Thursday, March 29, 2012

Can One Ordinary Woman Achieve the Extraordinary?

ordinary people 

This is a day when I wonder if I'm doing anything right. I know I'm doing some things okay and few things really well. But what about the rest of the "Stuff". The five basic food groups, the curtailed TV, the ten minutes of scripture study and the thirty minutes of reading to your kids I (mostly) do but there is so much more that the everyday messages shout out in the world.

Be cute! Be fun! Be firm! Be creative! Be educated! Develop your talents! Keep that house clean and ready for company! Have uplifting dinner conversation around the table!  

Sigh! I know that there is a time for every season and purpose under heaven. I know that I can't do everything at once. But sometimes it feels that not only is the world encouraging women to have the best of both (all) worlds, but that they MUST.

It can get overwhelming. But while looking through a friends' Pinterest board of quotes, I found so many uplifing words. 

Words that encouraged and helped me look upward.  I love the quote above by Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. This gave me a glimpse of what I needed.

I need a balance of the long-range and short term goals. Keep goals for the future lofty, but know that "it is by small and simple things that great things come to pass."

So grateful that General Conference will be here in just two more days. I need a long cool drink of that living water. I need that reminder and the comfort from heaven.

But before I end, I want to leave you with two more quotes that made me happy (and are easier to remember when the kids are shouting and the oven timer is ringing and the buzzer on the dryer goes off and the cell phone rings all at the same time.
worth remembering everyday
And reading the fine print on this last one helps keep the perspective.

Don't overlook the small print... it's the most important part!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Other Side of the Story: Lost in the Crowd: Working With Multiple Point of ...

I thought this was an interesting blog posting, from one of my favorite bloggers, Janice Hardy. She writes about multiple points of view (POV). This is something I've thought a lot about as I've been working on my current WIP. I gave this (Jumbo-sized) comment at the end of her posting:

I am writing a YA adventure/romance from the hero's and heroine's POV. The first four chapters alternate as they are moving towards their "collision". They don't actually meet and speak until the fifth chapter. But in both POV, they are dreading a particular occasion and have already formed prejudices against the other participants that will be there. 

In fact, I use a secondary character (who actually never has any "screen time") in both. This secondary character deeply wounded the heroine, making her suspicious and reactive. The hero has just come from that character's home and where that trouble maker spoke about the heroine in double edged compliments. This makes it easy for him to believe the worst of the heroine, making what could have been a meeting of like minds to a public verbal altercation. This sends the characters off on a winding plot road.

In that particular scene, I started it from the hero's POV, so the reader "gets" why he picks a fight. We can watch how her reactions just stirs up his anger more and convince him that his original assumptions were correct. But just when you think the argument is over and he's delivered his "last word", she laughs at him, the chapter ends and she picks up the story. 

She gives her fake laugh to hide her hurt and anger and frustration at being falsely accused. Even though he knows there are people listening on the other room, she thinks they are alone. And with her feelings rushing onto the page, she changes tactics from defense to offense. This pushes her across the lines of protocol and manners. 

This is an important turning point in the story, turning what should be allies into enemies. They now must work towards their goal separately making the journey more difficult (and interesting).

I really enjoy using multiple POV. There are always more perspectives and perceptions than your own. And that is what brings in so much of the conflict and plot into a story, I've found.

The Other Side of the Story: Lost in the Crowd: Working With Multiple Point of ...: Multiple points of view offers advantages that a single point of view can't provide (be it first or third person). It allows you to follow m...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Apostle's Easter Thoughts on Christ

I remember hearing this address before. But today, just a dozen days before Easter and this year, after two very long and difficult years, this message about suffering alone means so much more to me. Though there have been some dark and difficult times in my life, there has never been complete abandonment. I have always had someone, even if they were a thousand miles away. I knew I was loved and cared for and prayed for even if no arms encircled me at that moment. But even if there hadn't been a single person on earth, there has almost always been the comforting Spirit, that gives me a measure of peace and a feeling of being loved, even when I felt the most unsteady or at my most unlovable.

There is a God, a Father who cares for us. There is a Savior, an eternal "older brother" who was sent to show us love. Throughout his life he was an example, and in his suffering and death, he gave us a way to follow and paid the ransom for when we stumble and fail to live up to our potential.

For that, I am forever grateful.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shannon Messenger: Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Bad Apple (Meri...

This review for a new Middle Grade book sooo intrigued me, I had to re-blog it. I'll be looking for it when it comes out in a few weeks! :)

Shannon Messenger: Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Bad Apple (Meri...: Believe it or not, I actually have an  MMGM  for you!!!!! (I know, I'm shocked too!) Sometimes I need a break from writing, so I treated mys...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finding Balance

I've been thinking about balance and how much I can handle and how much I need help...especially the heavenly kind. I also have been reading several chapters by the prophet king, Benjamin, in the Book of Mormon. My younger boys and I have been inching our way through his teachings over the past couple of weeks. But part of his sermon keeps coming back to my brain. It hasn't settled easily over me, and I think that must be because my path has been a little off from what Benjamin proscribes.

"And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another...But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another.

And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish." Mosiah 4:14-16

I think that this has resonated within dis-harmoniously because I have become so involved in some things, that I have found myself becoming the Incredible Hulk version of myself...the snapping, irritated mama that my kids dread spending any time with.

It has taken three weeks for me to soften my heart, to be willing to make a decision that I didn't want to make. But thank goodness for tears from my sweet three year old and the persistence of a loving husband. I have to decided to cut my part-time job hours in half. I already don't work that much. But, only working two days a week will mean that my youngest won't bawl when I drop him at the babysitter's or have odd tantrums for something that never bothered him before. I think that children are more sensitive than we adults, and their reactions are like the finely tuned seismographs, feeling things that we don't or that we ignore.

In short, I am grateful for guilt and an ancient prophet who counseled us to put our families first. When the home is centered, then the rest can fall into place.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011)

What an amazing short movie. I absolutely love the allegorical story of a man who surrounds himself with books but doesn't fully enjoy them until he goes on a magical journey.

Absolutely darling.

And it made me appreciative of all the librarians and authors who have enriched my life with their wonderful offerings.

Books just make me happy! :)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts (Piano/Cello Cover) - The Piano ...

This is my new favorite musical group! They are not a band, but a Piano/Cello combo of Jon Schmidt and Stephen Sharp Nelson, called The Piano Guys.

This is a beautiful new arrangement of Over the Rainbow (similar to the ukelele version) and Tis a Gift to be Simple... all in Island Style. So beautiful!!!

They did a lovely one for Valentines Day of You Are Amazing. They offered a free download and now I listen to it in a loop as I write. It is so beautiful and lush and yet, not intrusive. And it makes me feel wonderful.

I also loved their recent version of One Republic's "Secrets" set with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Simply Beautiful.

Everything they do is beautiful both visually and musically.

Love, Love, Love them!

And P.S. I showed Mark one of their videos soon after I discovered them, and he kept staring at the pianist. By the end of the song, he figured out how he knew him...they served in the Norway Oslo mission at the same time. They never served together, but Mark recognized his distinctive red hair and the way he bobs his head as he plays. Mark said he was amazing twenty five years ago. And now, look how he uses his talents! Sigh and drool. :)