New Book Excerpt: “Lighten Up and Laugh” 1

Lighten Up and Laugh_COVERHello readers!

My NEW BOOK came out this month, so I thought I’d share a sneak peek.

This blip comes from a chapter titled “Spring Staycation,” which is timely since that’s what my family is doing for spring break this week—again.


I hope you enjoy this selection and your vacation . . . if you’re lucky enough to be headed out on one!

(Note: Content edited.)

There’s a story about a man from New York City who was vacationing out West to visit the national parks. After visiting the Grand Canyon, he stopped at a gas station to fill up. As the man was paying, he spoke with the local station attendant,“The Grand Canyon is amazing! Don’t you think?”

The attendant said, “That’s what I hear.”

The New Yorker was shocked. “You live a few miles from one of the great wonders of the world and you’ve never seen it?”


“Why not?”

“I guess because it’s always been so close I figured I could go see it anytime. I just never have.”

As the attendant was transacting the payment, he saw the New York driver’s license and commented, “I’ve been to New York City. Standing next to the Statue of Liberty is inspiring, isn’t it?”

The New Yorker responded, “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never done that.”

We do take for granted the sights and wonders closest to us because their immediate availability makes them seem commonplace somehow. This is what we told our children one spring break when we were going to have to spend it on yet another family “staycation.”

Sure, our friends and neighbors were headed off to Walt’s Worlds, the beach, and other exotic destinations, but as we watched them all drive and fly away, I almost convinced myself, if not my children, that those ditchers would be the ones missing out this spring break. We do live in a beautiful area, and we were going to see every last inch of it.

So on the first morning of the break, we geared up and stepped out the door . . . into five inches of snow.

An unexpected spring squall had hit in the night. Of course, there wasn’t enough of the white stuff to offer us festive spring sledding or skiing sprees. It was just enough of a slushy skiff to plummet the temperature and my already low popularity among my offspring.

I quickly formulated a plan B: spring cleaning! Why not engage in a rigorous scrubbing and de-junking of the house and garage as a productive substitution activity plan? Brilliant! I gathered my fellow stranded spring breakers for a rally. They slouched on the couch with glum and suspicious expressions.

I knew I’d have to sell it big.

“My dear comrades, thank you for gathering here today. I know of your deep disappointment. I feel your pain. I know you wish we could be out on our bikes or on a beautiful hiking trail or—”

“No, we don’t. We wish we were on a beach or a roller coaster,” one of them cracked.

I expected some heckling, so I ignored the interruption and proceeded. “But it is in challenging times that we prove what we are made of. We show the world our strength, our creativity, our—”

“Wow. She must have something super crappy planned,” another remarked.

“No doubt,” the third agreed.

Time to get to the point. “There is a great sense of accomplishment and unity that comes from completing meaningful projects together and can actually be—”

Mayhem erupted.

“Really?! You’re going to make us work? That’s your big solution to try to fix the worst spring break ever?”

“I should have stowed away in the Funners’s car. They went to Mexico.”

While two of them ranted and rioted openly, the third just sat quietly on the couch and sent me hate texts from her cell phone.

After everyone calmed down a bit and I felt it was safe to unlock my bedroom door and come out, we decided on a plan C: junk fun. With all our friends away having real vacations in sunny places and no other options that would allow me to live to see my grandchildren, I got suckered into a shameful agenda of sloth leisure: movie marathons, video game tournaments, arcade outings, ice cream runs, and pizza excursions. We sank to a level of nonproductivity and uncivilization that I was pretty sure caused our species to regress in evolution.

Though the patriarch of our clan had originally planned to take the week off from work to join in our spring-break festivities, after two days of amoeba life, he abandoned us to go back to work.

Each morning of the break I’d wake up and eagerly look out the window, hoping for evidence that we could regroup for some outdoor adventures, but Suzy Snowflake was still spreading her sleazy self all over the place. I’d climb back into bed and make comfort-food menus for the day. Toward the end of the week, I forced my fellow parasites to peel off their pajamas, pull on their coats and boots, and go outside for some frozen fun.

“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” I told them.

They hurled slushballs at each other until the youngest started crying, then built a ginormous scary snowman they named Snowgre, as in “snow ogre.” They said he represented the frozen fiend of repressive spring-break weather.

In the end, some good things did come of spring break. I finally beat my daughter at air hockey, I found some great sweaters for killer deals at the end-of-winter sales at the mall, and I refined my sushi-making skills.

The following Monday morning my alarm went off at six, alerting me that our spring break staycation was officially over and it was back to everyday life. I don’t know if you can call it a break if you weep tears of joy that it’s finally over.

I’d love to meet you this Saturday at
Logan’s Deseret Book for a book signing from 6-8 pm!

Ladies Night

One comment on “New Book Excerpt: “Lighten Up and Laugh”

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