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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

a few things i cannot photograph

     mother's laugh
 my father's generosity
anguish over failing relationships
      workings of my daughter's mind
     new baby giggles so cherished                 the smell of my mother's skin
joy found in making friends                   when she gave me the last hug
   desire for devotion
    innocence gone

A Snapshot of My Heart


Jules and I have been tossing around the idea of putting together a purple dinner and photographing it.  But this is from out of my WILDEST DREAMS! Isn't that the most elegant, purplicious gorgeousness you ever did see? Seriously, I do not think anyone could think up anything more fabulous than THAT!  So come this Spring, I know exactly what I am up against and I will most certainly refer to this photograph as my yard stick to measure up to :)

Happy Wednesday, peeps!

a bit of advice: for the middle-stage parent

Attention: All middle-aged—I mean—middle-stage parents (parents whose last child is between 3-5 and the oldest is 10-17)

If you will remember that you have purpose outside of being a bedraggled, overworked, overtired, never-have-time-for-yourself person, you can avoid feelings of uselessness.

You are important, even if you are able do stuff you actually want to do now that your children are capable of doing almost everything for themselves!

Personally, I am caught in a strange little place because I have supplanted finishing my Bachelor's degree in place of having time for precisely what I would like to do,  but I am definitely still making choices outside of the realm of mommyhood. It is a liberating experience, after over a decade of intense mothering of small children, to do even small things that are just for me.  I am still coming to grips with recognizing that I can and should take it easy sometimes and not run around like I had to when everyone was small and less able to help themselves.

Give yourself permission to be at ease (at least part of the time), Soldier.

--inspiration for short commentary from a status on Facebook by my fellow overachiever friend Julie C. Donaldson, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, published author.

Seeking to Become - September

photograph by C. N.
 Psalms 105:4
4 Seek the Lord, 
and his strength: 
seek his face evermore.
This psalm is simple. It is short. Yet, I believe the challenge in becoming more like the Savior lies in doing the small and simple things--consistently. Why is it such a challenge to establish a pattern of daily prayer? or daily scripture study? Both of those things do not take a huge amount of time if you don't have it to give. One valuable verse of scripture can be read in less than one minute. 
For the September Seeking to Become challenge, I will strive to commit myself to read at least one scripture a day and ponder on it through thought and at least one personal prayer every day until the next Seeking to Become. My hope is that I will create a habit that trials and adversity cannot break. 
Please join me in the challenge and I invite you to share any insights or special experiences you have along the way in the comments sections below.

short but sweet

I keep on feeling this need to pinch myself.

I actually am making friends, here and there, who do not know me in person. and I don't know them either. The strangest thing about it all is that we are beginning to know each other by appreciating what we each have to offer through blogs and websites. The internet and the realm of social media continues to blow my mind.

Who would have thought someone from Australia would be reading my stuff and enjoy it BEFORE I ever have a book published? Well, I couldn't picture it--until now.

Thanks for the shout out Nebuchudnessar of Medusa Hair!
We are most definitely blog buddies forever (BBFs) :)

related links:

Blog Buddies

The Grape Soda Project Goes International

Australia - PTGS 8

Half-Birthday Celebration Closing Ceremony

Not sure about all of you, but it was a fun time for me thinking up creative things to do for each of the celebratory days. I wanted the contest to reflect my style and I believe that happened.  Several new people have now discovered my purple niche on the web and hopefully will now become part of the adventure.

Thanks goes out to the donors of the gifts! You truly made the party spectacular!

Simply You Simply Me

And now I am certain you have been waiting patiently to find out who gets the last super gift!

The winner of the Friday Hat drawing is:

Half-Birthday Celebration Contest: LAST DAY

If you are not in the loop for today's fun, please refer to the following link BEFORE proceeding any further (paying close attention to the rules section most especially):

Celebration Introduction and RULES

Gift for the DAY: $20 coupon for Simply You Simply Me
Today is a bit of a sad day because it has been wild fun getting to goof off like this, but all good things must come to an end. In spite of that fact,we shall have an AMAZING day today! The gift for today is just too great to not be glad.

The prize has been generously provided by a dear friend. 

When I was around 12 or 13, I met the tallest, most beautiful twin girls ever. I  can't remember exactly (I hope y'all are figuring out my memory is rusty), but at least one of them used to wear this bright blue eye shadow and it was just SO cool to me. I won't ever forget being at a pool party at their house and I was so short in the pool and they seemed to be able to touch even in the deep end! And to top it all off--their mascara did not come off even though they got soaked!! It was magical to my inexperienced mind. (And yes, I have long since learned that water-proof mascara is quite common.) I was mesmerized by their older girl with-itness for certain. 

Plus, they were both kind to me. The memory of their kindness has stuck with me over the years and its impact remains just as strong. Simple kindness makes a world of difference to the trodden down and broken-hearted, no matter what age you are.

Going on a tangent-- what is up with me and pool parties and mascara? go to Suzanne, Jewelry, and the Cure to read another little diddee on those subjects. 

Now back to the story at hand: 

So anyway, due to the connective powers of Facebook, I was able to reconnect with Dawn (one of the twins and gift giver for today's fun).

If you have ever been on the Simply You Simply Me website, you will agree that this is where it's at for the BEST digital scrapbooking fun. Creativity and exquisite taste themes every collection I have seen.  Here is a fabulous description of what this service offers:
Turn your memories into art! Do you love to scrapbook, but don't have the time to pull out all of your supplies, scrap, and then clean up the mess? You don't have to! Just turn on your computer!
And the best part is, not only do you have that lovely "undo" button for any mistakes, but you can use everything over and over again! Create Memory Books, Scrapbooks, Photo Books, Baby Books, even Wedding Albums! The list goes on and on!

Now-- how to enter the Friday Hat drawing:

Thursday Night Drawing WINNER!

The answer is: Labyrinth!

and just to creep you all out I post this FANTASTIC snapshot:

The over-arching theme of the comments is that we were afraid of Labyrinth. Maybe that was what was wrong with me. I was watching a bizarre movie and never wanted to face it. I will have to sort that one out, now won't I? :)

The winner for tonight is--

Half-Birthday Celebration Contest: Day 4

If you are not in the loop for today's fun, please refer to the following link BEFORE proceeding any further (paying close attention to the rules section most especially):

Celebration Introduction and RULES

Today's gift will be your choice of one of the two journals with my published works. The black and white cover from Winter 2010 contains my poem Beautiful Child and the Summer 2011 issue includes my romance addiction article.

Today's trivia comes from a memory I have of a trip to the drive-in. The crazy thing is that I am actually old enough to remember what the speakers in the photo sound like, first-hand. That would not be such a big deal except some people have never even SEEN these crackly-sound producers in real life.
So anyways. Back to the story.

My parents never provided me with sisters, so every so often I was allowed to bring a friend or two along whenever we went on family outings to provide me with girl time. I really do not know why I remember this trip to the drive-in so vividly, but I do and so it is one of the treasures in my head I choose to share.

This friend, Krista, and I got to watch the show on the top of our big, white van, eating popcorn and licorice ropes and we played on the playground in between the showings. I remember it being fun, yet feeling awkward going on the merry-go-round in the dark. It must have been something to do with being out with a friend. Maybe I felt awkward because I thought the world of her and she was in my family environment. Who knows? Kids are just weird sometimes.

And now getting back to this party business--

The trivia question is:

Wednesday Night Drawing WINNER!

Since today was a special trivia day, there was no wrong or right answer except to recognize the goodness we all have within us. I am grateful to all of you who were brave enough to do this exercise in recognizing individual worth with me. So many of the answers were truly insightful and thoughtful and the humorous ones ring just as true to me!  All I want to shout is: Let your light shine!

And now what you all came here to find out:
The winner of the the drawing done by Monkey #3 is... (drumroll)

Half-Birthday Celebration: Day 3

If you are not in the loop for today's fun, please refer to the following link BEFORE proceeding any further (paying close attention to the rules section most especially):

Celebration Introduction and RULES

Source: google.com via Beverly on Pinterest

I haven't read the book yet, but most definitely plan on it because of how the movie brought to life a most important story. The events depicted within the film touched my heart and the superb acting hit home the injustices that were occurring even a mere half-century ago in The United States of America--a nation claiming to offer liberty to its citizens. There are some parts in The Help that are hard to watch, unpleasant--even offensive--to the ear, but give a true snapshot of the times. I recommend the movie to men and women, ages 15+

I went to see this movie for a Girls Night Out with my sister-in-law Darcy, who writes My Artistic Ventures and we had a marvelous day. We did a mini-card class, she hung out with all the children while I went to a church dinner party, then she and I hit the theater for the late show!  We laughed and cried.

Also while watching the movie, we could hear booming thunder from outside and it was pouring rain like crazy when we got out. She and I chatted all the way to my house, and then we carried sleepyheads covered in blankies to her car. It was a special time to spend. In order to make sure I don't ever forget it, I share the story here-- with you.

The fabulous gift for today is a gift certificate offered by Darcy for a delicious 3-layer cake:

click HERE to view samples of Darcy's artistic and tasty cakes

for Contestants outside Northern Utah, you may choose from a FEDEXed box of fresh cookies OR put FOR GRAND PRIZE ONLY on your answer and your name will go directly into the Friday Hat

The Trivia of the Day will be: 

Tuesday Night Drawing WINNER

Answer: The Music Man with Shirley Jones and Robert Preston

The winner of the gorgeous vinyl lettering by Cheri of Creative Impressions Vinyl is:
Shannon J.

Congratulations! and thanks for playing today everyone!
All other answers will now be placed into the Friday Hat!

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to see what fun is in store and invite some friends to the party!

related link:
Half-Birthday Celebration Contest: Day 2

Half-Birthday Celebration Contest: Day 2

If you are not in the loop for today's fun, please refer to the following link BEFORE proceeding any further (paying close attention to the rules section most especially):

Celebration Introduction and RULES


I have always liked the look of vinyl lettering on walls and decorations with quotes hanging around the house and Cheri of Creative Impressions  creates phenomenal home decor out of vinyl. If you enjoy quotes and graphic design sorts of stuff for your home, she has some great products and ideas for creating uniquely-you decorations on her site and her prices are very reasonable. 

The gift for today (pictured above) is simply fabulous for a few reasons. The first reason is that a really fantastic lady makes these vinyl creations. Second, she was so kind to donate this gift to help celebrate my blog's half birthday (not many people would be excited for you about such weird little things). Third, I can mail it to pretty much anywhere in the world and it won't cost half a million bucks to do so!  And it captures, in words, a great way to live life. 
I am seriously excited about today's drawing.

So, follow the rules, I will do the drawing, and whoever wins will be contacted so I can get your mailing address to send your uber fun gift to you!!!

without any furthur ado--

Monday Night Drawing WINNER!

Answer: The Babe
or as one exuberant party guest wrote:
The sultan of swat, the king of crash, the colossus of clout, Babe Ruth...THE GREAT BAMBINO!!
CONGRATULATIONS! Emily Y. won the drawing for the One-Hour Portrait Session with NO SESSION FEE with Underground Photography

And the other entrants' names will now go into the Friday Hat!

Come play again tomorrow everyone! and invite your friends.
Parties are always more fun when you have a lot of guests...I think.

related link:
Half Birthday Celebration Contest: Day 1

Half-Birthday Celebration Contest: Day 1

If you are not in the loop for today's fun, please refer to the following link BEFORE proceeding any further (paying close attention to the rules section most especially):

Celebration Introduction and RULES 

Right out of high school, I started working at a local video rental store. It wasn't just any old video rental store either. This place was HUGE and it had themed sections with large hand-painted murals on the walls and even structural stuff to make particular sections inviting to customers. For instance, the children's section had depictions of cartoon characters on the walls and fun stuff like that.

There were two sections that were horrible to go into (for me) on a regular basis. First, the ADULT section had these pink walls with swinging saloon-type doors to go through in order to put away the rental movies. I can't remember exactly what it looked like, but visions of red lights and lacy curtained windows also come to my mind. I think it was so traumatizing that I have blocked it out. So anyway, the other section was the HORROR movie section. This section of the store was at the back corner, had a creaky wooden floor, bad lighting, and a crazy porch you had to step onto in order to get to the movies. This one manager, Eric, used to love to tell me to go straighten the movies in the horror section just so someone could take a turn going and seeing how loud I would scream/how fast I would jump because I AM such a scaredy-cat. I could hardly get myself to go into that room without a buddy going in with me. If you can't tell, I don't watch so-called adult or horror films. Both are just disturbing to me.

One of the FABULOUS things about working at The Video Park was how we watched movies during our entire shift. If you were checking movies in or out for customers, there were 6-8 televisions on top of a row of columns directly facing the customer service area. We used to take turns choosing the movies. We had thousands of movies to choose from, but every once in awhile, we girls would get on a kick and watch the same movie over and over and over (well, until one of the guys would put his foot down to stop the madness and choose a different one!) I can honestly say I have seen The Sandlot HUNDREDS of times and not exaggerate at all. and there are several more titles, except my memory escapes me at the moment.

This brings us to the very first gift for the day! My friend Denise, who also enjoyed employment at the aforementioned establishment, has graciously donated her fabulous photography services. The lucky winner of today's trivia contest will receive:

BYU vs. Utah - What Color Do YOU Bleed?

I have never really understood the saying "I bleed..." of ANY color other than the natural red color that comes out of our bodies. And I'm sorry, but isn't that a given? I thought we learned our colors in like kindergarten and first grade, at the very latest for non-intellectually disabled persons. Actually, the saying has seemed rather silly and even bizarre to me, just to be completely honest with you.

But in light of the fact that my school's rival football team bleeds red physically and figuratively, AND today is THE RIVALRY GAME of the season (aka the holy war), I feel a need to join in-- just a bit.

The First Purple Quote

Source: None via Agne on Pinterest

i {heart} cake

cake by darcy: myartisticventures.blogspot.com
Sometimes I really wonder about what I will end up with for going through such hard times for so long. Something has got to give, right? Typically that means things will change, but you pick up things along the path of life. I have gained more friends, but what are the negative side effects of this trying adventure? Will I develop heart disease? or an anxiety disorder? Will I ever feel happy to my very center? I can't even imagine the sensation.

All of those things are the pessimist and worrier within me talking.

Blog Buddies, Twitter, and Me

Holy Cow, Peeps!

I was gone all day at school fighting for my academic life, and I came home feeling wiped out until I checked my email....all that comes to mind to say is: DUDE! and What the?!? How did I get discovered?

After noticing a trend in the absolute flood of Twitter connections, I began investigating who might have been the catalyst to such a fabulous gift of new readership.

Don't Mess With My Facebook

I was introduced to this video during a listening exercise in my Spanish class and am enchanted by it!

No, I do not understand all the words. Yes, I am certain many of you will not understand but a small portion of it (there are bits of English-based words). With all of that laid out, I know you will enjoy it. This video screams whimsical!

Also, I decided it would be a great way to explore divers avenues of multiculturalism. What do you think of these four minutes of creativity?

Hope you have as much fun as I did watching and listening!

How Facebook is Changing Our World

I am one of those individuals who resisted Facebook--up until nearly a year ago. And I can honestly say I enjoy the connections and newly renewed friendships. It does have it's problems though, doesn't it?

One keen observation I have been pondering is how people can only LIKE people to their FACE and the feature for blocking posts of a particular FRIEND enables and fosters passive-aggressive behaviors. I know it is a lot stickier than that, but that also proves how powerful Facebook has become in our social circles.


My article on romance addiction is officially in PRINT!

Last January, a poem of mine about my autistic daughter was published in the same journal that published this article and I thought I was happy then. Boy, this feels amazing! I can hardly contain myself.

I like writing; it gives me a voice when oral communications fail me. I have been and continue to be astonished at the scope of influence my blog writing has had and I haven't been doing it for long at all. The blog world has been most accepting of me and my special flair for the fabulous and not-so-fabulous. I am humbled by every single comment that tells me how I made a difference through sharing my stories, thoughts, and, well, me.

9/11: Where Were You?

I was reading a newspaper a couple weeks ago and they were calling for stories in order to feature where their readership was when the 9/11 attacks occurred. I have not been able to stop thinking about it ever since.

Where was I?
I was at home, far away from the danger, in Las Vegas. I still will not ever forget it though. Ever.

Caring: One of the Essentials

I started reading the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and I am several stories into it and still not quite sure what to think. Before I decided what I want to be when I grow up (an English Teacher), I used to put down, give back, throw away or something along those lines any book that even slightly juxtaposed against my values and standards. I realize how much I missed out on when I look back. I read a good deal of different books now and learn a great deal from each of them-- even if it's only how much I definitely do not like a particular genre or whatever. Though in all seriousness, I have learned some extraordinary lessons about life and people through reading books without having to drudge through the trauma of the drama in reality. Learning by vicarious means beats the pants off of the other means of learning hard lessons.

A Good Day

Today was a good day. I should have known it would be good when I pulled into the parking lot at school and there were at least FIFTY open spaces calling my name! But even better was the ability I had to take my Spanish pruebita without feeling like a complete and utter failure. I wrote whole sentences that would not be deemed Spanglish. Now the real trick will be to see if el profesor can understand my version of Spanish! Another beautiful part of my day was spending mom time with my little son and his friend running simple errands. I have been overwhelmingly busy the past two weeks and have not been able to slow down enough to enjoy his company. just rush, rush, rushing-- until this afternoon. We did not do anything spectacular, but aren't some of the very best days the days when we have time to recognize the blessings? I feel blessed today.

What Kind of Reaction is CHEESE WHIZ?

 FYI: this is a repost of a repost!!!

This post is for all those new to All Things Purple in the past couple months.

Since I explained how to use the reaction "cheese whiz", several people have joined our happy throng so I am posting the link to keep everyone up to speed on our fancy lexicon.

all things purple: Whimsical Wednesday #6

The Tomato Joke

Ok. I am not much of a joke teller. People say I am funny, but it is only due to the fact that I know how to stick my foot in my mouth, laugh at myself, laugh with everyone laughing at the foot in my mouth, and keep going in my typical serious way without crying over any of it 99.9% of the time.

I really want to tell a joke today though, so a joke is what you will get. How well I tell it is very much in question, but tell it I must:

Six-Month Anniversary Contest Week

Beginning Monday, September 19th through Friday, September 23rd, I will have a Daily Trivia Contest to celebrate the half birthday of this fabulous blog. I must admit I do not know exactly what I am doing (I certainly hope you have figured that out by now), except that it will be fun, interesting and you will all get a chance to win some unique and fantastic prizes. As part of the Trivia week you will get introduced to the contributors of the prizes. I have searched out some of the most unique businesses and individuals to provide the gifts for my internet party guests, so it will definitely be exciting and different.

Now to lay out the Rules, Regulations, and Expectations for the daily trivia contest:

Australia - PTGS 8

For your viewing enjoyment, here is the first of hopefully many international PTGS visits:

Reflections on Suicide

Upon hearing the news about Trey Pennington committing suicide, all I could think of was: Why?

Really, I do not know the man. We had a couple of Twitter encounters, which equals nothing in reality. Although, do we need to know people personally to have a desire for them to understand how valuable they are to everyone around them? The answer is an emphatic NO. We are our brother's keeper and I believe that whole-heartedly. Well, as far as our brother will allow us, right? Right.

This event will shake his family and friends to the core. I know exactly how they will feel because my dad committed suicide, too.

I typically do not talk about this part of my past with anyone because it is such a hard thing, but here we go anyway.

The Grape Soda Project Goes International!

Not sure how many of you follow the Personhood of the Traveling Grape Soda (PTGS), but I am more than happy to announce that we will soon have the pleasure of seeing some fun spots in AUSTRALIA! Here is the link with the backstory for the upcoming adventure:


School Parking

Tuesday Morning
This week has been interesting, to say the least. My class schedule definitely pushes me to my limit with all my other responsibilities crowding in for their slice of the time pie. But-- this is not a complaint session!  I want to share a bit of funny inspiration that hit me whilst heading to my first class the other day.

Every morning this week, I have been STRESSED OUT trying to find a parking spot. Anyone who has ever attended a university (and drove their car to it) probably knows what I am talking about. Parking a car in a spot that actually sits on university property during the first bit is an absolute dream for anyone arriving after 9:00 a.m.  Well, you might end up in one of the dream spots, but you will probably be late for class waiting to get one like I was on Wednesday. Talk about irritation! So on Thursday, I left for school two hours before my class begins and I still could not just pull into a spot. I had to start hunting. I was desperate, seriously desperate. All I kept thinking in between prayers for one little spot for me was: Why in the world doesn't the university engineer a better parking situation?


BYU Fine Arts 2011-2012
Take a Brigham Young University purple loving student, like myself, who enjoys music, singing, dancing, paintings, sculptures (pretty much all fine arts), send her an email with the above photo in the announcement, and what do you get? One ultra anticipating-every-fabulous-event girl and a blog post singing its praises!

I know not everyone, not even half of everyone (as of today), following my blog lives in Utah or even anywhere near Utah, but what I do know is that pretty much all of you find my purple fascination either on par with yours or can at least appreciate my taste in all things purple.

Last school year, I attended several BYU Fine Arts events.  One such event was a matinee of Mozart's The Magic Flute, which I saw with my children and a one of my girls from Spanish class and it was a delight! Another significant fine arts offering was the Carl Bloch exhibit at the Museum of Art. You might deem me crazy, but I dragged my children to it--twice!  The first time through we just glanced at things here and there and paused to look closer when the autistic monkey and my then preschooler would allow such a luxury. We did the second visit in style: the Museum of Art offered self-guided tours via Ipads and headphones for a nominal charge and the children were captivated by the whole thing this time around. I went with my superfriend plus her daughter and my little {d} one time in between as well. The exhibit was amazing and I am glad I could go as many times as I did. I feel fortunate.

For local area readers, I hope you will consider attending some of the several fine events happening throughout this school year. And for anyone considering a visit to the Provo, Salt Lake City, or even Park City areas-- maybe something on the schedule will make the trip out here even more perfect. the icing on the cake.

Click on the link just below the ad for the full event calendar and more information.

Also--if the ad above isn't simply one of the most gorgeously designed photo ads, I do not know what would be considered so.
It's purple. It's fancy. And it promises good times. What more could you want? Right?