finally do sit down to write, I am out like a light. I think I've done permanent damage to my neck because I fall asleep sitting up. Of course, it's possible that the story I'm working on is so boring that it doesn't even keep my attention, in which case, I should give up writing alltogether.

11. Trips, going out of town. Since I love to travel, and my husband is generous, I get to go on fun little vacations with him. Sometimes I am traveling to visit a school, talk to a women's group, youth group, library, or some other writing related event, like a book signing. I need to pace myself better with these. I tend to say yes to everything.

10. Reality shows and The Office. I am addicted to a few reality shows. I am a big fan of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. I watch Dancing With The Stars too - not as faithfully though. And, it's no secret, I love "The Office." Dwight = dang funny.

9. Email. This consumes several hours a day. I always wake up and check my email, but then I end up needing to follow up or respond or something else, and I end up getting derailed every time. I need to go to some kind of email addiction rehab to break the cycle. I'm trying to do it on my own but am not successful at all. Big step though, at least I can admit it. I'm an addict.

8. Random daily things. Seems like there's always something that comes up to prevent me from writing. Errands, volunteering at school, and then of course, housework, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, showering . . . these things take up at least fifty percent of my day, easy.

7. Church calling number one. I teach Gospel Doctrine every third week. I absolutely love this calling, but it's not one of those prepare the night before type of callings. I stress about it for two weeks then spend one week working on the lesson. It would help if I were smarter and the people in my class were dumber. Sadly, it's the reverse.

6. Church calling number two. I am a counselor to the Stake Young Women President. I seriously love this calling. The women in our presidency are the most fun ladies I've ever met. We have more fun together in our weekly meetings that should be allowed, but I've never enjoyed serving more than I have with this calling. I would be lying if I said we weren't busy though. Aside from visiting wards for various reasons we are also planning a stake trek this year. Huge undertaking! You can bet there will be a book based on that experience sometime.

5. My son, Wes, his wife Megan and my granddaughter, Halle. Wes and Megan are extremely low maintenance so they almost don't make the list, but Halle is another story. I would rather play with her than do anything else in the whole wide world. Hearing her laugh is the highlight of my day and I am not opposed to stooping to any depth, or going to any length, to make her laugh. Here's a picture of Halle.

4. My daughter, Rachel. Slowly getting more busy and more involved, but still manageable. She still loves to play with friends more than anything. Her homework is getting a little more difficult but I'm still able to help her. By sixth grade I start getting lost on math. Pathetic, I know. She loves dance, but doesn't like having it take up any of her play time. She will grow up to be an interior designer. I'm convinced. I've never seen a kid who loves rearranging and redecorating her room more than this kid. Here's a picture of Rachel at her Christmas dance recital with her friends Beth and Emily. She's on the right.

3. My daughter, Kendyl. She used to be higher on the list because of her extremely involved and busy life. But things have settled down for her a bit. She has spent the last few years doing pageants and devoting herself to doing a lot of wonderful service in the community, state and in Africa. Right now we're in a holding pattern but I'm sure amazing things are still ahead for her.

2. My daughter, Andrea. Her life has become extremely busy lately, but in a thrilling and exciting way. She was accepted to the University of Utah's ballet program so she spends half a day at Jordan High School, as a Sophomore, then the other half at the "U" doing ballet. She lives to dance so she is in heaven. She is getting ready to compete in a ballet competition in San Diego, which is very exciting. This is keeping us very busy, but I love it! The picture is of Andrea (on the left) and her friend, Jessica, dancing in the Nutcracker.

1. My husband, Gary. He's not number one because he requires most of my time, he's actually quite low maintenance as far as that goes, but he is extremely busy and I try really hard to be there for him and support him and pick up the slack when he isn't able to be home because he's working or traveling or at church meetings. Maybe that's why we take advantage of going on trips whenever we can, because we are like two ships passing in the night most of the time.

So that's my list. While I was typing I did get interupted by a call from my husband on his way to New York. He was in D.C. at the airport and he called to tell me he was standing behind David Archuletta. WHAT THE HECK!!! I told him to go say hi and get a picture. He won't. I'm the obnoxious one in the family. I also got a call from my daughter, Kendyl who went to St. George for a couple of days. She wanted to let me know how beautiful and warm it is in St. George. Anyone who knows me knows, I HATE THE COLD!!! My other daughter just called for a ride home from the mall, and my other daughter wants some Mac n Cheese. Writing. Not gonna happen today either. But hey, I did write this entire thing without falling asleep. Maybe there is hope.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Christmas was wonderful this year, but I'm glad it's over. I've posted a picture of me with my daughters. We have a tradition of giving pajamas on Christmas Eve and this year I decided to get in on it. I could live in pajamas, actually some days I do. I'm all about comfy.

So now I begin the countdown to spring. I am not a cold weather girl. Getting cold is my least favorite thing in the world (which is weird for a woman having hot flashes). I grew up in St. George and I guess I'll forever be a hot house flower because I'm all about sunshine and warm weather. I really hate it when one of my sisters call in the middle of winter and tell me that they are wearing capris and t-shirts. I think they do it on purpose.
It's funny though, as much work and stress as Christmas is, each year I look forward to the season.
I've actually made some New Year's resolutions. I usually make a long list but this year I decided to focus on four goals, one for each area of focus in my life; spiritual, family, self, writing. I should probably list what they are because I've heard the more people who know about your goals the more likely you are to achieve them. I'm not quite ready to share them . . . yet. If I reach February and I'm staying on course, then I'll come forward with them. Maybe I should add that to my list -- having more courage.