Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I can't believe it--the shopping is done and the presents are wrapped. I even sent out
Christmas cards. Of course there are still meal preparations, neighborhood gifts to deliver, some shirts to iron, and a few phone calls to make, but basically, I'm ready. I'm not ultra efficient; I just have an early deadline. You see, there won't be time for shopping and wrapping and all of those things tomorrow. I have the most important Christmas preparations to do when I arise in the morning. It's my day to serve all day in the temple. Wednesday is my day to concentrate on serving the Lord. There couldn't possibly be a better way to prepare for Christmas.

I love the beautiful rich language of the nativity story in the King James version of St. Luke. Reading it was part of my Christmas lesson at Primary Sunday and it will be part of our Christmas Eve family celebration Thursday night. My younger grandchildren will dress up like angels and shepherds, one of my two granddaughters will cradle a doll as Mary, and Joseph will be a grandson who hasn't had a turn for a few years. As our family shares the beautiful story of our Savior's birth and share this Christmas celebration, we will draw closer to each other and to Christ whose birth we celebrate.

Merry Christmas from me to all of you. May you share in the joy and warmth of this wondrous season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AND THE WINNER IS . . . . . .

TRIBES is the winner of a Christmas book. Please let me know by Friday which book you would like along with your mailing address. Send it to bhansen22 at msn dot com.

The prize for the last half of December contest will be a little different. The winner will get the audio (CD) version of High Country by me or your choice of any of the books not chosen by earlier winners this year.

This seems to be my year for attending Christmas concerts. First there was the Christmas Orange concert with Marshall MacDonald. I loved it, but there wasn't much leg room between seats. Then we went to the Tabernacle Choir Concert with Natalie Cole and David McCullough. Fabulous! Then we were given tickets to the Messiah performance at Salt Lake Community College South. It was different. I barely recognized a couple of the numbers and the rest not at all. The songs were all jazzed up and sung as Southern gospel songs. This Sunday, a granddaughter is singing in her ward's Christmas program in the morning, then our own will be presented by the choir in the afternoon. Every time I get in the car or turn on the radio at home, there's Christmas music. I'm not complaining. I'm hearing it better than I ever have before.

Something happened a year and half ago, to me a small miracle, and I suddenly started hearing sounds I'd never heard before and I could even tolerate being in the same room as a violin. I've always been tone deaf and unable to hear in the upper ranges. Suddenly I discovered street lights chirp, birds outside my office window sing, and dozens of other small sounds I had been oblivious to. Along with this has come a new awareness of music. It's kind of fun to hear songs I once studied so intensely in order to appreciate them at all, now sounding so glorious.

I loved Christmas music even when I didn't hear it well. I especially like Silent Night and O Holy Night. I think Handel's Messiah, not the jazzed up version, is beautiful. I'm enjoying some of the lighter songs too like Little Drummer Boy. I think the music of Christmas brings the many facets of the season together. Through the pop songs we share the fun and magic, through the spiritual hymns our souls are touched bringing us closer to understanding this greatest of all gifts, the birth of our Savior.

We're all so busy, but take a moment to consider the small miracles in your life or share the ways Christmas touches you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Love them or hate them, Christmas letters are a part of Christmas. Personally I love getting them, even if it's just a couple of lines scrawled on the bottom of the card. Some say they're brag fests, others are "woe is me." Most, fortunately, are a great way to catch up on what is happening in the lives of people we care about. I love the inclusion of photos too. Some are original, some are poetic, some touch the heart, and some are just plain funny. We've all seen the Elf Me cards on line, which are cute and often funny. One of my daughters posted her Christmas letter online this year which I found amusing. You can take a peek at it here http://keepingupwiththehansens.blogspot.com/ , but I think the funniest one I ever received came from a niece and it was a little late. It read:

Merry Christmas from the Chandlers!

If, by chance, this card is late
Just credit it to Chandler fate!

We ordered the photos in November's third week
And, as our luck would have it, there was a tweek:

"The machine broke down" the printer guy said,
They had to get a new one. Guess the old one was dead!

Then they lost our order, failing our trust
And our pictures sat around collecting dust!

Then they called to say that the cards with our faces
Had all been delivered to the wrong places!

I demanded my money, or some compensation
And they just smiled and gave the poor explanation
That there was nothing they could do.

The boss was gone, and they were alone
And they tried to call, but his wife wasn't home.

So, they offered to print our letter for free
And include a picture of another family!

I accepted their offer; what else could I do?
I had to get this card off to you!

Hence the happiest of holidays is our Christmas wish
To you from the Chandlers, and these guys with the fish!

Oh well, our pictures finally came. Happy Valentine's Day!

Last night my husband and I and my cousin and her husband attended the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance with Natalie Cole and David McCullough. It was fantastic. I was particularly impressed with the organ solo by Richard Elliott. Talk about multi-tasking! We planned to eat at the Lion House before the performance, but the line was so long that after an hour wait, we gave up and hurried to the conference center for the performance. The line didn't look so bad after the performance so we tried again. Success this time and we had a delicious late dinner. We planned a liesurely stroll through temple square to see the lights after the performance, but the sidewalk was so slippery and the temperature so cold, we didn't linger.

This contest ends Tuesday. The winner will get a Christmas book (see earlier post listing prize books). If you've already left a comment on an earlier post or signed up as a follower, you're already entered in the drawing. You can enter again and improve your chances of being a winner by commenting on this post.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Books, plays, and movies have a lot in common. There's a whole different world that opens up on stage or in the pages of a book. Most people read, attend the theatre, or go to a movie to escape for a time into a fantasy world, to discover something new, or to see the ordinary from a different perspective.

I can't imagine attending a play where all of the action takes place off stage and only the emotional reaction of the major character is shown to the audience. Yet I just read a book like that. I usually read several books a week, but I struggled through this one for nearly three weeks. I kept telling myself it had to get better. Afterall, the author is a well-known and popular writer. It didn't get better and I felt cheated.

Most writers leave some of the action off stage, especially less important transitional material, but I suspect most readers want and expect something to actually happen before their eyes. Info dumps are a form of off-camera action and most readers are quite adamantly opposed to this devise. I suspect most readers are equally annoyed as was I, when they get only the reaction and not the action.

Of course action novel fans expect to see something happen, but what about character fans? Am I wrong to think these readers expect to see growth and change in the characters rather than just be told that the experience caused a change?

Writing a book is a lot like staging a play or producing a movie. Each scene is plotted out with a goal or objective the point-of-view character is trying to achieve. We see the steps he or she takes to achieve the goal. Usually a disaster occurrs to prevent achieving the goal or the goal is reached and the result isn't as expected. Then comes the sequel portion of the scene. There is a reaction, followed by the formulation of a new plan or goal. The story falls flat if the reader sees only the zooming ahead to achieve goals and it falls even flatter if the audience only glimpses reactions without any of the action. If the writer can visualize the story and allow the reader to see it unfold, the story will be much stronger and far more rewarding than the book I just finished. Remember to show---not tell. Put the action on the stage.

I'd love to hear other readers views on showing vs. telling, reaction without action, or any other peeves readers find objectionable. The current contest ends next Tuesday. Comments on my blogs on the V-Formation also count in this contest.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Signings

I'll be signing at the West Jordan Seagull Book store on Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Then I'll be at the Family Center in Taylorsville from 2 to 4 p.m. Come see me!