Saturday, October 26, 2013

Answers for Hard Questions

Why do some kids have a hard time learning?  Why are some kids fidgety?  Why is focusing difficult for some? 

Why is reading challenging for some kids and not for others?  Why do some kids dislike reading, even if they are good at it?  Why is it that some kids don't do well in traditional school settings?

Hard questions.

My friend, Pat Rosenbury, works with kids who have learning challenges.  She calls her work brain-linking.  She teaches kids to balance and track while they're playing games.  She teaches sequencing.  She helps them focus.   She makes a difference.

Balance is incredibly important when it comes to learning.  So are tracking and focus. 

A lot of smart kids have trouble in school.  When things are harder than they should be kids feel like failures.  They don't think they are smart.  It can be discouraging.  Pat helps them turn on the connections in their brains.

Pat did a family activity for my piano families this week.  It was informative and helpful.  I had several aha moments, and I think my piano parents did too.  I decided to spread the word.

If you know someone who struggles, you might want to talk to Pat.  Check out her bio below. You can call her at (801) I'M SMART.  She'd love to chat with you.

Tell her Linda sent you.

Linda Garner

Pat Rosenbury received a bachelor's degree From BYU in education, drama, and mathematics.  She received her master's degree in the Reading and Writing project from the University of California at Berkely. 

She taught 18 years in elementary, junior high, and high school, in Texas, Utah, Japan, India , the Phillipines, and inner-city Atlanta Georgia. 

Pat specialized in identifying and developing individual learning abilities and difficulties.  She has assisted hundreds of clients ranging in age from 4 -87.   Her unique system has helped countless people of all ages achieve their dreams.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Courage to Speak Out

Are you ever afraid? Well, I am. This entire week I have been arguing with myself about putting my name out there to do author visits and speaking engagements. I know I need to do it. I really like meeting people at author signings. It’s very fun and I enjoy myself. I know I’ll like doing author visits and speaking, but it’s so hard for me to put myself forward.

But, here’s my commitment: Make contact with three groups a week and make myself available to speak. Get several talks outlined (just in case people don’t want to ask questions and visit informally.)

See, my problem is this. I’ve always been in the background in our family. I’m the one who takes care of the kids and doesn’t speak in public. My husband is the teacher and the speaker. I have to get over that idea, but it’s hard. We’ve been married a long time. (Okay, I’m whining here, but give me a little break.) It really is hard.

So if any of you live along the Wasatch front and would like an author visit I would love to come. I also love to do author visits for Activity Days for Primary for those of you who are LDS. (All of you write back so I won’t have to call anyone.) Just kidding!

I’m serious. I’d love to come speak to your writing group about my middle grade fiction or the two self help books that are coming out with Familius. I’m writing one on Family Councils right now. I thought it would be a drag, but it’s really a blast to write. I’m charged about it!

You can leave a comment on the blog or you can contact me at either of my web sites.

Thanks for listening. I’m really not a whiner, I’m just an introverted writer that’s stepping into the unknown. :}

Thanks, Christy

“Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.” Author unknown.


“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Mother's Hands

You know how people look at you and say, "You have your dad's nose," or "I think you have your mother's eyes," or "It looks like you have Aunt Susie's hair."

I got that a lot, growing up, because I look like my Mother. 

The other day, I took a good look at my hands and realized that I have my mother's hands.  It wasn't exactly a surprise, but it was something I had never thought about before. 

My hands are small and childlike.  Not chubby, but not slender either.  No one would look at my hands and say that they belong to a piano player, though I do play the piano, nearly every day.  I can barely reach an octave.

My knuckles are prominent, and my fingernails are short, because I clip them often, for playing the piano. 

As I grow older, the skin on my hands is becoming a little transparent, and my veins are more noticeable.  I suppose that's what made the difference--what made me see my mother's hands attached to my wrists. 

They're the same hands I've always had, but now they remind me of Mom.

My mother's hands were loving and kind. Those hands knew how to work. They were used for serving.  They were seldom still.

My mother's hands cooked countless meals for us and for others.  She loved to entertain and when she did, there were hours of cooking involved. We loved the tastes and smells of her parties.  We loved to help.  We loved to watch her hands.

My mother's hands baked a gazillion loaves of homemade bread.  She made the best homemade pickles in the world and canned green beans and peaches by the bushel.  Our pantry was filled with the work of her hands.  Apricot jam, tomatoes, and raspberries, like gleaming jewels, graced the shelves that Dad built.

She shared this bounty with others and often took food to those who were sick or in need.  Her hands found many ways to serve.

My mother's gentle hands were great with delicate work, such as bathing babies, or crocheting.  She was a whiz with a needle and thread and also good friends with our old Singer sewing machine.  She made most of my clothes, and embroidered pillow cases and such.

Mother loved beautiful things, and money was sometimes scarce, so she created the beauty she craved.  She made dozens of quilts.  Sometimes she made them from leftover fabric, and we could trace our history in the colorful patterns.

Mother wanted an exquisite bedspread.  She crocheted it block by block.  Her crocheting accompanied us everywhere. Her hands could make that crochet hook fly.

When the bedspread was finished it was a work of art.  It decorated her bed for a day, and then it was folded and put away.  "Too heavy," she said.

My mother's hands did rough work, too.  She was a worker.  I could never keep up with her.  I don't know where she got her energy. She gardened, she painted the rooms in our home, and she could butcher a deer carcass, or pluck and clean a chicken.

Mother's hands took care of two aging women, her own mother and dad's mom.  She served them cheerfully, though it wasn't always easy.  That's just the way she was.  I'm sure it was often hard.

I remember my mother's touch.  I remember her hand holding mine.  I remember her embrace.

My mother wasn't perfect but she knew how to love, and her hands knew how to serve.  It's nice to know I have my mother's hands. 

I hope she doesn't miss them much.

Linda Garner

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Magical Space

I just finished reading Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. It was written in 1942, and is about Norwegian children outwitting German soldiers during World War II. The children save millions of dollars of gold from falling into German hands.
When I posted it on Goodreads, I was shocked to find that Snow Treasure is still in print. (My copy is from the library, and our library is known to have some pretty old books.)
How would it be to have your book in print for almost 70 years? Seventy years!
Since it was written in 1942, there are some things that wouldn’t make it past editors today. Ms. McSwigan gets on her hobby horse a couple of times. There is some ‘telling’ that could be shown, but as a whole the book is full of tension and keeps the reader engaged.
Chapter endings are cliff-hangers, as they should be. There are adults in the story, but the kids are the ones that save the day. The adults empower the kids to solve the problem and get out of the way so they can do it.
How many children in seventy years have enjoyed this book? I love that magical time when a child is drawn into a story (or even when I’m involved in a story myself). As mothers we see it with little children when we read to them. As a child grows older and learns to read, he engages himself in that magical place by himself. As a writer, my one wish is that I might charm a child into that magical time with one of my stories.
I have this secret wish that I want to be invited into special space and be part of a child’s magic. To me, that’s the ultimate goal of writing.
What’s your secret wish about writing? Do you have one?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Creating Conflict in Your Story

One of the things I have the most difficulty with is creating powerful conflicts. It is easy for me to write little vignettes or stories with no problems in them. I have a dear friend that keeps a day book on her blog. It's a wonderful slice of her life, including spiritual moments and tasks she's completing at the moment. I love it, but there are no real clashes or disagreements in it.

I like reading about arguments and differences--maybe because I avoid them in my life.
Dave Farland says, "Every story needs conflicts to drive it." (As you know, I love reading and quoting Dave Farland.)

I have also read that you need to have multiple layers in a conflict. So, If I create a physical conflict, like peril to the character's life or something like that, then I need to give that character a fear to face that kind of conflict. The character has to figure out how to beat the antagonist. That way the character is struggling mentally, emotionally and physically. That is three layers. If there are moral arguments associated with the conflict, then I can give it more layers.

With all this said, it is something to study out and construct carefully. I just can't 'fly by the seat of my pants' with it--which I have done in the past. (It doesn't work for me.) I guess I'm not intuitive enough or smart enough to work that way. I'm a slow steady plodder who has to study it out.

Happy conflicting in your stories.
Christy Monson

Christy's books Love, Hugs, and Hope When Scary Things Happen, and Becoming Free, A Woman's Guide to Internal Strength are available on line and in bookstores now.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Asleep in the Jungle...not

It's delightful when an author and an artist meet, and they click.  I recently met a talented author by the name of Sally Neilson.  She has agreed to illustrate my book,  Asleep in the Jungle...not.  We are having so much fun.  She gets my story and she is making it so fun.

Here is a little bit about Sally.

It seems I was fated to be an artist. Both parents are artists, it's something I've always had an interest in and something I pursued seriously over the last 10 years participating in over 30 art shows and creating over 300 art pieces. I also gather inspiration from my other interests in life: having been a cliff diver, currently a trapeze artist, and also an actor. I even went as far as receiving a BA in Theatre at the University of Utah. My deeper passion, however, always comes back to my painting.

My artistic style morphs and evolves naturally, as I do. My love of colors is the one constant and the colors I use are as bright and vivid as I like life to be.

I’m a natural entertainer and storyteller, so it is a joy in my life to tie my art to an intriguing and imaginative story such as this one.

And here are two of the illlustrations from Asleep in the Jungle...not

I love the vivid illustrations and the quirky characters.  We'll keep you posted on our progress.

Linda Garner