Thursday, June 30, 2011

Live the Questions

Everywhere questions

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions."

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What I Learned About Life from WIFYR 2011 Part 2

Wow. A week went by at light speed. That's what summer is like. Warp speed, Mr. Worf. And then the school year seems like some kind of Groundhog Day where nothing ever moves forward.

Well, here's some more of what I learned about Life From WIFYR (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers) 2011.

The first day I went to breakout sessions with Emily Wing Smith and Claudia Mills. Emily's was "Surviving and Thriving as a Pre-published Author" while Claudia's was "Defeating Your Demons."

Here's a few of the things I learned about life from these lovely ladies.

1. Appreciating the journey: Emily Wing Smith told us that this time (our pre-published time) is special in our careers as writers. This is a time when we are FREE TO WRITE. For me, and for so many others, not just writers, we just want to hurry up and get there! We want to get to that time in our lives that we see as perfect, and so we don't appreciate the fact that, right now, we're doing the thing that we really love to do and not worrying so much about the business of it.

We need to learn to deal with the roadblocks to appreciating what we have. Emily said these things are Jealousy, Discouragement, and Impatience. Think about these roadblocks: What is your dream, your perfect life? Where are you right now on that journey? Are these three things holding you back or getting in your way? If you said "no", would you please hurry up and develop an online course explaining how you've overcome these things, so I can take it and become just like you? :)

2. "Who do you think you are? You're not a _____________." Claudia Mills had us shout out our "demons," the things that hold us back. And then she quickly defeated those demons with her vorpal sword (snicker snack!). I loved this breakout, because every single demon the other people in the room had, I have too. One that really resonated with me was, "Who do you think you are? You're not a writer!"

I have the hardest time telling people that I'm a writer and an artist. I don't feel like a writer or an artist (although writers and artists would probably tell me that they just feel like normal people...and I am always amazed that the writers and artists I admire are NORMAL PEOPLE! Seriously, Amy can vouch for that. I always get nervous when I'm about to meet an author, and everytime I leave saying, "Wow. She's normal!").

Claudia's weapon for this demon? She said that if we write, and keep at it, then we are writers. Each of us has stories that no one else has. Isn't that true for all of us? Each of us has a song inside us that no one else can sing or a floral arrangement that no one else can create or a poem that no one else can pen. What if we chose to believe this demon? Then the world would never have what only we can give it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Work+Talent=Dreams Come True


"Work is the miracle by which talent is brought to the surface and dreams become reality."

--Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What I Learned About Life from WIFYR 2011 Part 1

Well, my friends, yesterday was the last day of the 2011 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference. It was an exciting ride of a week. Seriously. Even as I'm sitting still, my shadow self is doing somersaults and backflips and then breaks into the salsa with herself as partner (my shadow self is much more coordinated than I am).

Carol brought together an amazing group of teachers who have already influenced my writing (for good and not for eeevil) and my life. And, in my usual way, I am going to share what I learned about life while learning about writing. This is Part 1 in my new series: What I Learned About Life from WIFYR 2011.

First, I was in the boot camp morning workshop with the fabulous A.E. Cannon (otherwise known as Ann) (otherwise known as Amazing!)as our drill sargeant. The first morning, Ann shared with us some of her own writing mistakes. Here are a couple:

1. Be in scene: Great advice for writing; fantastic advice for life. So many times, I'm focusing on the past, what I did wrong, what I could have done instead of what I did do, and, of course, the WHAT IF? is always looming over my head. Or I am thinking about my future: what I'll do when I'm a published author, who I'll invite over to my house for a tea party if I ever get my house cleaned, how will I react in this or that kind of situation. While focusing on the past or the future, I am not
in scene.

Being in scene,to me, means that we are enjoying the ride we are on in this moment. This doesn't meant that we don't make goals for ourselves or that we don't learn from our past mistakes, but that we don't spend so much time focusing on those things that we forget the joy and excitement of living our lives!

2. Don't wait for the right time in your life: For me, this is directly related to writing, because for so long, I waited for the time to write. After I came home from my mission, I started my Master's and teacher certification program, I got married, I started teaching, I started having children, I kept teaching, and all the while, I wanted to write, but I didn't have time.

Two years ago, when I met Ann for the first time during a summer institute of the Central Utah Writing Project, she told us that if we wanted to write, we had to make time for it. It was like a Homer Simpson "d'oh!" moment for me. Of course! If I wanted to be a writer, if I wanted a writing life, then I had to make time to write. And so I did. And I'm so grateful that I did.

Yeah, my house might be a little bit messier (it was never that clean anyway) and my two older children have learned to make their own PBJ sandwiches and chicken nuggets (a useful skill for boys of any age), but I am writing! I am doing the thing that feeds my soul.

You might not be interested in a writing life, but, probably, you have something you long to do. Are you doing it? If not, why not? Can you let something else go so that you can _____________ (insert soul-feeding activity here)?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oops! Change to date and time of the Satin Flower Bracelet Class

So, my mom pointed out to me the other day that the original date and time of the Satin Flower Bracelet class is right smack during our family reunion.

Here's the new date and time:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM.

Click here to learn more about the class and how to register.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Satin Flower Bracelet Workshop

Here it is. My first craft class. We will make fun and easy satin flower bracelets with fleece bands.

Your $15 class fee includes:

Instruction by moi.
All supplies for one bracelet: satin, fleece, button, snap, thread, needles, candle
Printed directions

Satin Flower  #1

You need to bring:
A good pair of scissors for cutting fabric

Class is limited to 10 participants and will take place in West Valley City, UT on Wednesday, June 29 at 6:30 PM.

Satin flower bracelet #2

Extra flower bracelet supplies can be purchased for $5 each.

To register, please email me at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Love...with Writing

Originally uploaded by jjpacres

"What you have to be is in love. With writing. Not with ideas about what to write; not with daydreams about what you're going to do when you're successful. You have to be in love with writing itself, with the solitary and satisfying act of sitting down and watching something you hold in your head and your heart quietly transform itself into words on a page." --Elizabeth Berg

Magic in my backyard

A year and a half ago, I was daydreaming about Port Townsend, wishing I could move there. I think I even looked up houses and jobs up there. I wanted the magic back in my life, the magic I've felt when I've spent when I've visited the Pacific Northwest.

It was during those moments of longing that I wrote this.

Magic in my Backyard

It's here--no, it isn't
But I want it to be here
I want the magic to be at my disposal
all the time
Not just when I go for a visit.

I don't want to visit the magic
Go on vacation to experience it.
I want to have it with me here,
all the time.

Last week, I decided I wanted to find that magic. So my boys and I wnet for a nature walk in our backyard. It's kind of a jungle out there; we haven't done anything with it yet this year. These are the pictures we took as we discovered the magic in our backyard.

Beautiful flowers (the first two are actually weeds, but aren't they pretty?)

Nature walk 1

Nature walk 2

Nature walk 4

Incredible, amazing, fabulous creatures (also known as my children)

Nature walk 5

Nature walk 6

Nature walk 7

This summer, I'm going to look for the magic that's in my own yard and in my own city. What about you?