Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Last Day

Don't forget to make your nominations for the Whitney Awards. Today is the last day. If you've read any new books written by an LDS author head over to the Whitney site and make your nominations. Here is a list of the eligible books. I've entered a few and wish I'd had time to read more. I can't wait to see who the finalists are this year.

Friday, 19 December 2008

A Needed Break

I think about this blog often and even try to think of things to say, but I'm still trying to catch up on the Christmas things and not spending much time at the computer. I'm getting closer to being ready for next week and the girls may actually get to wear their new dresses this Sunday instead of in February. This happens more often than not - Easter dresses in August are not uncommon. Although if they get them in August I guess they're not really Easter dresses anymore.

Anyway, I spent the evening away from the sewing machine and the computer and went to an elder's quorum party with my husband. It sure was good to relax for a few hours. Good company, Chinese food, and a few games made for a great evening. We played one of my favorite games called signs. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I needed a good belly laugh. Now I'm off to bed and I plan on sleeping in until at least eight before I get back at the sewing. I feel more refreshed already and I'll be able to tackle the chores tomorrow with renewed energy.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Keeping it Real

Josi at What is a Sundial in the Shade? gave me an award on Monday. It is an award for bloggers who "keep it real". She gives a great explanation for the award and why it is named for Marie Antoinette, so I'm not going to try to say it better. Here is what she said about me:

"I really enjoy Stephanie's blog because she also blogs about real, every day life, but the more I read, the more depth I find. I assumed for the first few months that she had lived a very typical, traditional life. Then I discovered a twist, and then another one, and then another one. It's intriguing to me that she does not simply put it all out there at one time, rather it's all just part of the life she lives. She also has an inherent goodness that reminds me that being good is strong--I need those kinds of reminders in my life and her posts always do that for me."

I'm not sharing this to blow my own horn, but because it made such a difference to me. I keep things as honest as I can, even though I don't share the names of my family, or pictures of them, I do blog about them occasionally because they are my life and they influence what I write and if I write. I'm also fairly open about my life, past and present, because I can't talk about my struggles, goals, and dreams without exploring the experiences that have made me the person I am.

Since we are talking about keeping it real, let me share some of my recent thoughts. Starting a blog took a huge leap of faith for me. I remember wondering if anyone besides my husband would read it. It never occurred to me that I might make friends through my writing and find support from others who understand the bizarre inner workings of a writer's mind. Imagine my surprise when I attended the LDStorymakers conference last year and had so many people approach me and want to say hello because they recognized me from the blog.

Despite all the positives, I've been wondering if I should keep it up. Lately, life has almost plowed me under a few times and I've had a difficult time getting back on my feet which is silly since the most recent upset doesn't begin to hold a candle to other incidents. Even the title of the blog makes me feel like an impostor since I haven't written anything for too long.

There are days when I wonder if anyone reads what I write. There are days when I wish I was one of those blogs with many comments everyday. Then there are the days when I am completely honest with myself and admit, I write this for me. The writing gives me an outlet and the few comments I get are enough to keep me going. The friends and contacts I've made are invaluable.

Then there are days like Monday. Josi's comment made my day and actually brought a tears to my eyes. I needed to hear what she had to say. And if even one person, appreciates what I have to say, I guess I'll stick around.

I'd like to pass the award onto ali at Girl in a Whirl. She is another blogger who says it like it is and I always appreciate what she has to say. I've missed her lately as she recovers from eye surgery, but I can't wait to hear more from her in the new year.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

This 'n' That

First of all, Happy Anniversary to my sweet husband. It's been eight interesting and wonderful years. He keeps us all laughing and takes such good care of us. I love him more all the time and can't wait to see the interesting things we get up to this year.

I can't believe how close Christmas is. Every day the kids remove another day off the advent calendar and I get a little more worried about getting everything done in time. Somehow I always manage though.

The sewing room is filled with projects. It looks like a fabric snowstorm in there, but everything is organized in piles and it is slowly but surely getting done. I told the girls I would make them Christmas dresses and that has added more than I planned on. Usually they both opt for simple, but this year they are looking at fancy, which is so much more fun to do, but much more time consuming. The girls and I have also been working hard at some other crafts for Christmas presents. If I can get everything done, I'll post pictures.

I haven't started much in the way of baking, but I did make fudge tonight. Usually it is easy and delicious, but some years it doesn't set properly. I'm still waiting to see if this is one of those years. If it doesn't set, I guess the kids will really enjoy it on some ice cream.

The kids are trying to figure out when we can take them shopping. Everything has been so over-booked this December that we are having a difficult time finding the right time. I still haven't even done the grocery shopping for the month. I'm hoping to get that done tomorrow and then the baking can begin in earnest.

Funny how all those things add up to make for a busy, crazy month. I sometimes sit down and wonder how to simplify everything so we can actually relax a little. The truth is, I enjoy all the sewing projects. I only do such a wide variety of baking at Christmas and the kids look forward to it. They are also getting big enough to take over some of those projects. My biggest problem this year is not knowing what to get the kids. That's right. Two weeks until Christmas and I still don't know what to get the kids. I'm hoping inspiration will hit soon.

And just for fun, I took the "Blog Readbility Test" - genius, I have my doubts, but I'll take it.
blog readability test

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Abinadi by H.B. Moore

Most readers of the Book of Mormon seem to picture the prophet Abinadi as an older man, like we picture most scriptural prophets. Moore has put her own twist on the story and made Abinadi a young man in his twenties who still has a full life ahead of him. Throw in some romance, danger and impeccably researched details about ancient South American life and you have the formula for a great story.

By giving Abinadi a family and problems other than just preaching, the story becomes more rounded and the sacrifice Abinadi makes for his beliefs becomes more powerful. Moore also introduces us to other familiar characters, painting a detailed image of King Noah's court and the high priests and following the conversion of Alma. The fictional characters of Abinadi's mother, brother, and new wife add depth to the story and got me thinking about the sacrifice the families of prophets make.

I enjoyed reading this book. The characters were well written, the plot moved along at a brisk pace and the details of Book of Mormon life were fascinating. I also enjoyed the prologue which included chapter notes and references for her research.

This book would make a great Christmas present. You can learn more about H.B. Moore at her website and you can order the book here or pick it up at your local LDS bookstore.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A Drive-in Movie

Last week at Family Home Evening. My husband and son informed the rest of us that they were planning something special for the next week. We were to be ready to leave the house at 6:15 p.m. So last night we ate dinner early and piled into the van for our F.H.E. adventure.

We drove through town to the Fish Pond (I think this park has a more official name, but I can't remember it). On the way my husband informed us that there was a movie showing there at 6:30. Unfortunately, he had forgotten that they lock the entrance during the winter months. So we drove a little further until he parked outside of town at the edge of a farmer's field. Then he told us the feature movie was Kung Fu Panda.

Pulling down the screen in the van (new to us and still a novelty to the kids) and inserted the dvd. Before starting the movie, he went around to the back and proceeded to offer refreshments - juice and tortilla chips with salsa.

Luckily, the weather cooperated and we were able to sit in the van and watch our "drive-in movie" with a few blankets and still keep warm. It is one of those things the kids will probably always remember as one of those crazy things we used to do.

I found it amusing on the way home when the kids started discussing the movie. The conversation started when one of the kids asked the others which character they liked the best. My oldest daughter commented on the lack of character development. "How am I supposed to pick a favorite character if I really don't know anything about them?" Then they proceeded to dissect the characters and plot line. Whose kids are they anyway? After this conversation, they agreed that the movie was fun and they would definitely watch it again, so the evening was a success all the way around.

Monday, 1 December 2008

A Busy Life

Every so often I get asked why I haven't been blogging as much as I used to. There really are a lot of reasons why I've spent so little time on the computer lately.

With Christmas coming, I've been trying to get as much sewing done as possible. It would be easier to just buy gifts, but since I have so much fabric left from the store I used to own, it is much cheaper to make something - and in the long run, hopefully the homemade gift is much more appreciated. I'm a little behind where I want to be, but the projects are coming along, although I will probably be looking at some late night sewing sessions, depending on how much work I get this month. Maybe I'll post some pictures of the finished projects when they are all finished.

Another reason I haven't been around as much lately is the work I do at the school. It's been many years since I worked out of the home and I am still trying to get used to the whole balancing act. In fact, I'll be working tomorrow and possibly the rest of the week. That is going to cut into my sewing time, but we need the money and I'm grateful I can work so close to home and walk to school with my kids.

Then there is the whole Christmas season which has crept up on me. I'm amazed at how quickly my calendar has filled up. Between elementary school concerts, high school band and choir concerts, staff dinners, church functions and community events, my month is already pretty full. Since my kids are involved in half of those and I'm involved in the other half, I can't just skip out and stay home no matter how tempting it is. I miss the days when the kids were really young and our evenings were spent at home making Christmas cookies and reading stories.

I haven't even been doing much reading which is quite unusual. Sometime this month, I will be reviewing Abinidi by H.B. Moore and My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison. Both are great but I won't say anything else until the actual review, so stay tuned.

I guess none of those things are good excuses for not blogging. In fact, they should give me lots of ideas to write about. But since I seem to be suffering a serious lack of coherent thoughts, if any of you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know.
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