Monday, November 30, 2009

Birthday Bash: What I Know for Sure

I've been on this planet for 50 years now. Depressing, yes. Now, let's move on.

Fifty years. That's a long time to live and learn, to experience and grow.

What do I have to show for it? What have I learned?

Now that's a topic for a blog post! I could fill an entire book—an entire BOOK SHELF!—with that. But it's amazing how after 50 years, there are only a few things that have really stuck with me, that I can say I know for sure.

Here are some of the things I know for sure:

  • There is a God in heaven, and He loves me.
    I used to be afraid of God; I felt like He was waiting for me to mess up so He could zap me with some punishment. But over the years, I've learned that He is the kindest, most generous being that I could ever imagine. I am overwhelmed with the blessings He has sent my way and the comfort He always gives. God is absolutely involved in my life. I talk to Him every day and He talks back. That is the most prized blessing of all.

  • Family comes first—always.
    I have a daughter who calls me and her first words are almost always, "Whatcha' doing?" And my answer is always, "Nothing." One time she commented that I'm always doing nothing. Well, honestly, I'm always doing something, but "nothing" is shorthand for "nothing that is more important than you and what you need right now." I love spending time with these people that God has put in my life—DH, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, all the way out to extended aunts, uncles, and 7th cousins, 42 times removed. I would rather spend time with my family than anyone else in the world.

  • Friends can be like family.
    I have some dear, dear friends that are as close as sisters to me. When I draw my family tree, they are right there, tied to my heart just as securely as those who are tied to me by blood and bone.

  • Honesty is the best policy.
    Honesty and integrity are the two character traits I value most. I work very hard to be an honest person. I expect honesty from the people around me. Everything else can be worked out.

  • Nice matters.
    I have this on a plaque on my office wall. It's been there for years. It reminds me to consider things from the other person's point of view. To think about how they might feel about what I'm about to say or do. I've learned that I can be honest and nice at the same time.

  • Dancing is important.
    There are plenty of things in life that will take you down—health, finances, disasters, relationships. But in among all the hardships are these gleaming nuggets of joy and laughter. Seek them out. Relish them. Cherish them. I love the quote attributed to Vivian Greene:

    "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

    I believe that.

Wow! This post took a turn for the different. I thought I was going to blog about books today. Oh well.

Today's Prize (and currently playing on my iPod):
A legal copy of I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack from iTunes.

To enter to win, leave a comment any time before midnight on Saturday, December 5, 2009, telling me something that you know for sure.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

They Say It's My Birthday. . .

(I still don't believe it, but whatever.)

The best thing about birthdays?


I was planning to do my birthday bash leading up to today but due to technical difficulties (which are now totally resolved), I'm having my birthday bash this week instead.


Every day this week, I'll be giving away a prize that reflects something I love.

Here's how to win prizes:
  1. Do something to help spread the word about my Birthday Bash Contest—blog, tweet, facebook. Leave a comment telling me what you did. (1 entry)

  2. Sign up to follow my blog. (1 entry)

  3. Follow me on Twitter. (1 entry)

  4. Each day will have something specific for you to comment on or do. Post your comment. (1 entry per post; no silly spamming comments—it has to be a real response to the post)

  5. You'll be entered in the drawing for that day's prize.

  6. You have through midnight Saturday, December 5, 2009 to post comments.

  7. Monday, December 7th, I will randomly select the winners and post them here on the blog.

See you back here tomorrow for the start of my Birthday Bash!

Now playing on my iPod: Happy Birthday by The Beatles

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How Pumpkin Pies Are Made (Sorry, Mom)

Wish I knew who to give credit for this photo, but it was e-mailed to me by a twisted friend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Yes, I know this is immature, but see, I'm STILL NOT 50!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Birthday Bash on Temporary Hold...

I was supposed to start my Birthday Bash countdown today--a full week of prizes and giveaways and fun and frolic.


I'm forced to work on my PC and I just can't be creative on my PC. I can't make fun pictures. I don't even know how to make an em dash on a PC. And my fingernails slide all over the keys and make me make typos.

Taking my Mac in as soon as I end this post. Hopefully it's the power cord. (The machine is getting old and that cord has traveled the country. It doesn't just sit modestly on my desk.)

So...Birthday Bash coming soon.

[No cracks about Mac vs PCs or you won't win any prizes in my Birthday Bash! Seriously, despite all the complaining I do here about my Mac not working, it sure works better than most PCs I've ever had.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Moon--A Movie Review

Yesterday, my peeps and I went to see New Moon. I had my camera with me the whole time, but I forgot to take pictures, so I drew my own.

Me, Kenna, Tristi, Chris.

Tristi, Chris, Kenna and I carpooled up to Johanna's Kitchen, where we met my sister, Suan, for brunch.


Suan turned brunch into an early birthday party for me--complete with table decor and balloons and . . .
Suan, Balloons, Me

. . . a sugar-free chocolate cake that said, "Older Than Dirt".
Cake (it was yummy!)

She also made me wear a necklace that said I was OLD. And she gave me a black tote filled with pencils, note pads, a Twilight bracelet, a pig that sings Christmas songs, and sugar-free marshmallow Santas.

Me--wearing necklace and holding tote bag.

She also brought New Moon treats for everyone else. I brought New Moon Sweethearts to share.

After lunch, we moseyed over to the theater. We didn't have to rush because we had assigned seats.

I brought some of my CustomScentsOnline "Smell Me" cards. Chris passed them out for me at the theater.
Chris passing out cards.

I have some left. They have a code for a 20% discount on any order over $10. You can use the code if you want. It's MovieFan. The code expires November 30th.

Then we watched the movie.

Actual scenes from the movie posted below...

"Oh, I'm so in love with Edward . . ."
Bella and Edward in love.

"But he's leaving me because he thinks he's a monster."
Bella and Edward breaking up.

"Oh. no! I'm too sad so I'm going to use my best friend, Jacob the sexy young Indian brave Native American, as a crutch, even though I know he's in love with me but I still love Edward."
Bella leading Jacob on.

"Oh, no! My best friend is a wolf."
Jacob--the werewolf.

"Oh, no! I'm still so sad and Jacob isn't paying enough attention to me. So I'm going to go jump off a cliff."
Bella--jumping off a cliff. Her BFF, Victoria, cheering her on.

"Oh, no! My ex-boyfriend is going to kill himself! I have to save him."
Edward doing a strip-tease in Italy.

"Oh, no! The bad guy wants to eat me!"
Aro saying, "I want to eat her."

"Oh, yay! Aro can't read my mind so we're free! Edward and I are so in love again..."
Bella and Edward in love.

The End.

Oh, and yes. I liked it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Birthday Fairy. . .

This is my 100% totally serious birthday wish list, in no particular order. (Santa can use it too.)

(This is mostly for my kids who have been asking for hints. But it's also a list of things that I think are totally cool and recommend to others.)

  1. Gift Certificate. (Okay, this one is my top wish item because I need to refuel my Kindle. It's amazingly bereft of titles I haven't read yet and I sooo love to order new books in the middle of the night.)

  2. Gift Card to Frozen Yogurt Junction. (Yes, this would be #2 because I love this stuff.)

    (now, the rest are in no particular order)

  3. Print Books—I don't care if they're used, as long as they don't smell moldy or like cigarette smoke (although, since these are all new titles, finding them used may not be possible; BUT I don't mind one bit if everyone chips in to get ONE of them):
    • The Maze Runner by James Dashner

    • FarWorld: Land Keep by J. Scott Savage

    • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

    • Alcatraz vs the Knight's of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson

    • Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham

  4. Dark green socks—kind of a forest green, crew top (not folded down); stretchy cotton knit, not nylon.

  5. Russell Stover's Sugar Free Candy:
  6. Met RX Protein Plus Chocolate Fudge Deluxe Protein bars (you can buy them individually at Smith's or Albertson's)

Now playing on my iPod: Material Girl by Madonna

*Love that fairy image? See more HERE.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Denial can be a good thing

Okay, so my birthday is coming up and I'm really struggling. Because supposedly, I'm going to turn 50!

Yes, I know. Who'd believe it? I certainly don't.

But still. My mother insists it is a true fact that I was born half a century ago. (Of course, since she's older than me, maybe she's confused...?)

I didn't have a problem turning 30. Or 40. 40 was a blast! But 50? I just can't wrap my mind around it.

And it doesn't matter how many people tell me, "50 is the new 30," I still struggle.

I have this nearly overwhelming desire to do some completely rebellious and extremely immature things because I'M NOT 50!

Not yet.

But apparently I'm close enough that I'm having a hard time coming up with things rebellious and immature. I need help. Suggestions. I'm making a list of things to do over the next week to prove that even though my body is older, my spirit is still young.

Please leave suggestions in the comments and if I pick yours, I'll send you a prize of some sort.

Also, stay tuned because starting Monday, I'm going to do a variation of Oprah's favorite things and give away a prize a day to celebrate my birthday. (That's much better than 50 things you never wanted to know about me, right?)

Now playing on my iPod: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
(I ask you, what 50 year old has an iPod???)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stephenie Meyer on Oprah

I was completely distraught!

I missed seeing Stephenie Meyer on Oprah Friday. Earlier in the week, I had set my DVR to record it because I had a doctor's appointment at the same time. Something happened. It didn't record it.

But thanks to my slammin' Googley skills, I've found it online.

Here is Part One:

Part Two

Part Three

Plus, a backstage interview HERE and a bonus clip HERE.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Let's talk about stress

I don't like to complain.

Okay, so yes, I do like to complain. I've been developing that skill over a lifetime and I'm now so good at it that if it were ever an Olympic sport, I'd take gold. Hands down.

But today, I'm not complaining. Today, I'm asking questions.

Do you carry around a load of worry?

Are you aware of it?

Do you know if you're coping well or if you're simply ignoring the issue? How do you tell the difference? Does it matter?

I've had some stress lately. Actually, I've had lots of stress, but I'm thinking about one particular stressor right now. I knew I was worried. I knew I was stressed but I didn't consciously experience this as a huge burden. It didn't consume my thoughts or make me feel sad all the time. I went about my day, doing what needed to be done. I thought I was coping fairly well.

Yesterday, the majority of that particular stress item was lifted. The big, bad, worst case scenario did not happen. In fact, it was the most positive of possible outcomes, given the situation.

But then I came home, plopped down on my bed and didn't get up again, except to eat or, well, you know. I slept like a dead log all night long until after 7:00 a.m. I don't think I even rolled over. Today, I'm still exhausted. I feel like I have a hangover. (Not that I would know what that feels like. I'm not admitting to anything.)

Then this morning, when I got on my Wii (first time in awhile), it told me I'd gained 8 pounds this past month. (Yes, I'm an emotional eater.)

So apparently, I haven't handled the stress as well as I thought I had. So again, I ask:

How do you know if you're coping well or if you're simply ignoring the issue?

What are the signs that you're coping?

And what do you do to help you cope in a healthy way? (Besides eating chocolate.)

Now playing on my iPod: Don't Worry About a Thing by SheDaisy (I love this song)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I suck at writing

Progress report for week 1 of NaNoWriMo—1,536 words.

I'm 14,210 words behind.

Several times during this past week, I planned to write for a few hours. Something always popped up and sucked away my writing time. So I decided that since I had nothing scheduled for Saturday, yesterday, I'd write all day. Good plan, right?

Well, I forgot that today is our monthly Family Dinner. So first thing yesterday, I got up and went to the grocery store. And since we have a couple of birthdays to celebrate, in addition to the menu, I had to pick out gifts and treats and all that jazz.

When I got home, one of my kids needed a ride to pick up her car from the shop. It didn't take long, so I totally didn't mind. It also gave me a few minutes of her undivided attention while we drove there—something I haven't had in awhile.

Then I remembered that I needed to get New Moon tickets and I better get them now while there are a few left. Our first theater choice was filled up already. So then I had to call everyone in my group and make sure they were okay with moving the venue. Calls, chit-chat and ticket ordering took about an hour.

Then it was time to go to Kris' rugby game. It was the last one of the season and I'd only made it to one other game—but I'd gotten there late and they'd taken him out already. (He normally plays a lot, but they were beating the other team so bad, they took the A team out and let the B team have some field time.) Since this is his last year and I've never actually seen him play, I had to go.

So then it was 3:00 p.m. Okay, I still had the rest of the day to write. Right? On the drive home, I noticed I still had Halloween nail polish on my nails. (I had scheduled a fill for today, but then cancelled it to write.) So I stopped at Sally's and got a file, polish remover, and a solid color polish that would hide the fact of my overdue fill.

By the time I got home, my brain was so fuzzy and tired I couldn't think straight, forget being creative. I tried to take a nap. No luck. So I filed and painted my nails.

And then...well, I don't really remember what happened after that. But eventually, I found myself asleep.

Total Saturday word count: 0.

So I got up early today planning to write before church (which is in an hour) because I'll be cooking and preparing for the kids and grandkids to come over after church.

I added 76 words to finish off chapter 1... And now I'm totally stuck. I don't know where to go next. How do I get to what actually happened when my main character found the body? Do I write it in the police interview room? Or have her tell her friends when she gets back to campus? Is chapter 1 long enough? Maybe I should put it at the end of that chapter, then start chapter 2 back at campus? And wait, when do I introduce her friends? And then...


At this point, I'm thinking she's so overwhelmed I'll just send her up to the roof to jump off. End of story.

Not really. But it's tempting.

So now that I've whined all over you, how are the rest of you Nano-ers doing?

Now playing on my iPod: I don't know because I clipped it to Lexie's belt when I sent her up to the roof...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

If Billy Ray can do it...

Update. See below in red.

Did you know that Billy Ray Cyrus went quadruple platinum and built and entire career (with accompanying fortune) on a two-chord song?

I didn't. But that's what DH tells me is true.

That was his response to me when I was rehearsing to him my trials of the first day of NaNoWriMo.

When I woke up this morning and realized I had an extra hour in my life due to the time change, I decided to use it to start NaNo-ing.

I was really excited, until I actually started writing.

See, I'd started this YA mystery novel about a year ago. I had a little over 5,000 words on it.

And it was

I junked it all and started over.

I was writing in third person because, see, there's this group of kids who solve a mystery. And if this book goes well, they might solve another mystery, or two, or ten in the future. For that to work, it pretty much needs to be written in third person. Right?

So after an hour of struggling and only getting 300 words of pure and total stinkage, I was just about to throw in the towel. Yep. Give it up on day one.

But then, I decided that since I was a no-talent, hack writer and could never, ever be any better, I might as well give first-person a try. I mean, since the first book was so bad, there would be no chance of a series, so who cares, right?

I spent the next 10 minutes and I now have 531 words that don't totally suck. In fact, I kind of like them. So, I'm going with 1st person and letting the chips fall somewhere into the future.

As DH says, "If Billy Ray can do it, so can you!" How's that for support?

So, DH says I make him sound like a jerk. I didn't intend that at all. Not one bit. He was pacing my negativity and feeling like a failure, then telling me that I could do so much better than Billy Ray because of my natural inborn talent as a writer. See? He really was being supportive.

Now playing on my iPod: Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus (my inspiration)