Thursday, February 28, 2013

Losing a Birth Father

Last month I received a text message from the translator who helped us with Noelle's adoption in Arkansas. She relayed some very shocking news. Noelle's birth father had very tragically died. It was sudden and unexpected.

My emotions surrounding the event are confusing.

I met this young man and loved him instantly. He was always smiling. Noelle was his first/only child and he was such a proud papa. He snuggled her, kissed her, rubbed his nose on her soft newborn skin. I very much remember him showing off all the pictures he had taken on his tablet. When there is a language barrier, pictures and actions speak louder than words.

He had a light about him, an energy that was just contagious. Noelle looks just like him and I feel like she already has that same joy that lights her from within. She has a part of him in her. It is a tragedy that he is gone from this world so young.

At the same time...I barely knew this man. I met him a few times. Never had a real conversation for him. My sadness over his death isn't my own. It's a sadness for what might have been. The relationship I could have had with him. The relationship Noelle could have had. The pain and loss and emptiness that Noelle may or may not feel one day over her birth dad.

I know our presence was desired at the funeral, but it was not feasible for us to make a trek from Idaho to Arkansas in such short time.

Our prayers have been with Garry's family and his girlfriend, Noelle's birth mother. I pray for my little girl too, to be able to accept this part of her identity with the grace she will undoubtedly need.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Ivory Dress

When my mom got sick, I packed a suitcase of clothes and flew down to be with her, not knowing I would need a dress for a funeral a few days later. I purchased a dress while I was down there in southern Utah and wore it to the three funerals we had. 

And then it remained in my closet for over two months. 

Last week when I was running late to work, I stood staring at my closet when a brilliant idea crossed my brain - if I wear a dress, I don't have to put together an outfit. I stared at the dress. It's a nice dress, and new. It's just a dress. It's not haunted. Right? So I put on the ivory dress. 

I got more compliments on that dress than maybe any other ensemble I have worn. Maybe that's just what it felt like. And the compliments weren't like, "hey, nice dress." I swear I got a "You look like you're going to a wedding!" And I even got a "What a playful outfit!" 

Every compliment stung. 

Every single one. 

But it's just a dress. Right? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Things I Am Craving Right Now

Craft Macaroni and Cheese
Famous Dave's macaroni and cheese
BBQ potato chips
Hot chocolate
Garlic bread
Mashed potatoes and gravy
A good panini
A nap

I've been avoiding carbs - hence the cravings. Boy, they are intense!!! Also, I was up to 2 a.m. last night because I drove to Salt Lake last night to watch the Utah Jazz play a basketball game and drove back home. Hence the nap.

Let's see if I can hold out against the cravings. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Flaming Fromage

Sometimes you have to see to believe.

After reading about a brunost cheese fire that burned for days in Norway, I wanted to see this super special cheese with my own eyes.

Thanks to the internet and refrigerated shipping, I ordered a pound of brunost cheese for a fair amount of money (my mom always said I liked waste...she wasn't wrong) I set about trying to burn this cheese. I'd read that it took high temperatures. I tried three different methods.

Cheese that looks like peanut butter and tastes like caramel-flavored Cheez Whiz. Those silly Norwegians. 

First things first though - be safe!

Start basic - try lighting it on fire. Sizzles, but does not ignite. 

Try campfire style with bits of tinder and paper. The "kindling" burns but the cheese does not.

Method number 2: direct heat in a skillet

Method number 3: thin slices on a cookie tray right under the oven's broiler

It's smokin'! And let me tell ya, my husband was THRILLED with this experiment: "You spent HOW much on cheese and my house smells like this WHY?"

Melting, bubbling, and smoking

And finally - FIRE! The cheese in the oven combusted from the high temperature. Less than an ounce of cheese burned for over ten minutes. 

I finally put a lid on my skillet and there was a flash fire, but it would go out every time I lifted the lid. While the cheese in the oven turned to complete ash, the cheese in the skillet looked like a lava rock. 

I really liked the cheese. Supposedly it's great on venison, in soups, and on desserts. What does it taste like? You know how there is bacon-flavored Easy Cheese? This tasted like caramel-flavored Easy Cheese. With the consistency of fudge. 

Operation Burning Brunost - SUCCESS!

P.S. For the record, I really liked the cheese. I thought it tasted great on apple slices. I shared it at the office and 4 out of 5 people liked it. The others strongly hated it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I still am building up my readership on my author blog, so I am cross promoting here. Hope you don't mind. Here is my February promotion for my book OCEANSWEPT and some of its followup pieces. 

I'm ready to try a new promotion. Something in it for me, something in it for you.

Here's the challenge:
Create a reading list with OCEANSWEPT in it.

Here's what you get:
The winner, drawn at random, will get to be a beta reader for my short story in the OCEANSWEPT CHRONICLES and the first few chapters of UNDERTOW (the sequel). What exactly does that mean? You get to read these pieces in their draft form before anyone else. You give me your input on the story, give me suggestions on how to make it better, identify mistakes, etc. I only have about five beta readers. It's a pretty elite group. Super special. Honors and benefits. Wowee. There is a responsibility that goes with this though. You cannot distribute the manuscript to anyone. It's illegal. So it's just your special secret. :)

Here's how to do it:
Create a Listmania list on (Here are instructions)


Create a Listopia list on I couldn't find a good link for instructions, but it's pretty easy. Log into and on the top right area of the page next to the search bar is a link that says "Create a list." Click that, and it's pretty easy to figure out.

Make any list you want, put as many books on it as you want, but you need to include OCEANSWEPT. You can create a list called "Good Summer Reads" or "YA Romance" or "Books that Would Make Great Movies" or "Books with Sweet Covers" or "Terrible Indie Books You Shouldn't Waste Your Money On." Anything you want. Create a list, fill it with books, include OCEANSWEPT. And then, let me know about your list. You can leave a comment here, leave a comment on my author blog, or message me on Facebook or leave a comment on my Facebook wall (

You get an entry for each list you make.

Ways for More Entries:
You get additional entry every day you share your list. So Tweet it, post it on Facebook, blog about it, whatever. So if you do all three things - Twitter, Facebook, and blog - you can potentially get three entries every day per list. Again, leave a comment on one of my sites or message me with the link of where you shared it and you'll have your entry.

At the end of the contest, I will use to randomly select the winner and my new beta reader. This contest goes through March 1.

Clear as mud? Good! :)

P.S. If there is another website/location besides or where you can make a reading list, you can do that and get credit for it too.


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