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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...

while sitting on a bench...

I was sitting on a bench under a large, old pine tree while waiting for a friend. Leaning back, I looked up through the branches, past the top, and I could see blue. It wasn't quite blue all the way really, although the blue pierced me. Piercing my eyes with too bright of light, piercing my soul with exquisite peace. My heart ached with wanting to touch radiance, wishing to be so free.  Even the woody branches seemed to beckon me from my seat.  I closed my eyes, feeling the breeze brush cold across my skin. In the next moment, the warmth of the sun kissed my cheek ever so gently, snapping me back to reality. Time could not be measured, nor is there any proof, but the memory of that lovely kiss will only be erased by tangible love's bliss.

related links:

Slice of Life Story Challenge

the short and TALL of things

Friends Share This With Friends

I cannot bring myself to move on from the topic of Autism Awareness. When pondering on what to blog about today, all I want to do is work to spread my photographic essay farther and wider than what has already occurred over this past weekend.

These children and adults need friendship. It might seem overly simplistic, but it is the truth. It can be difficult being a real friend to someone who doesn't really know how to talk or be a friend in return. It might be a challenge to apply patience and understanding with someone who freaks out on you because of some normally small problem. And by problem I mean you could be wearing an irritating color or it is windy outside or anything in between.

Hearts are broken at this very moment in homes across the globe because someone with ASD is friendless. It could be the individual or it could be members of their family because they can see how others don't reach out or want to be their family member's friend. I know my daughter is oblivious to the fact that she never gets invited to birthday parties or the movies. No one calls to come hang out with her. She is fifteen years old. She is non-violent. She loves attention. Though on the other hand, she doesn't know how to start or keep a conversation going; she has epilepsy (scary); she can't even ride a bike or swim or read on her own. What would a potential friend even do to be her true friend? I don't have the answer. I could tell you a laundry list of things I would like to have happen, but unless it comes from the heart of the giver it won't happen. It hurts too much to wish sometimes.

With awareness, sparks of courage to be that special friend can and will get lit in the hearts of typically developing people and the broken hearts will mend.

My hope for changing the world for the better, one person at a time, can only be fully realized with the help of others. Or in other words, I need YOUR help to spread the message. I am not directly connected with everyone in the entire world. It is an impossibility. But, I am connected with some people, and those people are connected to other people, and so on.

I ask those of you who read this today to please be bold and share a message that can improve the lives of the individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Please share this link today: 

WANTED: Awareness, Respect, Acceptance 

WANTED: Awareness, Respect, Acceptance

As a parent of an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I must admit how much I have grown from the life lessons dished out over the years. I know, without any doubt, I am a stronger person due to the challenges overcome, knowledge gained, and heartaches endured. ASD plays a large part in shaping my perspective due to the frustrations caused by this complicated intellectual disability.

The following photographic essay touches on one of the tenderest spots for me and most people who deal with autism, in any of its forms. The project has been geared toward school-aged teens, but is quite appropriate for any age group's viewing enjoyment.

Many thanks goes to the son of @Asperger_Mom, @SarahMPottratz, @1863_Project, @byronNME, and @AutismMumma for sharing their thoughts so freely and providing me with fuel for my inspiration.

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I ask for your help in spreading this vital message.
Please share it with everyone you know, so we will create positive change--today--in the world around us.

*For best viewing, choose full screen mode and don't forget to pause music player at the bottom end of the blog before hitting play*

Tiny Crush Auditions!

To learn more about the PTGS, follow the link: 

Goes to the Middle School Honor Band Audition in Las Vegas

photo courtesy of The Savvy Sage and Jackson Brass Studio
Thanks for joining the PTGS fun!!!

Just Talk About It

The first thought that comes to me when recalling my abuse:

I would not have been abused for as many years if I would have known that the blackmailing jerk really had nothing on me because my mom really did want to protect me and I was not the one doing bad things to people.

I encourage all parents and caregivers to talk about how to be safe from abusers with the children you love and protect. Talk to them about what they should do if anyone ever tries to or does hurt them. And be sure to spell out that it doesn't matter who it is because sometimes it is a family member or trusted friend that does the abusing. As a matter of fact, I believe abusers typically fit that description. Not always, but enough to make me shudder at the thought.

A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT brought to you with love and hope for a good society by me, The Purple Lady.

On a Whim...

i {heart} BYU
All silliness aside, I must say how grateful I am to be attending such a fine university. I am learning more than I ever thought possible! Each semester, I have faith-building experiences, grow in knowledge, and make some of the dearest friends.

I never could have imagined all the amazing adventures I would have with fellow students who don't mind and even admire me for surviving my insane, non-traditional student life. My heart is bursting with gladness for each and every person who has thought outside the box and learned to include me and be my true friend. Some of my most cherished memories with mis chicas include going to the Nutcracker Suite, a Halloween dance party, a matinee of The Magic Flute, photography sessions at the railroad tracks and school, a study session deemed as fabulous as a tea party, cleaning session at my house where no judgments were made (that I know of), fire pit parties, lovely meals after class, and countless hours of talk, talk, talking. If I had done things the supposed right way, I would not be making these priceless friends right now, so I am glad I did things a little differently.

My life is enriched and enlivened by so many unexpected friendships. They help keep a sparkle in my eye and hope in my heart that things will all work out.

Thanks, girls.

photo credit: K. Johns (one of mis chicas)

the short and TALL of things

I was walking by a basketball player on campus and a flood of thoughts came streaming through my mind:

I figured out that my brain truly believes I am taller than I actually am. Some things are all about perspective, but not this. Thinking you are tall does NOT make you so.

Anyone who sees me play any sport whatsoever will attest that I go for plays that would only be possible for someone with at least two more inches of reach. It gets frustrating for me because I am pretty competitive by nature, and the poor people I am playing with have to deal with me missing some plays they could have made if I hadn't miscalculated. I don't do it all the time, but often enough for me to be irritated that I can't seem to grasp my height and arm length.

I don't quite understand how or why I see myself as larger than I am. Maybe my spirit is bigger than my body; my gene pool fell short in representing my actual self. I will stick with this theory. It just sounds right.

One thing is for certain. Whenever I am around tall people, my brain can no longer fool me and I feel my shortness.

Related Links:

Slice of Life Story Challenge 

Wisdom in a Can

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: I {heart} purple stuff.

The Purple Stuff people don't know me and I don't know them, but somehow our universes converge on a few points. We both love purple stuff and we both know what needs to happen for life to be good:

Calm Down
Relax the Body
Focus the Mind

I have yet to try the beverage, but I like their train of thought and color choice.
Quite inspired, I must say.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

After the mournful poem yesterday, I was thinking I really need to stop writing about such negative topics. But every time I get to thinking about how I need to be more positive and write more on the positive things in life-- more stuff happens. So I started pondering on how much of what I write actually has a negative product. I believe writing a really strong poem or even any other writing genre with strong emotion helps me get some of it out and move forward. So maybe it isn't necessarily a negative thing to do. I have also been able to see how what I write speaks to people and helps them to find the words they needed to feel better and/or move on. It actually encourages me to keep writing so openly.

And let me tell you peeps-- I truly long for the day when my poems are not so dang mournful. So anyways...

My life is all kinds of crazy right now. Its title should be: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly:

The Good: Yesterday was my baby son's birthday party and that was really fun, but throwing even the simplest of parties makes life just a tad crazy.

Tiny Crush made her debut at the birthday party...more info to come

He was so happy that his aunt made him a ducky cake and his dad brought over a piñata for him and his friends. The boy's huge smile pushed aside all the storm clouds in my heavy heart. 

The Bad: I was driving my car and I heard this horribly loud banging noise; my battery light came on; the power steering's power diminished significantly; check engine light is on; and, best of all, smoke started coming from the hood. I pulled over and glanced at my sister-in-law with an obvious deer-in-the-headlights sort of look because she just says, Laura, are you okay? I was speechless for a moment. All I could think about was how bi-polar my day had been so far and how it must be time for swinging back to the dark side. 
I didn't think to take a photo of my messed up engine so the busted piñata stands as a representative.

After popping the hood, I got out armed with a junky little flashlight and proceeded to check for exploded hoses or some visible proof to explain what in the world just happened. My untrained, girly eyes could see no problem. I even checked the coolant reservoir and it was full despite the tinge of coolant scent to the steam/smoke/whatever that had been coming off the engine. So, I got back in the vehicle and we said a prayer. Not long after, a small truck pulled up behind my car. Scary, yes. It was dark on a major road out in the middle of farmland. Answer to prayers and so I felt peace, yes. The rescuer was a guy named CalDon who lives just south of me down the road and he felt inspired to stop. Between coasting as far as we could down the road and his mad towing skills, I got home safe. The tow truck came today to pick up my vehicle and I am awaiting the diagnosis. My lovely, paid off transportation might be dead or it might be fixable. Who knows? But it sure isn't going to be pretty on my pocketbook regardless of which way things go. I can hardly keep thinking about it...

The Ugly: Y'all just read the ugly yesterday. If you haven't yet, here's the link: Just Pulled Down River
In one single day, good, bad, and ugly parts resided together. I feel like I am some anomaly, yet isn't that how life is all the time? Maybe not so smashed together for such long periods of time like I have been experiencing, but all of them are part of real living. It hurts sometimes. I don't really like breaking down on the side of the road. Parties are fun, yet exhausting. But-- all these things cause me to see my blessings and all the love I do have in my life, every single day. 

So bring it on. All of it. The good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly.

just pulled down river

Just so you know—
I dreamt of you last night.
You might as well have been right beside me
as the pain in my heart aches just the same.
My eyes are just as wet from stinging tears;
My muscles remember just how to quake.
The expression of words flows out of me
just as usual--a  flooded river
of love and dread threatening to drown me.
How long will the pain continue to rise?
Should I force this heart to patiently wait?
When do I choose to sever off my arm
just to save my bleeding heart from myself?
Why is love being relentless just now?
Where can I flee? Will someone just love me
without attaching heartstrings that strangle
and bind and just about break me apart?

Just down the river without a paddle,
Just down into the bleak unknown,
Just hoping to grasp to an outstretched hand
Just waiting to love me for who I am.

Just so you know—
I mean not to hurt you.
I mean to save what I can of this heart.
There have been moments to never forget.
Some just have hurt too much to hold onto.
Our precious love was beyond amazing,
but poisoned love just pulled me down river.

What Just Happened?

That slice of cake was on FIYAH!
Last week something unique and interesting happened on Twitter. A couple of friends made up their minds that another of their friends needed to be celebrated because they missed hanging out with him. Now, I'm not talking about just any old 2-hour-long small gesture of a party type thing. These tweetie pies decided to declare a week-long Twitter holiday and hashtagged it #DaveWeek. It wouldn't be that big of a deal, except several other people became intrigued by the idea and joined in the festivities-- me included. Some of the events included dinners, a dessert rendezvous at @TheChoco, bowling, a Dave Rave, rumors of blood and bruises due to a Broom Hockey activity, and the favorite event of the entire week: going to the Utah Jazz game and all the excitement that came about from that excursion.  When asked what was the most unexpected thing about #DaveWeek, David replied,
I'm not often surprised, but this week I began to expect a new surprise around every turn, and I wasn't disappointed.
-- @downrightdave The Original Dave of #DaveWeek
A super fun aspect of #DaveWeek was when it got trending in Salt Lake City on Twitter twice due to the contributions of many fans (it actually made it to the number one spot that Monday). @plaidspolitics, @nitrojoy, and I had a little more fun than most running with it, I must say. I was even able to get the infamous David Jackson of the Nottingham Rugby team (@JackoNR) to join the celebration. He is a Dave and a super good sport, so it didn't take much encouragement. Essentially, #DaveWeek turned into a global excuse to tweet off the wall stuff and get together with old and new friends every single day, for a week.

#DaveWeek: where all your dreams come true

The reason I write about this event is because I want to savor this slice of life and how it showed me a good example of the simplicity in celebrating those we care about. We don't have to wait for a birthday or any prescribed holiday. If we see a need to show someone they are special and loved, we can just make up a reason, put a plan into action, and wahlah! You have yourself a celebration of epic proportions.

Celebrating life is a key ingredient to any heart healing process, and #DaveWeek was a celebration on hyper drive (Twitter-fueled) helping me to make several new acquaintances in an extremely short period of time. #DaveWeek reminded me that I am an adventurous, fun-loving individual who knows how to make friends and be a good friend in return. My best friend encourages me to understand these things about myself, but there's nothing as solidifying of the facts as near-complete strangers wanting to invite and join in with you just for the fun of it. 

photo credits: E. Hawks @starmile83

Thanks goes out to the creators of #DaveWeek: @lauremonoto and @starmile83. 
You two are simply amazing friends. I hope to get to know you better.

How Martin Luther King, Jr. Changed My Life

Just to get it out there—I am a white girl raised by other white people, and I love my heritage. Obviously I did not choose it, yet I do embrace all the wonderful things about my ancestry. I believe everyone should do the same, regardless of their heritage: love the good parts, set aside the rest. What I love most about the heritage I am passing on to my children is being part of a culture that accepts and cultivates a love for all people of every color, shape, size, and heritage. Although it has not always been thus, I celebrate today and its advancements in humanity and love.

While I did not live during the time that Martin Luther King, Jr. was working to break down the walls of segregation and racism, I certainly have been directly affected by the work of him and countless other civil rights activists.

I grew up in Las Vegas. Not in the South. Not in some backwoodsy place. Or so I thought.

The Hunger Games and Memorable Connections

Making memories with people has always been a crucial aspect of my life. Some memories have been so good I wish I could hold them in my hands, while others have wounded me so deeply that I am a different person due to the action-- and I can't really help it. Those negative memories are the ones I push aside and consciously look the other way when their ugly little faces pop into my recollection. I must admit that I have been able to identify with and even help countless friends, acquaintances, and strangers because of my life's memories. So, for that reason alone, I do not hold complete disdain for the bad ones. I choose to forgive, try to forget, and use the experience to serve and lift anyone who crosses my path.

In The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, many memories are made between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale. There is hunting, gathering, talking, kissing, and the thrilling, chilling Games. I wasn't sure how I would like the books prior to digging into the series, but love them I do! I have special memories of staying up late just to read more and talking with friends about the plot and mad writing skills of Suzanne Collins. Mockingjay drove people to near argument and frustration and I won't ever forget it. Reading the books is a pleasure, but I also look forward to the movie that comes out this year with anticipation.

I love many lines from all the books. Yet after reading each of them, I would say one of the most telling lines comes from page 32 of The Hunger Games:

Tell YOUR Tale in Six Words

My Six Words

I needed to write a six word memoir for my composition course, so I followed this youtube link: Six Word Memoirs by Teens to see just how it's done and got {INSPIRED}. The creative possibilities are truly endless in this genre.

Please note the credits: Smith Magazine is where teens ages 13-19 can write their memoir and possibly get it published. What a great way to get young adults thinking and writing! I just love it.

I loved it so much that I extended the possibilities to my friends, family, and new acquaintances by asking them to write their six word story:

All Things Tiny

Every so often, my children come up with ideas for All Things Purple and I just have to accommodate them. It is great fun having little assistants helping me with content. 

This tiny thing happens to be a purple octopus(just in case you couldn't tell). {D} got a mound of these itty bitty toys for Christmas and has been having the time of her life imagining, trading, and just sitting there looking at them!  In the midst of her adoration of All Things Tiny, she saw a photo opportunity, told me her idea, and we seized the day. I hope this most whimsical creature brings you a smile on this lovely Wednesday.

a new writing adventure!

In my educational adventures this semester, I am taking a teaching course on composition (yes, I know that sounds amazingly fun, doesn't it?) and was introduced to the Two Writing Teachers blog. I wasn't required to go in and dig around this fabulous blog, but I must say I had a great time doing so.  The authors, Ruth and Stacey, feature something called The Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC) every Tuesday and I am ready to begin participating!

Without Them, Life Would be Miserable

They are a gift.

The world is enlarged and magnified by them. Hope becomes easy when spending time with them. Laughing, yelling, and crying seem more valued expressions of emotion when doing so with one or more of them. Making new ones gives a thrill, filling the mind with excitement and gladness for the future they will be a part of. They turn the silliest of games into the most priceless memories. The very best stories are not complete without at least one playing a supporting role. (Speaking of stories-- butterscotch pudding, canned pasta, salt and pepper shakers, crassy knolls, youth dances, good books, homemade bread, purple and green, road trips, and late night talks will never be the same again because of one of these.) The best of them help lift you to your potential, wishing the very best for you. They are rays of sunshine breaking through the dark clouds. Life is simply more beautiful with friends.

Seeking to Become - January 2012

I have chosen two scriptures to focus on this month. The verse prior to these describes that a woman who had been suffering from a physical ailment had come up from behind Jesus and touched his garment.

 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
 {Matthew 9:21-22}

This situation is not set apart as an example only to women or people with physical ailment. The words of Christ and the works of his earthly ministry can be applied liberally to every person and circumstance.

Word of the Year: Broken

image by The Savvy Sage

If I had to choose just one word to describe 2011, it would be broken. The entire year was spent examining broken down parts of my life and seeing what might be done to fix them. Several broken aspects will not be mended; they are broken beyond repair. Yet, many of the dysfunctional and seemingly broken areas were looked at, broken down into more manageable parts, and rebuilt in new, more practical ways.

How the Infatuation Began

From time to time, people ask me when and how my absolute love of purple came to fruition. Well, as with most things, I have a story about that.

I was between the ages of 7-9, and up to that point, I had been the most pinkalicious girl anyone had ever met; Cotton candy pink, for clothes, shoes, books, doll clothes, bubble gum, etc., was my shade of preference. One day, while driving in our big white van with my mom, an aunt, and some girl cousins, everyone got talking about favorite colors. I said pink instinctively. Then I proceeded to hear my aunt say she liked purple, and a cousin just younger than me repeated, like a little parrot, what my aunt had said. There really wasn't anything else to the conversation, that I can recall, although I was changed forever.

Until that moment, I had never considered admiring or perhaps loving any other color. Then and there the seed of the love of all things purple was planted. I saw how some tints of purple were nearly pink. I began to notice how fabulous the Bubble Yum grape flavor tasted to me. All of a sudden, lilacs and lavender were beyond beautiful. Purple really came into sharp focus for me the summer I heard about The Purple Lady of Santa Maria

From then on, I was officially enchanted and never looked back.

The Hidden Thing: a very short story

Searching and searching as they trample about the house. Where could it have rolled off to? Where could it have gone? Frantic and feverishly, the young mother crawls under, in, and around the furniture pieces. Daddy brings in the Big Guns (aka the vacuum cleaner), powers it up, and commences with drawing out every ball of dust and broken crayon from even the very smallest of cracks and crannies. This elusive hidden thing will not be found; refuses to be found; or rather, cannot be found. Chaos heightens to the highest of heights as the shrieking becomes utterly intolerable. The noise coming from the child begins to break the sanity of the very structure of the house.

And then-- I found it!!!
Peace reigns once again.

The End.

Poetry Challenge: An Unstructured Poem

My Big Fat Mouth

Sometimes—I wish I could lay it all out on the table.
All my troubles.
All my opinions.
All my elation.

Then, I start to think about the implications,
and it stops me from saying anything at all—sometimes.

Will there ever be a time of peace for me? 
Before I die. 
I do not know. 

Will there be someone who finds me irreplaceable?
And shows it...

Will there ever be that kiss making me want to stop talking?

Just when I think I know my own worth,
I think about living a companion-less life.
And my heart jumps into my throat
nearly strangling me with tears
And fears

Why does validation come from someone else?

Why am I so weak?

I wish I didn't need to talk so much 
when my heart hurts
I feel like I burden everyone around me
when I let my big, fat mouth run

running like a leaky faucet 
pleading to be shut off

*This piece of writing is dedicated to my superfriend, BFF, best friend Melissa. I hope I was able to scratch the surface of the lofty goal of writing a poem unbound by rules and expectations.  

**It is also dedicated to anyone who has been kind enough to (happily) put up with the ever-running motor of my mouth.

Related Link:

A Bit of Small Talk