Obsessed – {Blog}

Obsessed – with baby snuggling, binge reading, recipe testing, music loving, and ninja-like writing of YA Fiction…I can quit whenever I want.

Operation Underground Railroad

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in Inspiration, My Blog Posts, Weekend Inspiration | 0 comments

I’ve rewritten this post several times in an effort to say just the right thing. To ease into a subject that is not easy. Because I’m used to using words to paint a pretty picture, to bring relief and laughter and light. But today the words I need to say start in the dark. In silence and suffering. They’re not pleasant to set your heart on, but the truth of them is a pain we must endure if we are to make a difference.

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Today I’m talking about child sexual slavery. The editor of LDS Living called it “one of the fastest growing and most lucrative criminal industries in the world today.” The very thought makes me sick to my stomach, because, like you, I have seen the pristine beauty of new life. My job as a mother is to stand like a lion at the gates protecting that beauty with every fiber of my being. I fight the fight every day to raise my little ones in the light of this beautiful world, tenderly feeding them hope, nurturing their vital intelligence and activity into blossoms they can share with a world that needs it. I am a vehement opposer of pornography in a city that cultivates it. I choose to stand in between the popular of the day, to examine lyrics, to scrutinize movies, to preview games before my children ingest them, weeding out poison and blocking deception. It’s not easy, but I was born to do it. I am exactly the person they need right now, to stand at the gate, fearless and ready to fight.

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Image by Operation Underground Railroad

Learning about this lucrative business that takes children, like mine, and sells them into a life I cannot even begin to comprehend… it’s painful to contemplate. It hurts my heart in a way that made it hard to face at first. I saw this post many times before I had the courage to see it. To read the words. To let them pierce my heart. But the moment I allowed myself to see it, I could not look away. I could not hide from the beautiful faces of those freed children, knowing there were more…oh so many more…waiting for the same chance.

You, too, may be looking away, fearful to contemplate the truth of this blight. It is a horrible plague, but just as we would not just hide from danger while sending our loved ones into the world to be exposed to it, we cannot hide from this. We have to dress ourselves in bravery and bind on our courage because whether we like it or not, we’re at war. The moment I allowed myself to know, I took up the banner. I am an abolitionist. I will be to the day I die. I will do whatever I can to fight for freedom from this horrible scourge on our children.

Unfortunately, like many of you, I don’t have the skills to mount an operation and hold these children in my arms, carrying them to freedom from a life of pain, disease and depravity. But there is an organization that can. Operation Underground Railroad is made up of past Navy Seals and CIA operatives with training and skills to take down those who sell children, to rescue them and then to place them in a safe home where they can get the help they need to heal from their wounds.

 

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Get your badge at ourrescue.org.

My friends, today I am an abolitionist because every human has the right to explore their potential. I am an abolitionist because every child should know the light of sunshine on their shoulders and the comfort of safety. I am an abolitionist because I know what it is like to look into the eyes of perfect innocence. I am an abolitionist because I believe that good will triumph when people like you and me stand up and do something with the knowledge we have. My few dollars can save a child. My monthly donation can fund a rescue. My voice, sharing this message can bring these kids to safety.

Since learning of this organization, I’ve been joined by like-minded ladies. We are the Abolitionist Moms and we invite you to join us.

There are so many ways to help:

Join Abolitionist Moms and donate time, services, goods, and talents. All proceeds will go to O.U.R. to rescue children from sexual slavery. 

Create a group of your own with the same goal, inviting the people you know and love who will want to fight to be a part.

Buy and wear a T-shirt. When asked, let people know what you stand for!

Spread the word. Even this alone is more helpful than you know. Sharing on your social media platforms and encouraging others in your group of friends to do the same can spread the word exponentially. When we post about sales, fund raisers, and other exciting events, please share, share, share!

Donate directly to O.U.R. Give a Lincoln, save a slave. 

Pray for these children and those involved in this dangerous and imperative work. They need the help of God on their side and our prayers to sustain them in the horrors they will undoubtedly see. Pray for them to be strengthened, to be successful, to be protected from physical and emotional harm.

I am linking to several events coming up sponsored by Abolitionist Moms. Any and all are welcome to participate through donation of goods or purchasing. ALL PROCEEDS go to fight slavery.

TOMORROW, April 11, 2015 Abolitionist Moms will be hosting a Bake Sale here in Las Vegas, Nevada from 10-12pm. 9746 Kampsville Avenue, Las Vegas, NV. Drop by, tell your friends, buy delicious goodies, have your child’s face painted, and donate to OUR! ALL PROCEEDS will go to O.U.R.

May 26, 2015–will be the beginning of an online auction. Join Abolitionist Moms to donate tickets, gift cards, handmade items, service, etc. and then go shopping during the auction to benefit O.U.R.

June 13, 2015Yoga in the Park and Picnic to Benefit O.U.R. Outdoor yoga for $10 per student. Join this event for further details.

A consignment sale, placing of exchange students, and other fun and helpful events are coming up. Be sure to become an Abolitionist Mom to stay in the know and donate your time and talents to this great cause.

Join the fight. Become an abolitionist.

 

 

 

Have you ever?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Book Status, My Blog Posts | 0 comments

Have you ever felt like you should do something? Something uncomfortable, even frightening. I’m not talking about that weird show where you had to eat earthworms for money. I’m talking facing fears, standing up when you want to sit down, speaking out when you’re so much more comfortable staying in the background.

The truth about me is that I hover somewhere between loving my people time–going to activities, heading up projects, book club, signings, etc. and enjoying the solitude of life. If there can be any solitude found when you have as many children as you do fingers on one hand. Ha ha! Not much solo time ’round here folks! 

A couple of years ago I attended a week of Education at BYU in Provo, Utah. The subjects were varied, the speakers phenomenal, the whole experience amazing. But that week, this little voice told me I needed to start speaking to the youth. Ha ha. Yeah right. Me? Are you kidding? The girl who was home schooled through middle and high school and therefore has no frame of reference for what youth today are experiencing? Me, who was so shy and quiet during my teen years I hardly said a word to the boys in my church class. (So embarrassing!) I pushed that little voice into the closet where it belonged and continued my general church service. Cause, see, here’s the thing. My husband is a perennial scout/young men leader. He has served in those callings involving the young men in our church ages 11-18 for almost our ENTIRE marriage save a few short stints in other positions, including about 1.5 years when I served the young ladies in our ward. Yep. I am pretty much NEVER going to be able to serve  the young women until all our kids are grown and suddenly we can both be gone on a weeknight and off to campouts , etc.

So why should I even worry about talking to the youth? I teach the women at church, sub in Primary on occasion, and love it. I write books for young people and women. There, I’m off the hook right?

Well, not so much.

That feeling continued to grow stronger until the end of last year. I looked at the new theme for the youth of our church and something inside of me just stood up and said, “Hey, let’s write a little book about how to do this.”

Ha ha ha! Hysterical laughter followed.

But that voice was serious. And soon I could think of nothing else. I was getting ideas and contacting people because I can’t just write a book. I have to just…know more. You see, I love the youth. I admire and adore them so very much. I see them for who they really are and it fills me with excitement and joy. And do you know what, I have one of them in my house. That little person I gave birth to, the one who made me a mommy and has been my favorite first child in the whole wide world? He’s 12 now and he’s in this zone of growth and confusion and struggle and joy. I love his guts. And I couldn’t stop writing. 

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This book, EMBARK IN HIS SERVICE, has been the hardest to write. I can honestly say that writing is a beautiful struggle anyway. I love almost every moment of it. Finding the perfect words to impart your message is tricky. To teens, even harder. But then, the opposition. The adversary poking me with doubts, filling me with despair and telling me over and over that this was not something I could do. I have never felt my weaknesses so strong as I did writing these words. 

You think that old serpent would know this by now, but when I know it’s right and you try to stop me, I just get that much more stubborn. I get that much more determined. And because I am growing up just a little bit, I turned to God. I begged Him for the courage to be who He needs me to be. This whole thing: every single word I wrote — it’s Him. It’s like I opened up my brain and He poured in the words that trickled out through my fingertips and into this message. It’s a call to serve. It’s a charge to be more. It’s a warning to prepare NOW because the waiting is over. 

I reread the words through my edits and marveled at what He told me. HIS WORDS. I am not that smooth or inspired. I’m just not. I take no credit. GOD is amazing. He can move mountains. He can write books. HE can rescue every child He has sent to this earth.

It’s coming out March 15, 2015. Tell your friends. Notify your youth. They need this book in their hands. Tell them He sent you.

 

It’s been a while…

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 in Book Status, Inspiration, My Blog Posts, Press Updates | 0 comments

There’s this funny kind of thing that happens to writers. I enjoy blogging, but I can only juggle so many things while I am in the throes of writing–really writing. So that’s why I’ve been absent from this poor, neglected blog for a while. I’ve been writing! {Insert cheer!} Two new books are on the shelves in the last six months and it’s been hard and diligent work to get them there. Cookie Girl Christmas came out in December. Thank you to all my wonderful readers who snapped up that little holiday gem. Cookie Girl begins a fun series–The Snowflake Falls Inn Romances. I’ll be adding one every six months barring anything crazy, so be on the lookout for more romantic hijinks.

For a very long time I’ve felt like I should write for the youth of my church. (I’m a Mormon or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You can learn more about what I believe here.) This year their theme is:

“O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength that ye may stand blameless before him at the last day.” D&C 4:2.

I wrote Embark in His Service with them in mind, young people ages 12-18+ who want to serve God and just need a little help to get there. This new little book will be coming out March 15 (eeek!!). I’m so excited.

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Plus, yanno…I have five kiddos and three have been taken down, in turns, with a tummy bug. So there’s that too. *Sprays Lysol on every surface*. I’ll be back soon.

Meet the Mormons

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Inspiration, My Blog Posts, Press Updates, Youtube | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, I was invited to bring a friend and check out the new movie produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I walked in knowing a little bit: We would follow the lives of a few different people who were members.

What I didn’t know was that these people could be considered your normal everyday humans, until you look at the way they live their lives. The way they follow the gospel of Jesus Christ is unique and I must say beautiful. In the movie, which is presented documentary style, you follow six people, from a congregation leader or Bishop in Georgia to a WWII veteran known the world over as the Candy Bomber. I loved the beautiful videography (the more I say that word, the more I wonder if it’s a real word), and how inspired I felt by seeing the good others can do in their communities and beyond as they follow the Savior.

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The movie culminates with the story of a mother preparing to send her son on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). My favorite part of her story is hearing how her life changed from one of hopelessness and a repeating cycle of hardship into a new way of living. Breaking old molds and habits with the help of the Savior changed this woman’s life, forever. In my life as heartaches and trials have fallen on my shoulders, it has been the gospel of Jesus Christ, again and again, that has rescued me from falling into the old destructive patterns of my history and finding new ways of relief, service, selflessness, and gratitude. We are not destined to follow the path of degradation and captivity that others have fallen into. Each of us has a choice. To be free, to follow the Savior who has already ransomed us, and to give our lives to Him in service.

I have a strong belief, something I call a testimony, that this is true. Following the Savior of Jesus Christ by emulating His kindness, service and compassion to those He touched, is the way to real happiness – the kind that doesn’t end when money runs out or life is extinguished. I believe this is true because I have lived it.

Meet the Mormons is an exceptional look into the lives of everyday humans, working to better the world around them, juggling roles in their homes and putting family first, loving others of various backgrounds and religions and basically being the kind of human beings that make the world a better place. I left the theater feeling inspired to do more in my life to serve my community and follow the Savior.

No matter what your religious or cultural background, you will enjoy learning more about this interesting and unique culture. If you’ve had questions or concerns about The Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), whether they surround our belief in the Savior or the different scriptures we use, you can find answers through this well done movie. What’s more, you’ll feel a push, regardless of where you’re coming from, to be a better human. That’s a push all of us need!

P.S. All proceeds above production costs will go directly The American Red Cross. Awesome!! Let’s fill their coffers before the holidays!

 

Oh The Places We’ll Go

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Inspiration, My Blog Posts | 0 comments

Dinner Parties are fabulous, right? Let this be established as fact: A gathering of rather rowdy ladies with a taste for soup when Fall is only winking at Vegas, is a night not to be missed. Last night I had my friends over to plan out the year in books for our Book Club. It was…silly, enlightening, thoughtful, and boisterous in turn. There may have been one passionate argument over Wuthering Heights. The merits and faults were pointed out with gusto. There was a Naughty Corner where the occupants could be depended on to provide merry contributions to the conversation. We stayed up way too late. We ate soup, I personally tried all three salads (four if you count that one messy appetizer with balsamic reduction drizzled everywhere – it was delish!), and sampled each of the desserts, two of which were pumpkin somethings. Yeah, it’s Fall everywhere else, and we’re going along for the ride whether the weather in this town will coorpate or not.

My babies were out at the park with Dad, my youngest quietly tucked into his crib to sleep the night away while we talked and laughed and plotted. Good people have that effect. Books were the frosting on the cake.

We now have a list. A list of adventures we’ll embark on throughout the year. One trip a month might sound exhaustive to the average traveler, but we’re well schooled. We know just how to pack. We rent from libraries, share bought copies, download digital and audio. We listen to them while we’re folding laundry or wiping dishes. We read just before bed or well after bedtime. We take them a piece at a time or sometimes in one prolonged chore-neglecting gobble.

 I’ve been needing this night. Needing the splurge of cleaning that wiped away a month or two of dust and vacuumed carpets so the baby wouldn’t do it for me. Needed the brain food of planning an engagement, folding maps into fans and pinwheels and laying out cutlery. Needed the push to look for books, to be listening when others exclaimed over favorite titles and recommendations that stayed with them. Needed the bustle of 10 friends gathering around me, laughing, talking, sharing. Needed the absence of heaviness that the last two months have brought – lumbering elephants with too much for dinner and no urge to move on. I needed Book Club. I needed every facet of it.

So with the year ahead poised in anticipation, I look ahead. October is my favorite month. I intend to enjoy every single day.

 

This Dance

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in My Blog Posts, Youtube | 0 comments

You know something is powerful when it comes back to you months…years later. Books, music, dance do that for me. They affect me profoundly, they find a home in my heart and there will be moments when I’m not thinking, early in the morning when I just awaken and these images will flood my mind and I’m affected all over again by the message they send. This is one dance that found me this week, lying in bed and not thinking. It is profound and shattering for anyone who has struggled with addiction, who has fought the fight or fought beside a friend or loved one. It’s eye opening for everyone else who needs to feel what it’s like to be addicted so they can choose to look around with open eyes to see those who are struggling to find a reason to keep trying to break free. Each time I watch this I find myself brought to tears because I can feel what it is like to be bound down without hope, that most precious of gifts.

Often we think of addictions as the hard core drugs and alcohol. But just as damaging are the soft addictions, the ones no one thinks twice about. Overeating, sugar, video games, pornography and even exercise, things we think hurt no one but ourselves, and yet our overwhelming taste for them changes who we are and affects our confidence in who we can be. To be out of control to any substance or form of entertainment, to feel we have little choice in how long we play or how many cookies we eat…it’s a painful reality for too many.  

This dance made me aware, on so many levels, that addiction can be a malevolent monster waiting to consume the tender, upreaching soul. But there is no one that need suffer alone and without hope. You can find freedom. There are so many ways to find help. Through your local church organizations, through AA.org and many many other options. Don’t wait. There is hope – ALWAYS. 

 

Me and My Broken Heart

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in My Blog Posts, Youtube | 0 comments

This one, from Rising Star – it’s long winded with the commentary but I LOVE this girl and how she comes out and nails it! Me and My Broken Heart by Macy Kate. Check it out!

Turnin’ it Back

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in My Blog Posts, Youtube | 0 comments

I’m on a steady diet of music – sipping them like strawberry lemonade on the porch when the sun is going down.

I adore Automatic by the fabulous Miranda Lambert. Here are just a few of my favorite retro things – before everything became automatic:

  • My Grandpa’s old yellow Chevy truck with huge mirrors, ignition on the dash and a bucket seat that stretched across the cab.
  • Dusty old journals – tell me your heart doesn’t race with excitement to get to peak into someone’s personal notes about their lives.
  • Vintage material – the colors and textures remind me of when Mom used to sew our dresses.
  • White hobnail glass anything – you know, stuff like this:

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What’s your favorite polaroid memory?

Book Stand {Events}

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Book Status, My Blog Posts, Press Updates | 0 comments

Friday and Saturday morning, June 20-21 from 8-11am, I’ll be running a Book and Soda Stand on a busy street in my hometown. 

The idea takes me back to those little fruit stands on the side of the road, selling sweet ripe cantaloupes and strawberries as big as your head and bursting with flavor. Or those little stands with cute dirty-faced kids selling lemonade that they drink as fast as they sell.

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There is something entirely down-home about selling from a table in the neighborhood.

Something basically good about reaching out to the people who drive down your street each day.

Something perfectly special about handing a book to a Mom rushing to soccer practice with her car full of kiddos, a little promise between you and her that while she’s cheering on her littles she’ll also be getting a little boost of her own.

That’s what books are all about. Cheering, boosting, taking you away on a journey that fills your cup when it’s running dry.

And while the Book Stores around town are slowly fading away in a tragic turn of commerce, that doesn’t mean books and people can’t rub shoulders. Sometimes it takes putting up a table, throwing out some signs and opening up a little Book Store of your own on a busy Las Vegas street. You feel me?

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Friday and Saturday from 8-11ish in the morning, I’ll be selling books from a stand on the corner of Decatur Blvd and Warm Springs Road (7580 S. Decatur Blvd) in southwest Las Vegas. I hope you’ll take a minute to swing by before rushing out of town, hurrying to the splash pad, running to work, dashing to soccer-swim-baseball-dance practice or busting through your to do list. I’ll have beautiful, glossy covered books and ice cold sodas and bottles of water for you to take on your way and tuck in your swim totes. 

Feel free to spread the word to your Book Loving neighbors and friends. Everyone welcome!!

Music to My Ears

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in My Blog Posts, Youtube | 0 comments

This is what I’ve been listening to…turning it up too loud while driving carpool, listening to it on repeat whenever I get the chance, and generally obsessing. I can quit whenever I want…

 

Another thing I’m obsessing about – sharing this! A HEART SO BROKEN is the perfect summer read full of romance, fist fights, basketball showdowns and a little bit more romance. Take it from me, you need a copy of this beauty to keep you up on a warm summer night!

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