Saturday, December 02, 2017

Time Away or Time Out?

Time Away

I have taken the month of March as a time away from a book that I've been writing, well putting together for years (yes, I said years). A good friend, and fellow writer, listened to my frustration of getting lost in this project and gave me some great advice. He told me to just take some time away from it. So I took his advice and took an entire month off. I haven't look at my book at all, I haven't talked about it, I haven't even thought about it. I started reading a bunch of books, I started this blog, and I invested my time in others things.

I will say that I was tempted a few times to get cracking on the editing of my book but then I looked over on my cork board at the reminder my best friend wrote for me:

I have a complete first draft.
It is exciting & filled with inspiring, life changing principles.

When I would read his reminder I would take a breathe and focus on something else. This month away from my book has been much needed and great for my perspective. I am again in love with my book. I am excited to dive in again on Friday April, 1, 2011. I hope to finish my book by the end of April and then start the publication process (more on that later...)

Time Out

Unlike taking a time away sometimes what you really need is a time out! Sometimes taking a time away helps you to gain perspective and you realize it is actually time to shelve a project. The Secret Archives of the Alliterati, love this blog, had a great post about this recently. Sometimes the fact that you are bogged down, keep getting rejection letters, your friends can't seem to finish reading your novel/project to give you feedback, means it is time to walk away for good—or at least for now.

I think it very important as writers that we learn the difference between a time away and a time out. Anyone have any experience with either of these they want to share??

How Stories Are Born

I often wonder when I'm reading a book how the author came up with their book's concept. I think most authors are asked this question when given the chance. Some have great stories as to why or how they conceived their book and others don't. I remember hearing about how Stephenie Meyer had a dream and from that dream she created the Twilight Series. A dream...really??

As a writer I am always looking for new ideas, listening to what people are talking about, inventing their back stories, and so forth. I have a bunch of stories I started and then they ended up in the graveyard. I sometimes wonder if I'll get a dream, an epiphany, some kind of real life turned fiction story I happen upon, or if I will just have to hunker down and dig out stories from the graveyard and make them happen.

Today I sent a regular old text message to my best friend and right after I sent it I had this brilliant YA Fiction Novel epiphany!! It was really strange actually. I rushed home and wrote what would sort of be on the back of the novel (the hook) and then I started to write out the characters. It was a bit crazy how fast they each came to life...I am still trying to get their entire high school world from my brain to my laptop ( I LOVE WRITING!!)

This got me thinking about how other stories are born? I am curious how you form your ideas for your stories?

Frindle: Book Review

Title: Frindle

Author: Andrew Clements

Genre: Young Readers

Publisher: Atheneum

Paperback: 105 pgs. (large print)

Nicholas Allen has plenty of ideas. Who can forget the time he turned his third-grade classroom into a tropical island, or the times he fooled his teacher by chirping like a blackbird? But now Nick's in fifth grade, and it looks like his days as a troublemaker are over.
Everyone knows that Mrs. Granger, the language arts teacher, has X-ray vision, and nobody gets away with anything in her classroom. To make matters worse, she's also a fanatic about the dictionary, which is hopelessly boring to Nick. But when Nick learns an interesting tidbit about words and where they come from, it inspires his greatest plan yet: to invent a new word. From now on, a pen is no longer a pen -- it's a frindle.
It doesn't take long for frindle to take root, and soon the excitement spreads well beyond his school and town. His parents and Mrs. Granger would like Nick to put an end to all this nonsense. But frindle doesn't belong to Nick anymore. All he can do now is sit back and watch what happens.
This quirky, imaginative tale about creative thought and the power of words will have readers inventing their own words. Brian Selznick's black-and-white illustrations enhance the humor in this unforgettable story.
I absolutely loved this book! I don't know why I never heard of it before but it is genius! I read this little gem in less than an hour and admit that I got a little weepy (no actual tears mind you) near the end. I think that Clements does a wonderful job of bringing to life the importance of words and the difference one person can make. I also love the thinly veiled, until the end, difference a good teacher can make in the lives of her/his students.
This book is full of empowerment! I love the idea of a word spreading like wildfire—which happens more and more these day on YouTube and such things. This book is so easy to read and the story flows freely. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down b/c I wanted to see how far the Frindle would go!

Writing Off The Page

I don't remember when I first heard the literary term, "writing off the page" but I know I read about it in an amazing book about writing called, "On Writing" by Stephen King. Writing off the page is the kind of writing that J.R.R Tolkien or J.K. Rawling does. The kind of writing that leaves you feeling that you are only invited to part of the story—that each page has more.

Readers are entranced by book written off the page. They long for more, more story, more of the world they were invited into, more...

It is rare to find a book or movie that leaves you feeling or wanting more. Most books or movies wrap everything up with a bow and send you off feeling great—closure. But, every once in a while you want to discover what is written off the page, the stories you don't hear or get to see. Sometimes, you finish and you want more.

I watched a movie today that did such that. I went to see, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" and around every bend of the movie I wanted more. I wanted to hear every characters story. I want to sit and just be with the main character. I wanted to hold the hand of the mother and catch her tears. I wanted to exchange notes with the man who was mute. I wanted more. I found myself entrance by the cinematography, the colors, the characters, and especially the story. (see more about my experience on my personal blog.)

If you can, become a writer that writes off the page. Create an entire world, village, school, home for your characters to live and breathe. Give them stories and friends and personality quirks that never make it into your book. It should be painful to cut out your pages from story you have created. When you are done there should be lots of scraps left over where you have written off the page.

Try it, Good luck!

Date A Girl Who Writes

This blog was inspired by these blog posts: "Date a girl who reads""Date an Entrepreneur"

Date a girl who writes. Date a girl who spends her money on pens, paper, and books rather than fancy-dancy clothes or expensive makeup. Date a girl who writes because she has a wonderful vocabulary but doesn't make you feel dumb.

Find a girl who loves paper. She writes on a computer for convenience but she prefers paper. She has cards ready on hand in her purse and loves to leaves a trail of notes wherever she goes. She is the one who is writing letters—the old fashion way of pen to paper, and sending them in the mail. She is a girl who owns a typewriter to actually use instead of admire.

Because she is a writer she is also well read. She knows that good writers are good readers. You will notice she always has a book in her bag next to her current writing notebook. Date a writer because all her books have dog-eared marked up pages with notes written in the margins that you secretly want to read. She is the one who doodles ideas on scraps of paper, napkins, and is always telling you her new story plot and fanciful ideas. You can find her at Bookstores lost in thought as she is doing research on what books are selling, what is the current YA trend, and trying hard to resist buying one more book she doesn't need.

Date the girl who is reading a book with all sorts of notebooks spread out around her. Sit by her, she might not notice at first, but challenge her with real questions and real desire to understand her world. Ask her about her book characters, the book(s) she is currently reading and share your favorite books. Challenge her on her ideas.

It is easy to date a girl who writes. Give her a book, notebook, gift card to a bookstore for her birthday, for Christmas, and anniversaries. Give her the gift of words in poetry, in song, in a simple letter. Give her Mary Oliver, Poe, Emerson, Rilke, any book on writing. "Let her know that you understand that words are love." Understand that she knows the difference between creating a world and the reality she lives. She will try to live her stories or fix her life problems through her characters and if you're lucky you will be privy to her sacred tears and triumphs in the process.

Let her really know how you feel about poetry, syntax, words, blogs. Don't be afraid when she wanders from reality to a place where she is generative, creative, and other worldly—she will wander back to reality.

Date a girl who writes because there is nothing like it. You will find she brings light, joy, and color into your life. If you want a safe half lived life filled with dull moments and splashes of color walk away from a writer. "If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who [writes]."

If you find a girl who writes keep her close. When you see her eyes glaze over and she is scrambling for something to write down a new idea—be patient. She doesn't know any better way to capture the stories, worlds, characters that are running around rampant in her head. When she is up at 2am writing furiously or crying over a book she can't stop reading, make her a cup of tea and hold her.  She may talk to you about her characters and their story, as if they are real, because to her they are. "You may lose her for a few hours but she will always come back to you."

It's okay to fail a writer because she knows that failures lead to triumphs, that after the climax comes the denouement, that sometimes the story ends...but sometimes there is a sequel. She knows that life is full of heroes and villains and patterns hers after those who have affected her life. It is also okay for you to be her hero and give her plenty of fodder for her next novel. Don't be too worried or scared of being perfect. Girls who write understand character development and the idea that flaws make for better full rounded characters.

Marry a writer because you can't imagine spending you time with anyone else. Because your heart is ready to burst and bleed out all over the floor when she gives you that look. Marry a writer because even is she never gets published you will never have worry about life being boring or lack for entertainment. Together you will write the story of your lives and sometimes you will use paper.

Love a writer because she will introduce your children to "Green Eggs and Ham", "Boxcar Children", and Shell Silverstein. She will play tinker toys, Lego's, and build castles out of blocks while introducing to them the idea of creating stories and using their imagination.  She will whisper poetry in your ear at the right time and will always be able to keep herself busy.

Find, date, marry, and love a writer because with her you will live a thousand lives, dream a million dreams, and never lack for a story.

Start Something That Matters

I just found this post in my blog history and for some reason it didn't get published. So here it is...

Today I saw this video when I was checking out TOMS website. I felt inspired. I went and bought Blake's book, "Start Something That Matters," and I read it in one sitting. It is full of inspiration and fabulous ideas. You should read it!

I bought and read this book today. Yes,  you read that right I read it in one sitting. I LOVE it! For years my motto has been: Make it Happen and I love what Blake has to say about doing something that matters. Of course, in the case of this blog I would add—Write something that matters!

In the Meantime

As a precursor to my book coming out I decided to start writing about singles. I hope to find questions or topics from singles out their via this blog, comments, FB, etc. Leave me a comment if you have any questions or ideas for me to write about. My first post in this series comes from Derek, an AZ LDS midsingle. He suggested I write about patiently waiting. He shared a beautiful quote from President Uchtdorf given in a Conference talk in 2010 called, "Continue in Patience":

"Patience is not passive, resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well."

I talk a lot in my life and write in my book about ways to deal with the "in the meantime" so I thought I would share a few of the practical things I've learned (and tried to apply) along the way.

Do What You Love

People are attracted to other people who are full of passion. It doesn't really matter what you love just love it. When you love something you have something to talk about, to do, and to share.  Doing something you love gives you an opportunity to really be yourself and people love and fall in love with people who are genuine and refreshing!

Find Your People

I'll never forget how it felt to be in my last year of my undergrad in my creative writing classes. It felt just like it did when I entered my grad school classes. I remember thinking...these are my people! 

Find your people—those who are passionate about the same things as you. Find people who think on your intellectual level, eat foods like you (find your fellow foodies), collect similar things like, or just enjoy the same sports teams as you.  Being around your people brings out out the quirky sides of you but also the best in you. 

Start Something 

I met my last boyfriend in a choir I started. I started the choir b/c my friend & I wanted to start singing on Sundays again and we didn't have time to be in the only other LDS choir we knew about. So we started one and now 10 months later I am loving every minute of joy it is to have started something that matters.

I am a huge fan of people who live out their dreams and make things happen in their lives. I already wrote a blog about this topic a few posts ago—if you are interested you can check it out here. When you start something you love you are bound to find your people.(see above)

Find the Best (FTB)

Nobody likes to be around people who are always negative. The saying "misery loves company" only lasts so long. Also, the more negative you are the more wear it actually takes on your looks, countenance, and your overall being. Negativity weighs you down. 

Your single friends don't know how to help you and your married friends are tired of hearing about your woes (they have woes of their own). So finding the best in situations can only help you. Look for the best in people, in situations, in your job, and in your situation. You will be amazed and much better you feel when you try to find the best in life.

Listen More Talk Less (LMTL)

 A co-worker of mine used to always tells our girls on the dorms at the residential treatment center, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” I loved hearing him teach the girls the power of listening. A great quote on listening comes from Elder Ben Banks,

“[You] should spend a great deal of time listening, not just telling. This listening should be done with an open mind and heart. When [people] feel they can talk freely about their feelings, problems, and successes, wonderful relationships develop...” (Take Time for Your Children, Ensign, Nov. 1993, 28.)

There are far too many people wanting to talk in the world and not enough people who are willing to listen. It is amazing the things you learn, not just about others, but about yourself when you take the time to listen. There will be many times in your life that you will regret saying something but rarely ever will you regret taking the time to listen.

And so I hope a few of these ideas are applicable and helpful while you are patiently waiting or waiting patiently to make things happen in your life!

Opportunity For Growth

I got this quote from a friend and I like the message is shares, 

"There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship - it is natural and healthy. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that will last forever - expecting it to last forever is what is dysfunctional. Expectations set us up to be a victim - and cause us to abandon ourselves in search of our goal. As long as we believe that SOMEONE ELSE has the POWER to make us HAPPY then we are setting ourselves up to be VICTIMS. If we can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth then we can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment - it is a lesson."  (Robert Burney)

I am not amazing at being in relationships but I am always learning from them. I would rather have my heart broken, and learn from love, than be alone.


Okay so I have to admit a weakness of mine in order to drive (I hope) some dialogue about the topic of 

I am terrible at being vulnerable! My last boyfriend told me he liked it when I was sick or when I was down & out b/c I hurt my back because that was when he could serve me and I finally "needed" him. That was a wake up call for me!

As a therapist I work in a field where people tell me their troubles, worries, and share with me their deepest secrets and anguish on a regular basis.  I also happen to be the person that for years people depended upon to share their hearts—knowing they were safe. Through the years I've learned when and where to let people "dump" on me. However, over time I became the dependable, independent, strong one. I learned quickly that I wasn't allowed (in my circle of friends) to be weak or vulnerable. In fact, a few times when I tried to let down my guard I was literally laughed at. I was seen as the one who people go to when they are weak—not the one who comes to them when I was weak. 

And then there's that whole single, female, independence thing I've got going on. Some days I'm fierce because I don't have a choice and other days I'm fierce because I not comfortable letting down my guard. I know this is not good and I'm working on it.

I know that people, in general and specifically, want to be needed. I get that in order for someone to trust you enough to share their heart you have to share yours. I know these things and have even chosen a career based around them. I just find it extremely hard, at times, to live.

There is a quote I love by President George Washington, "Be courteous with all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence." This is me. Now, don't confuse being open as being vulnerable. I am an open book. I am confident in talking about most things openly in my life. I hold very little mystery. Where I run into trouble is when it comes to being vulnerable, letting down my guard/walls, speaking from my heart. For someone to hold my heart and catch my tears I need to feel I am safe and I can trust them. 

I think because I am this way I close myself off from opportunities or conversations that could be life changing. I sometimes wrestle w/God because I feel like the older I get as a single female the more independent and strong willed I become. I sometimes feel like if I'm vulnerable I will appear as being needy or that my heart will ooze out my fingertips and eyelashes and I will appear too raw or naked—standing there arms outreaching with no one there to accept me...

And yet I know otherwise.

I know if there are people who love me unconditionally. I know there are people who will listen to my heart, catch my tears, and keep my secrets if only I would ask. In fact, I know there are people, right now in my life, who would be relieved if I would do this. I know these things and yet I struggle...

I would love to know how you invite vulnerability into your life?

Resources in Making Things Happen (CrowdFunding)

I am big fan of making things happen in my life and in the lives of others. 

Do you have non-profit you want to start or are a part of and you need funding? Do you a group gift you want to people to pay into? Do you have wicked awesome ideas but don't know how to get them out of your head and into production? Do you have some money you want to invest in someone else (micro loan) and help them change their lives?

If so, and if you are just curious, please look just a few of the incredible resources there are out there to help you make things happen in your life and make your dreams come true!

Crowd tilt
We all love doing things as a group. Like with a lot of experiences, it's not what you do – it’s the people you do it with that matters more.
At Crowdtilt, we’re trying to make it easier for groups to do things together. Whether it’s a party-bus to the next Phish show or pooling money for a cause you know your close friends are passionate about – we just want to make that process of grouping those funds as easy as possible.
(from the About section on the website)

Start Some Good

StartSomeGood empowers people from around the world to become social innovators. By connecting social entrepreneurs with the financial and intellectual capital they need to transform an idea for improving the world into a reality, together we can turn ideas into action and impact.
There are no shortage of problems in the world, and no shortage of people with ideas to address them, yet they lack the resources that they need to get started. StartSomeGood provides social entrepreneurs with a platform to raise start-up funds and build a community of supporters -- all in a fun, engaging and community-driven way. Our site taps into the power of the crowd, allowing social entrepreneurs to ask for small amounts of money from supporters from around the world, and gives them the tools to update their supporters, provide unique rewards in exchange for support and run multiple campaigns over time.
We’ve taken the crowdfunding model -- which is growing in popularity world-wide -- and customized it to reflect the unique needs of social entrepreneurs.
If you are visiting for the first time, we know you will find many worthwhile initiatives and inspiring changemakers here. We hope you will choose to chip in to help make these important ventures start and thrive, to help those who are helping our world. And then we hope you think about what your community needs, and the good you might start yourself. We are here to help you turn your ideas into action and impact.
Creating a more sustainable, equal and just future will take all of us.
How will you StartSomeGood? 
(from the About/Overview section on the website)


The more you participate 
the more you earn,
 gaining you status, 
privileges and cold, 
hard gift-cards.
All of your participations on Crowdtap will help make donations to your selected charity.

Brands want your opinions and they want you to tell others. What better way than to give you their products.


(from website front)


What Can I Do on Razoo?


Search for and donate to 1 million officially registered nonprofit organizations.


Set up a fundraiser for a charity of your choice. There are no setup fees and no monthly subscription fees.


Raise money as a team on Razoo. Or simply help others spread the word about their cause. 
(from the Learn More section on website)

What's Kickstarter?

  1. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.
    Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects. If you like stats, there's lots more here.
  2. Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they're ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.
    Every project creator sets their project's funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.
    (from the What's Kickstarter page on the website)


Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.
We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

What we do

Find out how we work with others to end poverty and injustice, from campaigning to responding to emergencies.

Why we do it

We believe that respect for human rights will help lift people out of poverty.

Our history

Find out more about Oxfam.


We strive to do what we say we will do. Read about our core values and operating principles against which we measure ourselves.
Until 2012, our work to achieve a just world without poverty will be guided by our Strategic Plan, "Demanding Justice."

(from the About Us section on the website)


For centuries, becoming an “inventor” has been a hard gig to crack. Complexities relating to financing, engineering, distribution, and legalities have stood in the way of brilliant people executing on their great ideas.
Since launching in 2009, Quirky has rapidly changed the way the world thinks about product development.
We bring two brand new consumer products to market each week, by enabling a fluid conversation between a global community and Quirky's expert product design staff.
The world influences our business in real-time, and we share our revenue directly with the people who helped us make successful decisions.
(from the About Us section on the website)



For years, fundraising platforms stood between nonprofit and their donors. Non-profits had to send their donors to someone else’s site. We take a different approach. CauseVox brings your fundraising back to your own site. Because your story is unlike any others, your fundraising site should be unique too. 

We have one purpose in mind: to tell your stories beautifully online, inspiring support & donations towards your cause. We do this through our simple, yet powerful, tools. 

(from the About Us section on the website)


Since FirstGiving was founded over a decade ago, our organization has been dedicated to one purpose: empowering passionate nonprofit supporters to raise more money than they ever thought possible for the causes they care about.

We partner with nonprofit organizations to allow them to plan, execute, and measure successful online fundraising campaigns. For individual fundraisers, we aim to make the process simple, effective, and even fun!

Above all, we want nonprofit and fundraisers alike to meet and exceed their goals of raising money for important causes, building awareness, and expanding the world of giving.

(From the About Us/Overview section of the website)


The Idea Behind Indiegogo

  • When our founders joined forces in 2007, they had diverse backgrounds and varied interests. However, they had one important thing in common: Danae, Eric and Slava each tried to raise money for something they were passionate about, but they came up short. They had great ideas, the passion to work hard, and good networks, yet access to funding through traditional channels proved limited. The trio was determined to find a solution to the problem. Indiegogo was born; the crowdfunding solution that empowers ideas and enables people to donate funds easily.

How We’re Fixing Funding

  • We’re fixing the funding process by empowering people from all over the world to accomplish extraordinary things through our platform. In 2008 we unleashed Indiegogo in the independent film industry and it was a smash hit. In 2009, we expanded to include all industries and today we’re the leading international crowdfunding platform, having raised millions of dollars for thousands of campaigns worldwide. Our belief is that anyone, anywhere who is passionate and works hard should be able to raise money.

Our Mission is to Get Your Passion Funded

  • At Indiegogo you’ll find a welcoming, supportive community that embraces collaboration, fearlessness and authenticity. You provide the passion, we’ll provide industry leading tools and support to help you promote your campaign and raise funds quickly, easily and securely. Have a look around and get inspired by the amazing people and campaigns raising funds every day. You could be the next, great success story!
    (found on the About Us section of the website)

We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works.
Since Kiva was founded in 2005:
  • 844,334 Kiva lenders
  • $370,136,225in loans
  • 98.97% Repayment rate
We work with:
  • 168 Field Partners
  • 450 volunteers around the world
  • 66 different countries

  • (found in About section on website)

 I hope I introduced some new wicked awesome fundraising/make it happen/invention-making/fund a project/friend, etc websites to you. I also hope it inspires you some kind of action.

"How To Be Alone" by: Tanya Davis

I absolutely love this video and poem!

A video by filmmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and Tanya Davis. Davis wrote the poem and performed in the video which Dorfman directed, shot, animated by hand and edited. The video was shot in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was produced by Bravo!FACT

For more information on Andrea Dorfman, visit

This video was shot on a Panasonic HVX 200 and the animation was hand drawn+painted and then scanned into Adobe After Effects, exported as QTs and edited on FCP.

 by Tanya Davis

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you've not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren't okay with it, then just wait. You'll find it's fine to be alone once you're embracing it.

We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You're not supposed to talk much anyway so it's safe there.

There's also the gym. If you're shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in (guitar stroke).

And there's public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there's prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you're hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously (electric guitar plucking) based on your avoid being alone principals.

The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they -- like you -- will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You're no less intriguing a person when you're eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.
And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor till the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one's watching...because, they're probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you're sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life's best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.
Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there're always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might've never happened had you not been there by yourself

Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.

You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one's in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.

Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school's groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay. Cuz if you're happy in your head than solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

It's okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can't think like you, for this be releived, keeps things interesting lifes magic things in reach.

And it doesn't mean you're not connected, that communitie's not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn't get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don't obsess about it.

you could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it
If your heart is bleeding make the best of it
There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

The Saxophone

My favorite Christmas gift this year was given to me by my dad before I even got home...

The Back Story: My grandpa, Leland Grant "Gus" Shields, use to play his saxophone in a dance band at BYU called the Y's Men Band. I loved imagining my grandpa playing his sax in that band and to this day still listen to his recordings. I loved my grandpa with all my heart and because of his love of jazz, then my dad's love of jazz, I too fell in love with jazz at a young age.  

One day my aunt was telling me about the time her dad (my grandpa) had played the saxophone at her wedding and I thought that was awesome. So I asked my dad to play the saxophone at my wedding.  This was so many years ago that I barely remembered asking my dad.

Years ago my dad found his dad's sax lying around collecting dust in the basement of his home and asked his mom if he could have it. She said yes so my dad took it home and it began to collect dust for a years at his house. My dad eventually bought a case off craigslist for the saxophone but the mouthpiece was missing and the sax needed a lot of work, if anyone was ever going to play it again.

Leland Grant "Gus" Shields' Saxophone

Then one day my dad began an unlikely friendship with a man, Don Degrady, that used to play in the Y's Men Band at BYU with my grandpa. Don gave my dad a beautiful mouthpiece for my grandpa's sax and told my dad of a wonderful place in Oakland, CA where they could fix up my grandpa's saxophone. So my dad sent it to that store.

Mouth piece given by Don  DeGrady

The Christmas Story: So a few days ago my dad drove to Oakland early to pick up my grandpa's saxophone and then to pick me up from the airport to come home for Christmas. On the way home he told me the backstory of my grandpa's saxophone. He also told me that he had been praying for me to find a good man and get married but that he felt like he needed to do his part. So he decided to get the saxophone all ready to play, picked out a song, and is going to practice and prepare to play at my wedding!

I love my dad and LOVE his faith!