October 9, 2014

Christopher Columbus: A Man among the Gentiles by Clark B. Hinckley

My mother-in-law Shawna read this book and I asked her to share her opinion about it. I am also in the process of reading it, but I've only just begun. Shawna teaches 5th grade in Washington state and part of their curriculum this year is Christopher Columbus so she was very excited to gain more information and incite into his personal history.

The following is the Review from Shawna:

This book describes Christopher Columbus's early beginnings as a child born Genoa. His father's occupation was a cloth weaver. Life during the dark ages and medieval times was not filled with enlightenment. Europe was at a standstill in knowledge and new technologies.

Columbus probably became interested in navigation because he lived near the ocean in a big seafaring town. The book describes his amazing capabilities as a ship navigator. His dead reckoning skills on his first voyage were 99.7% correct.  It describes the three ships and the crude navigational tools he used.

The information from this book was mostly taken from an abstract written from all of his notes in his diary. This abstract can be found today in a museum in Madrid.

You learn that Columbus was a devout Christian and quotes by him are included saying how 'God enlightened his mind' and inspired him on his explorations. His ideals were high and some of the men who captained his ships did not have the same objectives. They broke away and their poor choices led to deaths and hardships.

A highlight of this book is learning WHY Columbus contributed to the changing of the world and bringing on the period of enlightenment. He left from the Canary Islands using the easterlies. On his return voyage, he left a little more north to use the westerlies. He is the one who found the highway to America and recorded it in his diary. He is the one who was the genius who used the trade winds again and again and again. His routes were used until steam ships. Cruise lines headed to the Caribbean still use them today. Other explorers around Europe started using his routes and thus sparked Europe's dark ages to the Renaissance and bringing change to the whole world.


A huge thank you to Shawna for sharing her thoughts. I can't wait to get further into this book and discover the rich history that helped prepare the way for the Restoration of the gospel.

Here are a few other reviews found on Deseret Book that I liked:

From Chris: 
This book is first of all an excellent brief history of Columbus. You finish feeling like you've been tutored by an objective and expert source on all of the key elements of Columbus's life. It reveals both the heart of Christopher Columbus and the honest shortcomings that have left him vulnerable to criticism. On both counts you discover a man who you recognize, admire, sympathize with and want to stand up and cheer for. The book touches on and concludes with how Columbus fits into the larger gospel narrative from a uniquely LDS perspective. It is great history, great biography and a great testimony of Columbus's special calling in the unfolding of God's plan.

From Rick
Brother Hinckley has done a masterful job in bringing to life one of the most influential men of accomplishment in the history of the earth. I have always appreciated Christopher Columbus for what he had done, however I was never aware of the tremendous adversity and the undaunting spirit of a man that would never give up. He was inspired and focused upon his mission to discover new trade routes to the Far East that would bring attention, money and Christianity to Spain and the Lord in building his kingdom here upon the earth. He would not be denied because he was certain of his mission and felt heavens direction and guidance throughout his life. My life has been enriched because of what I have learned and felt in this great read. I would recommend it to any who would appreciate seeing the hand of the Lord in the life of this great explorer. It was truly inspiring!!!  

To purchase this book visit the following links  Hard Copy /  e Book / Kindle

October 2, 2014

The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections of the Quest for Faith by Terry & Fiona Givens

I will be the first to admit that I don't feel qualified to adequately describe or review this book. It was very interesting and honestly it was almost too thought provoking, and overwhelming for me to read. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but it was DEEP, and not an easy read for me. However, I do recommend it. I think the subject matter of doubting, faith, and a world full of people searching for answers, would put this book at maybe one of the most important on any person's list.

From Deseret Book:

Faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So what happens when a person has doubts?


Questioning is not the problem, according to authors Terryl and Fiona Givens. “After all,” they write, “the Restoration unfolded because a young man asked questions.” The difficulty arises when questions are based on flawed assumptions or incorrect perceptions, which can “point us in the wrong direction, misdirect our attention, or constrain the answers we are capable of hearing.”
This insightful book offers a careful, intelligent look at doubt—at some of its common sources, the challenges it presents, and the opportunities it may open up in a person’s quest for faith. Whether you struggle with your own doubts or mostly want to understand loved ones who question, you will appreciate this candid discussion. You’ll come away feeling more certain than ever of the Lord’s love for all of His children.

Product Details

  • Size:  6" x 9"
  • Pages:  200
  • Publisher:  Deseret Book 2014
  • Book on CD:  Unabridged, 4 CDs
  • Running Time:  Approx. 4.75 hours

About the Authors

TERYL GIVENS holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond and the author of several books. His writing has been praised by the New York Times as “provocative reading” and includes, most recently, When Souls Had Wings, a history of the idea of premortal life in Western thought; a biography (with Matthew Grow) of Parley Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (winner of the 2012 Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association); and Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought.
FIONA GIVENS is a retired modern language teacher with undergraduate degrees in French and German and a graduate degree in European History. She is now an independent scholar who has published in several journals and reviews in Mormon studies, including Journal of Mormon History, Exponent II, and LDS Living. Along with Terryl, she is the author of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life. Terryl and Fiona are the grandparents of five—fonts of delight; and the parents of six—sources of intellectual challenge and inspiration.

Below I've included a few of the reviews I read on this book.

Review by TIMES AND SEASONS

Review by Fair Mormon Blog

Review by Rational Faiths




September 19, 2014

Focused: Keeping your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time by Noelle Pikus Pace

 
On our flight last week, Scott asked me if I had a book he could read. I pulled out this book because it was next in my line up. He looked at it and tossed it back. (Typical guy thing right?) Two minutes later he leaned over my lap and snagged it out of my bag. I was engrossed in my book, but every few minutes Scott would whisper to me, "This is a good book", "This is a really good book", "I like this book"!
 
Having finished my book on the first flight, I was able to start reading Focused on our return flight. Now it was my turn to whisper to Scott, "Wowza, this is a good book", "Holy-cow she is amazing", "I want to be just like her"!
 

 
Seriously you should read this book. No matter what age, sex, race or sport, you should read this book. This book is a treasure trove of wisdom. Noelle's journey through heart brake, injury, and loss is incredible and the most amazing thing is how she turns these obstacles into win's. Her attitude is contagious and she makes you want to be better at whatever you might be doing in your life.
 
I think you will come away from reading this book saying, "I want to live life like her!!" And I think she truly believes we are all meant to be champions.



 
Here is how Deseret Book describes it:
 
Where are your choices leading you? Regardless of our circumstances, each moment presents us with decision to make. It doesn't matter what question, trial, or success we experience—each traces back to a choice. At any given moment, we can choose to doubt, fear, worry; to be prideful, angry, depressed, or miserable—or we can choose to move forward. We can choose to be a light. We can choose to be happy. The choice is always ours, and each choice can be a step forward on the path of life we want for ourselves.   The life lessons learned by Olympic athlete Noelle Pikus Pace can equip each of us to turn daily choices and challenges into opportunities for growth. In her warm and relatable style, Noelle shares touching personal stories and teaches how these experiences can help us keep a healthy perspective on the things that matter most. She helps us to see that though all of our goals and trials are different, we each can choose to become the best versions of ourselves one day at a time.   Covering topics from letting go of expectations and pressures to finding a healthy life balance, from standing up for ourselves to standing for righteousness, world champion Noelle Pikus Pace infuses readers with the enthusiasm and confidence to get a little closer to their goals each and every day.


PURCHASE   Hard Cover / Download / Book on CD


September 10, 2014

How Do I Know If I Know? By John Bytheway



 
It's that question we all ask ourselves at some point on our spiritual journey; How do I know if I know?
 
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught:
A testimony of the truth of the gospel does not come the same way to all people. Some receive it in a unique, life-changing experience. Others gain a testimony slowly, almost imperceptibly until, one day, they simply know.

In John Bytheway's new book he states, "we need to know, and we need to know that we know."
 
The truth is that gaining a testimony takes effort, but many of us already know important truths, however we sometimes have a hard time recognizing that we do. 
This book was excellent. I couldn't believe how many new ideas it presented to me. I feel like I am able to more fully understand how the spirit works and the true depth of my own testimony. I strongly recommend it to any person asking these types of very important questions. 
 
- How do I know if I really have a testimony? 
- Am I ready to serve a mission? 
- What does the spirit feel like?

Please if you know someone who is struggling with discovering their testimony, or if you would like to discover ways to get your own questions answered, purchase this book. 
 
It is available at Deseret Book




August 23, 2014

Fiddle's for Republicans

The kids had the chance to play at a
Republican Fundraiser this week.
I can hardly believe how big they are getting.
As much as I am looking forward to the new school year,
I don't like thinking about them getting older.
I'm lucky to have such great kids.
 I love it that they are playing the violin like their dad.
There are a lot of battles fought over practice time,
intonation and lessons, but they always love performing.
And I get so much pleasure watching them share their talents.
 
 
 
 

August 22, 2014

My Soul Grew Two Sizes Reading Survivng Hitler

Every once in a while you get the chance to read a book that moves you to the core, a book that illuminates truth, displays life's best virtues amidst its worth flaws, and feeds your soul to the point of growth. Surviving Hitler is that book.

Surviving Hitler is the true story of Agnes and Gustav, both victims of a terrible war on humanity. One a Jew, and the other an SS Soldier, this book delivers a beautiful mixture of God's hand at work, incredible mortal courage, unthinkable human sacrifice and uplifting spiritual triumph, even amidst the ugliest reality of pride, greed, power, and death. Through the hand of the Lord, and unlikely situations, both survive the war, meet, marry and join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

During her stay in one of many concentration camps Agnes records,

"I was overwhelmed with gratitude that such greatness and nobility survived in the most degraded situation. I felt that the eternal spirit, which exist is in all people, could be accessible despite the circumstances. Maybe there was still hope for the world, if some could remain untouched and pure in the midst of all the insanity. I learned that the hope that the world will be a place where all people will love their neighbors and themselves is alive as long as there is one person alive practicing it on the earth."

Another of my favorite accounts is a story that Agnes shares towards the end of the war.

"From inside the fence, lots of men still begged for water, and we continued to help them as best we could. Once while running from the hole in the fence back to the truck, I stepped on an arm by a ditch. At first I thought I had stepped on a dead man but then heard moaning. I looked down and saw the man looking at me, stirring something in side me to the marrow. I fell down to my knees, lifted his head, and poured a few drops of water into his mouth. He mumbled in Hungarian, "May Abraham, our Father, bless you." I saw that he was close to death and shouted in his ear that we were liberated, to which he nodded and said, "Thank God!" He looked at me and took one last breath. My last favor to him was to close his eyes so he wouldn't have to stare out into nothing like so many other corpses did. In wet clothes, I continued to alternately walk and run between the tanker and the hole in the fence. Suddenly I thought I heard a voice saying, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Mathew 25:40). I looked around to see who had quoted the Bible but saw no one."


Photo Courtesy of LDSliving

I think the thing that I loved most about this book was the way that while reading it you could actually see the Lord guiding their lives, protecting them from harms way, and strengthening them through their journey. My heart is forever changed thanks to these two brave humans. Two individuals that lit up all of their surroundings, on their very darkest journey, with their faith and humanity. The aftermath of the war was not easy for Agnes and Gustav, and after fighting for so many years to Survive Hitler it definitely took its toll on these two. But the miracle is in the choice that they both deliberately decided not to harbor hate, but to spread love.

To Agnes and Gustav: It is a privilege to know your story. If I could I would hug you both so tight and tell you thank you for blessing my life through sharing yours.

Available at Deseret Book.com


July 29, 2014

Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen

This summer took an unexpected twist when the 5-year old broke his femur. I didn't have much time to read and I had already agreed to write a book review on this book. My friend Rachel Hanson agreed to read it and write it for me. The following is her review of the book.

~ ~ ~

*Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a nice easy read for someone looking for a simple, get out of life kind of book. It had intrigue and a bit of romance. It was a bit predictable in some ways, but it also ended with a twist, making it more fascinating. To be honest, I had a hard time getting into the book, it felt a little slow going, but about 1/3 of the way through  I was ready to finish it and wanted to know how it ended. I also wanted more information about Dallas’ cut off finger. I have a hunch as to why it’s in there, but I don’t want to ruin the ending for anyone reading this review. Although I would have liked a conclusion to that detail instead of bringing it up like it’s something important, but never wrapping it up. I would recommend Diamond Rings are Deadly Things as a simple book that doesn’t take much thought to read if you’re looking for a relaxing time.

~ ~ ~

Thank you Rachel for helping me out. I'm glad you liked the book.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adris world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adris impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success--that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills. Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.


Purchase your copy paper copy HERE or eBook copy HERE.

July 6, 2014

The Standard Of Truth / El Estandar De La Verdad ~ Free Printable



One of my favorite memorized quotes is this one by the prophet Joseph Smith. As a missionary I found great power, strength and faith reciting it daily. I love it dearly and feel strongly that knowing it by heart has greatly blessed my life.

I've made some simply subway art to help you memorize it too.

Free Printables.





May 16, 2014

Discover America: From Sea to Shining Sea


I think this new children's book is so sweet and patriotic.  

"Follow the patriotic journey of a little red balloon as it makes its way from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States. Accompanied by the words of one of Americas most beloved anthems America the Beautiful, From Sea to Shining Sea shows the diversity and beauty of our great country through the eyes of our nations children. To add an interactive experience, kids all across the United States will be able to go online to send their own balloons on their own journey." 
 (From the Press Release) 

I found Julie Olson's illustrations magical. I love water color (wish I was more talented, but my last attempt scarred me for life). Parts of Katharine Lee Bates poem "America the Beautiful" is recited on each page as this little red balloon makes it's way across our great America. My kids loved this book. Especially the little ones.


 Make sure to visit her educational interactive website for free printable and free lesson plans.


  • Send your own virtual balloon to friends or family members, who can then send it on.
  • Discover and track on the website your balloon's progress as it floats across the United States.
  • Discover facts for fun or for school reports by clicking on each state.
  • Print out coloring pages from the website for each state's flag,flower, and bird.
  • Discover what you know about the book and other places in the United States by taking the online quiz.
  • Discover on the website a video of the illustrator, Julie Olson, painting and talking about the book.





May 5, 2014

Read This Book: Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons



You've read the title, and now you're scratching your head, wondering if this book is for real, right?

It is. Yes, the authors are bona fide Mormons. And hilarious, too! They call themselves Sistas in Zion.  (Ensign Peak Press Release)

FACEBOOK / WEBSITE / TWITTER

Stop scratching your head and read this book. I'm totally serious. Whether you are white or black, Catholic or Presbyterian, this book is for you.

I was laughing out loud from the very first page. These women are hilarious, clever, witty and smart. They are confident in themselves and in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Don't be surprised if you can't put the book down once you have started. It is made up of short, sweet and poignant journal entries which can be devoured one or twenty at a time. I loved their "urban dictionary" which came in handy. I also loved their honesty about life and its choices and consequences. These women are real. They tell it how it is. They don't hold anything back...they are 100% legit. 

If I had to chose my favorite story they shared it would either have to be the one about Mrs. Platt, the shoplifter, or the Prayer Warrior. I really loved them all. 

Here is a selfie of me, a perfect stranger  and my copy of Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons. I almost read the entire book on my flight last weekend. And I would have if I read faster than my 4th grader ;), but I also had to stop and ponder the new incites I received while reading this book.



Make sure to pick up your own copy!

Deseret Book / Amazon

And here is a snipped from their website on their About Us page. Enjoy!

"Are Mormons funny? Oh, Heavens Yes!  We’re just two Sistas with testimonies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We love to laugh and we think Mormons are hilarious, if we do say so ourselves. We don’t always agree with one another, but we always “Love One Another.” We are truly blessed to have one another as sisters, friends and SISTAS IN ZION."

April 22, 2014

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Tops Two Billboard Music Charts

PRESS RELEASE: The latest album by the celebrated Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square hit #1 in two categories on the Billboard Top 100 Charts this week. He Is Risen topped the Classical Traditional and Current Classical Total charts.

The album, which released April 1, is the most recent from the Choir and Orchestra and features heartwarming and uplifting hymns like “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” “In The Garden” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

He Is Risen is available in both digital and CD formats in Deseret Book stores, on iTunes and desertbook.com and in other retailers.



###
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is comprised of 360 volunteer voices and serves as a musical ambassador for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Orchestra at Temple Square is a 150-member, all-volunteer symphony orchestra organized in 1999 as a companion ensemble.   The Choir’s work has garnered a Grammy award, 2 Emmy awards plus 5 gold and 2 platinum albums.  Its music transcends cultural and generational boundaries to unite people through music around the world.  Follow the Choir on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Billboard charts are the American music industry standard popularity charts issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play, streaming online, and sales; new charts are compiled and officially released to the public by Billboard on Thursday.

April 10, 2014

Getting Kids (and Adults) to Focus During the Sacrament



I can't possibly be the only one that has become distracted during the sacrament.

You know, all of a sudden you notice the Priests stand up and the Deacons start walking forward to return their sacrament trays and you scratch your head trying to remember if you ever even once thought about Jesus Christ during that special Ordinance.

I mean sometimes I really am bouncing a crying child, or trying to keep a kid from spitting on the kids in front of us...but sometimes there is no one to blame for my distractions but myself.

Taking the sacrament requires preparation and concentration, and it isn't always the children that are having a hard time focusing on Jesus Christ and what the sacrament is really about. It is the adults too.

I found myself getting just as much as my kids out of John Bytheway's new Children's book.

The Sacrament, tells the story of a young boy who travels to visit his Grandpa's house for the weekend and how his experience changes the way he thinks about the importance of the sacrament. His Grandpa shares his experience as a youth when he noticed the complacent behavior of others gathered in the chapel to partake of the sacrament.

There were hundreds in the chapel but the worshipers were few, 

And I couldn't help but wonder what the Lord Himself would do-

Yes, I couldn't help but wonder what the Lord Himself would say

Should He walk into the chapel  while His Saints behaved this way;

Would His loving eyes be saddened; would His countenance be grim

While He there observed and listened to a service meant for Him?


I've read this book to my children several times and they love the illustrations and the message. The pages seem familiar as they also weekly sit through sacrament meeting. I've discussed the Symbols of the Sacrament with them. This can be easily done using the resource in the back of the book. It discusses the symbols associated with the table, the cloth, the hymn, the bread, the water, kneeling to pray, and the right hand. This book is a great way to deepen your children's understanding of the sacrament, its sacredness and its cleansing power.






John Bytheway is an instructor at the Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center. He served his mission in the Philippines and earned a master’s degree in Religious Education at BYU. He has published dozens of books and audio programs and lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Kimberly, and their six children.
Nathan Pinnock studied at Utah State University, the University of Utah, and Atelier LeSueur in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at Brigham Young University. Between years of school, Nate served a mission in Frankfurt, Germany. He illustrated books and magazines for fifteen years and now spreads his time between his illustration, sculpture, fine art, and teaching. He is a creator. His paintings and books can be found in galleries, businesses, and homes across America. Nate lives in Holladay with his wife, Alison, and kids.



April 1, 2014

Fantasy General Conference - Free Printable

This was a huge hit last year so we are going to play this game again as a family for this weekends General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The last time the winner was Dylan and he got a Super Date with Scott.

I was hoping to win;)

But seriously the kids loved it and so did Scott!

I lost big time so I'm due.



Let me know if you guys have fun playing this game.

There is a list of current General Authorities Here.

Curious about General Conference?  Watch this video.


March 19, 2014

Basketball Skillz

Dylan is growing so fast. He is turning into such a cute, handsome and happy young man. (Well except for when he doesn't feel like practicing his violin, and then I assure you he is NOT happy.)

Dylan is so passionate about Basketball. I can't believe how far he has come. 18 months ago he couldn't even dribble, and now he is the leading scorer in 95% of his games. He has worked so hard. It is amazing to see what hard work, discipline and practice can do. He went from being the worst player on his team and not contributing anything, to being the best player on his team. He played in two leagues over the Winter. One was a local Blackfoot League and one was a traveling team that he was recruited for.  We have so much fun attending his basketball games and cheering for him.

This team was almost undefeated in the Idaho Falls League. They only lost 1 game and it was when they were missing 2 players and it was to a team that they had previously beat.

Dylan loves his Red Nike's that Santa Claus brought him and he is really into long black socks. Dylan was the tallest player on his 4th grade team. Dylan shot about 50% for free throws this year.

This shot kills me. I'm so nervous that there is going to be hair growing from that armpit in the near future.
His best record this season was scoring 25 points in a game... but he made the most money when his papa came to town and promised to give him $10.00 if he scored 10 points. Dylan didn't miss a shot that game and scored 22 points and walked away with $20.00. That was pretty fun, especially because it was the day of Kate's baptism and all four of his grandparents were there to see him play.

A picture taken right after Dylan won $20.00 off of papa.

It is pretty fun watching your kids get bigger. I love you Dylan and I'm so proud of you.


March 18, 2014

Power To Become by David A. Bednar

Finally, the 3rd book in David A. Bednar's Trilogy is now available.

Power To Become: Spiritual patterns for pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ. 

Have you had a chance to read his other two books?

Increase In Learning: Spiritual patterns for obtaining your own answers.
Act In Doctrine: Spiritual patterns for turning from self to the Savior.

Are you are like my husband who loves these books so much he reads them slowly, digesting each little section a bite at a time? If you haven't had the chance to read these books I strongly suggest you do. They are also available as e-books which might work better financially for you.

Power To Become helps us discover how we can press forward towards Christ in a modern world. It offers necessary tools that we can use to invite the eternal blessings of the Atonement, personal peace, and priesthood ordinances into our lives.

Elder Bednar teaches us that,

Each of us can invite the Holy Ghost to help us assess "things as they really are" (Jacob 4:13) about our progress along the pathway of covenants, obedience, and service. He will teach us plainly and directly about the honesty of our hearts, about the contrite nature of our spirits, and about our willingness to observe our covenants by sacrifice, even every sacrifice which the Lord shall command. Being accepted of the Lord certainly is a key element in the affirmation that the course we are pursuing in this life is in accordance with God's holy mind and will. And such assurance can be received as we press forward in our mortal journey on the pathway to perfection. 
Oh, isn't that wonderful. Having the gift of the Holy Ghost is so important.


I recommend this book. I strongly recommend all of these books. If I had to choose one, I would start with the first in the Trilogy, but you can not go wrong with any of them. These books make an excellent addition to any library and would be a great gift for a friend.

Purchase at Deseret BookAmazon