Saturday, February 21, 2015

Birthday Hike

On Monday, I celebrated a birthday.  It was nice and quiet with no fuss -just the way I like it.  After I had spent the day running errands in town, my mother-in-law came over so that Bryce and I could go one a quick hike.  I've lived in this area for most of my life and had never seen the top of Table Mountain and neither had Bryce.  We set out about 4:30pm, right from our house and started walking.  This first picture is near the top as you are heading up the trail.
Apparently mother nature is confused because Spring has arrived in our area, as evidenced by the abundance of wild flowers.  There were so many wild California poppies -our state flower.
This is a shot of the very top.  Since I know how the Table Mountains were formed, I had always imagined  a stark expanse of obsidian or lava rocks.  I never imagined a beautiful plane of grass with scattered trees and wild flowers.  It was as if I had stepped into a whole new world.
We walked around for quite a while, just enjoying the amazing views.  In this picture you can see part of Millerton Lake.  Please pray for rain.  The lake shouldn't be that low, especially at this time of year.
We stayed up at the top exploring until the sun set and then walked back home in the twilight.  It was a fun, quick and invigorating hike and a great way to celebrate my birthday.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

500+ Words A Day

Yes, I am still alive.  Most of you see me on facebook anyway and already realize this.  For others, this blog is the only reason you even know I exist somewhere out there in the world full of billions of people.  Once again I have vacillated in and out of the realms of "yes I want to have a blog" and "this blog is no longer meeting that need I once had for it."  I have kept this blog up for a long time as a sort of journal.  It's filled with my personal thoughts, things I enjoy or am excited about.  It keeps people up on what projects I have been working on or things that we have done. But it's also time consuming.

Every spare moment of time since . . . October (I think), has been filled to the brim with family, church, and writing.  Sometimes I squeeze some soap making in there.  Sometimes.  And you know what?  I love it.  It's so fulfilling to be doing something I love. 
a stack of writing -all the work so far that has gone into one book
At the beginning of the year, Bryce and I sat down and made a list of goals.  We do this every year.  Many of my personal goals involve writing.  I have a master game plan created and I don't think I've ever felt this focused on something I've wanted.  Some of my goals this year:

I will, by the end of the year, have my book ready for beta readers. 

I will go to a writing convention or event.

I will look for a literary agent.

These goals have several mini goals attached to them -or steps to accomplishing them.  Having my book ready for beta readers requires an extensive revision process.  It also means that I've been reading every book on writing I can get my hands on, reading every blog that looks worth my time and . . . joining a writers group.

Joining a writer's group ties into my goal of going to a writing convention or event.  I did a lot of research, trying to find a good convention.  I found several awesome ones -clear across the country and requiring more money then we can afford right now.  (Anyone want to buy some soap? :-) So, I started thinking of other ways to accomplish this goal.  I will simply save, get better at writing while I wait, and go next year.  I think this formula will actually work out perfect and leads right into the last goal of finding a literary agent.

So, I've actually already found a literary agent -they just don't know it yet (how's that for confidence!).  I have three possible ones that I would absolutely love to work with.  I have all their contact information and everything I need to know about them.  I just need to get a whole lot better at my writing and . . . go to the writing conventions that they will be at so I can actually meet them in person.  This is why my waiting until next year to go to these writing conventions will actually work out perfectly.  It gives me that precious time I need to learn, practice, get better and actually have some work ready to go for other discerning eyes.

This of course leads me to the purpose of writing this blog post.  One of my tasks that I have assigned myself is to write 500 words EVERY DAY no matter what they are.  This isn't a difficult task.  It's usually no big deal for me to crank out 2000 words or more a day, but I recognize that some days are going to be more full of life then others.  And then there's Sundays.  I have always set aside Sundays as a day of resting from writing.  Today however, as I have stayed home with a sick little girl, inspiration has poured out of me while I have studied the scriptures, done indexing, read conference talks and studied for my upcoming Relief Society lesson.  Writing is a process of creating and Pres. Uchtdorf has said, "The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit of the Lord, the greater your capacity to create."  So, I'm going to go ahead and write on Sundays.  However, I will write the things of the Lord.  I will write in my journal, or on this blog, things that the spirit moves upon me to write.  Now that's not to say my other writings (not written on Sundays) are uninspired, it just means I won't be focused on writing fiction.

Heavenly Father has blessed me with many great gifts.  Creativity is one of them.  I don't know for what purpose, but he has given me a talent and desire to write.  I have often struggled with how this could possibly be useful in the work that he will have me do.  I still wonder if I am on the right path for what he wants for me.  But as a cousin of mine says, I am following those bread crumbs.  I am constantly asking Heavenly Father if I'm going in the right direction and he keeps sending me little messages, confirming to me that I need to stay the course and he's revealing to me little possibilities for where this may take me.  I think that's why I'm so excited.  I am learning so much, devouring everything that seems to be placed in my hands exactly at the time I need it -and that's not just limited to what I'm learning about writing.

So, you may be seeing a lot more of me -or you might not.  Those 500 words or more on Sundays are going to go somewhere though, even if it's a new file on my computer entitled "Sunday Writings."

Friday, December 5, 2014

Beautiful Morning

 We've been running around all week and it's been cloudy and rainy (which we are very happy about).  So it was very nice to be able to stay home this morning.  Tank and Taz(Baby H) happily played while I did some work and I am convinced that nothing makes little boys happier then dirt and sticks and dogs.
We are very fortunate to have such an easy going dog.  The kids can climb all over Apollo and he never minds.
By the way, in case you were wondering . . . apparently it's Spring here and not almost Winter.  Just take a look at all that green grass!  Bryce actually commented this morning that he might have to mow -in December!
 Teancum had to come and see what all the excitement was about.  He wasn't impressed and left.

 The boys even drew the curiosity of the cows.  They are starting to get really big!
 Isn't he pretty!  Or maybe it should be handsome.
 While we were in the back yard playing, Taz lit up at one point as if he had suddenly remembered something.  He took off running and before I could catch up he was playing in the puddle in the driveway.  By that point there was nothing to do but let him enjoy splashing.  After all, he'd been eying the puddle from the kitchen window for a few days.

Now the sun is blocked by clouds and hopefully it will begin to rain soon.  I made bread bowls last night and will be making clam chowder for dinner in anticipation of the rain.  Crossing fingers!

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's December! Our Blessings Jar

Wow!  It's December.  Things have been crazy around here.  My biggest craft show of the year went amazingly well -almost doubling what I made the previous year and Bryce is in that "End of the Semester" mode where's he's been writing papers and doing research like crazy.  Amongst all that we managed to remember Thanksgiving and our year long experiment with naming our blessings and expressing our gratitude.  Thanksgiving evening we opened up the jar that's we've collected these blessing in and read them, remembering the amazing things we experienced in a year.  It was amazing.  We were blessed so much and even though things were sometimes hard, we always had everything that was needed.  Among those blessings included in our jar were my amazing in-laws (parents and siblings), the gift of motherhood and being able to be a stay at home mom, unexpected help from strangers and . . . Bryce getting a job!  He's now working for the Fresno EOC in the IT department and loving what he is doing.  So yes, he now works full time and goes to school full time.  Speaking of school, we also recently found out that Bryce gets to graduate this next spring (pending completion of classes of course.)

So as you can see, we've had a lot of blessings recently, as well as being constantly on the go.  So, back to Thanksgiving.  These are some pictures from that day before we went over to Bryce's parents house.  My Visiting Teacher had given the kids pictures of turkeys to write what they were thankful for and to color.  The lists that they came up with were pretty good.  Tank kept saying "Toothpaste" as something he was grateful because it was making us laugh.  All the kids said they were grateful for rain which is something we've been in desperate need of in our area.
Something that I'm grateful for is my family.  My kids drive me crazy, but they are a lot of fun.  Life wouldn't be the same without them.  Something else I'm grateful is this guy right here.  He works so hard at everything he does.  He's such a blessing in my life.

 And of course, this guy.  He's our goof ball, our class clown.  If you couldn't already tell.  :-)

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Flock

I have so much good news!  But I can't tell it all right now.  I should be wrapping soap like crazy for tomorrow's craft show.  But I wanted to introduce to you our new flock of chickens.  I have no idea what kind of chickens they are but they are beautiful.  We have had them for a week and this morning is the first time we've let them out of the chicken run to explore their new home.
Our rooster is also absolutely wonderful.  Aside from the 5:00am crowing while I was trying to write (very annoying), he is the first rooster we've had that I haven't immediately wanted to get rid of.  He's very mellow, doesn't attack me (yet) and is very protective of his flock.  In the evenings he ushers his girls into the coop and then sits guard at the door before it gets close up.  When one of his girls goes into lay an egg, HE'S the one who does the egg song.  I hope we continue to get along.

Ok, off to wrap some soap.  Remember to come by the craft show tomorrow!  More good news to come. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's Craft Show Time!

Well if you couldn't tell by the lack of blogging for nearly two months, I have been busy busy BUSY!  I've been busy making soap and taking care of the kiddos while the Hubby is in school full time, and working/looking for work full time.  Because I've got such a crazy life schedule as it is, I typically only do one big craft show a year and it's almost here.  This year I will be offering several new types of soaps as well as your old favorites.  I will also be offering for the first time, some lip balms.

This craft show is always a big hit every year and supports my children's' school.  So, come visit us!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Few Recent Art Projects

I've been doing some painting lately.  I know I'm not all that great but I've been having fun with it.  It's nice sometimes to create something pretty that you can physically see.  When I write, I only see it on the computer and sometimes it's hard to get a visual on that to see just how much I've done.  Painting has also been very relaxing for me.  I can paint when I'm tired and can't put together a coherent sentence.  I might make mistakes while painting because I'm tired but that doesn't seem to bother me as much.  I finished the above painting last night and it is acrylic on a canvas panel.  I've never painted on canvas before and I really enjoyed the texture of it.  I went with a canvas panel mainly because it was on sale at the store.  It's also been forever since I've painted in acrylics.  I was in high school the last time I did it. 

These pictures below are water color.  Some of you have seen them already on facebook.  I finished it a few weeks back for my Divine Nature 10 hour project that's part of the Young Women's Personal Progress program.  I've always been kind of partial to water color painting but it can be hard sometimes.  I'm finding acrylic to be a little more forgiving.  Someday I'd like to try oil painting but I think I'll save that for when I can actually take a class on it.  I know next to nothing about oil painting.  What I do know is that it takes a really long time to dry.  That's the extent of my knowledge.
I have also been making a lot of soap lately.  I'm gearing up for my biggest show of the year and I basically only have a month left to get all my cold processed soap made so that it's properly cured in time.  I will be having a lot more varieties of goat milk soap and hopefully some other products that I've never offered at the show before.  Those will depend upon my time.  There is so much behind the scenes show prep that goes on and this year I may be faced with having to buy a new printer to be able to handle the work load of printing so many labels.  Our current printer has not been liking me lately.

I will have more detail about the upcoming show soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Little Moments

Sunsets are like Little Moments.  If you aren't paying attention, you will miss the beautiful ones.
             Little moments. Little fleeting moments so small yet so powerful that for those few seconds I am transformed.  These moments come so unexpectedly.  They still me.  They open my mind and peace floods in.  Peace.  Peace.  Comfort.  Love.  Assurance that in that exact moment I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.  Divine Approval.
            These moments come when I’m carrying a basket of laundry, when I’m hugging my littlest child, when I’m folding clothes late at night, when I’m helping my oldest with his homework, when I’m listening to the new young women choir sing together for the very first time.  Each moment teaches me something new.  My life, right now, is enough.  It’s hard, but I’m a good mom.  This is exactly what Heavenly Father wants me to do and what I want to do.  I am doing good work.
            It sometimes is hard for me to reconcile my dreams and aspiration of being a writer with the important role I play as a mother.  The world pushes for women to be career oriented even to the point of sacrificing the domestic and family life in order to achieve it.  While I know that there is nothing else in the world as important as raising my children, I still fall into the trap and even sometimes despair that I’ll never be able to achieve this dream I have of being a writer.  After all, women younger then me have already been at the top of bestseller lists and seen their works hit the big screen.  How in the world will I ever be able to compete with them?  Then, when I feel as though I should give up on the whole notion of being a writer, something magical happens and words flow out of me that I didn’t even know I had and it’s amazing, wonderful and energizing.  When this occurs, another little moment comes.  A moment that stills me, enlightens me and assures me that what I have written is good and that I need to keep writing. 
            Do you know what I’ve figured out about these little moments?  They are a testimony to me of just how much Heavenly Father knows me and loves me.  He knows I worry all the time about being a good mom and that I’m not doing enough for my kids.  He knows that I wonder if I’m fulfilling my church calling to the best of my ability while struggling to keep things operating in my home.  He knows that I love to write and create beautiful things.  He knows that I doubt myself all the time.  He knows me better then I know myself.  I am so grateful for these little moments.  These little fleeting moments are helping me to learn who I really am.  I am a lot better then the world would have me think I am.