Monday, June 29, 2009

I Don't Judge You, So Don't Judge Me!

Do you ever have times when someone judges you for something when they have no clue what you are dealing with? Do you ever have times when you judge others because of what you think you 'see' or what you think you 'know,' only to find out you don't really know anything, and what you 'see' isn't really what you think you see?
How often we judge others without even knowing that person, and how often we judge even when we do!

Due to some major personal experiences over the past several years, I have learned some very important lessons on judging. My motto is "Until I have walked a mile in someone's shoes other than my own, I will never understand what is going on inside that person, and why try on their shoes when I have more than enough of my own to wear?"

I found some neat little quotes on judging that we would all do well to try and live by. I know I'm going to:-)

"We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows their own pain and renunciation. It is one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it is another to think that yours is the only path."
Paulo Coelho
"No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person's enemies say about him."
Napoleon Hill
"When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
"Good judgment is learned by experience. Experience is learned by bad judgment."

Have a great day!

Suggested Reading

Book: Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"
Author: Cameron Dokey

The Book
Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one's true love.During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood -- and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.
Belle can be found at your local bookstore or on

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This morning I found some really neat quotes on perseverance. I hope they add to your day and give you the extra push or lift you need:-)

Fulfillment is reaching your own expectations, not the expectations of others.

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
Vincent Van Gogh

Some people grin and bear it; others smile and do it.

Someone has defined genius as intensity of purpose: the ability to do, the patience to wait... Put these together and you have genius, and you have achievement.
Leo J. Muir

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
Thomas Edison

Suggested Reading

Book: Born For Thorton's Sake
Author: Marcia Lynn McClure

The Book
HE WAS THE ONLY MAN SHE HAD EVER DREAMED OF BELONGING TO. THE ONLY MAN SHE HAD EVER WANTED. Maria Castillo Holt.the only daughter of a valiant Lord and his Spanish beauty. Following the tragic deaths of her parents, Maria would find herself spirited away by conniving kindred in an endurance of neglect and misery. However, rescued at the age of thirteen by Brockton Thorton, the son of her father's devoted friend, Lord Richard Thorton, Maria would at last find blessed reprieve. Further, the heir to Lord Thorton's title, Brockton Thorton became from that day forth, ever the absolute center of Maria's very existence. And as the day of her sixteenth birthday dawned, Maria's dreams of owning her heart's desire, seemed to become a blissful reality. Yet a fiendish plotting intruded, and Maria's hopes of realizing her dreams come true were locked away within dark, impenetrable walls. Would Maria's dreams of life with the handsome and coveted Brockton Thorton die at the hands of a demon strength?

This is one of my favorite books by Marcia. Truthfully, she hasn't written a book I don't love, and I've read all of her at least a dozen times:-)
When your in the mood for a light-hearted romance, you can't go wrong with Marcia's books!
Born For Thorton's Sake is available on and

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why Not Call It "Dad's Day?"

Why is the day we celebrate our dads called Father's Day instead of Dad's Day? The reason I pose the question is because I always think of the saying, "Any man can be a father, but it takes a special one to be a dad." One title just involves biology, and the other involves the heart. There are some pretty special dads out there in the world and some pretty not-so-special fathers. That goes for moms, too.

I did not meet my biological father until I was thirteen, and I didn't really begin to know him until right before his death. I loved my father, but he wasn't really a dad. I never had the opportunity to witness him being a dad.
Then I watch my husband with our children. He sometimes worries that he isn't a good enough dad, but he gives himself far too little credit. The love I witness daily between him and our children makes him the best dad in the world, and I think our children would agree.

So, I say Mother's Day and Father's Day should be changed to Mom's Day and Dad's Day (except when we are talking about our Heavenly Father.)
What do you think?
Happy Dad's Day, from my home to yours:-)

Suggested Viewing

Movie: The Champ

Jon Voight plays Billy Flynn, an ex-champion boxer who was KO'd by booze and gambling. When the wealthy, estranged mother of Flynn's young son begins trying to lure the boy away from him, Flynn must return to the ring to provide for his child.

I saw this movie back in 1979 and I've watched it a few times since then, and there is no way you can view this without crying your eyes out. It's definitely a classic.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kennison's Gifts

I had the privilege of reading an amazing novel this week. The book was one of the most beautiful and poetic pieces of work I've ever read, and it stayed with me long after I finished it. It's like a story within a story and it's absolutely beautiful.

The book is Kennison's Gifts and the author is W. David Tibbs.

The Book
Ken Kennison is not his real name. His drug-addicted parents sell him to an unscrupulous lawyer while he is still an infant. But cruel fate intervenes, and Kenny spends the next seventeen years of his life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. With every new home and family, Kenny seeks the care and love that every child needs-and that most take for granted. But instead, he receives only variations of physical and mental abuse.
Teen-aged Kenny finds a journal, and as he travels in search of his past, he records his observations, mostly in poetic prose. Despite his troubled childhood, Kenny remains a good person, and at the end of his life, he is granted a special gift.
Years later, Will Healy, a successful young author, learns of Kenny's gift and how it has dramatically changed his life. But the best is yet to come.

David has been gracious enough to tell us about himself and his book.

Me: David, tell us a little about yourself.

David: I was born the youngest of twelve in Middletown, a small city between Cincinnati and Dayton, in Southwestern Ohio. I grew up very poor but very happy; my childhood friends and I were like Tom Sawyer, Huck Fin, and the Little Rascals all rolled into one.

Middletown has produced some very successful people, of which I am not one. To name just a few, there is Jerry Lucas, and Butch Carter of pro basketball fame. Then Butch Carter’s brother, Chris who was an all pro wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings. And though we did not know each other, I went to high school with Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize winner, and nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

We did not know each other because I was a dunce, and Page is quite intelligent. After all, school and I did not fair well together. Especially onerous to my imaginative little brain was math—didn’t get it then—don’t get it now. As embarrassing as it is for me to admit being able to handle little more than rudimentary mathematical calculations, my face turns scarlet as I profess my total failure at learning my native language.

Me: What made you decide to become a writer?

Well, I had just worked twenty years as a maintenance man in a paper mill in Middletown when part of the mill was shutdown and I lost my job. However, without missing a beat, I landed a sales engineer job with a multinational corporation. This job put me into coat and tie and had me on the road five days a week. Being away from my wife and kids, I was lonely and bored most of the time. My wife, I’m sure just to quiet my whining, suggested that since I was always telling our kids stories from my life, why not write a book.

So, I started writing at about the age of forty-two or so. Now, I was a reader of novels, but I hadn’t a clue how to write one myself, so I bought lots of books on the subject. My favorites were the Writer’s Digest, The Elements of Fiction Writing series. And I recommend them to anyone who wants to learn how to write fiction. Anyway, I studied hard, took one class, joined a few writers’ groups, and learned everything I could. Still, I don’t really claim to know much about the craft of fiction writing—guess I’ll just have to let readers decide my fate on that score.

Me: Tell us about Kennison's Gifts. what gave you the idea for the story?

David: I know that what I say first is going to upset some people, but here goes. By that I mean writing is not my passion, I don't feel compelled to do it, and in many ways I don't even enjoy the process. However, that being said, I’ve always been a story teller and came to writing because I was bored, and my wife suggested that since I was always telling stories, I should try writing some.

That being said, writing Kennison’s Gifts was truly something special, and I might even say mystical. Every time I went to research something for the story, I ran in to something else that intrigued me, and fit right into the story. Coincidence, dumb luck, fate? I don’t know, but there was something, or someone guiding me towards these things … at least my wife thinks so.

In the back of the book, in the Author’s Note, I included the story of how I came up with the original idea for Kennison’s Gifts. That’s the truth, but it took me several years to actually begin to write the story, and many more years to finish it. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”. Or, as we generally say, “There is a time for everything.” So, I guess it was time for Kennison’s story to be told … and I just happened to be the conduit. Lee Stringer, someone that I admire greatly, though I’ve only met him through his book, “Grand Central Winter,” said writing to him was like taking dictation; like shaking hands with God. That’s the way it was for me while writing Kennison’s Gifts; “Like shaking hands with God”. The Lord works in mysterious ways, huh?

Me: Do you have any projects you are working on?

David: I have so many projects going they make my head spin. Now, how many of those are worth talking about … well that’s another question altogether. Actually, I’m over two-thirds finished with my Twin Flames manuscript. This story was inspired by a picture I have of my oldest brother Gene, who was killed in Korea in 1951, when I was only four years old.

In the opening chapter, an army major named, Bran Kavanagh suffers an unsuspected heart attack and has a near death experience. His NDE is similar to the one I had back in 1968, the one where your spirit seems to float above the room, and you can see your dying body below. However, when my character looks down into the face below, it isn’t his face, but is rather the face of a dying soldier in Vietnam. When the major recovers, he has lost some of his earlier memories, and those have been replaced by snippets of this other dying soldier’s memories. He continues to have this other fellows dreams, and sets out to discover who the soldier was. Hopefully I will finish Twin Flames for publication in early 2010.

I am also working on a series novella with an investigator named Ezra Pound (same as the American imagist poet. The first book is titled, “The Obese Connection”. There is more, but I shan’t bore you further.

David is a great guy and I appreciate him allowing us to get to know him better. He's a very gifted writer and his book is one you'll definitely want to read again and again.
Get your copy of Kennison's Gifts from

Monday, June 1, 2009

When Hearts Conjoin

This week I had the privilege of reading a wonderful book called When Heats Conjoin by Erin Marie Herrin and Lu Ann Staheli. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Lu Ann and I'm excited to share her comments and give you the chance to get to know her better.

Me: Lu Ann, tell us a little about yourself.

Lu Ann: I’m a born and bred Hoosier. I grew up in Smalltown, U.S.A., literally. Alexandria, Indiana, was nicknamed Smalltown U.S.A. in a propaganda booklet issued during World War II meant to promote rural America as a great place to live. The nickname stuck. I was raised in my parent’s camera shop, and from the time I could walk I was helping out at the store. I sold lots of cameras because people figured if that Poloroid or Kodak camera was easy enough for a little girl to figure out, then so could they.

I graduated from Indiana University, taught English for five years in Rockville then moved to Utah in 1983. I started working at Payson Jr. High School in 1984, and met my husband-to-be there in 1993 when he was hired as a substitute teacher. I knew the first day I met him that I was going to marry him. It took him about 18 months for him to figure it out. We have five adopted sons, ages 9 to 19.

Me: What got you into writing?

Lu Ann: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I learned early on that a well-written paper could earn me a good grade in school, even if I didn’t really know what I was talking about. I crafted some incredible papers in college, I guess, because I earned A’s on papers about books I hadn’t read, concepts I hadn’t understood, and discussions I hadn’t attended. What I discovered was that writing is one of my passions. The other one is reading, but they do go hand in hand, wouldn’t you agree?

I used to say that I was going to grow up to be a writer, but my mother told me I needed to get a real job. I ended up as an English Education major at Indiana University where I could spend all my time reading and writing without feeling guilty. For the past thirty years, I’ve shared those passions with my students and I’ve seen many of them adopt those same passions in their lives.

But being a writer was always my real dream and I knew I had to actually pursue it. When I moved to Utah, I joined the League of Utah Writers and began to learn about the submission process, query letters, finding leads, etc. I became a stringer for several local newspapers doing concert and movie reviews, and even covering the women’s basketball games at UVSC for a season.

With a few credits under my belt, I was ready to try some new venues. I went to work for Alan Osmond Productions and started writing press releases, newsletters, and the scripts for Stadium of Fire shows. I wrote articles for national publications, including Grit, Scouting, and the Church News. Every experience gave me more confidence and the extra money was nice as well.
Now, I’m ready to try just about anything, as my current project list proves.

Me: I loved When Hearts Conjoin. It was one of the most touching stories I've ever read and I couldn't put it down. Tell us about it. How did you come about writing this amazing story?

Lu Ann: When Hearts Conjoin is the true story of the Herrin family and their daughters Kendra and Maliyah who were born conjoined in 2002. Told through the voice of their mother, readers have the opportunity to go into the heart of this family as they struggled with the decision to bring these little girls into the world, see them face separation surgery, and undergo a kidney transplant for Maliyah. It’s truly a story of a mother’s courage, and it’s because of Erin that I had the opportunity to write this story.

I teach writing classes for WriteWise, a business owned and operated by New York Times Best-selling author Richard Paul Evans. I was presenting at a conference where the participants were practicing their 30-second pitch for the book they wanted to write when I heard Erin tell about her story. Of course, because I live in Utah I had heard about the Herrin twins almost since they were born. When Erin gave her pitch, I thought, “Wow! I wish I could write that book,” but they already had someone else who was working on it. Little did I know that less than a year and three attempts by other authors to put the story to paper that I would actually have that chance.

Rick and his assistant Karen Christofferson approached me about taking over the Herrin project, I wrote a sample chapter, Erin loved it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Me: Do you have any other writing projects in the works? If so, tell us about them.

Lu Ann: I have so many writing projects underway that it’s crazy sometimes to think about them. I am currently working on three biography projects with entertainers Alan Osmond, David Osmond, and Jim Karol. In addition, I have two new film script projects I’m writing. I had two previous scripts optioned last year, and one of them is currently in pre-production. I’ve not given up my dream of publishing fiction, so I have three novels in various stages of draft, and I have four completed middle grade and young adult novels that I’ve been shopping to editors and agents. I continue to write magazine articles and I’m ready to return from hiatus in my newspaper column as well. I’m sure by tomorrow, I’ll have a dozen more projects underway, or at least on the idea chart I keep for my next projects. I once told my mother that I wanted to grow up to be a bum. I figured it would be kind of nice just to lie around, doing nothing all day. What I’ve discovered is that I’m really an over-achiever and work-a-holic, but some days I take on that bum personae and give myself an entire day to lie around and read a good book. Just not today!

Me: Well, it sounds like you're keeping pretty busy. You're a Superwoman:-)
Thanks so much for letting us get to know you better and for the opportunity to get to know Erin through her story.

Lu Ann: Thanks for your kind words about When Hearts Conjoin and for letting me be a part of your blog. If people want to buy a copy of the book, they can be ordered online at Proceeds from the book sales go to a medical trust for Kendra and Maliyah Herrin.