Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 Steps to Change the Nation's Future

Are any of you a little unsettled about the financial welfare of our nation? Does the idea of throwing $700 billion at the problem make you nervous, especially when we are already so in debt that the gov't doesn't have $700 billion?

Here's an alternative from financial expert Dave Ramsey. Check out his plan to change the nation's future and pass it on.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." --Edmond Burke

**And I might slightly change it: The only thing necessary for the triumph of short-term political expediency is for the people to do nothing.**

Monday, September 29, 2008

Working Out

Status: Trying to get into the groove
Song: "Tell Me Baby" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is hilarious! Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stop and Smell the Roses

Status: A little sleepy
Song: "Underwater" by Vertical Horizon

Yes, that's my child at the top of the playground equipment. He started walking at 9 months and my heart has never been the same.


This pic is just before I ordered him down. The little kids were trying to follow him.

What a beautiful day! Take a moment and enjoy it with me...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time out to brag

Status: A little foggy from allergy medication (I'll try a different kind next time)
Today's Song: "My December" by Linkin Park

So, I just have to brag. I have a super-duper talented family, and today I'm going to brag about my sister Lori-ann Cunningham (who performs under Lori Cunningham, since we all agreed Lori-ann Cunningham was a little too rhyme-y, and not in a good way).

She's an awesome vocalist and musician and just finished her debut CD. And, lucky me, I got one of the first copies! YEA!

We listened to it this morning as the kids were getting ready and had a conversation that went something like this:

"We're not going to listen to the theme for Beverly Hills Cop today, guys. We're going to listen to Aunt Lori-ann."

"Aunt Lori-ann's a singer?"

"Yep. And this is her CD."

"So she was in a band before she had kids?"

"No. She just finished this. While she had kids."

"Really?! Where's her band?"

"Well, it's just her and her keyboard and computer. Oh, and some other people she knows around the country that collaborates with her on some songs."

**Senea just twirls and dances to the music, not really participating in the conversation, but assuring me that she dances better than me because she dances like a "hot girl." I'm not sure I like that concept, but I will have to address it another day. Back to the conversation...

"Who's her boss?"

"She's kind of her own boss."

"This is Aunt Lori-ann?"

"It sure is."

"She's really good. It doesn't sound like her."

*I laugh. And yes, it does sound like her.*

"Why can't we listen to the Beverly Hills Cop theme?"

"Because we're listening to Aunt Lori-ann's CD."

I'll let you all know when the CD is officially out, but you can find out more information about my beautiful, talented, hot-mama sister Lori Cunningham at her website or her Myspace page.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekend excursion

Status: Moving like an old lady (tried out a new weight class yesterday)
Today's Song: "Here It Goes Again" by Ok Go

We didn't have any extended family-type plans last Sunday, so we decided to take a little trip up to Temple Square.




On the roof of the conference center. You may notice Brennan isn't in this pic. It's official. He doesn't like heights. Really doesn't like them, although he does okay hiking in the mountains. I guess a straight drop is worse. Poor kid :(

Senea is such a poser.


I love this pic.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ever thought of writing non-fiction?

Status: trying to ignore a headache
Song: "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police

I posted the first of a series of blogs on writing non-fiction, if you've ever had the urge to write a book or article. Check it out on my other blog.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flashback Friday

Status: TGIF
Song: "Gods of War" by Def Leppard

Today I'm taking advantage of the fact that I'm the one who blogs and we're going flashback with Jason. (He he he... the power!)

Travel back in time and space to the glittering...er, dirt-covered streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Jason served a mission for 2 years.

Here's the city.

And here's the part of the city where Jason was most of the time. Yep, those are slums. You think you've got it bad here in America? Do you have running water? Something other than dirt on the floor? More than one bed? Yeah, quit your whining.

Here's Jason cooking in his 5 star apartment. That's how he got me to even spend time with him. I was insane and taking 18 credit hours and working. Jason would call after I got home and mention that he *happened* to have extras from dinner and would I like to come over and have some? He still cooks.

I had to put this pic on for 2 reasons. First, because Jason assures me the tropical fruit here will never, ever compare with that in Brazil, and second, because this is how he looked when I first met him. Not the guava (is that a guava? I have no idea. Newsflash! Jason says it's a coconut. So I was way off) or the tie, but a lot like this. *sniff*

And just a typical pic for the dignified principal we all know and love. LOL

Jason, honey, this flashback Friday's for you!





Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prepare and Fear Not

Status: Still stuck on a scene
Song of the Day: "Headlock" by Imogen Heap

Clarification: This is an email from a friend of a friend. I do have a friend in Texas who is going through the aftermath of hurricane Ike, but she just barely got electricity. I still wanted to share this message though.

Dear Friends:

(We) are doing well. We have a 6'x6' hole in our roof, no electricity or running water, Trees down everywhere. However, because we listened to the counsel of our Prophet we are prepared, calm, and helping one another with trees in roofs, flooding, etc.

There is a POD or Point of Distrubution where we live.There you get water and ice IF you have enough fuel to wait in the 3 hour lines. We don't have to do that because we have 3 full water barrels, 75 juice bottles filled with water, and our pool which is dirty but we use it to flush.

It is very difficult to get gas. Police guard the stations when fuel is delivered and you might wait half a day to get up to the pump just to have them say, 'Too bad, we are out'.

I am grateful that we have a generator. We run it 4 hours a day to keep our fridge and light. I am grateful that we have had fuel for it. You can't even by gas containers as they are rationed. We can only by bread once a week and limited to 2 loaves at a time. Water is rationed by the case at the grocery store. 3 cases per family.

The Atm machines do not have power. For the past 6 months I have stashed small bills away because I have had such a feeling of foreboding. We have cash because of that.LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT. Get cash in small bills because the stores can't make change and credit and debit cards often don't work. I had to pay 5 dollars more for an item because they couldn't make change for me.

PHONES ONLY WORK OCCASIONALY.

Believe it or not...I have not had a bath in 4 days, Today was the first day I got to wash my hair with pool water. I haven't fixed my hair in a week!!! It just doesn't matter anymore. We can not do laundry because we don't have water. So, we wear our clothes until they are literally disgusting.When we do finally get water we will have to boil it since it is contaminated.

I am grateful for my parents. When we got low on generator fuel they drove 45 minutes to help us. They filled up their cans and brought us 10 gallons of fuel which kept us going until this morning at 6:oo am when we finally found some gas.

I want all of you to know that I have such a testimony of following the counsel of our living prophet. There really is safety and peace in your heart if you are prepared. Please get your generators, 5 gas cans full of gas, canned goods, baby items, baby wipes to bathe, and all the water you can store...even if you have to trip on it in your home. Have your lanterns, crank flashlights, tarps, rope, etc.. ready to go because you never know when it will be your turn to endure the test. It's overwhelming, but it's going to be ok eventually. I have a home, I have food, I have water, because i listened to the counsel of the prophet. PLease make sure you do the same. It's time to have your life in order. Tomorrow may be too late.

I think it's a really good message for all of us. We've been told over and over by our church leaders what to do in case of an emergency. Maybe I'm just getting older and paying more attention, but it seems emergencies are popping up more and more often.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fun Time Wasters

Status: Great! Just taking a break.
Song of the Day: "Electrical Storm" by U2

There's a fun little site called Blogthings that has all these wacky little quizes that really don't mean anything but are great for wasting time. Here are a couple of my time wasters today.




You Are a Yellow Crayon



Your world is colored with happy, warm, fun colors.

You have a thoughtful and wise way about you. Some people might even consider you a genius.

Charming and eloquent, you are able to get people to do things your way.

While you seem spontaneous and free wheeling, you are calculating to the extreme.



Your color wheel opposite is purple. You both are charismatic leaders, but purple people act like you have no depth.






You Are Kermit



Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.

You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.

Don't worry - everyone knows it's not easy being green.

Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Non-partisan funny (updated)

Status: Feeling better and ready to clean the showers.
Song of the Day: "Feeling Good" by Muse

I don't care what your political leanings are, this is funny!

NOTE: I had the video from Youtube, but it was removed due to copyright issues. However, you can watch it here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Musings

Status: Fighting a head cold
Song of the Day: "More Than This" by Peter Gabriel

I felt like I should post something today, but my medicine-fogged brain isn't coming up with anything tremendously clever. So here are some random thoughts to rise through the fuzziness.

1. I am a total highlight football watcher. I'm happy to hear the highlights shouted from the couch. "BYU just blocked the fieldgoal!" etc. Or pass through the room, ask for the score and then shout or groan in commiseration, and then move on to other business.

2. Kids think their friend's parents will buy anything. Today's special is painted rocks. I helped them set up a table and chairs out front. Wouldn't want to kill that entrepreneurial spirit.

3. I can't believe the human body can produce so much mucus. I mean, I just blew out at least 1/8 a cup of it from my nose 10 minutes ago and I already need another tissue.

4. If you haven't tried Pandora for music, you simply have to. You create stations from a favorite artist or song, then Pandora picks music for you based on musical similarities. I love it.

5. I like the sun. The sun is nice.

6. The primary presentation will be over by this time tomorrow. Halleluja!

7. I wrote a rough book review on my other blog, only to have the author stop by and comment. So I had to respond to that, too. Check out the original review here, and part 2 here.

8. I'm a little stuck on my current Work In Progress. I need a cool way to get through a magical door. Having a riddle written on the door that only shows up by moonlight won't work (Lord of the Rings). Neither will sticking your hand in a bug-infested hole to find a lever and pull (a little Indiana Jones). If any of you have an idea, I would love you to shoot it my way. Right now what I have is lame with a capital L. I told Jason about it and he said, "Yeah. That's pretty lame."

9. Senea had her first bike crash today. She cried until she looked in the mirror and saw the blood all over her face (a cut on her forehead that bled a ton). Then she freaked out. But at least she got back on the bike.

10. There's some key combo (somewhere near the control and Alt keys) you can hit in MS Word that makes it start reading your document out loud in a robotic voice. I don't know what I hit, or how to make it stop. It's really cool, until you realize that it's reading out loud near the start of a 150 page document. It would take a long time for that robot voice to read 150 pages. Also, if you completely exit out of Word in a panic, it stops.

And I think that's the extent of any coherent thought today. Is it to early to go to bed?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't forget

9/11


Don't Forget.
God Bless America!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A big girl now!

We have reached another milestone--no training wheels!! Yesterday everything clicked for Senea and she is now an awesome biker.



In fact, I'm having a hard time keeping her off the bike. It was her first request when she got up this morning. I made her wait until 8:00.

She is so proud!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's a contest!

Have you been thinking to yourself, "Man! I really need to get a copy of Jaime's book, Enjoying the Journey" but just haven't gotten around to getting one? Well, here's a super-easy way to get your hands on a free copy.

It's a contest!!


Author Anne Bradshaw reviewed Enjoying the Journey on her blog and is running a contest for a free copy. How to enter:

1) Check out her review.

2) Post information about the contest on your blog with a link back to hers .

3) Leave ONE comment on the contest post telling her you've completed #2.

A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, September 15th, and announced the same day. The book will be signed and mailed by the author.

So, for me... enter and spread the word and maybe you'll get a signed copy delivered to your very own mailbox! How easy is that?!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's a French Conspiracy

And I must say, it’s a good one. “No!” you may gasp. “The French can only formulate cheese, make any word sound romantic and snooty at the same time, and surrender.”

Au contraire, mes amis. They can also drive you insane through harmless electronic objects. Oh, yes. Forget technological or biological warfare. Why get the world mad at you through overt action, when you can just drive your enemies to surrender—or even suicide—one printer at a time.

Printer? You read it right: printer. Travel back with me in time and I will show you this diabolical plot, and see if at the end of my story you do not also look at your printer with suspicion, or maybe even fear…

To start the story, envision a cheapie printer (probably from China) that required a trip to the ink refill place once a month, so that we could have bought a dozen printers for the cost of those stupid cartridges. Then the cheapie printer decided to wig out and only printed lines—and only in pink. I ran to the ink refill place, and even bought new cartridges, cleaned the attachment points with rubbing alcohol, and tried everything short of tossing the printer out the window. No luck. Pink lines were all we were going to get.

Jason won a brand, spanking new printer at some conference or other (we were so excited, usually he wins something like a set of embossed pencils – go public education). He brought the printer home, and I gleefully set it all up, plugged it in, and followed the instructions that popped up for installing new hardware. Then popped in the installation CD.

Everything was going swimmingly until I noticed that the installation instructions were all in French. That’s strange. I didn’t choose French. Surely I could change it to English somewhere along the way.

Ha. That’s just what the French *want* you to think. Lure you into a false sense of hope.

It all installs, but everything is still in French. I could deal with that, but the stupid thing wouldn’t print. Everything said it was printing—the printer display, the printer & faxes folder, the program I was printing from—but no printing pages. Not even pink lines.

Hmmm. Maybe I did something wrong. Uninstall, reinstall. Still in French. And still no printing. Uninstall. Reinstall. Still French with no printing!

Ok, time to break out the instructions. First, take printer out of package. Check. Install ink, plug in power, yada yada yada. To install: Do not follow Windows Add new hardware pop-up. Well crap! I wish I would have known that 3 installations ago!

Uninstall. Reinstall following the directions. Still in French! Still no *&(*%^$# paper printing out!

Follow the troubleshooting instructions which say to uninstall then reinstall. Well, brilliant! I already tried that, like 5 times! Remember, all the instructions are in French so I *think* I’ve been uninstalling and reinstalling.

Jason gets home. I am absolutely fuming at this point and both printers are about to be used as speedbumps in my neighborhood. I am not only livid, but frustrated to the point of tears. I dare you not to be after THREE FREAKING HOURS installing the French printer from hell with its Easy 1-2-3 installation.

Jason takes over. After he uninstalls, and reinstalls, the printer decides to be a smart aleck and actually prints out the test paper for him—in French!!! Then it changes its mind and does the whole not-printing thing. By now we have a print cue of like 100 or so.

We break down and call tech support. It takes Jason and some nice, baffled guy named Francois (or something) over another hour to finally get the printer to print. But tech support has no idea why it insists on doing everything in French. “Je suis vraiment navré” Francois says, all the while laughing up his snooty sleeve I bet. (translation: I’m really sorry)

I go to print the next day and NOTHING will print. I call up Francois at tech support again. We walk through everything for another hour, and the printer deigns to print a couple things for me. Until I turn on the computer the next time.

I’m ready to slit my wrists, but before I do it, I have a stroke of genius. I download a free complete uninstaller, run the printer program through it. Then reinstall following the instructions. Voila! Now we have a printer that *Gasp* actually prints. And the menu is in English, too!

Ha ha, you French! Your plan was foiled. Thank goodness for brainstorming in the shower. And now I will spread the word to everyone far and wide. I will expose your scheme for what it is!

Friday, September 5, 2008

10 Reasons Sarah Palin Rocks

Wednesday night I snuck out of something so that I could go do one of the most boring things adults do. One of those things I gagged over as a kid and swore I'd never do. I watched the Republican National Convention to watch a speech. *Gasp* I know, don't ostracize me. Now that I'm officially a boring adult, I can admit that I do pay attention to politics. Whew! I'm so glad I got that off my chest.

I wanted to see John McCain's selected running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, give her speech. The only other woman on the presidential political scene right now is Hillary Clinton, and I really don't like her, so I wanted to check out this new lady myself. I have to say that after her speech, I think I like her. I might even like her quite a bit, which is really good because McCain is as exciting as unflavored oatmeal. Not that excitement is necessary in a good president...

Anyway, here are 10 reasons Sarah Palin rocks:

1. Just look at the woman! I hope I look that good over 40.

2. She's a hockey mom and proud of it. All hockey moms, soccer moms, karate moms, dance moms, scout moms, football moms, basketball moms, baseball moms, volleyball moms, etc. everywhere should know how challenging it is to be that.

3. Her nickname is Sarah Barracuda (Ahhh, you say. That's why they played the song "Barracuda" by Heart after her speech!)

4. She has a sense of humor. She is likable and sincere.

5. She is still married after 20 years and on national television told her husband that he is still her "man."

6. She has five children, Bristol, Piper, Track, Willow, and Trig. Trig has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. And she considers it a joyous blessing to be gifted with a child with special needs.

7. She wears a skirt (and looks great in it!). No feminist pantsuits for her.

8. She doesn't take well to corruption. Apparently she cleaned house in Alaska.

9. She really did put the governor's luxury jet on eBay.

10. And boy can she give a speech!

If you missed the speech, you can watch it on Youtube here. Just fast forward the first 3 minutes which is just the audience going crazy.

And here's a fun article in US News & World Report, "10 Things You Didn't Know about Sarah Palin"

Hmmm. She may have just added some flavor to McCain's oatmeal. We'll see...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Beware

My MIL sent this to me & I figure it's a good thing to pass along. I haven't checked to see if this is legit, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is.

**WARNING FROM POLICE***
**BEWARE OF PAPER ON THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR VEHICLE--NEW WAY TO DO CARJACKINGS NOT A JOKE***

Heads up everyone! Please,keep this circulating... You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You start the engine and shift into Reverse.

When you look into the rearview mirror to back out of your parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle of the rear window. So, you shift into Park, unlock your doors, and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of your car, that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down as they speed off in your car.

And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car. So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your money, and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now compromised!

**BEWARE OF THIS NEW SCHEME THAT IS NOW BEING USED.***

If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just drive away. Remove the paper later. And be thankful that you read this e-mail. I hope you will. Forward this to friends and family, especially to women. A purse contains all kinds of personal information and identification documents, and you certainly do NOT want this to fall in to the wrong hands.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Christmas book review

Although it may seem a little early, I've posted a review of a really sweet Christmas book, The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson over on my author blog. I know lots of people like to collect Christmas books for the holiday season, and The Santa Letters is a good one for this year. This book isn't out yet, so I was thrilled to be able to get a sneak peek.

Click Here to check it out!

Monday, September 1, 2008

What are you working on now?

**This picture is from an ad for the lapdawg writing stand - got to make sure I don't mess with copyright issues**

Quite a few people have asked me what book I'm currently working on. I know I've told some of you, but I'll just post it here so you all know. My last book went through sooo many re-writes that I needed to take a break from non-fiction for a while. So I am in the latter stages of finishing up a children's fantasy novel. For the boys who like magic, mayhem, and cool weapons.

The idea was born during a bedtime story I told Ian one day. He kept begging me to repeat it and I thought, "Hey, this would make a good book." It has changed and developed since then, but Ian knows this book is for him.

Right now I am almost finished with the rough draft (coming in around 300 pages) and at the same time editing the first half of the book. My working title is The Gateway, but it isn't a title that sends tingles up and down my spine. The publisher will probably change it anyway. Did you know the publisher has final say on the title?

It's been a lot of fun and I have a lot of respect for fiction writers. For all of you who may be curious, here's an excerpt. It's the first couple pages. Be kind in your comments :)

Dread kicked Bryan Abbott’s heart into overdrive, his palms sweated, and his lungs struggled for air. He would have welcomed even the sound of someone creeping up behind him, would have raced to greet the source of the footsteps, just to have someone—anyone—close to him. But as he waited in the deserted parking lot, there was no doubt that he was alone.

Thirteen-year-old boys should have outgrown such a baby fear, so Bryan was pretty good at faking it—most of the time. Movement made it easier. Bryan sprinted toward the duffel bag he had dropped on the sidewalk. It was just like his dad to be late. Jump—soar—land. It happened often enough.

He readied himself for another long jump. He always had swim practice on Fridays. His dad knew that. But today the Rec Center closed early for the first night of Franklin’s Fall Festival.

Jump—soar—land. Yes! That was the longest one by far! Bryan bowed grandly to the nearby trees, hearing in his mind the roar of applause.

Bryan sighed and plopped down on his bag. His dad probably forgot it was his weekend. Again. Bryan’s parents switched the weekend schedule around because of something-or-other, and his dad always forgot when they changed things. Or he got busy at work. Or he had other plans. Or a million other things came up.

The daylight fought a losing battle with the approaching darkness, sending out feeble strands of orange and purple that got swallowed halfway across the sky. The early autumn air had a distinct bite now. Bryan stared miserably across the empty parking lot and the equally vacant road leading to it. Icy drops of water from his wet hair trickled down his neck.

How long had it been since the last person left the Rec Center? One hour? Two? Logically, Bryan knew it couldn’t have been that long—probably half an hour at the most—but his pounding heart wasn’t listening to logic right now.

He jumped to his feet. Got to move!

Chewing on his lower lip, he paced the sidewalk. With loud crunches, his footsteps pulverized dead leaves littering the ground. He wasn’t really alone. People lived in the houses across the baseball field. But it was getting darker and no lights shone in the house windows.

Bryan rubbed his hands together. How could his dad do this again? He knew Bryan hated waiting alone.

With a massive swing of his leg, Bryan punted his bag so hard it soared over the curb and skidded to a stop in the parking lot. Fine! He was leaving.

Bryan grabbed his duffel bag and ran across the baseball field. The middle of town would be full of people at the Fall Festival. And it would be harder for either of his parents to find him in the crowd—if they bothered to look for him. Let them worry a little bit.

A small light flickered in the air to his right. Probably just a firefly. Normally he liked to try and catch them, but all Bryan wanted to do now was get to the Festival.

Darkness crept across the sky—only a thin line of sunlight shone above the mountains on the horizon. Bryan walked as fast as he could on the cracked sidewalks. Once in a while he saw more small flashes of light from the corner of his eye, but he ignored them.

Weird noises encircled him—creaking, snapping, and skittering like bare bones grazing concrete. He craned his neck from side to side, searching the deepening shadows. Just keep moving.

In his rush, Bryan didn’t watch his steps carefully enough. He stumbled over tree roots and uneven concrete. A large chunk of sidewalk caught the edge of his shoe and he went sprawling, skinning his hands and knees. Just great. More bruises to add to his almost-constant supply.

His best friend, James, liked to say that Bryan could trip over a shadow. He tried to laugh when James said that—which was a lot—but it was more embarrassing than funny.

He was hurrying past a really creepy house when a bright orange light flared over the neglected front lawn, illuminating the blank windows like glowing eyes. A small light drifted at eye-level. Fireflies didn’t glow orange or flash that bright. As he looked at it, the orange light continued to hover and pulse dimly. Fireflies didn’t pulse, either.

The light flashed again, morphing from orange to yellow. Then it throbbed yellow.

Bryan couldn’t resist a mystery. He walked closer. The light gleamed bright in the darkening night again, but green now. As he drew near, it drifted away from him.

He halted. The light stopped and hovered, still pulsing.

Bryan took another step. It flashed again, this time red, then moved farther away. When he tried to move closer, the light floated away from him, staying far enough away that he couldn’t get a good look at it.

He decided to try something different. He sprinted to the light. It darted away down the road, faster than he thought possible. Then stopped. Almost like it was waiting for him.

It continued to dance, tantalizingly just out of reach, clear into the center of town. Bryan tried various ways to get closer, and failed each time. As he drew nearer to the bright lights of the Fall Festival, it grew more difficult to see the mutant firefly—or whatever it was. Ahead of him, it darted around the corner of the library building.

Bryan careened around the corner after it and was abruptly drenched in light and sound. Most of the town was gathered for the Festival. The large front lawn of the library was full of people. He unclenched hands he hadn’t realized were balled into fists, and the knot in his stomach unraveled. He looked this way and that, but couldn’t see any small, hovering, color-changing light.


If you want to read the whole first chapter, you can check it out here on my website.

Have a great week!