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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: LDS, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Spider Season

Mother’s Day is good every year, but this year it was especially good because we got to Skype my little brother.  Adam is serving an LDS mission in Iquitos, Peru, teaching the gospel, helping the people there, cleaning houses with machetes…(this really did happen.)  We don’t get to chat with him much–just one email a week–but on Christmas and Mother’s Day, we get an hour to talk and he tells us how he’s doing and goes on about how awesome Mom is and, on the whole, makes the rest of us look bad.


This is a picture of him, burning a shirt on his halfway-through-the-mission day. (This is a missionary tradition.)

This is a picture of the fire quickly getting out of control.


He looks a little creepy in those, so here is a better picture of him.  Or at least, a picture of him where he’s not the creeper.

adam san juan

On a sad note, Adam’s been pretty sick lately with a mysterious fever.


They thought it was the dengue (jungle fever) but the tests came back negative.  Then they thought it was a disease spread by a feral cat.  (Adam has a thing for cute little animals…he was in the middle of digging a ditch, and stopped to play with a nearby kitten.)


The kitten was, actually, diseased.  And feral.


But the sickness wasn’t from the cat, either.


They finally found out what it was…

…it was…


Thankfully, antibiotics cure this (he’s feeling better already!).

I’m totally getting this t-shirt for him for his birthday:


He was pretty much better by the time we chatted on Mom’s Day.


We also got to talk to my sister, who’s just started a mission in Holland!  Here’s a picture of her with a stroopwaffle (whatever that is):


She had interesting things to say, too…


I guess spiders are a problem there.

She says the spiders are so bad there, they have something called “Spider Season.” (September-October.)  Millions of spiders come out and spin webs EVERYWHERE.


Last Spider Season, two missionaries were knocking on doors.



One guy didn’t want them around.


So he







Let me warn you, you people in Europe who are reading this blog.  I am a mostly nice person.  But if you throw spiders at my sister, I will find you.



Anyway, why would you want to throw spiders at missionaries?  Most spiders aren’t even deadly.  If you really don’t like missionaries…there are way more effective things to throw at them.

*looks both ways*

 Listen.  I’m gonna clue you in on a few Mormon secrets.   But you have to PROMISE that what you read on this blog stays on this blog.  Ok?


Thing #1:  $20 bills.

Take a few thousand out of your bank account and keep it by your door, just in case you hear them knock.  Then, THROW.  It may look like they’re grinning big and stuffing them into their pockets, but $20 bills are made of filthy lucre.


It will slowly melt the flesh offa those squeaky clean missionaries.  Trust me, you throw $20 bills at them, and the next morning, they will look like this:


(Side note:  Mormons always sleep with their Sunday clothes on, no exceptions.  If you see a Mormon sleeping in pajamas, you’ll know that they’re a BAD MORMON.)

Thing #2: Fudge.

Fudge is especially toxic to missionaries.  Is it not written “He who defileth his flesh with the tender goodness of fudge shall surely not entereth into heaven?  Especially rocky roadeth flavors and raspberry sea salteth?”  There’s a special place in outer darkness for missionaries who eat raspberry sea salt fudge, it’s a theological no-no.  Just so you’re aware.


(Be sure to cut them up into bite-sized cubes (about 2″ x 2″ though 1″ x 1″ is acceptable as well, I suppose.)

Thing #3:  Pillow Pets.


Because Pillow Pets are not good for anyone.

Thing #4:  Rocks.


But only if the rocks look like this:


Of course, you’ll be able to throw them much further if they’re set in 24 carat gold or possibly platinum.  It makes them quite a bit more aerodynamic.  Here is a scientific graph to illustrate what I mean.


This isn’t just effective on missionaries, you can also throw them at regular Mormons.  Like me.  Mostly me.  Only me.  Feel free to throw this stuff at me anytime.


(I like pearls.)


The post Spider Season appeared first on Story Monster.

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2. Happiness

I recently started a new homeschool curriculum with my 4 kids. It's LDS-based and covers science, history, geography, art, literature, and music. We are enjoying it, and I plan to do a thorough review soon.

Until then, if you are an LDS homeschooler, find out more about it at www.latterdaylearning.org.

(If you are wondering what the heck LDS means, it's what we Mormons call ourselves. You can learn more here.)

Today we studied literature for Family School. Each lesson is based on Gospel Principles. As part of literature today, we read The Fisherman and His Wife and Rumplestiltskin. We talked about selfishness and greed and about what brings true happiness vs. what brings short-term pleasure.

Anyway, I've been thinking about that today.

Bubs, who is 9, has a talent for selflessness. He gets it. He thinks about others' happiness before his own. On Wednesday night, he had to get stitches. It was a first for our family.

He had been taking apart on old DVD player, and he left some pieces on the floor in his room. Well, he got startled, tripped, and cut deeply into one of his toes.

It was late by the time he got back from the ER. We were all tired.

The next morning, his sister (Welly, age 7) said that Bubs was sobbing during the night in pain. She told him she was going to wake me up, but he wouldn't let her. He told her to let me sleep because I was up so late.

So unselfish. That's the beauty of it, though. We find true happiness in seeking the happiness of others. When we put our own happiness first, it falls short.

1 Comments on Happiness, last added: 4/30/2013
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3. Book Review: Women of Strength by Tristi Pinkston

Title: Women of Strength
Author: Tristi Pinkston
Series: None
Released: March 8, 2012
Publisher: Walnut Springs
Website: http://www.tristipinkston.com/

Book Summary:
The need for courageous, faithful women has never been greater than it is today. As we draw nearer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we are faced with temptations on every side. But we can prevail as we gain true strength from living the gospel.
In Women of Strength, Tristi Pinkston shares inspiring stories, as well as insightful quotes from Church leaders, to demonstrate the power and influence of righteous women. This book invites women everywhere to deepen their relationship with the Savior, rely on the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and learn what it really means to be strong.

This book is aimed a faithful latter-day saint women and was just what I needed. It's a quick read one I easily knocked out in a couple of hours but is packed full of quotes and stories that I really related to.  There is a lot of wisdom within the few pages of this book.  Tristi writes in a way that motivates without sugar coating or condemning.  I gleaned a lot from this wonderful little gem.

Content: Clean

Rating: 4.5 Stars - Highly Recommend to LDS women

Source: From author for review

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4. Book Review : Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson

Have you heard of the Fabulous Mrs. Stephanie Nielson of Nie Nie Dialogues fame? Of course you have...or if you haven't, it's time to find out about this amazing and lovely woman.

Did you know that she recently released a book? Well, it's every bit as wonderful as you expect it to be.

Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson

Stephanie Aurora Nielson had a fairy-tale life befitting her fairy-tale name and good looks. You know, like "lips to shame the red-red rose" and all that. It was the life she had always dreamed of...the life she imagined through her paper dolls until well past the age when most girls stopped playing paper dolls anymore.

And she was happy. She blogged up her happy life, reveling in the beauty of day-to-day life as a wife and mother.

Mr. Christian Nielson was also following his dreams. He was learning to fly.

But disaster struck. Along with their friend/flight instructor, Doug, they were in a terrible crash. Stephanie came out with burns on 80% of her body, Christian came out a little better off but still badly injured, and Doug didn't come out at all.

Stephanie was in a drug-induced coma for three months. When she awoke, she didn't want to see anyone. At times, she lost all hope and believed she could never be happy again.

But gradually, as she learned to sit up again, and then stand and walk, her personality shone through, and she realized that she still had everything she ever wanted...her family and her faith.

She talks about her life as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aka Mormons, which I also belong to. This book is a very non-threatening way to find out a little bit about that. It's not written in a preachy way. It's just part of her life (as it is mine).

I enjoy Stephanie Nielson's blog and have read it off and on for several years. I LOVED this book, though. It is about hope, love, joy, faith, and the importance of family. Stephanie shows us how, even in the midst of sore trials, we can find joy in the simple things that matter most (even laundry!)

I highly recommend Heaven is Here to adults and young adults. So inspiring.

2 Comments on Book Review : Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson, last added: 4/13/2012
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5. LDS Authors Giveaway Hop - Featuring Books by LDS Authors

Announcing the LDS Authors Giveaway Hop

Featuring Books Written by LDS Authors

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & The Book Bug
May 11th to 17th

You need not be an author to participate, any family friendly site is welcome to join the hop and host a giveaway for a book by an LDS author.

With today's announcement of The Whitney Award Finalists and a comment from Lexie at The Book Bug I was motivated to put together an LDS Authors Giveaway Hop.

My hope with this hop is to bring some of the wonderful LDS authors and their fabulous books on to your radar.

You might be surprised by how many popular mainstream books are written by LDS authors. Shannon Hale, Orson Scott Card, Janette Rallison, Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, James Dashner, Ally Condie, Stephenie Meyer, Bree Despain, Jessica Day George, Aprilynne Pike, Kiersten White, Robison Wells, Jason Wright, Heather Dixon, Obert Skye, Richard Paul Evans, Julie Berry, Mette Ivie Harrison, Becca Fitzpatrick, Lisa Mangum, Amber Argyle, Jennifer Laurens, Brodi Ashton... the list could go on and on.

In addition to these well know LDS authors there are dozens of amazing LDS authors who you may not yet have heard of.

The Whitney Awards: http://whitneyawards.com/wordpress/
LDStoryMakers: http://ldstorymakers.com/
LDS Publishers: http://ldstorymakers.com/resources/for-writers/lds-publishers/

A great resource for fiction books by LDS authors:
2011 Releases:
2010 Releases

  • You must choose 1 or more books by an LDS author to feature.
  • You must host a giveaway on your site, you are responsible for obtaining a book for giveaway and taking care of the shipping charges.
  • Your giveaway post must include the hop image & linky (or links to the host's sites if you can't get the linky to work).
  • Please only 1 mandatory entry - all others must be optional - Keep It Simple! No long lists of things for people to do.
  • Your post must be live by 12:01 EST on May 11th. Please post before going to bed on Thursday, May 10th.
  • The giveaway must be specifically for this hop.
  • Your site must be family friendly - no erotica or 18+ sites.

To host a giveaway just add your blog or website to the linky. Please add your shipping info in parenthesis after your blog name.

If you are an LDS author and would rather donate copies of your book for giveaway inst

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6. 2011 Whitney Award Finalists

The 2011 Whitney Awards Finalists have just been announced.

First off what are the Whitney Awards?

The Whitneys are awards given annually for the best novels written each year by LDS authors.

The awards are named after Orson F. Whitney, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as a poet and writer. Elder Whitney stated:
We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.

Any reader can nominate a book. Once a book has received five or more nominations, it becomes an official nominee. A committee then reads and votes upon novels that are nominated in seven different categories narrowing the nominees down to five finalists in each category.

Here are the 2011 Finalists
Youth Fiction Speculative:
My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Slayers by C.J. Hill

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Variant by Robison Wells

Youth Fiction General:
Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler

Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

Pride & Popularity by Jenni James

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

With a Name like Love by Tess Hilmo*

Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly

Captive Heart by Michele Paige Holmes

Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford

The List by Melanie Jacobson*

Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson

Before I Say Goodbye by Rachel Ann Nunes

Gifted by Karey White*

Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill

The Walk: Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans

The Wedding Letters by Jason F. Wright

Daughter of Helaman by Misty Moncur*

Fires of Jerusalem by Marilyn Brown

Isabelle Webb: The Pharaoh's Daughter by N.C. Allen

Letters in the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears

Miss Delacourt Has Her Day by Heidi Ashworth

Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry

Bloodborne by Gregg Luke

If I Should Die by Jennie Hansen

Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

Smokescreen by Traci Hunter Abramson

The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson

I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

A Night of Blacker Darkness by Dan Wells

2 Comments on 2011 Whitney Award Finalists, last added: 2/6/2012
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7. Book Review: Bitter Blessings by Christine Mehring

Title: Bitter Blessings
Author: Christine Mehring
Series: None
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Released: July 8, 2011

Book Summary:

Megan has the perfect life, but when her mother dies in an accident, everything spins out of control. With the rest of her family falling apart, Megan must confront her past to uncover the truths that will keep everyone together. Thought-provoking and heartfelt, this book shows that even in times of trial, you can often find blessings.

I hadn't read the summary for this book prior to reading it so I had no clue what to expect. In all honesty I had a hard time getting into this story until I hit the half way point. Then I was hooked and flew through it, reading the second half in one sitting.

This is a book by an LDS author but the first half of the book there is no mention of religion. The book's focus is Megan and how her life is thrown upside down with the unexpected death of her mother. Life is not easy for Megan or her sisters and grandmother and nothing seems to go their way. As her life starts unraveling secrets from the past are revealed and this is where the book hooked me.

This short book dealt with prejudice, lies & deceptions, death, teen drinking & drug use and friendship & faith. From the start I suspected that Megan's best friend Adam was Mormon but until the last few chapters of the book this didn't feel like a typical LDS fiction novel.

If you are looking for a clean LDS fiction book that deals with facing life's challenges without being overly preachy or sappy give this one a try.

Rating: 4 Stars - ended up being a great book

Content: Clean

Source: Review copy

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8. Book Review: Faithful Fit & Fabulous by Connie E. Sokol

Title: Faithful, Fit & Fabulous
Author: Connie E. Sokol
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Released: August 8, 2011

Filled with humor and I can relate life experiences, Faithful, Fit and Fabulous is the ideal 8-week life boost that will refresh any woman's life. Gospel principles from scriptures, priceless gems from general conference addresses, and more, are shared along with ways to readily apply them in your busy daily life. Establish holy habits, feel fit and fabulous, and get organized. Just one goal a week for eight weeks simple and fun.

Author's Website: http://8basics.com/

I started this book back in August. It is not a book that should be read in once sitting or even in one week. To use it properly and absorb and apply what is in this book you really need to read just one chapter a week and practice the ideas and suggestions. That should take 8 weeks but I think I'm a slow learner and am on the 8 month plan. I started off well for the first two weeks and then life happened. I had to laugh and shake my head because Connie has a section in the books that says Caveat: Beware the Two-Week Bomb:
Somewhere between two and three week, life will throw you a curve ball, often many. No one knows why; it's one of those Bermuda Triangle things. Personally, I believe it's good old-fashioned opposition to prevent you from making a life-improving change.

It took me a good month to recover from the curve ball life threw me and then I started again... only to have another curve ball thrown at me. I guess that really is how life goes, at least my life anyway.  But I've learned that once the waves settle I can pick my self back up and start again.  Hopefully through the process I'm improving and becoming a better person.

If you are looking for a book to help get you moving in the right direction as far as goals and self-improvement give this one a try.  It is written by an LDS author and has quotes from LDS leaders but I don't think you need be LDS to enjoy and benefit from this book.
Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Publisher

Content: Clean

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9. Book Review: Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston

Ida Mae Babbit has done her community service and is a reformed woman-no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae-with the perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle-checks herself into the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

Dearly Departed is the 2nd Secret Sisters Mystery by author Tristi Pinkston. I recommend reading the first book Secret Sisters before reading this one because there are several references to characters and events that took place in the first book. Although this book could be read as a stand alone you'd be missing out on all the fun antics from the first adventure.

Like the first book, Dearly Departed is a fun, lighthearted read. Quirky characters and lots of humor make for an entertaining story. This is the kind of book you can curl up with at bedtime and finish in one sitting.

I'm typically not a huge fan of "mysteries" but I've really enjoyed this series. The 3rd book comes out soon and I'm looking forward to curling up with another of Tristi's "cozy" mysteries.

Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Publisher for Review

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10. Book Review: Hope's Journey by Stephanie Connelley Worlton

Sydney is a straight-A student heading to college on a scholarship, and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve an LDS mission. But their dreams are shattered on the eve of their high school graduation when they find out that Sydney is pregnant. Separated, they must both trust in God as they search for the worth they once found in each other.

The author did a fabulous job capturing the emotions and thoughts of her characters. I could relate to what they were going through, connected with them and felt for them. When done reading I kept thinking about the story. I felt like I had learned something by reading this book.

This book truly had the potential to be a 5 star book. There are just a few things that detracted from the story. I wished there had been a couple more chapters at the end. For so long it felt like the story was headed one direction and then it headed another direction which was ok but I felt like it was just too easy. I wanted more resolution and closure and it just wrapped up too quickly. There were also several subplots that could have been left out or developed further. For example Sydney's brother abruptly decides not to serve a mission but we are never told why and he's never brought up again so why include that storyline at all.

Hope's Journey is a fabulous book I would recommend to any LDS teenager in a serious relationship as well as to the parents of LDS teenagers. This was a book I couldn't put down.

In the Author's Notes Stephanie says this:

Everybody makes mistakes; nobody makes it through this life unmarked. It just so happens that some sins are more visible to others. It is my desire to tell a story that will perhaps cause people to take a step back and take a deeper look before they cast judgment.

By sharing her story in this book she achieved her desire.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Content: Clean

Source: From Publisher for Review

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11. Thoughts and Quotes on Humility: My Sunday Talk

On Sunday, I spoke in Sacrament Meeting (our main meeting at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) on the topic of humility. I thought I'd share my thoughts here, as well.

President Hinckley said, “There is no place for arrogance in our lives. There is no place for conceit in our lives. There is no place for egotism in our lives. We have work to do. We have things to accomplish. 
·         (Then he quoted Doctrine and Covenants 112:10) ‘Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers’.
·         (Pres. Hinckley goes on…)People ask me what is my favorite scripture, and I say I have many of them. But that is one of them. ‘Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.’
After reading many quotes and scriptures about humility, I concluded that it is essentially this: Humility is giving our will over to the Lord. It is putting our faith, trust, and confidence in the Lord. It is believing that everyone on this earth is a Child of God and knowing that our Heavenly Father’s will is ALWAYS best.
English author John Ruskin said, “The first test of a truly great man is his humility. Really great men have a curious feeling that greatness is not IN them, but THROUGH them. And they see something Divine in every other man.”
This quote reminds me of one of my favorite LDS songs. It is “A Window to His Love”.
A Window To His Love
Words and Music by Julie de Azevedo

2 Comments on Thoughts and Quotes on Humility: My Sunday Talk, last added: 6/14/2011
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12. Book Review: God So Loved the World by Eric D. Huntsman

"There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter," taught President Gordon B. Hinckley. "The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection."

With this deeper understanding given by a modern prophet, Latter-day Saints have an increased opportunity during the period from Palm Sunday to Easter morning to reflect upon the last days of our Lord's earthly ministry.

In God So Loved the World: The Final Days of the Savior's Life, author Eric D. Huntsman takes us on a scriptural journey through the last week of our Savior's mortal life, culminating in His atoning sacrifice and joyous resurrection. The author, by drawing on his wide knowledge of historical context, cultural background, and biblical insights, increases our understanding of these momentous events and helps us draw closer to the Savior. Full-color fine-art paintings, photographs, maps, music, and topics for personal reflection are included to enhance our commemoration of Easter week.

Brother Huntsman writes, "Each year has its rhythms with the passage of summer to fall, winter, and at last, again, spring. Holidays are part of that rhythm, helping us remember realities greater than mere seasons, and Easter, together with Christmas, can anchor each year securely in the promises of Jesus Christ."

This beautiful volume suggests meaningful ways for Latter-day Saints to refocus their Easter celebrations on the culminating events of the Savior's ministry. Whether used as a personal or family study guide or as a model for a devotional celebration of Easter week, God So Loved the World is a must-have addition to the library of every Latter-day Saint.

Rediscovering Easter
Palm Sunday
Good Friday
Easter Sunday
Choosing Easter
Appendix: The Gospels as Sources, a Chronology, and Symbolism
Jesus in the Four Gospels
Jesus during His Last Week
Jesus as the Anointed One

Last year the week before Easter I read a book called A Christ-Centered Easter. It gave activities to do with your kids each day of the week leading up to Easter to help bring the focus of Easter back to Christ.

God So Loved the World is a book along the sames lines only it is much more in depth. It takes a detailed look at the life of Christ the week leading up to his death and resurrection. Centered around the accounts of Christ's life from the Gospels it is filled with pictures, quotes, songs, and scriptures to help us understand what transpired during the Christ's final week.

This is a beautiful book I would recommend to anyone seeking a better understanding of the Holy Week that culminates on Easter morning.  There is much out there about putting Christ back in to Christmas.  This book helps bring the focus of Easter back to where it should be... on Christ's atonement, death and Resurrection.

Rating: 5 Stars

Source: From Publisher
13. Book Review: Unlocking the Power of the Spirit by Campbell Gray

Obedience to the Lord's commandments does not exempt us from trials and struggles in life. But it does qualify us for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can comfort us. It can chasten us. It can confirm our choices or prompt us in new directions. It can give us feelings or strokes of ideas. And learning to understand the subtle communications of the Spirit is one of the most important thnings we will ever do in this life. The Spirit is our lifeline to heaven. Yet at times, when we are weighed down by feelings of personal inadequacy or distracted by the trials and busyness of life, we may feel that we have been left largely on our own.

Iin this book, Campbell Gray suggests that the Holy Ghost can be a constant presence in our lives, gently leading us through our inclinations and desires. By learning to be attentive to the Spirit above all, we will find grace that overcomes our own personal weaknesses - not just over time, but in the very moment - and find ourselves being carried "wither (we) wouldest not" (John 21:18).

Unlocking the Power of the Spirit is a great read for a Sunday afternoon.  There was nothing in this book that I hadn't heard before but it was a gentle reminder of things I already knew.  It reminded me of an extended EFY or Fireside talk.  My favorite parts were when the author used his personal life experience to illustrate the point he was trying to make. 

The eight chapters could easily be read in one sitting or could be spread out and read over the course of a week by reading one each day.  Helped me to remember the importance of feeling the spirt each day and the peace it can bring.

Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Won in a giveaway

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14. Book Review: Impractical Grace by John S. Bushman

A COUPLE'S FAILING MARRIAGE, a family’s heartbreaking accident, and a woman’s excruciating childhood—these are just a few of the challenges confronting these individuals. But with struggle, patience and faith, they each discover that there’s no limit to God’s power to heal, strengthen, and transform.

PART TREATISE, PART NOVEL, Impractical Grace pulls you in as you learn with the characters how the grace of God and the grace we show one another really can change everything. Take part in these doctrinal insights to the Savior’s grace and love in this compelling novel full of true-to-life stories of hardship and hope.

What does Jesus offer us? What is the extent of the Lord’s power to heal, save, renew, and transform? In this novel, three broken lives find the transforming power of the Savior. Through this gripping novel, doctrinal insights of the Savior’s grace and love are shared. See the transforming work of God’s grace and love that moves through, and changes everyone in this compelling book.

Impractical Grace teaches doctrine and principles in a story format. The book chronicles a new bishop attempting to help 3 members of his ward understand the Lord's atonement and his "impractical grace".

I would recommend this book to any and everyone who would like to better understand grace, a term that is often used but hard to describe. John S. Bushman uses scriptures, as well as quotes from apostles and prophets to teach how the Lord's grace can help and heal us.

I'm sure everyone can relate to at least one of the trials the characters in this book are experiencing: a troubled marriage, a tragic accident, abuse, the inability to forgive someone who has wronged us. The doctrine taught in this book has the ability to change those open enough to give these principles a try.

Content: Clean

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Source: From Author For Review

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15. Blog Tour Part 2: Book Review: Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards

You are crazy. No Nephite has ever returned.

Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch's dream of returning to Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law mocks him when he asks for a postponement of his long-awaited wedding to his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously - the shipbuilder Omnihah, Enoch's teacher David, and the prophet Nephi.

Five years before, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of Zarahemla and prophesied that "five years more cometh" and the Christ would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set sail across the great waters in search of his dream - to see the face of the Messiah.

The Star Prophacy is a surprising story of courage and love, faith and fortitude. Sail with Enoch and his friends across the sea through hardship and adventure in search of the Christ child.

I really enjoyed this adventure story.  Enoch has heard the prophesy of the birth of Christ and longs to sail back to Jerusalem to see the Messiah.  It's been nearly 5 years since Samuel the Lamanite made the prophecy so he knows the birth of Christ is drawing close.  Along with a few companions he sets out on an impossible journey across the sea back to Jerusalem.

This was a fun book to read.  Likable characters and a well written tale that left me believing this really could have happened.  Although not a "Christmas" story this is a book I will likely reread around Christmas since it is set at the time of the Savior's birth. Full of details on what life was like at the time of Christ's birth this book brought special meaning to the Christmas story.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Content: Clean

Source: From publisher for Review

1 Comments on Blog Tour Part 2: Book Review: Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards, last added: 1/10/2011
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16. Book Review: Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's Gate by K.S.R. Kingworth

The School Library Journal compares Secret Speakers to the Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Wizard of Oz novels in their starred review: "Kingworth has created a rich, detailed fantasy world that is unique and as vivid as all of them, with charming, whimsical touches.” Hidden in the depths of Cloven Grave, the harsh impostor Harrold King hides a deep secret the parents know nothing about. After spending nine years hidden in a cellar, thirteen year-old Fair O'Nelli finally assumes it's safe to be seen. She knows that her father and brother are missing or possibly dead.

But when she sets off in the company of three guardians to find Selador's Gate, she heads right into Harrold King's secret. If she and countless others are to survive, she will have to start making choices that place friendship above fright, faith over doubt, and compassion over fear.

The audio book adaptation is brought to life by Booklist's Voice of Choice, Simon Vance. (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, The Girl Who Played with Fire.) British-born Vance was awarded Audiofile Magazine Golden Voice status, June 2009.

I listened to the audio version of the book Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's Gate by K.S.R. Kingworth.  The narrator did a great job with this story.  It was a cross between The Chronicles of Narnia and the Wizard of Oz.  I'm not one who reads for deep underlying messages.  I simply read for storyline and enjoyment.  My mother always used to say that one day she was going to write a book that had no deep meaning and some English teacher would find the meaning. This book obviously has a message.  It has an entertaining storyline that overlays an allegory for the Plan of Salvation.  Like the Chronicles of Narnia it can simply be read as a great story or you can dive deeper to look for the underlying message.

This is K.S.R. Kingworth's (AKA Karey Shane) debut fantasy novel.  I would recommend it to those who enjoy high fantasy.

Content: Clean Read

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Audio download from Audible

1 Comments on Book Review: Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's Gate by K.S.R. Kingworth, last added: 12/8/2010
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17. Book Review: Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright

Luke Millward is a man who does not know he is lost. His girlfriend loves him, his career is going well, and every night he falls asleep knowing that his life is good and meaningful. Only when the past reveals its twisted smile in a phone call and a disconnected voice asks him to come find his father in post-Katrina New Orleans is Luke compelled to find out what kind of man he truly is.

This was the pick for my Book Group this month.  I listened to the audio version of this book and found myself pulled into the story.

Recovering Charles takes place in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina.  Luke has been estranged from his alcoholic father for quite some time but finds himself in New Orleans searching for his father in the aftermath of Katrina.

This book brought insights into the reality of what life was like for those who didn't evacuate and chose for various reasons to remain in New Orleans.  This book portrayed feeling and emotions that I never clued into while watching the news coverage of Katrina.  I connected with characters in this novel who were dealing with the subjects of forgiveness, death, alcholism, love and loss.

Jason has written several other books including The Wednesday Letters & The Christmas Jars that I'm going to check out and read.

Content: Clean

Rating 4.5 Stars

Source: Library

5 Comments on Book Review: Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright, last added: 12/2/2010
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18. Book Review: Prologue: The Brothers by Chris Stewart

Before the Great War, before so many sons of God turned away from their Father and walked knowingly into the dark, there was a choosing, a sifting, a contest of ideas and a battle for souls. Brother fought brother. Families were torn apart. Some fought to protect their homes, their freedom and peace. Others fought to destroy everything they had once held so dear. And as the battle between good and evil came into each home, all God's children had to chose which side they were on, which principles would they fight for, and what price would they pay.

In this contest before the Great War, each of us learned the first lessons of life. The great ones may fall. The wicked can change. The weak and the foolish can be made the strongest of all. And when the contest was over, we also had learned the greatest secret of all: the children of God can defeat their adversary, for they have fought him before.

Prologue: The Brothers is the first book in the Great and Terrible series by Chris Stewart. I picked this book up several years ago when it first came out but never got further than the first few pages. A friend recently recommended this series to my husband so I started on this book again. This time I found myself fascinated with this book.

The Brothers is a fictitious account of the War in Heaven and our life before coming to earth. I was intrigued by the author's take on what pre-earth life might have been like. It's something I have never thought much about. At times I found myself with chills as certain elements of this story rang true. Admittedly the author took many liberties in this book but I found it to be thought provoking, entertaining and enlightening.

I'm definitely reading the rest of the series.

Content: Clean

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Source: Borrowed from a friend

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19. Family Gratitude Journal

I have been wanting to do this for years (literally) and finally got around to it. I bought a large journal (at WalMart for $8) and covered it with some cute paper and one of my satiny flowers.

This journal was inspired by a Church leader, President Henry B. Eyring, who said,
I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.
This talk was given in Oct 2007. (You can see it in full here.) I remember being struck by the thought of the Lord touching my life each and every day. If I could only look and recognize Him in my life at the close of every day, I knew I would come out strong in testimony and gratitude.

I want that for me and my family, so each night before we study scriptures together, we are writing down in our Family Journal of Gratitudes and Inspirations, the way He has manifested Himself to us.
I also glued a copy of the talk onto the inside cover of the journal to remind me of the goals and blessings behind daily use of the journal.

We have only done this for a couple days so far, and I have al

1 Comments on Family Gratitude Journal, last added: 3/25/2010
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20. The Canticle Kingdom on "First Chapter"


The first chapter of "The Canticle Kingdom" is going to be featured on LDSbookcorner.com's First Chapter feature.  Sign up at LDSbookcorner.com to try out new books by LDS authors right in your email.

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21. Using Historical Fiction to Teach History

I wrote an article over on Latter-day Homeschooling about Using Historical Fiction to Teach History. It contains a list of our favorite historical fiction for children through teens. Check it out here.

And have a wonderful day!


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22. Family Time Under the Table

Once again, we made a fort under our kitchen table, complete with twinkle lights.

It's amazing how a cozy, little space can rejuvenate our spirits. It provided an inspiring place to snuggle and read, as well as a great location for our Family Home Evening.

What's Family Home Evening? Well, on Monday nights, we spend the evening together singing, discussing, and playing (and usually tr-eating).

We start with family business. Everyone shares something going on in their lives. Then we pray and sing a song together. Next, one of us grown-ups gives a lesson that we feel is pertanent to our family at the time. Following the lesson, we have an activity (usually some wild rumbus of a game made up by my crazy hubs....) And we finish with a treat.

The kids never let us miss.

But it's especially bonding when we huddle together in our fort.

(FHE is a Mormon thang...)

2 Comments on Family Time Under the Table, last added: 5/27/2010
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23. Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

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24. Mormon Messages: Parenting Video

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25. Review: Snow Rising by Matt Baldwin

Change can happen in your life as quickly as you'll believe it.

Jason Snow has lived his life making choices that he believed would bring him happiness. Ironically, he acted in ways that got him the exact opposite of what he wanted. Now, his relationship with his wife is hanging by a thread, he is miserable at work, and worst of all, he feels disgusted at the thought that his kids are suffering because of choices he-s made. Is there a way out?

Although this book follows Jason Snow on a life-changing quest beginning at the base of Mt. Hood, Snow Rising is not a novel. It-s an invitation to take a personal journey. Author Matthew Baldwin says, -I invite you to join Jason Snow, and leave you with two questions: one, can you be an advocate for the changes you desire to see in yourself and in the world around you; and two, do you have the audacity to find out?-

Snow Rising can put individuals back together, revitalize marriages and families, and help recover fractured organizations. It shares four axioms, absolute truths, that are at the root of all happiness. But as the author says, -Then again, perhaps the answer is not in the answer, but in the journey to the answer.-

Take the journey. Make the change. Know the peace.

Snow Rising by Matt Baldwin is a self-help book in story format. The author uses a fictional story to teach life changing truths. This was not a fast read for me. In fact it took me nearly a month to get through it. I could only digest a couple chapters a night until I reached the last 100 pages. Then I didn't want to put the book down.

Snow Rising is a book worth taking the time to read. I could relate to the problems facing the different characters in this book and enjoyed the way the author used a story format to teach life changing principles.

I could share tons of amazing quotes from the book but I'll just share two:

Human behavior is an avalanche, subject to the same sequence that governs all of nature. We choose what we believe, and we choose our actions. Everything else is a consequence. Life is a sequence that begins in choice and ends in consequence.

Life is about the small things...Do the small things...
It means that when you come to the end of your life and look back, a slow walk with your daughter will mean more than your account balance. It means that flowers and a note for your wife for no particular occasion, only because you adore her, will mean more than diamonds on an anniversary. It means that showing gratitude to a friend for absolutely no specific reason will have more impact than picking up a lifetime of dinner checks.
I'm looking forward to the sequel that will be released in 2011.

Content: A clean, motivating read

Rating: 5 Stars - This was a hard book to rate but ultimately I couldn't give it less than 5 stars. I could put it down and walk away, in fact it was a book I had to put down because I could only digest a chapter or two a night. It was also a book that got me thinking and kept me thinking when I put it down. It's well written and full of truth and I would recommend it to anyone looking to make changes in their life and in their relationships with others.

Source: From Publisher for Review

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