Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome In 2013

Another new year has arrived.  Please forgive me if I sound less than wildly enthusiastic.  Celebrating the new year has never been a really big deal to me.  I only remember one big New Year's date as a teenager.  Yes, it was a great date and left me with wonderful memories, but I chose to babysit most of those teen New Years Eves because I needed the money and people paid extra for sitters that night. My husband and I went out a few times after we were married, but once the children came along, we welcomed the new year with dinner and family activities with them, then usually fell asleep before the magic hour.  As they grew older we watched the clock waiting for them to come in rather than the new year.  After our children were all raised a group of us began going out to dinner then renting a movie to watch at one of our homes.  That was fun.  Tonight?  I'm sleepy now; I'll be doing good to stay awake until ten. 

New Year's resolutions?  I prefer setting goals, but either way I did okay in 2012.  I set a goal to read the Book of Mormon all the way through and to lose twelve pounds.  I finished the Book of Mormon about a week ago and I've lost almost twenty pounds.  I started out the year doing okay on the weight loss, then put the five or six pounds I'd lost back on.  The nurses weighed me the morning of my pancreatic surgery a month ago and I was two pounds heavier than when I started the year.  Since the surgery I've dropped nineteen and a half pounds.  Let me assure you this hasn't been a good way to lose weight.  Getting through Christmas without raisin filled cookies, a nibble of chocolate, pie, or any other seasonal treats has been tough. 

My goals for the new year?  I'll try not to lose my sanity over the insanity of Washington D.C.'s political hierarchy.  I'm determined to get healthy again which means learning to deal with diabetes (the unfortunate result of having almost all of my pancreas removed.) I want to end this leave of absence and get back to serving at the temple. I also want to get my house and garden back in shape.  I'd like to take one of the trips my husband and I have been planning for years.  We didn't even have a fun anniversary a couple of weeks ago to celebrate our 48th wedding anniversary; we spent most of the day in my doctor's office then I went to bed and he watched a ball game. I think a resolution to do something fun is in order! 

My professional goals haven't changed a lot.  I intend to keep reviewing LDS fiction for Meridian Magazine.  I have a new book, Where the River Once Flowed, scheduled to come out in February.  I'll post the cover as soon as I get it.  I also have a story in Covenant's Mothers' Day anthology which will be out this spring. 

It's time to resume the Wish List contest.  Just leave a tasteful comment on any of my blogs this month, multiple entries are welcome.  You can comment on my blog or tell me about your New Year's Eve celebration or resolutions. The winner will receive one of the books I've been sent to review or if he/she doesn't mind waiting a bit, the winner can choose a copy of my new book. 

Happy New Year everyone and may it be better than the last.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reflecting on Books at Christmastime

One item very near the top of any list I might draw up of things for which I'm grateful is my ability to read.  Along with that I'm grateful for the unlimited resources available to me from which to draw my passion for the printed word.  I love bookstores, libraries, my Kindle, the internet, newspapers, friends and family who share books, and my own scribbles. 

Somehow I got the idea that recuperating would involve a lot of time to read.  Boy was I wrong. Granted I did read a lot while recuperating from my September knee replacement surgery, but the pancreatectomy left me too sick to read at first, then shaky and uninterested, then too busy learning to deal with diabetes, doctor visits, and fatigue.  I must be getting better because in the last three days I've read The Ensign cover to cover, two and a half books, and all of the unpublished authors' entries in the LDSPublishers Christmas Story Contest. 

When my sister who is two years older than me started school, she came home each day and we played school.  She taught me whatever she'd learned that day.  An older brother was having trouble learning to read so his teacher assigned him to read aloud to someone each day for a half hour.  My busy mother decided he should read to me.  Between my sister's daily tutoring and my brother's laborious sounding out each word as he read, I learned to read several years before I was allowed to go to school.   

My mother had a number of children's books which I spent hours poring over as they ignited my imagination. One of the great tragedies of my childhood was the flood that swept through our home destroying all of my mother's books when I was eight. 

Some of the most appreciated Christmas gifts I received as I grew up were books.  As I became old enough to babysit, some of that precious money went for books.  When I was twelve I could buy a Trixie Beldon novel for fifty cents, my entire earnings for tending three small children for six hours--including washing the family's supper dishes.  During the school year I had access to books, but summers were different.  Few towns allowed children from the outlying farms to have library cards.  I will always feel gratitude for an elderly man who was our neighbor in Montana.  He marched into the Hamilton library and signed a paper to sponsor me and my siblings so we could have library cards.  A high school teacher in a little Idaho town arranged a state library card for me so that I could check out books by mail from the state library in Boise. I so appreciated that gesture. 

It will be Christmas in just a few days and you can be sure there will be books among the many surprises under the tree.  It has been exciting to watch one of my daughters experience the publication of her first book and share her pleasure in successful book signings.  And I look forward to reading my favorite Christmas story; you know the one I mean . . . the one that begins "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. . . And Joseph also went up from Galilee, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem . . .To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."
Merry Christmas to all of my readers!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Not a Blog, just an Update

I'm not sure this qualifies as a blog.  It's more of an update.

My surgery went well, but I'm still extremely weak and will be for a month or so. I'm no longer in a lot of pain and I got brave enough to step on the scales this morning.  I've lost twelve pounds!  But what an awful way to lose it!  I see my doctor Friday and will learn then about the pathology report and whether or not I'm diabetic now.  In the meantime I have to eat as though I am.  My family, especially my husband are taking good care of me. I can't do much of anything yet.  Just taking a shower leaves me so exhausted I need a nap! I really appreciate all the well wishes and prayers so many have offered for me.

I have the galleys now for my next book, Where the River Once Flowed.  It's to be released in February and I love working with my new editor, Stacey.  I can only go over the galleys for about 20 or 30 minutes at a time, so it's going slowly, but I feel certain I can meet my Friday deadline.  I'll post the cover as soon as I get it.

As many of you know my daughter Janice Sperry has a Christmas book out this year.  It's called The Candy Cane Queen.   And here's a shameless plug for it.  It's perfect to read at family home evening, for a gift for visiting or home teaching families, or even a stocking stuffer.

Well, that's it for today.  I'm heading back to my recliner for a little nap.