Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It wasn't such a black Friday for us...

Last weekend while people were arm-wrestling and bending over backwards in Walmart over Sally Sadbottom Dolls and Voltar 73 inch televisions made in Armenia, we decided to avoid the crowds on Black Friday.
The Cowgirl demonstrating "bending over backwards"
The only problem was that meant avoiding civilization.
We couldn't think of a public place that would bearable.
So we gave up on public places.

We took the girls to the nature center and started out on nice wide paths
Then meandered to slightly more worn paths
Until we were tromping around in underbrush so thick there was absolutely no path. I was having too much fun to take a picture of that one. But we did see two deer. Our daughters gave them a spirited chase straight into the heart of the forest.
I also made the mistake of telling the Cowgirl that if you're ever in a real bind you can eat pine needles. Two seconds later she was chewing.
"You're right," she said. "They're not bad."

Apparently, a "real bind" is the difficult period between brunch and lunch for a nine year old girl.
One trail climbed a hill until it gave us a view of a shallow river and deep ravine. The Cowgirl put her hand in mine and said, "It is so pretty here."
And I was looking at her hair shining in the sun and her cheeks red with the cold and her lips still sappy from gnawing on pine needles and I couldn't help but agree. "It is beautiful."

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I hope your eyes are open to your incredible blessings.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The biggest typo

I got a little picture in my email today from my editor. She snapped a photo she thought I might want to see.

My book is hot off the presses, ready for advanced readers and reviews. I sat at my computer and looked at those hardcover books and I was happy, of course, but my main emotion was something bigger and deeper than happy.
It was gratitude.
I thought of all the friends and people who cheered me on. I thought of the complete strangers who read and reviewed it and contacted me. I especially thought of every test reader who agreed to inspect my first stab at a novel, the good, the bad and the ugly, and give me honest criticism and just as important, honest praise.
You are the ones who built a little fire of determination under me that kept my candle burning late into the nights. You are the ones who made me want to improve and try again. You are the ones who filled that box with hardcovers.
And then someone printed my name on it. That feels like a typo to me. I want you to know that I don't see my name on the front. I see all of our names. And I hope this feels like a joint accomplishment to you, too, because it certainly does to me. If you ever gave me one ounce of support (and you know who you are, and I know who you are) then I hope if you ever see this book on a shelf you stop and touch the cover and think, "I helped write that."
In this month of giving thanks, I am.
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drats, rats!

I make these plans.
They're not ambitious. Go to Walmart. Get some chicken. Pay a bill. Work on my book.
And then I lose an entire afternoon because I am on the phone looking for a veterinarian who will see a...
Because our ginger rat is sick today. I'm not going to go into symptoms because it's a sick rat and let's just not. But she is. And I didn't want her to be uncomfortable.

So I got to spend an hour in the waiting room at the vet, holding a rat. Everyone else traipsed in with a dog or a cat and there I was, nursing a rat. Getting the image?
And then $100 later I am spooning antibiotics and Chinese herbs into a ... rat.
I know- it's crazy.  But crazy or not, I have a sick rat.
And don't think I'm soft or unrealistic. I know rats die. I know they are rodents. And I would be so much stronger if it weren't for those little squeaks and the huge, dark eyes that look so sad.

Oh, did you think I meant the beady little rat eyes? Because I didn't.
I meant these eyes.

They are dangerous. This critter should have come with a warning label. I am thinking of offering her to the FBI.
What's that? That guy won't crack? If the hot lights don't work, just send in my Dancer.
She has me trying to clot blood with an ancient Asian remedy and it involves a syringe, honey, me, and a... rat.
And there is only one thing left to say about my lost afternoon, worried girls and empty wallet.
Oh rats!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Half and Half

So, what a week!
Half of our country is celebrating and loving life.
Half of our country is in deep mourning and scoping out foxholes to hide.
The losers are scared and angry.
Even the winners seem angry.
And I am craving unity.

So I'm doing what I can do- focusing on my little house and my little children and the places where I wield my little influence.
I've spent the morning working with the Dancer on her reading. She can read four sentences now. I am so excited for her. I do this so someday she can read histories and literature and most of all, the scriptures. I've turned off the news- truly, I know what's going on- and we've opened our scriptures.  There is turmoil and corruption in those pages, and more importantly, a guide for how to survive it and leave the world better. I need the examples of those men and women like never before.

And I've stood up and started my laundry again. My four walls will enclose a space that is clean and  orderly, because heaven knows when my children leave my front door the world is confusing and messy.

And I'm writing again. It took me a few days to find my words in the midst of the chaos, but they are coming back. I hear a voice inside that says "when all seems ugly, make your voice beautiful."
And I will try.

But I got one fun surprise.
This little home that we are trying to make our own  made it to the front of an article on HGTV remodels.
And that is certainly not because we are rich. We use creativity and resourcefulness to turn our limited funds into something we love.
You can see it here:

I'm out of the foxhole.
I'm brushing off.
I'm bruised, but determined.
God bless this divided nation, our children, and our homes. God bless you!