Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy Sabbath everyone,
Soon, we will need an ark! All is well, but very wet.

Bethany gave a great talk today in church. She said that the Lord applauds our daily efforts. She likened our sins to a seams in a dress. If we make a mistake, we have to rip it out and make it right or we won't be happy with our dress. It dovetailed beautifully with our lesson in relief society where Sister Smith used a balloon and said that the reason it floats is because it's lighter--and we can rise above our challenges if we repent and not let ourselves be weighed down with sins.

Larry, at the moment, is trying to convince the dogs to "let go." They really hate to do their business in the rain. He's standing outside in a downpour telling the dogs to go potty. They, and the neighbors, probably think he's nuts.

I have a lot of writerly things in the works. This week I was accepted to a workshop led by editors from Simon and Schuster and Harper Collins (two of the five big publishing houses.) I'll work in a critique group of five people. It was an honor to be selected, and I'm looking forward to their feedback on my work. The workshop is at Sundance at the end of April. In March, I'm speaking on storytelling at a statewide symposium for gifted high school students. Also, I'm going to publish my short story, The Edit this week. I wrote it years ago. It's about my experience when I learned that the villain in my novel Hailey's Comments closely resembled an actual person by the same name--James Dunsmuir (not a common name.) I love writing and publishing the short stories. I like the novels, too, but they're much more work. Obviously.

Jared and Jen's baby shower is in a few weeks. It coincides with our stake conference (which was rescheduled.) This means I'll be at the shower in the morning and cutting pie and serving ice cream at the Saturday night session of stake conference. Our stake president has been called to be a mission president to Lansing Michigan and he will be released. Maybe I'll be released soon after? My nightmare is one Sunday I'll go to church and the rest of the presidency will all be released but me. Anyway, because of the change, all of our ward conferences were cancelled and will be rescheduled. Such are the burdens of the secretary.

Life is good. My children are well. Natalie is planning on a summer at Oxford and India. Nathan and Shirley are going on a cruise. Jared and Jen's baby is weeks away. Miranda likes her classes. Bethany and Brandon are busy starting a business and caring for their family. Adam should be here for dinner any minute. And, for the moment, we are dry as long as we stay inside.

We love you all,
Hi all,
It's rainy and cold here, just as January should be, reminding me of the California winters early in my marriage. Of course, I love it because it means I can hibernate with a good books.

Today, we're going to dinner at Nathan's to celebrate my birthday. I'm bringing sugar-free brownies. I'm fifteen days into my sugar-free year and it's become easy for me. The first week is always the hardest. My birthday was tricky as people who don't know my sugar-free ways brought me treats, but I survived. This week will also be a test as I'm going to a friend's for a craft night and that always involves sinful food and the following night it's my turn to bring the treat to my writers' group (fruit with yogurt dip.)

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. We celebrated at my favorite restaurant. Friends tried to take me to lunch, but I put them off so I could go to the book store on my own. (Lunch will happen this week.) Looking ahead at all the things 2017 has in store, I'm very excited. We're going to a cabin in Lake Arrowhead in February, Washington in April, and Canada in July. Life is good.

Our stake president has been called to serve as a mission president so he's being released in a few weeks. I know our presidency is expecting to our release to follow close behind. Although, I'm trying not to hold my breath since the last secretary held her calling for eleven years.

Larry has been knocking all of his financial goals out of the park so a lot of our discussions center on his retirement in about two years. On the other hand, I don't ever want to retire from writing. I haven't worked on a book since before Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to starting on the third book in my Menagerie series tomorrow.

Our family is doing well. Adam has been in Thailand--he returns today. We're grateful he wasn't trampled by elephants or eaten by tigers. Everyone else in our family has been just as fortunate. I can only hope our country will fare as well in the upcoming years. I don't think I can watch the inauguration this week...

We love you all and hope that you will also be protected from the elephants and tigers. But please be careful of the monkeys. (There's no escaping the monkeys.)

Much love,From: k tate
Sent: Sunday, January 1, 2017 6:33 PM

Dear family,
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Natalie and Miranda are still at home (for the moment) so we're still (somewhat) in party mode, but it's fleeting. Miranda leaves tomorrow at five a.m. She's returning to BYU earlier than Natalie because she's a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding. Natalie has a group of friends arriving tomorrow--three girls and three guys. We're not quite sure where everyone is going to sleep. They are here for another week.
The Barnettes spent the weekend in Las Vegas. They'll return tomorrow. Winston--their Westie--will be over the moon to see them. He cries when they're gone. The rest of us miss them, too, but not with so much noise.
It was really wonderful to have everyone here for Christmas. Larry pointed out that our family has doubled in the past ten years. We went from 8 to 16. I wonder where the next ten years will take us.
I hope you all have wonderful plans for 2017. I love this time of year. I love putting the Christmas decorations up, but I love how good it feels to put them all away. I have high hopes for this year.
It's so wonderful to have most of my children nearby. It's something that I never expected. There's no guarantee that it will last, but I'm pretty confident that at least Adam and Bethany will be close. (Especially Bethany. I doubt that Brandon will uproot his business. He's doing great.) Adam really likes his job, so he's not looking to move. Nathan is loving Google, but it's a huge company with lots of offices, so he could transfer at some point. But he just started last month, so that shouldn't happen any time soon--if ever. Jared though is a wild card. He wants to get his masters and life could take him and Jen and baby Tate anywhere. And of course, who knows where life will take Natalie and Miranda. Natalie just filled out an application for a study abroad in Israel.
Life is so much more fun and interesting when you're sharing it with people you love. May you all have a fun, interesting, and lovely 2017,

Kristy Tate

From: k tate
Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2016 10:21 PM

Dear Family,
How fun to see pictures of Dad flying to Hawaii for the Pearl Harbor reunion! Happy travels, Dad, Dennis and Dawn.
We (the stake relief society) put on a luncheon for the silver sisters in our stake. This was our third one and best attended with nearly 50 ladies. It's gaining traction, which is fun to see. It's hard to believe that I'll be going to my sixth year of ward conferences in a few weeks. Our stake is shrinking. We used to be bursting at the seams. Our ward is the largest in the stake with a healthy youth program and primary, but a number of the wards are limping along.
Tonight we took our five year old neighbor, Victoria, to watch six year old Sterling sing in our stake musical production. She was pretty amazed when the choir started singing. When they sang Jingle Bells, she leaned over and whispered, "I know this one!" We're in the thick of the season. I have parties on Tuesday afternoon (friends), Wednesday evening (relief society), Friday night (Larry's office), Saturday night (my writers' group), and I'm volunteering at our stake nativity program on Sunday night. It's a lot for me.
I finished the book I was working right before Thanksgiving and I won't start another until after the holidays. It's amazing how much time I have. A writer friend told me that when you're writing the logical side of your brain that keeps track of time shuts off and that's why time disappears. Now that I haven't been writing, I've been doing other things like I made an advent calendar similar to the one I made way back in Connecticut. I'm almost done with a quiet book I'm making for Gigi, and I'm really tired of making crafts. I can't wait to finish and clean up the fabric and scraps because I'm frustrated with how messy it all is. That's one of the nice things about writing--it's pretty tidy.
We have some super exciting things happening in our family. Jared and Jen are adopting a baby boy in February! Bethany has organized an auction to help offset their expenses. (It's going to cost them $45 thousand) Bidding on our donations start on either Thursday or Friday. Nathan and Shirley are moving to Irvine this weekend! And Nathan is starting at Google tomorrow. The girls are getting ready for finals which means they'll be home soon. And it's always so fun to have them around. Brandon's dad is coming to visit and luckily both condos will be empty so the Barnettes will go to Oceanside for that weekend, which will be great for them. Brandon's business is doing really well...Adam really likes his new job. Life is good.
We hope all is well with all of you. We love and miss you and pray that you're all having a wonderful holiday season.
Kristy Tate

From: k tate
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2016 9:59 AM
Dear Family,
I hope you all had a lovely holiday. Our house has quieted down, the turkey left-overs have all disappeared, even all of the pies are gone. Adam stayed the weekend, but went home last night. Nathan and family left this morning, as did the girls (taking Larry with them.)

Adam, the girls and their friend Samantha arrived Wednesday night. Jared and Jen celebrated with Jen's family and Nathan and Shirley were in Logan with Shirley's people. We started the morning by running around the lake for the Run for Kira virtual run. It's 1.25 miles around the Rancho lake, so it was perfect. Miranda and I went an hour earlier so we could watch Gigi and Sterling while the others ran. We were sad I was late ordering our T-shirts, but decided we could always run again when they arrive. We had eleven for dinner, which was a perfect number around our dining room table. The boys competed in their annual pie baking contest (Adam won with a raspberry/chocolate pudding pie, but Larry was a close second with a lemon meringue, and Brandon made a cranberry cheesecake Of course, we played lots of games and watched lots of movies.

On Friday, I got started on my holiday decorating. It will be different this year because a lot of my decorations including my nativity scene (which is the most important) are hidden behind Bethany's stuff in our garage.  We also went shopping and to the Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them movie (we liked it, but didn't feel as connected to it as we did the Harry Potter movies.) Then the girls watched the new Gilmore Girls episode while the boys played games.

On Saturday, Larry and I and the girls went to the temple in the morning, came home we all went for a walk on the beach and stopped for ice cream on our way home. Nathan and family surprised us with a visit. They arrived home from Utah to find that their furnace didn't work and wouldn't be fixed until Monday. Rather than freeze at their house, they came to ours! For dinner, we made our traditional turkey pizzas. (These aren't pizzas made with turkey. Instead, we all make our own pizzas that are supposed to look like turkeys.) Shortly after that the vomiting started. The stomach flu hits us almost every year. We wonder if we can blame it on the card playing--it's so tempting to lick our fingers when we shuffle. Or maybe it's the pizza making where we're using our fingers to sprinkle cheese and lay out peppers... Sigh.

So Natalie, Miranda, and Sterling spent last night vomiting. They were supposed to leave  for Provo at six this morning. (Not Sterling, of course.) Larry ended up going with them since only Samantha was in any condition to drive. He's our hero. He'll fly home tomorrow morning. I was going to go--even packed my suitcase--but he doesn't mind driving in the snow and I hate it.

So, here we are, me and the Barnettes. Only Sterling is far. Nathan and family had intended to stay longer, but decided they'd rather be cold than sick. (I don't blame them.) And their landlord offered to bring them space heaters, so hopefully, they'll be okay (and not cold and sick, which is a possibility.) They're moving to Irvine in just a few days! Nathan is going to work for Google, which is super exciting, although a little sad for Jared and Jen because they'll be farther away from them, but closer to us!

We have so much to be grateful for...and we're grateful for all of you.

Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2016 1:42 PM

Dear Family,
I'm home after my weeklong sojourn in Wet Washington. I had a lovely visit, but it's also really nice to be here. Everyone else is at church. I volunteered to stay with Gigi, who's sick (and napping) so things are very quiet.
I spent Sunday through Wednesday morning with Dad. He's doing well, although he's really slowing down. He spends a lot of time watching football and napping, but probably an equal amount of time working in his shop. This gave me lots of time to give the downstairs bathroom a makeover. Thanks to contributions from Dennis and Dawn, I repainted, put up new curtains, and replaced the rugs and towels. It doesn't look great, but it looks much, much better.

On Wednesday, I went to a writer's retreat hosted by an organization of LDS women on Whidbey Island (very close to Bowman Bay.) We were right on the water and the location was magnificent. I met a lot of nice people, and I got a ton of writing done. I had a great time, but I don't think I'll do it again. I think I could be just as effective--if not more so--at the condo. There were skits, games, and workshops, but during those I almost always regretted the time I spent away from my story. (It was soooo girls camp.) The first night I stayed in a cabin. Even though I had my own room, the other women stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking which kept me awake. The next day, I moved over to the "dorms" where the crowd was way more serious, and everyone had their own rooms. I loved staying in the dorms except for when I had to help a naked 70+ year old lady figure out the shower. (I really prefer people when they're clothed.) Also, I accidentally left behind my notebook with the outline of my story and my marketing plans for next year. I'm not happy about anyone finding either of those, but oh well...

I left late Saturday morning and returned to my dad's to say goodbye. (He was busy welding something in the shop and chatting with Dennis.) Rebecca and I drove into Seattle and wandered around the Amazon bookstore in the University District. After that, we went to the Day of the Dead celebration at the Seattle Center. Rebecca gives her students extra credit if they go. I, of course, didn't get extra credit, but I'm still glad I got to go. I had to get up at 4:30 this morning to catch my flight.

And now I'm home and real life resumes. This week, I'll publish A Little White Christmas Lie. Both my editor and Miranda think it's my best. I'm not sure I agree, but I do like it a whole lot. Tomorrow is Halloween. Nathan's birthday and Thanksgiving are right around the corner. Sometimes it seems as if the party never ends.

I hope wonderful things are happening for all of you and that all of your parties are happy ones.

Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2016 2:39 PM
Greetings from Arlington!
It's soooo pretty here! I remembered to bring my camera on this trip and I'm looking forward to taking some pictures. The sun is out, although the clouds are hanging low. The leaves are magnificent. Washington really is a slice of heaven.

Dad is moving really slowly. Once he's upright, he does okay, but getting up and around is a workout. I'm going to work-over the downstairs bathroom. But I'm also going to dinner at Dennis and Dawn's and to lunch on Tuesday with Aunt Helen, Lynn and Sharon, and two of Aunt Helen's siblings and their spouses--the Burnells and Bairds.

The new neighbor is the care-giver for another 95-year-old World War vet and Pearl Harbor survivor. (What are the odds?) She was hoping this gentleman and dad could be friends. Sadly, they didn't hit if off. The man said when his ship exploded, he was thrown in the water and "some SOB grabbed me by the arm, pulled me into a boat, and pulled my arm out of joint." To which Dad responded, "That was probably me." And now, they're not friends.

Today in my dad's ward, this one man spoke and I swear he's spoken at every sacrament meeting I've attended for the last couple of years. He spoke at my Uncle John's funeral and then at least four of the last five meetings I've attended here. (Weird, right?) I pointed this out to him the last time I was in town and he said I was obviously a jinx. Fortunately, he's an incredible speaker and today he talked about his military service in Bosnia and how being earnest is different from being diligent. In the military, when a soldier receives an order, he is to take three steps back, solute, and then turn and run to fulfill the order. To walk away is an insult. He said that we should be just as anxious and earnest in doing the Lord's work. I'm beginning to think this man speaks every week in the Stillaguamish ward.

My writer's retreat on Whidbey Island begins on Wednesday. It's hosted by an organization of LDS women writers. Because it's not in the business of making money, it's really affordable: 3 days of accommodations, plus food, for $95. There are classes and workshops, but there's also a lot of quiet time for writing. Natalie called it a girls camp for introverts. I don't know anyone who's going, so I hope I'll make friends. And if I get close to finishing the book I'm working on, that will be bonus gravy. Maybe I shouldn't make any friends...I'd probably get more writing done. The book I'm working on, the second book in what I thought would be a trilogy, has taken a dramatic turn for the bizarre, and it will take way more than three books to end this story.

I'm looking forward to seeing Rebecca on Saturday. There are also some bookstores I want to visit in Seattle, which I'll do with or without Rebecca--depending on what she has going on and wants to do.

This past week we celebrated Adam and Bethany's birthdays by going to an Italian restaurant in town that's been a favorite for years. They catered all of our children's wedding receptions and open houses. They moved into a new, larger space--so pretty. But it also made me feel a little strange- as if we're all growing up.

Nathan has his second rounds of interviews with Google on Friday. We're holding our breath for him. His last interview went really well. Life is good. It's about to get even better because I made a pumpkin spice cake to take to Dennis and Dawn's and it smells like heaven. (By the way, Ellen--did you make the pumpkin butterscotch cookies? YUM.)

For those of you who aren't here to see the pretty foliage and eat pumpkin cake and  cookies--I feel sorry for you. I'll take pictures, but you'll have to do your own baking.

God bless,

Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2016 8:45 AM

Hola All!
We're in the thick of the Tate birthday season. Today we're celebrating Adam. Bethany's turning 30 (!) on Friday. Adam wanted enchiladas for his birthday, so we carried the theme a step further and got him a pinata. Imagine us swinging a bat at a paper sombrero this afternoon.

Natalie came to visit us this week. It's always fun to listen to all her crazy dating adventures in Provo. It was a really fast trip. She arrived on Wednesday night and left at 5 a.m. on Friday. Thursday, she went to the dentist and she and I went to the temple in the afternoon. I had a presidency meeting that night, so I missed going out for icecream with Larry, grandbabies, and Natalie. I'm not bitter...

Last night, a friend asked me to read an excerpt from my book at her Halloween party. She's a tremendously successful interior decorator and throws amazing parties. She'd asked me to do it last year, too, but I hadn't been able to attend. I was nervous about it because I wasn't sure what a book had to do with interior decorating, but it was great. Bethany filmed me and we're going to put it up on Youtube, even though I'm not very happy with how I look. Sigh. Although the orange I put in my hair does look good.

Yesterday, Bethany and family went to Lake Arrowhead. She posted a picture on Facebook of the boys in front of Grandma and Grandpa's house. So many happy memories of that place!

Tomorrow, Nathan has his first interview with Google (in Santa Monica.) Please keep a happy thought for him. He probably won't make as much as money as he could with his own business, but he thinks it will be good for him to get out of the house and be around people. Besides, Google is an exciting, innovative company.

For Bethany's birthday, we're going to tour the Gilmore Girls set! This is just a girls thing. Larry and Brandon didn't want to join us.

I'm looking forward to my trip to Washington! I arrive Saturday night, 9 p.m. My writers' retreat on Whidbey Island is Wednesday through Saturday and my flight is early Sunday morning. We had some drizzly weather this morning, so it put me in the mood.

All is well. Larry's preparing his gospel doctrine lesson on Jesus' visit to the Nephites. Chandler got his first violin this week. Sterling lost two teeth at once. Emmy has the stomach flu so Nathan's family couldn't come for dinner today. Jen's taking an eyelash extension class and she's going to practice on the girls (including me.) Life is good. I hope all is well with all of you.

Much love,

Kristy Tate

Sent: Monday, October 10, 2016 5:44 PM
Hi all,
I have a new goal to write every week. I sincerely doubt that most of you will want to hear from me every week, or that I'll have something to say every week, but looking over my year I realize that there are great big gaping holes in my timeline. And since Bethany keeps my letters and put them in a book, I feel like I need to mention some memorable things like the girls' homecoming, Emmy's birth, our trip to Europe, etc.

But if I do this one week at a time, I won't get behind. So...this week...we caught a cat. It was wild and living in our garage among all of the Barnette's things. (Bethany's family is living with us and all of their jazz is in our garage--and so was the cat.) We bought two traps. Neither worked. The dogs were unable to ferret it out. Weeks went by. Finally, last night we chased it down and slammed a laundry basket over it. The dogs were crazy. This morning, Bethany took it to the pound. Which was sad, but we just couldn't have one more creature in our house. We're very full.

Adam has a new job which he likes and which pays him more money. He's still doing business litigation. He moved out two days before the Barnettes moved in. He lives in a house with five dudes in Costa Mesa, which was 3 minutes from his old office. But his new office is closer to us.

Brandon's business is doing much better than they had dared to hope. On one day, he had 20 patients. Chandler has Ms. Pascall for fourth grade--she also taught Bethany and most of his aunts and uncles. Sterling is in kindergarten and Gigi hangs out here with me, Bethany, and the dogs.

Nathan's being treated for his depression. He has interviews with Google lined up. He has plenty of work, but he thinks it may help if he had someplace to go every day. Please keep them in your prayers.

Jared loves his job as a business consultant. Jen runs a reading program at an elementary school. They're working on their adoption papers. Jen went with me to a writer's conference in San Luis Obispo. It was life changing for me and super fun to go with Jen.

Natalie is teaching Chinese at the MTC and studying business and music. She'll be home this week for just a couple of days to get some dental work done. It will be great to see her. Natalie in charge of firesides for return missionaries to help them readjust to being 'home.'

Miranda loves her classes, new roommates and apartment. She's a visiting teaching supervisor.

All is well.

Larry's business is doing well. He was in North Carolina last week and San Diego today. My books are doing well. I've sold more than 200 of my latest release that came out two weeks ago. Of course, I only make .30 cents on that book. (It's only .99 cents until the end of October. 'Well' is all relative.) I'm ripping out plants in the side yard so I can put in new ones. Bethany's boys have been helping me--we pay them with Wendy's Frosty's.

We love you all and hope you're all healthy and happy. I'm looking forward to my trip to Arlington on the 22nd.

Kristy Tate
Dear Family,
Happy Sabbath! A lot has happened/changed in a few short weeks here on Sembrado Street, and I thought I’d take a moment to fill you all in. All is well, but slightly rearranged. (Not deranged.)

This week, Jen and I were scheduled to attend a writer’s retreat in Show Low, Arizona. A massive fire in that area changed our plans. Larry had specifically arranged business in Salt Lake City because he had thought I’d be gone. As it was, he left and I stayed. He was able to visit his ailing mom (she’s had a series of small strokes and is currently in a rehabilitation center) and hang out with Natalie, who’s at BYU for the summer term.

Adam moved out just days before Miranda moved in. It was as smooth as clockwork. Adam lives in a five bedroom house with a pool and six other dudes about 3 miles from his office. He has his own room and bathroom. For the first week, he didn’t even see any of his roommates, but then he hooked up his TV to netflicks. Someone asked if they could watch The Bachelor (or Bachelorette—I can’t remember which) and he said people came out of the woodwork. He loves being so close to work. We miss him.

Bethany, Brandon and crew have settled in. It’s been great. They’ve taken over cleaning the condos, our house, and Bethany does the cooking and grocery shopping while Brandon does the dishes. Chandler mows the lawn. Sterling cleans up after the two dogs. I’m not sure I’ll ever want them to leave. So far, Brandon’s business is doing much better than they had expected. There goal for the month of June was to have one patient. They now have 7, which is amazing because he only needs 8 to make as much as he was making at his firm in Nevada. Chandler celebrated his 9th birthday on Thursday. He wanted to go to Costco for dinner! Then we all came home and played pound the table—and he won.

I spent yesterday with Nathan, Shirley, Baby Emberlyn and Spook, the puppy. (Jared and Jen took Wren for the weekend.) Emmie, Spook, and I hung out while Nathan and Shirley went to an escape house and rock climbing. They have a darling house in the San Fernando Valley. Nathan’s going through intense counseling for his depression, so it’s rough. I thought it was silly for them to get a puppy when they had a new baby and a toddler, but then I met the puppy and I think he’s exactly what they need. He’s really charming, fun, and well behaved for such a little guy. Emmie and Wren, of course, are incredibly beautiful and happy. Nathan was also a really easy baby.

Jared and Jen are happy in Westwood. They’re working with an adoption agency. Jared loves his job, and Jen just got a job as nanny. (She starts this week.) Hopefully, she’ll love her job, too.

Natalie also starts a new job this week. She’s going to teach Chinese at the MTC. She likes her business classes because they’re easy and they’re full of cute guys.

Miranda was really homesick, so she came home for the summer semester. It worked out perfectly because Brandon is so much busier than he expected and she works for him in the afternoons. (He has a morning receptionist.) And she works on classes online and goes to the gym in the mornings.

The dogs and cat are getting along much better than I thought they would. The downside, of course, is that our world is a lot furrier.

Today, I’ll teach in relief society—which is not my calling, but I wish it was. I’m still in the stake. It’s been five years. I’ll also play the piano—which is also not my calling, but I also wish it was. This week, I plan on publishing my first blog book (a compilation of my blog posts about my last five years of my writing career.) I really had doubts about publishing this, but at the temple I felt that I should. I still have doubts, but Miranda’s been super encouraging, so this week if everything goes as planned, it should happen. I’m hesitant because if someone doesn’t like one of my fictional books—that’s fine, but if someone doesn’t like a book about me, it means they don’t like me…But no one will be forced to read it, and it will be free, or nearly free.

I hope you are all having a lovely Sabbath day. We send you all our love, Kristy