BOOK REVIEW

Book Review: A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber has millions of copies of her books out there and this is the first book of hers that I have read (I've just discovered her). This book is about the cross country road trip of a divorced woman (Bethanne), her college aged daughter (Annie), and Bethanne's elderly, former mother-in-law (Ruth). Along the way all three women have opportunities for romance. I really enjoyed the storyline and plot. Most of the characters were believable. Annie acted somewhat immature for her age. Grant...what can I say...justice did prevail (forgiveness is sooo hard). I wholeheartedly agree with Bethanne's choice in the end (Max...yes, I agree!) I wanted Annie to make a choice for a new relationship (maybe the next book will pick up with this storyline?). It was wonderful that Ruth was able to reconnect with her high school sweetheart (Royce). Love has no age limit! I felt like the 50 year class reunion was really skipped over (this disappointed me).

I will definitely read another book by Debbie. I'm now interested in what Blossom Street is all about.

Determination

I Was Determined


Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Yes...I can now say, "I have been there and done that."
On Friday, August 17, 2012 my family traversed a mountain! I still have a hard time believing that I really did it. The trail has a 1,092 foot elevation gain. Yes...it is a paved trail, but it was so steep! I really wasn't mentally prepared for the elevation gain to be a problem for me. The rest of the family did just fine and I doubt that they would have even stopped to rest if I had not been along on the adventure.

 I had to stop so many times that I lost count of the pit stops. My husband was so supportive. Every time I apologized, as I stopped to rest and catch my breath, he said that it was okay and to take my time. It was amazing. A thoroughly patient attitude from the man with no patience! But through all of my physical struggle to complete the 1 1/2 mile trek up the mountainside trail to the cave's entrance, I was determined. I never lost sight of the goal. I wanted to make it to the top. I wanted to see inside the cave. I wanted to mark if off on my "Bucket list." And, most of all, I did not want to disappoint my family. We needed to make it through the adventure as a family.
Several times I told the others to go on ahead and I would catch up with them at the top, and each time my husband said, "I'm not leaving you. Just start up again when you can. We'll wait." He probably doesn't know how much that support and encouragement meant to me that day. To know that I wasn't alone. He would wait. He would stand by me. So...I kept going. And...I made it!
The cave was incredible. Cave Bacon...you've gotta love it! I loved the formations, especially the Heart of Timpanogos Cave formation. Absolutely amazing. It was quite cool inside...a steady 45 degrees year-round. Inside the cave the trail was often steep and slippery with narrow passages and low hanging ceiling. But it was extremely fascinating. I'm so glad that I persevered and kept going. My determination paid off!
Coming down the mountain was a different challenge. 1 1/2 miles of steep incline in reverse! My knees and ankles were put to the test. I was determined to not make the family wait so long for me. My son stayed right by my side and stopped whenever I needed to rest. By the way...I have an amazing family! Friday August 17th I proved something to myself. I proved that I could do it! It was a personal achievement to be able to witness the majesty of this national monument. I'm so glad that I did not give up!

Take all your challenges head on and don't quit! You'll be happier for giving it your best effort.











MY NEW OFFICE

After two and a half years of hogging the family computer in the family office, my husband has put his foot down! He wants a his and hers relationship when it comes to office(s) and computer(s). Should I be offended? Or happily say "Thank You Honey!" This probably is his best idea so far to date. We each will have our own space and I won't have a Caribou over my head anymore. Yep! You read that right. A Caribou head is directly over my head as I am typing this. A Buffalo is to the left of the Caribou, and left of the buffalo is an Elk. Over my right shoulder a Whitetail deer stares back at me. A couple of Pheasants are "flying" up from the southeast corner, and a Bear lays flat underneath the Elk. I'm surrounded by manliness and nature at its finest. My great archery hunter husband will have "his" office back and we are all doing a "happy dance!" Now don't get me completely wrong, I appreciate nature...and dead animal heads (trophies)...and my husband's hunting abilities...and venison steaks. I'm just saying that this change in scenery is going to be okay with me ;)

Before I leave this office though, I need to share my most memorable moment. One night, when I was extremely tired, I was typing away...just like now. I felt something touch the bangs on my forehead. Automatic reflex...glance upwards...to see a good sized spider booking it fast...right back up his silk line to a velvet covered Caribou antler! Who was more surprised...me...or the spider? I was anxious as I finished typing for the night. I just knew that spider was going to visit me again! (Note to people without animal trophies...you don't grab a flyswatter and squash a spider on the extremely expensive, velvet covered, maybe fragile now, antlers of a Caribou from the Northwestern Territory of Canada!) I'm shivering at the thought!

Back to my new office. We have spent a week cleaning out unwanted toys, clothes, and garbage while rearranging and playing musical rooms.  Each child has a good sized bedroom. We have a guestroom and now I have my very own office. Yeah!!! Now for the icing on the cake...I'm still waiting for that icing (the computer isn't fully working yet). Once fabulous, wonderful, most awesome husband ever takes care of that minor glitch, life will be considered...very good indeed.

Here are some photos of my future writing workspace. I'm anxiously awaiting my first night at its computer!



 A comfy reading corner, desk with the not quite working yet computer, and storage for my handy, dandy, reference books.
                                                                                          

No writer's office is complete unless it has a bookshelf for some of said writer's favorite books!










FABULOUS FLOWERS




Fabulous flowers have been growing and blooming in my yard this year. It has been a good year for my rose bushes. They have produced some of the most fragrant and beautiful flowers yet. My favorite bush is the Falstaff English Rose. So beautiful. The tiny Forget-me-nots were literally covered with tiny, brilliant blue blossoms. This year my violets have succeeded in establishing themselves into every single flower bed on the property! Sorry Mom (Violet), but that might be to-o-o many violets!

 Last year my pure white, Summer Phlox 'David' struggled in a bad location underneath one of the Mountain Ash trees. I transplanted it last fall and b-i-n-g-o! It's so happy this year. It has grown to almost 4 feet tall with many flower heads. I absolutely love its subtle fragrance.Thanks to my friend Nancy for suggesting that I give 'David' a try. It was also my best year for delphinium. I ordered a few plants from a fun, quirky, nursery in California named: Annie's Annuals & Perennials. The Delphinium 'Dusky Maidens' was incredible and had the largest stalk of mulberry colored blossoms. I also ordered some Dianthus arenarius with white, frilly, star burst flowers. I love it!

 In my backyard the Blackeyed-Susans are taking over their flower bed... fully established and growing too well. They make me smile. The few Mexican Feather Grass plants have turned into many. I love the way that they gently sway in a soft breeze. Then when a strong West Jordan wind comes past, they whip around like crazy. It's interesting to see!

The Spiraea vanhouttei in my backyard was breathtaking, the ones in the front yard hit their stride while I was in Italy. I missed their "full glory." In the backyard I also have four large 'Ludwig Spaeth' Lilacs. Their dark purple, fragrant flowers were majestic. The jewel in the crown has been the Wisteria tree that I keep raving about.  You need to see the size of its trunk (remember this is a vine trained to stand like a tree).

So after all of this appreciation for my flowers in my yard I ask: How have your flowers done this year? Are you happy with their performance? What do you plan to do differently next year? Are you willing to share a few tips so we can all have amazing looking yards? I did my first step today and fed some struggling plants with Miracle Grow. I hope it starts helping right away and I hope we get some good rain soon.

DREAMS


What are your dreams? As in things you want to do or accomplish. A little over two years ago, I had a dream that I could write a book. It wasn't a literal dream...I just got the notion that I could do it. I was thrilled when I had all of the ideas, plot, dialog, and narration down on paper (on the computer) and called the first rough draft finished. Then my dream altered a little bit. I dreamt of having the book published.

I keep plugging away at that dream. Every day I work at the dream in some way or another. Writing...research...thinking...research...writing. It's a labor of love. I look forward to the day when I will get to share my story and characters with more people. This amazing journey that I am on has helped me in so many ways. I truly am learning something new each and every day!

What are your dreams? Think about it. Set some goals and don't look back Reach for those stars, like I did, and see where you end up!


Holly Johnson photographer

I'M PROUD

Yes...that's right...I'm proud! I am proud to live in the United States of America and to call myself an American. I love the freedom that I have to go where I want to go and say what I want to say. I am proud of the athletes that are representing our country right now in the 2012 Olympic games in London.

I have completely enjoyed the Olympic events that I have been able to watch on television. It's fun to see which events captivate my family members. My twelve year old son has been engrossed in the men's  basketball events. If you mention a USA player, Cameron can tell you which team the player is currently on, or has been on, and their stats. It is amazing to me how much basketball information is stored underneath that awesome curly hair! Cameron knows when the USA team is playing. And if it's early in the morning here, he sets the DVR to record the game. I'm so impressed at his dedication to show support.

My husband Steve,  joins Cameron in watching the basketball events. And because he is an archer (we are a family of archers), and just so happens to work for the world's best archery manufacturing company (Hoyt), has been paying attention to how the USA archers are doing.

My daughter is a swimmer and is on a youth aquatic team. She has been interested in the swimming events. Michael Phelps is an amazing athlete!

So...what have I been following? I love the gymnastic events. Way to go Gabrielle Douglas! Individual All-Around gold is a culmination of her dedication to training and result of hard work. Totally cool!

Every Olympic games has some sort of memorable stand out moment. Today I was thinking about a couple of Olympic gymnastic events that really inspired me. I took a couple of moments to search out videos on the Internet so I could relive those moments. You've got to love the technology of today! I re watched USA gymnast Kerri Strug, in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, performing her vault even though she had injured her ankle. Her perseverance helped to capture the gold medal for her team. Then I re watched the amazing Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci, in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, perform her Uneven Bars routine and receive the first perfect 10 score in history. Nadia received seven perfect 10's during that Olympics! AMAZING accomplishment! And I remember watching her on television. She won three individual gold medals during those games and helped her team to win the silver medal. I remember watching, the spunky and always smiling, USA gymnast Mary Lou Retton as she won the All-Around gold medal during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She drew everyone in with her bubbly personality!

What are your favorite Olympic memorable moments? Take a minute to search the Internet. You can relive the excitement and wonder all over again!

I am so impressed by the hard work, dedication, and drive to succeed that the athletes of today exhibit. They are constantly inspiring others to keep going and not give up on their dreams. I'm proud of the way these athletes are representing our great country. I wish them well and hope they continue to accomplish great things through the rest of their lives!



Book review

Review of the book,  A Farewell to Charms
I really enjoyed this last book in Lindsey Leavitt's princess series. I have fallen in love with the characters and the whole concept of princess/prince substitutes. I always love a happy ending! I'm excited to see what Lindsey will have published next :)