Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Heart of Our Home

I have a gigantic dining table.  It takes up most of the space in our large dining room.   The table is squarish, and sturdy looking, with ten chairs that fit around it comfortably.

We bought the table so that we could have dinners with extended family.  We had it made as a matter of fact. Our family has outgrown the table for sit down dinners, but it’s great for buffets.
It’s much more than a dining table.  We don’t just eat at this table, we live here.  This table is the heart of our home.  This is where we do our projects, our studying, our homework.  This is where we sit down and visit with family.  This is where the kids roll out their play-dough and bake their creations in a cardboard oven.  Friend-Husband correct his papers here.
We have carved jack-o-lanterns, on this table.  We have made silly putty.  We have kneaded bread.  More than a dozen children have painted masterpieces at this table, or colored them.  Some have written stories here, and then read them to us. 
We have played Spoons around this table, as well as Great Dalmudy, Skip Bo, and Banana Grams.  We have played Apples to Apples, Scrabble, Clue, and Monopoly.   We have played Curses at this table, over and over again.  The adults are not very fond of this game, but the kids love it, and we love to hear them laugh.
We have had tea parties at this table.  The kind where you sip hot chocolate and eat dainty finger food.  You can dress up in fancy dresses and hats, or you can just pretend.   We like it both ways.
We have had car races on this table.  The roads are mad of play-dough.  I make it by the bucket and the kids build the roads.  It takes longer to build the roads than it does to race the cars.  That’s okay with me.
Our table is a collector.  It collects library books, stray dishes, pencils and crayons, coloring books, phones, scissors and pencils, paper scraps, sheet music, homework, and bits of every project of the day.  Although I clean it off regularly, it never stays that way for long.  It is a magnet for the pieces of our lives.
When it’s just us, Friend-Husband and I can eat on one corner, without disturbing any of the various projects that often land on our table.
This table is perfect for us.  I think it’s the one we knew in the pre-existence.  With all its clutter, it’s still the heart of our home.

Linda Garner

Monday, August 26, 2013

God Doesn't Write With a Pen

God Doesn't Write With a Pen by Christi Lynn Pauline

With his country on the brink of civil war, Blema Fangamou fears for the lives of his family. God Doesn't Write with a Pen recounts the many miracles the Fangamou family from West Africa despite war and separation from each other. The Fangamous help readers lift their faith and recognize miracles in their own lives.

This incredible true story recounts the Fangamous' amazing journey of hardships, miracles, reunions, and life-altering experiences to help us recognize the tender mercies in our own lives.

John H. Groberg, emeritus General Authority and author says, "The story of the Fangamou family is both compelling and inspiring. Christi Pauline has done a great job of capturing the turbulent emotions of this family as they pass through trial after trial with continued trust in the Lord. It is a fascinating and rewarding read."

I recommend this book as a must read for all those who have a tender spot for the suffering in Africa. This family has, by the miracles of God, come to the United States, found faith in Heavenly Father, and been reunited after war ripped their family apart.

It is well written and an easy, faith promoting read. Enjoy, Christy Monson

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We Never Know

Tomorrow I will attend the funeral of my nephew.  He was bright spot in many lives.  He was killed instantly last week in a car accident.  I don't know the details.  What I do know is that I ache for his family, whose lives will never be the same.

Losses like these are hard on us and those we love.  I can only offer them my love and invite them to focus on the Savior, who heals all wounds.  The pain will diminish over time, thankfully.  Hopefully, sweet memories will last forever.

Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercies, Lord.
Thou sendest blessings from above
Through words and deeds of those who love.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

When such a friend from us departs.
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

Today hug your loved ones a little longer.  Call someone you haven't seen in a while.  Forgive the one who has hurt you.  Mend some fences.  Build a bridge.  Remember to love and laugh with those you love.  We never know how long we will have them.

Linda Garner

Monday, August 19, 2013

Writer's Block

I love reading Dave Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants. I read and try to digest all his ideas and writing helps. If I can retell them in my own words,  then I have them better in my head.
The one I read today was about writer's block. We, as writers, get stuck sometimes in our writing and don't know where to go next. Dave says that's because we don't know our plot or our characters or our premise well enough. When this happens to him, he takes time out to get better acquainted with his characters and their backgrounds. He studies his setting and maybe does a little more research on his theme.
Sometimes our ideas are not fleshed out enough. We don't have a complete view of our plot. If we only have an image of our character in mind, that's not good enough. We need to know his or her background.
I love writing historical fiction. So I like to do the research first and then find a way to fit the characters of the time and place I'm writing about into the historical event or events. It's like putting a puzzle together, and I find it lots of fun.
I'm still a beginner in writing and my skills are not nearly as practiced as they should be, but I'm working on it--practicing every day and hopefully getting better and better.
Check the characters and plot of the book you are writing. Make sure you've fleshed out the characters and the plot. Check every scene to make sure it all fits together well. Keep working. That's what I'm doing.
You'll get through your writer's block if you just take a little more time to study your characters and your plot in depth.
 I am grateful for good teachers like Dave Farland who shares his abilities and knowledge with the rest of us. Happy writing and happy studying.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fun Summer Reads

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this past few weeks because I’m taking care of my mother who is dying of cancer.  She is getting weaker and sleeps a lot during the daytime. Someone needs to be with her, but there isn’t a lot to do.

So I’m reading.

I’ve found some really bad authors, but I’ve also found some really good ones. Here are a few.

I do love Patricia MacLaughlan’s writing. We all know her for Sarah Plain and Tall, but she has other wonderful books. Her character development is great, and her plots are gentle. (I do like gentle.)

I just finished Rodman Philbrick’s The young Man and the Sea. His character development is outstanding. The voice of Little Skiff is so true. You bleed for this kid as he forges through his problems. The pace of the book is fast. It’s a great boy’s book.

Deborah Wiles is a true-to-life humorous author. Love Ruby Lavender is an ALA Notable Book. Her others follow the same bent. They are very fun and make you laugh out loud.

I’d love to hear what some of your favorite authors are. I enjoy finding new ones.

Thanks, Christy

My picture book, Love, Hugs, and Hope When Scary Things Happen will be out in hard copy September 1st, 2013.

My women’s self help book, Becoming Free, A Woman’s Guide to Internal Strength, comes out for the Nook, Kindle and iPad September 1st, 2-13.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Books are the Liberated Spirits of Men

I've always been fascinated by Mark Twain the author.  Now I'm wanting to get to know Samuel Clemens, the man.  Though they shared a body, I am wondering if they might have differed some, and I would love to get to know just plain Sam.

On a recent vacation we visited the Mark Twain home in Hartford, Connecticut.  It was more lavish than I could have imagined, and we learned on our tour that it was intended to be showy.  The Clemens family hobnobbed with writers and artists and wanted to not just to fit in, but to stand out.  I suppose it had a lot to do with furthering Samuel's writing career.

The Clemens family hosted elaborate dinner parties at least three times a week.  The food was extravagant, and the entertainment was delightful.  Sam often did recitations, and the girls performed plays with the aid of neighborhood children.

Harriet Beecher Stowe lived nearby.

The money for the home and the extravagant entertaining came mainly from Livy's inheritance.  Olivia Langdon Clemens was the love of Sam's life.  They had three daughters.  They traveled extensively and lived in Europe for extended periods of time.

The home boasted elaborate and expensive furnishings imported from far away places like Venice and Scotland.  The walls were hand stenciled, and there is a glorious atrium attached to a comfortable and fabulous library.  The 11,000 square foot home has a large kitchen and indoor plumbing which was uncommon for the day.

I wonder what I would do if I had loads of money.  Would I want a showy home and servants where I could host extravagant dinner parties.  Not likely.  I wonder how much it did to influence Sam's career. 

Like other authors at the time, Mark Twain was opposed to slavery and helped to shape public opinion through his writing.  I have always loved Tom Sawyer, but I confess that I don't remember reading Huckleberry Finn.  I plan to read it sometime soon. 

Mark Twain's pithy sense of humor comes through loud and clear in the quotes we have often heard.  Here are a few of my favorites. 

Nothing needs so reforming as other people's habits.

Always do right.  This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.

Books are the liberated spirits of men.

An uneasy conscience is a hair in the mouth.

If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.

A full belly is of little worth where the mind is starved.

What's your favorite Mark Twain quote?

Linda Garner

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy Summer Holiday

I am gone this week. My brother has come to take care of my mom, so I'm gone with my kids. Happy August Holiday.

Hugs, Christy

My picture book, Love, Hugs, and Hope When Scary Things Happen will be out in hard copy September 1st, 2013.

My women’s self help book, Becoming Free, A Woman’s Guide to Internal Strength, comes out for the Nook, Kindle and iPad September 1st, 2-13.