Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two Hands

I have loved all the great posts and thoughts on gratitude during the past few weeks. This is a great time to reflect on our blessings and choose to be grateful. It’s also a wonderful time to reach out. I hope that you will join me tonight with the Teddy Bear Ladies to reach out to abused children. You can make a difference. You can do it today. All you need is two hands and an hour or two.

The Teddy Bear Ladies meet the 4th Tuesday of every month to make bears for abused children. If you follow my blog on www.somesecretshurt.com you have read about them. They make 50 bears each month for the Children’s Justice Center in Provo. The Children’s Justice Center helps abused children. Most of the children they see have been sexually abused. They offer counseling and medical services for abused children, and everyone gets a bear. The Teddy Bear Ladies have been making bears for 18 years.

The T.B. Ladies meet tonight and they need to make 100 bears, so that they can take December off. Let’s give them a hand. They need our help, and we need a chance to make a difference.

You can show up tonight anytime from 3:00-9:00 and stay as long as you like. The Ladies meet at the Rock Creek Church at 2445 N. 650 E. in Provo. It’s right next to the Rock Creek Elementary School. Park in the back and join the bearmakers in the Relief Society Room.

You know the saying, Many hands make light work. The Teddy Bear Ladies could use your hands. Want to make a difference? How about today. I'll bring my hands. I'd love to see you there.

Linda Garner


If you can't come, but would like to donate fabric or cash, call Ruth Brasier at 801-374-9482. If you can't come but would like to sew some bears, give Ruth a call. See you there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you Lord,
For each new day you give to me,

For earth and sky,
And sand and sea.

For rainbows,
After springtime showers.

Autumn leaves,
And summer flowers.

Winter snowscapes so serene,
Harvest fields of gold and green.

Beauty shining all around,
Lilac scent and robin sound.

Stars that twinkle high above,
And all the people that I love.


~Printed from Hallmark cards, 1980

I found this poem on a large framed poster at a thrift store before I had my first child. I instantly fell in love with it.

As my children grew, I made sure I hung it in each of their rooms, hoping they would glean the joy of gratitude that was held within its meaning.

The frame is falling apart and the poster is splashed with marks of red punch and maroon colored scribble. But I still savor its happiness every time I read its words.

There is so much to be thankful for.

I will post again the first week of December. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's On Your List?

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

I love this quote. I love what gratitude does for me. Melody’s list is beautiful and helps me think outside the box a little, but what gratitude does for me is more simple. It creates a sense of peace and well being.

Some years ago, I kept a gratitude journal. It was a small notebook, that I kept near my bed. Before settling down for the night I wrote 5 things I was thankful for. Reptition was okay, but I loved trying to think of something different. Some days the things I wrote were simple and predictable. Occasionally, I thought of something really profound. As I made it my habit to notice things that I was grateful for, I found that my attitude shifted, and with it my reality shifted too.

Being grateful creates abundance. It always does. I love abundance. I have heard it said that there is only abundance. We choose the type of abundance we prefer to focus on. We can focus on abundance of joy, or abundance of pain. We can focus on abundance of resources, or abundance of trials. It’s an interesting idea isn’t it? We can create the type of abundance that we focus on. We always get more of what we put our attention on. We can choose.

I choose abundance.

I am always surprised at the people I know who think in lack. There is not a more affluent country on the planet. There is not a more prosperous time to live than now. Sure we have problems, who doesn’t? When and where would you rather live than here and now?

Consider this thought from the book Raising Self Reliant Children in a Self Indulgent World by Stephen Glenn. “If you have more than one change of underwear, more than one pair of shoes, and more than one choice of what you will eat for dinner…fewer than 10% of the people who have ever lived have been as wealthy as you.” Does that make your eyes pop out?

I invite you to take a 30 day challenge. What have you got to lose? For thirty days, take a moment each night to be grateful. Before you turn out the lights list 5 things that you are grateful for. Why not start today.

I’ll go first.

1. I am grateful for my freedom, and for those who gave this gift to me.
2. I am grateful for dear friends, both old and new.
3. I am grateful for my eyes, and the beauty they bring into my life.
4. I am grateful for my ears and the meaning they bring into my world.
5. I am grateful for my hands, which serve me faithfully in so many ways.

What’s on your list?

Linda Garner

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Butterfly Effect (no, not the movie)

Fall term in school is just about over. I have read through many a textbook these last few weeks and am nearing the end. Whoop! (If any of my professors are reading this, I really do enjoy my classes. Love them).

So with that winding down, I am reading the last chapter of my text for my developmental class. This last chapter deals with outcomes of life and….(da da da – scary voice)…The Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect is how environment and situations can change the outcome of one’s life and make a ripple effect (or something like that).

Have you ever been in the right place at the right time? Or meet someone wonderful because you were someplace you didn’t expect to be? Well, that’s kind of what The Butterfly Effect is. A brief experience that alters one’s life…forever (again, scary voice – or if it is a good thing, happy voice and a dance twirl to boot).

As I was reading this I couldn’t help think of movies (The Butterfly Effect – which no, I haven’t seen, Serendipity, Notting Hill – love that one! Or how about The Sixth Sense? scary).

Each one of these has an element of the butterfly effect (I’m just assuming The Butterfly Effect has a butterfly effect in it *fingers crossed*).

Think about it, what would happen if Julie Roberts hadn’t bumped into Hugh Grant and get orange juice spilled all over her? It would have been a short movie, I’ll tell you that for sure.

The effect becomes the story, making a rippling effect through the plot line; something that will keep the reader (or watcher) interested in the story. How will the story end? What happens if they race to the top of the mall and meet each other? What if they don’t?

I had to think. Does my story have these kind of effects. And guess what? It did. And it was one of my fav. parts!

Being that I am so tried, I could totally be wrong about the Butterfly Effect (and not do so well on my quiz). Actually I think I'm thinking of serendipity, I'd better go study some more.

So what do you think about Butterfly Effect?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not About Elephants

Bobby: "Psssst. Don't tell anyone. It's our secret! There's an elephant in the living room, but we're pretending it's not really there and it's not really an elephant."

Billy: "But it smells and it's enormous!"

Bobby: "Just ignore it. Maybe it will go away."

Sounds pretty silly, doesn't it? Ignoring an elephant in the living room. How could anyone ignore an elephant in the living room?

Just think for a minute what it would be like. An elephant would take up most of the room. It would be difficult to watch TV, look out the windows, or see each other. Carrying on a conversation with an elephant in the living room would be tricky. And think what an elephant could do to the carpet.

How can you think of much else except how to clean up the mess the elephant makes? What do you do when company comes...put a doily on it? How can you even talk on the phone when there's an elephant trumpeting in the living room? And how do you convince the children, your friends, your family, and yourself there's not an elephant there?

Okay, so no sane person would keep an elephant in their living room.

The dialog about the elephant in the living room was written about alcoholism, but alcoholism isn't the only elephant, is it? An elephant in the living room is any problem that we don't want to talk about. It's the thing that we pretend isn't real, that we hide in corners and we sweep under the rug.

I chose to write a book about an elephant. My elephant is called sexual abuse.

This is the way I began my keynote address to the students who attended Wending Words, Journeying Toward Meaning. It was a great attention getter, and it set the stage for my topic, writing about a sensitive subject. I was able to share with the students my journey to publishing Some Secrets Hurt and why I write about sensitive subjects. I write to make a difference.

I shared with the kids my TV interview, we read my book together, and we talked about the statistics. As you may know, current stats indicate that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen. This is shocking for most people to hear, but the kids never batted an eye. What do they know that we don't know?

We talked about what those numbers might represent in their individual high schools. Given the stats, everyone knows someone who has been sexually abused. One third of those who have been abused will never tell anyone. I asked the students what they could do to help someone who has been abused, especially if they don't know for sure. I suggested that we all could be a little kinder to everyone we meet, especially the ones who don't seem to fit in. What if the reason they don't fit in is because they are carrying a secret; a secret shame, a secret hurt, a secret that has shattered their self-esteem? Some Secrets Hurt.

I talked about some of my favorite illustrations in the book, and showed them how Brandilyn brought Maggie to life. I told the students how Brandilyn and I met and shared our passion for making a difference. I highlighted some of the important ideas presented in the book: Sexual abuse is never the victim's fault. Teenagers as well as children are targets for sexual abuse. Abusers are rarely strangers. Whether you are a child or a teenager, you need help to stop the abuse. The only way to get help is to tell an adult that you trust. If the adult you tell does not believe you, or does not help you, talk to someone else. Keep telling until you find someone who helps you. You can heal if you get help. It's really hard on your own.

I told the young writers that point of view is a writer's secret weapon. Point of view is what allows us to get into a character's head and understand what he or she is feeling and thinking. Maggie is what makes Some Secrets Hurt real. She softens a difficult message. We identify with her. We cheer for her. We want her to tell. We want her to get help. We hope her parents will believe her. Maggie is my hero.

If you want to write about an elephant, it is important that you

1. Believe in your elephant. How big is your passion? Is your passion as big as your elephant?
2. Know your facts. This helps you to tell the truth and be convincing.
3. Create a believable character and allow them to tell your story. You can talk about anything, if you do it in a character's voice. Get inside your character's head.

When I wrote Some Secrets Hurt, I wanted to give children and teenagers a voice. I wanted to give parents a tool. I wanted a book that was simple enough for young children, yet meaningful enough for teenagers. I wanted to write a book that was informative enough for parents and teachers, yet powerful enough to promote healing for victims of all ages. How could I write a book that would cross age boundaries, gender boundaries, cultural and religious boundaries?

This would have been a difficult task if I had tried to do it alone, but I had help. I had help from a little girl named Maggie.

Linda Garner


If you would like to read about my closing address, Making a Difference, visit http://www.somesecretshurt.com/ tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's the Duration that Counts

A few months ago, I had plateaued on my weight loss. No matter how fast I tried to run, I wasn’t losing any weight. I was unhappy and at the point of eating a dozen chocolate donuts - the kind that is filled with delicious creamy filling and oozing with trillions of calories.

But being the stubborn girl I am, I went skirmishing through my basement in search of a weight lose/fitness book, and found one.

There on the shelf was my faithful yellow reference guide of exercise, Loose your Butt, Belly and Beagle all at the Same Time (not the real name).

Anyways, I thumbed through the pages until I got to the chapter on running, which I do a little of each morning (unless I stayed up late the night before and fall asleep on the couch after reading with my kiddos).

I read that it wasn’t how fast someone runs that helps control and lose weight; it’s the duration and distance they cover.

The duration?

I continued to read how it has been studied and proven that if you (me) run at the same speed over a longer duration, you (again, me) can continue to lose weight.

Really? I had been killing myself, getting to that speedy-speed each day, drenched in sweat and hyperventilating? You mean I can do it by just taking a steady pace and just….run?

So I took it to the test. I started to slow down my pace and run the duration of my time. And guess what?

It worked.

I found myself less winded and not dreading the treadmill run as much as I had in the past. Plus I have lost ten pounds. TEN POUNDS! (Plus I cut out my five chocolate candy bars a day- I miss those things).

Writing is the same way for me. I find myself trying to get things done at super speed instead of slowing down and enjoying the duration. Sometimes I skip days and feel like I have to catch up. All that does is burn me out and I find myself not writing at all.

What I have found is if I keep a steady pace of writing a little every day, soon I have thousands of words on a page (and a hilarious twist at the end of my book).

The duration, not the speed. Who knew? I guess I have to learn little by little each day. Thanks Loose your Butt, Belly, and Beagle all at the Same Time, book. Now if I can just figure out where that little dog went.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I am just like a kid in a candy store.

By Linda Garner

If there is anything I like more than writing, it is talking. I love talking. I adore teaching. I think I was born to teach.

I am putting the finishing touches on my keynote speech for Wending Words, the Upper Valley Young Writers’ Conference in St. Anthony, and imagining what I will say when I talk to the teachers of the young writers. Talking the teachers? Me?

If you know a young writer, tell them about the conference. It’s only $20. and we are going to have a blast. They can register at http://www.sd215.net/uvyac/ They will get a signed copy of Some Secrets Hurt and they will rub shoulders with other young writers while learning their craft. What could be more fun?

The conference is on Saturday, and on Thursday and Friday, I will be doing book signings for Some Secrets Hurt. What could be more fun?

I will be signing books at BYU Idaho on Thursday from 12:00 – 2:00 so if you know anyone attending BYU Idaho, send them over to the bookstore to see me. On Friday, I will be signing at the Rexburg Deseret Book. I will be signing at the two Idaho Falls Deseret Bookstores at 3:00 both days. I can’t remember which one is Thursday, and which one is Friday, so if you live in Idaho Falls, call the store to see which day I am coming to you.

Please come see me. I would love to visit with you about Some Secrets Hurt, and sign your book.

You may love chocolate, but this is my candy.

Linda Garner


Meet the Teddy Bear Ladies at www.somesecretshurt.com. You’ll love these women.

[This message was posted by L.T. Elliot on behalf of Linda Garner due to technical difficulties.]