Friday, March 30, 2012

Don Marx and the To-Do List

My friend and critique partner, Brittany inspired me with her to do list. (Check out her to-do list at

Last night as Natalie and I sat waiting for Tesoro’s production of Me and My Girl (awesome, by the way—Tesorians are an amazingly gifted, talented bunch and I’m forever grateful that my kids are able to attend such a great school) I made a to-do list very different from Brittany’s. It looked like this:

Clean kitchen
Lunch with Don Marx

“Who’s Don Marx?” Natalie asked, looking at my list.
“He owns a string of car dealerships.”

This answer didn’t sit well with Natalie. “Is he a writer friend?” She’s used to my string of writer friends. I come home with stories from my writer’s group and talk about the funny things they post on-line. I bring home their books and my children will ask, “Why do we have this book?” and I’ll answer, “My friend wrote it.” Occasionally, they’ll find a book at Barnes and Noble and bring it to me and ask, “Isn’t this your friend?” I have to be careful—once I bought one of my friend’s books and had to throw it away before any of my children came home. (Don’t tell and don’t try to guess who’s book went in the recycle bin.)

“Sort of, he’s a character in my book,” I told her.

Natalie laughed at my answer, clearly relieved I wasn’t having lunch with some man other than her dad.

And I thought about that—is lunch with the fictional Don Marx so different than having lunch with some other man? I’m not in love with Don Marx—I’m not supposed to be—he’s old and money driven—but sometimes I do fall in love with the characters in my books. Right now, I’m writing about Drake—in fact, I’m planning his birthday party. He’s terribly flawed, which makes me love him all the more. If Natalie had asked me about Drake—would I have gotten a dreamy look in my eye?

Is this wrong? Am I the only one?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sharing Space

There’s a man with a missing tooth in my space. I’m not surprised to find him here, after all I did invite him. To clean my carpets. They haven’t been cleaned in a very long time, because I dislike people in my space.

So I’ve moved my laptop, two books, two phones and a calendar to the room he said he’d clean last and I realize I’m very portable—even if set in my ways. Front door, back door, garage door—they’re all open, but Grendal is safe at my feet. This shouldn’t take too long, I tell myself, knowing that having this man with the missing tooth in my space will wreak havoc on my goals. I had hoped to be 44,000 thousand words into Losing Penny by tomorrow. I’m about 7,000 words short—doable, but definitely a stretch. Especially with someone in my space.

We’ve lived in our house for almost 17 years. We moved in when my twins were four days old. They’ll leave for school in a year. Every day we get college brochures in the mail, asking the girls to apply. Yale, Cornell, Boston College, schools that never would have written and asked for my application. We’re on a steep and slippery slope until they’re gone.

I know kids come and go. Adam is living at home after a decade of schooling. Bethany, Brandon, their two boys, and four friends are coming this weekend for a chiropractic convention. This weekend my household will swell from five to thirteen.

My friend had six whole month of empty-nesthood and now she has two married daughters, sons-in-laws and a grandchild moving in. She’s recarpeted, painted and gutted bedrooms to make room for them.

And this is what this stage of life is all about, watching your children come and go, making space for them in your house and your heart when they need you—and then trying to fill the empty space when they go….because they will go.

It’s what we came here to do. To love, to try and make the world a little bit better, and then leave.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Focal Point of History

The first attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II took place on Wednesday, May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City. The Pope was shot and critically wounded by Mehmet Ali Ağca while he was entering the square. The Pope was struck 4 times, and suffered severe blood loss. Ağca was apprehended immediately, and later sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court. The Pope later forgave Ağca for the assassination attempt. From Wikipedia

The amazing thing? That I was there. I watched the Pope arrive in his little white convertible jeep—the Pope-mobile—they called it, someone standing near Professor England—my BYU English professor—pointed a pistol and shot the Pope. He fell in a swirl of white robes and the crowd in the square turned from revered respect to bedlam. Screaming. Wailing. Running. Pushing.

Holding hands, my friends and I struggled to stay together as the crowd surged around us. And I remember thinking I’m a spectator in all this drama. I wrote to my then wanna-be boyfriend of the experience and he wrote back something like— being in the focal point of history. But it was the focal point of someone else’s history, not mine. I knew that then and I know that now.

Fast forward a few months. It’s Queen Elizabeth’s birthday and I’m sitting on a London curb watching the Beef Eaters in their strange hats pass by. Finally, the Queen on her horse—and gun shots. I admired how calmly the Queen quieted her bucking horse. It seemed that within seconds the parade continued as if without interruption, but I had to wonder why I happened to be sitting directly opposite of the Queen and her would be assassin.

1981: Queen's 'fantasy assassin' jailed
A teenage boy who fired blank shots at the Queen during a Trooping of the Colour ceremony has pleaded guilty.
From the BBC.

Many years later I’m standing on a corner in Seattle, waiting for a light to change. I’m alone—as alone as anyone can be on a city street. My husband is in business meetings and I had been poking through stores, wasting time until he can join me. A motorcade rolls by—a parade of dark tinted windows and sleek black limousines. Nelson Mandela—I’d heard he was in town. As he passed, I tried to look in the windows and I wondered if he could see me, standing there, imagining him behind the dark glass.

And then, I’m traveling from Orange County to Seattle. At a lay-over in San Francisco I’m greeting by a transit authority who tells me to run. Why? I ask. Just run, he tells me. So I run. I try to ask the people running beside me why we’re running, but no one knows. And we’re all running. Later, once safely in me seat, the pilot explains that President George Bush and Air Force One would soon be landing and that any travel would be indefinitely paused. A day later I’m waiting for my sister, she arrives late, telling me that she got stuck behind President Bush’s motorcade. The next day I’m meeting an old friend for dinner, we decide to go to Redmond for dinner because President Bush is in Seattle, and we want to avoid him. As we drive into Redmond, crowds holding signs line the streets. Inside the restaurant, our waiter points to the hotel across the street where President Bush is staying.

It’s been a number of years since I’ve brushed with the “focal point of history.” And yes, I was there in Rome and in London, but just like that moment when I stood on the corner watching Nelson Mandela pass by, I don’t really know what it’s like to be shot at. I don’t know what it’s like to fear for my life. I can’t really write about that fear with authenticity, because I wasn’t there. Even though I was. I saw it, but I didn’t live it. I was a spectator to the drama. It wasn't my drama.

And this is, I guess, the power of imagination, the ability to take the focal point of history and make it your own. Only, I don’t want to write about assassinations—failed or otherwise. I don’t want to write about political refugees or beleaguered presidents and heads of state. I want to write about families. Because this is what I know best, what I want to know best. I'm coming close to the midpoint of my novel Losing Penny. For an excerpt, visit

Friday, March 23, 2012

Early to Bed, Early to Rise= A Wizard

We know the proverbs. Early to bed and early to rise make a woman healthy, wealthy and wise. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Here’s some current medical statistics to back up the old maxims.

“The evidence that sleep deprivation adversely affects cognition and motor performance is striking. One study [published in the Western Journal of Medicine] showed that people who were awake for up to 19 hours scored substantially worse on performance and alertness than those who were legally intoxicated.”

“A growing body of medical evidence links inadequate sleep with anger, anxiety, and sadness. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that when study subjects were only allowed to sleep 4.5 hours a night for one week, they reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted, with overall scores for mood and vigor declining steadily during the test period. When the subjects were allowed to get enough sleep, their mood scores improved dramatically.”

Okay, so we know sleep helps us not to be cranky and keeps us mentally sharp, but I also know that sleep can solve problems. I think that our minds work on our problems in our sleep. It’s like magic. Try to different experiments. They can even be done at the same time. First, go to bed and with the promise to yourself that you will sleep for a full eight hours—do a bit of math, figure out your wake up time, and stick to your promise. The second experiment—on a notebook beside your table, write down a worry or a concern—don’t stew over it, just close your eyes and sleep. First thing in the morning, write down any thoughts/dreams you may have had during the night.

This has worked for me on several different occasions, but sometimes I forget this amazingly simple problem solving tool. I wasn’t thinking of solving problems this week. I was just simply cranky. (Not enough sleep? Maybe--or maybe I was just discouraged and cranky.)

I’ll confess that I didn’t work on my manuscript at all yesterday or the day before. I’d set some lofty goals for the month and I’d meeting them fairly consistently and Tuesday night I went to bed with feelings like: writing has taken over my life, maybe I’m using my writing to avoid other things I should be doing, all this sitting and writing is making my bottom big. I woke up the next morning with the most amazing story idea. I’m not even half way through with the first draft of my current book and I’m a third of the way through editing another. I’m not at all ready to start to something new, but the idea was so mind boggling good I had to write the outline. Sometime later I remembered that writing is taking over my life, it’s helping me to avoid life’s messiness and it’s making my bottom big. Oh well, maybe some messes are best avoided and some people like big bottom girls enough to write songs about them. (No one writes songs about small bottom girls)

I think in sleep we draw closer to our real selves—the part of our souls that speaks to us, loves us best and provides gentle answers. When we don’t get enough sleep, when we’re exhausted, we close the door on intuition. The Bible dictionary defines dreams as “one of the ways that God communicates with man.” And in Joel 2:28 he tells us:

I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Which is the very best argument in favor of a good night’s sleep.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Ghost of a Second Chance

Finally! A Ghost of a Second Chance is available on all e-readers. If you'd like to read this book for free in exchange for an amazon review (a kind and honest review) please e-mail me at for a coupon code. A huge THANK YOU to all my followers. Currently, this book is only available electronically. I hope to have the paperback available by May.

I learned something interesting with my first novel, Stealing Mercy. It received 5 star ratings from people I didn't know and 4 and 5 star ratings from friends. Did you ever see (and I'm seriously dating myself here) the Partridge Family episode where the older sister is substituting in Danny's class and in her effort not to be partial, she's hard on him? I think the same happened with my book. Not that I think a 4 star review is hard, not at all and I really, really appreciate every single review, I just think that the kind souls who read and loved my book without knowing me wrote more glowing reviews. I also wonder about my friends who love my book--did they love it because they love me?

So, I'm experimenting with A Ghost and asking for reviews from followers and friends I haven't necessarily met face to face. (Which might be very scary.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Stepping Up

My son, Jared, is a missionary in Taiwan. Every week he e-mails chastisement and general instruction on how we can improve our lives. We love hearing from him and since we’re imperfect we can always use a dollop of motivation. I’m still fretting over last week’s letter. Here’s the portion that kept me awake for a few nights.

Hello family!
This week was a blast!
Elder Hoer and I are having lots and lots of fun. We do a lot of hard stuff which is soo much fun. Our investigator is still smoking, and is not doing as well as he should be. Keeps getting answers to his prayers but then not following them. Why? Don't ever do that family. Don't ever ask God about something and then not do what you’re told. Pretty much just always do what you are told and you will be pretty well off. That's all Heavenly Father really asks for. Just do every single thing that you are told.

Having read his letter, I decided that I would pray and ask how I could increase my book sales. And a few more remarkable e-mails came. The first was from my author brother asking for marketing advice. (Check out his book on Amazon, Dennis Dickson) I came up with the idea of collaborating and doing joint book events. Yes, we’re totally different genres, but we’re both funny and I think we’ll be great together. Dennis loves the idea.

The second e-mail was from my sister-in-law who is serving as a CES missionary at UC Santa Barbara. I thought, if I can do this with Dennis, I can do this alone. GULP. And then I thought, I don’t want to do this.

I’m not a stand in front of people sort of gal. I used to be more of a sit on the back row, look invisible and make snarky comments sort, but then I was given enough speaking assignments that I learned to have compassion for the poor person standing in front. But that doesn’t mean I’ve ever wanted to take their place.

And then an almost immediate thought—if my books were selling the way I’d like, I’d never, ever agree to or seek out speaking events. So very, very true. And this thought was followed with the horrible thought that I might not sell another book if I don’t step things up.

So, now I’m speaking:
In church on Easter Sunday on the Atonement of Christ (I did NOT volunteer for this assignment, but I thought I’d mention it and invite anyone in the Rancho area who wanted to attend. 11 a.m. 30522 Vía Con Dios, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (949) 858-9867.

At the LDS Institute of Religion UC Santa Barbara—Understanding Our Divine Natures and Developing an Eternal Perspective. April 13th, 12 noon.

And no, I won’t be selling my books on either of those occasions.

Places where I hope to sell my books at events (I’m thinking libraries or independent bookstores) with my brother. I’ll be speaking on imagination and the creative process. I hope Dennis won’t talk about fish:

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Pasadena, CA
San Diego, CA
Bellevue, WA
Arlington, WA
Portland, OR

And with or without Dennis
Las Vegas, NV
Salt Lake City, UT
Boise, ID

As my husband said, there are some questions that you just shouldn’t ask because you really don’t want to know the answer. The lesson here is: do not ask if you don’t want to know.

As a side note, since I’ve made these commitments, a couple of totally unforeseen marketing opportunities that have nothing to do with standing in front of people have come my way. God is good.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Random Advice on Marriage and Housekeeping

My nephew once said that weddings and funerals are pretty much the same thing. In both cases, someone moves on (or out) and we never see them again. In general, I disagree with my nephew, but I do agree that weddings, funerals, and baby blessings all mark the beginning of a new life stage.

This morning while looking for the first novel I ever wrote (which my husband describes as the one where someone fell out of a tree—another blog post on plagiarizing past work) I came across a letter I wrote to my daughter shortly before her marriage. And then, because I was Relief Society president at the time and super busy, one Sunday I ended up using the letter for a lesson (I think a teacher cancelled at the last moment, I’m not sure. This wasn’t appropriate, I’m not saying that anyone should do this, ever, but I’m admitting that I did.) I received all sorts of feedback on my lesson, and since it obviously struck a chord in my women’s group, and since my darling Nathan is marrying Shirley, I thought I’d share it again. I called it Random Advice from Mom to Bethany on Marriage and Housekeeping.

Here are some of some things that I wish someone had told me 25 years ago.

Be unfailing cheerful. It’s actually a commandment from God. There’s almost an entire page of scripture references in the Bible’s topical guide that tell us to rejoice. Did you know that sadness was originally one of the seven deadly sins? Sins were ranked in order of seriousness: pride, envy, anger, sadness, avarice, gluttony and lust. It wasn’t until the 7th century that slothfulness replaced sadness. (I think it’s interesting that gluttony made the list before lust and that brings me to my second bit of advice.)

Never let your fridge become a science experiment. Clean it out once a week, preferably on trash day or the night before. This is so you won’t have rotting food and vermin rooting through your trash. (Which leads me to--)

Always have food in your house. It will prevent you from visiting the local fast food joint—which is often expensive, unhealthy and really not any faster than many things you can make at home. Learn to make double portions and freeze half for another, busy day. Make friends with a crock pot. Always have eggs and cheese—both will keep for a long time and omelets are filling. (Which leads me to--)

Go grocery shopping once a week. Make a menu and a list. Impulse buying can wreak havoc on your budget. Running to the store for milk can end up costing $50 and an hour you didn’t want to spend. Go regularly and if possible, alone. When the twins were little, I went at 5:30 a.m. It was just easier.

Have a cleaning schedule. For example, I clean my kitchen and pick up (this means I wander through the house putting things away and gathering trash) every day. I vacuum and dust on Monday and Wednesday. I do laundry and mop on Tuesdays and clean bathrooms on Thursdays. I grocery shop and do yard work on Fridays. Having a schedule simplifies my life and having a plan keeps me sane. Knowing that something will get done, maybe not today, but soon, relieves guilt.

Be nice to your neighbors, even the disagreeable ones. You will need a Mary and a Judy. Don’t upset them by being loud, messy or picky about where they park their cars. Lend them whatever they need. Accept that everyone has different definition of neighborly and many won't be interested in you or your family. A rare few may even go out of their way to be rude—that’s their issue—don’t take it personally and try and stay out of their space.

Pray as a family at meal time and always have at least one meal together as a family. Be as committed to this as you are to brushing your teeth. Even when Dad worked in LA and didn’t get home until after seven, we waited for him and ate dinner as a family.

Pray daily as a couple. Dad and I take turns and alternate annually. For example, this year Dad prays on all the odd days and I pray on the even days.

Always love and respect your in-laws—even when you don’t. They play an important role in your life. Embrace them, learn from them, accept them. Maybe you’ll vow to never be like them—that’s okay. They still taught you a lesson worth learning. Your in-laws can’t be avoided or removed (unless they’re dangerous to your children.)

Be generous and hospitable. Saint Paul tells us--Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2
Open your home to everyone and their dog. This will be a great blessing in your life.

Have your own friends and invest the time needed to maintain friendships. Encourage Brandon to have his own friends and interests. Don’t ever speak badly of Brandon to your friends and don’t listen to your friends complain about their husbands. If you have a problem with Brandon, talk to Brandon. If that doesn’t work (and sometime it won’t) talk to God. You’ll be prompted where to turn for help and solutions.

Have a set time for daily scripture study and exercise. Make and keep goals for both of these important daily activities. Don’t skip meals and don’t overeat. Sleep as much as you need—not more, not less.

And be happy. Rejoice. Remember, it’s a commandment.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Motivation

“We came to earth to learn how to control our bodies and our minds.” Mom Tate

I’m rereading Dennis Deaton’s The Book on Mind Management. I first heard Dr. Deaton speak at BYU’s Education Week. (I LOVE education week- I have a post about education week that you can read somewhere on this blog.) Anyway—love and highly recommend this book. If you need some motivation, read this book. If you don’t have the time, the money or the wherewithal to read his excellent book, here’s a few quotes for your motivational Monday.

“We alter our destiny by altering our thoughts.”
“The moment you start thinking differently, your world changes.”
“The power of thought is the power of creation. Thoughts exert direct effect upon your body, your behavior and even the external world around you.”
“You can alter circumstances and events at will by first creating a vision of what you want to have happen and then giving yourself permission to enact it.”
“Moment by moment, thought by thought, you author your own script.”
“The consummate truth of life is that we alter our destiny by altering our thoughts. The minds is our most crucial resource, our crowning asset, our ultimate battle arena. If we will master the power of our minds, we may do or be whatsoever we will.”

And a couple of more thoughts from a couple of more guys who seem to agree with Deaton.
“Thinking is the soul talking to itself.” Plato

I hold it true that thoughts are things;
They’re endowed with bodies, breath and wings;
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results, or ill.
That which we call our secret thought
Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,
Leaving its blessing or its woes
Like tracks behind it as it goes.
We build our future, thought by thought
For good or ill, yet know it nor.
Yet so the universe was wrought.

Henry Van Dyke

I’m not a follower of The Secret, by the way but I am devoted follower of Him that said, “As a man think in his heart, so is he.” And so today, as I start a new week, I’m asking myself—what am I thinking? (Sadly, not very much, or else I'd be working on my book.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Undeserved Carrots

I was what my swim teachers called a screamer--the little kid who sat on the beach during swim lessons and cried. My parents sent me to swim lessons for years and I still don’t swim. Not really. We have a boat and love spending our summers on a lake (sunny lakes.) My daughter was captain of her high school swim team. All my children took swim lessons and swam for the Rancho Santa Margarita Dolphins, but in my heart, I’m still the little kid, the screamer, sitting at the water’s edge. (To be fair, I grew up in Washington and the lessons were held at Lake Goodwin…in the rain. Anyone sane in a bathing suit, in the rain, at the beach has a perfectly good reason to cry.)

One particularly uninspired teacher threw me in the lake, giving me a motivation to swim (and an increased hatred of swimming lessons.) We all find our motivation differently. As an adult, I still don’t like being thrown in to anything. I’m more of a carrot and stick person. Actually, more of a carrot person. No one works well under a stick.

I like to make goals and promise myself rewards (carrots, although not actual carrots. Carrots themselves aren’t really all that incentivizing.) Doesn’t everyone do this? Are they one hundred percent successful? In October I made a writing goal—I would write 7-10 pages a day, six days a week. I couldn’t do it. Over long presidency meetings, dental appointments. Failing at my goal was sucking all the joy out of my writing and so I set my goals on the side of the road and just kept walking, enjoying the time I spent writing, loving my characters, being in thankful awe for the ideas.
Now it’s March. I’ve made lofty goals and I’m meeting every one of them. Blowing them out of the water, in fact. What’s the difference? I’m not sure.

October wasn’t the first time I’ve set a goal aside. (Not by any means. My life is littered with unmet goals.) Once when I was training for an upcoming race I went to Arlington to help celebrate my step-mother’s birthday. Visiting my parents is wonderful for many reasons, but not for training. For one thing, my dad’s favorite restaurant is an all you can eat buffet called Jumbos. (Real name.) So, I packed my work-out clothes and made myself a promise that if I could stay on schedule with my training over the dangerous weekend that I’d buy myself new exercise clothes when I returned home.

Friday night: an evening at Jumbos where I practiced moderation and iron clad restraint. Set my alarm for 5:30 am and went to bed.

Saturday morning, predawn: I woke to rain. No matter. I’d grown up running in the rain. I slipped from my bed and put on my running clothes. No shoes. I realized my sneakers must be in the trunk of my sister’s car. I dashed through the rain, barefoot. The car is locked. I returned to the house drenched. I searched for my sister’s purse and keys and then realized it must be in her room. Wake her up? There’s lightning and thunder and my sister is still snoring. I went to my room and promised myself that I’d run later.

Later never happened. Aunts, uncles, cousins, visiting—I could have excused myself, braved the rain and fulfilled my goal, but I didn’t. I didn’t feel badly about my choice, but I also knew that I didn’t deserve new exercise clothes. Unmet goal—no reward. Simple, really.

I returned home on a pink bag day. Pink bag days happen about once a month. In our neighborhood, a local charity places pink bags on our doorsteps and the neighbors fill the bags with donations to the charity. I love pink bag days and I was scouring the house for donations when I came across an unopened Christmas present in the back of a closet. I took it to my husband and asked if he knew anything about it.“I wondered where that went!” he said. “It’s for you.”

I opened it and found brand new exercise clothes for me. I took away many lessons from this experience, but the one I’m trying to keep in mind that sometimes, even if the goal isn’t met, the blessings can still come. I still write. I’m still in love with my characters. I’m still awestruck by the ideas that come. I can always run tomorrow.

But, sometimes it rains and sometimes I have to go to the dentist. And that’s okay. No need to sit on the beach and cry.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I love and highly recommend Wendy Watson Nelson’s book CHANGE YOUR QUESTIONS CHANGE YOUR LIFE. The book “invites us to pause and reflect on the different kinds of questions we can ask and the remarkable ways new questions can help us solve old problems.”

Today I focused on chapter two and it’s questions—but really just two questions. How different would my life be if I discovered that my problem was actually a solution to another problem? Could it be that I’m willing to sacrifice my health, my happiness and my goals by hanging onto this problem so that someone else or some other relationship can benefit?And I realized that for me the answers to those questions are yes. Sad, but true.

Wendy says: Until I can find another way to_______ through______I will continue to sacrifice my_______ (goals, happiness, health, relationships).

So, now armed with that knowledge, what can I do? And that led me to more of Wendy’s questions.

What is another, less destructive, more positive way that I can (you’re supposed to fill in the blank here, but for me the blank is) interact so that I can stop my problem RIGHT NOW?

And that led to the very best questions of all: What if I woke up tomorrow and a miracle had occurred and my problem was gone? How would I know? What would be different? What would I do?

I liked the answers to these questions so much I decided to answer the miracle questions. Right Now. I can live as if the questions have already been answered. It might not always be easy and I’m wondering if there might be some old, tired relationships that I need to rethink or rebalance, but I know I can do this. I’ve found some answers.

So, if you have questions, I recommend CHANGE YOUR QUESTIONS CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Please feel free to ask me tomorrow if I’m living my miracle answers.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Financial Fridays- Thank you, Jordan and George

I belong to a wonderful online group of writers called Author’s Incognito and Jordan McCollum the Education Director organized what she called March-a-thon. Here’s her bit:

Welcome to the March-A-Thon!* I am so excited to rekindle the kind of camaraderie we see around Nano time. It's hard work, but knowing there are hundreds or even just dozens of other writers slogging along with you makes it feel like you're not toiling alone (because you're not!).

We all lead busy lives, balancing our writing time with school, family, work, church and more. But I really do believe we can work better together, encouraging one another to move forward.

Today is day one of this awesome journey. We're all on different paths, or different places on the same path, but when we support one another, we're unified (and I think we've all had at least one good Sunday School/Institute/Religion class on how powerful unity is!).

I am so excited to hit my targets this month--but *even more excited to be doing it with you*. We work on writing all year long, but when we work * together*, we know we're not alone.

If you haven't set your lofty goals yet, *do it now*. Where do you dream of being in 31 days? Can you make that dream a reality?

So, a huge THANK YOU to Jordon for the motivation and encouragement. Here’s my March writing goals. Feel free to share yours.

At least three blog posts a week. Monday’s Menus, Wednesdays Workouts, Financial Fridays. * Rhyme’s Library-- 20 pages of revisions a week (Thursdays mornings and afternoons)* Losing Penny-- 2000 words a day four days a week (10-12am, 1-3pm)

And what does this have to with Finances or Health? Everything. Goals really can be applied in any area of your life and the beauty of a good goal is that it spills over and blesses not only you, but everyone around you. Think about it, when you’re healthy you’re better able to serve. When you’re finances are in order, you can bless others because you know what you can and can’t afford. And when you’ve made your writing goals—you can share your stories with others. And isn’t that what Jesus did? (No, I’m not saying that anything I’m going to write should be canonized and no, I’m not making an elaborate not excuse to clean my bathrooms...well maybe)

Anyway, if you have some goals, feel free to share and if you need some motivation, here’s some words of wisdom:

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire: you will what you imagine: and at last you create what you will.
George Bernard Shaw

For more on goals, please visit my companion blog.