Monday, May 20, 2013

LDS Writer's Blogfest

Thirty-five years ago two young missionaries knocked on the door of a white trailer with black shutters. A young girl, barely twenty, answered. She had a one year-old and a husband who was not yet twenty. This girl and her husband had very different upbringings. He grew up in a strict Catholic home. She grew up as a child of alcoholics. But they wanted the same thing, which was something more for the family they were creating together. And so the missionaries taught them the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and they found that something more. They joined the church within the year, and after I was born we visited the Salt Lake Temple where we were sealed as a forever family.

If this wasn't a blog post of a more spiritual nature, I might make fun of my mom's hair and my dad's mustache.

I had a beautiful upbringing. It wasn't perfect as life goes, but I remember it as pretty near perfect.

Ha! Not that perfect, but I love this picture. (Still holding back on comments about the hair.) 

We loved each other. We always laughed. Every day we laughed. My four siblings and I were close. We did a lot together as a family, and those are my best memories. Not with friends. But with family.

My LDS faith was intertwined with my happiness growing up. I can't really separate one from the other. I'm happy because of my faith, because of my relationship with my family, because of my relationship with God.

What my parents built from that fragile little beginning is so powerful. A few years ago, our family experienced a difficult trial, one which brought us to tears, to our knees. But the way all of us, including our spouses, came together confirmed to me the eternal and ethereal nature of family. Heavenly Father blessed us. He still blesses us.

Now I have the chance to build something amazing with my little family, my husband and three babies. My whole life is them. I see my Heavenly Father's hand in our lives every day. I see Him when they wake up in the morning and rub the sleep from their eyes. I see the divinity of His creation when she nibbles on my face because she's cutting four teeth at the same time. I see the blessings of eternity when we stay at the table even after dinner is over so we can talk and laugh.

I see the face of God in them.

I bear my testimony of the eternal nature of families. And I bear my testimony that Heavenly Father is real, that he is there and cares about you. Whether you had the "perfect" upbringing or your parents were alcoholics, He knows you. He wants you to be happy.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Writer's Voice Entry

I have the chance to participate in the Writer's Voice Contest this year! Here is my entry for the contest judges.
               Please consider my middle-grade novel, A PRETTY PIRATE PICKLE, which is a coming-of-age Eloise set on a cruise ship instead of the Plaza Hotel.
The luxury cruise ship, Scandinavian Sapphire, only survives the high seas because eleven year-old Liza, daughter of Captain Owen, checks for icebergs every sunrise, sends POGs (pukey old guys) to the ship’s infirmary, and rids the ship of any and all vermin—particularly the peg-legged, eye-patch-wearing type of vermin.
Her mild obsession with the bestselling Pirates and Princesses series has no connection to her suspicions that Henry Weston, the “resident guitarist,” is a bona fide scallywag schooled by Blackbeard himself. And he’s in love with Liza’s aunt Mel, who looks past Henry’s Jack-Sparrow-like qualities and sees only roguish handsomeness, a rawther lovely British accent, and charm more sparkly than the ship’s million-dollar jewel exhibition which Liza is sure Henry’s after—because nothing says “pirate booty” like crown jewels from every country in the Baltic.
Mysterious meetings in Denmark, too many “band practices,” and alleged tampering with the security cameras has Liza convinced her suspicions are correct, and there is nobody to help stop the heist except Tilly, her friend-of-the-week, and Liza’s iguana, Iggy—who, face it, can’t help her because he’s a lizard. But Liza is determined to save the ship, her daddy’s hat, and Mel from the evil clutches of dread pirate Henry.

FIRST 250:
Only one obstacle lies between me and the front-most tip of the ship. My fingers wrap around the handle of the wooden sword hanging from my belt. A brigade of blood-thirsty pirates I can manage. Even an ultra-sonic super villain with x-ray vision. But these two gangly man-boys from the theater playing basketball on the sports deck? My dad would ground me for a week if I maimed a member of his crew.
I take a deep breath of the briny sea air gusting by me and whipping at the rolled-up maps under my arm. Having just raced through the ship—using only practical short cuts such as the grand staircase banister—these guys could have an edge. I nod to the neon-suited ladies from Kids Club circling the jogging path. I may need witnesses if this ends ugly.
I unsheathe my sword just barely—ready for the draw should they dare strike first—and walk through the game. One of the players stops the ball with two hands then cradles it under his arm. The other looks at me with raised eyebrows and a half-smile. “Oh. Are we in your way?” he asks.
With the quickness of the finest swordsgirl on the seven seas, I withdraw my weapon. Its blunt but intimidating wooden tip hovers between them and me. And they have the nerve to laugh.
“I’ll have you know,” I say in my deepest and fiercest belly voice. “I have a ship to save today. And no swashbuckling scallywags are going to stop me.”