Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chance to read "Dead Running" and WIN COOL Prizes!

Cassidy Christensen is running.
Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable. 
Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.
With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she’ll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.
Buy Now only $3.99 Kindle
To celebrate the release of Dead Running we've coordinated a huge fitness giveaway. Prizes include fitness watches from MIO Global, three months online personal training from Fitcore Fitness, Beginner and Advanced yoga packages from Hugger Mugger, earbuds and armbands from iFrogz, running shoes from Altra Zero Drop, six months membership to Smithfield Recreation, one month membership to Crossfit UAC, Three Lebert Stretch Straps, and an autographed copy of Dead Running. Enter on Fitness for Mom or Cami’s Book Blog.
 I've known Cami Checkett's for a few years, but I have to admit this is the first book of hers that I've read. It won't be the last! Dead Running is a suspense book with just enough romance to make it fun. From the first page on the reader is interested to find out what will happen to this courageous and spunky young woman who has had to deal with some terrible blows in her life. We know that someone has killed Cassie's parents. And now it seems someone is after Cassidy also. She lives with her opinionated "Nana." At first I thought she was a little rude, but I grew to like that she often put her foot in her mouth and had the guts to say what she thought. She has nicknames for everyone in the book, the bad guys, the good guys, her love interests, her rivals and so on. This story was a bit like an Austen novel or even some of the old Audrey Hepburn movies particularly Charade where the main character doesn't know which of the very charming men she's fond of that she can trust. Cassie also has a sassy rival she's nicknamed hot redhead. When hot redhead goes out on a date with her new boyfriend and another potential boyfriend shows up, we along with Cassie are confused on who we're rooting for. We don't know who can and can't be trusted right up until the end.  The book deals with the very real problem of human trafficking and the dangers to anyone caught up in trying to solve such a huge crime. I don't like reviews that give away the plot so I won't do that. Hopefully you'll pick this one up and check out Cami's blog and contest.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lost and NOT Found

On a daily basis I lose things. I'm kind of scattered that way: keys, wallets, money, purses, sweaters, shoes and so on. Most of these things I eventually find though I may be late for wherever I was heading. Most "things" don't mean all that much--not in the long run. Somehow we find out what really matters when we lose something or someone that can't be replaced. Lately, I've been grieving some large losses. Things that matter.

 The first may be too personal for a public blog, and I may regain at least some of this loss. I hope so. The second big loss was my mother-in-law who I blogged about and who we buried on March 31st. She was a one-of-a-kind and a great loss to our family, her friends, and community members. Then on top of those losses another great loss for all of Paradise/Avon and Cache Valley. Twenty years ago when we moved to Paradise, the center of the community stood out.  A quaint Mormon church in a charming town.

On Easter I walked through this door for the last time ever to worship with friends. The bell in the fabulous bell tower pealed. Pealed not to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus so much as to say goodbye. Goodbye to not just the center, but the heart of the town. There's something about destroyed history. It can not be found. It can not be built again. Once gone, unlike my car keys, it's gone forever. Sometimes policies hurt. Policies should not just be made on economics and practicality. Beauty, space, tradition, and sacrifice matter. In a church that spends something like 2 billion on a mall, couldn't a little have been diverted to preserve our edifice? Shouldn't it have been?

I can't help but wonder if the demise of this building would be the same if it was in Salt Lake where the outcry could be heard and seen from church headquarters. If I sound bitter. You are right. I am bitter, but mostly sad. Paradise never was a wealthy town. In the early days, people with money built on center street in Logan. They didn't build out in the boonies. Paradise was a pioneer farming community. The church was the crown jewel.

The Northwest part of the church was built stone by stone, timber by timber in 1877.  In those days church members paid for much of the building and did all the work. They built onto the building in the 1950's and this chapel was added then. Notice the lovely color of the chapel.
                How many LDS churches built today are graced with hand-painted borders and lovely flowers--each one different? The man who painted these was in his 80's when he did it. He had worked on temple murals. These will not be preserved. They will be destroyed along with the building this week. After the meeting, we all gathered in front for photos--just like any funeral. And just like any funeral--we are left with what will never be the same again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Missing Ruth

My mother-in-law exited life last Monday night. There was no warning, no lingering illness to remind us that we need to visit more and do more and care more. The chance is gone and I feel more than raw. I didn’t appreciate enough the wonderful mother-in-law I had. Mother-in-law jokes just didn’t apply to her. Even though I married one of her precious three sons, I never felt threatened by her in any way. She exuded acceptance and tolerance even when we didn't see eye to eye. As a young wife and mother, she taught me how to bottle peaches and pears. I was so proud of that first batch I did with her. Best of all though, she taught me that what I thought mattered to her.

One of my best memories is playing Trivial Pursuit with her. I believe that Ruth was one of the most intelligent people I knew—her memory for details made her a brilliant conversationalist too. I always felt completely accepted by her and she made a point to support me whenever she could. She came to book signings. She came to pottery sales. She bought books. She bought pottery. She validated me without flattery.

Wow, I love this picture of Ruth holding her first son with her handsome husband. They lived in a big house in tiny Etna Utah. Out in the sticks doesn't begin to describe it. Could she have imagined this life just a couple of years earlier while studying at Berkley?
My husband is holding our first son. Ruth is in the stripes.
Ruth and Mick in Yellowstone
Ruth with Ginger
But as good as a mother-in-law was, she was an even better grandma. I have fond memories of her sitting on the floor of the living room and playing UNO with my kids. She also took them swimming. My kids strongly suspected they were Grandma’s favorites out of all the grandkids, but maybe the others thought so too. My children felt adored by her even though she didn’t gush or smother them with hugs. A down to earth woman who lived life simply and to the fullest. Things were not important to her, but people and relationships were.  Knowledge and education were key. She graduated from Berkley in the 1940’s when young women from rural Utah didn’t do such things. She married a rancher and moved to the tiny town of Grouse Creek. When things didn't turn out well there, she did what had to be done to survive. She eventually earned her masters degree and taught school for at least 27 years. 
Here she is holding our first grandson. She attended the blessing.

Even though she didn’t attend church all that much, if one of her kids or grandkids were giving a talk, or receiving a special calling, or going on a mission, or blessing a child, she supported them, often with her presence, but if not with an encouraging word. It was not about the church. It was about the people she cared for. When our son went on a mission she paid a monthly amount toward it and purchased his luggage. This was not a woman who had extra money. She longed to travel. She longed to fix up her house. She did manage to do some traveling, but her house never got fixed up. She sacrificed and made do and was generous to a fault.  Living life the way it should be lived didn’t amount to attending meetings. What mattered is what you did on a day-to-day basis. Ethics and moral behavior wasn’t talked about—it was lived.  I miss you Ruth. You were one of a kind.