Featured Post

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...

BYU vs. U of U Food Drive - PTGS 11

Crush and Cosmo working the BYU vs. U of U Food Drive

Brigham Young University and the University of Utah hold an annual rivalry food drive to benefit the needy in the community.

To help fill the seats at the basketball game last Tuesday and to fill the shelves of the food bank, BYU offered the community one ticket to get into the game for every 3 cans of food or $3. The pre-game festivities were held in the new broadcasting building, which houses BYUtv, so good times were had by all.

Here is Cosmo the Cougar doing his part to get the fans all revved up before the game.

Thanks Cosmo for being such a good sport!

Taking a Poca Siesta

My dad was raised in West Texas on the poor side of the tracks and so he was blessed to have a great deal of Hispanic friends growing up. I used to think he was full of garbage when he would get going speaking his version of what he called Tex-Mex Spanish. I called it Spanglish and, at times, even just Dad is Nuts! Now that I am learning Spanish myself, I wish he were alive so I could re-witness his fluency. My memory recalls things he said and he really did understand and know a good deal of this foreign language he swore was Tex-Mex Spanish.

I feel ashamed to admit I thought he was stretching the truth all the time (aka LYING to us) in his stories about himself. I honestly believed he was the originator of the Tall Tale and did not doubt my belief until after he passed away several years ago. One of his sisters once told me he would get telling some of the most outrageous stories as a child and my impression concurred.

gratitude: an acrostic poem

Giving and sharing
Realizing blessings
Always looking for ways to serve others
Teaching by example
Increasing faith 
Taking time to show appreciation
Uplifting music inspires
Doing the best that I can
Ever remembering Him who grants me all that I am

Old New Spice Video

This funny guy, Stephen Jones, was in my Shakespeare class back in the day. Not until about a year after that class did I realize he was getting his name out there in the world. All I knew is that he was really nice, almost as lost as I was at times, and super funny. This youtube video is a bit old, but it makes me smile every time I watch it!

I remembered about his library video because he posted to Facebook a link to another video (actually a contest commercial) he has been working on with some other folks and I thought you all might enjoy the new stuff as well. If you like it, vote for it!



don't forget to scroll to the bottom and pause the music player.

Realizing Beauty

I have this thing about hair. It is a sort of inner struggle.

To explain, I used to have extraordinarily thick hair. And I used to wear it really long. That statement normally would not be anything to have issue with except for the hair elastics that used to break all the time when I would attempt to wear a ponytail or a braid. Yet that is not the end of it-- my hair started to fall out in my mid-20's. So after going to the dermatologist about it, I was told it was a genetic issue which would not go away. ever. and I cut my long, curly locks off, never to grow them out again.

Replacing Poison with Gratitude

Writing a list of things I am grateful for isn't very original, yet I think it is an important thing to do from time to time, and I am feeling the need to express gratitude to counteract my negativity from yesterday. I am trying to eradicate the poison from the well!

Ten Things I am Thankful For Right Now and Why:

1. Getting to and from school in my old van without it breaking down. a miracle.

2. Having a refrigerator full of delicious, nutritious, and fresh food. essential. 

3. Typing on a laptop with internet connection. essential for school. luxury for everything else.

4. Living in a comfortable home that I can afford. peace of mind.

5. Seeing and talking to friends almost every day. rejuvenating.

6. Having good healthcare benefits for my children and me. comforting.

7. Going to the university of my choice. dream come true.

8. Writing a blog that more than just my BFF and I read. another dream come true.

9. Taking my Spanish test this morning with an overwhelming sense of calm. priceless.

10. Knowing God loves me. beyond priceless.

I Could Go On and On and On

The beginning of winter days have been running into each other and I can hardly keep any one of them straight. Straight out of my nice warm bed, racing to get everyone out of the house--on time--to school. School is nearing semester's end and I do not know if I have learned enough of what I should. Should I be worried? Worried and tired, I want more than anything to sleep after the long, tiresome, tiring, full of learning day. Day arrives again with the rising of the sun and I have been helping with a sick relative, while keeping up with all the demands of a growing, changing family. Family is the reason I keep on going. Going and going and going...

a movie and a song

Beginning note:
Christina Perri's A Thousand Years is a beautiful song! I enjoy the lyrical video style, too. With new songs, it is advantageous to see the words in order to comprehend the meaning of the song more quickly. I think so, anyway. The symbolism of the apple, flower, satin, and chess pieces ties the books with the song and just premiered feature film, Breaking Dawn: Part 1 quite seamlessly. The literature/film/music layering gets my teacher-self all excited about the possibilities.

On a different note:
A thousand years seems like a long time. Although, when looking at the larger picture, it really is not that much time at all. The world has changed so much in the past TWO thousand years and people have been able to record that history. Plus more.

When discussing love and commitment, there is such a thing as time without end—where the clock never runs out. I want MORE than a thousand years. Only Eternity will do it for this lady. 

Final note:
Here's hoping Breaking Dawn the movie can impress as much as Breaking Dawn the book did—much more please.

We're all about wanting more today.

Seeking to Become - November

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalms 136:1 

Endeavoring to become more like Christ is a simple act, though, at times, making some of the changes can be difficult. The cultivation of more spiritually-minded habits takes work for those of us who are just establishing our spiritual selves, which pretty much includes everyone. This monthly focus has helped me to realize how much I already know about living a Christ-centered life and how much I just don't do, but want to implement into everyday life.

One essential part of becoming more like Jesus Christ is having gratitude for all our blessings. Simply recognizing what those blessings include can be the initial showing of our thankfulness. There are a great deal of blessings in my life that I take for granted, such as clean water to drink and to wash my body with, yet as I sit here pondering on it, I feel blessed and humbled in this recognition of what I have been given. Too many people in the world, right now, are without this basic comfort. I call attention to this because each person everywhere has much to be thankful for and as we learn to express gratitude to the Father and His Son for the blessings we do have, we might not think so much on what we lack.

Until next time, please join me in working to recognize all blessings and giving more gratitude for them through word and deed. My hope is that by doing so we may better realize His loving grace in each of our lives.

related links:

Seeking to Become: October

Seeking to Become: September

Seeking to Become: August

Movie Mars Book's Reputation

When I think of Twilight, the movie version, all I can say is: Why? The book gave them so much more to work with. Truthfully, I almost didn't read the book due to my less-than-impressed impression of the movie adaptation.

Some people might like that first film, but I will be the first person advocating a remake as soon as it is decent to do so. I had to watch the movie along with reading the book for a YA Literature course and it took me three sittings to finish it. I fell asleep two times, within the first 30 minutes of it starting, and the only reason I finished it the third try without falling asleep was because I sat uncomfortably and in broad daylight to help myself get through it.  I dreaded reading the book. But after reading it, I realized that my issue was with the movie. Seriously. That is NOT a captivating movie. The acting and transitioning between scenes is choppy and lack-lustre. period.

New Moon and Eclipse were progressively better productions. Hence, I believe we can certainly count on the newest film Breaking Dawn:Part 1 to make up the difference for Twilight's shortfall.

Here's to learning hard lessons and may Breaking Dawn: Part 1 bring down the house!

One week left to go...

a recipe to go with a recipe

So when you make bread (using the all things purple: The Best White Bread Recipe Yet Written recipe) and it doesn't quite go right, the following recipe is a fantastic way to keep from just throwing all that hard work into-- the trash.
Most people use a loaf of French bread for the French Toast Casserole, but I use messed up homemade bread.

French Toast Casserole

1-2 loaves Messed up bread (or French bread) cut into 1" cubes
8 eggs
3 cups milk
4 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt, optional

2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. sugar
2-4 tsp. ground cinnamon (to taste)

Coat a 9x13 (or if you are doubling it--a half sheet) pan with cooking spray.
Spread bread pieces evenly in pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt.
Pour mixture over bread.
Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Dot with butter.
Combine cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the top.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes
OR once an inserted knife comes out clean.
Let stand for 5-10 minutes.
Syrup only necessary for the sweet tooth in the family, use if desired.

This dish goes a long way and most people like it a lot. I came up with the idea to use messed up bread in it because I mess my bread up about every 1 in 10 times I bake it. So, I got resourceful.
I don't like to waste--especially not food--when I can help it.

 And so you know, gorgeous bread works just as well!

Thank You Very Much!

Just wanting to say thanks to everyone who is reading, enjoying, and subscribing to my blog. I have been overwhelmed with positive feedback and encouragement. Keep it coming.
The song isn't precisely what I am trying to say to you due to the context, but it is my absolute favorite from Scrooge. Therefore, I shamelessly take this fabulously morbid song out of context and transform it into an offering of gratitude.

This second part from the ending is less funny (well not funny at all), but I love to see how even the hardest of hearts can change and how it transforms everyone around them.
Gotta love repentance!

{edited and reposted. original from 4/2011}

The Awful Waffle: the Opposite of Awful

When you read the words the awful waffle, what do you assume?
I assumed the owner wanted to create an establishment people couldn't easily forget by using an oxymoron, rhyming, and straight-up shock value. Calling your stuff awful seems counterintuitive, although for this outdoor, walk-up style, gourmet Belgian waffle cafe, it works.
Pumpkin Pie Waffle and Mint Hot Chocolate

At the suggestion of the waitress/cook/cashier, I ordered the Fall Special: the Pumpkin Pie Crepe (except I chose a waffle base). The very first thing I want to say is-- I want another one! This Pumpkin Pie Belgian Waffle was heavenly. Belgian waffles are one of my favorite breakfast foods to start with, but the texture of this Belgian waffle was simply fabulous with a nuttiness to it, cooked to toasty perfection. Then to top it off, the crushed graham cracker, pumpkin pie blend, cream cheese icing, whipped cream, with a dash of cinnamon sugar combination created a taste sensation not to be easily forgotten!

Did I mention that I want another one?

Waffle with Strawberries, Whipped Cream, P.Sugar

The guests I brought with me chose simpler entrees.  Ali got one of the waffles topped with strawberries, whipped cream, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. This was really tasty as well.  The strawberries were fresh and bright, beautiful red--full of flavor. The whipped cream had just the right touch of sweetness.

crêpe with strawberries, whipped cream, and p. sugar

Liz chose to be a bit different and tried a whipped cream and strawberry-topped crêpe (also with the essential dusting of powdered sugar). She enjoyed it, but when I sampled some of it, I felt like it didn't have anything distinctive about it--nothing to make it worth choosing over one of the waffles. The flavor was just fine and it was as fresh as the rest. It merely lacked that little something more that makes someone recommend a dish to a friend.

If you like gourmet hot chocolate, you will adore theirs. I suggest the mint version with their wonderful whipped cream. Quite mintalicious.

It was a unanimous vote that the Pumpkin Pie Waffle was the winner-- and sure reason to return.

Reasons to head to The Awful Waffle include: when out shopping in Provo, before or after school, on a lunch date, to/from Sundance, or anytime you crave something different and delicious.

For Prices and a Peek at the Menu:
The Awful Waffle: Creators of Divine Belgian Waffles 
Where to find it?
815 North 700 East
Provo, Utah  84604
Near the southeast end of the BYU Campus

Call  (940) 300-5358 for hours of operation

a gift on my doorstep

Have you ever found gifts dropped off on your virtual doorstep? I have. Mine came in the form of a link posted to my personal Facebook wall...

It might as well have been Christmas since I cherish memories so much, yet have an extremely difficult time hanging onto them myself. Much of my childhood and adolescence are faint wisps and only a photograph, story, or hard-wired association (such as a particular food or smell) can awaken these wisps into something more substantial. I long to remember any and all of the good, funny, amazing, goofy, ridiculous things I participated in and the following story captures a part of me I hardly remember, but now--because of this story--my brain has been able to conjure up a few more images and details to hold onto--and laugh about:

Savvy and Sage: Wiseguy Wednesday - Irrational Fish Fear: "I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot."

I am thankful to have a BFF, superfriend, bestfriend, tell-anything-to-her girlfriend, should have been my sister, better than a sister, long-time, knows-everything-there-is-to-know-about-me-and-still-loves-me friend, who remembers for me some of my most outrageous moments and tells the tale as if I were some ultra-fabulous female Byronic hero.

Now, my only hope is that I am that sort of friend in return.

The Best Pumpkin Cookie Recipe Yet Written

photography by Shannon J.

Autumn is a fabulous time to bake up some yummy, warm pumpkin cookies and that is precisely why I share this particular recipe with you now. Well, and a certain sister-in-law has been reminding me to give it to her for months now so her husband (one of my brothers) will stop bugging her to make them and they can enjoy eternal marital bliss once again...

So anyways--
My mom did not need any particular season or holiday to get her in the mood for these scrumptious delights. She continually kept on hand around 10-20 cans of pumpkin. And mind you, they were not the small cans. They had to be the chunky double-can sized cans because it was "cheaper that way". 

(Honestly, I think she just wanted to make sure she could make those cookies even if World War III broke out.)

Mom would have piles of the cake-like cookies steaming on her two large cooling racks, on the light country blue counter, making the house smell delicious

Whenever I bake these cookies, I think of home-- my mother's home she created for me, for my brothers, for all the many cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and strangers she and my father welcomed through their door. How can cookies mean so much? I don't really know, but that smell and flavor bring it all to the surface and I am standing next to her, watching her mixing the batter with her large wooden spoon, which also doubled as a bottom-whooper, and waiting for that first batch to get out of the oven. 
So for your Autumn, Thanksgiving, November, and ANY TIME pumpkin-craving enjoyment, 
I present to you:

My Thoughts Exactly

"So let it be written; so let it be done." 
~ Pharaoh (Yul Brynner, The Ten Commandments 1956)

This fortune is my motto when deciding what bit of information to chat about or photograph to share or whim to play off of when writing for this extraordinarily fabulous purple niche 
All Things Purple: the blog.

Hope you are enjoying the adventure!

A Hard Song to Hear - Adele

this song hits my heart like a brick...just sayin.

Adele - Rolling in the Deep: the music video creates a deeper sense of the song within the heart.
Watch it.


don't forget to PAUSE the music player at the bottom of the blog in order to more fully enjoy the music video being presented.