"Have you thought about writing your family history, but found yourself stuck from the start? Writing a family narrative can be a daunting task, but Karen Jones Gowen found a way to bring her mother's story to life." (Homespun Magazine)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I am transitioning this blog into my author website. I appreciate everyone who has followed and commented and supported me here, and I do hope you will visit me at the new website, karenjonesgowen.com. 

I'll continue blogging at Coming Down the Mountain about writing, editing and publishing issues, that won't change.

Thank you to everyone who voted on my picture, you'll see the one I chose at my new website! (P.S. To those who said #1 and #4 were the same-- you know who you are-- you were right.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Story of an Average Man

My youngest son is a huge soccer fan. When the Real soccer team here in Salt Lake offered free tickets and all you had to do was write an email he was on it. His email--

This is my story. 
I am just a man, my arms and legs are nothing special, I cannot run quickly or jump very high. I have an average job, with average pay, that gives me less than average satisfaction in life. I live in an average house, with average people. I have never lived in a castle, fought a dragon, or saved a princess.
I am going on a date with a very cute girl, who is like a princess. We are going to the game in the fortress, which is like a castle, playing the Philidelphia Union who is like a dragon.
For an average person, this is my dream, to get the field level tickets to the game on Saturday.
Sincerely, Forrest the average man

And guess what? He won!! Front row seats, right on the field, and a catered meal before the game-- he was in heaven. And I'm sure his date was very impressed too! Nothing average about this kid of mine LOL.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Family Lovin'

It's not a family photo but it's a family. At least a few of them *smile* and it illustrates why I generally try not to take the family pictures.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August Shenanigans

As August comes round the bend to its close, I am feeling very reflective about this summer. The month of August itself was monumental, with our second to youngest marrying the girl of his dreams. And what was really fun about the wedding/weekend was that all ten of our children were here, along with (not all) but many of their spouses and/or children.

It was just a delightful time. One of our daughters-in-law had a new camera that she was eager to use, so we got the added benefit of a lot of amazing photos, both informal and formal, of the events. I learned an important fact a decade ago when our oldest was married: Parents and siblings of the bride and groom must not be assigned as photographers because it just won't happen! There is so much else to concern them that pictures end up being the last thing on their minds. I've been fortunate to have daughters-in-law who take excellent pictures, or sisters who are right there to get the best shots, or in one case, a son-in-law who took nonstop video that is priceless.

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary (August 13) two days after the wedding. It was such a nice day to just get away, the two of us, and do whatever we felt like. We took a drive in the mountains, we took pictures of each other, we went out to eat, we went to a movie: all the activities we enjoy, nothing really special or fantastic, just having fun together.

Now our youngest is preparing to leave on a two-year mission for our church to-- ta-da!-- Oregon. He is pretty excited. "I've always wanted to live in Oregon," he says. He leaves on September 28.

Another son and his wife are expecting a baby next spring. Life goes on, and it is wonderful. I enjoyed being a mom when my kids were all at home (despite what my journals say, yes I really did enjoy it), and I enjoy this phase as well. I only had two girls, but as my boys marry, I get wonderful daughters-in-law who are like daughters to me.

Besides these big events, this year saw us move from our home of 13 years, and there was my mom's passing on New Year's Day.  I should have known when that happened, that 2011 would be a momentous year.

Now I feel like things are winding down, just like the summer is, and that perhaps there will be a few restful weeks ahead before the holiday activities begin.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Impressed by Dogs

The other day a little girl at our house made a cute noise while jumping down the front stairs. A kind of wo-wo-wo- sound. From far away, across the park, came a returning sound, echoing this-- a dog barking in almost exact replica wo-wo-wo.

And then tonight there was another interesting experience involving dogs. My husband and I watched the movie "Babe" about the pig who thinks it's a sheep dog. The movie has Australian sheep dogs herding sheep, barking, and sounds of the sheep baa-ing. We finish the movie, and he opens the front door to look at the sprinklers going off in our yard. Guess what is standing right there on our front sidewalk, staring at our front door?

It is an Australian sheep dog, waiting expectantly. Presumably for sheep to herd? My husband is petting the dog when the owner comes by, looking for him. Someone had opened the door at their house, and the dog just ran out for no apparent reason.

From two blocks away, inside his house, this Australian sheep dog heard fellow sheep dogs barking and the sheep baaing on our TV, and as soon as he got a chance he escaped to come join the fun.

Now that's impressive.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's Either Time or Money

Yesterday I had a conversation with a son who needed to get something and I was telling him a less-expensive place to purchase it. He said, "It's not the money, it's just finding the time to go make the purchase."

This got me to thinking about the excuses we all make. With some people, it's time, others it is money.

Larry H. Miller was one of the wealthiest businessmen in Salt Lake, owner of the Utah Jazz and numerous car dealerships. Yet a few years ago he died in his fifties of complications of diabetes. People who knew him said, "He never took the time to take care of himself." He had plenty of money for medical care, but neglected getting it due to being too busy. Diabetes is one of those illnesses where you MUST take proper care of yourself, with diet, exercise and regular medical care or it will kill you.

Think of all the joys in life we neglect because of "no time" or "no money." I have learned that those are nothing more than convenient excuses. There are ways and means to accomplish goals without an abundance of either. Sometimes it takes creative thinking, sometimes asking for help from others, sometimes just focus and determination.

Your comments on my last post about Simple Pleasures shared many ways to be happy, and most of them did not require much time or money. Anyone who thinks they don't have enough time or money for whatever should go back and read those comments.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Today I am thinking about simple pleasures, those activities that aren't necessary to keep life functioning, but that are essential for daily happiness. When we moved from California to Utah 21 years ago, I missed the simple pleasures of taking my kids to the parks and to the beaches. People said, "Oh, the mountains are awesome." But it just didn't feel the same.

Now we have moved again (still in Utah but down the road a ways) and I am missing the simple pleasures of my life in our old neighborhood. Good friends, our backyard garden oasis, fruit trees, the sound of birds waking us up and putting us to sleep at night. On top of that, my mom died this year and I miss the simple pleasure of our weekly phone calls. My husband and I are on a strict diet essential for our health and I miss the joy of drinking massive quantities of diet Coke while I write. Silly, isn't it? I have everything I need, but I  am looking for some new simple pleasures to replace the ones that I've lost.

Got any ideas for me? What simple pleasures do you most enjoy?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without

In my novel Uncut Diamonds, the main characters, Marcie and Shawn McGill, experience some rough times. It is the seventies, when the U.S. had one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. Marcie has to get resourceful to make ends meet, and she gets ideas and motivation from the writings of her grandmother, who was a farm wife in Nebraska during the Great Depression.

Many people talk about the poor economy right now, but believe me, it isn't anything like what we experienced in the seventies. *I sound so old when I say that*  Still, along with many currently trying to spend less is the recycle, reuse, going green-type mentality that brings back some of the frugal practices of days past.

Like this awesome dress my friend made out of two T-shirts:

She took a red and a blue T-shirt, cut and sewed and came up with a cute jersey dress to wear to our Fourth of July BBQ.

The T-shirts were given to her, she gets a lot of them from her job and so snip/snip voila!

Cute dress: Cost $00.00

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Enjoying Summer

Summer is finally here in the Rocky Mountain West. We are settled into our new home, which I love because there are pathways, parks and even a lake, making it very inviting for a reluctant walker such as myself.

My husband and I are following the HCG diet plan, that's our huge project for the summer-- to get ourselves back in shape. So far he has lost 15 lbs, and I've lost 8, after the first three weeks on the plan. Today I even got him to walk a little ways with me. We stalled this week because it turns out that some things we thought were okay actually had sugar in them.

I'm also writing a lot as well as editing. My blogging activities are really taking a hit. But I think that's happening with a lot of people. Summer is time for being outdoors, holding barbecues, traveling someplace new, planting flowers, and just chillin' by the open window feeling the cool morning breeze. I love summer.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers and Mothers

I come from a family of women. One mother, one father, three sisters, eleven cousins (all girls). One grandfather died before I knew him, the other was so scary I didn't want to know him, so two grandmothers. As a result, I grew up with completely erroneous ideas about boys. When I was in grade school, I defined them as either ugly or cute (most of them very cute imho). I learned at a very young age like first grade maybe? that they would be smitten if I looked at them with my big eyes and then straightened something on their shirts.

Fortunately I made it through my high school and college years without attracting the wrong sort. Oh wait, there were a couple of the wrong sort in college, but I escaped before anything bad happened. Then I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (became a Mormon, upon which my parents breathed a huge sigh of relief even though they were Methodists), and after a few false starts, I was blessed beyond measure to meet and marry a young man who turned out to be a gem, an uncut diamond, oh look at that, wouldn't that make a good title of a book about our early life together, and we proceeded to build our house of diamonds what do you know, there's another one.

We had eight boys and two girls. I had a LOT to learn about the nature of the male psyche, the differences between boys and girls, men and women, mothers and fathers. One thing I learned is that a father is not meant to be the male version of a mother. And it's a good thing, too, because then kids can benefit from both sides.

Just to illustrate in this excerpt from Uncut Diamonds--

"He picked up Jeff, Elizabeth, Alex and Eric one by one, until he had four laughing, twisting children hanging from his six foot frame in a wriggling, breathing, noisy sculpture of family life."

Now how many moms can do that?

Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there. I hope your family pampers you a little today, because you deserve it!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Park Across the Street

Now that warm weather is here, I keep the window open in our bedroom, the window that looks out on the park across the street.

In the morning, as the sun rises and wakes me up, I see elderly people walking their excited little dogs along the pathways. I see middle-aged couples power-walking to burn off the fat.

Mid-day, it is moms, and sometimes dads, who inhabit the park with their small children.

In the afternoon, school kids of all ages walk past on their way home.

It is in the evening, when I am winding down for the day that the park is the noisiest, occupied by giggly, squealing teenage girls and overly-attentive teen boys.

In the course of one day, the circle of life is captured in the park across the street.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seeking the Perfect Purse

I see it in the store. It looks AT LAST as though I have FOUND the perfect purse. Not too big, not too small, pleasing shape and design, trendy color, pockets and zippers enough to hold all my pursely possessions. I must have it!!

But I don't need another purse, do I? I already have so many good ones. Ah, but they are not perfect. There is indeed something wrong with each and every one of them. See above list. This new one will most certainly be perfect. It looks, smells, feels so wonderful. A brand, new wonderful purse! I must have it! However, being the disciplined, frugal person I am, I don't buy it. I leave the store and go home, resisting temptation. What do I need a new purse for? Pshaw! Silly me!

Although I do keep thinking about it....and thinking....and thinking. In fact, I cannot forget about it. How could I have left behind the perfect purse? What a fool I am!

I look at my other bags which all pale in comparison and look like garbage. The only thing to do is go back and buy the perfect one before someone else gets to it first. That's it. I must go back to the store, and I must hurry before my prized possession gets away. Because after all, since it is perfect I will never again need to buy another one. So really it's a huge savings to spend the money right now, that way I won't have to spend it later. This is the only sensible course of action.

I rush back to the store and there it is! Yes, it is perfect! I was not mistaken, I shall buy it. So I do. And I get it home, with my things tucked inside, everything at home inside the fresh, new promising environment. Now at last I will be organized. I and all my outfits will look amazing and fashionable with this marvelous accessory. Aha, the perfect purse!

Except. . .  the next time I am in the store, I see tables full of quite lovely purses, each one better than the one I just recently bought.  But I look away. I am committed now. This one will have to do. At least until my birthday comes around again. Or Christmas. Or there is a once-in-a-lifetime clearance sale. Or I run across the most perfect purse ever.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Goal-setting and Goal-keeping

Nearing the half-way point of the year, how many of you like to review where you are on goals? Like the ones set on New Year's Day? I'm an obsessive goal-setter. It's like if I write it down, I'm half-way there.

Today I looked at my New Year's Resolutions and decided to chuck the whole lot. Because they just make me feel bad about myself. I did read the 50 books. I read them all in about three months time. The writing and the walking resolutions? Don't even ask!

But, in my defense, Universe, in case you are listening and keeping score: my mom died, my husband and I had a major move from our home of 13 years, uh...uh...uh....excuses?....excuses?.....Okay, those are the only two big events, but they work, I think, as pretty good excuses reasons to get stalled.

Okay, now it's time to move on and set some new goals, because today is the first day of the rest of my life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Writing the Memoir

I recently read Ann Best's memoir In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets. I just added it to my Shelfari shelf of memoir-type books I have read.

What makes a good memoir? First, the cover. This is a wonderful cover because you can stare at it at length wondering about the people before you even crack open the book. Then while you're reading, you can flip back to it and recall how Ann and Larry looked on their wedding day.  And you can ponder this photo with their children and think about how things are not always as happy as it seems when a family gathers for a smiling group shot.

Which brings me to another important element of memoir-- story! There needs to be a beginning, middle and end; conflict; memorable, identifiable characters; resolution of conflict; real life situations that the reader can connect with; and don't forget-- good writing!!

There's the autobiography someone might write for family and posterity with particulars and photos from one's life. These have a place in personal and family history and kudos to anyone who is able to write one. And then there's the publishable memoir such as Ann wrote-- something that connects with a large demographic of readers who will pay for the privilege of reading her story. 

I like to think the genre is called "memoir" because it's "memorable." Not simply a collection of "memories" but a story that stays in your heart and mind long after. That's the kind of memoir that Ann Best wrote. Not an easy task. I hope on her blog that she will delve into what, why and how she managed to write her book.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Motivates You?

This might seem like an easy question but it's not really. Because I have no idea half the time why I do what I do. Does anyone?

Like, what motivates me to sulk instead of speak? What on earth does sulking accomplish? Yet there I go, sulking again instead of communicating in a proper way.

What motivates a woman toward health and fitness? And another towards a lifetime of sedentary behavior while overdosing on candy and potato chips?

What makes someone a workaholic and someone else a call-in-sick-whenever-possible kind of guy?

Why do some people like cats and others prefer dogs?

Why does one man love going to church and another avoid it like the plague?

My mom used to say that I would stare at people and analyze them endlessly. (Like there's something wrong with that?) What is more fascinating in this whole wide world than people?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interview with a Wanna be Genealogist

My husband is really really interested in genealogy and all aspects of family history. As he puts it: "A wanna-be family history pictures and archivist." Here's what he has to say-- (and thank you, darling husband, for the interview and photos and information on scanning)--

Technology today makes preserving records easier than ever. And easier to share original documents with anyone at no additional cost. The opportunity to look into the face of an ancestor in a photograph and realize that they are connected to you is remarkable.

With the advent of scanning technology this is made easier and more accessible. I take old photos and scan the entire photo, even if there's damage to it. I can also just scan the faces, which are the most important part of the individuals in our history. I like to see the settings that they're in, I like to think about what they may be doing the day that they posed for this picture.

I have a treasured photograph of one young couple recently married, right before he went off to fight in the Civil War and never came home.
That is Smith Banta and his wife, Mary Jane London, my great-great grandparents. They had two children. Later, she remarried and had eight more children.

Documents such as marriage licenses, birth certificates, wills, letters and anything that might give information about family members can also be scanned and emailed to those interested. Scanning is a simple and inexpensive process for photos and documents. No more running to the copy store, or even worse--loaning an original valued document and worrying that you might never get it back.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Quiet House

Two weeks ago we moved and right now, for the first time ever, the house is relatively still. Our two boys left early for a work project, and the phone guy was only here for long enough to fix the bad outlet (maybe 20 minutes). Our regular visitors are the phone and internet repairmen and technicians. I think they have the phone lines all working now. Internet is fine as long as I'm plugged in-- no wireless yet.

The dishwasher and washing machine are running but that's lovely white noise that means cleaning is happening while I'm busy elsewhere.

A major move like this is hectic, exhausting, expensive, and loud. Once all the activity dies down I can stop stressing and begin to think and get my groove back. So maybe this is the week. It's starting off well with a nice quiet house. I should be cleaning after the hectic weekend. But first I just want to relish the peaceful feeling of a quiet Monday. Ahhhh!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Quiet Blog

It was a year ago that I began this blog as an experiment. Well, not exactly a year. My first post was actually on March 31. I wanted to see what would happen if I posted about subjects that interested me-- memoir, personal and family history, family, nature, and of course myself hehe-- without doing anything else to get followers or views. No tricks or gimmicks-- just plain ol' everyday writing on the blog.

It's been fun because it's no pressure blogging. I'm not really trying to do anything special or even have a platform--it's simply a forum for random posting. Because I'm a compulsive writer who will write anywhere, anytime on any subject. Ask my kids who have carried dozens of boxes of massive journals from house to house.

Happy birthday to my quiet blog. Many thanks to those who follow me here and take the time to read and comment on my posts. I appreciate it so much!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Walk into Heaven

Yesterday it was 78 and sunny. I thumbed my nose at broken Blogger and messed up internet at the new house and went for a long walk. There's a lake about 15 min. from my house so I headed there to explore what paths would take me where. I avoided the areas closest to the road and parking areas-- too much noise and activity-- and headed to the other side of the lake, which seemed almost like a wilderness area.

It was so still and empty of activity. I only passed two other walkers in an hour, but enjoyed the company of a couple of geese far out on the water. They came soaring in with their long necks and wide wing span, and in tandem they slid and skated along the water surface, barely making a ripple. Geese are annoying up close, especially if they've decided they own the area, but from a distance they are enchanting.

Up ahead, I saw a bench in the shade, just waiting for me. I sat and looked out over the lake and the mountains beyond. It was peaceful, solitary and beautiful. I felt like I was in heaven. Of course I wouldn't always want to be alone, either in this life or the next, but at that moment it was exactly what my heart craved. Solace. Beauty. Solitude.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Being Homeschooled

Homeschooling is a great option for educating one's children when the school system isn't doing its job. I have utilized homeschooling myself. Usually only for a short time and then back into the public schools they go. Sometimes people will homeshool for their children for the entire education. I'm not saying it is good or bad, but it's nice to have the option. But then there's that question that comes when people are talking about someone with no social skills-- "Were they homeschooled?"

(I apologize in advance to anyone who might be offended by this post.)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Z

Z, the last letter in the alphabet, signifies the end of things. It just so happens that today is the Big Moving Day, the last day in our home of 13 years, the last day in the neighborhood where we have lived for 21 years.

Two days ago I cooked the last meal in said home and said neighborhood. It was baked fish, and fried rice with vegetables. *yummy* Since then we have eaten leftovers out of the fridge and sandwiches, trying to use up available food before the move. So yes, today I am thinking about the end of things. The end of the A to Z Challenge *whew* and the end of our long life in this lovely place where our family has lived for so long.

What's exciting about the end of things is the anticipation for new beginnings. Which reminds me that life isn't like the alphabet, with a beginning and an end, but it is like a circle. Eternal. Endings and Beginnings together, flowing into one another. One eternal round.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yes, I did it!

Yes, I did it! I walked an hour and ten minutes yesterday despite many valid  reasons  typical ridiculous excuses not to. So that makes six days in a row that I have overcome my resistance and just walked out that door. Because I am NOT A QUITTER.  HOO RAH!  Semper Fi and all that inspiring Marine talk I get from my son. HOO RAH!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X Marks the Spot

Do you remember that Steven Spielberg movie The Goonies? A group of kids find a treasure map in the attic and follow it to find a fortune so they can save their homes from evil developers. It sounds like a lame premise, but never underestimate Steven Spielberg or the fantastical charm of those four words-- X marks the spot.

Besides, what kid hasn't dreamed of doing this very thing? I know I did. I would fantasize about finding an ancient pirate treasure map with that magical X showing where to dig for the buried treasure. I even had my wish list of what I would do with all that money: 

Buy all the candy in the world. I still love candy. Have my very own horse. I always wanted a horse and never did get one, cursed deprived childhood. Fill my room with every stuffed animal, doll, puppet, book, paper doll set, tea set, electric train, squirt gun and cap gun and real gun that I ever wanted. I was a girl of varied interests.

Now I'm an adult, and I still long for some kind of magical X to mark the spot, the end of the rainbow, the buried treasure, the ship coming in. On The Goonies, there was an actual ship that came in at the end-- floating into the bay as the parents watched in awe.

What would I do with all that money? Pay off my mortgage and the mortgages of all my sisters and children. (Again, similar to The Goonies-- getting money to save the family home.) Buy my husband a truck. Get new carpet in my home, tile, and repaint the entire place. Rebuild the pond. Er, I mean pay someone to do it. Buy my son and his fiancee a new car to start their wedded life. Buy my daughter an economical but safe car so she could drive down every day to my house and go for hour-long walks with me.

Okay, I need to stop now. This list is building steam as I go. Do you think there's ever a time in one's life where we are so satisfied that we don't have even one tiny little desire to find the buried treasure?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Walking (and not quitting)

As I see the end of the A to Z Challenge in sight, I balk every day about writing one more post and I just want to quit. Which is really stupid, because I've made it this far and it's not even that hard compared to all the hard things I have done and am still doing in my life.

Same with walking. I set a goal to walk 30 minutes a day. I'm finally getting around to starting, and have enjoyed it so much that most days I walk an hour or more. But do you know how easy it is to just quit? I keep making excuses for myself to either not step outside or to cut my walk short.

The weather. My mood. Fatigue. Too much else to do. My clothes. My shoes aren't right. Traffic bothers me. Too many people out. Dogs barking at me.Thirsty. Hungry. Tired. Bored. Need a kleenex.

Okay, I'll stop now, I'm sure nobody wants to hear the my list of excuses. As my mother-in-law used to say, "Excuses are like armpits. Everybody has them and they all stink." Another W word that inspires quitting is Writing. I make excuses for not doing that, too. Don't worry, I won't list them here, I've told you enough already about my inner dark side. 

I am not a quitter! I will keep walking! And writing! And finishing the A to Z Challenge! So there. W is for Walking and doing all that other stuff and NOT QUITTING.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Very Tired of Blogging

Hey, after thirty days and two blogs, posting daily, who wouldn't be? Still, I have enjoyed the A to Z Challenge and don't regret participating double. On Coming Down the Mountain, I had a theme and scheduled my posts so it was fairly stress-free. On this one, I just came up with something for the word of the day. It's been fun doing daily seat of the pants posting here, but in May I'll go back to my once a week posts, more or less. And posting 2 or 3 times a week on my other blog.

Blogging should work for one's own purposes imho. If you try to fit into someone else's idea of what it should be, you'll get frustrated and give up. It should be about your interests, time frame, routine, and style. It has to be fun, yet still a responsible task that has a purpose.

So I'm not actually very tired of blogging. I joined the A to Z Challenge to help me define my two blogs, and I think I accomplished that personal goal. But can I just say I'll be very glad when this month is over?

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Uncle Forrest

Often in a large family, the younger children will become aunts and uncles while still kids themselves. Forrest, our youngest boy, became an uncle at age 10. As my grandchildren grew, they of course bonded with Forrest who was closest to their age and liked to play with them. He was their favorite, (altho they never really called him Uncle Forrest.)

One of my little grandsons called his other grandma Grandma and he called me "Forrest's mom." Or "the grandma who lives in Forrest's house."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Thirty Day Blogfests are Too Long

Okay, I know I'm a host of the A to Z Challenge and all, but that's really my other persona-- old KarenG over at Coming Down the Mountain. This Karen cannot believe it's another day and I have to write yet another post. What the---? Thank heavens tomorrow is Sunday, and we get a break, and the next week is the last week of this thirty day challenge. Whew!! April 30 is also our last day in our home of 13 years-- (hey thirteen, another T word!)-- which means the packing and sorting and moving is done. So I am really really really looking forward to April 30.

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Sunshine

I can't even tell you how many women have told me their doctors said they had Vitamin D deficiency. I used to spend hours outdoors everyday, year round. Walking, working in the yard, being outside with the kids. Then I somehow got away from it and became this big hermit. I guess I had so much work to do inside I couldn't spare the time for the sun.

The sun powers our lives. People need to be outside in the sunshine. It's rejuvenating and healing for mind, soul and body. When I was young, I heard that all the time from grown-ups: "Get outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Go play outside. You haven't been outside yet today. You'll feel better when you go outside and get some sun." Sound familiar? Well, maybe not if you are under forty. Because somewhere along the way came this idea that the sun's rays are harmful and cause skin cancer. What the heck? Why is it that everything causes cancer? Do people even know what causes cancer anyway?

So people started avoiding the sun, covering up, staying in and now it's Vitamin D deficiency from not enough sunshine. Lately I've been going outdoors for long walks in the sun-- and I can't tell you how much better I feel. It's not just the exercise either because I can be busy in the house, actively running up and down stairs, vacuuming, doing whatever for 6 or 7 hours on my feet and not feel as good as I do after an hour in the sun.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Randolf

I got to thinking about how certain names go out of fashion and you just know they will never come back. Like Randolf, or Randolph, or Randy. It may work fine on those born in the forties or fifties, or even earlier, but can you imagine anyone naming their baby boy that now? Except as a middle name, named after a grandfather or whatever.

Since I read a lot of classic literature I run into these kinds of names a lot. Believe it or not, there was a time when Gertrude was considered a classy name for a woman. So was Gladys and Edith. Really can't see these three coming back into vogue. Then there are the older names now making a comeback-- like Beatrice, Emily, Annabelle.

Then you have the stock boy names that never seem to go out of style, like John, James, Matthew, Thomas. Edward is making a comeback, I wonder why LOL?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quiver

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. (Psalm 127: 3-5)

I went out to breakfast this morning with four of those arrows in my quiver. Yes, I feel truly blessed that my husband and I had such a full household. And especially now that they are older and they just talk and laugh and eat together without fighting. Ever. They did plenty of fighting when they were kids living at home. I guess they got it all out of their systems.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for People Dead or Alive

A man said that there are no dead people. And I suppose that's true if one believes in life after death, which I do. When I wrote Farm Girl, I could feel my Grandmother Marker's presence and interest in this book. I was very aware of the presence of those who had gone before and whose stories were recorded there.

This is my favorite photo from Farm Girl, showing young Lucille on the fence around her family's farm. To me, it seems like she is looking back and forward at the same time. Back at all those who came before and sacrificed so their children could have a better life, and forward to those to come.

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Obesity

When we got married, my husband and I were skinny. I weighed 110, he weighed 170. I won't tell you what we weigh now but "obese" would probably describe the two of us. Anyway, my husband just started an eating plan where he eats 1/2 cup every 2 hours. It's working great, because it keeps his blood sugar stabilized, so he doesn't get hungry even on such small amounts. He likes the plan and has lost 8 lbs. in 3 weeks. 

I am so proud of him and hope and pray he stays on this until he is slim and healthy again. Obesity is horrible. Even if it doesn't kill you, it makes you feel like crap. I have a plan as well, but I don't like telling people because that's bad luck.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Nothing

Do you ever feel like "I got nothing." Drained, burned out, too tired to keep at it? I've been a maniac on social media this year. My writing/editing/publishing blog is almost to 800 followers, my Twitter account is over 1400, I have nearly 300 Facebook friends, most of them writers. Despite my hatred and avoidance of all things Facebook. Except for Mark Zuckerberg-- I like him. I am online daily blogging or commenting on blogs, Tweeting like a crazy person. And I wonder, Why? Why am I doing this again?

Mostly I've kept at it because it is fun. The second it stops being fun I'm in trouble. This week it stopped being fun. Maybe it's because I have other stuff on my mind and I see all the online activity as a "have to do" that interrupts my real life, or maybe I just got burned out with the A to Z Challenge. I'm not sure. Maybe I took on too much while trying to pack up a 4000 sq. foot house we have lived in for 13 years. Maybe I have an addiction that needs to be cured. Whatever.

Anyway, I have the rest of my posts scheduled on the KarenG blog for the month. I'm done looking at Twitter for awhile *ha, famous last words* No, I really really mean it. I'll keep posting here for the rest of the alphabet month because this is my quiet, no pressure blog. And if I got NOTHING here, no one seems to mind. I'm not chasing anything here so it doesn't drain my energy. Here I am just me being me. Not that I'm fake elsewhere, but you know what I mean.

Peace Out.