Monday, December 24, 2007
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Christmas Eve and a beautiful Christmas! I love this time of year for the beautiful music.
I tend to get a little homesick for the Christmases of my childhood this time of year too. This picture is one my mom took of our corral out past the pastures by our house. Isn't it beautiful?
One of my family's Christmas traditions was to host a little program on Christmas Eve at our home. We usually invited Grandma and some other neighbors or widowers. It is one of my favorite memories. Many times we would read through the Christmas story and incorporate songs to go with each section of the story.
My family is pretty musical, on a typical Christmas Eve you would hear all kinds of singing, violin solos, trombone solos, piano solos, and more. I enjoy singing and so I loved to sing songs like "Silent Night" or "Breath of Heaven." I loved when we would all feel the Spirit so strongly and I could look and see my dad wiping his eyes or tears rolling down my mom's cheeks.
I'm far away from that time it seems now, but I am enjoying the day when my own family will be able to carry on the tradition. Right now we sing "Once There Was a Snowman" and "Jingle Bells" and then we run around the room and laugh. I'm so grateful that I have had so many wonderful Christmas memories in my lifetime and that they continue on with my sweet little girls and my loving husband.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thanks to anyone who might have participated. I’ll keep you up to date on my writing endeavors.
Now I'm off to finish up the last of my Christmas projects. One of which was to sew matching stockings for my family, a total of four. They are cute and my girls are excited about Christmas. I've went through all kinds of baking goods, especially sugar, as I made several batches of tempting toffee crips and my sister and I did our annual hand-dipped chocolates. It's fun to have traditions that keep the holidays bright. I hope that you and yours are enjoying the holiday as much as I am.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
There are two categories, published author and unpublished author. If you scroll down to my publishing credits, you might figure out which category I am in.
I hope you like the stories and of course I hope you enjoy mine enough to vote for them, even though you won’t know which ones I have written. I really had a lot of fun writing the stories and it helped get me into the Christmas spirit even more.
Hurry and read some neat Christmas stories and vote and then check back here for results. Vote for the story that captured your interest and touched your heart, one that was well written and full of the feelings of Christmastime.
Be sure to visit and vote between December 16th and midnight December 19th. The votes will be tallied after that and winners announced. You may vote twice in each category and you can vote either anonymously or by using your name or Google ID. Make sure you are clear when voting. You can make any comments pertaining to the story, but you must say I am voting for this one, if that’s the story you’re choosing.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Christmas Is Home
Home is a cozy fire crackling
As a family sings “Silent Night.”
Laughter as a little child sees
Their first Christmas light.
Home is putting the first ornament
On the Christmas tree
And wishing for toys
On Santa’s knee.
Because Christmas isn’t Christmas
Without home, and a house
Isn’t a home without Christmas.
Music from pianos, voices, and violins,
Signals it’s Christmas Eve again.
Sacred verses bring to mind
The Virgin Mary’s miracle birth,
When our dear Savior came to earth.
We invite him to our home each day
And at Christmas time in a special way,
We remember him.
For Christmas isn’t Christmas
And a house isn’t a home
Written by Rachelle J. Christensen
Saturday, December 1, 2007
I would like to recommend a wonderful book that I have been reading this past week. It is called Please, No Zits! Written by Anne Bradshaw.
I think that everyone should try to get their hands on this book! This book would be great if you are a teenager, have teenagers, work with teenagers, are related to teenagers… you get my point.
Anne has put together a great collection of stories, very well written with some great examples of what teenagers deal with on an almost daily basis. I love her descriptive imagery. In her stories she weaves in just the right amount of details so that I felt I was there, even if it was halfway across the world in Scotland! So many of the scenarios brought back memories of my own teenage experiences and I couldn’t believe how right-on Anne was with her stories.
Add this book to your Christmas list and pick up a few for gifts. Thanks Anne, for a marvelous look into the teenage world.
Here are a few reviews for the book and other info:
Please, No Zits! is a collection of fast moving short stories set in America, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. It is a fun read that motivates without preaching. The stories are also recommended for Family Home Evening discussions. More information and full reviews can be found at Anne’s website, and her Blog.
"Think Chicken Soup-meets-John Bytheway and you get Please,No Zits! & Other Short Stories for LDS Youth."
Please, No Zits! will be enjoyed by young people anxious for a good story, and by parents who will find themselves reading these stories to their children. I can envision some interesting conversations, opportunities for young people and their parents to discuss the things that really matter — those things that will last into eternity. Parents and children do need to talk with each other more often, and these stories can be an exciting way to engage your children in ways that will stay with them forever.--Jeff Needle--Association for Mormon Letters
Friday, November 30, 2007
|You Are 87% Creative|
You are an incredibly creative person. For you, there are no bounds or limits to your creativity.
Your next creation could be something very great... Or at least very cool!
I finally broke down and took one of these tests. I'm pretty creative! Now if I can get a publisher to believe that...
Monday, November 26, 2007
Fingers are meant to go in noses, as well as smarties, corn, and jelly beans.
My toddlers prefer chewing on Barbie shoes over Doublemint gum
Our living room is a beach, a forest, a mountain, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle at any given moment in imagination.
Walls make great sketch pads.
Every word I say is automatically recorded and replayed through my child’s mouthpiece.
I have excellent balance. I can trip over a child’s shopping cart in the dark and not fall flat on my face.
If I ever need to find my children, I won’t look, instead I will just go to the bathroom and they will immediately gravitate towards the toilet.
I love my children more than I thought it was possible to love. I love them through messy diapers, throw-up, late night sicknesses, all-night sickness. I love their hugs and their kisses. I love the way they call me, “Ma, ma.” I love how all I have to do is look at them in a certain way and they will laugh.
I feel so blessed to be a mother and even though I said I’d never be as emotional as my mom, tears come to my eyes when my sweet girls tell me, “Ma, ma I love you soooo much,” and when I see them mothering their little dolls and singing the bedtime songs I made up for them.
I love my sweet little Gracie and Maggie!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I’m sure all of you have heard the stories of the creepy kids and their bully friends that make trouble on the public school bus. I’d like to share one now.
My little sister is seven years younger than me and we’ve always been good pals. When I was in high school and she was in about second or third grade, a certain boy on the school bus decided that she would be fun to pick on. Now, because I was in high school I was involved in enough extra-curricular activities that I usually didn’t have to ride the bus anymore. My sister, on the other hand, had to put up with the bullying this kid dished out on a daily basis. He was a couple years older than her and thought he was a tough guy. So being as he was so tough, he would punch a little GIRL and kick her etc. He did this in the usual sneaky, bully fashion so that the bus driver was not alerted to the problem.
I still remember his name and what he looked like. Of course I remember, because I decided to take matters into my own hands.
One day out of the ordinary, I boarded the big yellow school bus and walked casually to the back. I sat down and watched as my sister took a seat next to one of her friends and the bully immediately moved up behind her and started taunting her. We had a short ride to our home, but he wasn’t wasting any chances to bully her.
While the bus was in transit, I stood up and walked over to his seat. I shoved the little sucker against the wall and yelled at him at the top of my lungs. I told him if he ever touched my sister again I would beat the crap out of him. I think he believed me, wouldn’t you? He never bothered her again, in fact when they were in high school he told my sister how scared he was of me after that.
And that is the legend of the bus ride and how years later, my sister remembered what it meant when someone stood up for her.
She told me about that as she related her story.
She went running the other day when she got off work early. On one of the streets, she noticed some kids getting off the school bus and a bully pushing another kid. As she neared the kids walking home, she noticed the kid try to defend himself against the bully. The bully was just about to smash this kid into the ground, when my sister yelled “Hey, what do you think you’re doing?”
Of course the bully suddenly got the dumb, innocent look and said, “What?” But she put him in his place and told him to leave the other kid alone because she had witnessed everything.
When she told me this story, we laughed again when I brought up the time I had done something similar for her.
The moral of the story: If you’re a bully, you better watch out for me and my sister. Really though, what goes around comes around.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
*Beware* There may be some plot spoilers here.
Last night, I finished reading the 629 page book and I actually had to just sit there for a few minutes and feel sorrow and longing for Jacob. I know that some people have said the plot lines aren’t that strong in these books, and sometimes Bella is a little annoying but I can’t argue with how powerfully Meyer's draws you into the book. While I’m reading, I am experiencing it at the same time.
I remember when I first heard about Twilight, I had no idea what it was about. Because of all the rave reviews, I bought it and read it. I loved it! I told my sister to read it and when she asked why it was so good, I said, “I don’t know what it is exactly. It is just so good. You have to read it.” So she did read it and ended up reading the other two before I did. I never have liked sappy romantic novels, but this one has such a powerful mix, that you almost don’t realize how romantic it is.
After reading Eclipse, I will admit that I am a Jacob-lover, as my little sister calls it. Actually I felt pretty strongly about him after New Moon too. Before I had read New Moon, my sister mentioned something about really liking Jacob and I was so enamored with Edward at that point, I forgot that Jacob even existed. Perhaps that’s Bella’s problem too. But now after experiencing Jacob in the last two books, I’ll admit I prefer werewolves over vampires. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to be cold.
I think the real reason is that I don’t want Bella to give up her whole life and all the opportunities. If Edward really loved her, would he truly want her to miss out on having children? I know he doesn’t really want her to become a vampire, but I wish he could do something to stop her. She’s so young, she hasn’t experienced anything yet! And yet, in the same breath, I really like Edward too. He is such a good person and feels so strongly for Bella that I hate to see him disappointed. Edward didn’t get to choose his life, but he’s doing the best with his circumstances that he can. It just goes to show how well Meyer's has manipulated my feelings because after Twilight, I was sure that it would be a good thing for Bella to become a vampire and be with Edward forever.
I don’t know if anyone else felt this much turmoil while reading the book, but I’d love to commiserate with you if you did.
I sure hope that Meyer's next book will leave me more satisfied. Now I’m going to have to get my hands on something else to read to keep my mind off of Jacob the werewolf.
So I would like to pose a question, sorry guys, this one’s for the girls: If you were single, which I’m not, but if you were, and Edward and Jacob came to your door and offered to give you a passionate kiss, who would you choose?
My answer: Definitely Jacob.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The blogging world is fun. I'm really enjoying all the new friends I'm meeting. Send your friends over and stay tuned, because I have some fun things coming up.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Check out my sidebar to see how you can get the free felt figures to tell the story/song of "Once There Was a Snowman."
Last month was a busy one. I beat my personal best record with my Story Time Felts business selling over $3100 in felt products in October! Now you know how my husband and I got to go to that NFL game, right?
I hope you'll sneak a peek at what we have to offer. I have the listing of our brand new LDS Deluxe Scripture Collection on my sidebar, check it out! I included a picture of the Story of Alma here. I just love Story Time Felts! My kids love it and I can't say enough good about it either. I'm really excited because right now I'm working on writing up stories for next year that will be illustrated and printed on felt. You'll have to wait and see more details about that project though, it's top secret!
At the end of the workshop, we recorded all the students singing The Little Drummer Boy and they did a magnificent job. Craig Hancock had written the original arrangement and the kids really liked singing along to an old song with a little new pizzazz.
I gave each student a mini-private voice lesson to prepare them for their recording time with a solo piece they had chosen. They were all so excited to wear headphones and record in a real studio. It was an experience they won’t soon forget.
We’re hoping to put on another Vocalize next spring and maybe even sponsor a music composition contest. Most of the students were interested in composing and many of them had written their own songs already. During our workshop, we taught them the basics of composing and helped them write a song on the spot. It was a blast! We had some pretty funny lyrics.
I’ll keep you posted as to what’s coming in the musical area of my life. I’m hoping to post one of my original songs that Craig helped me arrange. He’s re-mastering it with his new system right now. If any of you are interested in recording something as a gift for the holidays, go to Sagemountainstudios.com to contact Craig Hancock.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Although, I’ve never seen so much beer in my life, it was great to be a part of that crowd and experience what my husband loves so much. I was worried about how the whole experience would be because I’ve never been one who loves to sit still and we were at the stadium from about 5pm-10pm. But once the game got going, I couldn’t resist the excitement in the air and since I’m married to a huge football fan I knew what a face mask penalty was and I could ‘Boo’ about the lost 15 yards right along with all the other Green Bay fans. I really can say I enjoyed myself and especially enjoyed seeing my husband have such a great time.
Some of you may wonder why I would even want to go to a NFL football game if I don’t love football. I didn’t want to miss out on being part of my husband’s dream.
I thought about my experience and how much I love writing and reading. My husband is not a huge fan of reading, but he reads my writing and gives me his opinions. If I tell him about an amazing book, he’ll often pick it up and read it, (okay only maybe every 20th book or so). He has supported me and helped me find time to write because he wants me to achieve my dream of publishing my first novel.
I wanted to write this little post to let my husband know how much I love him and that I really did enjoy Monday night football with him. I’m glad that we all have different talents and desires and that we’re able to support each other in those ventures. I think it’s important to recognize our different interests, especially in marriage, because it makes life fuller and more enjoyable.
Thanks Steve for being my greatest fan and converting me to a true Green Bay Packers fan! Go Packers!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Music has always been important to my family. Growing up, we all learned to play the piano and then focused on another musical talent as well. My older sister taught piano lessons, my brother played the trombone, my other sister played the violin and the cello. I focused on singing and loved it so much because I could accompany myself on the piano.
I think that music is so important and so inspiring. I also think that everyone who has a desire can learn how to sing.
So I wanted to announce here what I am doing next weekend. I have been working very hard with Sage Mountain Studios owner, Craig Hancock, for nearly a year now. We have recorded original music, wrote songs, and planned and planned for our upcoming Vocalize workshop.
I have taught vocal lessons for over 12 years and have often wished that I could fit more time in the day so I could teach more. It's tricky with toddlers :) I am excited to have the opportunity to teach so many students at once with our workshop. We hope to offer this workshop a few times a year and we have had a great response for our first workshop. Here are the details:
Professional vocal workshop presented by
Rachelle Christensen and Craig Hancock
November 2nd and 3rd *Workshop held at Sage Mountain Studios
Friday 4pm-6pm Santaquin
Saturday 9am-2pm with lunch break for 30 minutes
9am-11:30am instruction 12-2pm recording at Sage Mountain Studios
Ages 8-12 Junior Class
Ages 13-18 Senior Class
4 hours of vocal lessons and group master classes- Value $150.00
Vocal warm up CD- Fine Tune Your Voice - value $20.00
Professional Studio recording session with CD – value $100.00 Record your solo and one group song learned during the workshop
Record with Craig Hancock, music specialist with 3 Solo Albums
Vocal instruction by Rachelle Christensen, teacher with 12 years experience
Group vocal, theory, and composition classes, including performance presentation
Vocalize Workshop Graduation Certificates
This music workshop is valued at over $275! You will receive top of the line vocal and performance training!
COST: $50.00 each or 2 students from the same family for $85.00
Bring one song you are familiar with for your solo recording. Bring an accompaniment or karaoke version of the song.
*Sage Mountain Studios Recording Special!
Music Camp Attendees can purchase a one hour session for only $35.00! This is a $15.00 savings and you can record an additional solo to be added to your CD.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
“Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This”
Now this was a little more difficult than it should have been because I have been devouring all kinds of children’s books lately and there’s just not any characters that fit the above description. I’ve also been reading plenty of non-fiction books and so I had to dig deep into the recesses of my mind to find these literary characters for you.
My husband overheard me talking about this list to my sister and he wanted to know why we were gushing over guys named Edward and Aragorn and what in the world we were talking about. We just laughed and said, “It’s just guys in books that we want to kiss.” He just raised his eyebrows and said, “Why in the world would you want to kiss someone in a book?” I guess there’s not many books written for the male perspective on this subject so he really doesn’t know why I would want to kiss Raoul de Valmy if I saw him walking down the street. Hope you enjoy the list!
1. Raoul de Valmy from Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
2. Edward the Vampire from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
3. Agent Mark Iverson from Hearts in Hiding by Betsy Brannon Green
4. Laurie from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
5. Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
6. Alex from Children of the Promise by Dean Hughes
7. Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien (Okay I was especially swayed after seeing the movie character on this one.)
8. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. Noah Calhoun from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
10. Jacob the Werewolf from Stephenie Meyer. I have to thank my sister Sarah for helping me with this entry, according to her it should be #1 but I haven’t met Jacob yet. I read Twilight and haven’t let myself start the other books. I have been trying to finish writing my book first and then allow myself to read New Moon and Eclipse as a reward. I’ve been a good little writer so I now have New Moon on hold at my library and I just bought Eclipse the other day. I know it’s a little backward but the store didn’t have New Moon that day! I promise to let you all know how I much enjoyed it when I finish reading it. I better hurry too because I've noticed lots of plot spoilers out there lately by devoted fans.
I am tagging Ali, Tristi, and Josi
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Fall never seems to last long enough, I guess because we're all in a hurry getting ready for the holidays.
I enjoy writing poetry and I used to write a lot more than I do now. I'd like to share a poem I wrote back in the year 2000. I was still living on Utah State University's campus at that time and it is a gorgeous campus. The mountains seem to encroach upon the buildings and they have the most vibrant red and orange and almost-purple colors bursting from the hillsides. It was during this time of year that I was walking through campus and noticing the leaves falling and how the wind was picking them up and scattering them along the sidewalks. I hope you enjoy this time of year as much as I do. It's a kind of slowing down from the frenzy of summer and yard work, vacations, etc. Have a Happy Fall!
The weather is changing all around us
Autumn is in the air.
I can smell the crisp aroma of
summer fading and Autumn beginning.
Can you smell Autumn?
I can see it.
The trees transform;
brilliant shades with
leaves of every color.
Can you see it?
I can hear it.
I can hear the music of
dancing across the sidewalks.
Can you hear it?
I can taste it.
One perfect slice of pumpkin pie,
from gardens ripe with Autumn air,
delights my tastebuds.
Can you taste it?
I can feel it!
Autumn’s chameleon features
awaken shivers of excitement
as the brisk air breathes on me.
Can you feel Autumn?
Written by Rachelle J. Christensen
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I told you all that I would reveal my vote for the little poll that I held during September.
Do you think The Great Gatsby deserves the title "The Great American Novel"?
Out of the 15 people that actually took the poll, 80% had never even read the book. The 20% that did read the book, did not think it was "The Great American novel." So I’m glad I’m not the only one that was sorely disappointed when I read “The Great American Novel” and found that it was most definitely not even close to a great novel, let alone, “The Great American Novel.”
For all of you poor students out there who have to read this book, I send my condolences.
To think I chose to read it shows what a bookworm I really am. Hey, they can’t all be great.
This goes to show that even though a book sells millions and millions of copies doesn’t mean that it’s the greatest book ever written. It just means that it has sold a lot and some smooth-talker convinced all the teachers across the U.S. that they should read and study this certain book in the classroom, hence thousands of classrooms across the country have a full classroom set of The Great Gatsby.
I don’t recommend reading The Great Gatsby, instead Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is a much more interesting read. Seriously though, there are some “classics” that truly are classics. As I said before, I discovered several classic novels within the last two years. I really enjoyed, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Good Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, Cold Sassy Tree, and so many more. I would love to hear what some of your favorite “Classic” books are.
I am including a list I found of the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written according to Easton Press. Many of the best books I’ve read (including those I just listed) are not on this list, but I was surprised at how many I had read. Several of these I read during high school and during my study abroad in London. I have read 25 from this list and I put a * next to each one that I read. I didn't read them all of my own free will and choice, but most of them were pretty good, some I can't even remember.
How many of these books have you read? Which books do you think should be on the list?
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne
* The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Gulliver's Travels by Johnathan Swift
* Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
* The Odyssey by Homer
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Tales From The Arabian Nights by Richard Burton
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Candide by Voltaire
Oedipus The King by Sophocles
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame [Notre-Dame De Paris] by Victor Hugo
The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Sea Wolf by Jack London
Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmund Rostand
* The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Collected Poems by Robert Browning
The Essays Of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Collected Poems by John Keats
On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
* Collected Poems by Robert Frost
* The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving
* Animal Farm by George Orwell
* Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
She Stoops To Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
* Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
* Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
* The Iliad by Homer
Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
* Aesop's Fables by Aesop
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Politics And The Poetics by Aristotle
The Aeneid by Virgil
Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
* Hamlet by William Shakespeare
* Pygmalion And Candida by George Bernard Shaw
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
* Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Cherry Orchard And The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Analects of Confucius by Confucius
* A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
Collected Poems by William Butler Yeats
The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
* The Necklace And Other Tales by Guy de Maupassant
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Fathers And Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The History of Early Rome by Livy
* Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott
Tess Of The D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
* Alice's Adventure In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Rubáiyát Of Omar Khayyám by Omar Khayyám
The Red And The Black by Stendhal
A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickins
The Republic by Plato
* Collected Poems by Emily Dickinson
Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
* The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
Silas Marner by George Eliot
* The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Billy Budd by Herman Melville
The Confessions by St. Augustine
Tales of Mystery And Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner
Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
* Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob Ludwig and Wilhelm Grimm
* Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Now, really think about that statement and you will realize our world would be completely different if not for imagination. Think of all the inventions, medical technology, the internet; all these things were first the imaginings of someone’s mind.
I want to let you in on the best kept secret for enhancing your children’s imagination and creativity. Story Time Felts. Yes, this is the company that I represent, so I am a little biased. I do home parties and events to show our wonderful felt products. At nearly every party, I hear someone exclaim, “I have been looking all over for something like this! Where have you been hiding?”
I sell quiet books, toggle books (which are my favorite kind of quiet book), felt dress-up dolls, nursery rhymes, fairy tale stories, scripture stories, Music CDs and more. Every time I get my felt out and play with my girls I have a great experience. You can go to my website to learn more about the products I love www.funfelt.com/rachelle/html
I recently held a contest with consultants on my team and had them write about their favorite experiences with Story Time Felts and their children:
Here is our winning entry by Deana Edmondson
"I had to laugh at Sierra the other day. She had the Farm/Zoo adventure toggle and was playing with it. I counted all the animals and stuff to make sure all the pieces were there. I could only find 11 zoo animals and not the 12 that are supposed to be there. Later I found the bear crumpled up in the corner of the couch. She said she put him there because he was trying to eat the baby duck! I thought it was SO funny!"
I have been a Story Time Felts consultant for 5 ½ years and I am now an Executive National Director. I love being a part of a company that puts family first. Their motto is “Story Time is Together Time.” I am looking for people who are interested in touching children’s lives through storytelling and felt. In our busy world today, it’s often difficult to provide activities that foster our children’s imagination and creativity. Please check out our wonderful products and let me know how you would like to bring the power of imagination into your home.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
After deciding where to park, it was already 8:35 and we still had to pick up our registration packets, pin on our bib numbers, and take a quick trip to the ladies room. When I was in the ladies room, I heard the loud speaker announcing that the race would begin in 5 minutes.
What! This is a Mormon school, and they are going to start on time? My sister and I dashed out of the bathroom and clear across the field by the stadium and through the gates. We could see the starting line about 300 yards away and started running, but before we could get there, we heard the starting shot. Yikes, it was uphill and we were hurrying with all our might and reached the starting line just shy of a minute into the official race.
We enjoyed the race though and I especially enjoyed that my sister wore her Utah State Aggies shirt to a BYU run and on the back it says, “Bust your A to win!” She got some boo’s and growls from the parade spectators, but it was fun. We both went to Utah State but I was afraid I might get tackled if I yelled, “Go Aggies!”
Anyway, we finished the race and it was a neat experience to take the final lap around the BYU track. My time was 29 minutes 33 seconds which I felt was pretty good in spite of my Mormon Standard Time start. At least it’s something to write about. Have a super day.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I am so proud of my brother and even though I definitely don't understand anything about algorithms in space, re-entry temperatures, and rocket propulsion, I know that Patrick kicks butt in the smart department. This isn't the first competition that he has won or placed in either. He graduated from USU with a Master's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering this past year and is still working with those little moving stars in the sky, except now he's getting paid for it.
Here's a quote from the article:
“Despite what we see in today’s science fiction movies like Star Wars, we can’t just fly around at will in space,” Jolley said.
This is totally something my brother would say and if he was saying it to me, he would shake his head, smile, and say, "Ra-chelle...." and then give me a very lenghty explanation about rocket propulsion and other math-related things that actually launch from the top of my head and end up floating in space somewhere with the rockets and satellites he designs.
I love my bro-sky and am so proud of him, and I also wanted you to see how smart he is and know that I am his sister and yes I share some of his same genes. Therefore if A is related to C and A=B then C is also a derivative of B which is intelligence.
Patrick you rock- not moon rocks but something much better, like the little rocks that fly in the air when your rockets launch and blast off for their missions in space.
If any person is feeling less than highly intelligent after reading the article about my Einstein brother, take heart, I grew up with him and I am blonde and I still cling to the belief that I too am intelligent in my own way.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
On with the questions which are right up my alley, thanks Marta!
My reading: I absolutely love reading and am the biggest book hound around. Growing up my mom would drive us into town, about 12 miles, to get to the public library where we actually had to pay to check out books because we didn’t live within city limits. We would check out books and fill an old blue plastic milk crate full of books. I still remember one particular visit when I came home and read every single book out of the milk crate in one day. My mom was so surprised that she actually called the librarian to tell her I was already finished with the books. I entered the summer reading contest at the library and won every summer from 1-5th grade, which was special because they awarded me a hardback book each time I won. Funny the little things that you remember, huh? I especially remember that my mother instilled a great love of reading in all of her children. She read us books all the time and even when I was in high school she would read us a special Christmas story during the holidays. Mom, I love you for giving me the gift of reading. Thank you!
Total number of books owned: I don’t even know because I have several boxes up in our attic. My husband says too many, and whenever I try to sort through my books thinking I might be able to part with some, he just laughs at me when I come up with one book. There’s just something about those books, they have a power over me…
Last Book I bought: Oh-oh I’ll have to hide this blog entry from my husband, JK, but I actually bought 6 books at the same time from Deseret book because they were having some really good deals and I had my coupon and my membership deals and, and, and, I was totally justified I promise! One of them was Sheep’s Clothing by Josi Kilpack and it was excellent.
Last book I read: Fablehaven Book Two: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull. So awesome, can’t wait until 2008!
5 Meaningful Books: This is way too hard but I’ll try to narrow it down. I love one of the books my mom read to us called “Cracked Wheat for Christmas” I bought it to read to my family this year.
I think that everyone should read, “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck. It just spoke straight to this little farm girl’s heart. It is an epic novel that spans a whole generation of Wang Lung, a Chinese man’s family.
I discovered Mary Stewart and read “Nine Coaches Waiting” it is divine!
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry will really make you think as will all of her books.
“If God Loves Me, Why This? By Kim A. Nelson was so inspiring and really helps dispel many of the myths that we have about our Heavenly Father’s plan and his love for us. I was so inspired by it that when I had to give a talk I actually highlighted many of his ideas in my talk.
“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver was also an epic book, very long and just amazing. It was really different, but one that I keep thinking about. It was actually written as if it was narrated by each of the daughters in the story.
I know that’s 6 but I’ve always hated math!
I am tagging Nichole and Cindy at LDS Writers Blogck, Rebecca Talley, Janette Rallison, and James Dashner.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Last year on Labor Day, when my baby Maggie was one year old, I ran the Payson Onion Days 5K and took 10th in my division with a time of 31 minutes 50.9 seconds. Now I know I wasn’t as fast as the roadrunner or anything but I wanted to do it. When my dad, the farmer/truck driver, heard about it he said, “Why in the world would you want to do that?” I had my reasons.
Because of complications with my pregnancy (Maggie #2), the only way I could go for a walk outside was when my amazing husband would push me in a wheelchair while I held our first little girl, Gracie, on my ever-diminishing lap.
So I wanted to run because I was so thankful that I could. My little sister and I ran together and we both caught the running bug.
I kept running through the year and shaving more seconds off my time. I kept running through blisters, sore hips, shin splints and I tried not to focus on unpleasant experiences like the one I had this morning when two little, yippy drop-kick dogs chased me and nipped at my ankles and bit my running pants.
I kept running because now I had a goal in mind. I was still thankful with each step that I was able to run, but I wanted to be faster. My sister and I have completed three 5K races this past summer and we’re gearing up for our fourth one.
I was excited to run the Payson 5K again earlier this month because I really like the route. It heads out through the rural area of Payson where we ran past greenhouses, fields, and pastures filled with horses that ran in wild circles and whinnied when hundreds of people ran by them.
It was a beautiful run and I trimmed almost 3 ½ minutes off my time and finished the race in 28 minutes and exactly 2 seconds! Now I still know there’s lots faster people out there, (obviously because with the event’s increased attendance this year I still placed 10th in my division even though I was faster), but I feel good about myself. I’m a mother of two and I can outrun drop-kick dogs! I did place 37th overall.
This morning I ran my own 5K route through the tiny town where I live. I ran along the frontage road where the noisy freeway roars past, and then I ran under a little overpass and for a moment there was a lull in traffic and I could hear my steps echoing off the cement walls. Over the music on my ipod, and the birds chirping in the trees, my steps could be heard in rhythm with everything around me. And I think that’s why I run, I like the feeling of chasing the wind and remembering how it felt to run through the fields of my youth, grasping at the rhythm of nature. I’m a dream-chaser and I’m running hard and enjoying every minute of it.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Now James has a new Blog and he’s coming out with a new book. I’m really looking forward to reading it. The 13th Reality is Book One of a new series coming soon published by Shadow Mountain.
Visit his blog http://www.jamesdashner.blogspot.com/ to be the first to know when his new book arrives. He also has a wicked looking website you can visit at www.Jamesdashner.com. I’ve enjoyed reading his books and his funny blog posts about becoming an author. It gives me hope. So go check out James Dashner and get ready for a good read. I get to be one of the first to read his brand new book, I’ll definitely let you know what I think!
Monday, September 17, 2007
I’ve put my mind to writing and I have already seen some successes. Now I’m not bank-rolling on the New York Times Bestseller list yet, but I’ve learned a ton and I know that as long as I stay determined and persevere towards my goal, I’ll achieve it.
For all of my fellow writers and friends who are aspiring towards a goal, I dedicate this awesome article and video clip about the World’s Strongest Dad. It is one of the best examples I’ve seen of being dedicated to a cause and going after it with heart and soul. Read the article below the video first so you'll know what you're watching, it's amazing!
After watching the video, I figure I can write about 1,000 more queries or whatever it takes to reach my dreams!
Thanks for your support and comments everyone! Have a great day!
[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay
for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.
But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes Taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an Institution.''
But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing
going on in his brain.''
"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!''
And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want to do that.''
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.''
That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''
And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a Single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and
ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race Officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the Qualifying time for Boston the following year.
Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''
How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.
Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii.
It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?
Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says.
Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.
``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick
and Rick saved each other's life.
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''
Watch the video--
Saturday, September 15, 2007
10. You get lots of mail. Yes it’s usually rejection letters with words like unfortunately, sorry, and it’s just not right for me, but hey everyone loves to get mail—right?
9. You get to have your self-esteem tested on a regular basis. Most people go around thinking they are no good, but you have the actual proof in the letter you just got out of the mailbox.
8. You are one of the few people who will get to enjoy The Look in your lifetime. The Look is when you are talking about what you like to do and you say, “I like to write.” And the person says, “Really, have you been published?” and if you say, “No, but I’ve got 289 queries out right now.” They give you The Look and say, “Hmmm, that’s nice.” (If further explanation is needed just try it on one of your friends).
7. You know how to do things with Microsoft Word that Bill Gates doesn’t even know.
6. You can feel good about devouring an entire bag of M&M’s, ½ pound of cheese, a box of crackers, another bag of M&M’s, and a Dove dark chocolate bar because you are going to reach your word count goal today!
5. You will acquire the odd habit of addressing letters to yourself with postage paid and dropping it in the mailbox and excitedly counting down the days until you get it back.
4. Writers are intelligent people! You know what ms, SASE, SAE, SCBWI, IRC, b&w, 20 lb. white, YA , dummy, and agent only means.
3. You also know what query, outline, sample chapter, spreadsheet, synopsis, unsolicited material, simultaneous submissions,em dash, table of contents, royalties, advances, and submissions editor means. Oh and of course you know what rejection means too.
2. When you step into a bookstore from now on, you will look around at all the sundry bestselling books on the shelves in awe and smack your palm against your glistening forehead and vociferate, “What am I doing wrong!” and then wince as your hand tingles and your wrist throbs and you remember that you shouldn’t slap things because you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
1. Because you like to write prolifically, and you compose, dash off, draft, scribble, create, rewrite, reference, versify, and inscribe on a daily basis— you can write up silly, zany, cockamamie, amusing, sardonic top ten lists and post it for your friends when you are having an otherwise uneventful day. (And you can count this list as 461 words closer to your word limit today and insist that all of your friends give Rachelle J. Christensen credit for writing something worthwhile today.)
Friday, September 14, 2007
My first piece of fun is a survey, yes scroll down and answer my questions. I'm looking forward to your responses and at the end of the month, I'll let you know what I think about The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
This little question is brought on because somehow I missed out on reading a lot of "The Classics" of American Literature when I was in high school. I had the best English teacher ever, but we read all kinds of snippets of books, not lots of whole books. I was always reading plenty on my own but steered away from the classics thinking they were just plain boring. Now that I'm older (and wiser?) I decided to delve into some of the classics. I have to say that I have been surprised by how much I've liked and disliked some of them. My father-in-law was actually a high school English teacher and it's been fun to discuss with him some of the points of the books and hear the details that he remembers about the books he taught about even though it's been ten years since he retired.
I guess I'll have to try to compile a list of some of the classics that I have read recently. I'd love to hear about your favorites as well.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
So I decided to become a psychologist.
I graduated from Utah State University (Go Aggies!) with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and minor in music. I loved my schooling because I had to write tons for my Psych classes and once I finished up my degree I started dreaming about being an author again. I didn't care if the career tests said you couldn't make money, I just loved to write!
So here I am with my very first Blog entry. Yes, I have resisted the blogging world for long enough and decided to be courageous and put my foot out here even if it ends up in my mouth.
Stay tuned... I have some fun things planned!