Monday, November 10, 2008

I've Gone and Been Tagged

Tristi must be running out of friends to tag 'cause she went and tagged me. Thanks alot, Tristi. Okay, here goes.

Eight Things on My Wish List:

1. A brand new Sohmer piano.
2. A scale that told me my true weight.
3. A contract.
4. An agent.
5. A lunch date with my hat sisters.
6. Tickets to Wicked!
7. A Yorkiepoo
8. A nice get-away.

Eight TV Shows I Like to Watch:

1. The Biggest Loser
2. The Eleventh Hour
3. Arthur
4. The Cosby Show
5. Anything on The Discovery Channel
6. Perry Mason
7. The Andy Griffith Show
8. I can't think of any more. I don't watch much tv.

Eight Things That Happened Yesterday:

1. I went to church.
2. I made a poster for school.
3. I made a present for my best friend's birthday.
4. I made steak and baked potatoes for dinner.
5. I did puzzles with my eight-year old.
6. I snuggled with my sweetie.
7. I took a nap.
8. I ate dove chocolate. Mmmmmm.

Eight people I am tagging.

Pink Ink

Make that seven people I am tagging.
Thanks, friends, and good luck.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Halloween Scrooge

The last two weeks have been insanely filled with Halloween.

From my son, "Mom, will we have enough treats for Halloween?"

From the students, "Mrs. Bird, are you coming to the Halloween Carnival?"

From everyone else, "What are you doing for Halloween?"

All the while my insides are cringing while the outside sweetly says, "Yes, we'll have enough treats," "No, I won't be at the Halloween Carnival," "We are just having a nice quiet evening at home on Halloween." Well, maybe not quiet. We are having our annual Bird Family Halloween Party.

They don't call me the Halloween Scrooge for nothin'.

Several years ago I was fed up with messing around with costumes, answering the door every two minutes and buying too much candy or not enough, so I approached the family with, "How about instead of trick or treating, we have a party! We can eat pizza and have a treasure hunt and play games, and you can go to the store and pick out whatever you want for under $5! Doesn't that sound fun?!"

This was the response. "Yeah, that sounds fun!"


"Does this mean we won't be going trick or treating?"

"Yes, it does."

Looks of consternation. "Does this mean we don't get any candy?"


Bright, hopeful eyes look up at me. "We can pick out whatever we want at the store?"

"Yes, if it's under $5."


"Okay," they all say.

And thus began the first annual Bird Family Halloween Party. Since then all the kids, their friends and teachers tell me how much they like the family party and look forward to it every year.

Relief floods over me as we approach the sixth annual BFHP. No costumes, no trick or treaters, no hassle, just some relaxing family time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Future for Tomorrow

I was very moved by a book I recently read. I found myself wanting to get back to the book to continue following her journey. I was captivated from the beginning as I read the e-mail I received from Tristi asking me to read it. A smile spread across my face when I received a copy in the mail and I anticipated the moment I would be able to start reading.
A Future for Tomorrow by Haley Hatch Freeman is a true story of a young girl’s struggle with anorexia. It is a narrative nonfiction piece and easy to read.
Although I have read and heard things over the years about anorexia, I have never completely understood the struggles these youth face. This story provided excellent insight as I travelled with Haley through her struggle with this disease. I learned things I didn’t know. I felt her pain and her family’s pain. I felt like I was there with her and found myself wanting to help her. The more I read, the more the experience became personal.
As I finished the last page and closed the book, I found myself thinking that all youth, youth leaders and parents should read this book. It provides a depth of understanding that everyone could benefit from. Not only could it help those struggling with the same issues Haley did, but it can provide parents, siblings and leaders with the knowledge and understanding they need to help anyone who is dealing with anorexia or who could develop this disease. It’s a must read!
Thanks, Haley, for having the courage to share your story.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Great Get-Away

No, this isn't about a great get-away vacation. It's about getting my exhausted mind and body away from reality for a moment through a really good laugh.

My sister introduced me to Cake Wrecks,a great blog about professionally made, disastrous cakes. Due to the insanity of my life and my needed get-away, I decided to take a break and checked out her blog to see what was new. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Was it supposed to say Olympics Rings or were there actually supposed to be Olympics Rings on the cake? Hmmm. . .

This next one is a picture submitted by a bride-to-be to a cake decorator for her wedding. She asked that the cake be all white with minor green accents.

This is what she got . . .

That isn't all, either. The top layer still had the springform pan under it and the base is a metal sign.

Check out her blog and you can have a humorous get-away, too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Ride

Have you ever felt like you were enjoying a nice beautiful ride and then, all of a sudden, a humongous waterfall looms ahead? You are on the brink of going overboard, your canoe tips, your back is stretching backwards and your fingertips are clawing for the top of the falls. The canoe falls farther and farther down the waterfall. You try to reach up but are suffocated by the mist surrounding you. Have you ever felt like that?

I feel just like that right now. I've fallen off the edge and there is nothing I can do to stop the descent. I know that one day I will be free from the powerful waterfall's grasp, but right now I am right in the middle of all the upheaval. May the next four months end with me in my canoe floating peacefully down the river.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Santa Letters

I recently read The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson. It is the story of a family struggling to overcome loss.

Twelve days before Christmas a letter and a package anonymously appear on the Jensen family's doorstep. Each letter and gift teach the family of many different gifts—the gift of forgiveness, the gift of family, and the gift of service are among some of these gifts. The most important gift they are reminded of is the gift of the Savior. Sharing these letters and gifts helps this young family to heal.

It is a very touching story and an easy read. I was reminded of the passing of my dear friend's mother recently, which was a loss to me, as well. The messages were comforting. Though it’s a good book to read any time, it would be especially poignant during the Christmas season or at a time of difficulty or loss. I enjoyed reading this book. It was sweet, peaceful and calming. Wanting to know what gift would come next kept me coming back to this good family. I enjoyed reading this book, and recommend others read it, too.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, follow this link to Amazon or Deseret Book.

Stacy is a very approachable person. If you are interested in contacting her, go to her blog here or her website here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wild Week

This has been a most wild week. I attended a two-day student teaching seminar in Logan on Monday and Tuesday. Then Wednesday I started right in to my student teaching. I love my cooperating teacher. It is a great class and the kids are so cute. And I am completely exhausted at the end of the day. Who can even think about writing lesson plans or planning a ten-hour service project? December won't arrive too soon for me.

We also had a bit of excitement at our house yesterday and none of us were even home to enjoy it. There was a two-foot badger on the playground at my children's elementary school. The children were ushered into the school and apparently the badger decided without students he didn't want to be there any more, so he headed over the the church. That wasn't exciting enough either, so he wormed his way into our back yard. He apparently enjoyed himself as we have a nice hole in our garden where he tried to burrow himself. The school called animal control and we had numerous civil servants parked in front of our house (probably with lights flashing) and in our back yard, including three police officers, two animal control officers, and a couple of wildlife officials. They chased it out of our yard back to the church and caught it in the parking lot. What a sight that must have been?

It was definitely a wild week.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life Altering Experiences

Tonight was a really great experience. Not only because it's bedtime and my fighting boys are going to bed,

or because my 11-year old son received his tenderfoot and second class rank in scouts,

but because at the court of honor they retired some flags. I have rarely experienced anything like it. My love for our country, the flag and all it represents was intensified through this sacred event.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And the winner is . . .

Princess Aurora. Wow. I've been sheltered my whole life? How sad. I don't know how the world works? Hmm. I've secretly wanted to know this? Again, wow. Whoduh thought.

You Are Aurora! (A.K.A. Sleeping Beauty.)
Image hosted by

Thoughtful and loving. Authority figures probably have been sheltering you all of your life. Thankfully you're a very tranquil person who is content with what life has given you, but secretly you want to know how the outside world works.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to School

It's August and time once again to register everyone for school. I've spent the last two days filling out paperwork and standing in lines. I am not looking forward to school starting. Not only because I have to go to school, too, but I kind of enjoy having my children around. This summer has been busy, but good. I guess we'll just have to enjoy the last week as much as possible.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Surprise Packages

I just finished reading Surprise Packages, the third book in the series “The Company of Good Women.” I really enjoyed the first two books and looked forward to the third book coming out. It had been at least a year since I’d read the second book, so I was a little nervous about remembering some of the characters and being able to catch up on events. I felt the authors did a good job in reviewing those things as a reminder of things I had forgotten.

The story continues where it left off in the second book. The three women continue their friendship through e-mails and occasional personal visits. Their lives change as they experience their children leaving home, getting married and having children of their own. They experience health problems, challenges with children and many other issues of the times. The trials they face are those that women of today face and I could relate to them. They struggled with choices their children made, made it through Y2K and 9/11. They shared their experiences with each other, and loved and encouraged each other through it all.

Although there were moments where I wished I had re-read the other two books before I read this one, it didn’t take long to get caught up and my memory refreshed. I enjoyed reading this book and found myself picking it back up as soon as I could to find out what would happen next with these three very unique women. It wasn’t just a story to enjoy, but it made me think. There were issues of choices and consequences and hidden secrets. How did these things relate to my own life and what would I do in their situations? How can I keep myself from getting in a similar situation? I found it an interesting story and would recommend it to others.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Memories . . .

I saw this on Tristi's blog. I thought it was cool, so . . .

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The End of BIAM

As I sit alone in the silence of my hotel room, *sigh*, I think about this being the last day of the month and it's the last day I can write for the BIAM. I haven't spent as much time writing my story as I would like as I have had to think a lot about what I need to have happen next. I wish I would have had it more outlined before I started. It has slowed down the actual writing process, but I am getting through each challenge and am working things out. I have accomplished quite a bit this month, close to 10,000 words, especially since I've had to do some other things to work out my plot issues. I had hoped to finish it, and although that didn't happen, I feel good about what I have accomplished. At least I am many hours closer to completing it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Off, Again

Well, my manuscript is once again off to the agent. Part of me is a bundle of nerves, the other part relieved.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My own modern-day legacy

I love my pioneer ancestors. My great, great, great grandmother walked the pioneer trail with the Willie Handcart Company as an 18-year old young woman. She served many people who suffered and were in need, even risking her own life to leave Rock Creek Hollow in the dark and freezing cold to rescue a man in her company who would have frozen to death if she hadn't. I have an enormous amount of love and respect for her.

These ancestors, like my great, great, great grandmother, left a great legacy for me. I don't feel like I have done much of anything. At least not anything significant, but I can't help hoping that I can leave behind the kind of legacy that these amazing people left for me. My own modern-day legacy. To have my descendents look at the life I have lived and feel a love, respect and gratitude for me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Writing for Charity

Today I attended the Writing for Charity workshop at the Salt Lake City Library. It raised over $4,000 to buy wheelchairs for the handicapped.

There were some really great authors there like Shannon Hale (who put it all together) and Brandon Mull, Ann Cannon, Anne Bowen, Kristyn Crow, Tracy and Laura Hickman, Scott Franson and Ann Dee Ellis; as well as an agent, Amy Jameson and Shadow Mountain editor, Chris Schoebinger.

They answered "how to get published" questions and all kinds of other questions. The end of the conference was a workshop for critiquing. There were lots of great ideas shared and it was a good experience.

I got to see my good friends, Jewel and Melinda and met a new friend, Kristi Stevens (who is going to be published soon). These are all great writers and wonderful friends. I cherish my writing friends and always look forward to seeing them.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Life is Good

Perhaps I'm just avoiding my manuscript, but I just felt like blogging today. Nothing exciting is happening. It is a typical summer day at the Bird house. Children doing chores because Mom told them to, then watching a movie or playing on the computer. We have a guest in the form of a three-year old neice and she is keeping us all on our toes. It has been delightful to have a happy, funny little person with us. I have to go to the dentist twice today. I wasn't looking forward to the first time, not to mention going again. Unfortunately, a cavity was found, thus the return visit. I figure just get it overwith. I will pick up my sister today, who has been at girls camp all week (thus the visiting three-year old). Other than that, it is a pretty open day. And I must say that it feels good not to have a billion places to be. And I will get back to my manuscript as soon as I figure out what needs to come next. Really, I will.

So, I guess what I'm saying is . . . life is good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Good News or The Bad News?

Well, do you want the good news or the bad news?

I heard back this week from the agency I submitted with last week. I wasn't rejected, but I wasn't accepted either. After reading their response, I have some work to do on my manuscript.

Which is the good news? Which is the bad news? You decide. And let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

. . . And we're off

As part of my BIAM, I finished one of my picture book manuscripts. Yesterday I sent it to an agent I met at a writing conference. So, we're off. Well, at least this manuscript is.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Right to Write (and other important writer quotes)

So, I was exercising this morning and this thought popped into my head. "You have the right to write, right?" I got to thinking about Julia Cameron's book, "The Right to Write." When I finished with my morning routine, I pulled out her book and perused the first part of it and found some great quotes. These reminded me of some other things that I have read recently and they were good for me to read, so I decided to share. Because, as Julia says, we all have the right to write.

From her book: "We should write, above all, because we are writers whether we call ourselves writers or not." and "Higher forces speak to us through writing."

Also, from scripture: ". . . speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded . . . for it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say."

What do you say about writer's block now, eh?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In the land of the fairies . . .

Okay. Can I just tell you that my sister is the most talented person on the planet. She makes a lot of things. She's scrapbooky and crafty and artsy and even chef-y. It just isn't fair. Anyway, she made me this beautiful fairy door. Do you not just love it? I couldn't wait to blog about it because I love it so much! It is going in my office, which is very lavendar. So now my office will become a land of fairies, the good kind, not the evil kind or the weird kind. Can you tell I'm excited?
Okay fairies, move on in.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book in a Month

I've done it. I've officially entered Tristi's Challenge to write a book in a month. Although I have already started this manuscript, I want it finished. So beginning July 1 to July 31 I will be writing 1,000 words a day until my Day of Fire story is finished. Then I will continue to edit and revise through the end of the month. Hopefully, it will be ready for my critique group to see and also for Tristi to edit.

I've got my work cut out for me, but I'm excited about the challenge.

If you are interested in doing the BIAM, click on my title and it will take you to her blog post.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Validation, It's a Good Thing

I spent the entire week last week at the BYU Writers and Illustrators Conference in Provo. Karen and I had a fabulous time. It is such an intense conference and so worth the money and the time. Each year I have attended I've come away having learned a great deal and feeling absolutely wonderful. The workshops are fabulous and the break-out sessions, informative. I loved my class this year. The members were great critiquers and since they are starting a critique group, I am really gratefully handing over my manuscripts for them to read.

Lisa Wheeler was our presenter and she was awesome. I got great feedback from her. She was a delight.

The most fun thing was associating with other writers and enlarging my group of writer friends.

The experience helped me hone my craft, develop fabulous friendships and receive some validating experiences with those "in the know."

I am still walking on clouds.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fun in the Sun

We took the kids to Banbury's Resort to go swimming in the hot springs. It was a blast. Just look and see!

Here's the picture of me and my professional pedicure. It's the only picture I would allow of me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Birthday Fun

Today was a really fun day. My children, sister and niece went to Idaho to visit my parents this week. We have had a really enjoyable time just relaxing. Today, however, was my mother's birthday and so my sister and I took her to a day spa to get a massage and a pedicure. We relaxed in style. It was fabulous! Then we shopped for my son's birthday, which is Saturday, and we went to the barber/beauty supply to pick up hair and nail supplies at a really nice discount. My sister and I made my mom a homemade german chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting and fettucine alfredo and a delicious green salad with roasted pears and walnuts. It was deeee-licious.

My daughter also made her first short film on her new camcorder of which I made my debut. Of course, I was amazing. Ha Ha. We had a very fun time.

My mother also got on the Wii Fit and discovered that her Wii Fit Age is 54 and she is 70 today. She was one happy mom.

What a great day!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I must be a real writer.

I have finally gotten business cards made. They are actually more purple than magenta, but I still think they look good. So, I must be a real writer now, eh? If anyone sees them, let me know what you think. I quite like them myself. And, of course, I must give all the credit to my designer, Jill Swensen, who is the most fabulous, most creative, smartest, funniest person on the planet--who also, by the way, is at the top of my list of favorite blogs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My very first blog post.

Wow. Here I am with my very own blog. I have thought about it for a really long time, but have been busy with school and haven't done anything about it -- until now. I enjoy reading my friend's blogs and seeing what's going on in their lives, yet I don't know what to write in my own. Hmmm . . . this is going to take some getting used to. I'll think on it and get back tomorrow.