The world is full of people, and each person is carrying a
load of memories, experiences, and concerns that make them see the world
differently from you. Even when a person was raised in the same house and has
the same parents and attended the same church and school, they’re going to
approach the world differently from you.
In fact, even you are going to see things differently
tomorrow than you will today. So, given that we can’t even count on ourselves
to behave in a consistent, normal manner, how do we deal? Here are a few
Give up on normal. Nobody is normal. In fact, if
someone was normal—we’d find them odd. And boring. Celebrate that everyone is
unique and therefore, everyone has something to teach us. Whether you’re
learning that you want to be like them, or that you don’t want to make their
mistakes, everyone is a teacher. And if you’re open, you can be the student.
Recognize that you aren’t everyone’s favorite
flavor of ice cream. Not everyone is going to appreciate your quirkiness. That’s
okay. Actually, that’s good, because they are one less person you have to
devote your energy to. Don’t stew over why they may or may not want to sit at
your table and laugh at your jokes. Let them go and find their own crowd.
Let people grow up. Just because your little sister
used to gallop around, toss her hair like it was a mane, answer questions with
a neigh, and act like a pony twenty years ago, that doesn’t mean she’s going to
embarrass you today. (Although, she might.) But we need to allow people to grow
up and out of their immaturities…or accept them even when they don’t.
Be a buffalo and brave the storms. When buffalos
see an approaching storm, they run into it, while cows run away. But because cows
are notoriously slow, they stay in the storm longer…and they don’t live as long
as the brave buffalos. This is a great analogy on how to handle conflict in an
important relationship. Learn how to have those crucial conversations. Say what
needs to be said. Be honest.
Lean into your emotions, but don’t be dominated
by them. When someone close to you hurts you (and they will) or when you hurt
them (and you will), sit with the emotion, study it, and observe it before you
react. Ask yourself, what can I do with this? Where do I want this relationship
to go? Who do I want to be?
Always be the hero of your story. Don’t play the
victim. Try not to be the villain (although, sometimes that might happen, even
when you don’t want it to.) Every moment of every day, you’re writing your life
story. Make it a good one. Fill it with colorful characters. Be the hero who is
not only saving herself but doing her best to help those around her write their
own very best life stories.
And when it all get’s too
exhausting, find a good book, curl up in a corner with a cup of cocoa, and take
a breather until you’re ready to face the world and all its people again.
Kristy Tate is a USA Today
bestselling novelist, a mom to six, a grandmother to many, she has too many nieces,
nephews, in-laws, and cousins to count (mostly because she hates math, but also
because she has a lot) and she tries to love them all. You can sign up for her
Halfway across the parking lot, Robbie stopped and pulled at his bowtie. “I hate these things.”
tie or the gala?” Maggie straightened her brother’s cheap clip-on tie and had a
vivid flashback of decades past to the senior prom where she’d tried to smooth
down Robbie’s cowlick. Balding had long since cured that problem.
prom had also been held at this place, the Rancho Allegro Country Club. It
seemed like a lifetime ago, and yet, here she was with her brother—again—in
fancy clothes. It was as if she was on a spinning wheel revisiting the same
places with the same people over and over again.
he growled. “All these pompous posers looking down on the rest of us peons.” He
thought about pointing out that with his generous salary, he was probably
richer than most of the people attending the party—not to mention in the world—but
since she knew he hadn’t gone into medicine for the money, she pressed her lips
like your costume,” he said, his gaze flicking over her. “The blue wig should
make you look like a smurf or Marge Simpson, but somehow you pull it off.”
fluttered her wings. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Tessa made it.”
lips tightened and a closed expression like a hood passed over his face.
don’t you like her?”
never said I don’t like her.”
clam up whenever she’s around.”
shrugged. “It’s weird you’re friends, that’s all.”
nothing like each other. You’re you and she’s…she drives a Mercedes.”
Mercedes isn’t a sin-mobile.”
elbowed her. “Come on, I have to show my face.” As head of the pediatric
department, he was right. He looped his arm through hers and led her through the
parking lot. “Thanks for being my date tonight.”
passed the valets milling around the Teslas and Land Cruisers. Because Robbie
didn’t believe in valets, they had parked in the neighborhood adjacent to the club.
The lights from the party flickered in the distance and a honky-tonk jazz band
began to play.
problem. I love free food.”
smirked and shook his head. “I don’t get you.”
you do.” She slid him a glance. “If not you, then who?”
right. I do get you, but I just don’t understand how you can spend all day around
food and never get tired of it.”
you get tired of saving people?”
but it’s different.”
it’s not. You save people, I feed them. We’re in the same line of work.”
passed the valets—young, lean men in button down white shirts and tight black
pants—without looking at them. Their parents had taught them that trick—never make
eye contact with someone who might expect a tip. Of course, since they hadn’t actually
parked in the lot, they didn’t tip the handsome young men, but Maggie felt
their questioning glances on her back as she followed Robbie up the stairs.
The Lodge, as locals called it, had been constructed for hunting back when
Rancho Allegro had really been a ranch and coyotes and mountain lions were
nearly as plentiful as the bunnies that currently terrorized gardeners. Strange
how the gentlest of the creatures were the ones who actually survived urbanization.
the lobby, several people vied for Robbie’s attention all at once. Maggie, a
baker without food, and therefore a nobody, wandered off to peruse the refreshment
table, not necessarily because she was hungry, but because she liked looking at
beautiful food displays.
had to stop herself from whistling in admiration. The caterers, men and women dressed
in black, moved like perfectly choreographed dancers around the room bearing
trays that looked more like portable art than appetizers. Edible art,
the phrase came to Maggie’s mind and rested there. Could she try and copy any
of this in her bakery?
fingers itched for her phone, but she’d left it at home. She wished she could
take pictures of this. Who were the caterers? Maybe she should skirt around
outside to catch a glimpse of their van. Hopefully, it would have a logo on it.
nose wrinkled when she spotted asparagus spears wrapped in a flakey crust and a
piece of bacon. She would never understand the compulsion to ruin perfectly
good baked goods by partnering them with vegetables.
no donuts?” Tessa, dressed as Florence Nightengale, appeared at her side. “They
should have hired Maggie’s muffins.”
turned and gave her friend a hug. “Maybe next time.” Robbie was right, they
were an unlikely pair. Tall and curvy Maggie dominated over pixie-like Tessa.
Maggie was a red-headed buzzard while Tessa was as blond as Tinker-bell.
nodded. “Robbie said he’d recommend me.”
smiled and said, “that’s great,” but her gaze darted around the room. Was she looking
for Robbie? Or someone else? “The costume looks really good on you.”
flushed and straightened Maggie’s wings. “I love making beautiful things even more
looks great here, doesn’t it?” Maggie said, glancing around.
Tessa said with a touch of pride. “My dad wondered if they were going to cancel
because of yesterday’s earthquake, but the Lodge wasn’t damaged. Thankfully.”
damage at your store?”
I couldn’t take care of myself. How about the bakery?”
lot of rattling pots and pans, but not much else.”
bumped her with her hip. “We’re lucky.”
wished that were true. Maggie’s parents used to say she was their lucky penny,
and she’d always felt that way…until Peter got sick. Sometimes she felt like
she’d been trying to win her way back into Lady Luck’s good favor ever since.
band, playing on a soundstage across the patio, began Conga and a line
took Maggie’s hand. “Want to dance?”
but first let me check my purse.”
winced when she saw Maggie’s old beat-up leather satchel. It matched the
costume like paper bag accessorized a tuxedo, but Maggie refused to be
embarrassed. She loved her purse—she’d had it for nearly a decade. And yes, it
looked like the poor country cousin among all the Coaches and Kate Spades on
the shelf, but she didn’t care.
strolled into the country club and sought out Tessa. Because of her diminutive
size, she was often easy to miss. Most of the guests were wearing masks, but Tessa
had told him she’d be wearing a Florence Nightingale costume. He spotted her dancing
with a tall, blue-haired yet beautiful butterfly.
he was new to Rancho Allegro, he only knew a handful of the guests. His uncle, Tessa
father, was the president of the St. John’s hospital chain and had insisted he
attend. Even though Steven was probably now worth more than his Uncle Jack, it
was still hard to deny Jack anything. The family still kowtowed to the rich uncle…even
when there were, now, richer cousins.
he crossed the patio, something crinkled beneath his shoe. Given the noise—the music,
the chatter, the clattering cutlery—he almost missed it. What was it that
people said about the sound of falling coins—everybody heard it because people
heard what they wanted to hear? A hundred-dollar bill. Steven stooped and
picked it up. Someone must have dropped it.
glanced around at all the bejeweled people in their fancy costumes. Only one
man wasn’t in a costume—although he was wearing a bowtie. Did he think that was
most crowds, someone would be frantically searching for the lost bill, but
here, no one seemed to notice. Still, it had to have been an accident. He held
it up and slowly turned, hoping someone would take note. Someone did. His
take that.” Mitch, dressed as a pirate, moved to swipe it from his hand.
tightened his grip on the bill and shoved it into his pocket, away from his
Mitch complained. “This is a fund raiser. I’m just trying to raise funds.”
tried not to roll his eyes. “If I can’t find the owner, I’ll give this to someone
who needs it.”
hospital needs it, you loon.” He waved his saber at the party. “That’s why we’re
is a hundred-dollar bill. It cost, what? Three-hundred dollars to get in here?
Besides, I already made a generous donation. I’m going to give this to someone
going to give it to…” Glancing around the room, he debated: a valet? One of the
servers? He could wait and donate it to one of the regular charities on his
list: the Red Cross, St. Judes Medical Research, or Orange Wood Foster Homes.
then it would weigh on him and Mitch would harass him. His gaze landed on the
coat check. One scruffy leather satchel stood out from the rest. He strode over
to the bored-looking girl behind the counter.
that purse,” he pointed at the satchel.
one?” Surprise for a moment overrode the girl’s bored expression. She obviously
didn’t think a man in a Zorro cape would be interested in a scuffed leather
satchel. “It belongs to my girlfriend.”
now you’re a liar,” Mitch whispered in his ear.
girl narrowed her lids and tightened her lips. “I can’t give out any of the
purses unless you have a ticket.”
hurried to placate her. “I just want you tuck this into it.” He pulled out the
bill and showed it to the girl. “Can you do that?”
a crazy person,” Mitch said.
like a fox,” Aunt Miriam said from behind him. Approaching eighty, she looked and
acted like someone nearly half her age. Tonight, she was dressed as a flapper. She
snaked her arm around his waist and looped the other through Mitch’s arm. “A
silver fox! How did two of my favorite boys ever grow to be so old and yet so handsome?”
flushed. “The same could be said of you, Mom.”
Aunt Miriam she shook her long cigarette holder in Mitch’s face. “I don’t want
anyone to know I’m old enough to belong to you.” She dropped her voice to a
whisper. “You could pretend I’m your date.”
could,” Mitch said, pulling away. “But I won’t.” He gave Steven the stink eye. “Let’s
can ignore me, but you better not ignore your wife,” Aunt Miriam said, nodding
at the approaching Lydia, who was wearing a Queen of Hearts costume.
audibly groaned, but also grinned.
were lots of things Steven didn’t admire about his cousin, but he did envy him
his long and happy marriage. Mitch had married ten years before him and
hopefully would be married for many years after. Lydia had been good for him.
butterfly he’d noticed earlier approached the coat check and handed the girl
her ticket. He watched as the girl handed the butterfly the beat-up purse that
now carried his one-hundred dollar bill.
gaze met the girl’s.
girlfriend, huh?” the girl asked.
this was a breach of some sort of hired-help etiquette.
Miriam perked up. “Your girlfriend?”
grinned. “Yeah, about that, Steven?”
rubbed his chin and decided to go along with it. “There you are,” he said. “I’ve
been looking for you.”
me?” The butterfly put her hand on her chest. Most of her face was covered by a
jewel-studded mask, but her lips were full, red and her skin creamy and white. Definitely
braced his shoulder, determined to carry through with his charade. “I want to introduce
you to my Aunt Miriam and cousin Mitch.”
butterfly blinked and took Mitch’s extended hand. “I’m Grace,” she said.
on, Grace,” Steven said, taking her hand and pulling her toward the dance floor
and away from his aunt and laughing cousin.
stumbled after him until they reached the dancing couples. “I don’t know who
you are or what you’re thinking,” she began.
silenced her by putting his finger on her lips. “Just go along with me, please.
There’s a hundred-dollar bill in your purse for your trouble.”
he kissed her.
warm lips spread a flurry of emotions through Maggie. Should she slap him? Push
him away? Scream at him…but…oh…was this what kissing was all about? How long
had it been since she’d been kissed like this? Maybe never.
loved Peter. She had loved kissing Peter. But near the end, the kisses had been
so mixed up in grief and pain, they’d just as soon make her cry as curl her
toes in pleasure…like this one did.
must this person think of her? What made him think he could just kiss her like
this? Maybe he kissed everyone like this. She couldn’t be someone special in
his life since he had only just met her…but he hadn’t really met her, had he?
It wasn’t as if they’d been properly introduced.
she’d given him her middle name.
this kiss, though…
really should end it. This was exactly the sort of privileged behavior her
brother and parents were always spouting off about. Rich people who thought they
could do whatever they wanted with little or no regard for who they stepped on…or
this kiss. It was like kissing Clark Gable, or Gary Grant, or…Zorro.
pulled away. She was grateful to see he wore a dazed expression.
touched her lips. “What was that?”
he said, “was worthy of an encore.” And he kissed her again.
time, Maggie, forgetting all about social injustice, leaned in and gave herself
into pleasure. It rocked her world. Shook her to the core. Made her legs shake.
took her a moment to realize that not only was her world rocking, but the lights
stringing above her were wildly swinging. The band had stopped playing. Pillars
bearing lanterns fell with a crash and glass shattered. The hospitality tent collapsed
and one of the curtains fell into an open fire pit.
still Zorro held her in his arms. In fact, he tightened the embrace, making it
more protective than sensual.
lights went out. Women screamed and men shouted. All around her, panicked people
pushed and pulled. Zorro grabbed her hand and pulled her through the chaos. She
staggered after him, barely seeing through the smoke and din.
damp and cold seeped through Maggie’s flimsy shoes as she crossed the lawn.
Zorro took her elbow and steered her through the parking lot, passing the
valets who had gathered into a tight bunch beneath the now catawampus awning.
Here, away from the party, the moonlight shone clearer.
blinked when she realized it wasn’t Zorro who had led her through the chaos,
but her brother.
What the heck?”
stopped and stared at her. “What’s your problem?”
don’t have a problem,” she said.
sound like you do.” He stepped closer. “Who was that guy you were kissing?”
floundered for an acceptable answer and finally came up with, “I don’t know.”
Because I’m not great at housekeeping but I love a clean house, I recently took a class on home organization class from guru, Marie Ricks. I loved it much more than I thought I would. These are my notes.
Only keep what we truly need and trust that the Lord will give us what we need when we need it. Be patient with the process. If you’re right-handed, begin at the right side of a room. Start at the top and work down.
Set up a plan
List every room. List closets, cupboards, drawers, and shelves (in each room). Pull everything out and sort items to share, discard, put elsewhere and keep.
Create A, B, C, and D closets. As are highly visible and accessible and are for usage, not storage. Ds are for storage, usually off-site.
And each closet has A, B, C and D areas. Don’t put anything on a shelf—use containers for the shelves. Create tabs out of duct tape and stick them on the containers so they’re easy to access.
You only need one of everything.
Get rid of everything weak and un-useful.
Aks yourself, do I need it?
Can I get by without this?
What if I need it again?
Who can I bless by sharing? (Be overly generous)
Be objective, ruthless, courageous, and don’t look back.
Put what we use most in the most convenient places
When we have less, we can better bond.
Keep enough, give away abundance
Store useful items.
I came across this scripture, and it took on a new meaning:
And now I would that ye should be humble and submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. … And now, may the peace of God rest upon you, and upon your houses and lands, and upon your flocks and herds, and all that you possess, your women and your children, according to your faith and good works, from this time forth and forever. Book of Mormon, Alma 7:23-26
I’m so lucky to be at Brigham Young University’s Education Week! Here are the notes from one of my favorite classes.
Happiness, Justin B Top
Science, Psychology, Saints & Scriptures
You can’t use happiness as a gauge for your righteousness
WHAT IS HAPPINESS?
Emotions fluctuate/sleep/hormones/ health
Happiness is your perspective, a way of thinking, a state of
mind ELEVATED PERSPECTIVES that leads to optimism, greater confidence,
To view the world, we all have our own unique world glasses:
experiences, social influences, biological factors, genetics, gut bacteria,
relationships. But we are not our glasses.
Consumerism is a huge factor in unhappiness.
Community and community celebrations increase happiness.
40% what you do
Can you influence your bio? Yes, with sleep, exercise,
WE AREN’T GOING TO BE HAPPY IF WE’RE JUST ALONG FOR THE
RIDE. WE NEED TO CREATE OUR OWN HAPPINESS
All we have to do is take steps. Be intentional about doing
things to make our lives better
TOP TEN FACTORS OF HAPPINESS
Some people look at commandments as
restrictions, but addictions and sins are the true restrictions. A BIG PART OF HAPPINESS IS UNDERSTANDING THE
CORRELATION BETWEEN SELF CONTROL AND FREEDOMS. Act for themselves and not to
be acted upon, 2 Nephi 2:26 Every
time we make a choice, it influences the future choices available to us.
Happiness is a choice. Abraham Lincoln, folks
are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Freedom and choice
relationship. When you choose to live a healthy life, you have more freedom to
do things. Use choice wisely. Finances, relationships,
TAKE CONTROL AND CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY between
stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose
our response. In our response lies our power to grow. Frankl
You do not find a happy life, you make it—Thomas
No one sees the world exactly the same
You don’t have to see the whole staircase,
just take the first step. Emotional hygiene: taking daily steps to
emotional steps. Take action. Chase after being good.
Life satisfaction: Ideals vs our
behavior. The goal of life’s satisfaction is to get our ideals to match our
behavior. The further they are a part, the greater our internal conflict. You
can raise your behavior or lower your ideals. You can leave the church, but
you can’t leave it alone, Joseph Smith. Unrealistic expectations. Comparisons
to others. Acknowledging progress. Are we pushing to be better? Do you recognize
God’s hand in your life? Do you give room for the atonement? Direction is more
important than speed. Where do we find feelings of self-worth? It has to come
from inside ourselves. It can’t be dependent on others. Does being more perfect
make us feel closer to God and happier? Be compassionate with yourself
Pursuing Meaning choose one’s own way.
Find something that gives us roots rather than being a tumble weed blown around
by life. Stop and find a sense of joy. Marriage is about making us more like
God. It’s a process. What brings joy? And what is the purpose of pain? Embrace
pain and its meaning. Don’t try and avoid pain. Stability.
Direction and purpose: Where do you
want to go and how will you get there? Everyone’s task is unique. We need to
create our own path. It’s so easy to get off track. Every step ask yourself, does
this line up with my purpose and goals?
Spirituality: A personal light that
makes everything clearer. How is religion different from spirituality? The goal
of religion is to lead us to spirituality. But you can be religious without
spirituality and you can be spiritual without being religious. Oddly, being
religious without spirituality is mentally dangerous and will cause unhappiness.
Live with passion: Flow. Finding
the right reason for doing the right things. What makes you feel alive? What
fills you emotionally? Find things that fill you, not drain you.
Gratitude: Gratitude can transform
common days into Thanksgiving. Express gratitude to others. Write letters to
people. We can refuse to remain in negative thought.
A sense of awe: Be content in
whatever state we’re in. Be overwhelmed by the earth and its beauties. Nature is the best medicine. Celebrate the
sacred in your life. Remember the life moments that changed you forever.
There’s beauty in everyone’s story.
Truth: Man should look for what
is, and not for what he thinks should be. Einstein. Finding truth is a
process, it’s getting to better know God. The nearer man approaches perfection
the clear are his views and the greater his enjoyments, till he has over come
the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin. Joseph Smith What
truth really matters?
Truth about me
Relationship with others
My relationship with God
Truth is about peeling away all that doesn’t
matter and facing who and what we really are. Identify the distortion of your
lenses. 12 Steps of addiction are about identifying truth within ourselves,
digging it all up and exposing all the lies.
Ready yourself for change
Seek God’s help
We create stories, we think we understand the
truth of things, but often we really don’t. Like the apostles sitting around the
table of the last supper, we need to ask, Lord is it I? What can I learn
from this? Posture says something about our happiness. Take a receiving posture
in life. Happiness is a butterfly—Hawthorne Let yourself be lived by
life Lao Tzu. The more you fight against God’s plan for you, the unhappier
you’ll be. Trust the journey. Go forward.
“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.) And I’m gearing up to be attending next week!
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 are 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 mind 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.”
I’m not a follower of The Secret, by the way but I am a devoted follower of Him that said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” And so today, as I start a new week, I’m asking myself—what am I thinking?
Share a picture of your favorite hero (dogs and cats count) and I’ll send you free ecopy of my new release Verity and the Villain.
What’s the best part about writing? Creating new worlds? Plotting twists and turns? Summoning my inner ee cummings? Playing God with a cast of characters of my own creation? Getting to stay at home in my jammies while the rest of the world scurries around me with to-do-lists? Yes, yes, yes and sometimes. But for me, the very best part of writing is hanging with my heroes.
I know. Embarrassing to hear from a (young) grandma. But I find that for me a story really doesn’t find its legs (or chest or whatever) until I have sufficiently fallen for my hero. Hard. It’s not always easy.
Romance writers in my writing group complain that my heroes are too real. They bake bread, cut hair, and raise vegetables. They like children and play with dogs. They’re witty…they have to be witty.
Who are your favorite heroes? Gregory Peck as Atticus Fitch? Clark Gable as Rhett Butler? Cary Grant in North by Northwest? So many men…I have to fall in love with my heroes. Because that’s the very best part of being a writer.
I just noticed something. All of these heroes have my husband’s coloring, height and build. Go figure. Since all of these movies were made before I was born, then it stands to reason that I loved these men even before I met my husband. How sad for my family if I had fallen for a beach blond surfer dude. But I don’t think that would have happened. I think I knew from the very beginning, even as a young girl watching old movies, that I knew exactly what I was looking for.
I think of all the heroes I’ve loved in the books I’ve written. Some of my favorites aren’t even the heroes, per se. One of my very favorite characters is Uncle Mitch in Witch Ways. He’s basically my husband. In fact, some of my favorite Uncle Mitch lines came from my husband.
This is a picture of my husband passing out books at my first signing. The fact that he’s oh so supportive of my writings is just one of the things I love about him.
A glimpse of 1900 Ellis Island and New York City! The historical detail in this book is fascinating. Absolutely loved it. And I loved the book. My only complaint was the characters were rather flat. If Molly had an Ah-ha! moment, I must have missed it. Despite her change of location and all the happy just at the right moment occurrances, she was pretty much the same person when I started the book as when I finished. So, although it wasn’t much of an emotional upheaval, I’ll definitely more of Bowen’s books. I can spot a fellow history geek when I see one.