Sunday, January 27, 2013

New website!

Dear amazing ATMOSPHERE followers,

 Please click over to my new site for all future blog posts. I would LOVE for you to follow me (on the new site see the gray button on the bottom right). Thank you for all of your support!


Saturday, January 5, 2013


I 've been sweeping. Sweeping old memories of friendship out of my mind and into my heart, where I can feel them again. Sweeping the pain of letting go under the rug, hoping nobody looks there. Sweeping back my hair off my face after crying about something I can't control. Sweeping over my book one last time, making sure Katie's character is just how I remember her to be. Sweeping aside thoughts of what might come next, and instead sweeping my little girl Maggie up and into my bed each night she asks, just because I can.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

The truth about mammograms

October is breast cancer awareness month, and if you are lucky, free-umbrella-with-your-mammogram-month! Here is the deal. I am not 40 yet, the magical age of the first recommended mammogram—but I didn't want to wait any longer. A few weeks ago I called the hospital and made the appointment. Here are a few myths...dispelled:

Myth #1 - It hurts.

This is sooooo false. I have had high fives that have hurt more. Uncomfortable? A tad. Painful. No way.

Myth #2 - You have to have standard size boobs.

Again, false. I asked nurse Bridgette what happens if a gal comes in with plateau chest, or what about big mamma mountain tops?? How about fakies? The quick answer: there are ways to accommodate all sizes, all types.

Myth #3 - The appointment will take forever.

20 minutes tops, baby.

Myth #4 - A call back from the hospital to ask for an additional mammogram means you have cancer.

Nope. A call back for first timers like myself typically means that they want to get more information. The first mammogram is the baseline for all others that follow. So it's essential to have the first mammogram as accurate as possible.

Myth #5 - The results are slow.

So fast. So fast. They will call you within 24 hours if there is a concern, and if your mammogram is normal you will get a friendly postcard within a few days.

Myth #6 - You have to be 40.

Guess what? Most insurance companies pay for mammograms anytime after 35.

Myth #7 - The "ladies" will get squished like a pancake.

Uh. Ya. I'll just say this...under NO circumstances, no matter how bad you want to DON'T LOOK DOWN!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Hottest Things Men Do

I have surveyed married female friends, my sisters, and two co-workers, and have uncovered the mystery of what makes a man really attractive. Sure, we women still love a man who wears woodsy cologne, can run a marathon, and is swimming in money. But, the truth is women get all sorts of happy when men do these 8 things:

1: Mow then edge the lawn: First of all, women love to see their man sweat. More so though, we love nice neat lines of grass. In a woman’s world this is very similar to vacuum lines—which men may or may not find hot. Edging is the crème de la crème of yard work, pulling together the curb appeal in glorious detail. As a bonus the way a man must hold the edger begs for his biceps to pop. We like that too.

2: Pulling the garbage to the curb: Nothing, nothing, nothing is hotter than the sound of a man pulling the garbage can to the curb. Even hotter: if this happens in the wee hours of the morning to catch the truck before it passes by.

3: Patience with children: A man who bends down to eye-level of a child who is crying, upset, or otherwise having a tantrum and shows kindness instead of frustration marks a man with a great amount of control. It’s impossible not to be moved by this act of hotness.

4: Send us grocery shopping—alone: Shopping solo, sans the grocery list, is like date night with ourselves or therapy without the couch. There are few hotter words than when a man says to his woman, “I insist, go shopping, and I will stay here and play board games with the kids. Take your time.”

5: Plan date night: Suddenly you are married and it seems the planning of date night falls square into the lap of the organized wife. You know what’s hot? When the man plans the evening, gets the sitter, washes the car before the date, opens the door for his woman, and wears woodsy cologne.

6: When he loves family reunions: Tolerating family and slugging through the reunion isn’t hot. But, talking to brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, playing with nieces and nephews, and getting to know each member on of both sides of the marriage—flaws and all—comes off as quite hot.

7: Change a tire: When a man changes a tire he isn’t just getting the vehicle back on the road. No. No. No. When he rolls up his sleeves, prepares to get dirty, and rescues his woman from having to wait for AAA—he’s telling her he can take charge of a stressful situation. But, truthfully, when a man has to look up the step-by-step instructions in the manual on how to get the job done—that’s a hotness extinguisher.

8: A kiss like he means it: Lips have thousands of nerve endings (100 times more than your fingertips!) and if there is passion, greatness, and good hygiene behind his kiss, those nerve endings light up like fireworks. There are, of course, honorable mentions to what makes a man really hot: cleaning up kid barf, sewing on a button, helping the kids with math homework, keeping promises, rocking the baby to sleep, growing a garden, singing along with the radio, spontaneously loading the dishwasher, getting a fresh haircut, having nice feet, and knowing how to dance the waltz. But, hands down the hottest thing a man can do is to come home at the end of the day—when his woman’s own hotness has faded behind the daily tasks of survival—take her face in his hands, look her in the eye, and say, “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.” Now that’s hot.

Friday, August 24, 2012

nothing is hotter than a cowboy

I am a sucker for cowboys. Always have been. I think the problem started in high school when a group of cool cowboys from "out west" took my friend Katie and I on a four wheeler ride. I asked, "What is that amazing smell??" The guy said, "Cows." I was hooked. Luckily for me, I married a cowboy. Although his family sold all the cattle (love that cowboy word) a handful of years back, I am still surrounded by the greatest cowboy gifts: horses, land, and doggies.

Each year we spend the final week of summer out at the fair. A week with some of the finest cowboys in all of rodeo land. The leather, the dust, the chaps—mmm mmm cowboys—what a great sight. Tonight the cowboys in the rodeo will all wear pink, in a nod to their support for breast cancer research. This act makes me feel gratitude (keep fighting Kates!) for each one of them. If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times—nothing is hotter than a cowboy in the rodeo at the fair. And hotter still is a cowboy wearing pink who recognizes and respects the woman who is every bit as tough as he is.

Long live the cowboy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My own Miss America.

Five days ago, on a Wednesday night, I drove up and over Sardine Canyon to speak to a group of young women. By the time I got to their camp they were just finishing up dinner—their bright faces reminded me all too well of the times I too had been to girls camp. When it was time to speak to them, I started to get nervous, because I could tell this was a group of young women that would really listen to what I had to say. And they did just that—listen. I talked to them all about their authentic spark—how each of us are sent to earth with a different set of unique qualities...but yet, we are given the same embers of heaven to carry us when we feel our burden is too heavy. The next part of the talk was all about following Christ, and letting his light burn within us. The last part was focused on "Shine On"—putting your best foot (or shiny leg) forward no matter the trials we are faced with. I was happy to share with them moments from my own life and trial that are hard to talk about but I know understood by teenagers. As I looked around at the sweet faces of the young women, all were silent, and many were crying. When my talk was over every one of the girls came up to me and gave me a hug—then told me that I should be the next Miss America. Funny. That is the one phrase I wanted to hear when I was their age, that I had Miss America potential. I smiled the whole ride home, so happy to have met this group of young girls who put a fresh coat of shine on my confidence. Shine on girls! Shine on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meeting agent Kathryn Beaumont

Luck was on my side the week before Memorial Day as I learned of a writers conference right in my backyard. Well, two hours south of the six acres, but still! I was hoping that I could have a 30-minute consult with the great Kathryn Beaumont from Kneerim & Williams. I have been following her on twitter, have read up on her achievements (nothing small about them), love her personality, and adore her style. I was so glad when the coordinator of the conference emailed me to let me know there was indeed time for me on Kathryn's consult schedule. YEAH! I was so excited! A real live agent! I sent my first 7,000 words to the coordinator to send along to Kathryn for review. I have not been crazy about the first chapter, so I wanted her to give me suggestions that would give me an edge when I start to query agents. First of all, she was just like I expected: warm, funny, nice, and intelligent. My kind of person. Once we sat down she said is, "How can I best help you?" I told her, "I am ready for an agent for my memoir, White Bees." Here is the summary of her advice:
  1. "Memoirs are the hardest kind of book to sell to publishers. To increase your chances of being picked up, write your memoir like a novel."
  2. "Hit me over the head with the issue of your book right up front." (My first chapter danced around the "issue" but nothing substantial.)
  3. Make the memoir universal. Relate it to the masses. "If I am selling this book to Random House, everyone on the editorial board must want to read your book. You need to think about that."
  4. She recommended reading, Wild, to gather ideas for my own book.
  5. "Don't start a book with a flashback." Oops.
  6. She also said when querying agents you don't always have to send the first ten pages (as typically requested)—instead, you can send your BEST ten pages.
  7. The most welcome news was her encouragement to me that I am a "very good writer" and "this story could help so many people."
As luck would have it (again) she asked me to send her the full manuscript in a query (but not for at least two months - don't rush it! Fix the first chapter! Make it universal!). I was blown away by her generous advice, candid feedback, and spark of interest in my book. What a pleasure to meet someone who truly is an advocate for the writer. Can't wait to finish my new beginning (and get it right)!