Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--Blogger Beware!

yep, it's mine
If you scroll through my archived posts, you might notice that I removed all of the pics that I'm not sure about. I naively assumed that if a photo was copyrighted, it would have one of those watermarks and I wouldn't be able to download it. Apparently, that is not the case.

I recently read a shocking article by Roni Loren about her experience getting sued for using a copyrighted photo on her blog. It really opened my eyes. It was painful to read her experience and realize any of us could be in the same boat.

I don't want to infringe on another's work and second of all, it's just not the honest thing to do.

The author lists a few sites for finding images to use. I looked at Creative and didn't find it very user-friendly. I did like It shows you what type of license the image has so you know how to use it.

So, forgive me for the lack of photos while I try to do this right. I'll be using a lot of my own pics from here on out. Feel free to help yourself to my pics (anything not attributed to someone else).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 2011 rated PG-13 129 min

From the jacket:
Believing that his father left him a message before dying in the 9/11 attacks, young Oskar Schell embarks on an emotional odyssey through New York City to find the lock that matches a key he finds among his father's belongings.

We watch Oskar work through relationships with his mother and grandfather as he struggles through the grieving process. He feels entirely alone. With the exception of his father, Oskar's absolutely convinced that no one else in the entire world thinks like he does. Now that his father is gone, no one understands him. Only his grandmother comes close.

We are shown the varied effects of loss, coupled with the burden of guilt on each member of Oskar's family. I became emotionally invested in their lives. I missed Oskar's father, even though we are only exposed to him through flashbacks. What a great father, what a tragic loss.

This movie is very touching and emotionally draining. I think the content would be too difficult and confusing for smaller children, but teen-agers could handle it. Another wonderful Tom Hanks movie. I think everything that man touches turns to gold.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--My Legacy

Charcoal by Leo Gestel 1937
not my 8th great grandfather's farm,
but what I imagine it might've been like.
My Legacy

Sometimes I wonder what I've done with my heritage. Have I squandered it on meaningless, time-consuming activities? Have I done anything to make life a little easier for the generations to follow? My sacrifices are so minute compared to those of my ancestors.

At this time of year, I usually think about my Mormon Pioneer ancestors, but today I'm going further back. My 8th great grandfather, Abraham. His family immigrated to America in 1636. He was the fifth generation to be born here.

Supplies were scarce during the winter. One of his sons would warm cow or ox chips and stand on them to keep his feet warm while he chopped wood. At one point, Abraham got word that the British were marching from Canada to Saratoga. Their route lay right through the settlement where Abraham lived. He had a pair of oxen and a sled (the other settlers called him "the rich Dutchman"). He loaded his wife and children and supplies into the sled and hid them in a place of safety. He went back to his house and took his gun and ammunition  and started out for the Battle of Bennington on foot. By the time he got there the battle was over. That was a blessing. If he had died in that battle, his family would have starved that winter.

Abraham must've enjoyed hard, physical labor. As soon as he cleared 100 acres, he'd sell it and clear another farm.

I can't even imagine suffering that kind of exposure. I sit back in a cozy home where my biggest sacrifice might be the lack of immediate gratification. Generations later, I have comfort, freedom, and opportunities my ancestors couldn't even conceive.

I feel I owe it to them not to waste the gifts they spent their whole lives working for. If Grandma gave me her best apple pie, I would never sneer at it or push it away. I would enjoy every mouth-watering piece. I would appreciate her efforts, and she would smile upon me.

I can never repay past generations, and I think they wouldn't want me to. I think they'd tell me to leave my own legacy for those who come after me. So what kind of Legacy will I leave my posterity?

How about things like the value of hard work, honesty, staying out of debt, serving others, doing what I can to further my education, and avoid complaining about minor inconveniences? I haven't any money, or a big fancy house to leave my family. All I can leave them are good memories and a good example. That's what I need to focus my time and energy on.

What is your Legacy?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review--Carnival Girl by Sonja Herbert

Carnival Girl by Sonja Herbert   A Memoir  Published by Cedar Fort

This is a very well-written memoir of the childhood of a young girl born in the aftermath of WWII Germany, raised in a carnival.

I've always been fascinated by WWII history. The author's mother, half Jewish, ran away to the circus to evade the Nazis. She fell in love and married a man who worked in the circus. They left the circus together with the beginnings of their own caravan. They added to it a little at a time as they added to their family.

Their entire living depended upon and confined to this small caravan that traveled from carnival to carnival in central Germany.

The arduous task of eeking out a living, and their daily routines were so well described I pictured myself in the background viewing the crowded living conditions, the author going for water, and fulfilling her chores. I felt the cold winters and the awkward feelings of "the new kid" every time she attended a new school.

Contrasting this to my own childhood, I can't help but feel blessed. Though no one's life is perfect, my basic needs were met in a warm, cozy home with running water. This was a wide eye-opener for me.

In spite of her challenges, or perhaps because of them, Sonja recognized the hand of the Lord at an early age. She had a strong desire to learn of her Heavenly Father and an appetite for education. And then, she met the missionaries.

At the beginning of most of the chapters, the author draws us back to the present where her mother is paying her an extended visit. This serves two purposes. First, while Sonja and her mother relive the past together, she learns some of the reasons for her mother's behavior, memories she'd previously seen through a child's understanding. Second, although a bit distracting, the present serves to bring the past into sharp contrast. All in all, this memoir is an honest glimpse into another time, another world. It's an enjoyable read.

Meet the author: Sonja Herbert

Sonja Herbert and her five siblings were raised in a caravan, traveling the carnival circuit from town to town in post-WWII Germany.
Sonja converted to the LDS Church, served a mission, married an American soldier, and immigrated to the USA. She received a BA at SUU in Cedar City, and an MA in Language Acquisition from Brigham Young University, taught high school, German, and ESL for many years, and is now a full time writer. A mother of six and grandmother of thirteen, she resides in Provo, Utah. Contact her at,, or

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meet The Author--Sonja Herbert

Meet the Author of Carnival Girl--Sonja Herbert


My father raised his family in a tiny carnival, traveling the small towns in central Germany right after WWII, to keep his rapidly growing family fed.

I was the second child of six, all of us crammed into a small caravan which my father pulled with a tractor from town to town. I remember the devastation, both physical and spiritual, which the German people lived with after the war was over. Ruins and unexploded bombs littered the cities, and lost and orphaned children overwhelmed the orphanages. Food was hard to come by, and education was almost non-existent, especially for us carnival children, since we traveled from town to town every week or two.

My mother rejected religion and never taught her children about God. However, when I was eight, I had a vision and developed a strong desire to be in a church, to live in a house and to have God love and approve of me. I had to hide such feelings from my family, because they made fun of them.

As I grew older, Germany, along with our family, became more prosperous. At fourteen, I met the LDS missionaries. Against my family’s ridicule and the overwhelming odds of living in a traveling carnival and having to work every Sunday, I converted. My family ridiculed me for being religious, and my parents humored me, telling me I could get baptized the next year, if I still wanted to.
Unexpectedly, my parents divorced, and through the divorce God’s loving hand worked the miracle I needed to reach my goal of living in a real house and being able to go to church on Sundays instead of having to run a carnival attraction.

My mother, at 91, still disapproved my decision to join the LDS Church.
Can you envision living that way? Read Carnival Girl, and you’ll discover a new world!

The Caravan

The Carnival
Caravan and children

Aren't these awesome windows of the past? Thanks to Sonja Herbert for sharing these with us!
Visit Sonja at

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--War Horse

War Horse   rated PG-13  146 minutes
directed by Steven Spielberg

Set in Dartmoor England 1914, it is the story of the strength and courage of a horse named Joey and his best friend Albert.

From the cover--To his wife's dismay Farmer Narracott buys a thoroughbred horse instead of a plow horse. Narracott's teen-aged son, Albert trains the horse to take a plow and earn his keep. The two become inseparable in their hearts.

When their crop fails, Narracott sells the horse to the British Cavalry. As Albert says goodbye to Joey, he promises him that he will someday find him again.

It is a very touching story with beautiful cinematography, but many scenes are difficult to watch--the realities of war are a little too real. I would not recommend this movie for small children. However, many lessons are taught throughout the story--courage, loyalty, determination, endurance, and the importance of all who enter our lives at different times and seasons.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Hang 'Em High by Tristi Pinkston

Hang 'Em High by Tristi Pinkston     A cozy mystery.

Ida Mae is off on another galloping romp when she accepts an invitation to her son's Dude ranch in Montana. She goes for the chance to 'mend fences' with her son. She brings along Arlette and Tansy just for fun.

But when her son, Keith, loses one of his prize studs, the girls get to work and call in reinforcements--Eden, Arlette's granddaughter, her friend Kevin, and George, Ida Mae's boyfriend (the mere mention of him still makes her blush). Plus we get to meet George's son.

With the skill of delegation, that only former Relief Society presidents can wield, the gang gets to work. Keith's ranch seems to be a haven for suspects. Ida Mae overhears suspicious comments from her own son, and things just don't add up.

Perseverance and a sleepless night pay off. Ida Mae will get to the bottom of it! The image of Ida Mae galloping off in her pajamas is hilarious and dangerous at the same time. I love being able to tag along with the girls on their adventures. On to the next . . . Targets in Ties, and I'd better hurry--the last installment comes out in August--Till Death Do Us Part.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation--A Call to Arms

A figurative call to arms--As our Constitution teeters on a precipice we wonder what we can do that will really make a difference.

For years I've heard co-workers lament that "one person doesn't make a difference," and "my vote doesn't count. Why bother?" Okay, so what can we do? Here are some of my thoughts:

First, STAND UP! When the flag passes by, don't just sit there. Show respect to the flag. Show (don't tell) your children how to respect the flag. Show our military respect and gratitude for their sacrifices. Show those watching from heaven that we remember them and what they did for all of us.

Second, STAND UP for truth and right wherever you find it. There is good all around us, but sometimes we're afraid to defend what we know to be right.

Third, STAND UP and be counted--go VOTE. There really aren't a lot of excuses anymore. Did you know that in Salt Lake County you can register to vote by mail? They send you your ballot in the mail a month ahead of time so you don't have to wait in lines. It's so easy to google candidates and issues and vote as you see fit. Many died to give you that right--and it's not just your right, it's your responsibility. Freedom isn't free.

Fourth, STAND UP and serve whenever possible. It doesn't have to be something big and mighty. You can help out a friend, take care of your neighbor, donate your time to something you feel passionately about. A lot of power is found in the little everyday things you already do. I know a lot of writers who find ways of donating to increase literacy here at home and around the world. A lot of power is found in good books.

Fifth, PRAY. Whatever your faith is, exercise it. Pray for the leaders of our country and our local leaders that they will make good choices for us, that they will have the strength to stand for the right, that they won't just look the other way when it comes to corruption.

Sixth, "You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the world's negative events, you not only add to them, you also bring more negative things into your own life. Instead of focusing on the world's problems give your attention and energy to love, abundance, education, and peace."
~Rhonda Byrne and The Secret 

Disclaimer--I've declared my political neutrality in the past. I consider myself a conservative Patriot. These are my opinions. That's all they are--opinions. It's okay to disagree with me. That's what is best about our country. But, I have experienced rather hateful and angry disagreements from people when I've dared to disagree with them in the past. We can agree to disagree. So feel free to leave me a respectful comment.