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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...

Top Ten Readers' Choice 2013

Another year gone by and I still have barely a clue as to what I'm doing here. We seem to have a pretty good racket going on though: I write. You read. We share. 

Without all of your encouragement, I might have quit writing at a few points during this past year. I seriously owe each one of you—whether you comment or not—for showing up to read and share what I have to offer. My confidence as a writer continues to wax stronger every day because of you. Thank you for being a part of this dynamic year of red, blue, and the ever-present purple moments. 

Without further ado, I give you the All Things Purple: Top Ten Readers' Choice 2013: 

Honorable Mention: PURPLE: An Acrostic Poem

All 52 Gems of Reflection

This year I have enjoyed writing from some of the journal prompts that my mother had saved. At first, I kept it regularly scheduled, but then—I fell apart a bit. School, children, an everlasting divorce, and just life happened in full force. But I still did it for the entire year, and it feels amazing to have created a year-long tribute to my mother. With the year's passing, I am made keenly aware that it has now been over ten years since she died. So much has gone on during this time. It leads me to hope that she is watching over us all and knows of my struggles and triumphs. I hope that when we meet again, we will only need to knowingly smile and then hug for half of a year.

One last thing, thank you for all of your support by reading and sharing my writing. You make my world go 'round, and I won't ever forget it.


52 Gems of Reflection Collection

1. Introduction
2. Life Lessons
3. Bring It On!
4. Every Single One 
5. Aunts and Uncles
6. Colorful Flooring
7. Ten Very Important Things
8. Movies, Pirates, and Singing
9. Fried Chicken Picnics
10. To Good Health
11. To Be Worthwhile
12. Friend Exposé
13. My Most Valuable Gems
14. How to Love
15. My Baptism Day
16. A Confessional
17. The Dark
18. Purple is Always Part of the Answer
19. Answers to Prayers
20. Chores
21. My Education
22. Christmas Trees and Other Things
23. Significantly Random
24. The Best Half Birthday of All Time
25. I Was a Quitter
26. Church Service
27. More Than a House
28. Journey of a Lifetime
29. Television: My Gateway Drug to Becoming a Fangirl
30. Overcoming Negativity
31. Family
32. Just Joy
33. A Sweet Dream
34. Christmas Music
35. Dirt Clods and Board Games
36. Elusive and Beautiful
37. Uniquely Talented
38. Healthy Living
39. Snow!
40. Books and More Books
41. Game Playing
42. Memories of Childhood Friends
43. The Present
44. A Good Kiss Makes Everything Special
45. Memories of San Francisco
46. A Philosophy of Faith
47. Family By Choice
48. A Lasting Bond
49. Piles of Friends
50. Jobs
51. Thoughts on School
52. Forever Love

not holding my breath

Holding one's breath is exhausting
Time flits past me as I watch it flee
Past me with all the wishes it once held
Like a thief, I steal my own goals from me
By sitting back, overwhelmed, left wanting
Always waiting for another corner to be turned
What will it take for the past to be laid to rest
Upon the future's back, it rides and collides
With the new dreams I would like to dream
Running away from everything and nothing
Nothing more to be said but that I wish
I wish for an everlasting love to find me
And never leave—lasting through eternity

Seeking to Become - December 2013

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 
3 John 1:11 
In my quest to become more like the Savior, I have come to know that joy is part of it. God wants us to be happy and find the joy that is to be had in life. Sometimes I allow myself to look past the positive things—the blessings—and I focus on everything that is going wrong in my life. But that is not the Lord's way. The truth about my life is that it has its challenges just like everyone else's lives. It can be difficult to face some of those challenges. However, for every challenge, a blessing of equal or greater measure is in force in my life. For me to have joy, I need to keep myself from losing sight of the truth. If I walk in truth, not only will I have joy as a result, but the Lord will have joy in my choices as well.

As we face the close of another year, I hope you will join me in striving to walk in truth that we might increase the joy in our lives.

crash and burn

The high was too much.
She didn't know what to do
With feeling success.
Time had passed for too long
Since the race to catch up
Had time enough to stop.
Even for a moment
She could not allow contentment
To take root within her heart.
Because success did not come
In the form she had wished
She never let any version
Give satisfaction or peace.
Defining her self
With one flicker of time
Like a lovesick fool.
Crashed into a dead end
Of dreams that never will be.
Burned up on the inside
With darkest disappointment.

forever love


I can't think of a better way to finish up this year-long writing challenge honoring my mother than by writing about one of the most special days of her life. Some of what I share with you might not be accurate because both of my parents are gone now and I can't ask the only authorities on the subject. However, I will do my best to share only what I believe is true.

My mom's sister made her wedding dress. It was a fitted dress with a high waist and a blue ribbon. It was very 1970s to be sure, and she pulled it off beautifully. My mom was a very talented seamstress, so I'm not sure why her sister made it. I'm thinking it was due to time and my aunt wanting to do something nice for my mom.

The wedding was simple. My parents were married in her parents' home on Sandy Lane with close friends and family in attendance. Since my grandpa is a baker by profession, he made the wedding cake. It had daisies on it from what I can tell in photographs.

One year later, my parents were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple, making the marriage one that would be bound into eternity. I'm thankful for their example of fortitude, forgiveness, and love. I would not be who I am today without their decision to marry and stick with it through better and worse.

And to have such a lovely mother has been a treasure I carry with me, in my heart, always.

thoughts on school


I don't know if I should talk about such a sore subject right now. Just kidding. But seriously, I have hardly been out of school for my entire existence, so I don't really know how I feel.

I loved elementary school. Junior high was full of adventure and hard times. High school was a period of hardship, discovery, and even more adventures. My college phase was split between young single adult issues and young mother issues. And now my university experience has been fraught with marital strife and burgeoning with exponential learning.

As I reflect on my school experience as a whole, I see how everything has always had balance to it. I might not have been able to see how everything balanced out at the time—and I struggle currently to see it all—but school has always provided a facet of consistent balance in my life. I feel at home when I am learning new things at school.

Maybe that's why I'm crazy enough to want to be a teacher.



I haven't had very many jobs compared to some people, but here goes. Don't laugh.

Miller's Outpost, where I learned to fold t-shirts the right way; Mervyns, temporary second job; Wet Seal, when I thought I was a hottie and wanted a job to prove it; Villa Pizza, waitress; Coffee Beanery, store opener and where I became addicted to coffee; California Hotel, credit giver and take away-er; babysitter; crossing guard; and, saving the best for last, stay at home mom

I'm currently working on adding freelance editor, published author, and English teacher extraordinaire to the list.

piles of friends


Wow. I don't even know how to get started on this list! I have many people I consider my friends now. Maybe I'm too generous in my definition of what a friend looks like, but I don't think that's a negative thing.

All of these piles of friends I've got are important to me because I know that each one of them has been guided to me. The love and care I am given by every person adds up to blessings immeasurable. I can hardly think about all the love and support I've been given by friends without crying. I could not ask for more. And my gratitude exceeds my ability to express it. I have been given so much.

a lasting bond


It might sound ridiculous coming from a divorced woman, but I would like to share my firm belief in the importance of marriage.

To begin, I will define marriage as a loving, committed relationship between a man and woman. Mine did not last, but I did my best to be loving and committed until I realized that I needed to get away for my own good. That might not make sense to you, but it does to me—unfortunately.

I know that a lasting marriage is possible; I've seen them in real life. My best friend has one. My parents had one. And there are many other people out there who have been able to somehow find someone to share a true marriage bond with. Therefore, I continue to hope for someone special to come my way who will reciprocate love and acceptance—and want to do what it takes to stay.

watching for the dawn

Dawning of a new day effortlessly arrives
With nothing to do but wait for someone to cast its light upon
To touch, an honest enticement to create more from each chance
Repeating old habits, holding onto hate, strangling the future
Crave effort beyond the reach of fingertips
Our hearts beckon, invite to begin anew
Pathways well-worn ache for a break in this monotony
Taste with me the adventure in tomorrow's dawn
As sunlight's rays strive to melt away the ice
Trickling onto our faces like tears—for joy and for pain
Happy glimmers of the past can light our way brightly
Forge a footpath beside me; make this day's dawn truly new
Set aside the brokenness and hurt within your soul
Let each piece find its own way, and come walk with me at peace

family by choice


I'm not really into favoritism and never really have been, so I don't like this writing prompt very much. Instead of splitting hairs over a bunch of people who all do or should love me, I will make a short list of special memories I have with a few of the ones who have come to our family by choice.

1. Aunt Sherrie (wife of Sam)
I won't ever forget her french braiding my hair before we all piled in the car to head over to Disneyland. To this day, that memory is called to the front of my mind when I see my Aunt Sherrie.

2. Uncle Chris (husband of Marilyn)
Until I moved closer to my Aunt Marilyn, I never really knew Uncle Chris. But I have grown to truly love and admire him for his disinterested kindness and unassuming sense of humor since being around their family more.

3. Aunt Pat (wife of Bill)
When I was really young, I remember sitting in my aunt and uncle's kitchen in the morning after a sleepover with my cousin Melinda. Aunt Pat was cooking up something that I thought was cream of wheat, but when she served it I was thrown off by the different texture and flavor. When I think of my Aunt Pat, I think of grits with warm butter and loving kindness.

4. Aunt Ellen (wife of Ben)
I've never felt so loved and accepted by any other aunt who I've seen so little of. Every time I am with my Aunt Ellen, she makes me feel important, respected, and loved.

There are more special memories of aunts and uncles. I'm truly blessed to have so many aunts and uncles who love me.

Related links:

aunts and uncles


family: it's what's for dinner

a philosophy of faith


Death often comes with at least a touch of fear, but I do not fear death itself. I fear leaving my children while they still need me and I do not have my affairs in order. However, my faith in God tells me that He will not allow me to leave this existence until they would be taken care of by someone who would watch over them or they are old enough to be on their own and ready.

I have lost enough loved ones to know that my faith is grounded in truth. It never feels good to lose a loved one because we miss them. We mourn with bitter tears because our faith is tested to the brink. I know. Every day that I don't have my own mother here to call on the phone or get a hug or even receive chastisement from I am tested. Yet, somehow I know that it will all be okay and that she did not leave a moment too soon. It was her time. In my lingering grief, I know she needed to go so I could finish growing up.

Death is the parting of the body and soul in a temporary separation until Christ's Second Coming. Until then, I will cling to my hope of happy reunion with my parents and all the loved ones I've met and those who have long since passed on that I will meet when we are brought together once this earthly veil is lifted from my eyes. It will be a time of learning and loving and knowing. I look forward to eternal life.

I'd like to share a video with you. I was introduced to this song shortly after my mother passed away, so it holds a special place in my heart and always will. It seems to capture all the hopes and dreams my mother had for me, while also whispering to me that we will be together again.

And so you know, I can't ever hear this song without crying. I will miss hearing my mother's voice and feeling her kind and loving arms around me every day until we are reunited in the after-life.

related links:

missing her and waiting

ten years ago today

light now dimmed

my hope for eternity

heaven sent

memories of San Francisco


This prompt is loaded with an assumption that I want to talk about my married years that have already occurred. I really don't feel like reminiscing on that period of my life just yet. But, in the interest of posterity, I will share a memory.

It was over a decade ago and we were headed to San Francisco. I grew up loving that city. My parents took my brothers and me on a family trip there. That's when I fell in love with riding trolleys and looking out across the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. Trips to San Francisco for a couple of choir competitions in high school sealed the deal though. There is nothing quite like being set loose with a handful of great friends in an amazing place. My only regret from my high school trips is that I didn't kiss anyone in San Francisco. I guess that might be why I still needed to go back.

We went for a three-day weekend. First thing off the plane and in the hotel room was unmentionable, then we hit up Chinatown for some delicious lunch, choosing the most randomly authentic looking Chinese restaurant we could find. And it was perfection. By the time we finished eating, it was raining, but that didn't stop us from our exploration. We walked all over the place, heading to Fisherman's Wharf and the beach, and then at nightfall, we were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot. I did not account for the rocking, and it freaked me out! We were almost halfway across when I realized how far up I was, over the ocean, on a manmade contraption, and my little children were at home, far away, without their mother. And to top it all off—it was windy. I became frozen with fear that I would fall somehow and became irrational. I was crying and so upset that he had to hold me really close and walk me back to firm ground. Just thinking about it now makes me feel like a big baby, but whatever. We caught a trolley back to downtown and found a hole in the wall pizza place that had the best New York style pizza I've ever had. When I ordered a slice of plain cheese, they handed me a fourth of a pizza on a plate. Good thing I was hungry, because I would have eaten it all even if I hadn't been so hungry.

So anyways. It was a fantastic trip, and I will admit it wasn't too painful to think about it all. I do hope to go back to San Francisco under new circumstances some day. My only regrets now for San Francisco are that I haven't been to the opera and Alcatraz. And I might even try walking across the bridge but only in broad daylight.

Christmas Traditions: Stories and Ornaments

Christmas is my favorite holiday for a few reasons. Foremost, I'm Christian and it's the holiday celebrating Christ's birth. Second, my family culture growing up had many special traditions that revolved around Christmas. And last, I have continued many of the Christmas traditions my parents handed down to me because I truly love Christmas time so very much. Two of those traditions are particularly special to me.

One of the traditions that I have carried on is reading Christmas stories to my children. I don't recall my mother reading the stories to us more often than on Christmas Eve, but I have expanded it and read Christmas stories to my children throughout the month of December. When I became a mother, my mom gave me her set of books that celebrate different Christmas traditions around the world, and those books are favorites now because there are photographs and chock full of interesting factoids that my children soak up like sponges.

When I was given the opportunity to review Christmas From Heaven, a zing of excitement went through me. I had been wanting a new Christmas story to add to our collection, and I was thinking this one might be a good choice. Well, after reading it to my children and enjoying the DVD included with it, the votes were in—this is a fabulous Christmas story!

What I like most about Christmas From Heaven is that it tells a story from history about how someone gave true Christian kindness in a time of post-war tragedy. I had heard of the Berlin Candy Bomber before, but I didn't really know the story in any detail. The book has photographs of the people, planes, and thank-you's sent to Lt. Halvorsen aka The Berlin Candy Bomber. An extra treat is having the Christmas DVD to watch with the story read by Tom Brokaw along with music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We had just read the book, but my children were just as engrossed in the telling of the story on the DVD because of the added features from the performance.

I highly recommend Christmas From Heaven to anyone who would like an uplifting historical story for Christmas time.  If you don't want to wait to see if you win the book giveaway, I have a direct link for purchasing a copy:  http://deseretbook.com/Christmas-Heaven-Tom-Brokaw/i/5108410

The other tradition I would like to share with you is collecting ornaments for the Christmas tree. My mom had a lovely collection herself, but she started one for me from the first year I was born and continued adding to it until her last Christmas. So, ornaments are a precious part of my Christmas each year. Taking out each ornament and finding a perfect spot on the tree is a wonderful time for me. 

Another exciting thing for me with this review was that, in addition to the book, I was sent a set of Biblical Names of Christ ornaments. These ornaments come in a set of twelve and are simple yet perfect for focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. I'm one for glitter and lots of color, but I really was impressed by the quality of each ornament. Another nice thing about these ornaments is you can tie a ribbon through the top or use ornament hooks. I'm going with a sheer purple ribbon, but that's just me. 

For anyone wanting a quality ornament set that is unique and places emphasis on Christ, this set would be an excellent purchase. To get a set for yourself or as a gift, here is a direct link: http://bit.ly/1h3s7JD


Now, for the really fun part. I hope all of you enter to win a copy of the fantastic Christmas story Christmas From Heaven, the true story of the Berlin Candy Bomber. Good luck, and remember to spread the Christmas giveaway cheer by sharing news of the giveaway: tweet on Twitter, post to Facebook, and email the link!