Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scenes from Christmas

We're stuck in Flagstaff, Arizona waiting out the storm and the highway to clear.  Here are some photos from our trip to California for Christmas.  More to come later.  Take a look!

 Stan and I Christmas Eve

 My nephew Eric, the new father, and AJ at my sister's Christmas Eve Banquet!

 Eric's wife Amber and my father, Arland.

 Me and my sister Cheryl.

 What a cute couple!  My nephew Andy and his girlfriend Dayna.

 My mother, Mary Louise, the great-grandmother with her great granddaughter, Cassandra Jade.

 My handsome son Kevin, with grandma peeking around him.

My cute brother-in-law, Don.

Friday, December 17, 2010


For many of us, sadly, the spirit of Christmas is “hurry.” And yet, eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now perhaps that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks, but of centuries -- nearly twenty of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.~~Burton Hills

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A New Member of the Family!

We have a new member of our family!  My sister's youngest son Eric and his wife Amber had their baby Tuesday, a girl they named Cassandra Jade.  She's just beautiful!

I'm pretty sure that Christmas Day will be spent playing "pass the baby."  Isn't she just the most precious little thing?  Who wouldn't love such a little angel!

Here is my sister, the new Grandma, holding her granddaughter.  I told her I thought it was awfully nice of Eric and Amber to give us such a nice Christmas present.

The new little family.  Aren't they sweet?  This is going to be a special Christmas for them, I know.  And every Christmas from now on will be a new adventure as they watch little Cassandra grow up.  What a happy life awaits them!  I can't wait to see them all and to hold my new little niece.  I always said I was a great aunt, but now I really will be a GREAT aunt!   Yay!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Light Night

One of our family traditions is Christmas Light Night.  After dinner we go out and drive around the neighborhood checking out all the light displays.  It's a lot of fun!  And when we're done we find someplace to go out for a piece of pie and maybe some hot chocolate.  Took some pictures to share here.  If you live near me, you might see your house!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Was That?

When I was little I got confused pretty easily.  I remember being about five and listening to Christmas music and putting my own spin on things.  Even today when I listen to some songs I remember them the way I thought of them then.  It's pretty silly actually, and would like to think that there are others out there who have had the same experience.

For example, in the song God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Perry Como used to sing the line "in Bethlehem in, Jewry, the blessed babe was born."  Now, you don't here this line too much anymore, they've changed it.  But when I was little I'd never heard the phrase "Jewry" and thought Mr. Como was singing "jewelry."  I knew what jewelry was.  I also knew Jesus was born in a manger, and one of the three wisemen brought gold.  I knew gold was jewelry.  And what was frankincense and myrrh?  That was probably the other jewelry!  I never asked anyone, I just knew I was right.  I listened to Perry Como last night and sure enough, when he sang that line a picture of a pirates treasure chest came into my mind.

In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer they sing about the deer shouting out with glee.  Again, at age five this as not a word I was familiar with.  But I did know the word Gleem, which was a toothpaste they advertised on TV all the time.  I knew what they were talking about!  The reindeer brushed their teeth with Gleem and then shouted about it.  Probably, I pictured in my mind, while baring their pretty white teeth so everyone could see how good they brushed.  I used to do that for my mother before going to bed every night.  She would cover her eyes and tell me my teeth were so shiny they hurt her eyes.  Same thing with the reindeer I figured.

The other song that confused me was Jingle Bells.  I thought the name Bob Tail for a horse was totally wrong!  I had a dog I'd named Star.  I thought it was a perfectly lovely name.  But Bob Tail was so dumb.  I would have named him King, like National Velvet's horse, or Flicka, or something really wonderful like that.

To this day when I hear these songs for a brief second I think of them the way I did back then.  I was so sure that I was right that it must have burned itself into my brain. 

I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else had similar experiences.  Christmas is, after all, a time of sharing!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Where Are You Christmas?

"Where are you Christmas, why can't I find you?  Why have you gone away?"

This song has been haunting me.  I haven't been able to feel the spirit of Christmas this year.  We aren't getting a tree, and we are not exchanging presents.  My sister wants us to come for Christmas and money is too tight, but I'm not sure that's the reason I'm feeling out of it.  So I'm focusing on "my favorite" things instead, and try to bring the spirit of the season into my heart and my home.

I love Christmas music.  In fact, I've been listening to it since the end of September.  Now I can listen to it with abandon.  It's playing everywhere and it's so great!  How can anyone feel anything but grateful and blessed and happy when listening to Christmas music?

Kevin and I are planning on doing some baking this week.  Ginger snaps, almond cherry cookies, and Russian tea cakes.  Yum!  The house will smell so good, and we can share the cookies with people we love, and induldge our sweet tooth in the process.  I'm so looking forward to it!

We put our manger scene up on the piano.  This is so special to me.  The Christmas I was preparing for my surgeries, some sweet, good-hearted friend gave this to us.  I don't know who they are, but every day one piece would arrive on our doorstep with a poem or a note about Christmas.  On the last day the stable was delivered.  When we put this together it fills me with such emotion.  That someone loved us, loved me enough to give this gift touches me deeply.  Not only the sweet individual who delivered the creche, but also my Father in Heaven who gave His Son so that I could have this wonderful life that I live.

All the Christmas movies and shows that are on now.  Some, like Charlie Brown, bring back the time when I was a little girl and first watched them, and others I remember sitting and cuddling my own precious babies while watching them.  From the Winter Warlock to the Little Drummer Boy, they each hold memories.

Christmas Light Night!  We pick a night every Christmas to go out and see all the decorated houses we can.  We have a nice dinner, then bundle ourselves up and get into the car and off we go!  We especially love to visit the Church of the Nazarene over off Fountain Avenue which has such an amazing display of music and lights that we never miss it!  When we are done, we stop off at a restaurant for pie and hot chocolate before we go back home.  I am really looking forward to Christmas Light Night this year.

Hopefully everyone else is enjoying the season and feeling the spirit.  I sure hope I can too.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
Oren Arnold

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Am a Professional!

Today is a red letter day for me!  I received my first check today from for sales from my first book What Would Nancy Do?  I guess that means that I am really a professional novelist now!  Woop Woop!

Part of me doesn't want to cash it.  I just want to sit and look at it.  I guess that would be silly.  But what can I say?  I feel silly with excitement.  I'm so thankful for Stan, AJ, Kevin and all my friends who have supported me and helped to get me here.  I wish it was enough to throw a party for you all!

Just wanted to share .......

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Did It!

Well, I did it!  I finished the novel I was writing for National Novel Writing Month!  I did it with three days to spare, and a few words over the requirement at 51,945.  What a sense of accomplishment!

This is a book that has been ratting around inside my heart for quite a long time.  Participating in NaNoWriMo forced me to sit down and let it out, and I have to admit I'm very pleased with the results.  Don't get me wrong, the book has a LOT of work left to do on it, but the story is one I'm quite happy with.  I plan on spending the next year working on it and hope to be able to publish it next fall.  Since it is set at Christmas time, I would like to have it out so people can enjoy it througout the holidays next year.

I blogged at the beginning of the month how this is a book that is based on some of the experiences my grandfather had when he was a child in Denmark in the early 1900s.  Using both his autobiography as well as doing extensive research on the internet, I was able to gain an appreciation and a deeper love for Grandpa.  He is someone I have always loved and respected, but this experience has given me an insight that goes beyond what I have had so far.

To support NaNoWriMo and their Young Writers Program, I will be offering THE CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER on the Smashwords website for a limited time.  It will sell for 99 cents, and all proceeds will go to the Young Writers Program.   If you choose to read it now, please remember that it is in a very rough draft stage.  I know it needs editing, so please don't send me tons of emails about what is wrong with the book.  I am making it available to help raise a little money for NaNoWriMo.  Just try to enjoy the story.

THE CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER will be available at from December 1st through January 5th.  I hope you take a look, support a worthy cause, and enjoy a fun story for Christmas.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.  -- Groucho Marx, 1890-1977

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my three crazy guys.  Love them all SOOOO much.  We had a great turkey (24 pounds) and all the trimmings.  And I mean all! I didn't get too many pictures cuz my batteries died, but here's a brief glimpse of our day!  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving too!

Stan making his famous gravy.  YUMMMMM!

 Who are these crazy guys??

 Hey, I recognize them now!  They're mine!  Yay!

 This turkey is HUGE!  But we were able to handle him just fine!

Twenty-two years and counting .......

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  When my kids were little they couldn't understand why Christmas wasn't at the top of my holiday list but I think they get it now.  It's the only holiday that doesn't have an extra agenda to it, like buying candy (although you can do that) or give gifts, or shoot fireworks.  We just have a wonderful meal with those who mean the most to us to take stock of all we have rather than what we lack.  That makes me so happy!  Here are some things I am grateful for this year.

I am grateful for a family (of men) who support and love me no matter what.  They give me space to write, they hug me when I'm tired, they cook dinner when I'm too pooped to move.  I feel like a queen much of the time, and it's a dandy thing!

I'm grateful to be able to walk.  I sometimes curse the arthritis that plagues me, but I can still walk and get around pretty well, and that means a lot to me.

I'm grateful for my little razor that keeps my chin from making me look like that train guy on Polar Express.  Believe me, I sometimes think my chin hairs grow faster than my husbands!  But I gots the jump on the little suckers with that thing.

I'm grateful for chocolate.  There are many things in this world that testify to me of a Heavenly Father's love, and chocolate is one of them!  It's a lovely treat that makes me feel good when I need it.  One of His best inventions!

Dogs.  I love dogs.  I am not a cat person.  I am thankful for dogs in a world where there seems to be so much conditional love and to have a creature that will love you simply because you are there is a blessing.

I am grateful for music.  To have a way to express yourself when you don't have the right words is so cool!  That you can tell your friend, "Listen to this song," and they can get what you're feeling is so fabulous!  Or when something inside you is too big to keep in, you can burst into song and let it out in the best way possible, although I suggest you don't do this in Safeway. 

I am thankful for AJ who has such empathy in his being.  He is someone I never have to explain anything to, he just understands.  What an amazing gift to be his mother.

I'm grateful for Kevin who makes me laugh. He has such a good sense of humor and comes up with these things that just crack me up. So fun to have him for my son!

I am thankful for Stan who is always there for me.  He has changed my life in ways I cannot explain, even to him.  It scares me to think where I might be if not for him.

And mostly, I am grateful for a Father in Heaven and a Savior who give me more than chocolate and dogs, a husband and sons.  They have given me me a heart to feel gratitude, faith to guide me, love to fill me, music to bring me joy and my family to make it all worthwhile.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 19, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations Shelby!  You are the winner of a free copy of my e-book WHAT WOULD NANCY DO?
I'll be sending you a message on facebook with the details of how to claim your free copy.

Thanks for showing interest in my book!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Baby Turns 19!

This is a big day in our house.  My youngest, Kevin, is now 19 years old.  This will be the last year we have a teenager in the house!  Aack!  I'm not sure what to do....

It's been such a blessing to be his mother.  It was a loooong pregnancy.  I was on bedrest the entire nine months, with an eighteen-month-old boy to take care of.  With the help of family and friends we made it through, and moved from our condo into a house in the process as well.  Whew!

And to be perfectly honest, as difficult as that pregnancy was, it was worth every minute of it!  All the monitors, tests, checkups.  Must have had a dozen ultra sounds too ... plus gestatianal diabetes so I had to take injections three times a day .... yup.  When I look at him I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could get Kevin as my reward.

Here are some pictures.  We went to Empire Asian Buffet for dinner (his favorite), saw the movie "Mega Mind," and then came home to homemade tres leches cake and A&W rootbeer.  What a celebration.

Happy Birthday Kevin!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I'm giving away a free copy of my ebook WHAT WOULD NANCY DO? to one of my commentors!

Christmas is coming and you can give yourself an early present! Just leave a comment on this post and check back at the end of the week to see if you've won!

Here's a brief synopsis of the book:

WHAT WOULD NANCY DO? is the story of childhood friends Maeve Haile and Kate Hanson, who are now in their fifties. As young girls they shared a love for the Nancy Drew mystery books often looking for mysteries of their own to solve.

When a woman in their small town is killed they take on the case asking "what would Nancy do?" Kate as a therapist and Maeve a stay-at-home mother and volunteer at the library, they pull in all their resources and friends to help them solve the case. They learn they can rely on each other in ways their friendship has never been tested before as they race to find the killer before he strikes again.

It is a novel filled with intrigue, humor, love and an interesting set of characters that tell how life can lead you down interesting paths and sometimes starts at fifty.

Good luck and I'll see you on Friday!

Friday, November 12, 2010


We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
~Thornton Wilder
American Playwright

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Experience

We're almost at the halfway mark for National Novel Writing Month.  I've been reading a healthy amount of criticism for the project, but as a writer I'm finding it not only challenging, but quite the learning experience. 

The thing is, it's not supposed to be this wonderful, complete, ready to publish novel when you get done.  Instead I believe the point of it all is to just get people writing, being creative and seeing what the possibilities are if you put your shoulder to the wheel.

My grandfather Neal Jacobsen, came to America from Denmark when he was 11.  His mother, who was very poor, had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the city of Aalborg in the early 1900s.  The church offered a program where they would take children and send them to America where they would live with families from the church.  It offered the children an opportunity for a better life, and Neal's mother chose to send Neal, along with his sisters Mary and Ove to America.

My grandpa was given to a family named Hillyard who lived halfway between Smithfield and Richmond in Cache Valley, Utah.

It is from his personal history that I am basing my novel.  It is not about him, but I have taken some of his experiences and given them to my main character.  It's a wonderful, and fun, experience for me to write this book.  I am looking forward to November 30th!

Monday, November 1, 2010

50,000 Words in Thirty Days!

Today is the start of National Novel Writing Month!  NaNoWriMo, as it is called, was set up to promote the written word.  It is not supposed to be a competition but to be a situation wherein you can challenge yourself to write.  In this case, a novel in 30 days!

Sounds exciting,doesn't it?  I've started, have a little over 800 words into my first attempt at NaNoWriMo.  I have about a dozen writing buddies over there.  We encourage, nag and support each other so that we can finish. 

Everyone who actually finishes their novel is considered a winner of NaNoWriMo.  I am confident and hopeful, and when I do finish at the end of the month I'll receive a logo that I can display on my blog.

I'll be posting here everyone once in awhile how it's going, and when it's completed, I will edit it and publish it on where it'll be available to read if you're interested.

So, back to the WIP.  I'll probably be low profile during November.  See you around!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Jack O'Lanterns!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Some Thoughts for the HALLOWEEN Weekend!

Just for fun, and since Halloween is this weekend, here are some famous and funny tombstone quotes for you to enjoy!

Here lies Clyde
Whose life was full
Until he tried
To milk a bull

Pease is not here,
Only his pod
He shelled out his Peas
And went to his God

Here lies cold and hard
The last cat that pooped in my yard.

Here lies the body of
She kicked up her heels
And away she went

In memory of
Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death
by a banana
It wasn't the fruit
that laid her low
But the skin of the thing
that made her go

a man named Zeke
Second fastest draw
in Cripple Creek

Friday, October 15, 2010


Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


For some reason I've been missing my friend Beth lately.  We've been friends since-gulp!-1968 when we were seated next to each other in 8th grade English class.  The teacher wanted to keep an eye on us both so he decided if he put us together right in front of his desk we would be quiet and behave.

Hah!  Here we are, all these years later, and we're still not behaving.  Whenever we do get together we still find ways to get in trouble, even at the ripe ol' age of 55.  Can't tell you how many shops we've been in and gotten reprimanded by management.

Beth is a grief counselor (her specialty) but also works in disaster relief situations like the recent PG&E explosion near San Francisco where she worked with the victims helping them cope with the situation, then went to a memorial service for a co-worker and her daughter who were killed in the same explosion.  She's a remarkable woman.

Many years ago I was asked to give a talk at a Relief Society birthday dinner.  They asked me to talk about the woman who had most influenced my life.  Two other women were asked to speak as well.  One spoke about Eleanor Roosevelt, the other about Ruth from the Bible.  I told them about Beth.  How she's never judged, always been there for me.  And, like a true friend, we've had some doozy fights.  Our love for each other has withstood it all.

Being far away from her is hard.  I have made some remarkable friendships here in Colorado, but there is something to be said for a friend who is your heart's twin.  We know, we feel each other always.  We don't have to explain because we've liveed  each other's histories.  Having such a friend is a gift from God.  Not everyone is so blessed, but if you have been, treasure your friend.

I miss Beth.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


 AJ at about 2
Today is AJ's Twenty-First Birthday!
This day has gotten here so fast.  The years, the days, the moments having him for my son, the blessing of being his mother .... so much fun!  So much joy!  He has brought so much, given so much to our family.  Having Arland was one of the best decisions we ever made.
He was born two months premature.  He was immediately taken from me and given to a neonatologist who worked hard to save his life.  The next morning Dr. Heller told me that they were only giving AJ 48 hours to live. 
I couldn't wrap my mind or my heart around that. 
I called my home teacher, Nathan Baker, who came to administer to my baby.  Of course, because AJ was so very sick he had a nurse assigned to care solely for him on their shift.  That's all they did, the only baby they cared for was him.
With AJ's nurses permission my home teachers came. They had to scrub up and put on those gowns to protect him.  They gave him a blessing, and the change was immediate.
Dr. Heller had told us that if AJ lived, he would be in the neonatal intensive care unit for two months at least.
He went home in ten days.
My gratitude to my Father in Heaven knows no bounds.
Happy Birthday to my sweet boy.  And many many more to come!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


 AJ's birthday is next week, but Stan took today off so we could celebrate together.  First we went to a movie that AJ picked out, and afterwards we went up to the Smokehouse in Woodland Park for their "all you can eat" beef ribs, one of AJ's favorite things!
 After dinner we came home to cake and presents.  Yummo!  Can't believe my sweet little guy is now over six feet tall and about to turn 21.  How did the time fly by so doggone fast anyway??
 AJ did a good job blowing out the candles!
 The sister missionaries, Sister Chan and Sister Carter, stopped by and enjoyed the celebration with us.  As Kevin said, they helped turn it into a party!
 First the cards, telling him how much we love and appreciate him, and one included a poem written for him by his father.
AJ's favorite color is green.  We gave him a green 4GB flash drive to use for school, and this great green shirt.  Kevin gave him some new earphones for his MP3 player.  I think he was happy with his gifts and the day in general.  Funtastic!