Tag Archive | Arizona

Monkey Wrenches

We’ve all had times in our lives, when we’re sure someone threw a monkey wrench into what we had planned, or gotten a complete surprise that we weren’t expecting. Sometimes it’s a snow storm that keeps us from doing what we intended, or an illness, or simply being in a big hurry and forgetting something we definitely need when we were out of the house. These things happen so very often in real life that of course I have to use them in my writing… I love working with monkey wrenches! In New Parish Sarah gets hit with many monkey wrenches, some are small and trivial, some are simply annoying, but some are huge and, at times, she thinks, insurmountable.

Sarah is a high-tech modern girl with a few old fashioned values, she simply wants to get married and be that soccer mom that she’s always dreamed of being. Her huge monkey wrench is that she can’t find a fella to do that with…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

            “Around lunch time she headed out to the children’s center. As she walked down the busy Atlanta sidewalks she looked around at the horde of people on their way to their next destination. She thought about when she’d first moved to Atlanta and how excited she’d been to be living in a big city with so much going on. She’d lost that excitement: it had turned into a tired frustration. The city hadn’t contributed to her dreams at all, her experiences there had diminished them. Her thoughts went to how much her goals and dreams had fragmented over the last few years. Her career was great, but she’d planned on being married and having at least three children by the age of twenty-seven. She sighed thinking, “I have neither a husband or children.” Her frustration on this was starting to grow beyond the normal parameters. Her thoughts turned to her job, “Right out of college, I got this great job, doing what I love, being a graphic artist for children’s books. I’ve worked hard, and now I’m the top artist in the company. I chose this career so I could be a stay at home mom. Sheesh! What’s a girl gotta do to make her dreams come true?”

            Extremely loud sirens jolted Sarah out of her thoughts, she jumped and looked to see what was happening. “Oh, it’s just the cops,” she thought and walked on. No one else seemed to notice. Sighing she thought, “Growing up in Savannah didn’t really prepare me for living in the big city of Atlanta, or the daily adventure each time I leave my apartment.”

            She continued down the sidewalk a few more blocks and entering the children’s center, went to the front desk to sign in. She quickly scanned the sign-in sheet to see if Mary was already there. She was.

            “I can’t believe I’m actually going to ask her about this plural marriage thing,” Sarah thought to herself. “Am I really that desperate?” her thoughts were interrupted by a large group of preschoolers running up to her with giggles and open arms for needed hugs. She spent the next hour playing and reading to them. This calmed her mind, it was therapy for her – her dream of having a big family with lots of children was both eased and made more difficult by the involvement with her little friends.”

Friends…

We’ve all known them, friends, those who come into our lives for a short time, those who we’ve known our whole lives, and those who come into our lives to stay – and change our lives forever. As I’ve said before, I pull from my own experiences when I write. So, I’ve pulled from personalities and characters, bits and pieces of people I’ve either known or heard stories about to create the friends Sarah encounters in my book New Parish. To me this brings the characters to life and gives them depth, because after all, I really know them…

It all begins with Mary, who’s out in Atlanta working on her bachelor’s degree at the local children’s center, where Sarah volunteers. They become fast and true friends, which opens up a whole new world for Sarah… Mary becomes that new friend, who not only becomes one of those who come into her life and changes it forever, but introduces her to more of new friends who become her, forever best friends.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah’s mind went to something her new friend Mary had said when they were working together at the children’s center. Mary had mentioned her home, a place called New Parish in Arizona; she had explained that she was only going to be there for a while, just until she finished her degree in early childhood development with the work study program she was involved in at the children’s center.

That day, Sarah had been complaining about the poor dating prospects and her dream of being a mom floating away from her. Mary revealed to her that in the community she came from the people did plural marriages, so any girl could get a good man and not have to worry about missing out on being a mom. Her descriptions of her home made it sound like a little piece of heaven, where people lived happy lives, and found their happily ever afters.

Sarah sighed, thinking of the small rural community Mary had described, “Maybe…””

……

““Mary!” Sarah waved as she entered the room.

Mary was working with a group of three year olds on coloring pictures of shapes.

            “Hi!” was Mary’s cheery reply.

            “Do you have some time to talk today?” Sarah asked, noticing Mary’s strawberry blonde hair. She always had it done in some really pretty style, today it was rolled up behind with a pretty colorful clip in it. Sarah liked how petite Mary was, she was only about five feet tall and very slender with bright green eyes that always seemed to be ready to smile.  

            “Yes, in about ten minutes when these little guys get to go to the gym,” Mary answered.

            “Cool,” said Sarah, “I’ll wait around in the garden room.”

            “Okay, see you there,” Mary said, as Sarah waved and walked away.

            Sarah was checking messages on her phone when Mary joined her on a bench underneath a big tree. “Hi, what’s up?” asked Mary.

            “Well I don’t know if I’m really desperate, stupid, or what, but I wanted to ask you about that whole plural marriage thing that goes on where you’re from,” Sarah said with some apprehension.

            “Oh?” was all that Mary said as she sat down beside Sarah and waited for her to continue.

            “Yeah, well, how does it work?”

            “Very well, I think,” Mary said, looking quizzically at Sarah.

            “Oh come on! What do they do? What’s the process? Are they miserable? Are the women conditioned to be in these relationships, like “Stepford Wives”? Do men abuse the women? How do the women get along? Are they mean to each other?” Sarah bombed Mary with all the serious questions she could think of, and in a way, trying to talk herself out of further inquiry.”

…….

““All I can tell you is that my mothers all seem very happy, they don’t attack each other, they’re really good friends. They’re always joking around and laughing, I haven’t seen any of that attack stuff,” Mary replied, now looking at Sarah with concern.”

I can’t wait to share the whole story with everyone! Very soonish…

 

Book Cover

I’ve worked for a long time to get to this point, and now that it’s finally happening, I’m enjoying every moment of it. Last week we went out to a special place near New Parish for a photo shoot. We did two days of shooting, and now have some fun decisions to make on what pictures to use for the New Parish book cover. I guess I hadn’t given this part of the book much thought before now, but it’s really fun.

I’m learning so much about all the aspects of, the rest of the story, of writing. Putting a book together and getting it ready for publishing has a lot of details to be tended to. There’s copyrights and ISBN numbers to be purchased, there’s editing, there’s the publisher/printer, there’s marketing, there’s the synopsis and author bio to be written, and reviews to be gathered… Then there’s book covers to be created and book launches… it’s loads of work but I’m having a lot of fun along the way.

I’ve been so focused on the actual writing for so long that this new adventure is a refreshing change… then when it’s all done, I of course will return to New Parish. I can’t stay away from that story for long… Sarah’s journey to New Parish has been an all encompassing journey for me to write, although it’s fiction, it’s full of real life situations, difficult decisions, and choices that will change the course of lives forever. Just as New Parish beckons Sarah, it also calls me back…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah felt like a cool fresh breeze was blowing inside her, “This is so refreshing and energizing to finally be a part, of the next part of my life,” she thought. “I’m going to use this time before being matched, as a learning and adjusting time. I want to learn what it’s actually like to live in such a large family on a regular basis and determine what I need to change or fine tune in myself to be successful in this new life. I’m going to figure out how to do this…””

…….

“At dinner that night Sarah was starting to reflect on the changes that were happening in her life. It was still a bit surreal for her, that she was back in New Parish, and preparing for her dreams to come true. Her thoughts turned to the gratitude she had that her parents hadn’t disowned her. Even though she knew they didn’t really support her choice she was glad they were accepting it. She was again glad they’d come out to New Parish with her. She deep down wanted them to know, that she wasn’t joining a cult or moving into a commune of weirdos.

            Her mom interrupted her thoughts when she leaned over and whispered, “There are so many conversations going on till I don’t know how anyone knows what’s happening.”

            Sarah smiled and said, “Just think of it like Thanksgiving dinner with a few extra.”

            Her mother’s eyes widened as she whispered, “A few?!?””

 

Winter Chill

The winter chill has arrived early this year. Outside the wind feels like it’s coming from the polar regions, the trees have lost their leaves, and nature is going into brrrr mode. This time of the year is the perfect time for a nice cup of hot cocoa and warm visits with friends and family.

On Sarah’s journey to New Parish she finds new family and friends to share not only hot cocoa and warm visits with, but also a whole new life that’s more than she ever imagined.

New Parish Coming Soon!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah didn’t get a chance to thank the cowboy but she thought, “I do need to.”

            By that evening, she felt like she could move once again without shivering. The exhaustion of the morning was prevalent throughout the night and into the next day. She and Mary skipped church and stayed home bundled in pajamas and blankets. Susan had brought them in some hot cocoa before they left for church so they spent their morning sipping the hot cocoa and clinging to their blankets.”

Brigham Tea Magazine Coming Soon!

The next section of Brigham Tea Magazine I want to share with you is, Life More Abundantly, the fiction section. The first story in this section is called “A Day in the Life of a Sister Wife”. This story is an outtake of a day in Sarah’s life after she’s found her way to her new family. This story isn’t in the book New Parish, just a day in her life to share with everyone who might be interested in how things might work in a wonderful home where there’s more than one mom.

Excerpt from A Day in the Life of a Sister Wife:  

“The mug of hot chocolate warmed her as she braced for impact. She knew tomorrow would be a supreme test of her “mom” skills.

………

“Sarah looked over the now deserted kitchen, except for Parley and Annie, and saw that Leah had cleaned away the lunch mess. Her thoughts organized a to do list – first – give Charlie some Tylenol, then call Del, next clean the laundry room… Her list stopped building abruptly as she saw Annie begin to doze off while still sitting in her chair.

“Oh, baby,” Sarah said sympathetically. She quickly got a warm cloth and washed Annie’s face and hands, then gently removed her from the highchair and took her to the nursery for her nap. Sarah turned on the baby monitor before leaving and grabbed the carry along to take with her.

Returning to the kitchen Parley let her know he was not happy.

“Okay, Dude,” she soothed him as she extracted him from the seat. “Just give me a second. We have to take Charlie some medicine.”

Sarah quickly grabbed the chewable medicine, looked to see how many to give, filled a water bottle for Charlie, and headed for the family room.

“Here you go buddy,” Sarah handed the medicine to Charlie and checked the time so she’d know when he could have some more if needed. “1:20,” she thought, “remember that.”

“Here’s a water bottle,” Sarah handed the bottle to Charlie. You need to drink lots of water, okay?”

Charlie nodded his agreement and sank back down into the sofa.

“I’m going to go feed Parley, then I’ve got some cleaning to do. If you need me just give a shout. I’ll be back to check on you in a bit.”

Charlie nodded again.

Sarah went to the den to feed Parley who didn’t want to wait one second longer. Finding a comfortable seat, she sat and began nursing Parley. “Sheesh,” she thought as her body began to relax. “I knew I was tired but, wow, it feels good to sit and rest for a moment.”

Rosie and Mia came bouncing in the room full of energy and giggles, “Can we go outside and play in the garden?” Rosie asked,

“Sweetie,” Sarah began apologetically, “Maybe later we can go out. I have a lot of work to do now, and Annie’s taking a nap, and I need to keep a check on Charlie, he’s sick.”

“Oh, okay,” Rosie shrugged. “We can help,” she offered.

“Okay,” Sarah replied. “You can quietly check on Charlie for me, but, don’t get to close to him just in case his sick is catching. Okay?”

“Yes!” Rosie and Mia agreed energetically.

            The girls ran out of the den and Sarah’s thoughts returned to her to do list, “Call Del,” she said aloud…”

Home for Christmas

Going home can be wonderful, difficult, complicated, or even a great adventure. This week has been a journey of going home to see family and friends… Without getting too personal, I’ll just say this has been a great adventure! Planes, trains, and automobiles…
I guess the most complicated part has been the unexpected snow… it impaired my ability to go and see someone I dearly wanted to see. Life can be that way, unexpected things happen to change our plans… We live with those things, we learn from them, and we grow…

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah’s memory of last year’s arrival continued in her mind, last year when there were shouts of “Aunt Sarah,” and nieces and nephews coming out to greet her. She wondered what the greeting would be this year. She didn’t have to wait long for her answer to that uncertain quandary. The door burst open just like last year and the usual shouts of, “Aunt Sarah,” rang out.”

…………..

“The last evening with her family was spent telling old stories and sharing new ones. Sarah told about how she and Max first met, everyone laughed, Dave laughed so hard he almost fell off the sofa.

Falling asleep that night Sarah thought, “This was nice, I’ll miss them but it’ll be good to get home. Home, she thought… home.””

 

New Parish – Coming Soon! Summer of 2018! Brigham Tea Magazine – Heroes of the Past

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you chose to do something completely different? Sarah did…

In New Parish she finds a life that’s so different than she’d ever imagined she’d have.

Excerpt from New Parish:

“The cool air and busy sidewalks were almost enough to distract her mind from the pervading thoughts of how much this plural marriage thing could go wrong. She wanted to believe that things could be as wonderful as Mary said they were, but she knew how people could be, especially men… her thoughts went to, “Maybe I should just drop the whole thing,” then the idea of dating again entered her thoughts which almost made her nauseous. Then the thought of giving up on her dream of having kids and a family came to her mind. A tear rolled down her face, which she quickly brushed away, that thought was the saddest one she’d ever had…

            Sarah looked up at the sky and saw a plane flying west, she knew she would be on one soon… flying west. She breathed out a sigh and with a new resolve walked back to her apartment.”

Brigham Tea Magazine:

The next section of Brigham Tea Magazine I want to share with you is Heroes of the Past… enjoy the slideshow.

Thanksgiving in New Parish & Brigham Tea Magazine – Wild Desert

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I’ve always found that it’s not just the turkey that got stuffed on Thanksgiving… This holiday is about families coming together and really spending time together, catching up, and finding out what’s been going one with each other. Whether they live near or far, this is the holiday that brings them together… it’s that way for Sarah and her family each year.

The next section of Brigham Tea I’m sharing with you is the Wild Desert. It’s all about the western desert, the places, plant life, and the critters. Hope you enjoy the slide show…

New Parish Coming Soon! Summer of 2018! Excerpt from New Parish:

“Everyone went into Thanksgiving mode … and food prep was the main activity consuming everyone’s time, down to the smallest three year old who was transporting fruit to the salad area. After so many years of working together on Thanksgiving dinner they all knew what to do and did it with almost perfect precision. Christmas music was playing and children were happily giggling about the mess that was all over. This was the one time everyone was happy to make a huge mess – the rewards were always worth it.

           

The menu included:

The largest turkey they could find

Two hams crusted over with honey, brown sugar and pineapple

Green beans with butter, sea salt, and sprinkled slightly with sugar

Candied yams with cinnamon

Potato salad

Cranberry sauce from a can

Southern dressing which was made out of biscuit bread and cornbread with sage, sweet onion, chicken broth and shredded chicken

Giblet gravy to go over the dressing made with chicken broth, cornstarch to thicken, salt, pepper, and bits of boiled egg and chicken

Corn prepared in a skillet with butter, sea salt, and pepper

Yeast rolls which they never did from scratch the frozen ones were fine

The deserts always included:

Chocolate pies

Cheesecakes

Chocolate chip cookies

Sugar cookies decorated with Christmas icing

Fruit salad which always had pineapple, cherries, bananas, grapes, nuts, cream cheese, and whipped topping

            This menu took the whole family two days to prepare and everyone had leftovers to take home with them after the dinner. Because leftovers are a necessity after Thanksgiving, or at least that was their family philosophy.”

Brigham Tea Magazine – Tea Time

For the next few weeks a section of Brigham Tea Magazine will be spotlighted… We’re starting with Tea Time.

Plans and Goals for Next Year…

I’m not skipping holidays I promise, (I love Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas!), I’m just getting a head start on a couple of New Year’s resolutions. I’m the kind of person who likes to plan things way ahead of time, I’m okay with serendipity when it happens, but I’ve never trusted it. I’ve been working on a few plans for next year, for a while now… so, I thought I’d share some of them with you.

New Parish will be published next year!!! Probably mid-summer, I’ll let you know as things progress. I’m so excited!!! Getting to share New Parish with everyone is a wonderful dream come true. There are still so many details to work through, but it’s finally happening, and I’m enjoying the journey.

Something else that I’m planning for next year is a new magazine! It’ll launch the first quarter of next year… details coming soon! The name of the magazine is Brigham Tea Magazine, it’s been in the planning stages for a while, and has become an almost all-consuming project. I’m not obsessed, really… Brigham Tea Magazine is a fresh new look at the West. Its readers will find unknown gems of the past and previously hidden treasures. Brigham Tea Magazine is for everyone who lives in, or loves the West – its culture, history, places, legends, and the western spirit

Changes and Challenges…

Throughout our lives we are faced with changes and challenges… some of the changes we choose and some choose us. The same with challenges, some we choose, some choose us. The changes and challenges we choose, we can usually prepare for, like running a marathon, or moving to a new place, or changing jobs. We can prepare ahead of time by running longer distances, packing and organizing, and getting the training or education we need. Those challenges and changes that we don’t choose are often filled with difficulty and defining moments for us to grow from.

The main character in New Parish, Sarah, chooses a big change and knows there will be challenges… she faces the challenge presented to her, but wonders if it’s maybe more than she wants to deal with…

 

Excerpt from New Parish:

Change she chose:

“So I finally got to the end of all the pros and cons and all my own analysis to make this decision, then I prayed…” Sarah stopped to see what her parents expressions would be to this information then continued. “I felt so much peace and calm inside, I knew what I wanted and what I needed to do. I’ve never slept so peacefully as I did last night,” she smiled at her mom and dad and waited for their response.

            “Okay,” her dad said reluctantly, “if that’s what you’ve decided we will do our best to accept this. But you may have to be patient with us for a while. Do you think you can do that?”

            “Yeah,” Sarah smiled at him.”

Later unexpected challenge…..

“Sarah sat and eagerly awaited this life changing information. Brother Michael sat in the opposite chair crossing his legs in a casual relaxed way, then asked, “Are you sure you’re ready?”        

            Sarah laughed, she knew now he was just teasing her, “Yes, I’m ready,” she assured him.

            He smiled at her, “We all prayed about this and we think you should marry…..”

Sarah could hear her mind make that record screeching sound that always happened in the movies when something went the wrong way or the opposite way of what should have happened. She sat there looking blankly at Brother Michael, when the thought occurred to her, “He’s joking, he’s got to be joking…” she gathered herself as best as she could and said, “That’s not funny.””

Trying to deal with the unexpected challenge……..

“Sitting in her usual chair she waited for Brother Michael to begin the conversation, “After all,” she thought, “it was his idea to talk now.”

            “I know you are not happy with the suggestion that we made,” he began, “but I’d like to tell you about the man before you toss the idea away completely. If you’ll listen… will you listen?”

            “Sure,” Sarah agreed, “I’ll listen, but that doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind.””