Thursday, May 19, 2016


A few days ago I was shopping in a nearby super store that has junior size shopping carts for children to use They're perfect for those little helpers who accompany mommy or daddy shopping, but who are a little too big to be satisfied sitting in the regular carts' toddler seats. (My five-year-old granddaughter loves having her own cart to push.) I stopped behind a little girl who was helping her mom choose produce. The mother was being patient, allowing the child to select which veggies she preferred and explaining how to choose the best ones. When she realized they were blocking the aisle the mother immediately apologized and the little girl echoed the apology as they both moved out of the way. I assured them I didn't mind, finished my shopping, and took my groceries to my car. As I transferred grocery bags from my cart to my car, I observed a woman doing the same thing across from me. A small child was crying loudly inside her vehicle. The woman screamed at him to "shut-up" a couple of times, then she said, "Get out of the car. You can find your own way home. I don't want you anymore anyway." I watched to see if she really did abandon the child in a large, busy parking lot. Thankfully she didn't, but I couldn't help contrasting the two parents' I'd observed. I suspect one will grow up strong and confident with a good sense of self worth. The other will struggle with self-esteem, may bully others, and likely will never quite feel wanted.

I don't know either woman and there's nothing like a woman who has already raised her children to know what a young mother should or shouldn't do, you know those things we wish we'd known when we were raising our own children, but learned too late. The first parent-child pair left me feeling good and pleased that the little girl was learning skills that will help her all of her life. The kind, gentle relationship between the two left me with positive feelings. The other mother may have had a bad day, but even a bad day does not justify threats of abandonment. I know as well as anyone how difficult a four or five year old can be, but even a difficult child who is misbehaving should be threatened with abandonment and told he isn't wanted.

My point in relating this experience? It's two-fold. First, to other writers. This is how to make stories real. Observe and store  up incidents large and small you encounter. This is how you create realistic characters. To readers and random people everywhere, this is where writers get started with character development. Most writers could easily turn one or both of these mothers into a character in one of his/her books. Small incidents tell a great deal about a person and if you don't want to wind up the villain in someone's story try speaking and behaving like a hero or heroine. You'll be happier and so will your children.

* * *

As a side note, I've been spending as much time as possible working in my garden to make up for the neglect it received while I spent so much time in hospitals and recuperating the past few years. If you can stand more of my garden pictures, here goes:


Saturday, April 16, 2016

It's Spring Again

Yikes! It's cold outside. A year ago today I posted a spring series of pictures with all of my early flowers covered in snow. I thought I'd try for better pictures this year, but most of my flowers and blossoms look a bit bedraggled from the storms we've had the past few days. I should have taken pictures early in the week. But here goes:

The bleeding hearts are just beginning to bloom.

The phlox are doing great. 


The birdhouse has no occupants, but my granddaughter keeps checking.


More phlox and a few tulips. 

My gardens have acquired a few new creatures this year. The horse was a Christmas present from my youngest granddaughter. My son gave me the rattlesnake for my birthday. And my husband picked out the owl with a little help from another granddaughter in hopes it might scare away some of the huge flock of pesky doves that hang around our neighborhood, cooing and pooping on the swing.


Ah-h spring. I love flowers and can hardly wait for warmer days so I can dig out the grass and weeds that have crept in and plant summer flowers. I didn't take any pictures of my husband's garden. Not much is showing there yet since he plants vegetables, but how I love new potatoes and veggies straight from the garden. Can you tell I've had enough winter for this year?

Saturday, February 27, 2016


I'm not sure how February passed so quickly. I composed dozens of blogs in my head during the past month, but none of them made their way to my computer. Perhaps because they were mostly on my discouragement over the sorry cast of candidates vying for President of this country. Let's see, what I've learned from those deplorable televised debates. We have for candidates a notorious liar, a socialist, a couple with god complexes, a Bolshevik Revolutionary wannabe, a few johnny one-notes, a horde of two-year-olds, a few hypocrites, a couple who suffer from stage fright and moderators who know even less about debating than the candidates, or else they're playing the drama card. Since when is the winner of a debate the one who shouts the loudest? Since when do we choose a president by who is the most dramatic debater? Some real background, policy, views, and plans for the future would be nice. It would also be nice if we could wipe the slate clean and just start over.

Okay, onto another annoyance. I just read (well, I haven't finished it and I'm not sure if I will) a book riddled with misused words. The writer uses "souls" when referring to the bottoms of his shoes, then waste for waist, convenient for convenience, passed for past, and do for due. I just hope the book is one of those review copies sent out to reviewers ahead of the final edit. Some publishers make clear whether a copy sent to a reviewer is an advance copy or the final product; others don't. The author of this book also uses so much jargon/foreign language, it's difficult to make sense of what is happening. 

Then there's taxes. It has taken me all month to get my taxes ready to turn over to my accountant. I keep good records which may be my problem. I keep everything! Wading through it and eliminating duplicate documentation is time consuming.
There have been some fun highlights too, which consumed time (and sometimes money), but were more enjoyable than politics, taxes, or poorly written books. Our microwave oven died and since our other appliances were twenty years old, we decided to replace them all so they would match. Two weeks were occupied in shopping and installation, but it's fun to have new appliances. Our five-year-old granddaughter thinks the best part is playing with the box the new dishwasher came in.

We attended a family wedding---another positive. The bride and groom looked happy and the wedding and reception were lovely, but the bride's young nephew and niece almost stole the show.


Ah-h a box of books just arrived in today's mail! As you know, I read a lot since I review LDS fiction for Meridian Magazine (My latest review column) This past week I also read my daughter Janice Sperry's middle grade reader manuscript which she will soon submit to a publisher and which I loved. I also agreed to two book signings- Celebrating Sisterhood- Seagull Book and Ladies' Night-Deseret Book. Details later. I'll be signing By the River and Three Little Words. Of course if anyone wants me to, I'll sign any of my other books as well whether you buy them that day or bring them from home.