24 December 2012

A Prayer for Christmas Eve

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote:

"Keep us, Lord, from losing the awe of that Holy Night when Christ was born. May our carols of praise never become tiresome and old. May the thrilling sounds of Christmas ever remind us of how much we owe to our Heavenly Father for his great gift of love on our behalf.

Oh God our Loving Father, help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus...that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wisemen. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Deliver us from evil by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts. May Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven for Jesus's sake. Amen."

14 December 2012

Frog Blog Reunion

The most fun I ever had online was when I participated on Six LDS Writers and a Frog, a blog founded by Sariah Wilson and written by Jeffrey (J. Scott) Savage, Robison Wells, Stephanie Black, Julie Bellon & me. (These folks remain my favorite authors -- and people -- of all time.) This week Julie put together a reunion. Today was my turn. 

You can find the reunion on Julie's blog HERE.
The Frog Blog's archives are still HERE.

And here is my contribution:

Just for the record, I voted to hold this reunion next week. My thought was that it would make a nicer gift coming that much closer to Christmas, and . . . okay! Hold your comments! I’ll come clean. My actual reasoning was that if we “reunited” next week my day would fall on Friday, December 21 and, with any luck at all, the ancient Mayans would be right, the world would end, and nobody would ever know I missed yet another Friday! (Worst case scenario: the world wouldn’t end, but none of you could expect me to hear that news from my bunker deep beneath Mingus Mountain.) But, nooooo. Everybody else wanted to blog this week, so here we are pre-apocalypse.  I’m sorry.

 I sat down to write this yesterday. I had just teared up over Julie’s blog, so I started out echoing what everybody else said about how much we love, appreciate, and miss you guys. Well, you know me: six thousand words later I was sobbing outright and my elderly pit bull, picking up on the maudlin vibes, was pressed against my leg, howling harmony.

For the sake of us all, I walked away from the computer then to try again this morning. You’re welcome.

So, first I asked myself: Back in the days of Froggy yore, when I wasn’t being sloppily sentimental and/or preaching to the choir, what did I do? Honestly? Mostly I ditched. Every once in a while I ran a cheesy contest, but when I wasn’t doing any of those things, I liked to hang out with the Frog. This prompted me to wonder: Where is that little terd . . . er . . . toad, anyway? Shouldn’t he be here, too?

Alas, what came of all that is all this:   

‘Twas twelve days before Christmas when all thro’ the bog
Six Writers were blogging—but where was the Frog?
The notes were all posted, lest anyone care;
All hoped that our Frog friend soon would be there.

The readers were nestled all snug at their screens
While visions of frog legs danc’d thro’ their beans.
And Janice with her candy canes, and Jon and his dogs
Had just settled their brains to write their own blogs.

Then out in the weeds there arose such a clatter
I fell from my chair, wond’ring what was the matter.
Away to the pond edge I staggered, not fast,
Tripped into the cattails and fell with a splash.

The moon as reflected in newly-stirred muck
Lacked luster, thus seeing required some luck,
When what should appear to my dim, blurry eyes
But a miniature sleigh pulled by six dragonflies.

With a sprightly green driver so quick with the goad
I knew in an instant it must be our Toad!
More rapid than Rob-whines his coursers they came,
And he croaked as he called out to each one, by name:

“On, Julie! Go, Kerry! You, Robinson! Now, Steph!
“On, Sariah! On, J. Scott—or, wait—are you Jeff?
“To the edge of the bog! To the top of the weed!
“Now, dash it all ‘flies! Slow it down! I must read.” 

(And then there was this whirlwind of leaves and . . .
Some other stuff happening with eagles or buzzards
Or something . . . and the next thing I knew . . .)
As I drew back my head lest my staring eyes pop
To the bog Saint Amphibian came with a plop.

He was clad all in green from his head to his feet
But he wore a fake beard that was white as a sheet. 
I rubbed at my eyes, hoping it was the fog
That had me believing I saw Santa Frog.

His eyes—how they twinkled! His wide lips—how scary!
His feet were like rubber; his toes were webbed, very.
His looooooong, sticky tongue he shot out like a whip
And the moth it encircled was gone with a “Ziiiiiiip!”

The stump of a pen he held tight in his mitt,
It was full of red ink. Had the Frog come to ed-itt?  
He had a broad face, and great round white eyes
That could turn in his head and indeed hypnotize.

He was chubby and plump and looked like an elf
But I didn’t laugh. (I’m too elf-like myself.)
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I’ve delusions to dread.    

He spoke not a word. (But, hey, no surprise there!)
And read all the six blogs—which was rather rare—
Then, laying a finger aside of his nose . . .
(I looked away at this point so I wouldn’t even be

Tempted to rhyme whatever he might do next.)
He hopped to his sleigh, to his team gave a shout!
I stood there still wond’ring, “What’s that all about?”
But I heard him exclaim ‘ere he sped out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all! Hope your New Year is bright!”

I hope that, too. And I really do miss you all!  Merry everything!

Let It Snow Globe!

Want to see the height of adorableness? (Okay, maybe not an actual word, but you can clearly see what I mean!)

Hil sent me a picture. I forwarded it with $10 to Vanessa Porritt at Vanessa Porritt Photography, picked the snow globe that reminded me most of my daughter, and voila! Christmas adorableness! 

You can see all the designs on her website HERE. Okay, so my link didn't work. (Sigh.) Check her out on Facebook! That's where I first saw the globes.

Thanks, Vanessa! I love it! Also you.

12 December 2012

Blog Hop!

I was nine or ten when I got my first chain letter, but I remember it well. It started out with a story about a girl who'd received a version of the very letter I held in my hand, copied it carefully, passed it on to five friends, and then found a $20 bill that she got to spend on candy! However, the letter continued, her best friend broke the chain and was cut in half before her little sister’s eyes when she rode her bicycle directly into a buzz saw. (Okay, so maybe I don’t remember the story exactly, but that was the gist of it.) I copied the letter! I didn’t find $20, but I wasn’t cut in half either, so I figured it ended well enough, all things considered.

Welcome to week 25 of Blog Hop!

Before Twilight, Stephenie Meyers was just another unknown writer. And before Hunger Games, I had never heard of Suzanne Collins. It stands to reason that there are thousands of fantastic stories out there waiting to be discovered, some published and some still being written. This blog hop is like a big game of tag, and I was tagged by Debra Erfert. I jumped at the chance to give my little blog more readership and to give Deb’s Firestarters a shout out. You can read more about Debra Erfert and her book HERE. Her site is a great place to join the blog hop, already in progress. Check out the other authors. I was impressed by several of them!

This blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s current work in progress, so here’s a little info about my current project:

What is the title of your book?
My “book” is more like a leaflet since it’s a short short story, but it’s called For God So Loved the One.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s a true account of a life-changing experience I had as a new Relief Society president. (A real Christmas miracle!) It’s also story I’ve long wanted to share, so I’m grateful Covenant gave me the chance this year.

What genre does your book fall under?
Creative nonfiction and inspiration. Creative because I changed peoples’ names and made up dates that I couldn’t clearly remember. Inspiration because the only part that matters – my conversion and that of a woman who became a dear friend – are absolutely true.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
 Since I was young at the time it happened I’d cast . . . um . . . Amanda Seyfried. There is no resemblance whatsoever between us then or now, but she’s adorable.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The title: God truly does love the one – every one.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published by the best LDS publishers on the planet: Covenant Communications, Inc.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About an hour--and it was the only draft of my manuscript. But I’m sure my wonderful editor (shout out to Samantha!) spend much more time fixing it!

What other books/authors would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s not dissimilar from a book I published last Christmas: Angels Bending Near the Earth. (I’m anxiously awaiting a miracle this Christmas. If it doesn’t happen, next year I’ve got nothing!)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I love that I tend to sell them in sets of 5 – 25 because so many people read it then want to give copies as gifts. I also love that Covenant made them so they they fit into standard social envelopes and are inexpensive to mail. This makes them more economical than any Hallmark card on the market – and you can give friends and family a whole story in a Christmas card!

Upcoming is a list of authors who will be joining the hop for week 26. I hope you’ll visit their blogs next week and learn more about their books. Maybe one of them will become your new favorite author!

20 November 2012

Still Musing about Thanksgiving . . .

Shared by a friend from India: "Americans are curious. You set aside a national holiday in which to be thankful for everything you have, but then spend at least part of it rushing around, looking to buy more."

Is anybody besides me old enough to remember when Thanksgiving was like the Sabbath? God was praised. Family was central. Food was wonderful, and something for which to be grateful -- and to share. (If we didn't have at least 15 people gathered around our ping pong table it was an off year.) Downtown Prescott was ghostly. The grocery stores were all closed. The two-theatre movie house was silent. (Yes, this was before silent movies!) Nobody thought anything of it because shopping never entered our minds.

I'm not sure the leaders we so often deride are the real problem here in the United States of Advertising. 

15 November 2012

Did I Miss Thanksgiving?

Today is November 15. With Thanksgiving still a week away, I have not yet purchased a turkey, let alone defrosted, roasted, or eaten one. I have not made up every bed, fold out couch, air mattress, and camping cot on the property in anticipation of family coming over the river and through the woods. I have not yet sung We Gather Together in sacrament meeting. (It is one of my all-time favorite hymns; the ward music chairman picks it once a year, if I'm lucky.) I am wearing an orange shirt, living in a house bedecked with pumpkins and pilgrims and handcrafted folkart that reminds me to be grateful. And yet, I hold in my hand a Christmas card.

A. Christmas. Card. And, no, it is not from Walmart or Target or any of the other retailers who were peddling Christmas trees a couple of weeks before I thought to get out the scarecrows. It is from a woman I have known and loved for years and always considered sane. Until now. I noted (through tears) that she wrote the poem on it herself, and I have no doubt it will touch my heart in, say, ten days or so. This afternoon it was all I could do not to toss it in the grinder with the fresh cranberries.

I feel very much like the turkey in this popular cartoon. I love Christmas. I really do. I've published stories of my own Christmas miracles two years in a row now. Perhaps, after Thanksgiving, I'll tell you all about them.