Saturday, August 13, 2016

What's next? (part II)

Well, I was planning a lot longer post to announce this, but then this morning I found out that the Primary theme for 2017 was announced and now suddenly all my writing time needs to go to Tiny Talks instead of to my blog.

So I'll just give you the short version of this and fill you in more later.

I have three kinds of news: good news, bad news, and great news.

The good news is that I found a place to park my tiny house. (Finally!)

The bad news is that it's not a place where I can live in it. That means I won't be moving into my tiny house when my it's completed in two to three weeks.

Here's where my house is going:

It's a tiny house hotel and farm! And it's totally adorable. It's also in Southern California, near San Diego, so if you live around there and you're curious about tiny houses, you should totally check it out.

I would be way more disappointed about not moving into my house if it weren't for the great news, which is that in order find a more permanent spot for my house my boss has said that it's okay for me to move out of state and work remotely, which means that at the end of September, I'll be moving HOME!!

I have seriously missed the Bay Area and I could not be more excited about returning to live there. I'm not sure at this point how long I'll stay in the area, but I'll keep you all posted as I figure out more of my immediate and future life plans.

In the meantime, I have a book to write and tiny house things to finalize and a move to arrange and all sorts of details to deal with that I'm sure you guys wouldn't want to hear about even if I had all day to blog.

So instead I'll leave you with this picture of the beach. California here I come!!!!! (In seven weeks! Can't wait!)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Glasses? Really?

I've been putting this off for almost a year now, and to be honest, I'll probably keep putting it off another month or two, but I think the time has come to accept my fate: I will soon need glasses.

I have no trouble seeing up close, but distances have become fuzzy and bright lights at night when I'm driving are especially bothersome.

So if anyone reading this is a glasses-wearer can you please tell me what I should expect? I've only had my eyes checked professionally once, when I was a child, and I don't remember loving the experience. But I also don't remember it being that traumatic. Is it awful? Will they poke things into my eyes? Will it hurt?

Speaking of poking things into my eyes, I get really squeamish about that idea. I have a hard time with eye drops and I don't think I'll ever be able to handle contacts. Luckily I don't mind glasses, and sometimes when I've tried other people's on, I actually think they make me look cool. What's so great about contacts anyway? I don't get it. But then again, I've never really had to consider all this before. So if you want to chime in about glasses vs. contacts, feel free. 

Oh, and here's another question: how do you find an eye doctor? Is it basically like finding a dentist? Is it super expensive? Do you have to keep going back often? I don't know any of this stuff.

Aside from all of my questions and fears about this unknown world of optometry, I've also been putting off getting glasses for another reason: because it makes me feel old. I know I'm not really that old, but lately I've started to feel like my body is breaking down and now any little thing that comes up is just one more item to add to the list of ways in which I'm falling apart.

The latest was a knee injury that's had me limping for the past two weeks. The sad part is that I don't even have a good story to tell. I was at church (of all places) and I just twisted it the wrong way and there was a pop like a dislocating shoulder and then a second later it popped back into place, but it got all swollen up and stiff for the next few days and it's still a bit sore and hard to bend in certain ways. Luckily there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage. But it still makes me feel like I'll never be quite the same again. 

I know that I'm blessed to have a (mostly) functioning body. I suppose when things like this happen, it should make me more grateful for the times when I'm completely well and healthy. But I will admit that my typically optimistic, Pollyanna-esque nature tends to break down in the face of illness or injury. When I don't feel well, I'm much more inclined to plop myself in bed for a week of Netflix and pity parties than I am to try to find some kind of silver lining. 

Tangent: I was looking for a different photo to add to this post when I suddenly realized how obsessed I've become with photographing clouds and sunsets. I blame living up here on a hill where you can see the clouds for miles all across the valley.

Though that doesn't explain why I took this photo of clouds in Stockholm.

Anyway, speaking of silver linings, the only good part about this knee experience is that it's given me a perfect excuse to not go for any long walks in the 100 degree weather we've been having. I love summer, but I wish it would cool off a bit more here at night. I also feel like I might walk more if my neighborhood weren't on a steep hill. I can walk for miles on a flat surface, but inclines are a different story.

Man, I am just a wealth of complaints today. 

I guess I could also complain about one more thing while I'm at it. I've been having a really hard time finding parking for my tiny house. I wish that people would get back to me when I call or email them. It's the professional thing to do, especially if you are offering a service and someone wants to take you up on that offer. Sigh.

Because of my increasingly tight timeline, I've basically given myself a week and a half to keep looking around here before I have to pursue other options. I've also told my builder that I may need a little more time, and I'm lucky that my grandparents aren't kicking me out or anything, but it's definitely frustrating. So yeah. My timeline says 30 days till tiny today, but it may need to be adjusted again. This makes me sad, but I know that I'll still get there someday soon. 

One way or another, this will all work out for the best. I just need to keep doing everything I can do and then leave the rest up to the Lord. I'm sure He has a plan. I just wish I knew what it was.

I'm guessing that's a sentiment most people can relate to for one reason or another. So since it's Sunday, I'll leave you with a scripture that's been bringing me comfort amid my complaints and uncertainty. I hope it helps with whatever you are currently unsure of or complaining about.

"Search dilligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another." —D&C 90:24

And if you need a little more encouragement and comfort, you might want to try listening to this talk from Sister Tanner. 

Happy Sunday, everyone!

I'll be sure to keep you posted about my house and what ends up happening with that. And in the meantime, if you have any advice about acquiring or wearing glasses, I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Anybody want some free books?

UPDATE: All of my free books have now found homes except for one copy of the What Do You Believe? journal. Let me know if you're interested in that one. And thanks to everyone who took books! My offer below still stands for severely discounted books. Just comment on this post or send me a message on Facebook to let me know what you're interested in purchasing.

Dear readers,

You knew this day was coming. You probably saw it on the horizon long before I did. And you were right. The fact of the matter is that I have too many books to fit into my tiny house. Ah, the curse of being an author.

However, in my defense, I would like to point out that there are many ways in which being an author and living in a tiny house work perfectly together.

1. Authors don't make much money. Tiny houses don't cost much money.

2. For the most part, writing is a very minimalist-friendly hobby. All you really need is a laptop, and you were probably planning to own that anyway.

3. Living in a tiny house means less area to clean, which is great for all those times when you're so frantically writing that you don't even notice you've been wearing the same clothes for three days and there is clutter on every single flat surface in your house (and some of the not-so-flat surfaces too).

4. Or in other words, less time spent on house maintenance means more time for writing and other fun stuff!

5. Many authors like to travel around so that they can write authentically from perspectives that are unlike their own. Tiny houses can be mobile, so you can move often and more easily.

But, as you might suspect, there are also some ways in which being an author and living in a tiny house just don't work out.

And this is one of those moments. Just look at this mess!

In preparation for my upcoming move into a tiny house, I have been minimizing (again) and organizing and letting things go. You would think that I'd be done with this by now. I got rid of a TON of stuff before I moved to Salt Lake last year. And I kept getting rid of things for months as my tiny house move-in date inched closer and closer.

However, there some things you just can't in good conscience give to DI or Goodwill. And I draw the line at my own books. I'll give other people's books away, no problem. But my own? The ones I wrote myself? I worked hard on those! I can't just send them off into the abyss to be sold for fifty cents or less!! Even if it is for a good cause.

So instead, I have decided to give my extra books to you all. And I won't even ask you to pay me fifty cents (unless you want to).

Currently I have . . .

11 copies of 1, 2, 3 with Nephi and Me!
9 copies of Liam Darcy, I Loathe You
3 copies of Time to Share
2 copies of What Do You Believe? teen journal
2 copies of Tiny Talks vol. 14
1 copy of Tiny Talks vol. 15

If you or someone you know would like to claim one (or several) of these, let me know either on Facebook or by commenting below.

As much as I love my books, I have accumulated far too many extras from various author events and now I just need to get them out of my storage and into the hands of people who will enjoy them.

(Plus how many copies of a book do I really need? Even if they are my own books! Don't worry, though. I am keeping one archive copy of each book for myself. I think that's plenty.)

So anyway, if you live in Salt Lake City or near it, I'd be happy to deliver your books or arrange a time to meet you somewhere. You don't have to pay me anything, but if you want to make a small donation to my tiny house fund in exchange for the books, I won't necessarily say no to that.

If you don't live nearby, I would love to send the books to you! However, in that case, I would appreciate a donation to cover the cost of postage. (Usually no more than five dollars, depending on how many books we're talking about.) And if you want to donate more than the cost of postage, that money will go directly into my tiny house fund.

Thank you all for your interest in my books! And thank you for supporting me in my tiny house dreams! Only 67 days to go!


PS–I'll give away the free books listed above on a first-come first-served basis, but if I run out of something you really want, let me know and I might be able to get some more copies for you at a very discounted rate, with any sales proceeds going to my tiny house fund.

PPS–On the off chance that someone wants to donate to my tiny house fund but doesn't want any books, I would just like to say thank you sooo much. That is really, really generous of you! However, I am not currently accepting donations of that nature because I feel like that would cross an uncomfortable line for me. I want to be able to say that I bought this house myself and that I am a financially independent adult. So if you want to donate, you'll need to take at least one book off my hands. That way I'll feel better about accepting your money.

PPPS–Ugh. Enough of that. "Gentlemen, I dislike all this money talk. It isn't refined." Name that movie line!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Remember how I write books sometimes?

Heh. Yeah. About that . . . Have you been wondering what's going on with me and my authorial career? You're not the only one.

I do have news. And it's good news!

But I also have some thoughts on my life lately. And that part is not as good. Not that it's necessarily bad. It just . . . IS, I guess.

Let's start with the good news. I'm teaching a class at a BYU summer writing camp for teens. I did this last year too and it was so fun! I'm really looking forward to doing it again. I know classes like this are supposed to be for the students, but they end up inspiring me too. So that's good.

I'm also very lazily dragging my feet through the self-publishing process for book 2 of The Jane Journals series. It's pretty much written. It just needs some revising. And a cover. And a printer/distributor. And some other things. Sorry if you're waiting for it (all 2 of you). I promise it'll get done sometime before the end of the year. And I promise to keep you posted about my progress.

But what's even better? I have a new cover!!!!! And I love it!!!!!

Isn't it the cutest? I think I have the best illustrator and the best cover designer ever.

Seriously. Love it! This book is scheduled to come out in November and it will follow along with the Primary theme for 2017. If all goes well, I should be writing it later in the summer/early fall.

And now we get to the more contemplative portion of the post.

Here's the thing about my writing: sometimes the words come and sometimes they don't. And I know that I could make them come more often if I were more disciplined. Really, I know that.

I know plenty of authors who push themselves and are so inspiringly prolific. They write every day all day long and in their sleep they dream about their manuscripts so that when they wake up in the morning they've already written another eight thousand words that they just need to download from their brains onto the page. And they write in the shower with their incredible waterproof laptops. And they write while they're driving, in total disregard for the safety of everyone else on the road. They write while they're waiting in line at the post office and they write at airports and in Mexican restaurants and on street corners, and I know all this because I've done it myself.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit. I don't often write while driving. I try to pull over first.

But yeah, some authors write a lot all the time. Some write a little every once in awhile. Some fall somewhere in between.

As with everything else in life, it's not worth it to compare yourself with anybody because there will always be someone who writes more or better than you. Always. Always. I promise. And that's totally okay.

What I'm actually trying to say is that, as you may have noticed from the lack of posts on my blog lately, I'm currently living through a dearth of words. I just don't feel like writing. And I don't feel like forcing myself to write against my will.

I do have several theories about why my life is off-balance like this.

(For most people not writing is the norm, but for a writer it's like a constant feeling of vertigo. You don't really know why it's there, you just know that it's messing everything up. And you really do feel off-balance, especially if you've been writing routinely for years at a time.)

But I don't feel like positing a bunch of probably true theories right now about my lack of words. Because, as mentioned, I don't really feel like writing. Even this post has taken me several days of talking myself into it before I managed to type anything.

I don't even write in my journal as much these days. It's weird. I don't like it.

I'm also sure it will all go away someday—probably sooner than I expect.

And if you happen to be my publisher and you're reading this, don't worry. I know I will have the words when there's a deadline hanging over my head. I can always find them then.

In the meantime, this is one of those problems that's not really a problem and that I don't really feel like trying to cure. I don't want helpful advice. I guess I just want to see what it's like to live a wordless life for a little while. There's something liberating in it. Like taking a break from social media or going undercover as a totally different person. Who ever said I have to be a writer anyway? Maybe that's just not who I am right now.

Final note: to save myself the trouble of trying to write another whole post, I'll just mention here that if you're wondering what's going on with my tiny house, I've been waiting to finalize a few things before I announce them online. But things are on track. And I'm still excited. The countdown is currently at 93 days.

I'm sure the words will come back before then. Probably.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Why don't you date?

So this morning I woke up from a dream in which I was having a conversation with a good guy friend. And in our conversation, I was asking my friend why he doesn't date more. I think in my dream mind I was a little bit mad at him (as girls sometimes get with guys) because it seems like guys should be dating no matter what. They're the ones who should be initiating things, and so this guy's perpetual single-ness was making me upset. It was an affront to all the single girls out there who are waiting for the men to get a clue.

I should clarify that in real life, I am not actually upset with this guy about this nor am I upset with guys in general over this issue. (Unless my subconscious knows something I don't.) But just to be safe, I'm not going to use the guy's name. Also, it would be weird if I did because in my dream we were a lot better friends than we actually are in real life.

Anyway, this guy had no real response to the question, so then I started telling him all the reasons I suspected he wasn't dating much—things like fear and laziness. As you can imagine, the conversation became more and more tense because no one likes to be told with so much candor how irrational their choices are. That's why it's a very good thing this conversation happened in a dream instead of in real life.

But then something happened that I wasn't expecting. All of a sudden, my guy friend turned to me and said, "Well, why aren't you dating?"

Oh. . . Um . . .

And that's when I woke up.

With the kind of clarity that I only get first thing in the morning, I realized: all of my excuses for not making dating a priority in my life are actually pretty hollow or based on assumptions that are just not true.

And even if I'm not mad at my guy friend about this in real life, it's not fair of me to get mad (as I sometimes do) with guys for their lack of dating, when I'm not dating either. I mean, yes, I still fundamentally believe that guys should take the initiative. I don't believe that they always need to do the asking. I have asked guys out before and I'll probably do it again. But I think that it should be their call about whether or not to pursue a deeper relationship. And I don't plan to take the responsibility for that part of dating.

But there are still things I could be doing to make dating a priority in my life. And those things are not about losing weight and wearing more makeup. They're more about honestly assessing what my reservations are and learning to see things clearly and push myself past my fears.

I assume there will be people reading this who are single like me and they might relate to some of the things I'm about to say. Others of you reading have likely been married for years. If that's you, maybe you'll want to keep reading so that you understand what it's really like to be single and a woman and LDS and almost 31 and a half years old. I can't say that my personal list of reasons or excuses is universal. We all have our own. But I think that the married folks out there could still gain some insight from this.

So what are my reservations? What are my excuses?

Well, I came up with a list. In no particular order, except the order that I thought of them, here are the . . .

Top Ten Reasons I Don't Date:

1. I don't want to get involved with someone from Utah when I know I don't want to stay here forever.
2. No one is going to want to date me as I currently look (cue the body image issues).
3. It will be hard to find someone who shares my values. It goes without saying that I'm looking for someone who shares my religious beliefs, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about someone who values things like minimalism, simplicity, and living within my means. It also includes the worry that no one will want to date me when they find out I'm about to be living in a tiny house.
4. Speaking of my tiny house, I'm really focused on that right now. Once I get that done, then I'll start worrying about dating.
5. I haven't met anyone that I'm attracted to in a long time.
6. Dating can be expensive and I'm on a budget.
7. I'm busy with work right now.
8. I'm afraid of being rejected.
9. I lack the social skills necessary to date.
10. It often seems like dating only brings negative energy into my life and I don't want to be burdened with that. I'd rather just be happy being alone, which I am most of the time.

These are valid concerns—well, a lot of them are. Some are not. But I know that in the past they have held me back. So now I want to take the opportunity to refute them a little bit. Just like that dream conversation I was having with my friend, I'm about to have a conversation with myself (and, by extension, with all of you) about why I don't date more.

1. I don't want to get involved with someone from Utah when I know I don't want to stay here forever.
So don't date people who want to stay in Utah forever. If this is really that important to you, ask this question early in the process of getting to know someone and use it to weed through the prospects. But just because a man lives in Utah now doesn't mean he wants to forever. Remember, Heidi, you yourself are currently living in Utah. Also, this is a good reason to try online dating again—so that you meet people from all over. (More about this later.)

2. No one is going to want to date me as I currently look (cue the body image issues). 
I don't have time to get into all this today. Yes, it's important to be healthy, and I know that's something you want to work on more in the future. And it's also true that there are guys out there who will rule you out because of how you look. That's a shame. It really is. But there are also guys who wouldn't care one bit, and right now you're not even giving them the chance to decide for themselves. You're just stereotyping an entire gender, which is really uncool. Whether or not a guy wants to date you should be his choice. After all, you get really upset when a guy you like assumes that no one is into him and then just ignores any attempts you might make to prove otherwise. So how exactly can you justify doing the same thing to all the guys in the whole world? That just makes no sense.

3. It will be hard to find someone who shares my values, like minimalism, simplicity, and living within my means. And no one will want to date me when they find out I'm about to be living in a tiny house.
Yes. It will be hard to find someone who values all the same things you do. But it's not impossible. And the good news is that none of these "values" are really deal breakers for you. That is, just because you feel strongly about them doesn't mean that you hold others to that same standard. You don't expect or need people to agree with you. And you would be fine living one way while your boyfriend/fiance/spouse lived another way. Even the tiny house could fit into a future with the right person. As long as you're both mutually respectful of each other's values—and as long as you still agree on the gospel fundamentals (because those really are deal breakers)—you'll be just fine.

4. But why can't I just wait until I move into a tiny house? I need to focus on that right now.
I can see why it would be tempting to wait. But here's the thing: once you move into the house, there will be something else that you're really close to accomplishing, like writing another book or some other major life project that you decide to take on. That's just the kind of person you are. You're driven and you like to constantly keep moving. But that means that if you keep waiting until after you finish the next big thing, you will never. get. there. There will always be something else big on the horizon, some reason to put off dating a little longer.
I think you know deep down that this excuse is just a way to keep putting off the potential for pain a little bit longer. You're pretending to yourself that you're preparing when you're really just procrastinating.

5. I haven't met anyone that I'm attracted to in a long time.
Yes, which makes perfect sense because you rarely meet new people at all these days. But trust me, when you do, you're just as attracted to certain types of guys as you have always been. Remember all the cute guys you saw when you stopped by that older singles ward last week? I rest my case. The problem is not with the selection of single guys. It's with your lack of exposure to them. And that's something you can fix.

6. Dating can be expensive and I'm on a budget.
It can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. You can date on a budget. Also—and I'm sorry to say this, but it's kind of true—this is one area where being the girl really works to your advantage. If anything, going on more dates and having guys pay for you once in awhile could actually help your budget.

7. I'm busy with work right now.
This would be a good excuse if it were true. But it sooooo isn't. You and I both know (because we're the same person) that work is not busy right now and that in fact you work for a great company that encourages you to have a life outside of work by keeping your work load manageable. This is not a real concern for you.

8. I'm afraid of being rejected.
Okay. This one is real. But I'd like to remind you that you've lived through rejection before and you survived it just fine, after awhile. Plus, as a writer and just a well-rounded human being, part of your job is to experience things so that you can write about them authentically and relate to others when they go through them. Even things like heartbreak. In fact, maybe especially the painful things that no one likes to feel or talk about. Sometimes those are the very things that people need to read about and relate to most. I'm not saying you need to go into it with the goal of getting hurt, but you can't let that fear keep you from experiencing the full spectrum of what life has to offer.

9. I lack the social skills necessary to date.
Dude. Your social skills are just fine. You may not be the world's best flirt, but you can carry on a conversation. You're funny and genuine and thoughtful. That's all you really need. The rest of it is just timing and circumstance. And a little patience doesn't hurt either.

10. Dating only brings negative energy into my life and I don't want to be burdened with that. I'd rather just learn to be happy being alone.
Yeah, I know that's been true for you a lot in the past. You have been dating for years, and you're still not married, which means that overall the experience can feel negative. But I don't think that means that it has to be that way. Just like with any other life experience, dating isn't inherently positive or negative. It's neutral. It's just dating. And it's up to you to frame the experience however you want to.
In the past, you may have chosen more negative framing than you should have. But that doesn't mean you have to keep choosing to see things that way in the future. You can still choose to focus on the positive aspects of dating. And you know that you can always choose to be happy. You're actually really good at that. Trust in your abilities as an optimist, and if you can feel yourself getting off track and starting to focus too much on the negatives, step back, take a deep breath, reread this post, and then get back out there and enjoy all the fun parts.

The thing about dating is that you may or may not find someone you want to get serious with, but your chances will be a lot better out there in the real world (or online) than they will be if you just keep sitting here, alone in your room or griping with your girlfriends about how guys are the problem. Even if that were true, that's outside your control. And you will be a lot happier if you learn to focus on what you can control.

That way, after you've cheerfully done all things that lie in your power, you can "stand still, with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed" (D&C 123:17).

So that's the conversation I had with myself this morning. I hope some part of it has been helpful to you. I can't say that I'm going to dive head first into dating up a storm tomorrow. But I am posting this as a challenge to myself to put myself out there more. And I hope that putting this online will help me to hold myself more accountable to that.

For more on this topic, I can recommend this excellent article from the April Ensign. And I can also recommend sitting down with yourself sometime to mull over these issues. You don't have to actually talk to yourself like I did. But I think that whatever it is that you're trying to achieve, whether it's dating or some other life goal, it's worth examining your own hangups and excuses and trying to work through them rationally, rather than letting your fears and feelings keep you from what you ultimately want.

Good luck out there, everyone! And have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Are you feeling homesick?

I hope I don't sound too preachy or too whiny in this post, but this is how I'm feeling tonight.

I really shouldn't be homesick. I was home just a week ago. But I don't know . . . maybe that's what triggered it.

I'll admit there are frequently times when I just really miss hiking in the hills around my hometown and all the friends I have there and the proximity to the beach.

I miss being able to spend time with my family doing nothing. We're great at sitting around the house doing nothing. It's arguably our best collective family talent.

But tonight I think I'm feeling extra homesick for a few different reasons. For one thing, it's coming up on two years since I moved back here to Utah. Thinking about that time when I had to say goodbye to everyone and uproot my whole life rather quickly always makes me a bit blue.

(Also, can you believe it's been two whole years?? That's so crazy to me! The little kids I nannied while I lived there have practically become adults now. So weird.)

Anyway, I'm also missing home at the moment because I really loved performing in The Lamb of God at Easter. The choir there had their first performance tonight and in honor of that, I decided to listen to the entire oratorio today. It was wonderful. And I'm glad I did it. But it wasn't the same as attending it live, and it definitely wasn't the same as performing in it in a cool cathedral in San Francisco like the one where I took these photos.

I know my life is here now, and it's not like I spend every day wishing I were there. If I did, I'd move back. And there are lots of cool perks to living in Utah, like being able to attend the Provo City Center Temple dedication today and getting to spend more time with my cousins than I have in the past. There's a great writing community here that I enjoy participating in. But as happy as I usually am here . . . I just don't think I'll ever love Utah the way I love California. I've really tried. I've given it a decent shot. It's just not home to me.

Thinking about all this made me try to remember why I moved here in the first place. I was actually reading this post the other day from right after I moved. I'm glad those feelings didn't last too long. Overall, I'm really happy with how my life has turned out over the past two years. I know I've grown a lot, professionally and personally, and that's comforting at a time like this.

But I'll admit there's still a big part of me that wonders what I'm doing here or why I needed to move back. I know that it was the right thing to do, but I still don't really know why.

It would be nice if I actually had all the answers. It would be nice if everyone had all the answers in life, but that's not how it works. Instead we get the comfort of faith in the fact that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. I'm so glad to know that as long as I'm following His plan for me, everything will work out as it should.

That's what I remembered as I was listening to the Lamb of God tonight. There's one song toward the end that has always been one of my favorites, but I think I needed to hear it more than ever right now.

You can listen to it here.

Someday this will all make sense. The answers won't come on my timeline, but they'll come. I just need to stick to the plan and one day I'll understand. In the meantime, I'm going to do my best to enjoy every season of life, no matter how far away from home I need to be. Because I know that if I keep following the plan God has for me, one day I'll get to experience the best homecoming of all.

Right before I moved here, I was reading my scriptures in the temple one day when I came across these verses in 1 Peter.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. . . . But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (6–7, 10)
These verses have since become some of my favorites. I think of them as a promise from my Heavenly Father that He knows what He's doing and that He will help me become settled in my life and in His gospel. And that's an especially comforting thought when you feel like your happiness and home are two states away from you.

I hope no matter how you're feeling when you read this, you can take comfort in the thought that Christ has experienced your pains and sorrows. He knows how to comfort you because He's been there. He's felt homesick, just like I do right now. He's felt sad and tired and worn thin. He knows exactly what it's like. And He will help you through it. That's something I know for sure.

Happy almost-Easter, everyone. And to all my friends and family in California, thank you for posting pictures and updates. I love seeing them and keeping in touch with you all! If I can't be at the beach myself, the next best thing is having beach pictures all over my social media pages!

And don't worry, I'll come visit again soon. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do you have an announcement to make?

I do! And it's a good one!

But first I just want to say that I'm so glad it's Thursday. I've been in training meetings at work for the past few days and while I feel really good about the meetings we had, I'm exhausted. Basically, this has been a great week but also a tiring one and I'm glad it's almost over.

I'm also super glad to be flying home tomorrow to see my little sister Ali who has been on a mission in the Netherlands for the past eighteen months. I got to talk to her on the phone tonight and that was great, but I'm really excited to see her in person. And I'm excited to be in California, even if it's just for the weekend because it's already springtime for reals there.

So yes. There are many reasons that this has been a great week. But one of the really good ones is that I got another book signed by Cedar Fort. It's going to be a board book like 1, 2, 3 with Nephi and Me! and it's tentatively titled Jesus Was Just Like Me! As you can probably surmise from the title, it's meant to help children learn about and relate to the Savior.

I'm really excited about this! And I've been dying to tell you guys about it, but I wanted to wait until it was officially official. I don't have an illustrator on the project yet, but I can't wait to see what he or she comes up with.

Board books are just so much fun. They're something I never thought I would write, but they turn out so cute that it's hard to resist!

Anyway, I will keep you all posted as I learn more details about this project. Like when it will be released, for instance. Right now all I can say is that it will most likely be in the next year, which is exciting because it means that my niece and nephew might still be at least mildly interested in board books by the time it comes out.

I will also, of course, let you know when I have a cover and all that other fun stuff. For now, I just want to enjoy the feeling of happy anticipation that comes right between worrying that the book won't be signed and worrying about deadlines and production details as the book is going into production.

The funny thing is, I used to dread this lull time. So much of being a writer involves the hurry-up-and-wait game. But the longer I do this, the more I find myself enjoying this phase. It's peaceful and anticipatory. It's like the calm between two storms.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Get some sleep if you're exhausted. Take advantage of your weekend to have an adventure. And don't be afraid to enjoy the lull times when you get them.

Okay, that's all the advice I've got. I don't know how to end this post.

Um . . . books are fun to write.

The end.

PS—I told you I was exhausted.