Saturday, November 28, 2009


I'm convinced that few, if any achievements, occur from solo efforts. Personal experience tells me that most success stories . . . and even survival stories . . . revolve around the timely intervention of helping hands.

The offer of help is critical, but often timing is the deal-maker--with support, encouragement, and simple love arriving just in the nick of time. I know this all too well. My latest book, "Dawn's Early Light," and perhaps my writing career, are examples of what can happen when helping hands reach out in the needed hours.

The number one question asked since the release of "Dawn's Early Light" surrounds the cover. It's obvious that this volume is singularly different in appearance from the first two, and for good reason--I have a new publisher on book three--me. And why? Well, the why isn't nearly as important as the how. . . As in, "How did this volume come to be at all?"

When sales of book two, "Twilight's Last Gleaming" slipped below the number anticipated, my publisher pulled out, and I was left with a homeless third manuscript I had invested over a year writing. I believed the story was important, and I was in love with the characters, but with publisher one owning books one and two, no one would invest in book three. My series would never be completed. The story would never be finished.

The dark, confidence-reducing thoughts began. "Maybe the storyline isn't that great. . . maybe my writing isn't that interesting. . . maybe I don't have what it takes. . ." I suppose most of us have had these thoughts on some occasion--about our careers, our parenting, our talents. . . The Adversary's most prized tool--"The Wedge of Discouragement," was being put to good use during that time. It will sound silly, perhaps, to care so much for an intangible thing like a story, but receiving that email on October 3, 2008 felt like a death of sorts--of my series, of these characters I loved so dearly, and of my career.

Fortunately for me, hands were at that ready to pull me out of my downward spiral. The first set of hands was my husband, Tom's, whose first desire always is to eradicate the source of my pain. If there were dragons, he'd be my dragon-slayer, so in spirit he began pummeling away at my invisible demons, while cheering loudly and holding on tightly.

Ironically, word had arrived the previous day from a group of readers that they had nominated "Twilight's Last Gleaming" for a 2008 Whitney Award. I had no delusions of winning, but the simple idea that someone felt my work was worth nominating thrilled me. Still, the series had been cancelled, and I was confused about how to put all these events into context. I felt like a literary Hester Prynne, bearing the stain of a scarlet "R" for "rejected" emblazoned across my chest, and stamped across the body of my work. I needed professional assurance and validation, and where did I turn? To the talented woman who had edited all my books. There wasn't anything in particular that she could do, but her verbal hand-holding and back-pats helped me regain a healthy perspective about the fickle nature of publishing, and I dug back in to investigate the possibility of self-publishing.

A few months later I travelled to Utah for the LDStorymakers' annual convention. Being surrounded by successful, award-winning authors whose books adorned LDS book catalogs, and filled store shelves, intimidated me. My "R" seemed to glow ever brighter and I again wondered whether I should throw in the professional towel. These were my thoughts as I was setting up my book display, and a sweet woman walked over to me. She introduced herself and I recognized her name instantly. She's a successful, fan-favorite author whose multiple-genre-d career is highly renowned. She asked me who I was, and as I snapped my hanging mouth closed, I introduced myself quietly, certain my name would be unfamiliar to her. Instead of brushing me off, she offered profuse kindness and had lovely things to say about my work. Unbelievable! That simple act of generosity pulled me out of the basement, steeling my commitment to publish volume three. It was just an ordinary moment of human kindness to this generous mentor, but to me it was pivotal--a positive spark bright enough to clear away the discouragement. It made all the difference.

"Dawn's Early Light" debuted just a week ago to lovely reviews--a delight considering that it nearly didn't get published at all. I don't yet know how well it's being received by readers. It could fail, but at least I finished it. Yeah, because of a few helping hands that reached out at in needed hours, I managed to get it out there.

I think about the three moments mentioned above and the hands extended in my behalf. They remind me how little is required to lift a person from discouragement or despair. We all have a circle of people who need a kind word, a smile, encouragement, praise, an atta-boy. All we need to do is have a kind word ready and waiting at all times, and then to be still and listen . . . really listen to what their spirits, and the Holy Spirit, tells us is needful.

If I'm ever accused of being anything, I hope it will be of being really kind, too gushy, too gentle. But is that even possible? I doubt it, but it's surely worth the risk.

Monday, November 23, 2009


If you follow me on Facebook, then you know my entire family is in town for a week--four married kids, three wonderful in-law children and four grand kids. It's a little busy around here, especially since this is week two of the book launch for Dawn's Early Light. So, we've got books stacked on my desk next to crayon-drawings of stars and princess pictures, but we're relishing every precious minute, and tonight was our annual pilgrimage to Chuck E. Cheese.

The men immediately head off to the basketball hoops under the cover of playing with a child. Seconds later, bells are ringing and lights are flashing as the machine regurgitates tickets. The boys pretend it's all about the children and the prizes, but their enthusiasm is just too-over-the-top to sell that line with any credibility.

Nearby, two pre-teen boys sit with their mothers. One comments, "Those guys are good!" His friend replies, "Well. . . they're like . . . 20! If you're 20, you ought to be able to shoot hoops at Chuck E. Cheese!" 20? How about 25, 26 and 31?

When playing a game with a child, should we shamelessly allow them to win, or should we challenge them appropriately for their age? That is the burning question. Here is an interesting slant on that question. Across the room, I'm playing air hockey with my three-year-old granddaughter, Keira, purposely avoiding scoring any points while I cheer on her success. I accidentally knock my puck in the slot and score. Keira's reaction? "Good, Grandma! You're learning!"

To our six-year-old grandson, Tommy, winning tickets is the serious business we are about. So when he sees Grandma feeding tokens into no-ticket-return-infant rides for his toddler-brother, Christian, he hastens over to me and offers this sage counsel, "Don't waste the tokens, Grandma." After explaining that "having fun" is also an appropriate use of the precious coins, our hearts warm upon finding out that Tommy handed one of his tokens to another little boy, a stranger, who was down to his last coin.

Finally we come to the point of the evening--all the hard-earned tickets are counted and traded in for prizes. At a value of 1 cent per ticket, you don't get much in retail value, but the elated expressions on these children's faces provide the real value of this evening. And it's priceless.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Deseret Books was the first of the stores to get their online page for Dawn's Early Light up and running, but Seagull should be up soon, and Amazon and most other independent LDS book stores will also have their pages up. Autographed copies will be available through "This Is The Place Bookstore." They're taking pre-orders as are many of your local stores. I'm in the unique position to be able to track shipments of the book, and many of these stores will have books on the shelf by Black Friday and ready for pick-up or shipment. I'll post links to stores with copies in stock as I get that information.

But you can now order online and have copies reserved and sent directly to you.
Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


by Mark L. Shurtleff

When offered, I leapt at the chance to receive a pre-release copy of this book and write a review. “AM I NOT A MAN?” the first novel by Utah’s Attorney General, Mark L. Shurtleff, has generated a substantial amount of buzz, and for good reason. The author’s research about Dred Scott’s life and the era in which he lived, is phenomenal, particularly as it’s observed through the prism of his battle to escape slavery using the American judicial system. The storyline is educational and tender, and the topics of the Constitutional guarantees of liberty are again passion-points in America. For these reasons and many others, “AM I NOT A MAN” is an important book that should be on our shopping lists this year.

Most school children have had some introduction to the man for whom the infamous Supreme Court ruling, “The Dred Scott Decision,” is named, but Mark L. Shurtleff’s exhaustive research transforms a vague history lesson into a powerful example of hope, courage, and dignity under fire, reminding us why that landmark Supreme Court case was required text. The highest court’s ruling, “that a black man was so inferior that he had no rights a white man was bound to respect,” chills us today, highlighting the dangerous consequences that occur when men bend the Constitution to achieve an agenda.

Dred Scott was born a slave named Sam Blow, but his life was a montage of extraordinary experiences, propelled by a mind and heart that could never be enslaved. He was connected to the most important events and people of his day, and his battle to hold the legal system’s “feet” to the Constitutional “fire” drew the entire nation’s attention. Underlying the precedent-setting legal chronicle is the simple, tender story of a man seeking what every person seeks—love, a family, self-determination. For years, Dred fought to prevent his family from being split apart, and to spare his young daughters from the brutality and debasing abuse subjected upon most female slaves. With the help of his white benefactors, and after years of suffering, Dred won his fight and achieved his dream of freedom, but his victory was short-lived when his case was overturned on appeal. Following more years of delay and further appeals, Dred’s case was heard before the United States Supreme Court, where the justices’ decision was not made to uphold the law as much as it was intended to calm the gathering storm. It failed on all counts, stripping away the Scotts’ freedom, denying all Negroes the standing afforded to other Americans, providing the platform upon which Abraham Lincoln rose and escalating the call to war.It is a painful saga.

Truly, “AM I NOT A MAN?” is more than a biography. It is a sweeping panorama of American history, and Dred is in the thick of it. I regret that no historical notes were included in this book. I would have loved to follow Mr. Shurtleff’s leads for further study, and to draw the line where the history ends and the fictionalized portions exist.

For example, a painful exchange occurs between fellow slave owners, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, over the immoral compromise they had each accepted in order to secure passage of the documents needed to establish and maintain the United States—the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The great irony is that these “definers of American liberty,” are discussing their regret over the institution of slavery as they arrive at the Blow family plantation the night Dred “Sam Blow” Scott was born a slave. Mr. Shurtleff delivers a fascinating literary moment, but I would have loved knowing where fiction and fact met during that exchange. Another curious connection exists between Dred and his boyhood friend, Nat Turner, the slave whose murderous revolt would spell agony for slaves across the map. Again, historical notes would help separate the extraordinary facts from the fascinating fiction.

Let me note, however, how extraordinarily exhaustive Mr. Shurtleff’s research is. During the five years I’ve conducted the research for my Free Men and Dreamers series, I’ve covered many of the issues, places and people that fill “AM I NOT A MAN?” Mere weeks ago, I returned to Point Comfort where Dred Scott fought during the War of 1812, and then, as I read Shurtleff’s account of that battle, I was impressed with the care and attention to detail the author took with this small chapter in Dred Scott’s life. That level of historical integrity permeates the work.

“AM I NOT A MAN?” is not an easy read—literally or emotionally. In his effort to incorporate all the wonderful history he has uncovered, the author frequently becomes a historian instead of a novelist, shifting time periods and interjecting long passages of fascinating background info that slow the read for those who come merely seeking a historical novel. Emotionally, the story is painful and graphic in places, perhaps necessarily so, but parents should be advised before handing the book to a younger reader.

None of these issues trump the value or importance of this book. It is a painful story that chronicles the best and worst traits of the human spirit, compelling the reader to place themselves in the shoes of Dred Scott or his brave benefactors. We turn the last page, determined to seek and defend liberty at any cost, and that’s what makes “AM I NOT A MAN?” one of the most important books I’ve read this year, and a novel I highly recommend.

Hardcover: 534 pages

Publisher: Valor Publishing Group; 1st edition (November 3, 2009)

Friday, November 13, 2009

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is my obnoxiously happy, chub face showing off the first copy of Dawn's Early Light! I've been waiting for this proof copy for two days, wondering why it was taking so long to get here. I was really beginning to worry because it will take two weeks from today before the books hit the store shelves.

While I waited for the UPS man, (who by the way has been a frequent visitor since I signed up for my free-shipping trial offer), I decided to organize the gifts that had already arrived. (You know. . . even out the piles and make sure everyone has something besides socks).

I had received a few small boxes from Amazon the other day, filled with Christmas gifts--videos, etc.--and the UPS guy wrapped all the little packages together in a big plastic bag to keep them dry.

Fortunately, since I was feeling Christmas-sy today, (we had "ELF" on) I decided to open all the boxes and organize the gifts. Tucked in with all the Amazon packages was a small package with my book! HAPPINESS!

I also placed the first orders today. For the record, Service Drug in Delta, Utah will end up with the very first copies, and any store ordering from Brigham Distributing will soon have their copies as well, because we ordered a boat-load of books to head straight there. Seagull Book will have their order in on Monday, and Amazon will have my online page up for your Super-Saver shoppers by Thanksgiving!

Thanks to everyone who has held my hand, let me whine, and given me great advice along the bumpy path to Dawn's Early Light's printing. Thanks also to everyone celebrating this book's release. Here she sits with the rest of the Free Men and Dreamers "family"--Dark Sky at Dawn, Twilight's Last Gleaming, and now, Dawn's Early Light. Together they tell a wonderful story about the generation that followed the Founding Fathers, the first American-born generation, the warriors of the War of 1812.

Even now, as voices raise in defense of our threatened Constitution, read about another time when divisions and strifes within our people caused this sacred document, and our republic, to hang by a thread. This was a great generation . . . they were Free Men and Dreamers!

Dawn's Early Light is coming to a store near you! I hope you love it. It's a pretty great read!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Whether you call it Family Home Evening or Family Night, the idea of setting aside an evening a week dedicated to family sharing, fun and instruction, established in 1915 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (the Mormons), is nearing it's 100th birthday, and this timeless program has never been more relevant nor more essential than it is today.

Politics and Sociology aside, no parent can deny that the world is becoming increasingly stressful and busy, and that stress is taking a toll on even the most steadfast of families. Families need a safety net--an ark--so to speak, to lift them above the fray and convey them safely over the flood of worry and trouble. FHE, or Family Home Evening, can be that ark.

It requires little more than for families to agree to push the world back for an hour in order to gather each member together. For LDS, (Mormon) families, the evening is Monday Night, and the agenda generally includes singing, prayer, a lesson, and/or an activity, and a snack. But families will soon discover that there are a vast array of ways to fill that time once everyone sits down together.

My husband and I struggled through wriggling, elbow nudging, "don't-touch-me" complaints from siblings, and actions that mildly resembled at night at a WWF arena when we gathered our four children together. We soldiered on with flannel-board stories, prepared lessons, and games. Some nights, a lesson of any spiritual quality was impossible, but fun and sharing always reigned supreme.

Despite our failings, in this safe(?) place our children learned to conduct a meeting, lead music, perform talents, give little lessons, read aloud and offer simple scriptural thoughts. We often felt like traffic cops throughout the evening, but I'm convinced that those hours, during which we played games and shared in one another's triumphs and trials, became the basis of these successful adults' self-esteem and confidence.

Consistency is the deal-maker here. I confess to having allowed many of our FHE's to erode into attending a child's team sports activity. We justified it by convincing ourselves that we were "together" to support a child, but that weak argument failed on many counts. Once at the field, kids scattered off with friends, and our special evening was like any other. There was no invitation to the Spirit to lift us from the world, no testimonies of Christ strengthened, no expressions of love and gratitude. Looking back now, I see the subtle but essential difference between "fun family time" and the safety net of regular "Family Night." Both will create memories and strengthen bonds, but when parents do everything in their power to make Family Night a sacred, set-aside hour, the supreme priority over all other activities, and a time to testify of Christ, we elevate the importance of the family in God's great Plan of Happiness, not only bringing our children closer to us, but to Christ. The dividends are eternal and incalculable.

Where to begin? As a group, set the priority and block it into the calendar. Then rotate responsibilities for prayers, music, an activity, a lesson, a snack. Get everyone involved somehow. The lesson can be as simple as a testimony borne, a single scripture read and discussed, or a story that is shared with follow-up questions that inspire sharing and feeling the Spirit. Play games, sing, pull out the instruments, act out a skit, make a new recipe together and secretly leave it on someone's doorstep. Learn about the earth, do service--the list is endless.

If it still seems daunting, let me recommend Anne Bradshaw's new release, "FAMOUS FAMILY NIGHTS." There are dozens of other families' examples of triumph and challenge, lesson ideas, and most of all, testimonials to the rewards of sticking with it. It would make a loving and perfect gift to newlyweds and new parents. (Available at Seagull Books, Deseret, Amazon and most LDS book stores.)

These testimonials may ease your fears about leaping in to the journey called "Family Night." Good luck! You're in for the time of your life!

"After reading the first few stories in this book I let out a sigh of relief and a chuckle as I realized my family really wasn't so dysfunctional when it came to family home evening experiences after all! This collection of stories is a "must-own" book, whether you are LDS or not. It provides wonderful ideas, and also helps us realize how important family time is to our children - whether they know it or not." - George Dyer, International Opera Singer.

"I heartily add my recommendations to other reviewers. Not only did I find many great family night ideas, but I learned that other people are just like me! We all struggle, especially when the children are young, but the concept of family night brings so many benefits that we continue to do it. And then at times, the light shines through and the moment is so sweet that we wonder why we ever doubted." - Rachel Ann Nunes, award-winning Author of thirty published books.

"Everyone can benefit from this unique compilation of entertaining and uplifting stories of family home evening through the eyes of a diverse stable of LDS contributors. I sure did!" - Jason F. Wright, New York Times best-selling Author of Christmas Jars and The Wednesday Letters."

What a wonderful experience reading Famous Family Nights has turned out to be. Each essay has touched my heart in some way. I've learned new ideas to try with my own children during home evening, felt the spirit as I've shared in the experiences of other families, and seen how holding home evening can make a difference, even when you're wrangling a bunch of kids who claim they don't want to be there." - Lu Ann Staheli, Author, When Hearts Conjoin.

"Whether in your later years, or like me, in recently married years, Famous Family Nights is a smashing book I highly recommend to anyone." - Alex Boyé, award-winning Recording Artist, Actor, and Mormon Tabernacle Choir member."

("Famous Family Nights" is) . . . also just laugh-out-loud funny sometimes, and at other times very touching. I loved the glimpses into the lives of the contributors and the experiences they shared. I suggest that you can do most of your Christmas shopping by purchasing multiple copies of this book. It's that good. It's that useful and helpful and thought-provoking. It's one of those books that has "something for everyone." It's bound to be a perennial favorite, to be picked up time and time again at various stages of family life." - Janet K. Jensen, award-winning Author, Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys.

"These wonderful stories can touch and inspire us all, no matter what our place in life. The writers don't claim family home evening perfection and I feel their honesty will be much appreciated." - Donna S. Dewberry, Artist, Author, One Stroke Painting TV Presenter.

"Famous Family Nights, by Anne Bradshaw, is such an excellent book for parents of all ages! I laughed, I cried, I read several entries over and over and out loud to my hubby. So much fun, and so many parents who felt like their family home evenings were such a catastrophe! From measuring lint in belly buttons to stylishly modeling newly-washed clothes over . . . whatever, it's a hoot! Even the hollering! This book is a great reminder to parents everywhere that the Lord never expects us to get it perfect, He just expects us to do it! " - Sherry Ann Miller, Author, "writer of miracles."

"Anne Bradshaw has collected a smorgasbord of FHE ideas to delight any and every family. From foil dinners to teaching scriptures and songs --this book is full of ideas to make family time the best it can be. Ideas come from families worldwide, a sampling of ways to love those that love you the very most!" - Amy Freeze, Chief Meteorologist, Fox News Chicago.

"I was so interested to learn more about the various authors and their experiences that I kept reading the moment I picked the book up and didn't stop until I finished! It was a spellbinding page-turner. I laughed and giggled at some stories. My heart was touched deeply through it all, leaving me inspired to continue my efforts to hold family night despite any setbacks or having a less-than-ideal evening. Bravo! Well done." - Jeffrey Denning, CPS, CMAS, Iraq War Veteran.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The Dawn's Early Light Blog Tour begins shortly. Twenty-four "blog-stops" are planned, with opportunities for prizes at each one. You can also host an "Ad Stop" on your blog, or Facebook page, or by posting on Twitter. Just post the cover image of "Dawn's Early Light" or a link to on your social sites, and return to my blog to post a comment with your sites' address(es). You'll receive additional entries for each place you post. Easier yet, become a follower of this blog. Prizes--free books and a gift certificate to Applebee's!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"The Reckoning" Book Trailer

This wonderful trailer provides a glimpse into Tanya Parker Mills' double-award-winning novel, "The Reckoning." Brimming with intrigue and suspense, "The Reckoning" would make a perfect gift for those on your list who enjoy an intelligent, enlightening read. Available at Amazon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Wanna win some great prizes? Dinner for two at Applebee's? Always dreamed of being a crafty creator of handmade items worthy of presenting as beautiful gifts? Take it from one of the craft-challenged women in the world, sometimes you need a step-by-step guide to rev up the creative juices, and then a good supper to soothe the soul.

Wanna win and also help the aforementioned craft-challenged-author-person get the word out about her new book?

I'm expecting to hold the first copy of Dawn's Early Light in my hands in about a week. As exciting as that is, that's about three weeks behind the book's planned release date, so I need help to spread the news. In return, I'm offering a prize package worth almost $80 retail in books and gift certificates.

Book one is a guide to designing and creating beautiful handmade jewelry titled, Elegant Wire Jewelry, by Kathy Frey. Book two, Bits and Pieces, by Karen Costello Soltys, contains patterns and instructions for making eighteen small quilts. I'm also tossing in a $25 gift certificate to Applebee's, making the value of the prize package over $80!

Break the package up into three lovely Christmas gifts, or use the books to create beautiful handmade gifts for everyone on your list, then treat yourself to a nice Applebee's night out!

You can enter up to 4 times! Here's how:

1. Insert the image of my soon-to-be-released novel, DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT, on your blog sidebar with a link back to my web site at Then return and post a comment telling me the address of your blog site.

2. Would you like to enter again? Now post the cover image of DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT on your Facebook page with a link back to my web site. Send me a message when it's up and you'll get a second entry.

3. Wanna third entry? Post a link on Twitter.

4. Fourth? Become a Follower of this blog.

The drawing will be November 20th. Lots of time to enter, lots of chances to win!

And as always, thanks for your support of my books!


Laurie LC Lewis

Monday, November 2, 2009




Alison Palmer

My good friend, and eight-time author, Alison Palmer, has dedicated her talents to providing principle-based Primary supplements that enhance Sunday sharing times. Her newest release, Simply Singing Time, is a dream for choristers. Written to coordinate with the 2010's Primary theme, "I Know My Savior Lives", Simply Singing Time helps choristers reinforce powerful Gospel principles through Palmer's entertaining games.

For example, in lesson 4, "The Lord is My Shepherd," the game plan allows the chorister to review up to twelve songs in a format that reinforces the principles that 1) Jesus is the Good Shepherd, 2) we are His sheep, and 3) we can find safety in His green pastures.

Each of the twenty-five lessons is laid out with instructions, a rudimentary materials list, instructions for play, and the Gospel idea behind the game. Once created, each game can be used again and again, with different songs and age groups.

I was once a Primary Chorister. I adored the children and the singing, but coming up with a series of entertaining activities that would hold the older children's interest without overwhelming the younger children was a daunting weekly task. This is Alison Palmer's forte, having six volumes of Sharing Through Primary Songs, and two other children's resource books on the topic of faith already under her belt.

But Simply Singing Time has application possibilities beyond Sharing Time. This is a great tool to add to any family's Family Home Evening arsenal. My daughter, the mother of a nine-month-old, saw the book on my counter and tried to snag it. She saw so many opportunities to prepare games that would bless her family for years to come.

As a mother of grown children and grandchildren, I'm looking forward to using Alison's ideas to add new dimensions to our family's group FHE's, and to teach my little ones important Gospel principles in a playful format.

I also work with the seminaries, and I can see so many applications there as well. Though these games are geared to utilize songs with children 3-11, several of them could be modified and used to teach scripture mastery scriptures. And the age issue? My experience with Early Morning Seminary students assures me most would laugh and play along willingly.

So hats off to Alison Palmer for yet another resource to teach children the beautiful principles of the Gospel in a subtle, entertaining way.

Simply Singing Time, $8.99, is published by Horizon Publishers, and is available online at Amazon, and wherever LDS books and products are sold.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


A few weeks ago, while poking around for a photo of "gratitude" for a post on that topic, I came across a most remarkable blog--"365 Days of Gratitude". It was a photo-blog with a daily image reflecting something for which the photojournalist was grateful. I thought the idea was lovely. The anonymous blogger has evidently moved from her roots because the first shot on her blog is featured here, a shot of the prairie where she was raised. The label was, "Today I am grateful for my visit home." Looking at the photo, can't you sense how true that statement is? I didn't go through every shot, but the ones I did see were more reminders that our efforts to take count of, and feel gratitude for, our blessings really magnifies the end-count, and we'll come to see how truly blessed our seemingly mundane lives actually are.

This blog reminded me of a Gratitude Book my daughter assembled for Thanksgiving 2007, with the intent of laying it out on the table where family members could jot down thoughts of gratefulness throughout the day. It was a wonderful, if under-utilized idea. I think we should give it another try.

There are lots of reasons why starting such a project like this is a beautiful idea. Thanksgiving, the day set aside for reflections of gratitude, is a mere three weeks away, and Christmas and New Years always seem to urge us to take stock, express love and gratitude, then set new goals.

Perhaps snapping a photo of something for which you are grateful would work for you, or perhaps the Gratitude Book is more doable. You can write a gratitude statement a day in your calendar blocks, or maintain a running list. Whatever works for you.

A creative woman used one of those table-top trees from which she dangled paper leaves with notes of gratitude written upon them. You can decorate a jar or a can and leave slips of paper upon which thankful notes can be recorded. I think the fridge would be a great place to post notes of gratitude. It sure would add positive value to those leftover-runs.

I'm sure you've got tons of ideas on how to take stock and record gratitude. Let's hear some. Leave a comment and I'll enter you in a drawing for a wonderful book titled, "Wednesday's Letters". Deadline for the drawing is Friday!