Monday, January 30, 2012

Resolutions or Revolutions?

So January with all of it's New Year's fanfare, shoot-for-the-moon resolutions, and starry-eyed promises is drawing to a close. Many people will leave this month and any hope for change behind when the groundhog peeks from his hole.


This year, I'm doing things a little different. I took a lot of pressure off myself and toned down my normally huge list of goals to something simple.
My goal for 2012 is to find more JOY in the journey.
I've struggled with a lot of stress from many different sources over the past year, and lately I've been examining my life, trying to find that elusive power to change things so that I can genuinely smile. I've decided that the most important goal I could make--the most important daily choice I could make--is to find some joy each day.
A few things I'm trying to do...
Enjoy a daily devotional where I study the scriptures, thoughts, and take a few moments to ponder. This usually takes place after I get two of my kids off to school and my boys are playing trucks at my feet, but it's something that definitely brings me joy.

Enjoy my children by reveling in the moment, laughing more, hurrying less. This one is hard. Most of you can identify with the feeling that there is too much to do to sit down and really enjoy revving that hot wheels car down the hallway. I've always been good at making time to read to my kids, but after a few minutes of playing my brain would zone out and immediately begin ticking through my to-do list of all the things I needed to do to care for that child plus three more, not to mention the jobs I needed to complete for my part-time work and writing.

Enjoy sitting still. Again, this one is almost laughable, right? When does a stay-at-home mom of four kids with a house to take care of and a book to write and another job to do in her "spare time" ever get to sit still? But I am doing it, even if only for a moment. Last week, I sat on my couch and looked out the window. I watched my two girls walking home from school--singing, full of smiles, and imagination. I caught a moment that I can pull up like a snapshot in my mind and view the little moments of JOY that are all around me, if I will stop long enough to notice.

I enjoy each of you. Thank you for making my life brighter. I appreciate your comments, your wisdom, your support.
How about you? Have you made any changes in 2012? Are you still working on your resolutions?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plugged In and Back in Business

  Ack! I haven't blogged for 10 days! Did you miss me? :)
I have been missing in action, lost in remodeling our home. My husband and I realized that was the correct term for ripping out 700 square feet of ugly tile and carpet, and getting the floors ready to have wood laminate installed. Here's a pic of me happy about chipping out the old tile.

And here's a picture of the real grunt work in action!

While the floors were bare, my wonderful mom came to help me paint at least half the walls upstairs and my wonderful mother-in-law tended my two boys so we could actually get it done!

I'm pretty excited about all of the changes. We're not completely done--just some finish work left, but I love my new floor and paint!

I hated my old tile. It was white with flecks that looked like dirt, so my floor always looked dirty--it was, but I don't need help to make it look that way with 4 kids running around!
The tile was also very uneven, and not installed correctly so we were either going to have to redo the grout, not to mention our ugly carpet OR
RIP IT OUT!

My walls didn't have any color, so my hubby and I remedied that by purchasing 5 different gallons of Martha Stewart paint that was on close-out from Home Depot. Here's a pic of the kitchen in action with the ugly carpet still in the hallway.

My favorite is the kitchen, which we painted in Arrowroot (kind of a green with blue tone) and Sisal (a warm cream color).

Below is a picture of my new living room with one of my favorite prints. I saw the real-life painting at the Tate Gallery in London when I went there on study abroad during college. It's called "The Lady of Shalott" by John William Waterhouse
Here's a close-up of the floor:

I can't wait to move into my office which is currently the baby's room, but the baby is one so it's time for him to move in with his three-year-old brother. Crossing fingers that can happen soon!
Here's a sneak peek of the floor in that room!
While I was unplugged, I had a birthday, got to have my parents come for a visit from Idaho, went out with my sister-in-laws & mother-in-law, and lots more fun things. Now I'm back in business, hard at work at planning all of the book signings I'll be doing for Caller ID in March, April, and May.
I have some neat things planned for my blog, and I'm hoping the stars will align so I can get it all done and share with you.
So glad to be back! What have you been up to?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday Thought January

A fellow author in my author's guild shared this quote and I just had to pass it along to you. It shows just how much power and soul a book can hold.

"I care not how humble your bookshelf may be, nor how lowly the room which it adorns. Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal into that fair land whither worry and vexation can follow you no more. You have left all that is vulgar and all that is sordid behind you.

There stand your noble, silent comrades, waiting in their ranks. Pass your eye down their files. Choose your man. And then you have but to hold up your hand to him and away you go together into dreamland.

Surely there would be something eerie about a line of books were it not that familiarity has deadened our sense of it. Each is a mummified soul embalmed in cere-cloth and natron of leather and printer's ink. Each cover of a true book enfolds the concentrated essence of a man. The personalities of the writers have faded into the thinnest shadows, as their bodies into impalpable dust, yet here are their very spirits at your command."

--Arthur Conan Doyle

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Timeline for Getting A Book To Press

I blogged last week at the AML blog where I visit the first Thursday of each month in the Mysterious Doings section. I gave a little timeline about how my next book, Caller ID went from writing to submission process to now getting ready to go to press.
Have you ever wondered why it takes so long to get a book published? This article might give you some insight. Drop by and let me know what you think.
Getting A Book To Press for the AML Blog by Rachelle J. Christensen

Thanks!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tempting Toffee Crisps Recipe

Christmas candy season is over, but I wanted to share this treat with you so you can slot it for your holiday treats this year! Honestly, I could eat this all year it's so delicious. Maybe it's a good thing I only make it for Christmas.

Tempting Toffee Crisps

12 whole graham crackers
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup butter (do not use margarine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup almonds or pecans chopped

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange graham crackers side by side in a single layer in a large cookie sheet or bar pan/jelly roll pan.

2.In small saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a full boil across the surface. Continue boiling 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat and immediately pour mixture evenly over crackers.

3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels. Allow chocolate to soften, then spread evenly over baked crackers with a spatula.

4. Sprinkle chopped nuts over chocolate. Cool completely. When chocolate is firm, break or cut into pieces. This is a toffee, so pieces will break into all different shapes and sizes and that's okay!

Yield: About 2 dozen pieces
A variation is to drizzle with melted white chocolate for a fancy look. Or if you used milk chocolate chips, you could drizzle with dark chocolate chips.
This picture is actually from a couple years ago. It was touch keeping this candy away from my baby's reaching fingers!

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Do You Ring in the New Year?

It's the second day of January and I haven't filled out my customary pages of goals, *gasp*!  I love setting goals and I will get to it, but I've been enjoying the holidays with my family AND I just finished going through edits on the final proof of CALLER ID.

Yep, this is the cover and the book comes out in March! If you subscribed to my newsletter (see nifty box in my sidebar) or you've liked my Author Facebook page, then you've already seen this cover. If not, I get to show you now--here it is and I have to say, I'm really lovin' this cover!


How do you ring in the new year? Goals? Resolutions?

Winner of Best of 2011 Taken By Storm

Thanks to all those who entered my stop on the Best of 2011Giveaway Hop.

The winner of one copy of


Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison is...

 Elizabeth at BookAttict!

Congrats!

I'll contact Elizabeth for her mailing address and get her book sent out.
Happy Reading in 2012!

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