Arabesque,

Arabesque Chapter 1

2/27/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


I will be sharing parts of my writing every week (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) as I write them (with the exception of some parts of Arabesque, which were written previously), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are a first drafts.

Arabesque will always be special to me. Not only because it's what first got me into writing and publishing, but because I started writing it in the middle of my darkest days—when I was just learning to cope with my health's decline, depression, anxiety, and my world seemed bleakest. I was still a new mom, and any time at all that I could steal away for myself was sacred. When the kids finally settled into their beds and my body sore and exhausted, I'd snuggle into my chair with my notebook and iPod, and escape to the land of Acacia.

I hope your visit there is as magical as mine.

About the book

Tatania is tired of living in her sister's shadow but doesn't know about Princess Anna's dark secret. 

Bound by a sacred oath, Anna's struggles to live a double life that can never be her own. 

Described as "Sense and Sensibility meets Ever After with ninjas," Arabesque is full of action, romance, intrigue, and betrayal.

Since I've always been super paranoid, Arabesque was officially copyrighted in 2009. Duplication or use of this work in any other form is prohibited by law.
Chapter 1

Tatania

Father’s arms wrapped tightly around my sister and I. He spoke of clouds that rumbled tumultuously as lightning screamed its rage, and how the sky had wept in agony the night our mother died.

“She was the most brilliant star, sent to live on earth.  Her sparkling glory rivaled the sun.  The sky became jealous, wanting her radiance to banish darkness itself.  And so, it guided her up into it.  The brightness of her star became the silver moon.  She, now, brings light to all on the very blackest of nights.  Hope and love reign down on us as moon beams—the light of your mother, Seleine.  She smiles to you always, just as she smiled with weeping joy the first time she held you in her arms.

“That very first night you left the heavens and came to us, the heavens reclaimed their most precious and vibrant jewel.  As I saw her rising to the heavens, I knew—the earth could not behold the splendor of three so beloved of the sky, nor could the heavens bear to be parted with all their beauty together.”

These were the last words he’d left us with every night for longer than my memory knows.  Before we settled into our beds, I would gaze out the window, searching for the blessing of my mother’s love, not being able to sleep until the moon’s beams fell softly upon me.

Countless nights, I slept upon the windowsill, and my body bathed in the light of my mother, Seleine.

“Tat, wake up,” Anna said in her gentle voice as she nudged my shoulder.

I stiffly raised my head.  Anna was standing over me protectively.  “Uh? Ugh!  You’re already dressed,” I groaned.

Of course she was already dressed.  That was my twin sister, up and ready to greet everyday dutifully with a cheery smile.  Although, to my knowledge, twins had never been less alike.  Her braided honey-blonde hair was swept up elegantly into a twisted knot at the base of her head, barely gracing her neck.  Her lavender dress fell softly across the smooth curves of her body, perfectly complimenting the dark ivy of her eyes set in their long lashed frames.

And then, there was me, sitting in my nightdress, my brown hair in tangled knots, and just grateful not to be bathed in a puddle of drool.

“What time is it?  How late am I this time?” I muttered, squinting through bloodshot eyes.

“You’re not late yet.  You seemed lonely last night, and I thought you might have fallen asleep here again.”

“It’s hard being away.  I wish spring would come sooner, so we could be home with Father.”

A sad look briefly crossed Anna’s face before she blinked it away.  “Thankfully, we’ll return in a few weeks for the holiday.  In the mean time, we had better get you ready before Lady Elena decides to make an example of you again.”

“Oh yes, that would be just perfect.  Geniveve gloating is just what I need to start the day off right.”

“Well, that and a clean dress may work.  This one?”  Anna held up a dress she swore looked good on me and ushered me over to the vanity to tame my wild hair.

“Boy, do you have your work cut out for you. Nothing you’re not used to though, I guess.”  Oh, why can’t I just shut up, I thought to myself.  Here it comes, now.  Anna was always trying to make me feel better about myself.  In her eyes, I was perfect, but I knew she only saw things through love, and that’s never clear, especially in my case.

“I don’t know why you always say things like that, you have incredible beauty.” Anna said, shaking her head as her fingers weaved my hair into something less frightening.

Conversations like this were pointless with Anna.  She may have been the sweetest, kind-hearted person in the world, but she also refused to see anything in people but the very best.  I bit my lip and kept quiet until she was done.  No point in trying to argue with her, I thought.

I sighed as I looked into the mirror.  Anna had brushed my hair up into by curls and speckled with blue forget-me-nots (to compliment my eyes, she said.)   My deep sapphire eyes were my only good feature, and, of course, this morning, they were overshadowed by a humungous pimple.  Yep, right between the eyes.  Oh well, not like I really needed to impress anyone here anyway.

The past few winters, we’d been forced to stay with Sir Rupert and Lady Elena.  Aunt Eloise insisted that Anna and I needed to winter here along with the other young ladies of the court.  She claimed it was for social education and experience, but I was sure it was a sly form of torture.  There really wasn’t much point in me being here.  My official status was “daughter of the king, sister of the princess.”  I really didn’t need to worry about much socially—not that much would ever be expected of me.

Anna, on the other hand. . .  I’m so glad I decided to stick around inside the womb for a few minutes longer than she did!  The amount of junk she has to memorize and put up with. . .  There was no mistaking it, Anna was a natural princess.  She always patiently accepted whatever lot was dumped on her with grace and elegance.

We hurried to the sitting room to meet (what was for all intents and purposes) our class.  Six other girls from prominent families were already assembled when we walked in.  Sofia, Isabel, and Dinah sat on one couch; Sylvia and Olivia (the zombie twins) sat on each side of their ever so magnanimous leader—Geniveve.

Ah, Geniveve. . . our evil cousin.  No, really, she was our evil cousin.  I never would have believed that such a creature could spawn from someone as nice as Aunt Eloise if I hadn’t know that Rupert was her father.  I won’t get into that now but. . .eww!  Makes my skin crawl just thinking about that slimy, arrogant pretentious. . . Oh yeah, I wasn’t going to get into it was I?

I followed Anna, sitting on the sofa opposite Geniveve.  The three sets of couches formed a half circle, making the large wingback chair our focus.  My evil cousin had Sylvia and Olivia giggling as she held her hand in the air and pretended to pop my zit.

Anna held me back from jumping up and smacking her, and not a moment too soon.  A voice from the doorway made my hair stand on end.

“Late as usual, I see,” said Lady Elena.  Dressed prim and perfect, not a single curl of her flaming auburn hair misplaced.  She was ever the model of a perfect lady—a perfection that she insisted we all obtain.  Her plump, ruby-dyed lips pursed into a hard line as she continued, “Lady Tatania, if you insist on being late, I must insist that you remain after we dismiss.”

A wicked grin flashed across Geniveve’s face, her dark eyes glinted like two smoldering coals awaiting flesh to consume.  Of course, I was the only one who saw it, no adult suspected, or cared, what her true nature was.  So, I usually got in trouble while she was praised—like the time we were kids, and I was blamed for spilling ink on Elena’s rug while Geniveve got complimented on her new dress.

Life was just not fair.  In my ideal world, there would be no social politics.  No one would fight over who was leader.  Leaders would be selected based on who was best for the job.  Popularity wouldn’t matter.  Everyone would treat each other with decency and respect, even love, all sharing our common human bond.  People like Geniveve, wouldn’t exist—well they would, but they would’ve been taught respect and humility instead of exclusiveness and cruelty.

Too bad my world was a fantasy.  I sat in my stiff frock, shifting restlessly as Lady Elena spoke.  I’ve never been good at sitting still, I just can’t do it.  My hands laid on my lap as I methodically pushed back each cuticle to its proper shape and cleaned under every nail.  This habit was so familiar to me that I didn’t notice my actions, even when I’d begun softly clicking my nails together.

Elena stopped her sentence short.  I could have sworn her bright blue eyes flashed red as they narrowed and focused on me.  My muscles tightened as I froze in place.

“Are we boring you, Lady Tatania?” She asked in an unnaturally sweet voice.  My body screamed out, DANGER! and my stiff muscles ached to resume their irritated, yet comforting, squirm.

“Of course not, Lady Elena,” I replied as calmly as my shaky voice could manage.  I folded my hands neatly, mimicking the girls around me.

“Splendid,” she said dryly.  “Then, let us continue.  Lady Tatania, since you appear to have no need for our lesson today, I assume you have already absorbed the information.  Perhaps you would enlighten those of your peers who are not, as yet, so informed.”

I mentally tried to brace myself.  I had zoned out long ago, and I had no idea what we were supposed to already know.  My brain tried desperately to remember what the heck we were talking about, but I couldn’t stop imagining spiked horns beginning to appear on Elena’s head, and while I wasn’t looking directly at Geniveve, I was sure she had sprouted fangs and was drooling hungrily.

 Although barely a moment had passed, Elena continued, “What are the proper procedures when receiving an Andalusian diplomatic party?”

Andalusia was not a nearby country. I had never even heard of a single Andalusian entering the country during my lifetime, let alone a whole diplomatic party. I paused and looked just clueless enough that she was satisfied with my embarrassment.  “Lady Geniveve?” she cooed.

Her favorite pet then went on for a good five minutes, describing each painfully insignificant detail.  “…And, of course one, must remember to serve no meats within sight or smelling distance, as they hold firmly that all flesh is sacred and consumption of such is sacrilegious—a direct insult which could easily result in war…”

Elena praised her and Genevieve smirked.

I was furious.  Who the heck cares if Andalusians don’t like the smell of steak!  That’s something for the politicians to worry about.  Even if there was a small chance they decided to pop in for a freak visit, why did I have to know any of this?

Anna silently encouraged me to calm down and let it go. She was right, I was going to look like an idiot whether I punched Geniveve or not.  Better to forget it before I embarrassed our father…again.  It had been a while though.  It had been more than a year since Samuel and I had gotten into it and been pulled out of our fight with split knuckles.  Eloise was so ticked!  She made me wear bandages and use a special salve and soak them almost hourly, so they wouldn’t scar.  I was banned from fraternizing with the boys who kept the stables after that.

I was definitely making progress, I thought grudgingly.  It wasn’t enough to make me forget that my fist wanted to wipe the smile off Geniveve’s painted face, but I’d live with it.

Our lessons that day continued without too many incidents. We studied various languages, mathematics, diction, politics, and science, followed by another heavy round of etiquette and protocol.

Sure enough, Genevieve tried to make me look bad all day, especially in our English discussion.  Although I loved to read any book I could get my hands on, the mechanics and composition of language were not for me.  We got a break for luncheon at midday, and again for dinner in the dinning room.  Occasionally we were afforded the luxury and freedom of ordering lunch or dinner in our rooms, but today we had no such luck.

We sat around the large table with Sir Rupert, Lady Elena, and their two young children (Harrietta and Harold).  I’d always felt bad for these kids, mostly because they were both destined to be nicknamed “Harry.”  They sat there with bored looks on their angelic faces, sitting straight as posts, delicately picking at their food in unison.

I’ve never been known for my propriety, or for my positive decision making.  I was bored, the kids were bored, and the others were ever so yawningly discussing politics…  I winked at Harry.  Yes, much to my shame, I’d come to think of them together, collectively as one entity—Harry.  I winked at Harry to get their attention.  Raising my hand to hide it from Elena, I licked my spoon and let it stick to my nose.  Harry was such a good sport!  They suppressed giggles like pros and copied my actions.  We kept this up for a few minutes, rewetting and resticking each time a spoon slipped.  Jhaydah and Isabel soon started in on it too.

We were having a great time of it.  Every time Sir Rupert or his wife looked up, we acted like we were eating our soup.  Sofia saw us and stifled a laugh and Anna stared in horror before smiling and pretending to not notice.  But I’d forgotten about the mirror that hung on the lavishly papered wall.  Geniveve and Elena had been engrossed in their conversation until Sylvia ratted me out, whispering to her leader.  I didn’t see the lady of the house glaring at me until it was too late.

“It appears that the Lady Tatania and my children are finished with their supper,” she gestured to the servant to take our food away.  You’d think that being royalty and all we could just snap our fingers and throw her in a dungeon or something, but our father had made it very clear that Sir Rupert and Lady Elena made the rules in their home and, as guests, we were to follow them explicitly, or else.

Harry frowned.  The kids hadn’t really eaten much.  Nora, our maid that accompanied us, stood in line along the wall with the other servants.  She shot me a conspiratorial look.  Thank goodness for Nora!  I knew that she’d sneak food to us later.  It was good to have someone on the inside when I got myself in trouble like this.  I was really glad Harry wouldn’t go hungry because of me.  Those kids suffered enough torture living here and being schooled year-round by their mother.

Geniveve kept complimenting Lady Elena on the cuisine so I’d be sure to know every detail of each dish I was missing, especially when dessert was served.  I tried not to fidget too much while everyone ate around me.  I didn’t want to give Geniveve the satisfaction.

It was over eventually.  Anna and I walked together out of the dinning room and into the hallway.  Genevieve and her lackeys weren’t far behind.

“Have fun tonight, Tatania.  Lady Elena was just mentioning how much she’s going to enjoy your time together.”  She sneered as she passed us.  “By the way, you may consider wearing a veil tomorrow.  It’s bad enough that we have to see your face everyday, but that thing is grotesque!”

Stupid pimple!  Just one more thing for her to pick at!

“I’d take having my looks over having your future any day!  I may be stuck with a huge zit today, but your father will force you to marry the first old guy who’s rich enough.  You will be stuck with something a lot more hideous.”

Genevieve froze.  She slowly turned to face me.  Her glare could have melted iron.  “At least I have a future.  I will be Queen of my own household.  You will always be one step away from the throne, one step from power, always overshadowed and unnoticed. How sad your life will be, poor little Tat, as sad and imperfect as the blemish on your face."

My mind grasped desperately for a decent comeback.  Before I could think clearly enough to come up with one, Elena appeared.  She ignored us as she barked instructions to her maid.  Genevieve took up the most angelic smile she could muster as Elena walked by.  She would never act unladylike in front of her mentor.  Anna took my hand and we slipped away in the silence.


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    featured

    Taco Tuesday Will Never Be The Same

    2/26/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JDRDIO6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00JDRDIO6&linkCode=as2&tag=housofgeek-20&linkId=NGKJ2GVMNXR3MOSL


    When Erik, my husband, saw this in his Facebook feed, he started jumping and shouting, "Sweetie, look! You've gotta see this!"

    I chucked a bit.

    Erik: Did you know these existed??

    He frantically started searching Amazon... 

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JDRDIO6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00JDRDIO6&linkCode=as2&tag=housofgeek-20&linkId=NGKJ2GVMNXR3MOSL

    These do, indeed, exist. Of course Amazon has them....They have everything! Erik's face looked quite a bit like this kid's (above).

    Me: What, taco truck things?

    Erik: No, that they had holder things like this!

    Me: Well, yeah. Taco Bell and places like that use them to stand the tacos up as they make them...

    Erik: No, that they have them for consumers. This is LIFE CHANGING! That's why I hardly ever get the crunchy tacos...This changes everything!

    Then, the kids came in and got just as excited as Erik. Looks like we'll be eating our tacos from "taco trucks" from now on. 

    Are there any crazy kitchen gadgets you can't live without?
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      books,

      Persephone: Part 3

      2/13/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

      I'm excited to share with you my own retelling of Persephone (whose name I mispronounced for years!) This myth has many versions but always left so much to the imagination (and believe me, my imagination went wild). I'll be sharing parts of the books as I write them (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) , so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are first drafts! Start reading the first chapter here.


      Part 3
      Zeus
      Lord Zeus had visited the merry group of nymphs many times, but never had he beheld this maiden.

      Still unseen, he watched her delicately paint speckles on a group of tiny flowers.

      There was something curious about her. While he drank in her grace and beauty, he was not drawn to her the way he was with so many other women.

      And yet, she had a power over him. He could not have that. He was king of the gods of Olympus. He was all-powerful. Whatever spell had been set upon him must be broken.

      He stepped forward and spoke, but he had frightened her. That felt wrong. This was not a nymph, nor was she a mortal.

      "There, now. I'd not wish to startle you," he said, trying to placate her.

      Water and woods stirred as the nymphs, naiads and dryads, sought his attention. Knowing they would only interrupt if he did not flirt with them, he moved into the grove. Winking, at the naiads in their stream, he sat on a rock, near them.

      "I am Persephone Kore, daughter of Demeter," the young goddess answered.

      Zeus struggled to hide his excitement. Persephone, his daughter, and her harpy of a mother was nowhere in sight.

      As an infant, Persephone had been radiant. He'd been hard pressed to divert Hera's gaze. Perhaps Demeter had been wise in keeping him away, but he could not help but feel robbed. He had missed her childhood, and here she was, a grown woman.

      Robbed! Persephone Kore was his daughter as much as Demeter's. He would not be denied his own daughter.

      A dryad dropped blossoms at his feet, but he ignored her. A new thought troubled him. Persephone had not mentioned his name. Surely Demeter had not poisoned their daughter against him.
      But of course she has, he thought. You should never have let that woman hide your daughter from you.
      Agitated, he smoothed his hair. But he had to know.

      Let's have it, he thought.

      "And who, may I ask, is your father, Persephone Kore, daughter of Demeter?"

      Her proud answer resounded in his head. He would have heard her use his name like that anywhere in the world. The girl was fearless. Did she not know well enough to not draw attention to herself?

      Despite the slight fear that his wife would find him, he smiled. There was no denying that she was his daughter.

      Shimmering white petals caught his eye. Her work was stunning.

      Perhaps, she has inherited some good traits from her mother as well, he admitted grudgingly.
      "Father Zeus?" the girl said in amazement.

      "Don't say it so loud, if you please, my dear." He took her hand. "For I am as proud as one of the queen's peacocks, but if my wife does find me here, it will not be pleasant."

      And, indeed, he was proud. This young beauty was his own creation.

      The nymphs had resumed their flirtations, but he barely noticed.

      Zeus and Persephone sat together, laughing and talking as father and daughter should. The more he learned of her, the more proud he became.

      He had many powerful and talented children, but none of them like her. Her quiet beauty and warmth spread all around her. The flowers grew brighter, even the water glistened more with her near.

      And he realized, If she is unwed, there will soon be war. Fighting between the petty gods had broken out over significantly less prizes.

      "My darling, I must away." He laid a tender kiss upon her head.

      Troubled, he sat upon his throne, high on Olympus, kneading lightning between his palms. He would not have his daughter become the object of such discord in his kingdom, but such a precious maiden must not be simply married off.

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        books,

        Persephone: Part 2

        2/06/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

        Image source

        I'm excited to share with you my own retelling of Persephone (whose name I mispronounced for years!) This myth has many versions but always left so much to the imagination (and believe me, my imagination went wild). I'll be sharing parts of the books as I write them (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are first drafts! Start reading the first chapter here.


        Image source

        Part 2
        Persephone
        Persephone shivered. Her father's wife was not only notoriously jealous, but infamously cruel as well. She tried not to wonder, if not for Demeter's great power, what would have become of them?

        Zeus had never dared visit nor show favoritism toward Persephone, for fear of rekindling Hera's wrath. At least, that was what her mother said. She suspected her mother's dislike of the god kept him at bay more than his wife.

        She could not approve of her father, but felt a connection to him. Was his search for romance, however ill-fated, naught but an effort to add warmth and beauty to his life?

        Persephone often wondered what romantic love was like. She felt deep love for her mother, friends, and the earth, but it was clear that love was not as consuming. Why else would anyone leave the comfort of their parents' home to live with another? Or poets sing of it? Why else would her father roam the world seeking it out? The nymphs reveled in it. Such love....

        "Such a pretty thing," a deep voice.

        She dropped her brush and stared wide-eyed above her.

        Surely this stranger was not a threat? The absent babbling of dryads and naiads was unsettling.
        Though the sun was at his back, light illuminated his handsome and kind face.

        "There, now. I'd not wish to startle you," he said, gently placing the brush back into her hand. Her friends giggled around her. "I see you are no nymph, my lady. What is your name?"

        He rested his ease upon a mossy rock, near the bank. Twittering naiads pushed and crowded to sit at his feet.

        Seeing he and her friends seemed acquainted, she felt more at ease, though her fluttering stomach reminded her that this was the first man she could remember meeting.

        "No, sir, I am not a nymph," she answered, rising to her feet. She straightened. "I am Persephone Kore, daughter of Demeter."

        A sparkling glint shone in his eyes, and he ran his hand over his curly hair. "I see," he said. "And who, may I ask, is your father, Persephone Kore, daughter of Demeter?"

        It irked that he was not impressed by the name of her mother, but, surely, he would tremble at the name of her father.

        "Lord Zeus, king of Olympus," she replied defiantly.

        The nymphs' shocked hush reminded Persephone that such a loud declaration could bring the attention of the god or goddess upon her. But she did not waver. It was the right of a daughter to invoke her father's name. She was a goddess, daughter of the king. No one, even the queen, dared threaten her.

        A quiet smile played upon his face, though he was silent. He reached out and examined the pure, white flower that Io had inspired.

        "You are your mother's daughter," he laughed gruffly. "You have Demeter's gifts and beauty, but I see my boldness in you as well."

        She gasped, then whispered, "Father Zeus?"

        ----More coming next week!----

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          my battle for better health

          My Battle For Better Health: Kindness and Diagnosis

          2/04/2016 Laura Watkins 4 Comments


          As I briefly mentioned (haha) in my last battle update post, the last few months have been a huge struggle for us. It got to the point where I literally couldn't get up and fix a bowl of cereal without having to lie down and/or nap, and my sleeping schedule got even more messed up. I had never been that fatigued—not after childbirth or even after multiple surgeries. I felt like i was drugged, and I was having occasional chest pain (which freaked me out).



          We had to reschedule our open house tour of our beloved Provo City Center Temple (aka Provo's castle) because I couldn't get there, let alone through the tour.


          When we finally did make it, I realized I wouldn't be able to walk up the stairs and through the building—if there was any chance of me completing the tour, I'd have to take the elevator.

          I know it's really dramatic of me, but if you've ever been inside an LDS temple, you know that it feels like you're literally in part of Heaven. I started crying. It's silly, but it all hit me, being so sick and not knowing what was going on, then having to let my husband and kids go on without me while I took the elevator. My stupid health has kept me from doing so many things, but it dawned on me that it could end my life early. It felt like my illness was killing me, and I had to leave my family behind. As we got closer to the stairs/elevator, I tried not to think about how well they would or wouldn't get by without me. Had I taught them enough?


          Even though I hadn't told my husband, Erik, how upset I was (or what I was upset about), he took my hand and whispered, "We'll take the elevator with you." I protested a bit, realizing how ridiculous I was being, but he insisted. I don't think I have never felt so loved or so grateful that our family can be together forever, even after death. (Read more about Eternal Families here.)

          Although I was completely out for the rest of the day and a good part of the next, I not only made it through the tour, I was able to go up one flight of stairs and down another!

          The next day, my doctor discovered they'd been giving me too much thyroid medicine. I have Hashimoto's, which we knew, but it usually swings from hypo to mildly hyper, and it had never been that hyper.

          Thyroid medicine is tricky. The normal thyroid hormone pill takes several weeks to a month to affect your body, and they'd told me years ago that my body doesn't process it correctly, so I have to have a second medicine that is the already processed form of the hormone (which can show effects the same day you take it). I was getting too much of both medicines.

          In the last two weeks or so of the change in medicine, I've already seen significant improvement. I'm still not doing great, but I'm able to make it through most of the day without sleeping much, only one nap! However, I'm still having a terrible time getting to sleep at night, bad anxiety, low energy, depression, and so so many other problems that come from hyperthyroidism.

          As I try to get back to work and life, one of the most frustrating things has been mental fogginess/fatigue. My first two full-ish days back to work (I work from home), I made some really obvious mistakes. And, since I am a publicist/social media manager, when I make a mistake, thousands of people can see it.



          I know I showed you this picture already, but take another look. For me, this has new meaning. Two separate times, when I made these glaring and silly mistakes, instead of laughing at me, a friend or sister took me aside and asked me about it privately. I'd had no idea I'd messed up like that. While the second was a simple but really bad typo, the first was something that made perfect sense to me when I'd typed it, but after a nap, I saw that it was complete nonsense.

          I'm obviously not the only one who has struggled through all this. The kids' school called today to check on us. One of the teachers, principal, and office staff had noticed how often our kids had been late or absent from school. While I know they have to cover their own bases (their funding is based on attendance), they not only asked if we were alright, but they also asked if there was anything they could do to help.

          Thank you to all of you who don't judge, who love and help and express concern. We wouldn't have made it this far without you!

          My goals

          I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
          I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
          I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
          I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
          I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.
          If you're in the Provo area and want to come to the open house, check to see if the free tickets are available here until March 5th. (More are added periodically, so don't give up!) 

          You can learn more about the LDS church here. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me!
          Psst! Don't miss a post! Sign up for my email list and get your 

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