Monday, October 20, 2014

Surviving a Broken Heart

Broken hearts come in so many different ways. Hurtful words. Lies. Betrayal. Physical pain. Being left behind.

Each can rip at you. Tearing away pieces of yourself. Your love. Your self-esteem. Little bit by little bit until all that remains is a lump of a person you don't recognize.

Not every broken heart goes to that extreme, but they are almost always accompanied by tears and suffering.

Eventually the pain lessens and becomes easier to bear, but each time, a sadness has remained with me.

Watching a friend go. A relationship change. Saying final goodbyes to a loved one.  Helpless as a dear one suffers. Pain and anger from gossip, lies, and consequences from choices.

Regrets.

Yesterday at church, we talked about loving one another. Serving each other. There was a beautiful quote read about how we should have a perfect love for each other. Never judging another. Always forgiving. It sounds so nice - but oh so unrealistic.

Or maybe I'm just too imperfect.

But I'm apparently not alone. A handful of ladies shared some perspective and thoughts about the quote read. One reminded us that while the gospel is perfect, the members of the church are merely humans, who make mistakes that may hurt others. Another shared how things someone says or does may not be related directly to you. Consider that there may be other things happening in their lives, frustration that has built up and unfortunately was released onto you with sarcasm, harsh words, or actions.

While I had heard these things before, today they came with comfort and consoled my heart.

A little piece was ripped away recently. I've been in tears, praying to find peace, forgiveness and how to handle the situation.  How to let it go. How incredibly difficult that is. But today, the ladies who shared their insights, words I've heard before, sunk in and glued back together some of my heart. Yes, I still hurt and am sad, but have found a tiny bit of comfort and am holding onto it, grasping it with white-knuckled fists.

Because while it hurts, knowing relationships will never be the same, trust that will be slow to be rebuilt - if it is ever rebuilt - I will move forward. I will be kind, respectful, but I will also guard my heart from being hurt by the same person again.

It will require a little spiritual CPR, but I will survive this broken heart.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Meanie Mommy Sparkle and Shine!

Tomorrow kicks off a 5 day "weekend" for parent/teacher conferences and in-service days - and I'm so excited!

Sure, about four years ago, these long weekends meant a chaotic, disastrous house. Sometimes some fighting, but often lots of laughing.

There's still some fighting, but mostly laughing - but now, now . . . My kids are old enough to actually do a good job cleaning! My munchkins know these long breaks now mean we do a little deep cleaning each day before diving into the "fun" portion of our activities. For the most part, they don't complain. They just get the work done and get excited about checking off their to-do list. Girly Girl cleans everything she can reach with the Clorox wipes (kitchen handles, knobs, outside of the oven, fridge, and dishwasher. Even the microwave.) Squirrely Girl cleans the bathrooms and windows. The boys vacuum and sort and organize all those Legos (that's a feat all on it's own). Hubby and I usually take on a project or two. Cleaning out the garage and other fun stuff to prep for winter. I may even hang some more pictures.

So my house gets to sparkle and shine!

Then we have fun, fun, fun! I'm hoping for good weather so we can make good use of our bikes one last time before winterizing them until spring. Thursday evening, we're having our family photos taken - so excited about that, too! Squirrelly Girl is into baking, so I'm sure we'll whip up some delicious treats. Have a game board competition - maybe even a dance off and I just might let my kids kick my butt on the Wii. (Simply because there's no way I'll win. LOL).

But most of all, I'm so happy to have five days of family time.

And that's the best sparkle and shine of all.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mismatched Socks and Mondays

Once upon a time, Mondays were a necessary evil. Dragging myself out of bed to drag my kids out of bed, throw together breakfast, outfits, cleaning off faces, overseeing the brushing of the teeth,  hunting, hunting and more hunting for matching shoes before piling into the van, double checking and triple checking that everyone is buckled in before dropping half of the kids off at that fabulous building where they get to learn and socialize. Then back to home where it was dump out all the toys time, snack time, nap time, clean up all the toys time, then repeat, repeat and pick up the school munchkins and go, go, go until I dropped into an exhausted heap on my bed.

Then Monday repeated itself over and over and over and over until finally it was Saturday. My day to sleep in and rest and let Dad take care of everything.

But now my kids are older, all in school including teenagers. TEENAGERS! Which means my Saturdays and Sundays are as busy as every other day of the week.

My Mondays have become my former Saturdays.

Yeah, I still drag myself out of bed, but now it's for family scripture study and prayer. The kids take care of everything else while I review my day. After dropping off everyone at their schools, I get to come home, chill on the couch, catch up on my favorite TV shows or a little Netflix love while I do laundry and did I mention chill? All day long. Well, at least until 3 pm when I get dressed for the day and pick up the munchkins again. At this stage of my life, my after school hours and weekends are consumed with my kids and their activities. I really love my kids and all their activities. But man, I'm so glad I have Mondays to recover.

So on this chilly autumn Monday, I'm enjoying the smell of Snuggle, watching a little Gilmore Girls, and sipping my favorite chocolaty cocoa.

Ahh, Mondays . . .

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shave Your Legs, Girlfriend!

My friend, Alison, has the oddest dreams ever. She often shares them with her friends on Facebooks and we all get a good laugh. Well, I was sharing a very weird dream I had with my daughter and realized it was Alison-worthy. And that my blogger friends would get a good laugh out of it, too.

So, there I was, prepping to run a 5K race. I went in to register and they wouldn't let me. I was very upset. "But why? Why can't I run the 5K? I've been training, I promise!"

The ruggedly good looking guy behind the registration table replied, "Ma'am" (that's never a good sign for a young chick like me) "You need to shave your legs."

Gasp! What? How dare he imply . . . I look down and holy freaking hannah!

My legs are hairy. No, no. Not just hairy. They are gloriously hairy, with long golden-reddish blonde hair. Thick and beautiful. Totally worthy of expensive hair products and a hair dryer after stepping out of the shower (cause there's no way you'd take a bath with all that hair!).

It was so long and beautiful and glorious that it put the hair on my own head to shame.

Which is so, so, so wrong.

So what did I do? I immediately went out to buy a men's industrial size electric razor to hack off the I'm-better-than-your-head hair. The you-look-like-that-furry-Star Wars creature hair. The hair that I couldn't figure out how to pull a pair of yoga pants over. It was terrifying!

Then I woke up, rubbed my legs and sighed. Because I had just shaved my very hairy (although not as hairy as my dream's legs) the night before. Whew!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Generation of Ungrateful Parents

A new home comes with new schools and consequently a new PTO. At a recent meeting, this new PTO discussed the upcoming Holiday Mart.

Do you remember Holiday Marts from when you were young? I totally do! My elementary school would put out all the trinkets - necklaces, mugs, note pads, pens, little plaques, and toys. I remember walking past the tables, making notes about what items I'd like to buy for my mom and siblings. Then returning with my envelope of money, showing my math to my teacher for how my budget would work. The thrill of excitement when I took my wrapped gifts home and placed them under the tree. How awesome it was when Christmas morning arrived and I truly had surprise presents for each member of my family.

My mom cherished those gifts. She wore the fake gem necklace and earrings occasionally, but even when she wasn't wearing them, I knew exactly where she kept them in her favorite jewelry box with her other favorite jewelry. I distinctly remember the World's Greatest Mom key chain I gave her, with a drawing of a woman wearing a crown in the center. It was always on her key chain, with her everywhere she went.

When my mom passed away, I inherited these precious items. No, they didn't cost a lot of money, but yes, they are precious. Why? Because of my mom's attitude. She was grateful for my gifts, for the time I took to consider what special item I would give to her - but most simply, because it was from her daughter.

So imagine my surprise when this new PTO expresses their very poor views about hosting a Holiday Mart for the kids. Oh, for sure they want all the vendors to come for THEM. The fun crafty booths, make-up and jewelry stuff, and yummy smelly candle stuff. Oh yes, all of that, they want. But a section for the kids? To buy what they called 'a bunch of junk'? No way! Instead, let's entertain the kids with mani-pedis and coloring pages while the parents shop. The principal even said she's received letters from students who said they wouldn't go to the Holiday Mart because it was a bunch of crappy junk.

Ungrateful parents whose terrible attitudes are raising ungrateful children.

Do these parents not see the value in their children learning budgeting skills? Or building their self-esteem when they surprise mom or dad with a gift they chose all on their own? Of learning to be independent?

No, apparently these children hear their parents calling the gifts 'junk' and a 'waste of money'. Shame on the parents who don't find joy from these precious opportunities and gifts from their children.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The worth of a gift comes from the receiver appreciating the giver's love and desire to give. It's not equal to the number on the price tag.

My cupboards are full of Queen Mom and Dad's the Best mugs. I have lots of glowy pens and multi-functioning tools with Awesome Dad emblazoned on the side. On my kids' beds are the stuffed animals they've purchased for each other.

Where did these fun items come from? Why, yes, our previous school's Holiday Mart. One day, those mugs will be passed down to my kids as gifts when they have their own children. Do you think they'll appreciate that Mom and Dad gave them such meaningful gifts? Or do you think they'll be looking for the price tag?

I'm confident the only thing running through their minds will be the memory of Mom and Dad unwrapping the gift one long-ago Christmas morning.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rediscovering Myself and My Blog

Last month, I compiled the first year of my blog into a nifty book. It was fun and also a bit sad. I read those sassy, thoughtful posts and wondered "What happened? How did my blog go from the 'real' me to so stifled and blah?"

For weeks, I considered when blogging stopped being fun to kick off my day to a chore, something I dreaded, but felt obligated to do. Did life become too busy and blogging was one thing too many on my to-do list? Did something discourage me?

As I considered the past eight years, one thought stuck out in my mind.

I went from being ME to being neutral.

I set aside my sass, my opinions of right and wrong, what I loved or hated and instead went into middle-ground mode. And let me just say, the middle-gound sucks. In a big way.

So, this is me, reclaiming my blog, reclaiming my throne as the Queen of the Clan. I'm going to write for me, myself and I. The stuff I love, funny things that happen in life, profound moments and why they are so significant to me.

What you won't find on my blog - no more platitudes, no more blah blah blah.

Yeppers, just good old Danyelle. 

I hope you enjoy having me back.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Kansas City Teen Writers Workshop with Young Adult Authors Lisa Mangum & Janette Rallison!

I am absolutely thrilled to host an awesome teen writing workshop with the amazing Lisa Mangum and Janette Rallison! These ladies have not only incredible Young Adult authors, but are also genuinely fun, hilarious, and excellent teachers. If you have a teen who is addicted to books and writing, then this is a definite must-have experience.

Who's invited? Youth ages 12+ who want to learn more about writing

Price: $25, includes workshop, pizza and beverages.

When & Where: Thursday, Sept. 18th from 5-7:30 pm at Danyelle Ferguson's house. 15693 S. Blackfeather St. Olathe, KS

What you'll do: Enjoy a pizza dinner and spend 2 hours exploring plotting, creating great characters, dialogue, setting and other writing essentials. Lisa and Janette will have you laughing and brainstorming together as they share their expertise and stories from their own publishing experiences.

What to bring with you: A notebook and pens


About the Authors

Lisa Mangum  has worked with books ever since elementary school, when she volunteered at the school library during recess. She attended the University of Utah, graduating with honors with a degree in English. She has worked in the publishing industry since 1997. In 2014 she was named the Editorial Manager for Shadow Mountain.

Besides books, Lisa loves movies, spending time with her family, trips to Disneyland, and vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy. She is the author of four award-winning YA novels (the Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello) and the editor of One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology.


Janette Rallison writes books because writing is much more fun than cleaning bathrooms.  Her avoidance of housework has led her to writing 23 novels that have sold over 1,000,000 copies.  Her novels have been on many reading and state lists. Most of her books are romantic comedies or action because hey, there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage of humor, romance and hot guys who fight dragons.  She lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five kids, and enough cats to classify her as eccentric.




Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Fabulous $200 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!


12 authors have come together to give you some BOOK LOVER'S DELIGHTful READING
and a $200 AMAZON GIFT CARD!

Click on the image to read a summary of each book :)

 



ENTER TO WIN THE 
$200 AMAZON GIFT CARD


GIVEAWAY ends 9/30/14

No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older and legally able to receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. This giveaway is not associated with Rafflecopter, Facebook, Twitter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.
VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway was organized by I Love to Read and Review Books :) 
and sponsored by the participating authors.
Stephanie Fowers
Maria Hoagland
Danyelle Ferguson
Paul Mark Tag
Tara C. Allred
Rachel Rossano
Jaleta Clegg
Virginia Ripple
Tricia Ballad
Lisa Swinton
Victorine E. Lieske
Julie Wright

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fetch! Book Review and Amazon Giveaway

  Fetch 

Fetch by Adam Glendon Sidwell    


Book Summary:

A story for anyone who's ever been loved by a dog or given one a home.

At least nine sunsets away, there is a place where dogs can do what they want. But they are not all the same, and when a special one has the courage to fly, he finds something unexpected beyond the tenth horizon.

My Review

Fetch is an adorable story about a dog and his life, the choice to stay free or be loved by a family. The art work is absolutely gorgeous! My kids love it!


Purchase your copy
 


AdamAuthor Adam Glendon Sidwell:

In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Pacific Rim, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed adjectives. He really enjoyed writing 81,854 less words in his new picture book FETCH than he wrote in his first EVERTASTER novel, and hopes that you will like the ones he picked. Besides, FETCH has pictures.

Adam has also been rightfully accused of writing the upcoming novel CHUM.
Praise for the book:

“If you need & want a book for younger children that does not involve zombies, monsters, or overdone "superhero's", and just want a good old fashioned great story, perfect illustrations, and a captivating experience, then "Fetch" should be ordered quickly.”—Carol Anne Merrill Miller

“Simple, yet engaging, storyline appeals to readers of all ages and the illustrations glue your eyes to pages!” –Doodles

“The art work enchanted, enthralled, and grabbed me in ways paintings can and often do.” –Kindle Customer

 

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/13/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Win A Kindle Fire HDX, a $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Pay Pal Cash!

A bunch of my book reviewer and author friends have teamed up to offer this fabulous giveaway. Just so we can say . . .

THANK YOU FOR READING!


For all those who hate the long Rafflecopters you should appreciate the fact that this one is much shorter. Just liking on facebook, following on twitter, a free entry and 2 options to share the giveaway make this much faster to enter.  


The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
Each of these bloggers/authors are sponsoring this giveaway. How about big thank you for them in the comment section or on their Facebook or Twitter pages?  =)
  1. I Am A Reader
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Life of a Writer
  4. Elizabeth Isaacs
  5. Book Lovers Life
  6. Jo Noelle
  7. Pauline Creeden, Author
  8. SFK Books
  9. LeahSay's Views
  10. More Than A Review
  11. Mama Monkey
  12. Dianne Venetta
  13. Bonnie Blythe's Pure Romance
  14. Bella Street Weird Romance
  15. BookBunnyPR
  16. Hope with Q
  17. Danyelle Ferguson
  18. Words Wit and Wisdom
  19. Katie's Clean Book Collection
  20. Jenn's Book Reviews & Giveaways
  21. Start Publishing
  22. True North Publishing
  23. Whiskey Creek Press
 Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 9/18/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One Dirty Bowl: Fast Desserts, Faster Clean Up

Quick desserts and even quicker clean up mean more time with your family and friends, and less time in the kitchen. With One Dirty Bowl, whip up show-stopping desserts like Hazelnut Puffs, Peanut Butter Truffle Bars, and White Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes, all while dirtying just one bowl. Grab your bowl and get ready to bake!











A Mom and Her Teen Review

One Dirty Bowl . . . plus measuring spoons, cups, and general clean up . . . all make for some fabulous and easy baking. Personally, I'm not much of a cooking queen, but my teen daughter is the kitchen queen princess. Here are some things we both liked about One Dirty Bowl.

  1. The way the recipes were organized - and the section titles were so cute! They include: Small & Scrumptious; Beautiful Brownies & Bars; Decadent Dessert Breads; Enticing Cookies; Divine Sweets; and Charming Cakes, Cupcakes, Cobblers & Pies. There's also a section with measurement equivalents and an index in the back.
  2. Easy to find ingredient lists. Each recipe has a banner to the side that lists all the ingredients and measurements. It makes the grocery list so much easier to compile!
  3. Gorgeous pictures! There should be a warning attached to this book. When you flip through it, you'll see so many delicious treats, you won't know which recipe to start with!
What did we make? Paper Bag Cookies. It name doesn't sound impressive, but can I just say YUM!!!

I'm looking forward to my daughter making many more treats from One Dirty Bowl!



For more yumminess by Christina Dymock, check out her website The Hungry Family. It has gobs of fabulous recipes and tips!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: Ring on Her Finger by Lisa Swinton

What happened in Vegas should stay there . . . 
Not follow Amanda home wedded to the man who broke her heart.


After celebrating college graduation with her friends in Las Vegas, Amanda St. Claire wakes up with a terrible hangover and a ring on her finger. Her day gets worse when she finds out she's married to rich playboy Blake Worthington - the guy she has loathed the past four years. Amanda convinces Blake to legally terminate the marriage and they both return home like nothing ever happened. That is, until Blake shows up on her doorstep and Amanda has to come clean with her family.
           
Together for better or worse while the legalities are cleared, Amanda reluctantly plays along, but then the unthinkable happens - she finds herself falling in love with Blake.

Can they overcome the past?  Or will it end their future before it even starts?

Ring on Her Finger is available for purchase on Sept. 3rd!  Learn more about Ring on Her Finger on Lisa Swinton's website.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Hubby & Wife Book Review: The Two Minute Marriage Project

Marry the one you love and love the one you marry. It sounds simple enough. But staying in love turns out to be a whole lot different than falling in love. In a world of constant distraction, marriage experts agree that the little things matter—a lot. The Two-Minute Marriage Project explores the little things couples think, say, and do to stay in love for the long haul. Supported by expert studies, interviews with happily married couples, and years of personal experience, author Heidi Poelman shares the simple secrets that keep love alive. Whether it’s choosing an attitude of gratitude, leaving a love note, giving a welcome-home hug at the door, or calling just to say “hello,” The Two-Minute Marriage Project is full of simple ways to love the one you married, two minutes at a time.  

John and Danyelle's Review

The Two Minute Marriage Project kicked off with assuming the couple has a traditional life - hubby goes off to work, wife stays at home to take care of the kids, etc. Of course, John and I are not at all like that couple. We both work from home and have gobs of fun together. One thing we enjoy is reading books together. In the past, we've read several "make your marriage better" books. We typically find a few tidbits of wisdom that we apply to our relationship.

What we did find was that almost everything in the preface is repeated in the first chapter. We spent ten minutes reading the preface, then seventeen minutes reading the first chapter, just to get to the first "2 minute" action step!

Here are our thoughts as we went through the first "project" of the book - which definitely took longer than 2 minutes.

Our favorite quote: John Jacobs, professor at NYU’s School of Medicine. "The only glue holding couples together now is the glue created by the two of you—the glue of mutual satisfaction, gratification, appreciation, and respect. The glue of mature love.”


#1 - Look back on how you met your spouse and what it felt like to fall in love. Make a commitment to do what is required to stay in love.

J: What did it feel like to fall in love?
D: Gooey - like melted Starbursts. All soft, but tangy.
J: Starbursts aren't gooey. When I think gooey, I think of roasted marshmallows - sweet on the inside, burned to a crisp on the outside.

D: What did it feel like to fall in love?
J: Exciting. Now I look back on it and I think it was exhausting. I'm so glad I don't have to do that at this age.
D: (Not sure what to think about that . . . .)

J: I commit to do what it takes to stay in love. What are the minimum requirements???
D: *sidelong glance at hubby, contemplating a to-do list*
J: (whispers) Did you know I give you a kiss every morning? Before I get out of bed, I lean over and gently kiss your cheek.
 D: Ahhh. *gooey girly heart*


#2 - Consider what feelings you want in the space between you and your spouse. Do you want to feel loved? Respected? Cherished? How do you want your spouse to feel?

J: Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of -
D: The crazy Ferguson's.
*crickets are heard outside as we both contemplate the concept of the space between each of us and what it should be like*

D: This might take longer than 2 minutes.
J: There's gotta be a song for this.
*continue contemplation*

J: If you had to choose between loved, respected or cherished, which would you choose?
D: Cherished
J: There's definitely a song for that.
D: Yep, Madonna rocked it.
J: Um, I was thinking of the other one.
D: The one from Pretty in Pink *sings tune*
J: Yep, that's the one.





D: What would you choose?
J: Is there a D - all of the above?
D: I'm the D. =)
J: I think I would choose loved.
D: Why???
J: I didn't ask you why!
D: Too bad. I am. You had your turn. Now it's mine. Why?
J: When I think of cherished, I think of something held very carefully, something fragile, something special. So I just don't connect with that word personally. I see it for you, but I think loved is a much more practical word. It's more me.
J: Now it's my turn! Why cherished? Because there are songs about it? There are more songs about love!
D: Like What's Love Got to Do with It?
J: (head banging, singing Tina style)
D: (laughing)
J: I don't have long enough hair to do the song justice. But if we're talking songs, let's go for the ultimate, hands-down winning song. Aretha, give me a little RESPECT, baby
*cue song and singing from JnD*





Getting back on topic.

#3 - Where do you want your marriage to be in five years? Ten years?

J: I have a hard time with the whole 5/10 year questions.
D: I have an answer. Still in sanity land with all our teens!
J: Shooting a little high here, aren't we? Sanity isn't all it's cracked up to be.
D: But I don't want to crack. This is why we need glue - marital glue!

*cue the glue song and our night is done*

Monday, July 21, 2014

Attitude and Gratitude

Have you ever noticed how your attitude effects your level of gratitude?

You may not know this, but I'm one of those people who - put in the right situation - easily gets frustrated. It quickly escalates into mega-frustration and anger. Then it's a serious YIKES! situation. When in this mode, my bad attitude rolls right over into my interactions with my family - who generally isn't even part of the situation. Times when I'm normally super patient (reminding kids three times to brush their teeth) suddenly becomes a major shouting fest - all of the shouting coming from me while my kids scramble away. 

Do I want to be this mom? This wife? This friend?

No, I don't.

About eight years ago, after being in a long, frustrating situation, something finally clicked. I realized just how much my attitude effects my ability to be grateful for my family and the many, many blessings in my life.

Then the purge began. If it was optional, stressful, frustrating - it was eliminated. I resigned from committees that were more about who had a better idea, was right, and competition than it was about helping the organization we were supposed to be supporting. I let some relationships go because I realized the only joy the other person received in our friendship was pointing out all the things I didn't do well enough.

It was super difficult at first. Mostly because I felt guilty, like I was letting everyone else down. But it didn't take long before I realized the most important relationships (my family and with Heavenly Father) were growing stronger. The best bonus - I was so much happier! All those knots in my shoulders, the gut-wrenching twists and worrying that kept me up at night - all gone!

For the first time in a long time, I stopped, looked at my life, and was grateful for every little thing.

I've changed a lot since then. I'm definitely more "go with the flow" and a lot more patient. I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm not trying to be perfect. I just want more gratitude, happiness, and lots of laughter in my home.

Sometimes those frustrating situations pop up - ones that are specially designed traps for me to fall into. And occasionally I do. The difference is that after a day or two, I make myself stop, evaluate my feelings and how I'm treating my family - then force myself to let whatever is causing the frustration go. There are times when that's not an easy thing to do, but when I accomplish the 'letting go', life is better.

My life is infinitely better my attitude is one that allows me to be happy and grateful each day.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Celebrate National Anniversaries with the Star Spangled Summer Adventure!



This summer marks the anniversaries of some profound American history. The sesquicentennial of the Civil War continues this summer, and August and September mark the 200th of anniversary of significant historical events from the War of 1812.

August 14th will mark the 200th anniversary of the British burning of America's capital, Washington D.C., including the torching of the White House, known then as The President's House, and the Capitol, which then housed the original Library of Congress. Along with these American architectural treasures, thousands

September 12-13 will mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore, the birth of The Star-Spangled Banner, and the moment America began its love affair with the red, white, and blue.

Sadly, economic issues and budget cuts have forced the cancellation of many public celebrations planned to mark these poignant events.

So families, it’s time to hit the road and create your own Star-Spangled Summer Adventure!

Laurie L.C. Lewis, author of the “Freemen and Dreamers” series, which covers this period of history, and some of her author friends are hosting this Star-Spangled Summer Celebration to encourage families to rediscover America and her history. You visit local, state, or federal landmarks with your family, and we’ll provide some added incentive.

Here’s how you enter:

    1.       Visit five American historical landmarks, (even your local landmarks count), between Flag Day, June 14th, and Defender’s Day, September 12th.

    2.       Email photos of your family standing in front of a sign or building indicating where you went. Use this email address: starspangledsummeradventure@gmail.com

That’s it!

Additional entries will be awarded for those who promote the SSSA by posting the official badge and link on their blog, and link to it via their Facebook page, or on Twitter.  Just send an email with the corresponding link to starspangledsummeradventure@gmail.com

Additional entries can also be earned by submitting a brief, (250 words or less), testimonial recounting your experience on a leg of your “Star-Spangled Adventure.” These will be posted on my blog over the summer.

One family will be selected to win the prize package on September 13th. Visit the official Star-Spangled Summer Adventure page.
of irreplaceable volumes were lost from our nation's library.

Prizes are still coming in, but the package now includes a Vivitar Digital Video Recorder; a $50 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond; a commemorative set of the Charters of Freedom, suitable for framing; and a family-worthy collection of autographed books from authors in a variety of genres.

So hit the road, and let us see what great American history you find!

Warmly,
Laurie L. C. Lewis & Danyelle Ferguson

Friday, May 23, 2014

Feed Your eReader for Summer!


This sale is amazing. Dozens of books from $1.99 to FREE and the chance to win all these fun prizes. Go to Bookmarked Bargains to click on the books you'd like to purchase and to enter to win. 

Here are the other participating authors. Happy reading!

Imperfect Love, Rebecca Talley
Wild Hearts, Heather Tullis
Fallen Angel, Lisa Swinton
The Daisy Chain, Heather Moore
Sweet Confections, Danyelle Ferguson 
A Portrait for Toni, Annette Lyon
      
My Own Mr. Darcy, Karey White
Home Matters, Julie N. Ford
Silver Linings, Kaylee Baldwin
Third Times the Charm, Heather Moore

Discovering Sophie, Cindy Roland Anderson
The Making of a Queen (Ariana Book 1), Rachel Ann Nunes
Prank Wars, Stephanie Fowers
Mr. Wrong, Alivia Anderson
Intercession, Vicki Budge

Amazon, Sunset, Marie Higgins
Loyalty’s Web, Joyce DiPastena
The Man from Shenandoah, Marsha Ward
Intertwine, Nichole Van
Illuminations of the Heart, Joyce DiPastena
Spinster’s Folly, Marsha Ward
               
Tell me No Lies, Rachel Branton
Spy Noon (Spy Another Day prequel), Jordan McCollum
A Change of Plans, Donna K. Weaver
Fourth of July, Cami Checketts
Homecoming Identity, Heather Justesen
I, Spy (Spy Another Day #1), Jordan McCollum
To Sleep No More, Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
The Colony, Cami Checketts

There, Their, They're: A no-tears guide to grammar from the word nerd, 2nd edition, Annette Lyon   
Homeschool Lifestyles from Homeschool Moms, Valerie Steimle
The 2012 Book Bloggers' Cookbook, Christy Dorrity
Of One Heart: Being Single in the LDS World, Valerie Steimle

Nourish and Strength, Maria Hoagland
Wall of Faith, J Loyd Morgan
Intercession, Vicki Budge
Family Size, Maria Hoagland

Just Like Elizabeth Taylor, Lu Ann Staheli          
Worth It (an LDS love story), Taryn Taylor
The Princess Sisters, Stacy Lynn Carroll
Frogs and Toads, Stacy Lynn Carroll
Confessions of 16-year-old Virgin-Lips, Cindy Hogan
Samara: A Kilenya Romance, Andrea Pearson
Tides across the Sea, Lu Ann Staheli
Gravediggers, Cindy Hogan

Heroes of the Highest Order (1-3), Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
The Secret Sisters Club (A Ginnie West Adventure), Monique Bucheger
The Stone of Valhalla, Mikey Brooks
The Key of Kilenya, Andrea Pearson
Simply West of Heaven: A Ginnie West Adventure, Monique bucheger
The Dream Keeper, Mikey Brooks

The Waxing Moon, author J Loyd Morgan
Blue Dragon (Dragonbound Series book one), Rebecca Shelley
Nexus Point, the Fall of the Altairan Empire Book 1, Jaleta Clegg
Soul Windows, Jaleta Clegg
DragonBound IV: Red Dragon, Rebecca Shelley


Inevitable, Tamara Heiner
Twisted Tales Trilogy, Stephanie Fowers
The Roilden Stones of Elf Mountain,  Anna del C.
Awakening: Book One of the Geis, Christy Dorrity
Fateful, Cheri Schmidt
The Silent Warrior Trilogy, Anna del C.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What is Hidden by Lauren Skidmore

In a land of masquerades and mystery, Evie is a mask maker in Venesia, where masks represent rank and identity. When a cryptic bandit strips away Evie’s mask and destroys her home, she goes into hiding at the palace to find both a new identity—and revenge. Fantasy lovers will be caught up by the mystique, romance, and magic of "What Is Hidden."




Lauren Skidmore grew up in Kansas, with stints in Ohio and New York, and currently lives in Utah. She attended Brigham Young University where she earned a BA in English Teaching with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language and Japanese. She then spent a year in Japan teaching and traveling. She hasn’t made it to Europe yet, but it’s on the list and has been to 30 states in the U.S. so far. When she’s not exploring new places, you can probably find her on the internet with fifteen windows open and looking at just one more thing before actually getting something done.


Our Review

My daughter and I LOVE What is Hidden. First of all, look at that gorgeous cover! The story inside is just as enticing. Evie's story is a twist on the Cinderella tale. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of a masked society and Evie's role as a mask maker. It reminded me of Crewel by Gennifer Albin, and how she used knitting and weaving through society. The masked society in What is Hidden is unique and the characters within are fascinating. It's not often I find a debut author with such a fresh voice and strong writing. Lauren Skidmore is definitely on my list of authors to watch!

Click on the link below to purchase her book. Or drive to your local bookstore for a copy. You'll thank me later.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Winners, Writers and More - Oh My!

Winners . . . 

The past few weeks have been chuck full of amazing and fun stuff. My blog tour response was beyond incredible. Thank you to everyone who purchased my book, left reviews and entered the blog tour giveaway. The giveaway ended with over 4,000 entries! So, let's kick this blog post off with the winners. Congrats to . . .

$25 iTunes GC - Ali F.

$20 Sports Authority GC - Hai K.

Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis - Rachael S.

Fallen Angel by Lisa Swinton - Jessica H.

Choice of 1 DiCarlo Brides book by Heather Tullis - Laurie G.

Fortune Cookie by Josi S. Kilpack - Victoria A.

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards - Lyza Jo

Rebound by Heather Justesen - Loretta B.

Gated by Amy Christine Parker (audiobook) - Diana D.

Winners - watch for an email. You will have 48 hours to accept your prize or another will be drawn.  =)


Writers . . . 

I spent last weekend surrounded by 700 writers at the Utah Storymakers Writers Conference. There was so much excitement, brainstorming, new friendships being forged - the list could go on. It was inspiring. As part of the conference organization committee, I was a tad busy running registration and other stuff, but I did get to attend a 2 hour intensive workshop taught by Elana Johnson and Ali Cross on story structure based off the Save the Cat series. It was awesomesauce! (an Elana term).  I loved their combined teaching style and how they used both a movie and a book to show the different beats a novel should have. I plan to pull out my Save the Cat book and add in all the notes I took during the class.

Here are some of my fave conference pictures (thank you to those who took pics and posted them on FB for me!):

 2014 Storymakers Conference Book Signing
with authors (L to R) - Jordan McCollum, Rachelle Christensen,
Danyelle Ferguson, Connie Sokol, Stephanie Black, and Lisa Mangum.

Author J. Scott Savage won the 2013 Whitney Award
for Best Speculative Fiction - then totally made me
tear up when he took his wife on stage with him and talked about
how he couldn't have accomplished all he did with out the support
and encouragement his wife gave. Jeff & Jennifer are such a great example
of a couple taking care of each other and reaching for their dreams together.


My hubby (John Waverly) and I were honored to present
the 2013 Whitney Award for Best Middle Grade Fiction
to Jennifer A. Nielsen for her novel, The Runaway King.

A totally fun moment after the Whitney Gala when
Stephanie Black grabbed me for a photo and we were joined
by some incredible awesome chicks. (L to R)
Donna Hatch, Stephanie Black, Danyelle Ferguson, 
Janette Rallison (aka CJ Hill), Heather Justsen (aka Heather Tullis),
Traci Hunter Abramson, and Julie Wright. 
I adore these ladies!


And More - Oh My!

The next two weeks are going to be busy ones for my family. It's the end of the school year and we're moving as well. I'm going to do my best to continue posting on my blog, but just in case you see a week go by with no posts - you'll know why.  =)

Also, today is the last day to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for Sweet Confections. Enjoy!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sweet Confections by Danyelle Ferguson

Sweet Confections

by Danyelle Ferguson

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cover Reveal - Rewind to You by Laura Johnston & a Giveaway

Today's Sweet Confections blog tour stops are: 

April 9th    Lisa Swinton - Book Review
April 9th    Cause Everyone Needs Romance - Book Spotlight & Interview

And don't forget to enter to win an iTunes gift card, Sports Authority gift card, or some fabulous books!

I'm super excited to share Laura Johnston's cover reveal with you. It's YA, it's romance - and it looks absolutely addictive!


Cover Reveal, About the Author, a Sneak Peek of REWIND TO YOU and Rafflecopter Giveaway


Genre: Clean Contemporary YA Romance
Release Date: September 15, 2014; Available for PREORDER now

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

About the Author:

Laura Johnston lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children. Growing up in Orem, Utah with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, dancing (deduced to dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner these days), traveling, writing, writing and more writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU, her debut novel, was inspired by the loss of her father as a teenager.

A Sneak Peek of REWIND TO YOU:





Giveaway: Signed Copy of REWIND TO YOU and $25 Amazon Gift Card


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. The winner, chosen by Rafflecopter, will be announced here on April 29th as well as emailed. The winner will have 5 days to respond at which point a new winner will be chosen. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.