Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss and Other Such Writings

I love Dr. Seuss. I have read his books to all nine of my children countless times and I never got tired of it.  His wisdom and encouraging words are amazing. Here are a few:

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One thing I learned in my children's literature class a long time ago is that children love rhyming words and this helps them to be better readers when they are young...

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I love this one:

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One of my favorite things about Dr. Seuss books is his ability to include an ancient form of Hebrew writing called Chiasmus. I learned about Chiasmus in my Ancient Writings class back at BYU and have noticed Dr. Seuss's example of this throughout his writing career. 

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See Hebraicisms, Chiasmus, and Other Internal Evidence for Ancient Authorship in Green Eggs and Ham

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So refreshing to read. So amusing yet encouraging. He says we should be ourselves and we are special.

I found an old post from 2014 which helped me organize my thoughts about fictional writing which is difficult for me to actually write.
But Dr. Seuss was a pro and I so appreciate his persistence in publishing so many books. 

How Fictional Writers Can Affect Us
Valerie J. Steimle
I never liked to read as a child.  My mother did her best to find books that would interest me so I would be a better reader but I still didn’t like it.  Eventually, this push did help me to find books that could take me away to another land and I did pour over the required reading in high school and college but all of that didn’t really catch me on fire to read. It was even a struggle to read my scriptures every day. Then I got married, had children and was busy with other things so I turned to magazines.
My husband on the other hand was a voracious reader.  He read every thing from science fiction to “How It Works” encyclopedias and teased me about my magazine reading. Somewhere along the middle of having children and living life, I started writing opinion pieces for a newspaper column in San Diego because of a public school issue very close to me and my family. Then it happened: I could not stop reading.  There was not enough time in the day to read everything I wanted to read so I had to pace myself.  Now 25 years later, I have played catch up on most of the classics, teach a history/ literature class for teens and write book reviews. It’s crazy how such a weakness could be turned into a strength.

Reading to children helps them to become better readers as well and I read to my own as much as possible. All nine of mind love to read and with both parents' example in their life, they love books as much as we do.
Non-fiction was where it was at for me.  Reading biographies, how-to-books and interesting political writings filled my life when I wasn’t changing diapers or cooking dinner. I learned that the pen was mightier than the sword and for me fiction was a waste of time.  Boy, was I ever wrong.
Belonging to a writer’s group, I began to edit and review fictional stories. I have read more novels in the past 10 years than I have ever read before and they are dessert for me now.  A well written story with a great moral or tender thought can teach better principles than most Sunday School classes. Why?  Because, you are sucked up into the story so deeply that when you are hit with a true gospel principle, it stays with you for the rest of your life.
For example: I recently read a magnificent novel called The Dreamer by May Nicole Abby. It was a remarkable, adventure story of a woman who was at the end of her emotional rope. She did all she wanted through her educational pursuits, racking up degrees and studying around the world. She was a prominent professor at a high ranking university, yet something was missing and she didn’t know what.  At wits end, she throws herself off the edge of a cliff in hopes to find what she is looking for and falls through a time portal which takes her back to the 1700’s. 

At the end of her story she says this: “Sometimes I cannot help marvel at the woman I have become who gave up the pursuit of fame for love and family. At first I tried to return to my work, but it was impossible with so much to do for Mallory (husband), his career and our home and especially once our first child came and needed me so.  There was no time for it. So tenderly, I put it all away.  I thought woman like me were weak. But it takes all my strength and courage to put my children and husband before myself.  I know I won’t be read about in text books and newspapers.  I know I will live and die in general obscurity.  Mallory will be read about perhaps, but not me.  My children might become famed and acclaimed, but not me….. But without me, these, my loved ones, would be lost. Somehow I am the adhesive that binds us together as one and I have pondered in awe of my power. My words are their words. My kindness or cruelty, theirs. Their voices seem to be the echo of my own.”
Like long parables, these fictional stories can pierce the heart or strike upon exactly what the reader was looking for in life.  Fictional stories have this power for good or for evil and that is an epiphany I have thought about over and over again. Books are food for the soul: all children should learn this. So if you are like I was so long ago, find a delicious desert of a book and read, read, read. You will never regret it.

The End....

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My New World

My life has drastically changed over the last month. Actually over the last six months and I am happy to say that I am doing well.  I haven’t written anything since September and that was only a book review. I am living on the opposite side of the country, working a new job and I am with my last child living in an apartment.  Quite the change from the first of the year.
But the spell was broken a few days ago when tragedy struck and I was snapped out of my fog. A good friend; a very good friend had been in an auto accident almost two years ago now.  I visited her in the hospital.  Her ankles were broken and feet just about crushed. Her wrist broken and there were other bumps and bruises that were too many to count.  But she survived. Not only did she survive but was on the mend starting out in a wheel chair and learning to walk again and then graduating to a cane but the plates they put in her feet had caused her pain and the bone was growing around the plate.  The surgery the doctor’s scheduled was supposed to fix all of that and life was going to be much less painful for her.  But another diagnosis came up right before the surgery of Sleep Apnea and that is what got her.  She went under the anesthesia and never came out. So young at 40. So unexpected.

My whole world was spinning around when I found out.  She was a friend to many.  She had such a large circle of influence.  A marketing genius in a large company, an instructor to students in night classes, a Young Women’s leader at church, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a wife.  The list goes on and on. She was taken to the next life leaving behind so many that she loved and loved her. So this time of reflection, when I know my friend has gone on and left behind such a hole, I think about our own lives and our own circle of influence.

Like the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, what would happen to us if someone close to us was snatched up to the next life unexpectedly and left a hole? What if we were the ones taken, what kind of hole would we leave behind?  These are the thoughts I had about myself.  Do I influence others for good?  I hope so. 

According to the writings in Paul in the New Testament, the natural affection for people will dwindle and people will become “lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:3).  Selfishness is very popular these days. Sacrifice for others and taking the higher road isn’t heard of much. But we can turn our thoughts outward to others.  Be the influence for good in our circle of friends and family.

What are we doing in our life to help others and show that we care for them? My friend would not only ask about how we (ourselves) were doing but also about our family. I have heard this more than once from others about her and how she cared about our children and grandchildren.

 From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, President Lorenzo Snow said this: “We have been sent into the world to do good to others; and in doing good to others we do good to ourselves. We should always keep this in view, the husband in reference to his wife, the wife in reference to her husband, the children in reference to their parents, and the parents in reference to their children. There is always opportunity to do good to one another.”

The legacy my friend left behind will be felt for generations because of all the good she has done quietly and without fanfare.  Most people who know her wouldn't know all of this. A circle of influence lasts forever.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What's this with the "F" word?

Twenty-seven years ago I started writing about social issues and family strengths. I eventually published hundreds of articles all over the internet along with six books. Our society has come a long way.  A long way spiraling down the rabbit hole of bad behavior which leaves us wondering how in the world will our children will ever survive to keep our planet civilized. 

I'm not meaning to be a whiny or finger pointing person but as a parent of nine children starting in the 80's and finishing with the last one almost to adulthood in 2016, I am amazed at how our society has crept into the gutter. It's really sad.

For example, the F-Word (which I refuse to write out) has become almost common among many people. We hear it on You-tube videos, lyrics to songs, movies, in books and from other  people at work and in neighborhoods....and it's not just the F word but all swear words. I had my ears burned off for 2 months as I worked at a flower nursery with 2oo other people all saying the same swear words and didn't care who heard it.

Why is that?

Cultral Historian, Charles Murray points out that this inappropriate language is a "collapse of the codes of the elites." In earlier history, the "common" people would fashion their language after those in higher positions.  Now, most millennials don't care about those in higher positions. They speak the way they want regardless of the coarseness.
National Post's Barbara Kay says: "...unlike in my generation, where the social elites rarely swore — even in private, beyond the odd “damn” or “hell” — today’s educated elites are quite besotted with transgressive language. Obscenities of the kind one expects to hear in the street — among young people “f–cking” seems the preferred variant of “very” — are also considered cool among the intelligentsia, particularly those of the “progressive” camp."

It has now become acceptable to use such shocking language. It used to be a big no-no to use this profanity in public but now, those who tend to use it, just don't care how it offends people because they are speaking freely and telling everyone how they feel.  This can actually be accomplished without the bad language but society just accepts what they hear.

Words mean something. Our soul can feel this when we hear negative words or positive words.  What we say to each other is important so why waste our speech on negative obscenities?

Maybe our children don't understand the full affect of what we say to each other but some how our society must learn to curb our swearing and speak without guile and without cursing.

I love what George Washington said: "The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it."

Here's hoping for cleaner spoken words. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Family Update...I am so blessed!

Every so often I use a post to update my family and their triumphs.  Over that last few years we have had wonderful additions in marriage and children.  I am so very blessed to be a part of this family and those children I brought to earth.

Sarah Jean  and her family have moved to a bigger house on the other side of Gilbert and are happy there with their gardening and church service. This is from April when Lael Rose was baptized.

Naomi Michelle and her family are still in the Warner Robbins area about to bring another child into our family.  It's a boy and we can't wait.

Isaac and his family are in the Everett area and bought their first house. They acquired two Australian Sheep dog pups which are adorable. They are happy there with Evie.

         Isaac and Evie on a horse...
                                            Bekah and Evie in snow in Utah...

Tasha and her family bought their first house in the Baldwin County area near me. It has a beautiful yard where their dog Lea loves to run. She is a manager for a local cafe and Matt manages a local pizza parlor.

 Arthur and Sadie jumping on the trampoline.

Caleb is on his last few months in the military and will be out by the end of the summer.  He plans on attending school in Colorado in some kind of science research.  He visits us when he can.

Caleb is on the left...

Eliot Major Cohen and his new bride have been married over a year now and he is working for the Hoogle Zoo which he loves. They get to travel a lot.

Lydia now back from her LDS Church mission in Phoenix, Arizona has been working since March at the Grand Hotel in banquets will go back to BYU-I in September.  It's been so nice having her home for a while.
(October Update- Lydia married Matthew James Slezak on October 28, 2016 at the Phoenix LDS temple. We were thrilled to have a new member of our family and so happy for the couple.)

Moses Samuel is serving a mission in the Gilbert Arizona Spanish speaking field.  Here he is with his first companion.  He loves the work and writes home every week with all of his adventures and miracles that happen.

Henry Nathaniel.. (last but not least) is done with school and busy working on his Eagle Scout project. Here he is shown at the famous Fort Morgan Civil War fort and below at the beach as just a head.  Fun times.

As for me... well I have big plans that will change the course of my life. Henry and I are moving to Gilbert Arizona at the end of September. We will be starting over in life and very importantly we will be living near Sarah and her family. This was an unexpected move but with much consideration and prayer, it is the best thing for us.
I am so very blessed with a wonderful family and friends.
Shown here with my brother Bob and Henry at the Provo City Temple visitor's center.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cover Reveal for Lisa Swinton

One of my favorite things to do as an author is to help other authors in their promotions for new books.  It's very exciting and its time for me to do it again......

After reading about this book I am really excited to get my own copy and settled down on the couch for a great read.....

On the Corner of Heartache & Love

After three years, Maren Summers is elated to finally have her dream wedding to her dream man, Kevin Bryant. In her sights is the promotion to Weddings she’s worked so hard for at the newspaper. Happily ever after is within her grasp…
Until Kevin jilts her at the altar, elopes with another woman, and becomes her boss. Devastated by the twisted turn of events Maren moves in with her best friend and notices the not-so-homeless guy on the corner, Zane Whitfield. As his heart-wrenching tale unfolds—his vow to wait a year on the corner for his lost love—Maren sees his compassionate human-interest story as her ticket away from Kevin, weddings, and her heartache.
But as the New Year approaches, is Maren headed for heartache again when Zane's lost love returns or has time changed more than one heart?

About the Author

Lisa Swinton caught the romance bug early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it since. Instead, she feeds her addiction with romance novels and films. In between being a doctor’s wife and a mother of two, she spends her summers performing in community theater and painting her house. In her elusive spare time she enjoys researching her family tree and baking (especially with chocolate). She loves Jane Austen, traveling, and all things Italian. In her next life, she plans to be a professional organizer.

You can visit her at:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

We are all God's Children

Since working at a large nursery pavilion warehouse, I have come to truly know a diversified number of all of God's children. This is the fifth largest nursery in the country and employs people from many walks of life and even from different parts of the world.

  Three hundred people work in my surrounding area doing many different tasks. First the potted plants are delivered from the field by tractors pulling metal cages and flat bed trucks. Then the plants are unloaded into other cages on wheels and placed in a number sequenced area so the "pickers" can find the right plants for the orders which are place on 3 to 4 shelved racks on wheels.  These racks are then rolled over to the "taggers" who make sure each plant is of good quality, place a bar code sticker on the pot and attach a picture tag for identification.

  There are ex-convicts, immigrants from Africa, Mexico, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. There are the young and the old, the poor and the wretched, all races and creeds work there. Many help push out thousands of plants during this 12 week Spring season. The racks are then sent to other nurseries and stores all over the South East.

It's a fun job, but very tiring and the diversity of people are quite interesting. Some might say these co-workers are the "salt of the earth" kind of people. Not particularly upper crust or elegant but more simple who have seen a harder side of life and use language that can burn your ears off.. Some are selfish and only have blinders on in life, others are nosy and want to hear every detail of your life.

We are all God's children and are kept in His care regardless of what hardship or mistakes we have made in our lifetime. We need to learn to get along regardless of how annoying we can be to each other and help one another...

From a talk given by M. Russell Ballard in April of 1988 in the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he says:

"Each rose is a compact chemical-processing factory. Using sunlight, the green leaves take carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen, which we breathe. When other chemicals within the plant react with sunlight, it produces starch that becomes food. As you know, this process is called photosynthesis, and without it the earth’s atmosphere would soon be devoid of oxygen, and most living things would disappear from the earth. My friend told me that the chemical energy and the electrical energy our brains were using at that very moment were once sunlight that was absorbed by the chlorophyll in green vegetation we previously had eaten.
This experience led me to consider the myriad forms of plant and animal life that thrive in astounding balance upon the earth. My esteem for our little roses took on an element of wonder and reverence. I pondered the power of the creative genius who lovingly provided such marvels for his children. I thought then how important it is for every human soul to see and appreciate the glory and grandeur of God in everything about us....
 When we look to see the evidence of creation all around us, from a grain of sand to the majestic planets, we begin to realize that we are the greatest of all God’s creations; we are created in his image. I was joyfully reminded of this fact three weeks ago when our twenty-fourth grandchild was born. I was again filled with wonder and love to hold this precious infant in my arms, to contemplate the miracle of birth, and to see a child born into mortality who had come so recently from the presence of our Father in Heaven....

Likewise in our lives, he who knows most about us, our potential, and our eternal possibilities has given us divine counsel and commandments in his instruction manuals—the holy scriptures. When we understand and follow these instructions, our lives have purpose and meaning. We learn that our Maker loves us and desires our happiness. In an incomparable manifestation of this divine love for us, he sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16–17).
All the marvels of nature are glimpses of his divine power and expressions of his love. Yet the greatest of all miracles awaits us. It will occur when, by his power, we will come forth from death and the grave to a new world that will not pass away, where, if we are worthy, we will be with him and our Father in Heaven forever and ever."
A beautiful message for all those who will listen. We are God’s creation and as his creation we have that divinity in us which says we can be better.  We can live better lives than stealing from our employer, using inappropriate language or quarreling over unimportant nuisances.

We are all God's children.    

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Make a Difference this Year for Good!

It is already February but I wanted to write something inspiring to help others make a for good in the world. 

I am actually cutting back on my attendance in author meetings and my actual writing time. It is time for me to take on more work outside the home and I have an interview for a great job on Friday. 
Having said that, I had attended my last American Night Writer's Association meeting last week and this quote by Didi Lawson was caught my eye and was very profound.

General Omar O. Bradley as quoted in Louis Fisher's "The Life of Mahatma Gandhi:
We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount...
 Ours is a world of nuclear giants, and ethical infants.
We know more about war than we know about peace 
 more about killing than we know about living.

Didi adds her comment:  It is sad, but the Lord expects us to make a difference no matter the trend of the world.  With our writing we can be a force for good and with the Lord's help, we will make a difference. At least in a small way.

All we do for good in our lives adds to the world to make a difference. Many people think they cannot make a difference but they can. What ever good you do today, no matter how small it may seem contributes to the betterment of society.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it so well:
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
No matter what the world tells us about us and how we should feel towards others remember God's words: 

John13:34 --A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

                                                                            Other wise words:
“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” 
― Gordon B. HinckleyStanding for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

So the number goal for me this year is to serve others and cause good to happen in your circle of friends and family... Even the little things every day....

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Reflecting on the "Year for My Passion"

I wrote the following blog post almost 10 years ago this February... Now I am in reflection of how this whole year affected me almost 10 years later: 

            Whoa, what a concept!   A whole year to devote to what I eat, think, and sleep every day: writing.   I would start off every morning with pen in hand to write my “morning pages”.  This is a successful exercise for writers from the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  I write in long hand in a stream of conscience thought for three pages to dump all the trash out of my head.  Then I would proceed to a quick bite to eat, say my morning prayers and then sit at the computer to finish the novel I have been working on for the last 3 or 4 years.
            After devoting a couple of hours writing time to my novel, I would then take time to write either my weekly editorial article for the local paper, The Independent, my monthly essay for the
e-zine,, or my bi-weekly entry for my writer’s group blog.
            After taking a lunch break, I would do some query work to find a children’s book agent for my nine picture book story series.  I would also rotate doing promotional marketing for my first two books, “Home Is Where The Heart Is” and “Home Is Where the Learning Is”.  I have been sending copies off to book catalogues and reviewers for more exposure of my work. 
            For the last hours of my writing work day I would work on my homeschool writing projects.  I write for a bi-monthly family newsletter which includes an article about a positive aspect of homeschooling, a curriculum page for parents that I have designed and a review of two homeschool websites.
            The week would come quickly to an end as I maintain this schedule of writing and promoting.  Each month during this fabulous year, I would take one week off to travel to book conventions promoting my books, writer’s conferences to improve my writing or schedule book signings for bookstores to sell my books.  This would also include interviews on all the morning news shows and all the evening talk shows.
            After finding an agent for my picture book children’s series, I would carefully follow through on the artist’s picture design for each book and then see them through to print.  I would devote time promoting my children’s books through catalogues and book signings around the country.  Another stint on all the talk shows would be due for promotions.
            After taking six months to finish my novel, I would send it off for editing and work on another project.  I started a screenplay a few years ago and I would take the next three months of my writing schedule to finish it off and find a market for it.  The last three months of this wonderful year would be spent working on my next manuscript for publication called, “Dogs, Blogs, and Hobbits: Writings from a Widow’s Perspective.”  This would be a collection of the essays I have written for the blog and ezine I have contributed to and put together in book form.  The manuscript would be sent off to be edited and a cover design would be chosen.

            The more projects I start writing, the more I want to write.  My writing can be compared to a small snowball rolling down a hill, picking up speed and size until it is so big that it fills a whole mountainside.  This is what I would do if I had a year to devote to my passion.  And because of this devotion, my writing would fill the whole earth in promoting family, homeschooling and inspirational living.

Now ten years later I am the author of 6 books which are all non-fiction on the importance of the family. I am the contributing writer for many wonderful blogs and websites including,,, and others.  I have 10 grandchildren to visit and I am remarried with a new life to write about.

It is amazing when you put your mind to something you are very passionate about and keep it going for as long as possible. 

Be that person who inspires others to be better and don't let the blues get you down. 

Happy New Year and may you all find what your passion is and follow through in the coming year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A blessed Christmas season...

Hope too all of you who are celebrating the birth of our Savior....Peace unto you and everyone....

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ” 
from Romans 1:16 has a powerful message.  

As Christians we are to proclaim the gospel to those unbelievers in a meek and pleasing way. We shouldn’t annoy others if they do not listen but with gentleness, kindness and by good example, we should treat others as they would like to be treated.  Turn the other cheek when an enemy strikes.  Return a quiet answer when angry words are spoken. These are difficult tasks sometimes; especially if we are overly tired, already angry or annoyed by another person.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ helps us to be better people to each other....

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Blockbuster eBook Sale!

If you live in the United States, on Thursday this week you'll be eating with friends, family, and neighbors. (Unless you have to  I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

In my friend Marsha's words:
"Sometime this weekend, you might want to read a book. If you pull out your handy ebook reading device and discover that you've already read everything on there that looks interesting, I've got the solution right here: the Thanksgiving Blockbuster eBook Sale!

Even if you still have books to read on your device, don't forget the coming winter, when you will snap your fingers and tell yourself, 'Sheesh! I could have bought that neat ebook for a song!'"

Several of my author friends, who write in lots of different genres, have banded together during this five-day weekend to bring you special discounts on ebooks.

The Thanksgiving Blockbuster eBook Sale runs from Thursday, November 26 through Monday, November 30. That's from the U.S. Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Prices will go back up on Tuesday, so don't miss this event!

Genres include:
Historical Romance
Fantasy/Steampunk/Science Fiction/Horror
Non Fiction/Self-Help/Memoir
YA/Middle Grade Fantasy
Sweet Romance
Women's Fiction
YA Contemporary 
Romantic Suspense

Here is my book on sale:

High school is often the most intimidating aspect of homeschooling. Most parents don't know anything about preparing transcripts for college, and the unknown is scary. Home Is Where the Learning Is for High Schoolers helps parents learn the necessary classes for acceptance into college or trade school, as well as information on how to write high school transcripts, how to plan and execute a graduation, transitioning from public school, and more.

Home is Where the Learning is For Highschoolers by Valerie Steimle
Non Fiction/Education
Regular price $2.99
Discount price FREE

There are so many more books to see here:

Check out Marsha Ward's blog to find all the books on sale all weekend long...

Happy Reading