Manic Motherhood at it's FINEST!!

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"
click the volcano for the due explanation
"In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." — Gordon B. Hinckley
Exaggeration is the spice of life

Book I am Currently Reading: Peter and The Shadow Thief

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hyperbole - I'm more thankful for this than anything else, ever. ;)

Today I'm thankful for hyperbole, without which my ENTIRE LIFE would be a GIANT BALL OF BORING language.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Public Restrooms.

I'm thankful for public restrooms and stores that have several of them. This is because of my multiple children who always have to go at different times, and my bladder, which has been pregnant 5 times, and all you moms out there know what that means.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm Not Brave.

I just finished reading The Help.

I love to read books that tackle difficult situations and bring attention to both the humanity and inhumanity of people. I might be able to chalk that up to my AP English teacher from high school. We all called her "Mama Squires" and were used to her regularly spewing from her pulpit "What is the meaning of life? SUFFERING!" I've always had a habit of looking to the other side and trying to see it from the "other' point of view, but she cultivated that habit.

"Mama Squires" books, as I like to call them, always make me think. They make me think about myself and my family, and what kind of person I am.

About 2 years ago, my tears stained the pages of a book called The Book Thief. It's about Christian Germans in the Holocaust, and the way that they suffered and feared and hid and shut their mouths out of fear.  It's a unique look at the other side from the viewpoint of Death. The ones we forget about while we're focused on the horrifying suffering of the Jews in the concentration camps. It's a look at the people who were just doing what they could and saying what they had to to protect their families. It's full of cruelty and blood and anger and violence. It's also full of family closeness, and charity and compassion and kindness.

The Help has become a movie recently, and has a lot of attention. It's written from the point of view of three different women. One is a young, educated white woman, the other two are black maids all during the integration controversy of the 1960's in Mississippi.  It's full of hate on both sides. Intolerance on both sides. It's full of violence and lack of choice, and the panicked feeling of being stuck, and just simple, sheer ignorance. Again, though,  it's also full of compassion and change and understanding.

And I wonder: What kind of person am I? Am I brave enough to refuse to join the Nazi Party? Am I brave enough to throw bread to the passing Jewish chain gang who are starving and wasting away? Am I brave enough to hide a Jewish person in my home and/or help them escape? Am I brave enough not to just sit with my mouth closed about unfairness going on against someone of a different race? Am I brave enough that I would have gone against what I had been taught my whole life and think for myself about what is right and wrong? Would I be brave enough to do something dangerous in the name of making someone else's life better? Am I brave enough to make an effort even though it might flop and harm a lot of people despite it's noble intention?

When I was young, I thought I was. I have always been outspoken. It gets me into trouble. I like to think of myself as open minded and modern in my views, and my parents taught me tolerance. I was in 3rd grade when I read Number the Stars and imagined myself as the main character and I was sure that I wasn't afraid of them. That they could kill me if they wanted to, but I would never let them think that I believed in what they were doing. I don't remember how old I was when I saw Corina Corina with Whoopie Goldberg and couldn't for the life of me understand the black/white controversy. My mother tried to explain. I just didn't get it. Race and Religion aside, would I be brave enough to stand up for women's rights, and my right to vote, to own land, to hold a job? Would I march along with those who were brave enough to speak out? I have read some awful stories about the interrogations and tortures that my fore mothers were put through to earn my rights for me.

I know now, though. I am NOT brave. I was very sorely mistaken. I have children now. And I would give my life to save them. And I'd probably very likely give someone else's life to save them too. That means, for me, that if I were a Christian in Nazi Germany, I'd join the Nazi party and keep my mouth shut, all the while praying for it to pass and for my children to not starve. My heart would break as I sobbed and told the hiding Jew through my tears that I could not hide them, I had babies to protect. I would grind my teeth in effort not to say anything while other people said racist things about people of a different race, because the truth is, there was nowhere to hide, and the damage, legal or illegal, could be done in a matter of minutes.

I am blessed today to live in a country and time where I am not afraid for my life to speak about anything I want to, be that politically or morally or religiously or whatever. However, the fears that plague me within that state of mind that I enter while deeply engaged in a  "Mama Squires" book are very pliable and real. It wasn't long ago that those fears were thriving. I have living grandparents that dealt with them. My own realization frightens me. I WANT to be that better, self sacrificing person. It seems ideal to do the right thing, even though it puts your children in danger, so that they can see goodness in something terrible and what is right when everything is wrong. But it's just not that easy to do what you know is right when you  have little eyes watching you, and you know that their safety is the first thing that you should take care of.

I DO know that I would never be the one who painted slurs on any doorways, or spit at anyone, or treated them badly.  I know that I would never perpetuate the bad behaviors or the ignorance. And maybe, in some ways, that makes me just as bad as the ones who did those things.

And honestly, I can't help but wonder what will be the next thing that we are afraid to voice out loud.  What will it be that terrifies me out of doing the WHOLE right thing so that I can protect them? I hope I never ever have to find out.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hunger Games

I'm late. I'm always late when it comes to the most current literature. I resist in order to get reviews from friends I trust. If you look at my book accounts on such sites as Good Reads and Audible, nearly everything I have read has 4-5 stars. That might make me seem easy to please, but the truth about it is, if I don't like a book, if I can't get into it, then I put it down and rarely pick it back up.

As a student, I read anything and everything. I once had a 6th grade teacher- not my favorite woman, but that's another story- who thought it would be fun to go around the room one day during our free time and announce what she thought of us as people. Some of the children she said she would never leave alone in her house, or that she would want to spend all day with them or, or, or....for some, it was obvious, for others, it was embarrassing. I knew she didn't like me, so when it was "my turn", she said "Brae, I think I could trust you with anything, but if I wanted anything done, I'd have to take any readable material out of the house because you'd just sit and read, read, read all day long." I don't know what her intent behind it was, really, but I was elated. I took it as a great compliment.

Indeed, I carried up to five books of all different genres with me at any given moment throughout my junior high and into the college years. I was never without a story. It didn't really matter if I cared about the characters or the plot or if I was interested. I prided myself on starting what I finished.

Now-a-days, though, I've got four kids, and one on the way, and while I am still an avid reader (read: Audio book listener.) I don't have time in my life to waste on things that I don't enjoy. That doesn't mean they're bad books, that they're not important or that they aren't well written. It just means I'm disinterested. And so, I wait until I hear enough about a book to know if it's "up my ally" so to speak. Not to mention,
Your Writing is Only as Good as the Last Book you Read.

I didn't read Twilight until 2010 because I grew up on Anne Rice and the "original" good vampire, Louis, whom I was in love with already. However, a dear friend of mine promised I would love them. I did enjoy them. I read them all in a weekend. But I am not now, nor will I ever be a crazy, sparkly Twilight activist.

When the same group of friends who recommended the mediocre Twilight started to recommend The Hunger Games, I sort of rolled my eyes and expected to maybe read it someday. I actually picked the books  (audio) up this last February when I finished the last published book of The Wheel of Time series and needed something life changing to take my mind off the emptiness that happened when I closed the pages, so to speak (those were audio too) on some of the oldest and best friends I've ever had. Since we already had it in our audio library, and I didn't happen to have money to spend, I started them. And I sobbed my way through a weekend of cleaning and listening. My house glittered like Edward Cullen.

I was also late seeing the movie, but that has more to do with being a mom of four with a husband that works 2 jobs out of town and pretty much being alone all the time..oh, yeah...and pregnant than it does with anything else. I did see it this weekend when the redbox miraculously had it in (and it's still sitting there on my tv. I swear, the cheapest way to rent a movie is often the most expensive when it comes to my family.)

Well, I saw it and I really liked it. Of course, the book was better. But aren't they always?

You can bet your sweet bippy, though, that I will NEVER pick up 50 Shades of Grey, and I want to make it perfectly clear that the baby in my belly is NOT part of the "50 Shades baby boom" that apparently is happening here.  The same Twilight/Hunger Games friends are starting to recommend those too. But I don't read illiterature. I hope to hell they never make a movie out of that one.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Your Writing is Only as Good as the Last Book You Read.

Sometimes I fear that this incantation means that, since I'm a mom of 4 little ones, the best I can expect from myself is the likes of  Fancy Nancy, PJ Funny Bunny, Frank Was A Monster Who Wanted To Dance, and The Spooky Old Tree. Blessedly, though, that isn't what this means. As a writer, you probably understand, as I do, that reading is so very important to your children and silly books like these are meant to develop that love.

What it does mean for you, though, is that you need to be reading things on your own time that are beyond the 1st grade reading level of Pinkalicious. Now, I'm a busy mom and I absolutely understand the lack of time. If you are a working mom, you have your job on top of housework and children. If you stay at home, you can't just read all day and ignore your babies and your housework. Everyone's got to eat, and you have to cook that too. Well, this might just be my opinion, but I believe that  a lot of my writer friends share it: TRY AUDIO BOOKS. They are the same as reading, and while you might worry about paying attention, I will promise that it's not as hard to focus on the story as you might imagine. The last book I actually picked up and read was The Book Thief, and that was nearly 3 years ago. My house went unkempt and my children unbathed for 3 days. Before that, it was Twilight. In one year, though, I have "read" over 30 ground-moving books on audio, and my life is the better for it. (I listen while I'm cleaning, I listen while I'm driving, and if I grocery shop alone, I listen while I shop.)

Writing as well as you read isn't just about reading though. For a child, reading whatever they're interested in is a good thing because it's fostering a love of reading. Assuming you're an adult and have a fluent grasp on reading the English language, it's important for you to choose books that reflect your own age, maturity, and the type of writing you would like to crate on your own. It does not mean that if you write science fiction, for example, that it is only acceptable for you to read science fiction. Indeed, it's important to read many genres and expand your horizons. Learning about new subjects only expands your expertise and might, in fact, give you something other writers don't have, and that makes you unique. Being unique is something that every writer must have in order to be remembered.

On the topic of variety, let me give you a tip: stash a book in every place where you might be caught waiting. I listen to my long books on audio, but I also keep other things stashed throughout the house. It's a little bit embarrassing to admit, but I am a crazy fanatic of the DC comic "Elf Quest", and I have an Elf Quest graphic novel stashed in my downstairs bathroom. In my upstairs bathroom, during the summer time, I have my favorite summer book Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, which is replaced by Something Wicked This Way  Comes, also by Ray Bradbury, in the fall. At the moment, I have two books in my purse. One is my notebook for writing down ideas, quotes and conversation snippets or observations in my travels, and one is The Princess Bride. Yes, I have read them all multiple times, but that just means that I won't get confused or lost or mind too much if I have to read them in short intervals. But it keeps  my mind working, imagining, and creating. Also, in the evening, after we read several children's books like the ones mentioned in the first paragraph, I read a chapter of a novel to my children. Right now, we are working on the Chronicles of Narnia. We are half way through A Horse and his Boy.

In addition to that, we read the scriptures daily. Scriptures, be it the Book of Mormon, the Bible, Torah, or any other religious book, I feel is pretty pertinent to any writer, religious or not. Ancient lore and myth were once someones religion, and one day, current religion may very well be considered lore or myth. Religion, or even religious undertones are one way that a writer can put symbolism into their writing and connect with their readers. Yes, you can create your own symbolism, but if you're writing in the historical fiction/nonfiction genre, you'll want to know your facts.

On the whole, though, we're talking about quality. Beware the "trends". Crap is still crap, even if  many of your friends recommend it. Of course, this works two ways. Your friends might recommend some wonderful insights. You will need to hone this realization in the same way a character in a book might hone their magic skills. Have you trusted a friend in the past who talked about how amazing a book was, and you read it only to discover a shallow plot, forced characters, and a cliche ending? Well, maybe she was wrong once, and once only. So, maybe don't discount her immediately, but if this is a recurring trend, just say thanks, and find your reading material elsewhere. On the other hand, if you have a friend (I am blessed to  have multiple) who continually offer you what I like to call life-changing or earth-shattering books that leave you laughing, in tears, or connected to the characters in such ways that you simply must refer to them as "old friends" (I do this with the characters from Robert Jordan and Brandon Sandersen's Wheel Of Time series) then you've got a great reference, and you should nearly always trust their judgement.

In essence,  you write what you read, and if you only read crap, your writing will be crap. But if you read excellence, thus will be your writing.

***For a list of some of MY favorite books, please visit my bookshelf on Good Reads by clicking the icon on my right sidebar! I will NEVER steer you wrong!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thursday's Writer's Prompt- A Vice I Can't Let Go Of

Thursday's Writer's Prompt

A Vice I Can't Let Go Of

Now, first thing's first: I am NOT a liar. As a matter of fact, I sometimes impress (and shock) myself with how  honest I can be. 

But, I have a flair for the dramatic. I'd like to think I am a natural story teller, and that this vice I have really just amplifies my abilities. I feel that "exaggeration is the spice of life."

I am an exaggerator. In my world,  this spider

becomes this spider:
and this mess

becomes this mess:

And my battered and bruised  (but generally okay) heart (ego):

becomes something ripped from my chest, thrown on the floor and stomped on until it's  a bloody pulp: 

This is probably not the WORST little tidbit about myself I could offer. Rarely does my exaggeration hurt anyone, and like I said, it's not lying...not exactly. 

And really, though my exaggerated descriptions of heated arguments, and people who I despise can leave me seething even though they're not worth the trouble, my vice has it's good points too. 

this humor:

becomes THIS humor:

This much love: 

becomes this much love:

And that, my friends, is that. 

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday WITH LINKY!!! (ANNNND Giveaway!!!!)

Wordless Wednesday- LINK UP BELOW!
Lilly's "Fairy Princess" hairdoo and cute new dress/jacket on Sunday


I Am Happy 
Children's CD Giveaway!

I ALWAYS love music, and it's a privilege to get to review any of it on my blog. This time, I have the pleasure of presenting "I Am Happy" by Sukey Molloy

I get to announce, now, that both my children and I thoroughly enjoyed this CD. All the songs were upbeat, funny, and/or encouraged activity, such as the first song on the CD "I Put My Scarf On My Head", which tells you to put your scarf on various parts of your body. All the songs encourage imagination as well, and for the whole length of the CD (40 minutes), my children ran around the room, dancing to this lovely music! 

I also think that this CD would be a great addition to ANY preschool teacher or homeschooler's collection. 

Recommended for children ages 2-5, I think it goes beyond that, and even older kids will enjoy it!!! 

Please enter the Rafflecopter below to enter to win!!! Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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