Thursday, February 26, 2009

25 Things about Me

Okay, I was tagged this week to mention 25 things about myself. So I woke up for three days - very early in the mornings so I could think of some clever things to write, but nothing came from it. So I decided to just write 25 things I like. This will ultimately tell you a lot about me. So here it goes.

1. Sweet pork tacos from Costa Vida – so good, mouth watering, must eat.
2. Chocolate.
3. Reading too late at night.
4. Critiquing with my group – love ya guys.
5. Green.
6. Yellow.
7. White.
8. Black. (well, now all the other colors are jealous)
9. Having laundry done (makes me cry with happiness).
10. Someone remembering me (in a good way, not when they are remembering something bad).
11. Learning.
12. 7 more classes till bachelors done! Whoo hoo!
13. Worked in public relations in early college years.
14. Dressy boots….ah yes, dressy boots.
15. Husband (yes, I like him very, very, much – still makes me laugh).
16. Kids, all 5 of them.
17. Not making dinner (and still eating).
18. The smell of a rainstorm.
19. Anything to do with fall.
20. Finding out your stuff will be in a book.
21. Finding out your stuff will be in another book (publication is an entirely different matter).
22. Finishing your book.
23. Singing in the bathroom (alone or with somebody, it doesn’t matter).
24. Having cute husband still grabbing my butt (even during church).
25. Dreaming of things to come (as long as it’s not about a trip to the dentist. That guy scares the crap out of me!)

So there you have it. 25 things I like and a little more about me. Now if I could only love vegetables and exercise. Maybe next time. Have a great week everybody! :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Can't Even Imagine

I just read Left to tell: Discovering God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza. This is our February title for Cover to Cover, the neighborhood book group that I belong to. This amazing story is a must read. It will have you on the edge of your seat. You will never be the same.

Immaculee was one of a few Tutsi survivors of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. She survived by hiding in a small bathroom with 5 other women for 91 days. Ninety One days; can you even imagine. While in hiding she could sometimes hear the murderous, machete-armed gangs outside the house; sometimes inside the house, just outside of the tiny bathroom. These blood thirsty men were capable of unthinkable violence, and inflicted death in the most hideous ways. Sometimes these scary creatures called her name.

What was I doing in 1994? I don’t recall hearing more than a slight mention that there was anything amiss in Rwanda. Half a world a way, I had no idea that a million innocent men, women, and children were being viciously slaughtered. How could civilized nations stand back and let this terrible thing happen. I feel somehow tainted for not doing something, for not even knowing.

Immaculee lost all her family, except one brother who was studying outside of Rwanda. She lost everything but her faith, which flourished under these awful conditions. She connected with God in a truly amazing way. She found that to hold on to God meant she had to let go of anger and hate. It meant she had to forgive. Forgive? Can you even imagine?

Forgiveness isn’t easy. Even insignificant slights can take up lodging in my heart. I somehow imagine that I am justified in carrying a grudge. Yet no one has ever threatened me with a machete. What is it that sometimes keeps me from forgiving? What is holding me back? What is it costing me?

After reading the words of Immaculee Ilibagiza, I can’t even imagine.

Linda Garner

Thursday, February 19, 2009

So, Let it Begin

Today, an abundance of people (including myself) shall be at our first writer’s conference of the year. Am I excited? Oh, so much! I have been packing my backpack for weeks with the essential must haves:

MnMs (because I have a noisy stomach and really, no one wants to be startled by that thing!)
Pencils (even a pen, because I have broken a pencil a time or two and writing with plain wood just doesn’t work well. I did try to chew off the wood, but I had wood shavings stuck in my teeth for a week!)
Paper (To write on… and make spit wads to launch at people who are making me jealous). (j/k I would never do that, and that incident in New York last year - Not me.)
Tissue (For crying into because I’m still revising my book and want to show it off)
Crackers (Please see MnM’s above).
Notebook (At the conference last year I brought home piles and piles of notes! I expect the same today).
Deodorant (this one is pretty self explanatory).
Couple of chocolate bars (because chocolate is the magical food made by tiny magical creatures from a magical land *sigh * and it’s so, so good!)
A little extra coinage (for silly things like, food, bottled water, gas – stuff like that).
Antacid (There is a funny story behind this, I promise, but just not enough time to disclose. So sorry, and if you’ve heard the story * head hung low * you have my deepest sympathies).

So there you have it! My list of stuff that I am at this very moment dragging through the halls with other devoted writers, breathing in the fumes of excitement and hope. If you see me, feel free to ask for a handful of MnM’s, hopefully I haven’t eaten them all yet, but it is very possible that I still have a few good sheets of paper left for spit wads.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For the Children; second verse

Music washes from the soul
the dust of everyday living.

Isn't that beautiful?
I don’t know who said it, but I love it.
If anyone knows where it came from, please let me know.

Here are the rest of the children’s poems. Enjoy!


amazing fingers
fill The air
with delightful music,
like the
cheery song
Of a handsome bird,
in flight.


Your music melted my heart
like butter on a sunny day.
Your music danced in my ears
like the laughter of children.
Your music teased my mind
like a cool brook splashing over rocks.
Your music makes me smile.


Your song
reminds me of
a butterfly,
in gentle flight,
bathed in sunlight,
enjoying the breeze,
tasting of flowers.
Like the butterfly,
you can go
wherever you choose.
Choose well.


Because you listen well,
to teacher,
you can do anything
she asks.
If fingers are obedient
to you,
their master,
they will be good servants.
Like you,
they can do anything.
Just ask.


Your bright music
brightens my day
like the rainbow
brightens the sky.
Your bright eyes
light up your face
like the stars
light up the night.


Your gentle song
comes peacefully
on the breeze.
It refreshes me
and rests my body
and my mind.
It feels good.


Your music
feels like poetry,
with rhyme
and meter,
pulse and lyrics;
a musical message.
You are the messenger.
Choose carefully
your sound
so you can
send your message
with clarity.


Your sunny song
made me smile.
Your sweet smile
made my day.
Your graceful fingers
make the piano sing.


Your gentle melody
reminds me of
ocean waves;
quiet, yet strong;
rhythmic, yet free;
I can almost
taste the salt
and see the gulls.


Your music
carried me
far away;
to the moon,
to the planets
and the stars.
I wanted to stay there
but earth’s gravity
brought me home
to feel the sun
on my face.

Have a musical day!
Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For the Children

I just returned from a wonderful adventure in music. I attended a 5 day Piano Basics workshop in not-so-sunny California. The company was warm and sweet, the instruction was incredible, and the children were delightful. I had the opportunity to observe many children being taught by incredible Japanese Teachers. We do not share the language of words, but we share the language of music and the language of the heart.

My love for children, my love for music, and my love for writing came together for a time as I found myself writing poems for the children. I will share some of them with you. I hope that you will enjoy them. I will post the rest tomorrow. Feel free to come back for more.


Almond eyes.
Cheeks of pink.
Silky hair; black and sleek.
Her smile lights up her face.
Tiny girl with large heart
and magic fingers.
Her music
makes me


Lovely Lauren.
Dark eyed beauty.
Her fingers fly.
Her body sways
Her music makes
my heart sing.
Her smile makes
my heart dance.
Lovely Lauren.


Handsome Quinn
With eyes so bright
listens carefully to teacher
and follows her lead.
Fingers hug keys
and make the piano sing.
She asks; he responds.


Fingers dancing.
Music swirling,
swishing, sailing;
filling the air
with joyous melody
and sweet harmony.
Beautiful sound.
Beautiful heart.
Beautiful girl.


Courageous, yet tender.
Caring, but strong.
Sharing your music.
Sharing your song.

Can you play with one hand
starting anywhere?
Can you touch, then take?
You can.
I know you can.
Change isn’t easy,
but worth it.
You are in charge.


Beethoven’s music
coming from your fingers
warms my heart
and makes me think
happy thoughts.
May you always have
A heart like his.


Jacob handsome, Jacob tall.
Your long arms and strong fingers
coax gentle music from
the silent keys.
You are powerful.
You are the master.
Obedient fingers
are your servants.


Your fingers dance
to Beethoven’s song,
and make me want
to run and play,
to laugh with you
and share your smile.
Share your music
and your smile
so that others
will laugh and smile
with you.


I am so glad
you have become
friends with Bach.
He is my friend, too.
As you share his music
with me,
I feel close to you,
and want to be
your friend.


Handsome Ethan.
Small brown boy.
Small brown hands.
Big eyes.
Big heart.
Fingers must move
so the sound
you make
will be as big
as your eyes,
and as big
as your heart.


Rachel with the sparkling eyes,
How your sound sparkles today.
Above the keyboard is a magic
place for your clever fingers.
In this magic place
moving fingers sparkle like mad.
You can choose this magic,


Your graceful fingers dance
a graceful melody,
which floats through the air
like a gentle thought
or a warm sweet memory.


Your music
warms my heart.
You can make
a difference
with your music.
Share a song
with someone
who needs it.
How about today?


Your dancing fingers
make my eyes smile.
Your smiling fingers
make my feet dance.
Your laughing fingers
make me sing.
Your happy music
cheers me.
Keep smiling with
your clever fingers.


Your strong hands
and confident fingers
are gifts to share.
Practice well
so that your gift
will always be
as bright as your smile.


You are a queen
inside and out.
Always remember
who you are.
Sit like a queen
and play with
a beautiful hand.
like royalty;
Because you are.


Your clever fingers
play with spirit
like the song,
with spirit.
Your music is
a gift to share.
Share your spirit
and your music,

More tomorrow.
Linda Garner

Thursday, February 12, 2009

For the Love of Snews

Since Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, I thought I would share something with my dear friends that is close to my heart. Plus, L.T. talked me into it.

This is something called a SNEW. It stands for Something New Every Week. My creative writing professor made it up (and she is awesome by the way). You see, you are supposed to write something fresh and new to keep your mind hopping with fantabulous ideas. I’m kind of struggling with the every week thing. Is that saying something about my mind?

It doesn’t have to be perfect (that’s my favorite thing). So here is my imperfect SNEW, just for you (Hey! That rhymes!)

My Love

It wasn’t that I wanted to love it. It just that it happened that way.

At first, I didn’t notice it, hanging around on its own, blending into the background. To be honest with you, I didn’t think it was my type. It just seemed so…common.

But then, that day came. The day I totaled my car, lost my job, and my fish ran away.

It was the only one there for me, faithful. Not like that fish.

From then on out, I did notice it. But I didn’t think I’d become addicted to it.

Everywhere I went, I found myself needing it, searching for it. At my parent’s, my friends… even at church, I sought it out. When things got tough, I rushed to it for comfort.

I knew I loved it.

Can you blame me? It’s softness, it’s giving, it’s security, just luring me to it. How could I stay away from it now?

But then one day, it ran out. Wanting to dash from place to place and search for it, I found myself sitting, stuck, unable to leave.

I didn’t understand. Why was it gone so soon? Didn’t I take enough time with it? Did I rub it the wrong way? Was it jealous of that fish?

It was a bitter night when I found myself wondering. Wondering without purpose at the local big-box store, trying to find comfort in generic named items.

With shop cart in tow, I made my way down aisle number five.

My heart sped up, my hands clammy. Could it be? Swallowing back the lump in my throat, my feet inched closer and closer to the display on the far left of me. I couldn’t believe what I saw!

Pastel colors? Two-ply? It was better than I thought.

Rows and rows of towering stacks of toilet paper filled my sight. Warmth flooded over me, hope returned. My love was back. I knew it would never run out again. My roll of toilet paper and me.

It’s really funny if you read it like your playing Hamlet. If you hold an empty toilet roll in your hand, you’ll have them rolling in the aisles! Good times, good times.

Happy Valentines everyone! =)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Since I will be out of town on Valentine’s Day, Friend-husband and I decided to celebrate last night. Our first choice, Hale Center Theater, was sold out, so we perused the current movie selection and came up dry. We opted for a cozy dinner at home followed by a game night. The games we enjoy are of the old-fashioned non-electronic type. You may find that boring, but we find it comfortable and relaxing. Incidentally, Friend-husband cooked my favorite dinner. Isn’t he sweet?

I love that Friend-husband and I still love spending time together after nearly 37 years together. When Friend-husband retired 2 years ago, we began spending 24/7 together and never got tired of it. Lately we have both filled up some of that together time with things we do separately. We both love what we are doing, but we miss our time together. Today’s softly falling snow reminded me of our first date.

Friend-husband and I were attending what was then called Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. We had met briefly just before Christmas break when my roommate had invited two handsome friends for dinner. She was leaving for good at semester break and wanted to say thank-you to them for their kindness to her. I was instantly attracted to you-know-who, but it would be a few weeks before we would see each other again.

When next we met, it was standing in long lines at registration. College registration at that time did not involve a computer, it involved standing in a line for every class you wanted to take. When you reached the head of the line, you took a card from the stack and that was what you turned in to register for the class. In one of those long lines I found myself face to face with …well, you know, and would you believe it, he didn’t even remember me. I was crushed.

Later that afternoon, he got his memory back and called me for a date. Whoopee!! He invited me to Church in Ashton, where his parents lived. He was singing a solo (Did I forget to mention that he has a wonderful tenor voice?) and I was delighted to join the congregation. Winters in Ashton, a few miles north of Rexburg, can be quite harsh. In January, there is always snow and when the wind blows interesting things happen. After church he took me home to meet his family and we spent a happy evening playing games. Yes, of course, the non-electronic kind. (This was 37 years ago, remember?)

That night, the softly falling snow connected with a not so gentle winter breeze and we were SNOWED IN on our first date. Yes, WE SPENT THE NIGHT TOGETHER on our very first date. Now if you’re thinking something naughty, you can think again, because it was all very clean. That night was the beginning of something wonderful. Friend-husband and I were married four months later. He is my sweetheart. He is my very best friend. He is wonderful to me and I am so happy that he is part of my life.

I hope that you are blessed to have a best friend like mine, and I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day with someone you love.

Linda Garner

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Critique Groups

Okay, so a few weeks ago I had mentioned critique groups in my post. Sooo many of you have asked me why critique groups are so important (okay, only one of you, but humor me). Here, my dear friends, are the many sorted answers from my brain.

I started a book in April and finished it in June (Yes, three quick months). I took it with me to a writer’s conference to have it looked over. The first question I received was, “Don’t you have a critique group?” Unfortunately, that book is sitting on my computer, lost in files of, “What was I thinking?”

I took a creative writing course at the university. Within the first or second units, our teacher asked each of us form a critique group. I did, thinking I would only work in the group for a few months while I finished my class. I’m still in that critique group. LOVE YOU GUYS! I’m bringing the cookies next week!

Why? Why would they ask me if I was involved with critique group? Why would my teacher suggest a critique group? Because critique groups are invaluable!

I can not tell you how many times I have written something that made sense to me, but not the reader. Words were misspelled (hee hee, all the time), or I had the wrong word instead of the right one (steal, steel – just because they sound the same, doesn’t mean they are the same, people!), and let’s not forget that sneaky structure problem we all sometimes have. I was on my way to the store ….when BAM….I ended up at the circus. Completely off the path of my story.

Sometimes my critique group has told me things that wouldn’t work in my piece – Remember the horse thing a couple of weeks ago? If not… you can’t ride a horse backwards, not without your knowledge. If you try and you end up looking at the wrong end of a horse that was supposed to be the front, let me know. We could have a few giggles.

That information was priceless! Could you imagine all the laughs I would have gotten if I hadn’t change it? Thanks L.T.E. :)

Yes, when you read your work, it will sound right to you, because, let’s face it - in your mind you know what is going on. You know the history of your book, you know what the characters in your book are thinking or feeling. Sometimes those ideas don’t get across to the reader. Why is she kissing him? Didn’t she just send an arrow flying through the air towards his chest?

Did you know that most professional writers have a critique group? Yes, even they make mistakes (I love and praise them for it).

So that’s it. Critique groups are Invaluable! Well, they are. Oh, and when you go to that first group, remember to take your security blanket. There will be shedding of tears. Don’t worry, the tears will last longer if your manuscript is horrid.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You're It!

Seven Things You Don’t Know About Me

I told Scarlett that I would only play tag with her if I could think of 7 hysterical things to share. I would really love to tickle your phunny bone, but alas, this is the best I could come up with.

1. I am technologically challenged. I don’t know how to text message, or how to run my satellite TV. I am also directionally challenged. I can get lost almost anywhere, even inside of buildings. I often have trouble finding my car in parking lots. Oh, and by the way, I am a recovering junk-aholic.

2. When I was a little girl I was afraid of cows and sometimes had scary dreams about cows. In my dreams cows could fly and they were very dangerous.

3. I am not afraid of spiders, snakes, or cockroaches, but I am terrified of mice. Mice in cartoons and storybooks are always cute and cuddly, but in real life they are disgusting. I don’t even like plastic mice. They give me the creeps.

4. I went practically my whole life without getting a traffic ticket of any kind. I was almost 50 when I got my first and only speeding ticket.

5. I have 24 year old twin sons and 24 year old twin grandsons. Yes, you read that right. My daughter has twin sons that are 24 and I have twin sons that are 24. If that has you scratching your head, I will end your torture. My daughter and son in law adopted these boys when they were 19. The boys came into their home as foster children at the age of 16. Things worked out well and they were adopted at 19. My daughter is 33. She is just 9 years older than the boys. My son-in-law, however is 42.

6. I had a caesarean section and a vaginal delivery on the same day.

7. Most of my pregnancies lasted 10 months. Why? We’re not sure, but we think that quality babies take longer.

Have a great day, and now it's your turn to share with us. Tag! You're It.

Linda Garner