Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mormon Standard Time is Not BYU Standard Time

Last Saturday morning, my sister and I ran our fourth 5K of the summer at BYU’s homecoming cougar run. The race was slated to begin at 8:45 am. Now because we’d been to other races and none of them had started on time, (in fact one started 45 minutes late) we figured we would have plenty of time. We still planned to arrive early like we always do but it was a little different this time.
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

My Awesome Space-Age Brother

I want to introduce you all to the smartest person I know, Patrick Jolley. I am attaching a link to Utah State University's home page articles about a huge world-wide competition that he just placed 2nd in.
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

I've Been Tagged!

Okay, I’m new in the blogging world so I had to figure out how this worked. Marta Smith tagged me from her blog to answer some fun questions and then I’m going to tag 5 more people myself.
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

Running for it

I enjoy running, but it’s something that I didn’t discover until after I went to college. I grew up in the country and boy did I have an awesome childhood in rural Idaho, but the only times I ran were when it involved chasing a ball in some sport or running through the fields to get the pipe moved before the sun went down. But I didn’t just run for the heck of it.

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

Check out The Dashner Dude

I met James Dashner at the LDSStorymakers Conference. He’s a witty guy with a lot of talent and a strange obsession with nightmares. Don’t believe me? Then you’ll have to read The Jimmy Fincher Saga Books 1-4 on your own. Jimmy Fincher is a well-developed character and as I read through each book I kept asking myself how in the world this Dashner Dude could come up with all of these ideas. He must have been terrorized as a child or something. But really, The Jimmy Fincher Saga is an awesome adventure. I’m a mom and I loved this series even though it’s written for kids. I’m a book hound though and I’ll read anything that piques my interest (not just anything though) and James Dashner definitely did that.
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

Determination & Perseverance

In order to be successful in any walk of life you’ve got to have guts. This is especially true for writers. Successful writers are a determined breed. As you can see by my Top 10 List for Becoming a Writer, I know a little bit about this process, especially the rejection process. But I’m pretty dang determined. My husband calls me feisty and strong-willed, but he also says I’m the busiest person he knows and stubborn as anything for a cause. When I put my mind to something, I’m going to do it.
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!

Can World's Strongest Dad

[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

The Top 10 Reasons to be a Writer According to Rachelle J. Christensen

I love being a writer and I want you all to know how much I enjoy it, so here's my top ten list!

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

I can blog too, can you?

I am a huge fan of gmail and I am really getting excited about my new blogger site. It's taken me a few days to learn how to do everything but I'm amazed at how quickly it's come together! I'm thinking there are a lot of possibilities to either bore everyone to tears or have some fun.
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

Welcome to Rachelle Writes

Hi! My name is Rachelle J. Christensen and ever since I learned how to write I have had the dream of becoming a writer. Of course, my dream got a little side-tracked when I took the career tests in 6th grade and I selected "author" and discovered that authors don't earn money.
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!

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