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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...

interface between hearts

Be mine, and I'll be yours for eternity

The words seem to come so easily
Naturally beautiful, hopefully achievable

And to what end will it all come?
Will there ever be someone to love me?
To be loved for who I am--a wish and a dream

A heart packed tight
With love and laughter
And heartache and baggage
The things that make a life lived with passion

Holding on for love hurts now
Holding out for another possibly broken dream
But still, not just anyone but a special someone will do
With heart and humor and something more
A desire to lead and love and listen and stay

Oh, this tender, loving, beating heart
So desiring to find a darling someone
Becoming friends with everyone
And no one all at the same time
The distance is imperceivable to most
Yet tangible to anyone who knew her before

Wading through the blinding fog
Putting out one hand to feel
To see if there might be a daring love waiting
Worthy of her divine destiny
Wishing with one eye open
For someone with whom to intertwine
Her careworn hands and tattered heart

Wound too tight with no reprieve
It is too much
The dreams bite and sting
Wishes cut like knives
Tears burn yet cleanse
A heart full of love
With no one to hold
No one wants to be mine

Sweet Slice of Mine

I have a confession to make. From the very first time I ever heard of the Slice of Life Story Challenge up to this very moment, it makes me think about food.  That first time, I think it was a slice of pumpkin pie that I envisioned. I totally had to laugh at myself a bit, but as time has gone by and I still get a mental picture of some sweet treat as I read the words slice of life, I have to accept that the phrase equates with sweetness for me.

Whenever I am just getting ready to write a slice of life, flashes of pies, cakes, and all sorts of delicious treats dart through my mind's eye. One good thing is that it is only a flash, and then I am able to think straight and get to writing. That couple of seconds is quite tempting though. I'm surprised at my self restraint for not writing only about sweet treats each week, or better yet, I am really surprised that eating desserts as part of my slice writing routine hasn't become a thing. 

Making a connection between slices of desserts and the windows into daily life that we call slices isn't too much a stretch though. If nothing else, this natural association proves to me to what depth my mind thinks along poetical/metaphorical/symbolic pathways. We all know that life is not always sweet. That is not what I'm trying to say. 

For many people, like myself, dessert would be considered a viable main course option if it weren't a terribly unhealthy way to nourish our bodies. I grew up in a home where treats were homemade and imported from stores by the mound. Besides the staple sweet breads, cookies, and other baked goods, my mom made the most delightful divinity and peanut brittle when I was really young, before her life became too hectic to take the time for that stuff. Her divinity was so good that even though I haven't had her version in over twenty years, nothing can compare. And let's not get me started on See's candies. Dude. I love that stuff. And I make a delectable pumpkin pie (that's the one I saw in my flash of a dream that first day of slicing). I could go on forever about desserts; I only wish it weren't so bad for our bodies to indulge in these lovely sweets with our meals more often. Alas, partaking of sweets too much and too often is unhealthy, but that is possibly what makes them so very good. We always want more of what we can't have.

And that is where life ties in with desserts. At a glance, it would be a dream come true if all we ever had were trips to Disneyland and ice cream, cakes, and bon bons while watching favorite movies on a purple chaise lounge in the softest satin night gown with a gentle bre... Wait. Excuse my sweet reverie there for a sec. I mean, wouldn't it be great if we didn't have any of those unsavory problems that keep us from eating those bon bons on a chaise lounge? I don't think so. Call me crazy, but I think the lessons we learn from the every day meat of life--problems, trials, learning curves, etc.--are the most nourishing to our souls. That doesn't mean our problems are the best part of life, no. Yet, it does mean that the happy times are made all the sweeter when we are able to partake of them. 

Not all of my slices of life are of the sweet variety, but because I choose to write about that moment in time or aspect of life, it provides an opportunity to go back and savor either the actual slice or the lesson which taught me something delicious. Whenever I think about all the heartbreak I've had the pleasure of writing about, I realize that the sadness helps me enjoy smaller kindnesses than I used to. I took many little things for granted since they were just part of life. By taking a slice out and setting it on a plate for all to read, we are inviting others to stop taking for granted the little things and really enjoy it. 

It is safe to say that the slices of our lives are the best parts of our existence; therefore, pass me one of those cupcakes over there. 

Seeking to Become - September 2013

I want to take a different approach on Seeking to Become this month. Over the past several weeks, I have been reflecting on what I might convey to you as I seek out learning for myself. The passages in Ruth of the Holy Bible have been pulling at me for a long time now, but I hesitated to step outside the box I created for this spiritual endeavor. But then I realized something--I had created a box. It was intentional at first because I needed a way to organize a series from scratch. However, I now can see some fresh approaches to the series which will still achieve my goal.

As I said before, I have been making a close study of the book of Ruth. It is not very long, so it doesn't take much time to read the entire section, leaving time to reflect on its entirety. I came away with a few perspectives on how to become more like Christ through Naomi and Ruth's experience. 

First, Naomi openly communicates with her daughters-in-law because she loves them enough to set them free and choose their life for themselves (Ruth 1:8-9). This example clearly can be seen in Christ's life. He offered us God's plan of salvation because he loves us. We are here now because we chose and we are free to choose the path back to our Father in Heaven. 

Next, we see the picture of family loyalty in Ruth. This is not say that Orpah was disloyal; no, she wept and did not concede to return to her family until persuaded a second time, and Orpah's departure was with a sad heart (Ruth 1:10-14). But, Ruth's connection with Naomi went deeper.

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God... (Ruth 1:16)
How many of us are this loyal to our family members? Let alone in-laws or other extended family? Yet, as I read Ruth's words, I feel her testify to me that this depth of love is what God would have me strive for. To be so trusting of the "other" in our life, the new ways which are foreign to us, is how we can become more like Christ. We must seek out righteous living, cultivating new and lasting bonds of love and kinship amongst ourselves that we might strengthen one another in our moments of weakness.

Naomi was weak and full of sorrow. She could not see how someone would want to be near her and love her when so much had been taken away. But because of Ruth's loyal perseverance, Naomi and Ruth are both blessed with what they need to be happy and well.

I learn from the book of Ruth that sometimes we are like Naomi, feeling like all is lost and no one could possibly care for us, that we are only bringing everyone down. I also learn that we can be like Ruth, looking past the problems, realizing that we are needed, and having trust in those who love us will lead us to blessings. One of the most beautiful promises of reward for seeking to trust is found in Ruth 2:12--

The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

As this month continues on, I want to seek ways to trust and love with deep loyalty. I want to be under the Lord's wings of protection. 

Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash Wrap Up

It is that time again when the fun must end and life continues on. The past week and half flew by for me. I have been getting the goodies all saved up for a few months now, only for it to be over within the blink of an eye. But isn't that just how things go? Anticipation, preparation, and execution of plans, and then BOOM! it's all over. But we do what we do because it is worth it, right? My love for getting people together amidst all the craziness of our lives is what keeps me planning parties, traditional as well as these ever festive online half-birthday bashes.

I can't say it enough: I really am so grateful to have an audience--YOU--to write to and share my world. Every day that passes on here, I am able to realize more dreams turning into reality. And I owe it all to you. That is the author life though. Without readers, there is no one to share my work with. Thank you for being part of my transition from writer to author.

I would also like to give a big thank you to all the sponsors of prizes. Silver Spoon Catering has been a contributor for all three half-birthday bashes, and so Darcy deserves and extra big thank you for seeing my potential and riding it out with me. Next, we have Shannon, author of The Luckiest who is a second time sponsor. I hope you will take a minute to visit her blog. You will make fast friends with her if you do. And then we have my friend, Kat, who contributed the amethyst healing crystal. It feels good to have a vote of confidence from your friends. I'm so glad she could be part of this year's festivities. Lastly, the folks at Shadow Mountain who entrust me with the privilege of being a book reviewer for them were the fine sponsors of the books giveaways. I feel very fortunate to review books for them and be enabled to offer a copy of those titles to one of you. This little perk makes life more fun, in my opinion. Win or lose, I hope you will show thanks to these donors of fun things by stopping by their websites for a visit or two.

So onto the business part of the party.

All of the raffles will end Sunday evening, so I hope you take these last hours to share the fun and take advantage of the tweet option to get in more last minute entries to win. Winners will be selected within 48 hours of the raffles closing, and each raffle will have the winner announced on the Rafflecopter widget on each individual posting so that the winner and everyone else can see who won. Winners will be notified via Twitter, Facebook, or email, whichever I choose, but if you see that you have won and have not been contacted, please contact me! You can leave a comment on the giveaway day you won or drop a line on Facebook or Twitter to flag me down.

Thank you for showing up for the party. It is always a great pleasure for me to highlight some fabulous finds/friends while handing out gifts, especially with such a large group! World wide parties are quite a lot of fun. I look forward to the half-birthday tradition on All Things Purple ever since I brainstormed the very first one. So, here's to next year!

To make things simple for you to share the love and make last minute entries, here is the week in review:

Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash Introduction









Curse of the Broomstaff: Takes Out the Trash

On the seventh day of the Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash, I give to you a review of Tyler Whitesides' Janitors: Curse of the Broomstaff (book three) and a giveaway for a box set of the Janitors series.

Curse of the Broomstaff (Janitors, #3)Curse of the Broomstaff by Tyler Whitesides

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Janitors series is a fun set of youth literature that is still very readable for the seasoned adult audience. High adventure is found lurking within these pages situated within the rugged terrain navigated by students, adults, but the best part is the janitors.

There is something to be said for the unsung heroes who keep our schools clean by battling the daily grunge. The lead characters, Spencer and Daisy, lead the Rebels to meet the Glop with destruction. The cover art is as intriguing as the tale, with each chapter taking you around new corners. This finale to the series is a triumph over trash, making it perfection.

Young people will enjoy diving into this unearthly realm. Trash and all.

View all my reviews

Drawing Out the Dragons: Rejuvenating

For Day Six of the Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash, you will have the pleasure of a review and giveaway for Drawing Out the Dragons, by James A. Owen.

Drawing Out the DragonsDrawing Out the Dragons by James A Owen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Most of the books I read lately are either fiction or of the textbook variety, so you can imagine my surprise to come across an opportunity to review something fresh and new.

Drawing Out the Dragons is an intriguing biography of sorts that inspires. It has quotes from many world figures and pieces of the author's journey to become the writer he is today.

I kept putting myself in the author's shoes and thinking how I just need to hang on a bit longer for the right stuff to come along. Owen does not paint a perfect picture, but he does show us the power of perseverance and setting goals you work hard to achieve. I came away from reading his life sketch rejuvenated and motivated to reach my dreams.

I hope you will give Drawing Out the Dragons a read. It will surprise and delight you.

View all my reviews

Please enter the raffle for a chance to win a copy of Drawing Out the Dragons, by James A. Owen

The Luckiest: a good read

Day Five of the Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash is brought to by the generosity of the author of the fledgling blog, The Luckiest. Shannon came on board the half-birthday boat last year, before she had a blog to link to, before she was able to get the courage up to write her words for ALL to see. And now, she needs you to go discover her well-kept secret of a blog waiting to be read by many. She writes about home and family, baking, writing, and whatever else suits her fancy. Head on over and take a peek.

In celebration of this purple blog making it into its toddler stages, Shannon has offered a location-specific prize, for the LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN AREA ONLY, of two dozen of the best pumpkin cookies ever.

Please enter for your chance to win, and don't forget to hop over to her blogsite http://luckbethislady.blogspot.com/.

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A slice of half-birthday cake?

As I take a brief breath to recognize this slice of life, I find myself in the midst of a grand mess. I am supposedly celebrating my blog's third half-birthday while recovering terribly from a tonsillectomy while boldly taking full-time university credits while blindly yet daringly being a super single mom to four children while "patiently" continuing to wrap up an allegedly already decided divorce. To me, that just sounds like way too much going on for one person. And yet, here I am doing it. Actually, it doesn't sound quite so bad written in such a neat little package, but trust me--there are some seriously bad days. Like last week, for instance.

I have been slicing every single Tuesday for over a year. I'm pretty sure it will be two years in January. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Well, it would have been almost two years straight if I hadn't forgotten last week. I spent last Tuesday struggling to juggle my heavy load of coursework, kids, and preparations for surgery. I was so busy that I hadn't even thought of writing my slice at all--until 1 a.m. technically on Wednesday morning. I felt a twinge of disappointment because I had set a goal for myself to always take time to slice, but my pure exhaustion overcame me, and won. I don't feel too badly about it a week later, but it did highlight my limitations for me: no one can do everything, especially not all at once. And I am decidedly okay with that.

So anyways, I did mention a certain blog's half-birthday celebration happening right now. It has been going on since Friday the 13th and will continue adding new things throughout this week, with all the giveaways closing this Sunday night. There are books and treats and even a healing crystal for this half-birthday bash's party gifts, so I hope you will take a minute to celebrate this occasion with me and enter to win some lovely things.

The party thus far:

Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash

Blackmoore Review and Giveaway

Cragbridge Hall: The Inventor's Secret Review and Giveaway

Amethyst Healing Crystal Giveaway

Gourmet Cupcake Giveaway -- NORTHERN UTAH ONLY

Upcoming Fun:

The Best Pumpkin Cookies Yet Made Giveaway -- LAS VEGAS METRO AREA ONLY

Drawing Out the Dragons Review and Giveaway

The Janitors trilogy (including the brand-new Curse of the Broomstaff) Review and Boxed-set Giveaway

Silver Spoon Catering: Delish!

Cupcakes in photograph by Chef Darcy

I have one contributor to my half-birthday whims who has been here each of the three years now. She went by just Darcy before, but has decided to put her accredited chef's hat back on, so please be sure to remember it's now Chef Darcy of Silver Spoon Catering located in Northern Utah. She has an eye for elegance, a knack for the whimsical, and a truly artistic hand. I can personally vouch for her excellent skill level in making perfectly tasty meals on the family level, catering, cakes (from birthdays to formal weddings), cupcakes to die for, and many other delicious dishes and treats.

I am truly grateful for the continual support Chef Darcy gives my creative endeavors by sharing her own creative talents. It is a pleasure for me to have this opportunity to point you in her direction, and I hope you will take a bit of your time to check out what she has to offer.

If you want to treat your guests (or yourself) to something truly delightful, you'll want to bookmark her blogsite http://chefdarcysilverspooncatering.blogspot.com/ so you can catch up on her goings on, place an order, or book a catered event.

In celebration of Day 4 of the Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash, you have the chance to win (1) custom order of one dozen gourmet cupcakes by Chef Darcy.

PLEASE DO NOT ENTER UNLESS YOU LIVE IN SALT LAKE OR UTAH COUNTY.  This prize is location specific and cannot be shipped.

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Friendship's Binding Ties

I have this friend and her name is Kat. It wasn't always Kat, but as time goes by, I become more accustomed to her transformative name.

We met at Video Park, like Denise and I (related link from 2011 Half-Birthday Bash). However, one of the big differences in my friendship with Kat is that we used to go gallivanting around town together in the middle of the night. Now that I think of it, gallivanting is a generous word to describe what we did--quite the euphemism. But anyways! We became so close, but then, life split our paths in two.

Since our younger years, she has become a mother and a bona fide chef, and despite the many years without contact, Kat wants to share the purple love with you in honor of my blog's half-birthday. I feel so honored to have her support for my writing and purple shenanigans. It means the world to me.

So for Day 3 of the Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash, you are invited to enter for a chance to win an amethyst healing crystal, as pictured below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cragbridge Hall, The Inventor's Secret: Innovative

 For Day Two of our Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash, I hope you will enjoy this review and giveaway of Cragbridge Hall, book 1: The Inventor's Secret.

Cragbridge Hall, Book 1: The Inventor's SecretCragbridge Hall, Book 1: The Inventor's Secret by Chad  Morris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first book in a series has the heavy responsibility of introducing an entire world of characters and, sometimes, a literally new world to us. In The Inventor's Secret, Chad Morris is able to hook the reader with the quirkiness of Abby, not so unique genius of her twin brother, Derick, and a secret-laden plot that twists and turns in unexpected directions for these two teenagers.

My favorite aspect of The Inventor's Secret:  The ability to learn from the past by literally going there to seek knowledge and solutions. In today's world we might not be able to literally go between past and present, yet we can make a study of the past in order to solve some of the challenges we face now.

The story draws upon fantasy, historical facts, and futuristic (on the brink of dystopian) reading interests. Because of this fact, I recommend the first Cragbridge Hall book to lovers of all these areas, ages 10 and up.

As an adult reader, I was pulled into the innovative concepts and found it a very entertaining read. The sequels can't come soon enough, for I am curious to see what the author will bring to the table next time.

View all my reviews

Blackmoore: Intriguingly Beautiful

Our first day of the Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash will be celebrated with a review and giveaway of Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson. 

Blackmoore: A Proper RomanceBlackmoore: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Edenbrooke, I thought there could never be any other novel as perfectly lovely. But I repent the notion. To limit the artistry and glorious writing talents of Julianne Donaldson was an error.

Blackmoore is completely detached from the storyline of Edenbrooke, yet Donaldson captures that element of magical delight present in her first feat of writerly greatness and places it within the heart of every character, scene, and plot advancement found in her new love, Blackmoore. There is everything a reader could want--adventure, intrigue, and romance which unfolds beautifully sans any hint of explicit sensuality.

One of my many favorite quotes comes from the words of Henry to Kate:
"I wonder what you will do with your wings once you have found them. I wonder how far away they will take you..."

Blackmoore will stand on its own as the best romance novel for 2013. Get to reading it, and spread the word.

Related links:
Edenbrooke Review: Part 1
Edenbrooke Review: Part 2

View all my reviews

I cordially invite you to enter for the chance to win a copy of Blackmoore!

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Third Annual Half-Birthday Bash

September marks the half-birthday for All Things Purple. I can't tell you how quickly the past 2 1/2 years have flown by. It is astonishing. What is most surprising to me is how far I've been able to take my purple whims and a few words.

In honor of this occasion, I will divulge some funtastic stats for your reading pleasure. Be impressed--or not--I know I am. I never thought I would get as far as I have in so short a time without buying my way in (otherwise known as selling out, in my opinion). In all reality, I know the numbers aren't what most people call impressive, but I want to acknowledge each and every single one because each and every person who supports me in this creative adventure makes me feel like I can keep reaching for more.

Twitter Followers @th_purpl_lady 1329 @purplebyline 278

Facebook Fan Page Likes 683

Pinterest Followers 237

Instagram Followers 172

Google Friend Connect Followers 134

Total Page Views as of publication 76,104

So now to the really excellent part of this half-birthday adventure--the celebratory giveaways!

Day 1: (1) copy of Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson
Day 2: (1) copy of The Inventor's Secret, by Chad Morris
Day 3: (1) Amethyst healing crystal, courtesy of a dear friend, Kat
Day 4: (1) dozen gourmet cupcakes, courtesy of Silver Spoon Catering (Northern Utah ONLY)
Day 5: (2) dozen The Best Pumpkin Cookies ever, courtesy of The Luckiest blog (Las Vegas Metropolitan area ONLY)
Day 6: (1) copy of Drawing Out the Dragons, by James A. Owen
Day 7: (1) boxed set of The Janitors series (including the newest addition, Curse of the Broomstaff), by Tyler Whitesides

I feel so blessed to have so many great gifts to send your way. Keep a watch for when the blogs hit the "stands", and enter, comment, share, and most of all, know that I am grateful that you are here in this online community of loving support, with me.


sunshine in winter

If only I could have bottled up the sunshine
You gave me so long ago now that the faintness
Of the memory is but a whisper
In the darkness which now crowds in
Joining with the worry
Sick companions in a tangled tango
I will never make a permanent connection
There will be no abiding love for me
The bonds are never strong enough
For anyone to see through
To the heart of me
And recognize the treasure
Which lies within
Always skimming the surface
Unwilling to embrace my effervescence
Looking back on the sunshine
Only for warmth against the cold winter days

musing on rope

Sometimes I think life is never going to change, that I will always be like a tied up, captured animal, but I've been noticing something about myself. Things are changing, even unraveling in a positive way. I'm getting stronger every day. I'm beginning to make it through this tug o' war existence without completely falling apart emotionally when my hands are tied and there's seemingly nothing I can to do break free. I am taking control of the the split ends and mending what I can. The only problem is that there seems to always be a good strong tug back in the wrong direction just when I think everything will begin to be different. Now that I see how things are becoming different despite outside forces, I want to sever the rope for good, and even though it seems to be moving along as with the use of a butter knife, I will succeed.

the ticking of the clock

He talks back for the thousandth time, but it gets ignored (this time) because it's just not worth it right now. The clock's ticking by like it's racing against itself, and next thing he knows, there is no time left. The mad dash for socks and shoes pushes him into impatience and frustration. There is no time left for wasting. Hair, his hair, is a wild mess, and, remembering the day before, he asks for help in a gentlemanly manner to ensure help will happen. Socks! Still can't find socks. Well, he can find some, but not the ones he wants. The long socks are flung at him because the time has passed for leaving.

And then, he's ready. He leaves, walking briskly to the bus as she waves goodbye from the porch. Realizing these days as well as the better ones are numbered, she must treasure even these. Because the clock is ticking, there's no time left for wasting.