Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cinderella's Cat

Jaci Leavitt, age 4

I have the most adorable grandkids... it's true and they are so funny!!!

So my daughter, Mandy, asked her 4-year-old daughter, Jaci, what she learned in Primary.

Our sweet little Jaci is very precocious and full of drama and fun.

Their conversation went basically like this:

Mom: What did you learn in primary today?
Jaci: I don’t really know, Mom… the teacher talked the whole time about the cat in Cinderella.
Mom: Do you mean Lucifer?
Jaci: Yeah, Lucifer.

Mom: Well, honey, that’s just another name for Satan.
Jaci: Yeah, well, that makes sense because he’s a really mean cat!

Too funny!! [Now all my precious writer friends out there... this little exchange is mine - please don't go adding it to you next book]. LOL

Have a GREAT DAY!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Heaven Scent ~ Worth Checking Out

Hey Everyone ~

Life is busy, crazy and wonderful but I really should be doing homework for my summer school class so I can't spend much time on this right now. However, I was so drawn to the storyline of this new book and the author interview I just read that I felt it deserved a bit of my time. (I was taking a "break" when I happened upon it).

The book is an LDS young adult novel (which means any age LDS lady is going to love it) called, Heaven Scent. Just take my word for it and click on the link below to read about the book and an interview with the author, Rebecca Talley, mother of ten!!

I have added this title to my Summer Reading Thing 2008 list (see a couple of blogs below this one). Take care - I've got to get back to my homework!!



Saturday, June 21, 2008

I've Joined Karlene's "Summer Reading Thing"

Ok, so I have also Joined Karlene's "Summer Reading Thing" ~ the rules are pretty much the same as the LDS Summer Book Trek and Karlene says you can even use the same list, which I did ~ except for adding: "The Writing Life" which is non-fiction and not by an LDS author.

So, here is my list for the Summer Reading Thing ~ I hope I'm doing this correctly... after I post this then I think I link it to Karlene's sign up page for the Summer Reading Thing ~

1. The Santa Letters ~ by Stacy Gooch-Anderson (I have an advance reader’s copy)
2. Keeping Keller ~ by Tracy Winegar
3. A Modest Proposal ~ by Michele Bell
4. After Goliath ~ by Liz Adair
5. The Host ~ by Stephenie Meyer
6. The Writing Life ~ by Annie Dillard (non-fiction)
7. A Banner is Unfurled ~ Vol III “Glory From on High” ~ LOVED THE FIRST TWO!! (Historical

Fiction) by Marcie Gallacher & Kerri Robinson
8. How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend ~ by Janette Rallison

9. ADDED 6/26/08 Heaven Scent ~ by Rebecca Talley
10. ADDED 7/05/08 The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size ~ by Julia Cameron

This should keep me busy, as if I wasn't already busy enough... but it sounded like fun, so I'm trying it and you should try it to. If I figure out how to link BACK to Karlene's site, then you can go there and sign up... her blog is: ~ if you go there, you should be able to find her summer book contest. Have fun!!


HELD OVER in Mesa ~ Emma Smith: My Story

Emma Smith: My Story has been held over a FOURTH week here in Mesa at the Riverview Cinemark 16. That will make it a month-long run when they were wondering if they could get a week or two from it. How exciting is that??? I SUGGEST YOU GO AGAIN and if you haven't gone yet... good grief!!! Get going!!!!!

This movie is LIFE-CHANGING! So, go see it (even if you've already been) before it leaves town. I have to tell you that all three times I’ve gone (and I’m planning on going at least once more)… the theater was quite full (even in the middle of the day) and each time everyone remained silent until the very end of the credits, just like the first time I saw it. No one moved, no one spoke. It was truly a wonderful experience… the good feeling it gives you lasts a very long time… go get another “fix” of excellence.

So, PLEASE GO... FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!!! I wouldn't lead you astray... this is one of the finest movies I have ever seen.

This post cross-posted at my wholesome movie blog:

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Transferable Skills"

A post from ANWA Founder and Friends
by Stephanie Abney

I’ve gone back to school in order to complete a degree in Education and to become certified so I can start teaching full-time and not just substitute teach. I have a summer school class called, “Introduction to Education.” I’m really loving this class, not just because the information is so useful but because I think I managed to sign up for a class taught by a “master” teacher, Mr. Ted Telepak, at M.C.C., Mesa, AZ. Just observing him I’m getting great insights about the kind of teacher I want to be.

Today our instructor said we need make good use of our “transferable skills" on our resumes and during the interview process. Just the sound of it intrigued me and I’ve been thinking about it a great deal this evening. “Transferable Skills” are non-job specific skills which can be used in different occupations. We generally develop them through our educational course work, jobs or internships, church service, volunteering, extra-curricular activities or just plain life experiences.

Most of us posses many of the skills considered valuable just as a result of the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences we’ve had throughout our lives. Emma Smith said, “Life is a good teacher.” It occurs to me that this is even more apparent in the case of women because we wear so many different hats. Before I continue and suggest some of the abilities many of us have acquired, I can’t help but wonder ~ eventually, transferable to where? In the end, just where is it that we expect these skills to benefit us and those around us? Ponder that, while I continue:

As women, particularly LDS women, we have mastered many managerial and/or administrative skills. We’re pretty good at planning, arranging, budgeting, delegating, guiding, directing, organizing, evaluating, and multi-tasking, to name the most obvious. We’re very likely to possess more than adequate communication skills as we deal with those around us (and for many that would include dealing with a spouse and children). We shine in our ability to listen, provide answers, accept input, write correspondence (even if most of it is via email these days), speak in front of groups, lead discussions, teach lessons, persuade, negotiate, read and perhaps we speak a foreign language. We have learned to investigate, research and present information (and do so with a lovely little centerpiece, which leads us into our decorating, scrapbooking, and hospitality expertise, not to mention our culinary and transportation abilities). Our human relation and problem-solving skills have become daily occurrences as we encourage and motivate others, teach and train children, and keep the peace.

You can see how, with just a little brainstorming, that you are far more accomplished than you give yourself credit for. So, now I want to go back to the question I posed earlier ~ where do we hope these skills will be transferable to? Despite the fact that such abilities and talents will enhance our earthly sojourn and bless the lives of those we deal with on a daily basis, I do hope that along the way, I am acquiring skills that will be of value to my Heavenly Father and the hosts of heaven. When I show up with my little resume and recommendation letters in hand, I pray He finds my “transferable skills” acceptable and that they will include compassion, humility, Christ-like love and faith.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Belated Memorial Day

Reposted here from a blog I wrote at ANWA Founder and Friends (a writer's group blog)

"Memorial ~ remembrance of a person or an event”

For whatever strange reason, Memorial Day was difficult for me this year. My love and admiration for those passed on never ceases but my moods do tend to come and go, without the slightest warning. For the first time in over 30 years, I did not join the rest of the extended family in decorating the graves and these days, we have a lot of graves to go to. We meet at row 5 of the Mesa Cemetery (dozens of cousins and aunts and uncles and children and grandchildren ~ we are quite a large crowd when we show up) and moving across each row like this giant wave of humanity, stopping at grave after grave to clean up the headstone and leave flowers, we end up at row 12 where our precious BJ is. (And although we can visit Jim’s parents’ graves, mine are both buried at Forest Lawn in Hollywood, CA and I’ve only been able to visit their graves once since they passed away 8 and 10 years ago).

I haven’t been to the Mesa cemetery for a few months, but I hope to make it tomorrow. I think I just need to sit by my son's grave, alone… and I haven't been able to go yet. Odd... it's been almost eight years and I've always gone to decorate the graves but this year I wasn't up to it and I’ve been in a “mood” ever since. My work has suffered; totally missed a deadline for 2 articles. All the interviewing was done, the photos acquired and yet I sat at the computer and just nothing came.

I think part of it is going to so many of BJ’s friends' wedding receptions or missionary talks when they return over the last couple of years. I don't know. I wouldn’t miss being there for any of them and am grateful their families always remember to invite us, but sometimes I just get sad that it’s never BJ striding up the airport walkway, grinning from ear to ear, and that he’s not the one at the pulpit telling of his remarkable experiences (although I don’t doubt for a minute that he has been serving a mission all these years and has many marvelous stories to tell). He would be 24 years old this September. He was our youngest, our baby and 2 months after his sixteenth birthday, he was gone. And I miss him every moment of every day.

My daughter, Kaci, needed me to drive my 3 oldest granddaughters (ages 10, 12, & 14) halfway to her house in Coolidge (her husband left this afternoon for scout camp and the girls are going to help her with her two little toddlers). On the way we played silly word games, like “I’m going on a trip to Alaska and I packed…” each of us taking turns over and over, always repeating all the previous items, adding to the list alphabetically. It was such fun and I remembered how blessed I am to have these wonderful grandchildren in my life (I have 14 total so far).

We met Kaci halfway and she presented me with a belated Mother’s Day gift… a framed picture of each of her little girls and one of their sweet family with a word under each photo: “Live, Laugh, Love” and I remembered how lucky I am.

Then I did some errands (should have gotten out of the house more this week) and just getting things done for Jim that he didn’t have time to do made me remember the partnership we have shared (and built with such effort) for nearly 38 years and I remembered how loved I am.

And lastly, I attended Liz Adair’s workshop tonight ~ “Using Family History in Fiction.” It was awesome and so helpful and as she taught us, I remembered my honorable heritage.

So, today was my day for remembrance, not Sunday night when our family decorated the graves or even Monday when we had the family over to dinner (which was fun but I still felt ‘lost’ even with everyone there). No, today, I remembered; it was my belated Memorial Day and for me, it was just what I needed. The Lord is merciful (and patient) indeed. Today, I found myself again. I’m feeling much better and tomorrow I will go and take my blanket and my Native American Flute that BJ loved so much and I’ll tell him about stuff that I’m sure he already knows and I’ll play my flute and I’ll remember… and be glad.

Happy Belated Memorial Day!!

P.S. Since I'm posting this to my blog (a few days later) from another blog for writers that I write on twice a month, I can add this P.S. I did go to the cemetary and sat by BJ's grave and talked to him and played my flute. It was very hot out but I didn't notice; the warmth felt good... I'm doing fine now.

this may show few it any comments since most of the comments were made at its original location:

Join the LDS Summer Book Trek

This will be fun and I bet those who participate will get more reading done than those who don't. You can see my list at the left. (You get to create your own book list ~ only requirement is that it is a fiction book by an LDS author ~ you can make changes whenever you need to). Go to to sign up and just follow the instructions! Happy Reading!!

While I’ve Been Away

Well, I never meant to wait this long before posting another blog but, hey, life happens. Or, I had the best of intentions or who knows what I might use to explain away my absence? So, I won’t do that now… I’ll just note some of things that I missed telling you all about because… well… I didn’t do it:

· Our Media Fast ended. It’s amazing what you “hear” when it is quiet. It’s also revealing how many other things you can get done when you’re not preoccupied with media. I think the thing that surprised us the most was how early we ended up going to bed when there was no TV or DVD’s to watch, etc. However, I’ll save “media fast revelations” for another post, another time (sounds like more procrastination to me!! But I am trying to be brief here ~ which is one more thing I’m not very good at).
· We had a bunch of birthdays from March to the end of May in our family ~ too many to mention but all of them fun!
· I had a hilarious visitor, LDS fiction author, Susan Corpany, from Hawaii. We mostly have been in touch via email although we met a few years ago at an ANWA writer’s conference. This time she was in town for a wedding and stayed with us. We laughed a lot, found some common ground and complementary abilities and made plans to collaborate on a screenplay and we became fast friends.
· The Mesa Arizona Temple held the Easter Pageant… it just keeps getting better and better ~ took Susan to it as she had never been before! We also were privileged to see the breathtaking photographic display in the Visitor’s Center: Reflections of Christ.
· Went to a delightful screening of the documentary Young @ Heart, about a singing group of senior citizens who perform rock songs… when it showed them in wheelchairs racing down a hospital corridor singing, “I Just Want to Be Sedated” I thought I would pee my pants. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find it playing anywhere since. That’s what happens with Indy films sometimes. Can’t wait for it to come out on DVD.
· Our Stake had a fabulous Youth Trek – focused on the Old Testament this time rather than the pioneers, complete with tribes, captains, and various simulated MOSES-type experiences.
· I substituted most days until the last couple of weeks of school, went to a bunch of wedding receptions, received a ton of graduation announcements including our own Becky Temp’s announcement of her graduation from Dental School!! Way to go ~ ceremony is in 2 weeks.
· Had General Conference and our traditional extended family meal after all the sessions at Jim’s sister’s house.
· Went to Nevada to tend grandkids while Mandy and Jason were in Wyoming.
· Our precious new grandson, Steven Ronnie Shiflett was blessed.
· Wrote articles for the Arizona Beehive and the ANWA newsletter.
· Found out Jim has a small Basal Cell Carcinoma on his forehead that needs surgery. Not a big deal though. He also repelled down a mountain and rode on several long scout bike rides (up to 50 miles at a time, more than once)!! He’s my he-man!!!
· Have seen a ton of great movies these couple of months and started a movie review blog: ~ stop by and chat with us there.
· Jim has been swamped with Scouting activities and planning for Aaronic Priesthood camp that starts on Tuesday. He also has made a bunch of Mormon Battalion presentations for Eagle Scouts that earned the patch and neckerchief slide.
· Saturday, Mar 31, we went to the baptism of Jim’s high school girlfriend… Jim’s been out of high school for over 40 years but it was so sweet to see her baptized… such a lovely lady. I didn’t go to high school around here so I had never met her before.

Wow, I can’t believe I summed up nearly 3 months in so few words… there may be hope yet!! Thanks for stopping by. I need to continue on because there are some very cool things coming up… like the LDS Summer Book Trek ~ post to follow!!