Have a Safe & Wonderful Weekend!

Summer Book Trek 2008 - Wrappin' It Up

I really enjoyed the Summer Book Trek. I didn't get everything on my reading list read, but I also read a few books that weren't on my list. I really enjoyed posting my reviews and everyone who stopped by to comment! Here are some questions from LDS Fiction (the host of Summer Book Trek):

1. How many fiction books by LDS authors did you read?

Nine - at least those are the ones I read and reviewed.

2. Did you read more than you would have read if you hadn't participated in this book trek?
Nope. I'm a read-a-holic.

3. Did the reviews posted by other participants influence which titles you read? How?
They didn't influence what I read for the Trek, but I put some more books on my "to-read" list because of reviews from others.

4. Did the Whitney awards influence which titles you read? How?
I don't think I read anything from the Whitney list. Although I did nominate a few books that were eligible for Whitneys after reading them for the Trek.

5. Did the many, many virtual blog tours that happened this summer influence which titles you read? How?
About half the books I read were from Virtual Tours I was participating in.

6. Did you finish all the books you had planned to read? If not, why?
Well, I really wanted to read more . . . but I had a manuscript to finish - which I did! It's currently in the mail to my editor.

7. Did you discover any new authors whom you now love?
Yes! Rebecca Cornish Talley for sure! I actually found more authors I wasn't as impressed with and am not sure if I'll read any of their future books.

8. Did you nominate any of the books you read for Whitney awards?

9. Would you be interested in another LDS themed reading challenge either this winter, or next summer?
Yes! I really enjoyed the Book Trek and would love to participate in another!

Wahoo Wednesday!

My online writers group, AuthorsIncognito, has some fun "themed" days - Monday Moans & Tuesday Toots. If you don't get it, on Mondays we get to complain about writers block, rejections, etc. On Tuesdays, we get to brag to our hearts content. It's actually rather fun, whether I'm the one posting or replying to another group member.

Well, since today is neither Monday nor Tuesday, I'm making up my own day - Wahoo Wednesday!

And it's definitely a Wahoo! kind of day. See this truck?

Yep, that's a genuine, certified USPS mail truck. But this truck is super special, cause it's carrying my Teaching Special Spirits manuscript from Kansas to my editor in Utah. Isn't that just awesome?

Now, everyone, all together now . . . 1 - 2 - 3 - Wahoo!!!

Pictures At Last!!!

I've been promising pictures from the boys' birthday parties, the first day of school, and more. Well, here they finally are! Sorry it took so long - I was just having too much fun with my family. :)

The Birthday Blast . . .

Here are some happy, happy birthday boys! We rented a huge blow up bouncer for the back yard. Rob's party was that morning and Isaac's party was in the afternoon. We all had a blast!

And, the first day of school . . .

Look at those cheesy grins! (Be sure to check out MJ's, which is full of holes at the moment!)

Pose for Dad!

Even though it wasn't Rob's first day of preschool, he really, really, really wanted to go with the older kids to school.

Isn't Rob such a cutie?

Isaac receiving his Wolf Badge . . .

The Cub Master (Dad!) giving Isaac the Wolf Pin . . .

. . . Isaac putting the Wolf Pin on Mom's shirt. BTW - that's Rob's head blocking part of the picture.

Isaac received his Wolf badge, one Gold Arrow Point, and four Silver Arrow Points. Which means he not only met all the requirements for his Wolf badge, he also completed 50 extra achievements. Each set of 10 achievements = 1 Arrow Point. This is Dad helping Isaac put his badge and arrows into his shirt pocket for safe keeping.

A huge cheer for Isaac! That night the theme was trains. We all cheered in rounds when the Cub Master pointed to us.

Mom & Isaac - one happy pair!

A Happy Family - Mom, Isaac, and Dad.

Anna's favorite part of the night were the Pack meeting snacks - OREOS!

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm . . . Anna definitely inherited her Mama's chocolate-lovin' genes!

Girls Lunch Out . . .

My good friend, Amy, came to Kansas City for a family reunion. We met up at the Plaza and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. It was so much fun to chat and catch up!

So, friends and family, this brings us mostly up to date; picture-wise, that is. I hope y'all enjoyed the show!

And The Winner Is . . .

Thank you to everyone who entered the Yummy Delicious contest. I enjoyed each of your entries. And now, drum roll please . . .

Congrats to Kimberly Daley, author of Entry #5!

Kimber, send me your mailing address and I'll send out your copy of Delicious Conversation by Jennifer Stewart Griffith. Enjoy!

Happy 10th Anniversary!

Today, John and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. As he so eloquently said this morning, "Doesn't it seem more like it's been thirty years?" Yep, that's my romantic hubby.

One of my favorite parts of our anniversary each year (Ssh! Don't tell John!) - is as soon as I wake up, until I go to bed again that night, John sings to me over and over and over again, "Happy Anniversary." Funny enough, I found a Flintstones clip singing the exact version of the song John sings. I wonder if he was a Flintstones fan growing up?

Happy, happy anniversary, sweetie! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo . . . (and lots more to come when you get home from work!)

More Fun Contests

Don't forget to vote for you favorite entry in my Yummy Delicious Contest!

Some other fun contests out in blog/web land include -

Keith Fisher over at The Camp Cook in Your Backyard is having a jelly belly guessing contest. Guess the amount of jelly bellies in a 5 inch dutch oven. The correct guess wins . . . the 5" dutch oven! Very cool! Check it out!

Joyce DiPastena is having a contest over on her website, too. The winner receives a signed copy of Medieval Vignettes.

Annette Lyon's contest is based on Josi Kilpack's upcoming novel, Her Good Name. The winner will receive a signed copy of Her Good Name.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

I Am Esmerelda!
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Mysterious and passionate. You are a survivor. Even though life has swung you some difficult situations you have a strong intuition that gets you through. Also, you have the capacity to sympathize and relate to a variety of different people.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Not too bad. I was surprised at how accurate that statement is. Although, I had no clue Esmerelda was considered a princess . . . did I miss something in the movie that said that?

Top 10 Reasons Why Having a Baby is Easier Than Writing a Book by Karlene Browning

OK - this was a TOTALLY awesome post over on the Six LDS Writers and a Frog Blog (affectionately known as the Frog Blog). I wanted to just link you over to this specific blog, but for some reason, blogger was being stupid & wouldn't let me click on the post title to get the direct link. So yes, I copied and pasted it here for your reading enjoyment. But just remember - the original coolness started over on the Frog Blog. Go check it out. They have lots of fun guest blogs right now.

Top 10 Reasons Why Having a Baby is Easier than Writing a Book

by Karlene Browning

When writers compare the process of writing a book to having a baby, I just have to roll my eyes and wonder. They must never have had a baby. Or perhaps, like with childbirth, the memory of the whole writing and publishing experience is erased by the joy of seeing that finished product on the bookstore shelves.

I’m here to remind everyone that writing a book is so NOT like having a baby. Having a baby is much, much easier! Right, Julie?

Top 10 Reasons Why Having a Baby is Easier than Writing a Book:

10. A baby changes and grows, and presumably gets better with age. Once your book is published, it is what it is. Plot holes do not gradually heal over with time and lame dialog is never replaced with more appropriate speech. It stays as you created it. For all the world to see. Forever.

9. There’s no such thing as in vitro novelization. Or novel surrogacy. Or even novel adoption. If you can’t create the idea yourself, you don’t get to be a proud author.

8. There is no epidural for the birthing of a book. Sorry. Not even chocolate can dull the pain.

7. It only takes nine months to birth a baby.

6. Nobody yells at you when your baby is overdue—with a baby you get sympathy and backrubs, and if you’re lucky, gifts of chocolate.

5. No one expects you to edit a newborn.

4. You get to name your baby.

3. You rarely have to present your baby in public dressed in something that embarrasses you—unless it’s a gift from your mother-in-law, and then you can change it as soon as she leaves.

2. Nobody tells you your baby is ugly to your face. Nor do they bad mouth it on the Internet.

And the number one reason having a baby is easier than writing a book:

1. No one expects you to have a new baby every. single. year. for the rest of your life.

Karlene Browning lives at Inksplasher. She is the mother of four wonderful children, three cats and a dog. She is also the proud author of Ancient Civilizations, an educational book for middle grades, and is currently gestating an entire litter of novels. As an editor and former publisher, she has midwifed many a new book, hopefully making the process a little easier for those involved.

Visit her at:

Yummy Delicious Contest Entries!

It's time to vote for your favorite contest entry! Check out all the stories and pictures below, then go to the poll located on the side bar and vote for your favorite! You have until Sunday, August 24th to vote. The winner of Delicious Conversations by Jennifer Stewart Griffith will be announced on Monday, August 25th. Good luck to everyone who entered.

Entry #1

When I was about 20 or 21 years old, my sister and brother were approximately 12 and 10. Our mother did not have a lot of money but she always did everything she could to make sure we had Christmas presents, Easter baskets, etc. This year in particular at Easter time, mom told my younger brother and sister that she did not have any money for Easter baskets and that there would be no candy this year. It was true, she did not have any money. But, she managed to scrape together a little bit of money and bought a few chocolate bunnies for the youngest kids.

Well, I pitched in and bought stuff too including a large chocolate egg that opened up and held approximately 1/2 pound of small foil colored eggs. This special egg was for mom because she loved chocolate, too. By the way, did I mention that I am not a chocolate lover? Mom and I prepared the baskets and had them all ready for the morning to surprise the youngest kids.

Well, my sister, while half asleep, left the dog into the room where the Easter baskets were. She just thought the dog wanted in there because he was whining at the door! When Mom and I got up in the morning we couldn't understand why both my sister and brother were just sitting there watching TV and not checking out their Easter baskets that were full of goodies . . .

It was because the dog ate ALL of the chocolate. Yep, he even ate the special egg for Mom, which she didn't know about either - until it was gone. Miraculously, the dog did not die but he did leave a trail of foil in the yard whenever he went to the bathroom!

Entry #2

One day I couldn’t find my 18 month old, Tom. Finally I noticed a sound coming from the pantry. I opened the door and learned that he had discovered how to open pudding packs and was pretty much covered in chocolate pudding. He looked up at me with a chocolate grin and said, “Mmm, dood.”

Entry #3

It's been many years since this event, so some of the details have been lost, while others are crystal clear. I was in my teens and had been asked to babysit for a family I had not worked for previously. Their names and how many children there were are some of the details which have evaporated over time. But one fair-haired3-year-old from that particular evening will forever live in my memory.

The kids had been snacking on candy all evening, it seems. I just know that there were quite a few of those Hershey miniature candy bars floating around, and all of the kids had a piece of chocolate in their mouths or hands at some point. I probably ate some myself! As the evening progressed and the children eventually changed into pajamas and wound down for the evening, we put in a movie to watch in the living room. Suddenly, the youngest girl, who had been strangely silent almost the whole time, got up and stood in front of me. Without ceremony, she opened her mouth and out spilled a gooey stream of brown liquid.

Did I mention that this living room had beige carpet? There was nothing to do but to stick my hands out...and catch her noxious offering! In my surprise, I am sure I exclaimed something along the lines of, "Oh my goodness honey, what happened?!" Her reply? "I didn't yike it." I scurried her off to the bathroom forthwith, and discovered in the aftermath that she had put a piece of candy in her mouth, presumably a Hershey's dark chocolate, and when she discovered that it didn't taste very good, withheld swallowing it! She had been quiet all that time because she had been holding the chocolate in her mouth and while she didn't want to eat it, she didn't know what to do with it instead. Apparently, spitting it out in a safe, sanitary place like the bathroom hadn't occurred to her, and she finally came to the conclusion that if she gave it to me,I would know what to do with it!

The rest of the night is lost to history. But that singular moment of holding my hands out to catch a child's chocolate-colored spit will never leave me! I still enjoy Hershey's dark chocolate though, and remember her reply every time I eat it. "I didn't yike it."

Entry #4

I love chocolate, but if we have it in the house I will eat it all. So I will make cookies and buy chocolate,eat some and then send the rest to work with my husband so it is out of the house.

While my husband was in Dental school, I bought some Girl Scout thin mint cookies, ate a few and then asked him to take them to school with him. One day, my son Andrew got into Daddy's backpack, found the cookies, and started chowing down. We found him with chocolate all over his face. Good thing I didn't know they were in the backpack or they wouldn't have lasted long.

Entry #5

Does chocolate ever remind you of someone special? Let’s be honest – usually when I eat chocolate, I’m too busy enjoying the creamy sweetness to think about anyone else. But whenever I eat a See’s chocolate, I can’t help but think of my dad.

January of 2006 marked a low point in my life. I was about to leave home after the Christmas holidays and I had just broken up with my boyfriend of eight months. As I lethargically began to pack my bags to head back to BYU, my dad came into my room and offered me a three pound box of See’s Nuts and Chews that our family had been given for Christmas. I turned them down, insisting that chocolate didn’t look good (yes, I was that heartbroken). I half-heartedly explained that my favorites were the soft chocolates, anyway. My dad persevered, insisting that they would be a good way to attract boys. Rolling my eyes, I took the candy and packed it away, thinking that boys sounded even less appealing than chocolate.

The next day, settled back into my apartment in Provo, I opened the box of chocolates and placed them on the kitchen table. Then hesitantly, hardly believing what I was doing, I walked across the complex to an apartment where some of my guy friends lived. They were surprised to see me knocking on my door; it had been months since I’d made much time for anyone except for my boyfriend. But when I mentioned three pounds of candy, I didn’t have to say another word. Within minutes I found myself back in my kitchen eating chocolate with four boys – and I was having fun! I was even laughing! I began to see what a wise man my dad was.

A few days later, I was surprised to see a package in the mail for me. Opening it up, I began to cry. There, nestled into the white box I knew and loved so well, was a pound of See’s candy. Creamy caramels, pure chocolate centers, peanut butter filling – my dad, a man often too busy to eat lunch, had gone to the mall and carefully selected a pound of my very favorite candies. The love of my father overwhelmed me as I picked up a truffle and took a bite.

Since that day, I have been given chocolates several times, celebrating Valentine’s day, my birthday, and a few months ago, the birth of my sweet daughter. But no matter how many chocolates I may eat in my lifetime (and I hope to eat a lot), I doubt any will taste quite as sweet as the See’s my father gave me to heal a broken heart.

Entry #6

The Year of the Chocolate Truffle

My husband and I love to watch TV and munch on snacks after the kids are in bed.
One year, about a month before Christmas, I went shopping for stocking stuffers, which always includes a lot of chocolate at our house. I bought the usual stocking stuffer fare, but I also bought a box of chocolate truffles.

We sat down that night to watch a show and I got the truffles out. Of course, you have to consult the sheet they include that shows which chocolate is which flavor. So we spent some time trying out the different flavors.

It just so happens that we have different tastes in chocolate truffles, and so betwixt the two of us, we . . . well, we devoured them.

So, the next time I was in the store and I passed the chocolate truffle aisle, I couldn't resist buying another box of chocolate truffles, and it only took us another few nights to polish those ones off, too.

I'm not sure how many truffles we ate that year, but I do know we each gained at least 10 lbs. So now, we refer to that Christmas season as "The Year of the Chocolate Truffle."

Entry #7

I know this is blurry, but you can't deny the adorableness of a little girl eating Cheesecake Factory cheesecake! She's eating their Anniversary cheesecake, which is a combination of rich chocolate cake layered with their classic cheesecake.

It's Done!

Today marks an important milestone in my writing career. My co-author, Lynn, and I completed our book, Teaching Special Spirits! And it's even on schedule!




We just finished compiling it and sent it out to some readers for a final read-through before sending it off to Lisa Mangum at Deseret Book. We're so thrilled and excited!

I thought the picture above was perfect because for the last two days we've been telling each other how awesome we are. One of those, "You're awesome" . . . "No, you're awesome" . . . moments. Either way, we're both awesome for following through with one of our dreams!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, fabulous weekend!

Blog Tour: The Company of Good Women: Surprise Packages by Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, & Carroll Hofeling Morris

Today, I have the opportunity to review the third book in The Company of Good Women series, titled Surprise Packages, by Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, and Carroll Hofeling Morris.

In Surprise Packages, the satisfying conclusion of The Company of Good Women series, Juneau, Deenie, and Erin deal with a new set of challenges.

Deenie, now living in Gainesville, Florida, begins to question everything she has believed about herself as she sees her actions through others' eyes. Juneau's feelings of guilt come to a head when a secret from her childhood and the mystery of her great-grandmother, Letitia, combine to force her to confront her past. And Erin, whose painful divorce has made her cynical about love and marriage, must decide if she can take a risk when she has a second chance for love.

Staying in touch through phone calls, e-mails, and periodic vacations together, the friends offer one another support, sometimes in the form of blunt feedback. But as they anticipate reaching their goal to become Crusty Old Broads, life takes a turn that puts their twenty-five-year pact in doubt.

Okay, friends, I have a confession to make - this is the first book of the series I've read. That's right. I haven't read either Almost Sisters or Three Tickets to Peoria. I approached this book wondering if it could stand alone or if I would be confused without reading the other books in the series. I must say, the authors did a great job. There were a few times I was confused - like I'm still trying to figure out how the Crusty Old Broads (COBs) met Gabby and what happened in their time together that was such a huge influence on their lives. Gabby seems to play an important role of who each of the COBs would like to be like "when they grow up." But I did understand their goal and desire to achieve "Broad-hood."

If this is your first time looking into this series, I will say there are a lot of characters. You discover each lady (Deenie, Erin, and Juneau)and her family, group of friends, and the dilemmas of their lives - which is a lot to try to absorb. Their obstacles are so real - a husband who becomes addicted to pain killers, a late-in-life marriage and pregnancies, children who are estranged from their gay father, complicated relationships between a mother and her way-ward daughter, and more. While there are many conflicts, there are also very good resolutions.

The theme I found throughout the book was that with time and faith in Heavenly Father, answers will come and help will be sent from above. It may take time and it may not be quite the way you had hoped or envisioned, but in the end everything works out.

If you enjoy books about friendships and relationships between women, then you'll definitely enjoy The Company of Good Women series - especially Surprise Packages.

QOTC Rating: Four Stars

I thought it would be fun to share more about the authors. I was fascinated that each of the authors chose one of the lady characters, then wrote from that character's point-of-view. What a fun way to co-author! Here are the author's bios. Below that, you'll find a list of other blogs who are participating in this blog tour. Go check out what others are saying about Surprise Packages! Enjoy!


Lael Littke: Growing up on an Idaho farm, I had two dreams: to become a writer and to see many countries of the world. Dreams can come true. I now have 43 published books, mostly for teenagers and children, and I’ve visited 32 countries. My last three books have been women’s novels, written with co-authors Nancy Anderson and Carroll Morris. The trilogy of novels deals with the lives of three Mormon women. My credentials for writing these books are that I am a Mormon woman! My husband died a few years ago, and my daughter, Lori, and her husband live in a nearby city. My housemates at present are my cats, and I am content.

Carroll Morris is the wife of Gary Morris and the mother of four adult children. She has had a varied work experience—as a piano teacher, catalog copywriter, substitute German teacher, hypnotherapist and rapid eye technician. But she always comes back to writing. Aside from the nonfiction book: A Suzuki Parent’s Diary or How I Survived my First 10,000 Twinkles, all of her books have been published by Deseret Book. She enjoys reading, bird watching, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Nancy Anderson: A mother of five and grandmother to nine active grandchildren, Nancy has had a lifelong passion for learning. While raising her children, she became a Great Books leader in her children’s grade school. Later, she became costume mistress for their high school’s yearly Renaissance Festival, designing and sewing over 50 costumes. An avid gardener, her lovely back yard has been the location of many family and neighborhood events. Coo-authoring The Company of Good Women series fulfills her long-held desire to become a published author.

Blog Tour Hosts

August 1st: Candace Salima

August 1st: Tristi Pinkston

August 1st: Shirley Bahlmann

August 2nd: Traci Abramson

August 2nd: Keith Fisher

August 4th: Don Carey

August 4th: Alison Palmer

August 4th: Jewel Adams

August 5th: Lynda Bennett

August 7th: Nichole Giles

August 8th: Karen Hoover

August 8th: Karlene Browning

August 15th: Stephanie Humphries

August 18th: Jen Lords

August 20th: Kim Thompson

August 21st: Heather Moore

August 22nd: Alison Palmer

August 23rd: Heather Justesen

August 26th: Marsha Ward

August 27th: Stephanie Black

August 28th: Rebecca Shelley

August 28th: Anne Bradshaw

August 29th: Carole Warburton

August 30th: LuAnn Staheli

August 30th: Tristi Pinkston

Auction to Help Preschoolers with Autism

Calling all my friends in Utah! Be sure to check out the auction for GIANT Steps preschool coming up this Friday. This is the preschool our son attended. It's absolutely fantastic!


Charity Auction to Raise Funds for Local Autism Preschool

The CDC estimates that each year 1 in 150 children nationwide will be diagnosed with Autism. In Utah the rate jumps to 1 in 133 and then again in Utah County alone the rate rises to 1 in 119 and 1 in 79 boys. For this reason The Friends of GIANT Steps was developed. The Friends of GIANT Steps is a local non-profit group that supports GIANT Steps Autism Preschool in Orem, Utah. GIANT Steps has funding each year for 36 children on the Autistic Spectrum in Utah County ages 3-5. Helping children with Autism early gives them and their families the best hope for success. Currently there are more than 116 children on the waiting list.

Friday August 15, 2008 will be the First Annual Friends of GIANT Steps Charity Auction. The event will be located inside the Tahitian Noni Provo Building (5151 North 300 West) from 7-9 pm. The host for the evening will be KSL sportscaster Greg Wrubell. There will be both live and silent auctions going on as well as entertainment by local favorite Marvin Payne. All proceeds go directly to fund classroom supplies and equipment, field trips and in-class programs.

More Fun Contests

I have some friends who are hosting fun contests on their blogs right now. Be sure to stop by and check them out! If I missed anyone's contests, leave a comment with a link and I'll add you to the list. Enjoy!

Christine at Day Dreamer is running a Contest in Creativity. The winner will receive a A-Data 2GB USB Flash Drive.

Rebecca Talley is running a contest for her new perfume, Hope. The scent is inspired from Rebecca's new book, Heaven Scent (which I reviewed here).

A Yummy Delicious Contest

I love chocolate. Who doesn't?

Well, I can think of one person - my hubby. Yep, he's a strange, little man. Although there is an up side to his dislike of the food of the godesses. Anytime he gets chocolate from work, church, or anywhere else, he brings it right home to me. Yummy, yum, yum.

In honor of this sacred treat, I am holding a contest. Oh yes, two of my favorite things - chocolate and contests. How can it get any better than that? Well, it does . . . so keep reading!

To enter the contest, simply send me your favorite chocolate story or picture (or a combination of the two!). Only one entry per person please. The story must be true, but doesn't have to be about you. It could be about your kids, a friend, your dog . . . you get the idea. If it's a picture, it must either be taken by you or be a picture of you. All entries should be sent to danyelle@familyclan.org and must be received no later than 12 noon (CT) on Thursday, August 14th.

The entries will then be compiled and posted on the QOTC blog by August 18th. Depending on the number of entries, I reserve the right to have my hubby narrow them down. A poll will be created for voting. The entry with the most votes will receive a copy of Delicious Conversation by Jennifer Stewart Griffith (more info below). The winner will be announced on August 25th. Enjoy and Good Luck!

Delicious Conversation by Jennifer Stewart Griffith

Susannah Hapsburg is totally ready for Plan C. Plan A was to get married at 22 and have a passel of kids. Still unmarried and 31, that option is out. Plan B was to work her way up the corporate ladder. However, the company she devoted eight years to just went bankrupt, giving her a bad taste for the corporate world. Which leaves her with Plan C.

Plan C involves chocolate.

With the support of friends, Susannah puts her future on the line to open up downtown Salt Lake City’s first all-chocolate cafĂ©, The Chocolate Bar, a place where scrumptious conversations and delectable desserts abound.

In the midst of all this, social turmoil hits Susannah when she catches the interest of the city’s most eligible bachelor just as her long-lost love returns to town—with intentions of marrying anyone but Susannah.

Can Plan C offer Susannah her just desserts?

A New Look . . .

So, I decided to change the QOTC look. Just like my hairstyles, I like to change things up, try out new looks.

Personally, I love bright, fun themes. I loved my pink with the heart key. This is a totally different look from that. What do you think? Do you like it? Hate it?

Hmm . . . not sure how long this one will last before I decide to try another look.

Blog Tour: Room for Two by Abel Keogh

"Sweetie, I'm home." I tried to put as much kindness into my voice as possible. I didn't want to have another argument - at least not right away.



A gunshot echoed from our bedroom, followed by the sound of a bullet casing skipping along a wall.

Everything slowed down.


When a life is destroyed, when guilt says you played a role in its destruction, how do you face the days ahead?

Twenty-six-year-old Abel Keogh chooses to ignore the promptings he receives concerning his wife's mental illness, and now he feels he is to blame for her choices. If only he had listened . . .

At some point in our lives, each of us face devastating afflictions and must eventually cope with loss. Regardless of how it happens, the outcome is still the same - we are left isolated, alone, wondering what we could have done differently, and where we can turn for peace.

This is Abel's story in his own words. His search for peace and the miracle that follows is proof that love and hope can endure, despite the struggles and tragedies that shape each of our lives.

Room for Two by Abel Keogh is an incredible story told from Abel's point-of-view about losing his wife. Not only did he lose his spouse, but also the baby his wife carried because she was seven months pregnant.

While reading Room for Two, I went on a topsy-turvy emotional roller-coaster ride. Right from chapter one, I was pulled into this horrific experience. I could see and feel Abel's shock and pain while calling 9-1-1. Then, having friends who have delivered babies very early, I could picture in my mind what his baby daughter, Hope, looked like. When he held her, I remembered what it was like to hold my friends' babies. And when she passed away, I felt his pain and devastation. Two very important people in his life, gone, so quickly, with no explanation.

But then, I journeyed with Abel through the days, weeks, and months ahead. It was interesting to watch as he grieved, and forced himself to continue living. After losing my own mother at such a young age, I know what that's like first hand. I was fascinated by how differently men grieve vs. how women grieve.

And like every good story, Abel finds peace and a happy ending. But his is so much better, because this happy ending isn't from the depths of a fiction writer's mind. It's real, and he's still living it today.

This is a great book for anyone who has lost a loved one.

QOTC Rating: Four Stars

Book Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Everyone's all abuzz about Stephenie Meyer's newest release, Breaking Dawn. I only just read the first three books of the series a month ago. I spent one long weekend - Friday through Monday - and devoured all three books. Yes, I'm a fast reader, especially when I'm totally sucked into a plot.

So, here's the thing: While reading New Moon and Eclipse, I would get part way into the book, then turn to my hubby and say, "I totally think this, this, and this is going to happen." And sure enough, they did - almost exactly how I had predicted. A few weeks ago, my friend Renae and I spent a good hour or more speculating about what we thought was going to happen in Breaking Dawn.

On Saturday, August 2nd, I headed over to Borders to pick up my pre-ordered copy of Breaking Dawn.

And I am soo happy to say my predictions were totally wrong.

Stephenie Meyer totally threw in a twist that I had not even thought of. Except for Bella's hesitation to get married, everything else in the book was not what I had expected it to be. And boy am I happy! I hate it when authors get into a predictable rut. I set myself up to be disappointed, only to be wonderfully surprised.

Now, I am not going to go into details about what's in Breaking Dawn - cause I know there are so many of you who are either reading it, or waiting to get your hands on a copy. So I'm just going to say it was really, really, really good.

Note: For those of you wondering if there are any sex scenes - well, sorry to disappoint you, but there weren't. Although, there were sexy scenes and Bella & Edward do talk about their intimate life, Meyer did a great job keeping it clean (in my opinion).

How long did it take me to read it? Well, I started Saturday around 1 pm and read almost straight through until 11 pm. Then I picked it up again after church and finished around 5 pm, just in time to make dinner.

QOTC Rating: Five Stars

Everything is Beautiful - Tyson's Song by Due West

This is a gorgeous video sent to me by my friend Kim. Tyson is an awesome teenager, who taught his friends and family to "Never Give Up." Enjoy.

A Memory Game . . .

Nope, not the find-a-match kind of memory, but the "Oh, I remember that!" kind. I found this fun game over on Tristi's blog.

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember! I guess good or bad, but be nice!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you.

Enjoy the game, everyone!

August Birthday Mania!

August is a big month for birthdays in our family. First up is Rob (Aug 1st), then right around the corner is Isaac (Aug 18th). Next up is Grandma (Aug 25th), with the month finishing off with the awesome Aunt Cheryl (Aug 28th). Happy, happy birthday to all our family!