Monday, December 31, 2012


I opened the door of the theatre office at BYU. I was receptionist/secretary for the theater department of the college. My boss asked me if I would like to do some freelance typing using the word processor that the department owned. I was happy for the opportunity.
When I opened the door to the tall, dark, stranger at the theatre office I was slightly startled. It wasn't due to feelings of danger. This man had the kindest face. It was also the handsomest face. He was a giant of a man standing at six foot four inches. 

I did not immediately feel that my soul mate had arrived at last.  For me there was no love at first sight.  What I did enjoy was that he was silly and playful.  He actually laughed at my jokes!

I typed for him quite often for the next month.  One of his works was a screenplay called Allovial.  In the middle of that screenplay love arrived.  I felt that anyone who could create an alternate reality with imagination, humor, and tenderness was someone that I wanted to know better and possibly spend the rest of my life with!

I invited Nyle to my house for a birthday party...for me.  I only invited one other person.  The other person was a young man who was wickedly handsome.  He had asked me out on a date and I turned him down.  Sean was the type of man that it would be fun to be stranded on a dessert island with, but only for a short time.  I sensed that Nyle was the type of man that I could depend on, day to day, for an entire lifetime.

Nyle told me later that he thought that Sean was my real interest, and that I asked Nyle to throw Sean off the scent.  It was actually the other way around.  I invited Sean so that Nyle wouldn't know I was interested.  It was the first time in Nyle's relationship with Sean that a woman had been more interested in HIM than in Sean.

When I invited the two men I had no idea that they had a love/hate relationship.  They were both game masters.  They played games in the method that the knights of old jousted.  There were no TIES or civility in their playing.  Whatever the game that they played it was for blood.

It was uncomfortable at first because they were coming off a hate cycle.  They had not spoken to each other for a while.  When we started playing a game of Scrabble they both attacked the game with such concentration that they didn't even pay attention to my playing.  This was to my advantage.  Since they paid me no attention I was able to sneak past both of them and win.

I'm still not certain if they let me win.  It was the one and only time in my entire life with Nyle that I won him at Scrabble.  Did I mention that the man played for blood?  He was a very complex man.  He was loving, and generous to a fault.  Yet when playing games Nyle thrived on the strategy and competition.

I had no great design in writing this post other than to review the events that led me to marriage with my tall, dark, handsome Nyle.  I will love him until the day that I die and beyond the grave forever.

I am a romance novelist.  I declare this identity with pride.  Romance for me is endlessly fascinating.  Every time a man and woman grow in love (you don't FALL in elevates you, lifts you to higher heights) it's new, and watching them grow together to become a family, never boring....NEVER!

So as a romance writer I will from time to time explore my own romance with Nyle.  It gives me great comfort as I approach the one year anniversary of his death.  He died on January 11, 2012.
If you list the date in numbers it is 1-11-12.  Notice that the sequence of numbers creates 11:11. 

Early in our marriage Nyle proclaimed that 11:11 was a magical time of the day.  It was the only time that the numbers were four identical numbers.  It only came twice a day and only lasted for a minute each time.  So Nyle said that if we were together at that moment we would hold hands, until 11:12 came around. 

It made me happy to think that even in his last moments of life he left me the gift of remembrance.  Remembrance of our love created by numbers.

Nyle, I remember you today and everyday in light, in love, and in numbers!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas or Chaos

It's the glorious season again of Christmas.  It's a time of rushing, reflection, and reward.  It's a time to re-establish your priorities for the coming year.  It's a time of miracles, lights, and love.

How ragged is it then in this joyous season that families are torn, crying, broken hearted for their beloved children of promise?  Precious little souls cut down in the very eve of their potential.  Families that feel as though they will never be whole again?  A senseless slaughter of innocence caused by a madman.

To add insult to injury the costs of funerals, burials, etc. etc. are prohibitive.  It's around $800.00 for a short eulogy in the newspaper.  How critical is it to these parents to feel that they gave their little ones the best in death.

Now I wish to shift to a different tragedy.  The forces of nature tore apart the lives of many in the eastern section of our country.  Homes are gone, families are splintered, finances are destroyed, and life has become a mere matter of survival from moment to moment.

Do I believe that GOD or Creator or whatever you choose to call the Power of Creation of this planet earth caused so much pain and suffering.  NO....once again emphatically NO!  What I DO believe is that this earth is a trying ground, a place of proving, and testing.  That means that human agency is in play.  So that means that someone disturbed and wounded can cause the senseless slaughter of precious little ones.  That means that sometimes we may be flooded, or in an earthquake, or tsunami.  The worst part is AFTER the initial blow of tragedy.

When our precious son died inside me.  My Father-in Law gave me timeless advice.  He said, "Pray more than you've ever prayed before!"  It is a natural thing to blame God for the tragedy.  After all human nature DEMANDS that someone be at fault!  Especially in the face of natural disaster it would seem fitting to blame God.

Resist that temptation.  Instead turn to God...He will bring peace when your strength is not sufficient.  I watched a movie one day where one cancer patient asked another, "Do you ever get angry at God for this disease?"  The other woman was silent for a moment carefully choosing her words.  Finally she said, "I can't afford to be angry at God.  I NEED HIM TOO MUCH!"  It is a choice for all of us.  Do we let tragedy make us BETTER or BITTER?

Now for a happier story.  Twice this month total strangers have reached out to me in love when I had a physical need.  I did NOT request the assistance yet it was freely given....again BY TOTAL STRANGERS TO ME.

This simple acts of human decency happen every single day in our great country.  Rather than wallowing in the all too human sorrow of tragedy, let us reach out to each other and find ways to help and support.

I love the song, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."  "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men."  That is one of the lines.  The writer of the hymn had lost a precious son in a war.  The next verse tells some more of the story, "Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, GOD IS NOT DEAD OR DOTH HE SLEEP....the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth good will to men."

I'm praying for all those struggling this Christmas.  I'm praying that they may find that precious "Peace that surpasseth understanding."  I'm praying that hands will be raised up to feed the hungry, and succor the sorrowing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Perspective....Half Full....Half Empty

First thing in the morning I MUST take my doggy Rolly for a Strolly. (I do like rhyming, you may notice.)  This morning as Rolly pranced along (I didn't prance....I just kind of walked slowly) I looked to the western sky.  Fresh blueness of sky greeted my morning eyes.  I stopped for a moment (Rolly was having a sniff fest at that moment)  I filled my soul with the newness of this day, and the beauty of blue sky.

After walking to the west for a short distance we turned to retrace our steps.  Savage, dark, clouds greeted my vision.  The clouds were heavy, leaden, and appeared to hold copious quantities of snow. seems such an ordinary word but it literally frames our days and nights on this earth.  We hear about this subject often...because it's SO IMPORTANT! 

The sky was brilliant blue AND dark with threats of snow.  Where did I choose to gaze?  Even the words that I just used to describe the contrast of sky could be changed to a more positive interpretation...laced with the beauty of snowfall.

Another rhyming phrase that I focus on is an Attitude of Gratitude.  This rhyming phrase has carried me through many a dark day and night.  There is a lovely little song that says, "When I am tired and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep, counting my blessings!"

Another perspective lesson that I remember was flying.  Leaving Portland our plane went soaring, up, up, up.  We passed through layers of rain laden cloud.  When we reached crusing altitude the sky was brilliant blue.  It reminded me of a folk song from my youth, "I've looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down..."  Wondrous to see "Clouds from both sides..."

As I flew on that day years ago I was startled by the realization that ALWAYS above the clouds and dark weather of life there is the bluest of beautiful sky.  It's up to us to see that brilliant blue sky and remember that it's always above us even when clouds of storm block it from our view.

In my personal season of sorrow I DO "Count my blessings instead of sheep."  I know that my sweetheart who had a personal motto, "Happy not Crappy" would expect nothing less of me.

Oh I DO lose my perspective.  I DO have pity parties.  Yet instead of letting life push me down, and then staying down, I WILL bounce up!  You never fail until you quit trying.  I will KEEP trying...every day....and every night!

Christmas Crazies vs Reason for the Season

Ten Signs that you are infested with an attack of the Christmas Crazies

1.  You find that your tongue is dried beyond redemption from licking copious amounts of Christmas Card envelopes, and stamps.
2.  It is not a nice idea to send out Christmas is a necessity....even though you are working two jobs and have three little kids, a husband, a dog, and two kitties!
3.  The NEED of baking cookies to take to the entire neighborhood is constantly throbbing at the back of your mind.
4.  The tree is up, decorated, you've been the home room mother for every single one of your children's Christmas parties at school, and you wish that Christmas was over and your kids were back in school.
5.  Just as a stranger in a department store  reaches to grab a giftish type of something you find your hand sliding under hers and pulling away the VERY LAST of a toy that your child is convinced they must have or simply DIE!
6.  You engage in a wrestling match with the above mentioned lady to redeem that aforementioned item that your child will simply DIE if they don't find under the tree on Christmas morning!!!
7.  There is a Christmas party at church and you insist on taking pictures with Santa and ALL of your children.  Even Bess the thirteen month old that you KNOW will scream and cry in terror at the sight of a jolly old man in a red suit with white trim (how does he keep that white trim white going down all of those nasty dirty chimneys in the world)? MUST have her picture taken with him because after all this if for memories in years to come DARN IT!
8.  You pretend that you're asleep so that your husband will get up and comfort Bess (who is having night terrors about some strange man in a weird red suit)!
9.  You get up at midnight to go to a Christmas sale with toys that your children just HAVE TO HAVE OR THEY'LL DIE....and when you get home exhausted you discover that you saved 50 cents at the all important sale and now you only have two hours to sleep before your entire family will be up and want you to make breakfast!  (Let them eat granola bars....after all you were up all night for them, right?)
10.  The number TEN reason that you know that you're suffering from an attack of the Christmas Crazies.  Your family is sitting around the Christmas tree singing Christmas Carols and all that you can think of is, "When can I insist that we all go to bed?"

Now the reason for the season.  When my beloved Mama (94 years young) was a tiny child in the 1920s her Father taught her a lesson that has stuck with her over the years.  Before they would go into the magical Christmas room where Santa had left gifts he would exclaim, "Christmas Gift."  My Mama knew that he was reminding his family of the reason that gifts were given at Christmas.  The original purpose of those gifts was to remind us that God our Heavenly Father gave the most precious of all gifts, he allowed his son Jesus Christ to be born into this world.  He knew the cruel suffering that his son would endure.  Yet God knew that it was necessary for Christ to come to earth to break the bonds of death for ALL of God's spirit children, that includes you and I.  Christ had made a choice using his own Agency to make this grand sacrifice.

So as the Christmas Crazies threaten to engulf you in their tight hold remind yourself, "Would the world stop spinning if I sent out JANUARY cards this year?  If I allow someone else to be room mother this year, would my children suffer irreparable harm that would lead to years of therapy?"

Review your priorities often, maybe each morning before you start your day.  You may even find pockets of time that you can temporarily relinquish (like watching television or going on Facebook for four hours).  After all Christmas Crazies ARE temporary.  What is PERMANENT will be the precious memories that you make.  Memories like the beauty of lights that surprise and delight your soul as you drive through a normally dark and dreary neighborhood as you are going home from your work.  Remember the precious smile of your youngest watching Christmas lights and listening to Carolers sing.  Joy on your child's face as they see the wonders that Santa brought for them will make all your effort worth it!

Just so you understand, I'm writing this entry to remind MYSELF of what matters during this time.  There is a song by Sarah Bareilles that says, "All I am all I need is the air I would kill to breathe. Holds my life in his hands AND STILL I'M SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING..."  Nyle, my beloved husband of 27 years, I still miss with intensity breathing the air that we shared.  Nyle passed away in January of 2012.

Yet I know that he would insist that I continue "SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING!"  I will use the "Reason for the Season," to not give in to mindless sorrow and the deepest of anguish.  I will use the joyous Christmases we shared to keep me from the Christmas Crazies.

Oh I WILL grieve but it will not be the type of grief that drives me to desperation.  It will be tempered with the joyous knowledge that because of God's gift to all of mankind, I WILL see my beloved husband again and feel that love that we shared.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jokes for a Monday Morning

"Things that make you go OOOOOH."  I don't even remember what advertisement that came from.  Those pesky tag lines (In advertising) are designed to grab your sub-conscious and stay there.  There is a reason why they are also called, "The hook."

So today I want to invite all my beloved readers, family, friends to take a short break to send me their very mostest favoritest (WHAT?  They are too words!)  jokes.  Groaners welcome.  I think we all need on this lovely Monday to take the risk that something will catch us off guard and make us do like the little acronym says, LAUGH OUT LOUD. takes courage to actually use the words.  In 200 years they probably won't remember that lol stood for anything.  The dictionary will consist of all acronym words and there will be NO GRAMMAR OR PUNCTUATION.  To some of you that may sound like Paradise to my writer's soul, PURGATORY.

Back on subject, jokes....NO BLUE ONES....You know nasty things about the human digestive a Mature Flatulent I don't find those exceptionally funny anymore.

Here is my contribution to the jokeathon (You can also contribute the rest of the days of the week as well!)

"Why did the elephant paint her toenails red?  So she could tiptoe through the strawberry fields without being seen!"

Knock knock....Who is there, Boo, Boo Who?  Well you don't have to cry about it!"

OK...your turn...the more the merrier....I am fascinated by the things that make people laugh.  My daughter used to be embarrassed to go to a movie with me.  I have a strange, corny sense of humor and I often laugh out loud when others are totally silent.  She's used to me now.

What "Things make you go ooooh?"  in a humorous way....all you blue thinkers, clean it up!  lol

Happy Monday to all of you in this Festival of Lights

The Jewish folk celebrate the Festival of Lights.  I am not well educated on the customs and traditions of this time.  I'm notorious at "borrowing," traditions from any and all sources that bring me pleasure and adding them to my own.

"The Festival of Lights" for me is Christmas time.  Lights appear all along.  They show up on houses, businesses, and even on apartment patios.  The long darkness of winter is enriched by the beautiful lights.

Christmas when we celebrate the sacred, much prophesied birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Great I Am and the Great and Morning Star.  All are names that are ascribed to Jesus of Nazurus before his birth and after.

Anyone scqueamish about the whole "Christian" part of Christmas I don't want to offend a single one of you.  So you may approach this post from a rational vantage point, "What does this writer think?"

I think that at Christmas time a good many people are softened towards, "Peace on earth good will towards men."  I think there is more kindness, more tapping in to the desire to love and be loved.

Oh I know the statistics that negatively show all the depression and suicides at this season.  It's AWFUL and HARD to be alone.  Especially when depression lies and tells you that you're a burden.

A lesson I've learned along the way.  When I'm feeling alone, REACH OUT!  Find a loving friend that will listen to all of it, the good, bad, the somewhere in between.  They will then lovingly forget the really bad, (or get you professional help) and see the beauty that lies within the human soul, and love you.

Or maybe it's time for you to go to a homeless shelter, and clean, or serve meals.  I guarantee you that your troubles will seem far smaller when compared to families that have no where to go for Christmas. Or Vets who have come home battle damaged and unable to function in our day to day world.

So, again it sounds like I am preaching, lecturing.  If I am it's to myself.  I know this Christmas close up front and  personally how hard Christmas is when you've lost your beloved spouse.  The lights don't even seem bright enough to dim the missing of him. 

Yet, I will take hope in the eternal message of Christmas.  "God so Loved the World that he gave His Only Begotten Son...that whoso liveth and believeth in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH."  I know that my beloved still lives and that one wonderful day we will be together again.  I will challenge myself to remember that message in this season when I miss Nyle the grandest celebrator I've ever met.

One last thought.  Nyle played the Ghost of Christmas Present at the Hale Center Theater in Orem for several years.  He was the oh so jolly embodiment or eSPIRITment of the joy, lights, and loveliness of Christmas.  Yet he was also the reminder of Scrooge's selfishness.  As he lifted his robe and showed two small children cowering together he would say, "These are Man's."  Suddenly he changes from the jolly, laugh from the belly spirit to the calling to repentance spirit.  He reminds Scrooge of his former words towards the dross of humanity, "Are there no prisons are there no workhouses?"

At THIS Christmas my beloved Ghost of Christmas Present would wish for myself and our girls the happiest of Christmases (that's how they say it in England Happy Christmas, not Merry Christmas....since The Christmas Carol is from England I thought I'd stick to that idea).  In addition he would wish that anyone that reads my rants and raves would also have the Happiest of Christmases.  Remember the greatest gift of all, "God so loved the world (that's all of us) that He gave His only begotten Son."