Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tick-Tock



I hate daylight savings time.
Forget the 'extra hour of sleep'--I can get that on a lazy Sunday afternoon while my kids watch Nickelodeon. Daylight savings is a sleep schedule ruiner. It throws all of us off, and sleep schedules are important.

You learn this from the moment you have children. People ask-
"Is he sleeping well?"
"Is he sleeping through the night?"
"Is he on a schedule?"

My babies were never on a schedule. I figured that babies are intuitive beings. They are moved by need- they need to eat, they eat; they need to sleep they sleep; they need to poop, you know, they do. And, I met their needs, my own be damned.  While they were infants.

Now, however, they are not babies. They are old enough to have schedules. And daylight savings has messed it up- again.

My kids are early risers. 6am is a normal waking time. I try my very hardest to get them to stay in bed till 7- "See this clock, when it says 7:00 you can get out of bed."

It doesn't usually work.

But, now, with lame daylight savings, their bodies think 5am is 6am and they are up and bright-eyed long before I am. And after years of putting their needs before mine, it's time to say enough.
So I try to make them stay up later at night, Ever try to stop a 7 year-old from falling asleep? Kind of like fighting with a tidal wave. There's no holding it back.

So, I'll struggle for the next couple weeks, trying to get them back on track. Then they'll be on a schedule again and things can go back to normal. Until daylight savings rolls around in April and ruins things again.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Time Keeps Ticking



My dad had back surgery last week.
 The Sunday before, we gathered at my parent's home for dinner. Dad sat and explained the surgery. How they would open his stomach, push his organs aside and work on his spine. They would put everything back and sew him up. Then, after turning him over, they would open his back and work on him from there.

He explained this rather casually. I'm sure he'd heard it so much and was used to it. For me, I was shocked. It seemed so incredibly invasive. I know he needs it, he's been in chronic pain for a very long time. But it just seemed like so much.

I went in to see him after the surgery was over. I stood next to my sister and looked at my father. He was pale and frail. The man who had carried me on his shoulders as a child, provided for us, led us in family prayer, and seemed to have an answer for anything, had been reduced to laying on a bed, his breathing labored, eyes closed against the pain.

Time can be cruel. It beats us down physically and steals from our minds. Bodies that were once vibrant and strong are reduced and bent, as if we're reaching for the grave.

But, time is also a blessing. With time, we gain knowledge, wisdom and precious memories. Things that confused or confounded us early in life become simple and easy. Perspectives change. Understanding replaces fear.

When we feel like our lives are restricted--by financial circumstances, marital status, where we live, our families--we always have a choice of what we do with our time. But, one thing we don't know is how much time is in our life bank. We mostly live as though there is an endless supply. Maybe if we could see the balance we would be more careful. I know I would. For so long I was casual with my time. Not thinking much about how I spent it or wasted it.

I am coming to understand the precious commodity of time. Though I'm not very good at budgeting it. As a result, my priorities have suffered. I'm trying to get better. I'm trying to find a place in my day for writing and for  family. (And exercise, ugh.) That may be a good goal for this next year of my life. Because I don't want to look back and think I squandered what I was given.

*Have any tips on how you manage your time??

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Happy Awareness Month

It's October baby! You know what that means, right? Yep, it's Apple Jack Month. I know you're all stocking up, getting ready to celebrate. Because, who doesn't love a bowl of Apple Jacks?

I'm always a bit overwhelmed by all the awareness that's forced upon us. You know, thanks to these movements we're all more aware of breast cancer and autism, which is good. But, sometimes, I think we go too far.

For example, this month is also Adopt a Shelter Dog month. Ok. Important. But, International Drum Month? Or Popcorn Month? I mean, does Popcorn really suffer from un-awareness?

I can totally get behind Cookie Month. In fact, I think we should all share our favorite cookie recipes. And, if anyone wants to share some actual cookies with me, I'm totally ok with that.

I find it really funny that October is National Vegetarian Month--and also Eat Country Ham Month. Guess they've got everyone covered.

I think we need a month for tired moms. Let's make sure everyone is aware of how hard it is. We could have a parade, where our kids pull us in wagons. And rallies where they feed us cookies and diet Coke. But, of course, no one would remember to make the posters, so we'd have to do it. And, we'd have to run to the store to get the cookie ingredients (and the diet Coke).  And, the wagon is probably broken, so we'll have to drive in the minivan where the kids would just fight in the back seat during the whole thing.

Never mind.

(BTW- it's also Awareness Month. So, please, just be aware.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

48 is Great!



I had a birthday last week. The big 48. Depending where you are in your life, that number may seem big or small. To me, it simply is.

I had one friend tell me that every birthday is a celebration because you're still here. So true. And I am grateful to be here. To be me.

This year has seen changes, as they all do. Here are a few things about who I am as a 48 year-old-

I am a mother to four adults, two teenagers and two children.  Seven still at home. I'm...lucky?

I am a soon-to-be grandmother. (Can't wait to hold sweet Phineas!)

I am a writer. This is hard to say some days when the minutes seems to be sucked up into some huge time-swallowing beast. But, I'm trying.

I am a wife. Almost 23 years now. Lucky me to be married to the Handy Man who spoils me.

I am a part-time worker. I've been working at a dry cleaner for two months now. I work while the kids are in school. I really like the job and the people I work with.

I am a teacher. With my semi-new calling in church, I get to teach Relief Society every few months. I love teaching. I love the sisters I get to serve.

I am a friend. As I get older, I realize the importance of good friends in our lives. I am blessed to have friends who love me and support me and push me to be better.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am a daughter of God.  This, more than anything, defines who I am.

(Watch a talk on being a daughter of God here.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Writing Challenge- Enchanted Forest

One of the women in my writing group has been giving us daily writing prompts with the challenge to write for 10 minutes on that prompt. This is a great exercise to get your writing juices flowing and I love the way the story unfolds as you write. Also ten minutes is not much time. Even I can fit that in!

This was the prompt for Wednesday-

And this was my freewrite-

Enchanted Forest

Lauren sat still. Completely so. Nothing moved. Not the leaves around her. Not the bugs in the bark at her back. Even the air seemed to pause, miniscule water particles frozen in place.

“Laurie.”

The name touched her ears as a whisper. Still she didn’t move.

“Laurie, I know you’re here.”

Her lungs were full of breath. They ached for release. Lauren denied them.

“Come out and all will be well.”

Right. She’d believe that as soon as faeries stopped flying.

Footsteps against the mossy carpet echoed like thunder in the quiet forest. He wasn’t close. Not nearly as close as she’d feared. Lauren let out her breath slowly, soundlessly. Just as slowly, she filled her lungs again.

“And now you’ve made your mistake.”

The footsteps came closer. Surely he hadn’t heard. Of course, he did have elvish ears. Stupid pointed ears.

Just a stone’s throw away, Lauren saw his head poke around a low branch, his black hair falling in his violet eyes. She took in his long nose, his thin mouth. Ach. Stupid mouth.

Elros stepped forward, revealing his entire self. His velvet shirt and pants perfectly matched the trees around him so that he became one with the forest. Lauren closed her eyes against the pain of her held breath. And the sight of him.

“Please, Laurie. Don’t play. I don’t have the patience.”

You also don’t have manners. Please? When did you ever say please?

His footsteps stopped. Hesitation said many things. He didn’t actually know where she was. He was guessing.

Lauren wondered if her lungs might burst. She began to feel lightheaded. He had to move. Soon. And then he did. She listened intently, ignoring the buzzing inside her head. One step, two, three. When he’d gone twenty steps and his footfalls became almost too soft to hear, she opened her eyes. He was gone.

Her breath came out in a whoosh. Lauren gulped in a mouthful of air, tears running down her cheeks. Too loud. She couldn’t help it. He must be too far to hear now. Closing her emerald eyes she let the tears fall.

A hand around her throat forced her eyes back open. Soft fingers held her in a harsh grip, closing off the blessed air. Lauren felt his lips close to her ear.

“Did you think you could hide from me? Hmmm, little Laurie?”



*You can read other stories from my writing group here- 

Sabrina

Leah

Alison

Deb


Care to join?? Let me know if you write something, I want to read it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New Season-New Start

It's September.

Those words are like a sigh for me.

The heat of summer has slipped away. There are hints of new color on the trees. And, the kids are back in school.

For me, fall is a new beginning more than any January. Maybe because of my birthday. Maybe because of the school year. Maybe just because the feel of cooler air and the sight of the autumn ballroom energizes my soul. Whatever it is, it makes me happy.

New beginnings are good. We all need them, imperfect humans that we are. It's about being better, doing more, and forgetting the failures or disappointments of the past. There are goals to be set- new heights to reach. This is what keeps us going. The push that comes from a fresh start.

Think of what you could do.

And, isn't autumn as good a time as any?



Saturday, August 16, 2014

This Means War

I am not a competitor.

The last time I tried to play organized sports was the tryouts for 9th grade basketball. During practice I tripped over my own feet and twisted my ankle. (If I had a middle name, it would not be Grace.) {But I don't have a middle name.} [That's a blog post for another time.]

Anyway, my competitive spirit was squashed along with my cheap tennies.

I'm a lover, not a fighter.

But when it comes to my writing, I'll make an exception.
I'll even go to war.

What kind of war, you say?

Pitch War.

First, I stalked a bunch of people online. (Not just any people. Mentors for the war.) I may or may not know where they went to elementary school and their favorite drink. Also, I know what genre they write--that's a bit more pertinent. I also got active on Twitter. Sort of. It still confuses me. I'm a twitter-twit.

Then, I worked like a mad-woman to polish my manuscript and query letter. (Six years ago, I didn't even know what a query letter was. Sometimes I wish that were still the case. Queries suck.) I had help in the form of my amazing, fabulous, stupendous writing group. They are talented and smart and beautiful, and they tell me I'm wonderful, so you know, I love them.

And, last, on Friday I went to Brenda Drake's website and nervously filled out the entry form. I attached my first chapter and stared at the 'submit' button. After a few deep breaths and a prayer, I hit submit.

Now, I wait.

I do not like waiting. I worry. I check Twitter too much. And my email. I just might drive my family crazy.

If I get picked, the prize (and it is a prize!) is getting a mentor who will work with you on your book and query to get it ready for the agent round. Kind of like a personal editor. PRICELESS. If I don't get picked...well, we won't think about that now, I'm much more graceful than I used to be.

Soldier on!