Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Newport Ladies Book Club. Athena

I just finished the last installment of The Newport Ladies Book Club series: Athena. It grabbed me right from the first and I couldn't put it down. It was such a pleasant surprise to find that it was largely a romance novel, and just the kind I like, clean and sigh worthy.

Athena has avoided committed relationships like the plague and certainly isn't looking for one when a chance meeting starts a whirlwind relationship that she simply can't resist, no matter how often her mind tells her to put the brakes on. Every woman wants a Grey in her life and Athena is lucky enough to get one. Just when she's convinced he's the real deal and ready to jump in with both feet, an overheard conversation dredges up her worst relationship phobias and throws everything into question.

The end was satisfying, if a bit too quick. The writing is smooth and concise. All in all, a very nice end to the series. If you haven't picked up these books, you really should! Here, here, or here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crazy Hair Day!

It was crazy hair day at the elementary school today. We got online and googled crazy hair day images. 
This is the one Abbie liked the best (it came from here):

Here's our version:

She was sooo excited to go to school! She said her hair looked 
like a truffela tree (her classroom is all Dr. Seuss). 

At the bus stop, cars kept honking at her and giving her the thumbs up sign. 

I love, love, love how much joy children get out of little things! It was a blast to watch 
her excitement this morning, as she got ready for school. 

I just adore her!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review. Newport Ladies Book Club: Paige

I've just finished reading the third book of the Newport Ladies Book Club: Paige.

This one was my favorite so far! I love it when an book is emotionally spot on. I didn't know how I'd feel in the situation until I read my own feelings on the page. That happened again and again in this book! Not the perfect, storybook ending, nothing trite or cliche; just real life situations and a strong woman who struggles through and is better because of it. Pick this one up, you won't be sorry!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Have Joy

It's so interesting when God is trying to teach me something, it starts popping up everywhere. The newest? A deeper understanding of God's desire for us to have joy, not just in the eternities, but in the here and now.

The current frustration--the proverbial spilled milk of the moment--is real. You know what I mean, the torn grocery bag whose contents scatter over the garage floor, the child who is being obstinate, the friend, neighbor, family member, co-worker who has misjudged (or is simply hard to be around), the finances that are strained, the hole in the stocking, etc.; those things are a constant in this life. However as I choose to focus on the spilled milk, obsess over the unfairness, get angry at the unkind person, etc., I pull blinders down over my eyes to beauty and strangle my ability to see or feel or savor or be grateful for what God is giving me right now.

2 Ne 2: 25 aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.

I LOVE that verse. God's plan for us is to find joy. How beautiful is that?

Choosing to look at the downside is working at cross purposes with God--never a winning prospect--and, I think, a direct refusal of God's gifts. Hmmm. Gonna have to think some more about that one.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to be a ma for our stake's youth conference, a handcart pioneer trek. It was an amazing experience, full of challenges and learning to work together and spiritual experiences. 

Our youth survived the first day on whatever they had for breakfast, some saltines and dried apples for lunch and a roll and some broth when we finally got into camp at 12:30 pm. The miracle mile--which was aptly named--and trekking in the dark for hours will never be forgotten. 

On the last day, I asked most of my kids if they were glad that trek was so hard. They each gave me a resounding "YES!" They had different reasons, some because they now understood some of what the pioneers went through, some because they learned that they should be more grateful for what they have, and one young women because she had always thought she was weak and couldn't do hard things and now she knew that wasn't true! 

Here's a picture of Michael treking along.

Here's a picture during the women's pull--and, yes, that hill is as steep as it looks!

Here's a picture of my cute trek family.

From left to right: Mallory, Wayland, Jane, Kyle, Melody, me, Megan, Kenny, Pa G, Alex and Trevor. Uncle Brad (a member of the stk presidency) is missing--sad!

Here's a picture of our Stk Presidency (Uncle Brad is in the middle)

These are amazing youth! Hard working, kind, helpful, and with real testimonies of the gospel. I adore every one of them!! I'd do trek again in a heartbeat!

Here's an article in the local press.

Lot's of pictures here

Friday, June 15, 2012


Things have been quieter than usual around these parts lately. That's because this girl --

 (No, not both of them, just Shanna, but I gotta get 
a picture of the grandbaby in here too!)

--is at JBA. She wanted to go last year but I told her we simply couldn't afford it.

When her dear friend got back last summer, Shanna let me know she REALLY wanted to go next year. My response was that she would have to earn at least half the money, assuming that would put the matter to rest. I was so wrong!! She worked and scrimped and saved and earned the $805 to pay for her half. I was so impressed.

I didn't realize when I made that off hand remark that I was giving her permission to attend, but once she worked her tail off and earned it all, short of something catastrophic, I couldn't very well tell her no.

When we arrived, we got her checked in and found her dorm room and hauled her stuff up five flights of stairs (the elevator line was too long to be endured) and got her unpacked and ate lunch and met her professor and then it was time to say goodbye and actually leave my little girl in this place for multiple weeks. Ouch!

So she's gone, for way too long. She's loving it and learning so much and making new friends and it's all wonderful except that our house is severely lacking in off the cuff kids history, Brian Regan and Tim Hawkins quotes; I'm not hearing nearly enough piano pieces coming from the living room and we all just want to hang out with her but don't get to for now. ...sigh.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Newport Ladies Book Club Book Review

I recently read Daisy, the second stand alone book in the Newport Ladies Book Club series. Each book is written by a different author from the perspective of a different member of the book club. Review of the first book here. This one was written by Josi S. Killpack, the author of the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series; one that I've spent many lovely hours devouring.

As I read Daisy I found it to be an interesting experience--reading many of the same events but from another perspective. Daisy's life has it's own set of challenges, very different from those faced by Olivia in the first book. I like that these women in book club come to each others aid as the inevitable bumps in the road come along in their individual lives. Daisy was an enjoyable read.

Paige is the next installment, due out in August. I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Actual Blog Post!

I've become an absent blogger. I'm not sure how it happened and I'd like it to change, but apparently not enough to really do anything about it.

Life is good and continues on.

A few highlights.

 My beautiful oldest daughter graduated from BYU in April. She's as lovely and kind and accomplished as I hoped she would be and more. What a deep-down-in-my-heart-pervasively-joyous thing it is to see what beautiful person she has grown up to be.

My youngest son and I ran the Joplin Half Marathon on May 19th. We did this guys training program, something that made a half marathon actually possible for me. I couldn't have done it without Michael. He's a great running buddy and such a good son. I loved going back to Joplin and see all of the rebuilding happening there. What a resilient and lovely community!

Our second grandbaby is on the way!!! David and Jess are expecting #2! 

Hubders continues to smooch me on a regular basis. That's nothing new, but it certainly does add to the happiness of my life. (TMI?)

Jess continues to send lots of pictures and videos of Emily--a constant source of happiness around here. She's getting soooo big! Here's three of my current favs:

We're having our first ever family reunion with our kids in July. I can't wait to see them and hug them and laugh with them and chit chat to our hearts abandon!

We'll get to see these three people that we love.

 And these two people that we love.

And these two people that we love.

CANNOT wait!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Newport Ladies Book Club: Olivia -- Book Review

I've just finished reading the first of The Newport Ladies Book Club series: Olivia. I expected the book to be a more than adequate read, one that was well worth the time spent. What I didn't expect was to get caught up in the characters, read it in less than twenty four hours and end up in tears before the book was through.

Olivia is not your run-of-the-mill two dimensional character. Rather she's a believable, three dimensional, character with lovely strengths as well as flaws. I found myself caring deeply about her struggles, and wanted, oh-so-badly, for her to have a happy ending. Part way through the book, I was sure I knew where the book was going. What a lovely surprise when I turned out to be dead wrong.

This book is a classic example of what I look for in a novel: relationships; humor; a nicely paced, moving narrative; and believable dialogue. It left me wanting more. Here's to Daisy in June!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

DIY Fail

I've been looking at pictures like this one from here,

and this one from here

for quite some time now.

I learned how to make my own chalkboard paint and schemed and planned.

Hubders was going to be out of town for three days and so, once he left, I got started.

Here's how it unfolded.

I filled in the dings and nail holes in the wall and then gave the wall two coats of the original paint so that it looked pristine in it's yellow loveliness.

Next, I carefully measured and taped off my calendar, making sure that the squares were large enough to write multiple items on each each day.

I then gave it one more coat of yellow so that all the feathery paint streaks that manage to worm their way under the tape would be the wall color.

Then I started painting my chalkboard paint. I was sooo excited!!

Not a great picture, but a great start! No vinyl title or labels yet, but it's a calendar with a place to leave notes and one to list family birthdays (and my daughters thought the optical illusion dots in between the squares were super cool).

The DIY chalkboard paint tutorial said that after you paint, you should sand it all lightly, which knocked off the black paint wherever there was a small bump from all the coats of paint and revealed lovely yellow dots randomly over the whole surface--not so pretty!

Then I was supposed to "prime" the chalkboard by covering the whole surface with chalk and erasing it all. Which I did. No picture of that one, but by this time, the whole thing is looking really sloppy.

But, I persevered, cleaned as best I could and got out the new chalk I had bought. I made the squares big so that multiple schedule items could be written on each day. Chalk has nothing in common with the words "fine tip" and that wide tip "skipped" on the less-than-smooth surface.

Not working. It's sloppy, hard to read, and there's not room to write multiple appointments.

My next attempt was chalk markers, bright happy colors, smaller tips. This just might work.

However, unless you have a very smooth surface, they don't want to erase (and they're expensive).
This was after considerable elbow grease. Not a happy moment.

And all of the elbow grease smeared the color onto the yellow background (lousy picture, I know, but you can see the mess around the edges of the square--and I still didn't get the square clean).

There were possible fixes that I explored, but the more I looked into it, the more I realized I wasn't going to be happy with the results.

So I sanded and sanded, and sanded and sanded some more.

Then I painted and whimpered because I could still see those stupid calendar lines.

But, two more coats and the wall was back to it's lovely yellow shade. I went and bought a calendar and put up one of these for messages, backed with a black foam core board.

It's not quite what I was after but it's workable, and the DIY option was a total fail!

Ya live and learn!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LOVED my November!

In November, I spent one week in North Carolina with these people that I love and had a blast! (Notice, the grandbaby is in every picture and it just did my heart good to spend some time with her--she's growing up sooo fast!)


I flew home for fourteen  hours, loaded our old piano in the back of our Rav4--yes I did--and drove out to Utah.

I spent five days with these people that I love.
Spent time with them in their classes, went to their concerts, crafted, ate too much, saw them at work. It was all a joy.

Finally, I spent 24 hours in Cache Valley and saw (for a bit) all of these people that I love.
Yup, there are a LOT of people in Utah that I love--and I didn't even get to see them all!
It was way to short, but I had soooo much fun!

Hubders held down the fort for two weeks, being mom and dad while adjusting to his new church calling. He's my hero (and makes my heart go pitter-pat!)