Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NieNie Dialogues

Today I would like to highlight one of my favorite blogs. I know that Stephanie Nielson (NieNie) doesn't actually need any more followers to her blog, but I believe everyone should follow her life story. It is THAT inspirational.

Even if you haven't been following her blog, most of you have probably heard of her or seen her on Oprah or Fox News or something similar. She and her husband (Mr. Nielson--as she calls him) were involved in a near-fatal plane accident where 80% of her body was burned. She has not only survived, but thrived through her trauma. She has a beautiful family, and a blessed life. And here is what I have learned from her blog:

I learned that bad things happen--awful, heart-wrenching, terrible things. And they don't just happen to big ol' B-words that deserve it like me. But they happen to good people. And it is how we endure that determines our happiness. NieNie is a great example of how to endure with grace, courage, and faith.

I learned that out of bad things, blessings often flow. NieNie has made a difference in many lives and I am only one of a vast amount of people who send my gratitude to her. I am convinced that no amount of darkness or pain could prevent her light from shining.

I learned that blogging isn't so bad after all. I once joked with my sister that I didn't believe in "blogging"--it was just a pretense for "bragging." You know what I am talking about! Yes, that girl you know who uses a blog to show off every "super-awesome amazing" thing their kid just did. (C' are thinking of a few right now!). But I know (now) that blogs can uplift, educate, connect, inspire! And that is my goal.

I learned to be grateful for what I have. Life is short. I must cherish it with the ones I love.

Have you read her blog? What did you learn?

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite

I saw this book at the LDStorymaker's conference last month...and my jaw dropped when I saw the cover. It was Kenzie! My beautiful, curly-red haired, step-daughter, who I also like to call my bff (best friend forever...not big fat friend:). Of course, Kenzie is only 12 in the picture below, and the girl on the cover of the book is supposed to be in college, but the resemblance is uncanny. My sister took this picture of Kenzie last year when we were trying to have family photos and she was apparently exhausted and couldn't take it anymore. Poor Beautiful Kenz.
So I bought this book for Kenzie for one of her 8th grade graduation presents. I read it first of course to make sure it wasn't one of those smutty grocery store romances:0. It wasn't. Which is about right since it is written by an LDS author and published by Shadow Mountain, an imprint of Deseret Book (an LDS publisher). By the way, the author Becca Wilhite is totally cute and has a great blog at: So here's what I learned from this book:

I learned once again that great cover art sells books. If it wasn't for the awesome picture of Kenzie the front of this book, I would not have bought it.

I learned that I am a romance-aholic. This book sort of references a ton of other popular romance novels, and I was pleasantly surprised when I "got" all those references. I am such a girl like that. Who doesn't love the sound of "Mr. Darcy" rolling off your tongue?

I learned that I don't really want to go back to the college days. Sometimes I look fondly back on my single days at San Diego State and wish I was there again. Hanging out at the beach more than my classes was awesome. Especially when my kids are having screaming matches and tearing the house to shreds. BUT, the pains of "finding yourself" and dating and doubting yourself all the time, was hard. Now, I have found my Mr. Darcy (but I call him Mr. Humphries) and have the kids I always dreamed of, and I am happy where I am.

I learned that voice is everything. What do I mean by that? Well, in this instance, I mean that Ms. Wilhite did a good job of creating a first person voice that I connected with. The protag is self-depreciating but clever, sweet but sassy, short-sighted by smart, and beautiful but she doesnt know it. I like her.

I learned that romances don't have to be dirty to be fun to read. They don't even have to hint at smuttyness to be great. Last year I went to a Romance Writer's of America conference and I was shocked at the smutty-factor. Hat's off to Becca Wilhite for writing a book that I would gladly give to my sweet beautiful Kenzie-Coo.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Inspiration and the B-word

This blog has changed. It is no longer going to be lame first of all. Second of all, I am going to write on it more than once every blue moon. And third of all, it's going to be this rainbow that I saw last week.

I am going to write here three times per week. Mondays = Books. Wednesdays = Blogs. Fridays = Beautiful Things. Lots of B words. That's why I changed the name of my Blog. Not because I am a B-word! (Though my family may beg to differ:).

Per the inspiration bestowed upon me by my good writing friend Peggy Eddleman (see her cute new blog at: )I am getting myself into a blogging habit. I have other bad habits, so why not this one?

So without further ado, today I am going to talk about the Idaho (Udapimp) Rainbow I witnessed last week. Every summer my family makes the 12 hour trek to our family ranch in Victor, Idaho at the base of the Teton Mountain Range. (BTW did you know Teton means nipple in French? Just sayin') I love it up there. I always have. Even though the ranch house is old and full of weasels playing peek-a-boo at 2 a.m. It's not Vegas, and its not 110 degrees. But that's only a few reasons why I love it.

So here's a few of the things I learned from this year's trip to the Idaho (Udapimp) Ranch:

30 degrees in the summer is not so Bad. When its hot enough to fry a soul in LV, its cold enough to save one in Grand Targhee National Park:
This is in June FYI.

I learned after the rain, Beautiful, Breath-taking rainbows are sometimes going to follow. The motto of this trip (coined by my often extistential little bro Jeff) was: "Get out of your comfort's the only way to grow." Wise words for a punk 19 year old who's favorite B-words include Boobs and Butt. (That's him dodging a hundred mile per hour snowball from lil' JJ).

I learned that I love to write in storms. They inspire me. Right before that rainbow, I was sitting in a little cafe in Driggs, listening to the crack of thunder, and thump of golf ball-sized rain drops, and did some of my best writing I have done in awhile.
I can't wait until next summer.