"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)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why I'm Keeping this Blog Active

I've been around Blogger for nearly five years and in that time one sees a lot of blogs come and go. Lately as I scroll down my Reader (yes Google Reader may have disappeared but Blogger has a very effective Reader feature that shows you all the recent posts on blogs you follow), I've noticed weird posts on writer blogs. Articles about the latest diet drug, posts in a foreign language, information about car insurance.

It appears that abandoned blogs are getting taken over by spammers. I mean why not grab a url on blogspot if you can, with all the attached followers and start posting spam? Maybe someone will read them and buy your diet drug, right?

So I'm keeping this blog relatively active to avoid potential problems.

These spam-controlled blogs have removed all former design features, including the follower icon on the blog. They give you no way to unfollow them except through the Settings feature on the back end of your own blog. Here's how:

From your Reading List, go to the tool icon on the far right and click it. Every blog you follow will be listed. You can click the link and check to make sure it's a valid active blog. If so, fine; if not, click the Settings on the right of the blog and it will give you the option to Stop Following this Site.

I've begun a major clear out this way, unfollowing abandoned blogs before they're taken over. Some are taken down completely with their url offered for use. Some haven't been posted on for several years, and who knows how long Blogger will allow these old sites to stay.

If the original blog has died, I'd just as soon get my name off as a follower, because I don't want any link to a spammer.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Blogs they are a changing

Weird things are happening in Blogger land. Like someone who hasn't had her blog very long said Blogger told her she had too many pictures on it. What??? And someone else who just started a new blog can't put up a Follower icon, only gadgets that let followers sign up with RSS feeds, email, or by Google + . I guess the Follower icon is now outdated, old-fashioned, done away with. Who knows how long before an old blog like mine just one day disappears?

They'll say "She has too many blogs anyway. Be gone!" And that'll be the end of that. When it happens, I hope you will come see me at my lovely website, karenjonesgowen.com.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What Did the Ghost Say to the Wall?

"Don't mind me, I'm just passing through."

Haha, I'm listening to my grandson tell riddles to his uncle. This one sticks in my mind. Because aren't we all like ghosts just passing through?

As I pass through, I consider life and how it is going so terribly fast. I'm not at all afraid of ghosts. What I fear is lost opportunity. Every day my prayer is that I will know what's best for me to do each particular day.

I haven't always had this prayer in my heart. But as time slips away, and my children are now the age I was when I had them, as I hear my grandchildren read from riddle books and yell, "Why do you always know the answers???" just as my own little boys used to do, I get a little panicky seeing time pass so quickly right before my eyes.

Because there's still so very much to do. I should quit thinking about ghosts and walls and just passing through, and instead live in the moment, like this--

Monday, November 19, 2012

What Caused the Dust Bowl

My husband and I watched part of Ken Burns's Dust Bowl documentary on PBS last night. It is well worth the time, although there were some elements of it that we both found strange.

For instance, although experts agree they have no firm understanding of what caused the cataclysmic event, the consensus as explained in the documentary was that how the farmers planted their crops in the years prior caused the dust storms.

Now I understand that one doesn't want to blame God for such a horrible event as this, just like we don't like blaming Him for the recent hurricane Sandy. I'm not comfortable saying, "The people were wicked, God sent the storm." I don't like hearing others say it either, about any kind of natural disasters.

Yet our human nature, in trying to explain these events, can come up with some pretty silly conclusions, even without blaming God. That's what I thought about the Dust Bowl explanations given in the Burns documentary.

Did the way the farmers plant and plow explain a drought? I don't think so. It was the complete lack of snow and rain that caused the real problem. The planting methods wouldn't have shown themselves without the drought.

As my mother explained in Farm Girl, "It was a seven year drought, is what it was." She lived through it. She and her family and neighbors counted the days, months and years. Seven years! What a horribly long time for an agricultural region to go without significant moisture.

My grandmother wrote her impressions of this time:

"There were so many who cannot even imagine what the dust bowl looked like. It was a place that seemed like God had forsaken it. Some said, 'The people were too wicked. They were paying for their sins.' I was sitting in our church one time during dust storm years and heard those very words.

"My mind dwelt on first one then another in the community, but they all seemed like respectable people. Why there was hardly a one in this dust bowl neighborhood who smoked or drank whiskey, or even beer. They were hardworking farmers who year after year prepared the soil and planted corn and wheat, with high hopes every year, hoping they had seen the last of it. They were standing the drought, but debt piled up. Some summers there was not even a green straw." (from Farm Girl, WiDo Publishing, 2007)

And so as we are faced with inexplicable natural disasters, we try to place a cause and a reason on them. The way the farmers plowed in those days. Government policies. Punishing the wicked. Global warming.

Take your pick, or add a new one. Nobody really knows. At least with the Titanic, there was an iceberg to blame.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Re-opening From the Shadows to the Page

A year ago I morphed this blog into my website. I miss it. I come back here often and wish I still blogged here. So why not? It's my blog, my website, my everything-- the little world we all get to create for ourselves on the Internet-- we can do whatever we want with it, right?

And here's a picture of my three youngest boys at Travis's wedding. Forrest was best man and is straightening the groom's tie in a very efficient, best man way. Sean is looking on critically, to make sure he does it right. Aren't they cute and handsome?

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.