Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year

I'm sorry that I've been neglecting my blog page. It's hard to blog when you are never near a computer long enough to get your thoughts flowing. I know it's a poor excuse, but my husband was in the hospital for six days and that really took a hunk of time out of each day. He is home, and doing fairly well.

My wish for the New Year for each of you, including myself, is a wonderful year full of great adventures, and lots of success in whatever you do. Good health the entire year for you and your entire family.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Important People – Part II

In my area many years ago, it was popular in the church to attend musical firesides with well-known artist. Most the youth and young single adults spent Sunday evenings traveling from one stake to another listening to the beautiful music, testimonies, and life experiences of these famous LDS singers. With my young teenagers, I attended many of these gatherings.

Through this and other experiences, I have met many important people. Some of them I met because I was in charge of finding people to speak at stake firesides. I worry about leaving some of them out because I haven’t always kept a great journal. Sometimes my life has been so busy I hardly had time to live it, and although I love writing, I didn’t always write about the things I was doing.

One of the most memorable firesides for the youth in our stake was the time they were able to perform with Michael Webb at his studio, in a play, Marvelous Light. We live on the west side of town and don’t always have all the updated equipment necessary to put on such a performance. Our lighting was bad and we had no microphones for such a production. Still this was going to be a fun experience. After all, Michael Webb was going to come and sing with them.

This was on April 18, 1993. Some of the young people had speaking parts, and some sang solos, or duets, or participated in a choir. For weeks, they attended all of the rehearsals. The stake president didn’t want me to take them out of the area to perform. It didn’t matter that some of their parents were driving them and I had permission slips signed by all of their parents. I thought I might lose my membership over this experience, but I fought tooth and nail for this once in a lifetime opportunity for them. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the performance was spectacular.

On October 20, 1996, Chris Heimberdinger, the author of the Tennis Shoes Adventure series as well as many other books for youth and adults spoke at a stake fireside. Besides being an impressive fireside speaker, he is also a remarkable teacher. I took a novel writing class from him in September 1998, and appreciate the fantastic help given to me in that class.

I was certainly surprised that a man as important as Michael Ballam, would consider coming to our stake. We were not disappointed as he told stories about his family, the gospel and shared his beautiful voice with us.

My stake was especially blessed the evening that we were fortunate enough to have Lloyd D. Newell of The Spoken Word speak to us on February 16, 1997. His life experiences and stories about the choir were great.

The artist, Chad Hawkins, came to our stake on March 16, 1997, to speak about his talent and show us some of his beautiful temple pictures with the hidden images. He began his series of temple artwork in 1989, at the age of seventeen, to support his eventual two-year mission in Frankfurt, Germany, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When he returned from his mission in 1993, he continued with his artwork. Since hearing him speak he has gone on to publish a book, The First 100 Temples. He has also done work for the governor, the legislature, and the University of Utah. I cherish the artwork in my home done by Chad Hawkins.

The list of people I’ve met goes on and on, but I know I’ll leave many of them out. Here is a short list – John Bytheway, Roger Hoffman, Janice Kapp Perry, Steven Kapp Perry, Joyce Quinn (actress in Legacy), Barbara Smith (former R.S. pres), Michael Stewart, Brenton Yorgason, and Margaret Young.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rachelle's Contest

The Bead Princess giveaway entry period is from December 10th until Tuesday December 15th at 11:59pm. You can enter it if you want, but I intend to win because the 15th is my birthday and I love these watchlets.
To be fair I guess I have to tell you where to go to enter this great giveaway.

For the Bead Princess giveaway go to my sidebar under blogging friends and click on Rachelle's Writing Spot.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Launch

Cindy and Nichole's book launch last night was fantastic. I have no idea how many books they sold, but it was lots. There were people there continually from 6 pm until almost 9 pm. It you didn't show up, you missed a good time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Family Record Keeper

My friend, Mary Greathouse, has released a new book called, The Family Record Keeper. This book is for organizing important information for everyone in the family. It's a personal record journal for parents, children and grandparents to keep all of your important personal family records from babyhood through senior citizen years, all in one place.

The part I like best is that you can add or remove pages to fit your own needs. Click here to order your copy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Important People - Part I

On my blog, I’ve decided to write about some of the wonderful people that I’ve met throughout my lifetime. Of course, the best ones are my family, and close friends.

Meeting important people is a big deal to some, but to me, they are just like me – ordinary people who did something extraordinary. Some left a bigger impression on me than others, by showing that it’s what you do, not what your name is that matters the most.

The first groups of people I want to mention are the leaders of the church I belong too.

As a young girl of about 10 years of age, I remember seeing a prophet up close for the first time, President George Albert Smith, the 8th prophet of the church.

He attended the funeral for my great-grandfather. They held the funeral in the Spanish Fork high school gymnasium. All of a sudden, I noticed a tall slender man with a short beard making his way to a seat near the front. Everyone in the audience started to stand, and I tugged on my mom’s arm and asked, “Why are all the people standing up?” She bent down and whispered, “That man is our prophet.”

Many years later, I met the apostle Spencer W. Kimball when he ordained my father a seventy. Years later after he was the prophet I again met him on several occasions. One year my husband and I attended a dinner/dance with my parents at Hotel Utah. We were sitting at a table in the ballroom when to our surprise and delight, President Kimball approached our table. He slapped my father on the back, and shook his hand. After my father made introductions, Present Kimball sat in an empty chair and quietly visited with my father for quite some time. If you are interested in reading a humorous version of this it can be found in the book Mormon Mishaps and Mischief, or you can go to

My mom and I were once in a pioneer choir that traveled each Sunday during the summer to sing in sacrament meetings in the Salt Lake valley. One of the wards we sang in was the home ward of Thomas S. Monson. He was a friendly apostle and towered over both of us as we shook his hand. That was many years ago and it’s hard to imagine that he’s now our prophet.
To me the most memorable prophet was President Howard W. Hunter.I’ll always remember shaking his hand because as I looked into his eyes it seemed I was looking into the eyes of the Savior himself. President Hunter was so kind and a very soft-spoken man. Although he wasn’t a prophet for long, he was very dear to me.

On several occasions, I met President Hinckley and his dear wife,as well as President Faust. President Gordon B. Hinckley is the prophet that most everyone remembers the best because he led our church from 1995 until 2008, and during that time, the temple program grew rapidly under his leadership.

All of these men mean a lot to me. They were beloved by many and it’s been an honor to be in their presence. They didn’t just preach about being a Christian they showed us by their every day actions. They were extraordinary men.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Ball’s In Her Court by Heather Justesen

Heather did a great job writing this story. She captured my interest and held it throughout the entire book. There is plenty of romance and mystery.

Here's the blurb from the back of the book:
She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search moves her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person-- herself.This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns-- especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.

I never before realized what a difficult journey it is for adopted children when they have a desire to locate their birth parents.

You first meet Denise, a girl who on the outside seems to have everything. When old nightmares return she knows it is time to put her past behind her, so she searches for answers to her life before foster care and adoption. To do this she had to face those who hurt her. Like most of us, she doesn’t want to do that, but with the encouragement of a good man, Rich, she soon realized that her future depends on herself, not anyone else.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the struggles and triumphs in Denise’s life. Heather made all the characters real. I cried with Denise and was upset because of the way she treated Rich, and her sister Paige. It gave me a good feeling to see Denise take charge of her own life and confront the emotional heartache from her troubled childhood. I was excited as she met new family members, but felt relief to see that she still stayed close to the parents who had raised her.

I recommend this book to all of you because I know you won’t be disappointed. You can purchase this book at Deseret Book, Seagull Book, or Barnes & Noble. It would make a great book for those in your life who love romance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Contest

Karlene is giving away three copies of Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season to three very lucky winners!

To enter to win you need to leave a comment any time before midnight on Saturday, December 5, 2009, telling her some of the best books you've read THIS YEAR.For extra chances to win, help spread the word. . .

Go to to enter the contest.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm A Winner Again

Wow - what a great way to start out the month of December. I already won a book from Heather Justesen, in the contest that I mentioned yesterday. It's really not to late for you to enter to win. I almost forgot to mention what I won - it is the book by Tristi Pinkston, Nothing to Regret.

Usually I don't like this month much because it's full of so many things to do. Besides my birthday, my son's birthday, my sister's birthday, my brother-in-law's birthday, there is Christmas (that's a good thing). With Christmas comes decorating, cooking, and lots of parties.

It's the one month that I don't really plan on getting much written. Instead I just plan on enjoying the festivities. Sad part is that several things come on the same day, and then I have to pick and choose where to spend my time. I already have to spread my self thin this coming Saturday.

Be sure to get your entries in for that contest.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Heather Justesen Gives Away Prizes

A Week FILLED with Giveaways!
So to celebrate the release of her new book, and to round out her blog tour she has put together a week of giveaways. Two things each day. Visit her blog at

Tuesday - autographed copies of Tristi Pinkston's first two books, Nothing to Regret, and Strength to Endure, both historicals taking place during World War II. Nothing to Regret is about a man who is sent to the Japanese internment camp in the desert. He has to give up finishing college and leave nearly everything behind when he and his parents are forced to move there. During the course of the book he enlists and goes undercover in Japan. Strength to Endure is set at the same time, only in Germany. Strength To Endure expertly portrays the consequences of war and the ability of the human spirit to conquer all.

Wednesday - Heather is giving away a copy of Missing, donated by new author, Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen. This mystery/suspense story with romance elements will keep you gripping the edge of your seats! Or Mike McPheters' book, Agent Bishop about his true story of being an FBI agent moonlight as a Mormon Bishop.

Thursday - Valerie Ipson offered to donate a $15 gift certificate from Vinyl Expressions. Or a book by Steve Alten's called The Shell Game!

Friday - Kristi's Creative Cakes (based out of the Salt Lake Valley) offered a free edible image using your photo or image and shipped to you (within the U.S.) free. If you live on the Wasatch Front and need a whole cake, she's willing to credit the winner $15 toward the price of a finished cake (which is at least half again what the edible image is worth, even shipped!). Or Reiyalindis a YA fantasy by Cory Poulson.

Saturday - Bone Warriors, by Bron Bahlmann, the fifteen year old who has already broken into the publishing business. This adventure/fantasy is sure to keep you hooked. Or Anne Bradshaw’s newest offering, Famous Family Nights, with stories from much beloved personalities such as Allen Osmond, David Glen Hatch, Josi Kilpack, Suan Easton Black, and many more.

I am also going to try to post so you can see her trailer

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Surprise - I am a winner. I finished writing on November 20 - 10 days early. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but I'm not sure it's something I want to do every year. One good thing is I do have a written novel. Yeah, it's going to take a lot of editing because I don't usually write so long without looking at what I've written. I do a lot of editing along the way. I'm almost afraid to look at what came from my fingers so fast.

I Won

I actually won the contest to win the CD from James Loynes. Anne Bradshaw has another great contest going on, so if I were you I'd look into this one. The book she is giving away is amazing, and if you haven't read the newest book by Rhonda Hinrichsen, you are missing out on a fun adventure. I'm sure I've already said too much so you need to go see the rules for winning on Anne's blog at

Monday, November 23, 2009

Anne Brandshaw Give Away

Everyone should enter the give-away for James Loynes' Christmas album, His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful. Anne says it is a touching reminder of the true meaning of the holiday season.
James also has a blog at This give-away runs until this Wednesday, November 25th. The winner gets chosen from the comments, and the prize comes direct from James in England. To enter go to and follow the directions.

Friday, November 20, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

I was one of thousands who accepted the challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. The month of November is the dreaded month. It is probably one of the busiest times of the year for most people. It was a goal that I accepted, and when I set out to do something I usually accomplish what I aim for.
Today, November 20th, at about 7 pm I reached my goal. It was a big relief and one I wasn't sure I would reach. I like to write, but never have I tried to fit so much writing time into my life before. Usually, I'm happy if I get a blog written and maybe 1,000 words in a day.
I could not have accomplished this without the encouragement and help from many people. My husband allowed me space and time to write whenever I wanted. I'm sure he was as relieved as I was went the goal was reached. My daugher Annette kept asking me how I was doing. Many friends asked how many words I had written, and encouraged me to keep going. The Authors Incognito group really made me push. I didn't want to be behind anyone, and so I pushed harder than I normally would have. It was great having so much support.
I'm happy to say that I'm done. I doubt that I'll ever try this again, but now I know I can do it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The LDS Humor committee just announced that, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief is going to press. They told us to expect it to be available in the stores around the second week of December.

So why am I telling you this? Because my name will be in print in an actual book. They told those of us that wrote short blurbs that we could announce this happy news on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networking site or place where we feel it's appropriate. I can announce to the world that I’m going to be published. They also encouraged us to point out what a great holiday gift this little book would make. Everyone wants a smile for Christmas. I’m going to buy several.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Pictures

Nichole took some pictures of Mark Shurtleff's book launch party so I'm showing them to you.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


One of the best books I’ve read this year is, Missing by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen. Even though I had read the beginning of this book, I needed to see what happened next, and then it was difficult to put down. After each chapter, I had to keep going. This story kept my attention until the very end. Yes, I would buy this book for my teenage granddaughters and other people on my Christmas list.

During a musical performance, Stacie saw a kidnapped child in the audience, but the girl disappears. Stacie had the courage to pursue the child even when no one except a handsome Matt believed her. He helps her in the search, while she tries to resist the attraction she feels for him. Stacie puts her own life on the line to find this child and bring her to safety. Even though Stacie faced many difficult trials in her life, she still listened to the whisperings within her own heart. The characters in the book were real and I could picture each scene. I would recommend this book to everyone who likes a good mystery and romance. This is an amazing book, and I give it a big 10.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mark Shurtleff's Book Signing

My daughter accompanied me

Mark Shurtleff and myself

Here are some pictures that I took at Mark Shurtleff's book signing on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. I think the book signing went very well. I have only had his book for a few days and I'm only into it about 120 pages, but I LOVE IT!

Candace introducing me

The program was pretty close to the following schedule:
5:30 to 6:00 p.m. Calvary Baptist Choir
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Booksigning
7:00 p.m. to 7:05 p.m. Alex Boye' Performs
7:05 to 7:10 p.m. Reading of "Cry for Freedom" Winning Entry
7:10 to 7:20 p.m. Lynn Jackson (Great-great granddaughter of Dred Scott)
7:20 to 7:25 p.m. Alex Boye' Performs
7:25 to 8:00 p.m. Reading and Q&A with Mark L. Shurtleff
8:00 to 8:30 p.m. Booksigning

If you haven't purchased the book yet, you really should. It's great.

Keith, me, Daron, and BJ

Russ, Me & Cindy
Many more friends were there, but I didn't get a picture with everyone. I think Nichole took some pictures, but I haven't seen those yet.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Standing Up for Freedom

Most people desire to be free from fear or want, and they wish for freedom of speech and belief. To me freedom means a person has the ability to act according to his or her own will. It also suggests that I can stand up for liberty. The fight between good and evil on earth will never end, but here in the United States of America I have the right for freedom.

The war between good and evil started in our pre-existence, our life with God before we were born. The scriptures are full of events concerning noble, righteous deeds. There are also many examples of wicked, malicious men, as well as decent, respectable men. My hero is Moroni, a strong and mighty man in the Book of Mormon, who rallied his people to defend their religion. He sought after the glory of God, and the welfare of his country. Moroni stood up and fought for liberty and the freedom of his country.

In 1626, some of my courageous ancestors boarded the Mayflower and left the old world behind for a new land where they could worship God after the dictates of their own hearts. A hundred-fifty years later, their children fought for freedom in the Revolutionary War. What they did for us was not without cost. Thousands of people gave their lives for this country because they wanted the right to choose. It is my belief that you are only free if you have choices. Those people didn't want a king. Instead, they wanted new laws. Just like Moroni, they wanted liberty.

It makes me angry to see so many people sit back and take what they have for granted. It's almost as though they don't want independence. Maybe they are afraid of liberty, because having freedom means responsibility. Many people fail to vote, and they don't take an interest in their community or the things going on around them. They only live life for what it can do for them, giving little of themselves or their time. I believe that everyone owes it to those in upcoming generations to give back something so that freedom carries on to the next generation.

I'm grateful for the privilege of citizenship in this great country. Here I have the power to make decisions without constraint. Because of my ancestors and millions of other people, I can and do vote for those leaders that I feel will lead our country down the correct path so that everyone living in the United States has the right for freedom.

I Won

I'm still in shock, but really excited.

Valor Publishing Group wrote -- "The Winner of the "Cry for Freedom" Contest is Connie Hall, "Standing Up for Freedom". Connie has won dinner with Mark L. Shurtleff at the Market Street Grill and a free copy of "Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story".

To enter, Connie and many others submitted 600-word essays on the concept of Freedom. We were very pleased with the number of entries in addition to the many different viewpoints on what freedom meant to so many people. We thank each of you for entering the contest. The top three entries were only one point apart, so congratulations to all of you for a job well done.

Connie will be reading her winning essay aloud at Mark's Book Launch Party on November 3, 2009 at Barnes & Noble at The Gateway in Salt Lake City."

I, like so many other writers, didn't believe in myself. I didn't think my essay was good enough. I had a real battle with myself, and almost didn't submit it. The last thing I expected in my inbox last week was an announcement from anyone telling me I had won something. It was a pleasant surprise, and it taught me that I shouldn't underestimate myself.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I’m sorry that I’ve haven’t written anything for the past month because life has been crazy. There have been some good moments and some not so good times.

My mother passed away on the evening of September 22. During the month of May, I wrote several tributes to her. We had to wait for more than a week to hold her funeral services – I have a brother who is a long-haul truck driver and he was about as far away as he could have been.

We’ve had lots of company this past month. Some friends from Boise visited with us for a couple of days prior to their going to the MTC before leaving to go to Nauvoo on a mission. My son and his family (6 children) came to stay with us prior to my mom’s funeral for about 5 days. This past weekend a friend from high school who now lives in Oregon came to visit for 3 days. I can’t remember the last time I had so much company.

I’ve also been away for a couple of days. My youngest sister and I drove my brother to Nevada so he could pick up a truck and get back to work.

I promise to get back to writing on this blog right away.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes

Today I’m dedicating my blog to one of my favorite romance authors, Rachel Ann Nunes. She has not disappointed me with her newest novel, Saving Madeline. It’s a story about a hard-working, dedicated defense attorney, Caitlin McLoughlin, with daily challenges in her professional and personal life. Her new client, Parker Hathaway, is charged with kidnapping his four-year-old daughter, Madeline. He claims he did it to protect her from her mother’s carefully concealed drug use. Can Caitlin find the proof she is looking for before it’s too late, or will her client go to prison?

This was a fast-paced story and drew me in immediately. I highly recommend it to everyone, but suggest that you don’t start reading it late at night. If you do, you may not get any sleep because you’ll have to keep turning the pages to see the next surprising plot twist. It’s a story with plenty of suspense, and romance.

I was touched when I realized Rachel received inspiration for this novel after reading newspaper headlines concerning an infant’s death after ingesting meth she had found in a plastic bag on the floor of her home. Weeks earlier, her father had forcibly taken her across state lines, hoping to protect her from her mother’s substance abuse. Authorities found the child, and placed her back with the mother and sent the father to jail. I’m so glad that this and other true-life experiences inspired Rachel to write such a compelling book. She did an outstanding job telling this story concerning difficult choices.

I had a short email interview with Rachel.

C. LaRene: Which book was the hardest for you to write?

Rachel: Of all my novels, the hardest to write was A Heartbeat Away, which tell the story of a kidnapping. I wrote it right after several girls in Utah were actually taken from their bedrooms during the night, and though that didn't happen in my book, as I researched for the novel, my eyes were really opened to the terrible things people do and how many missing child cases are unsolved. I ended up enduring five months of sleepless nights as I wrote the book because I worried constantly about my own children, especially my young daughters. I had to keep making sure they were sleeping peacefully in their beds and double check all the doors and windows. I eventually alarmed the entire house, though that was after the novel was out. I started sleeping again once I'd turned in the book.

C. LaRene: How do you determine your writing goals?

Rachel: I've always hit about 2,000 words a day because that's what I can write in two or three hours, which in the past has really been all the time I've had at the computer. Now that my children are all in school, that might go up, but I've been rewriting instead of drafting and that's a different thing altogether, so I'm not sure where I'll end up with drafting goals. Basically, I stay as long as I can at the computer without neglecting my family or other important duties. It's a fine line to walk sometimes. You must set priorities.

Saving Madeline, is published by Shadow Mountain Publishers, and is scheduled for a mid-September release. It will be available on, at Deseret Bookstores, and at the stores listed in the following link:

If you comment on this review, your name will automatically be entered to win a personalized copy of this novel. The winner will be chosen after the last review is posted tomorrow, and the winner can be found at on Sept. 26.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Winner Is

This past weekend I attended the LUW Writers Conference at the Homestaed. I can tell you about some of the things I learned, but nothing takes the place of actually being there. Conferences like this and mingling with others in the same field give writers the incentive to keep trying.

On Friday evening, following the banquet, Richard Paul Evans, spoke to evryone there. He spoke about how powerful books are. They give us the power to look beyond. Every "major" change started with a book. Books change history. He encouraged us each to be true to our self, and write what matters to us. He also told us to take chances, and remember that failure is part of the process. All of us must pay the price.

On Saturday, I had a table set aside so I could sell my book, Martha's Freedom Train. If you bought one, I entered your name in a drawing for a gift bag. This afternoon I used a rnadom select devise to choose the winner. The winner is RONDA HENRICHSEN. I appreciate those people who supported me in this. Thanks and congratulations to Ronda.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Jump

Last week I blogged about my friend, Jill Vanderwood, and her Leap for Literacy, on Saturday, September 12. Yes, I was there. She didn’t just skydive from 12,500 feet – it was 13,000 feet. Below are some of the pictures I took of her before and after the jump, and some pictures from the video while she was in the air.

before boarding plane

On the plane

Flying through the air

At the end
This was a fun day and it's hard to believe I could watch something so spetacular. My husband bought me my birthday present early - a pair of binoculars - and watching it like that was unbelievable. Never had I seen people flying through the air before. Without the binoculars it would have just been little specks. They made the entire thing come alive for me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Leap for Literacy

I'm very excited to spread the word--My friend Jill Vanderwood's book, What's It Like, Living Green has just won the National Teen Development Award--In the Pre-teen Nonfiction Category. This is in addition to the National Indie Excellence Award, earlier this year. This book is available through It's a great book and I learned a lot about living green. I posted a blog about it earlier this year.

Please find the enclosed information sheet for Jill's Leap for Literacy, which will be held on Saturday, September 12. You can help a child or adult to read by making a donation for literacy, to the Literacy Action Center, or the Reading Tub.

I'm going to be there lending my suffort to my friend Jill and to the Literacy program, as Jill makes a leap, 12,500 feet above Ogden this coming Saturday at 10 am. Jill hopes to make a difference for the next generation. You can learn more about Jill, her books, and her projects to make a difference on her author website.

Friday, September 4, 2009

July 6, 2006 – the day we were going to head home to Utah. We had missed some of our vacation because of car problems, so we decided to go back to the places we were going to visit before we went to Colorado. This time we took one other granddaughter with us.

Our destination for the day was Nebraska, and it wasn’t far. I was anxious to stop at Courthouse and Jail Rocks in the North Platt Valley. They are supposed to be two of the most famous landmarks of westward migration.

Next, we drove to Chimney Rock. I‘m fascinated by this famous rock and did mention it in my book, Martha’s Freedom Train. This was my first time to see it, except in pictures. I wanted to get closer, but the barbwire fence kept me away. The other direction, across the dirt trail from where we parked, was an old graveyard that begged me to wander around, looking for familiar names. I didn’t see anything that drew my interest. Then we went to the visitor’s center. I’m glad my husband waited until all us had settled in the car before telling us a snake had crossed our path after we had all gone into the cemetery. I wasn’t surprised because this is desolate territory.

We headed back towards Colorado through Wyoming because I wanted to go to the Fort Laramie. Frontier Trading Post, but I’m not sure why, because as everyone told me, there isn’t much there now. It was disappointing to find it closed, but I still took pictures.

I’m glad we decided to explore a little. We drove out to the river and found an old Platt River Bridge. The girls loved it, and I was glad for a good look at the river that had been a trial for all the saints to cross on their westward trek.

That was the last of our adventures for this trip. We arrived back in Colorado a little late for dinner, but in time to see everyone before bed. The next morning we headed home. We didn’t really do anything along the way. I think we were tired and ready to be home.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two Special Days

I haven’t told you about one of the exciting things on our trip. I encouraged my granddaughters to bring their recommend for the Temple, so they could do baptisms for the dead, while I attended an endowment session.

The first day of our vacation, we drove to Rexburg and attended the Temple. For those who haven’t seen the beautiful building I do have to show you my best picture.

After trekking through Yellowstone, we went to Montana and of course, had to see the Billings’ Montana Temple. Both of these temples were a special part of our trip, and helped make the day brighter for all of us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh, No!

On all vacations there always has to be a day when everything goes wrong. Ours was no exception. Early the next morning we headed towards South Dakota. We made it as far as Spearfish. After eating lunch, the car started to make an awful noise. Thinking back, I think I heard that sound a little earlier in the trip, but it didn’t last so I thought nothing of it. By the time we reached Rapid City, the noise was extremely loud. We stopped at a service station with a garage and they informed us that the noise was the clutch on the air conditioner.

Great – miles from home and we had a broken car. The last thing I wanted to do was stay in a motel while someone fixed the car. I knew it would take forever. That wasn’t going to happen if I could do anything about it. I called our son in Colorado and told him about our predicament. He said we should drive straight there and he’d call the Honda dealer and schedule an appointment for the next day. It wasn’t exactly what we had planned for that day, but I knew it was a good thing because the 4th of July weekend was fast approaching.

We stopped at Mount Rushmore long enough for everyone to snap some quick pictures and then we were on our way. We saw Crazy Horse in the distance and with windows slightly rolled, we headed out for Windsor, Colorado. It was a long drive, and we only stopped for gas and food.
After leaving Cheyenne, it started to rain. By the time we were near Fort Collins, we could hardly see the road. Finally, about 10:30 pm we arrived at our destination.

We didn’t get our car back for a couple of days, but with their two vehicles, we were able to have a good visit. One day we went to the mountains and had a delicious picnic on a beautiful green lawn, and a long hike up a hot mountain, but the wildflowers were gorgeous. We spent time at the lake near our son’s home watching a movie one evening, and wading in the lake part of a day. This was certainly much better than being stuck in a motel room far from anything fun to do. The evening of the 4th of July, we watched fireworks from a park just down the street. I enjoyed our visit with his family a whole lot more than staying in a motel room for days.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Main Destination

Our main destination for this vacation was North Dakota. Once we arrived there, it made the 50th state for my husband to visit. On the agenda was the Medora Musical program presented in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre. It consisted of many groups of western singers – The Coal Diggers, Job Christenson, and Buffalo Dale with The Burning Hills Singers.

I’m always impressed with a good presentation of the flag – The Medora Trail Riders rode in with flags of all the neighboring states as well as the USA.

The featured attraction for the night was The Peking Acrobats. They performed daring maneuvers on top of a pagoda of chairs. I couldn’t believe my eyes, how would anyone have the courage to stand atop so many chairs? I loved watching two acrobats dressed as a dog as they tumbled and did all sorts of somersaults. Some of the performers did juggling and balancing acts as well as all types of gymnastics.

Then the other performers gave a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt played by Jim France, and the grand finale presentation was “Proud to be an American.” This was a very impressive program.