Bri Colorful

Archive for April 2012

With the digital shift to social media and the near necessity of creating an online persona, publishing agencies have “encouraged” authors to start selling themselves; having them do more of the heavy lifting. It is no longer enough to be a writer; you also have to be an advertiser. And you’re selling more than your writing; you’re selling yourself. I learned this in my Children’s Picture Book Writing class at Brigham Young University, but I’m seeing the practical application of it in “real life” with my mother-in-law and good friend, Ramona Zabriskie.

See… Mona is a writer. I mean, she’s really a writer. At heart. Something like what I aspire to become one day, but fear may be inborn and thus unattainable. You have only to stumble across the shelves upon shelves of binders FULL of old journal entries at her house as I did to realize the prolificacy of her writing. She’s kept two different (award-winning) blogs in the time I have known her, evidence of her incredible ability to adapt to emerging technologies, though at her age, most of her peers resist such changes (Mona’s Gospel Musings or Mona’s Musings with a Hint of Romance).  She is also a playwright (With Mine Own Hand) and a public speaker (she is currently presenting “Understanding, Supporting, and Appreciating the Men in our Lives,” all over the Northwest U.S. and Canada), not to mention directing and acting in numerous plays over her lifetime.

Right now, Mona is writing a book. I think it is an important book. I have read some of it. I find it incredibly inspiring, just like I find Mona incredibly inspiring. The book is entitled WIFE-4-LIFE: The Power to Succeed in Marriage and a top New York literary agent thinks it “could be an important book” except for one thing: Ramona Zabriskie does not have the academic credentials to write a self-help book nor fame to lend support to her words, and publishing agencies won’t take the book on the merit of her ideas and writing alone.

BUT, they will take it if YOU say it’s good and if YOU say you like her ideas.

I, along with many others, am trying to help her set up a marketing plan  that puts her “out there” so more people have a chance to read what she has written, judge for themselves, and become a follower. That is all it takes: a few thousand followers and that agent will be able to convince an agency to publish. Did you know public opinion had so much power? Do you know how much your voice counts when combined with many others?

Mona, a few other ladies, and I are going to collaborate on some ideas for this project next Monday. They need a little tutorial on how to join a Google Hangout, so I’m writing that below:

To hangout on Google, we all need to have google accounts and be on Google+ (A Google+ profile is a nice place to have a short bio and a public “online resume” of sorts for people (potential employers) to learn more about you quickly anyways. You can check out my profile here.) You will have to go to Google+ before our meeting and “download Google Hangout” – it only takes a few seconds. (I think it’ll be to the right of the screen in Google+, but I’m not sure as I’ve already downloaded it).

Everyone make sure to be online by the time we decided on and I will “start a hangout” and I believe it will automatically send an invite to your gchat (so make sure to be logged into your email and into chat too) – at least this is what has happened the few times I’ve used the Hangout feature. The invite will be a link. Just click that and it’ll take you to where we’re “hanging out”. If you have any questions, call or email me ahead of time and I’ll try to walk you through it.


It’s been a week since graduation, and I am not even close to settling into some sort of routine. Life has not slowed down much, though it is nice to choose what I do with nap-time and have a few less deadlines. I thought I’d post about a few of my projects. 

  • My amazing mother-in-law Ramona (you may know her from her award winning blogs: Mona’s Gospel Musings or Mona’s Musings with a Hint of Romance or even the play she and her husband wrote and produced, With Mine Own Hand) is in the process of an entirely new enterprise which she has entitled WIFE-4-LIFE. She has researched over 35 books on marriage and romance and countless articles, blogs, and websites of professional counselors, mentored many young married women, and is currently presenting “Understanding, Supporting, and Appreciating the Men in our Lives,” a presentation she created in connection with this project, all over the Northwest U.S. and Canada. She has also started writing a book, WIFE-4-LIFE: The Power to Succeed in Marriage, which follows her own experience (one of turning a marriage on-the-rocks into one of 30+ years that inspires others) in an attempt to inspire, as well as instruct, women how to make their marriages S.P.A.R.K.L.E (an acronym you’ll want to learn more about). Her book gained the attention of a top literary publishing agent in New York who thinks it could be an important book in the market, but cannot get publishing agencies attention because Ramona is neither a Ph-D nor a celebrity. BUT this agent advised mom that if her Twitter, Facebook, blog, and website could gain wider attention (meaning more followers) that would change everything. I’ve read bits of the book and heard her speak on the subject and believe me, she is an important voice in this discussion, the mother-mentor that so many young women are missing. Thus one of my projects is working with my husband to help her create an online marketing campaign to gain support for her book. Stay tuned for more information, because I’ll be posting our process here. 
  • I’m going all out with our garden. My sisters, Kristi and Traci, and my husband and I have put dozens of hours into it already. I’ll do a post with pictures soon. 
  • Researching Digital Folklore (one of my passions from school) and posting about it here. (If you want to see how I got interested in the subject and my previous research, check out my school blog). 
  • And I’m starting in on my long-neglected reading list (I know, ironic for an English major, but there it is). I’ll try to post reviews here as I read. If you want to keep up with what I’m reading and network with what you’re reading, check out my goodreads account (also a widget in the sidebar). 
  • Come fall, I’m excited to start in on Grant’s grad school reading with him. Since we’re both interested in similar things (enhancing education through the use of technology), we’ll both get a lot out of his degree. 


Yesterday, Kristi and I began our first attempts at transforming the garden space, while Grant was out of town.


(That wheel barrow ended up being a very good purchase. Light enough that Kristi and I could lift it into her truck together and tilts to become a dustpan so we didn't have to lift shovel after shovel-full of rocks into it.)




Cheerleader from the sidelines (he was actually asleep most the time).


We kept working till Auntie Kristi smashed her toe between a wheel barrow full of rocks and those cinder blocks. Not a happy experience. But B-boy took good care of her (shown below).


She highly objected to being photographed, obviously. 


We still have about half the rocks to go (another truckbed full) and we need to get it done before noon Saturday, when our wonderful farmer/ ward member is coming over with his industrial strength rototiller to help us break up the ground (now nice is that?). I think Kristi will sit this next half out though. 😉

Things are starting to take shape and I can really imagine the end product in my mind!


Posted on: April 2, 2012

The tree trimmers came today and hacked away at our yard. As you can see, they’ll still need to come get the stumps, but the difference is substantial!


Location for vegetable and herb garden


Location for squash garden


Thinking about putting the green teepee here (we've gotten permission to take that dilapidated old grill and propane tank to the transfer station.

 A live oak had dropped several saplings along the side of the house and one wild tree looked positively possessed and threatened to take over the back corner of the house (you can see the stump in the last picture). The trimmers hacked it all away. As they worked, light flooded into places it had not visited in years. As they trimmed back bushes, flowers were revealed and given more space to thrive. I couldn’t help thinking of how analogous this is to life. I often allow my life to be overtaken by wild trees, simply allowing seedlings to drop and grow where they land. Every once in a while, I need some trimming… lots of trimming. And when I take a chainsaw to my carelessness, I let in light… lots of light, so that I can grow in all sorts of ways.

Let there be Light!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Planting before April 10th:

  • sugar snap peas (started indoors already) – at base of green teepee
  • garden peas – at base of green teepee
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • onion
  • potatoes (in tire planter)
  • carrots (in 2 barrels)
  • strawberries (from nursery starts in raised pallet beds)

Seeds to plant the week of May 13th-19th:

  • pole beans (add to green teepee)
  • zucchini
  • lettuce again

Starts to plant outside the week May 13th-19th:

  • cucumbers
  • watermelon
  • squash
  • bell peppers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • roma tomatoes
  • celebrity tomatoes
  • pumpkins

* Dates for planting found here. Thanks Traci!

So here’s the long and short of it. It’s been so long since I’ve posted here that I don’t even recognize the backend anymore (not saying its not totally slick, dear WordPress Gods; on the contrary), but I’m just feeling terribly shameful. So… since my husband is out of town, and I miss him, and he’s already asleep, and so is my baby, and because my heart is waxing sentimental this weekend from all the General Conference watching, I’m reaching out to you, dear followers. Are you still there?

I’m graduating from Brigham Young University in 17 days. It makes my mind stagger like I’ve been hit over the head with a backpack full of bricks. After four long years, I’m finally achieving a dream. Maybe not all that big a deal to some people, but to me it is. I came to BYU right after getting married at the ripe old age of 20. Growing up in a culture where motherhood is highly valued (I’m a mormon), deciding to prioritize my education (not the only reason we waited to have a child) was more difficult for me than I had predicted. I was uncompromising (to myself) on the issue of whether or not I would finish my degree, and I yearned to have a child. These goals are not impossible to do simultaneously, but at that point in life I was not good at balancing major responsibilities, I knew that, and I feared neglecting one or the other, since both are so important to me. As it is, I learned to balance better and ended up finishing my last year of college after being blessed with our beautiful son. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a side note, I always saw myself marrying late in life after completing my education, having a few years of a career, and, you know, traveling the world (now my family is my work and my world). God had blessed me by sending me my husband while I was very young. I consider this a blessing, while acknowledging how difficult it has also been, because my husband and I were able to formulate so much of our worldview together. As opposed to being fixed in patterns and having to overcome these in order to become more “one in purpose.”

Anyways, I have been writing super sentimentally, but my purpose in writing this post is that I feel like I should be sharing what I have learned with you dear friends. I have many ideas floating around in my head for things to write about. I hope you won’t hold consistency against me. I shall do my best.


My next big project is our vegetable garden. I am so excited about this. Our current landlord has been gracious enough to grant us plenty of space to do so, and has even scheduled trimmers to take out a few trees to enable more sun and beautify the space a bit.

As for the vegetables, I will be learning as I go. I’ve only done a little gardening with a lot of help and guidance from a master gardener, our previous landlord and friend, Chauncey Riddle. I’m really planning on trying a lot of stuff and just seeing what works.

I’ve inserted some photos of the plots I’ll be working with:

Image(Above) This plot is in the southeast corner of our backyard. It won’t get a ton of sun, but I’m hoping it’ll be enough to plant pumpkins, squash, zuchinni, and cucumber. We’ve cleaned it up considerably since this photo was taken (the trash there was presumably from previous tenants). My sister, a horticulture major at BYU-I has designed a plan for the space (below). I haven’t yet told her that I think I want to put the lettuce over here somewhere too. Hey Traci – have you ever heard of doing cucumber on a trellis? Just an idea I ran into tonight that we could possibly try.


Below is the other plot in the northeast corner. It’s quite a bit larger and I think it will get almost full sun during the day. The trimmers are going to take out all those trees and we’re going to remove all the rocks and till and enrich the soil.


Here I would like to do onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, cantaloupe, watermelon, potatoes (grown in a tire), and strawberries (in a raised bed made from a recycled industrial wood pallet). Oh! and herbs in the cinderblocks (working with the space I’ve got).


Below is a preliminary plan for the space, though I’m no artist or horticulturalist like my sister.


Below is what raised recycled pallet gardening looks like:

Elsewhere in the yard I want to plant carrots in a big barrel. I found some at home depot for only $15 and saw instructions for how to do this here. Also, in another corner of the yard I want to build a green teepee (teepee on which vinning plants like green beans and sweet peas can grow) for Bracken and the kid downstairs to play in. They look super fun!


My other sister, who lives nearby and is doing this project with me, has already begun several indoor starts. I’ve created a collection of links to ideas and advice for the garden here, on my diigo profile. I also visited our extension center to get advice from the master gardener, and I intend to go back or call again for more.

That’s a good summary of what I’ve done so far I think.

This and next week I have several goals I hope I’ll get to between finishing up a few projects for school:

  • plan which plants to start from seeds and which to transplant from nursery plants
  • buy the rest of the seeds I need
  • do starts for whichever plants I need to
  • get rid of all the rocks in the garden area
  • follow up on tree trimmers (can’t borrow rototiller and prepare soil in both locations until trees are removed)
  • buy soils, fertilizers, etc in preparation for planting
  • find two used, good quality industrial pallets for free (check behind home depot or lowes?)
  • make planting plan (when to plant what, where, and draw out instructions for each plant’s care and harvesting)

I can’t think what else I need to do cause it’s starting to get late, and I’m getting sleepy. I am super excited though.

Photo of Bri

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