LDStorymakers in May!

I’m going to the LDStorymakers Conference again this year and I’m super excited. I just entered two stories in their first chapter contest, so we’ll see how it goes… It is held in Provo, UT during May and registration is still open.

The keynote this year is international bestseller Anne Perry. You can attend just her keynote address if you’re not interested in the classes.

— You can register here: LDStorymakers Registration

— They’re having a Show Your Love contest with great prizes: Contest Information

If you go, let me know!

My First Retreat


Back in November, I went to my first writers retreat. It was on the coast of Deception Pass and it was wonderful.

During the LDStorymakers Conference I went to last May, I met the president of a writing group for LDS women called American Night Writers Association (ANWA). In a class later that day, I sat next to a woman who happened to run the ANWA Retreat in my area and she told me all about it!

When I got home, I made a point of looking up ANWA and joining a few months later. (At first I thought I needed to join to attend the retreat, but found out later it wasn’t required.) When the retreat came in November, I was very excited. It was taking me a long time to write my novel (i.e., I kept re-writing the same first chapter over and over), so I decided to use a new method of writing I was testing out where I covered the screen and just kept writing without editing.

And that’s what I did.

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I found quiet spots at the retreat, covered my screen with folders, put on my headphones and let myself write almost non-stop for two days. And man alive, it was a blast!

Sadly, I decided afterward that that method of writing didn’t suit me and I’m not using any of the 18,805 words I wrote in that word document. But it was still fun and I learned some valuable lessons, so it’s okay.

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The biggest highlight of the retreat was meeting these women. They were genuine, kind and talented. And they all loved to write something. It was such a treat to be among them and hope that I belonged. And it was so fun just being with a bunch of girls (a rare commodity at my house!). I dearly wished we could somehow get together every month.

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Another highlight of the retreat was entering the Flash Fiction contest. The night before they announced the winners, I had a nightmare that they yelled at me and told me my story stunk. So I was incredibly relieved when I went to breakfast and found out I’d won second place!!!

When they handed out the awards, I jokingly told them about my nightmare and we all had a good laugh. But then they asked us to read our stories outloud. When it was my turn, my whole body shook and my heart tried to pound a hole through my ribs. I said in all seriousness, “If I’d known they were going to ask me to read it outloud, THIS would have been my nightmare!”

Never, in all my writing, had I had the desire to go in front of a group of people and read my work outloud. I’d purposefully avoided those classes and situations both at the conference and the retreat. But there I was. So I took a breath and made the best of it. And when I finished, the feeling in the room was one of total awe. The looks on their faces said it all and by the time I sat back down in my chair, I realized there was a special magic in what I’d just done. And it was pretty cool.

Capable of Fasting


The boys were so cute today in their matching sweaters, I had to pause before going in the church building to snap a picture on my phone.


Then a kind visitor passing by asked if we wanted a family picture and I said, “Sure!” I loved how it turned out–especially for a phone with a very long shutter delay.

After church, I was grateful for these pictures for an unexpected reason. Today was the first time I’ve fasted from food on Fast Sunday for six-and-a-half years, because that’s how long I’ve been pregnant or nursing (or both!). To be honest, I was a little nervous. How was I going to handle church, my calling and being patient with my sons on an empty stomach when I often had trouble on a full stomach?

But, once again, Heavenly Father taught me the beauty of faith. I fasted and I prayed for my friend’s husband who’s having health problems. And it was wonderful.

I actually felt freed from the cares of mortality, because I didn’t have to eat. I could just take time serving my children food and not worry about shoveling down my own meal in between filling sippy cups and keeping Mr. Moo’s bowl full.

And from the moment church began until it ended, it was so easy to feel the Holy Ghost. Usually I have to make a concentrated effort to be in tune, but today it was almost effortless. And that made my calling marvelous because I felt love for the sisters in Relief Society instead of stress or worry.

I also felt released from my own worries as I focused on praying for the purpose of my fast: my friend’s husband.

All of these feelings seemed to be enhanced because it had been so very long since I had fasted. Just like when I go to church or the temple after being gone from having a baby or being sick, everything is more meaningful and powerful because I’ve been away for a while.

In the end, it was empowering to truly be patient with my sons knowing I hadn’t eaten all day. And it was humbling to have yet another testament of what I’m capable of with God’s help.

Thank you, Heavenly Father. I wouldn’t, and couldn’t, have done it without You.