Sunday, May 31, 2009

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED

I was visiting Tristi Pinkston's blog, and she had this wonderful quote posted along her side bar. Elder Eyring quoted it at some point, but neither of us knew who the original author was.

I found it the other day. Dr. Bob Moorhead was a pastor for nearly 30 years, and this powerful oath or anthem is attributed to him.I work with the Early Morning Seminaries, and this was so wonderful I wanted to share it with the students as they wind up their study of the New Testament.

This is Christian Courage at its finest. Thank you, Dr. Moorhead, for so eloquently and boldly putting into words the precious feelings that, once ignited, are hard for most of us to adequately express, and sadder yet, to retain. And thanks for posting it, Tristi.


THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED
by Dr. Bob Moorehead

I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed." The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.

And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today would have been a down day by average daily standards. Little pressures were bearing down, compounded by rainy, gray skies and the ultimate misery-maker,a manuscript rejection.

But I was blessed to be in a temple session today where an extraordinary sister was working. She was probably in her sixties, a five feet nothing wisp of white in a badly crippled body. She had a notable curve in her spine that left her twisted with hump near her shoulder blade. It required no small effort to maneuver about the room, tending to the sisters entrusted to her charge, and yet she made sure to make eye contact with each person, and offer them a welcome smile.

I never saw her smile fade to soberness. Even in the quiet moments, there was no tight-lipped response to her discomfort. Always, always, a sweet hint of a smile tugged at her lips, making us each feel welcomed . . . feel privileged to be near her.

I left feeling lifted, feeling grateful and humbled all at the same time. And I remembered something President Hinckley once said--that most of the work performed in the Church was done by people who didn't feel very well.

She wasn't a martyr or a good soldier. I think she knows that many parts of happiness require us to simply make a choice, because despite circumstances we cannot change, we can choose how we will respond.

The video that follows says it well. How we love, matters. She chose happiness, and because she did, I want to as well. And maybe if I do, someone else will also. See? It really does work.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: How Do I Love Thee?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MODERN SPRING CLEANING


There are certain undeniable truths. One is that no matter how detestable the job may seem, once the spring cleaning is tackled, we feel better, more relieved, a sense of peace restored.

Another truth that must be admitted is this--what is good for the windows, the closets, those nasty under-the-kitchen-sink-where-you-hope-no-one-will-look-until-after-you're-dead places, also applies to the computer.


You know what I mean. . .

Like a big hunk of Triple-Decker Devil's food cake, the cartoon that gave you but momentary pleasure has left a permanent imprint on your hard-drive's hips.(Poor analogy perhaps, but work with me here.)

I generally keep about ten active files under the "My Documents" header. I can no longer even find those ten folders because they are buried betwixt photo files of cats dressed up in Halloween costumes, remnants of crashed cars cars claimed to have been parked by obviously insane women, (I question this. . .), and ninety-three down-loaded chain letters making promises of wealth and happiness if I send them to seven friends, including the sender; or death and poverty if I fail to comply within ten minutes. (You might not want to stand too close to me for the next little while.)

So why do I bother opening them, you might ask? They gobble up precious work time, clog my files and threatened to infect my already crippled computer with deadly viruses. Why indeed . . . it's a sickness.

So today, I'm cleaning house. I'm deleting every Jib Jab political lampoon video; obliterating every picture of cute little things that aren't a part of my traceable bloodline, and yes, that includes Coco the disco-dancing Cockatiel.


It's a tough world, and it must be done.

Monday, May 25, 2009

GOD-BLESS-AMERICA-MONDAYS

MODERN LESSONS FROM
THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS

The lessons of history continue to teach us in unexpected ways. For example, consider the Battle of New Orleans from the War of 1812, fought on Chalmette Plantation and made famous by Johnny Horton in his song by the same name. Tom and I visited there a year after Katrina hit, while I was researching that final battle for my Free Men and Dreamers series. I knew some considered that bloody battle to have been amongst history's most tragic and futile because it was fought without the commanders' knowing the Treaty of Ghent had already been signed, bringing the war to a political end.

Don't ever say such a thing to the Park Service people who man the Visitor's Center there at Chalmette. I made that mistake and received a stern rebuke from a Ranger who reminded me that the treaty wasn't in force until it had been ratified by both governments, which it had not. "No one knows what would have happened that day if the British had won. With control of Louisiana, the British would also have controlled the Mississippi." Would they have ratified the treaty when they had such a grip on the Louisiana Territory and America's critical waterways? Who knows.

But there was an even more important lesson to be learned at Chalmette the day we visited, because the battlefield sits in the battered and sodden St. Bernard's Parrish section of New Orleans--the site of the worst devastation after Katrina.

Finding Chalmette was no easy feat. Our attention was riveted by the complete devastation all around us--abandoned shells of homes with large X's marking the dreaded casualty numbers, broken roads, uprooted trees and mountains of debris just bulldozed into piles by the side of the road for want of any other place to put it. The rangers were on guard at their stations in a portable trailer that sat in the bowl of the plantation site because their former facility had been washed away by the mighty Mississippi that literally flowed some two feet away and twenty feet above their heads, subdued once again by earthen walls and levees.

I asked the ranger if they had many visitors these days and she nodded thoughtfully. "How are the children handling all this?" I asked her. "I assume some of them lost their homes and maybe some family members too." She shrugged and became resolute. "I sit them down right there," she said, pointing to the carpet, "and I tell them about Ole Hickory, (Andrew Jackson). I tell them all that he suffered--that he was taken prisoner by the British when he was 13, during the Revolution. He was starved, beaten, slashed by a sword and that his entire family died as a result of the war leaving him alone and an orphan by the time he was 14. But he never gave up. I tell them look at what he went on to accomplish. And then I tell them that they're made of the same stuff as Ole Hickory, and even though they've been through some hard times, they're not to give up."

I was awed by that civil servant and I knew she was probably changing lives, redirecting darkened hearts to a new, brighter path, embuing hope back in. I imagined Primary teachers saying something similar about Brigham Young and the pioneers to rows of wide-eyed LDS children, or teachers using George Washington to inspire a new generation of patriots. Oh, I hope so. I hope so.

That ranger changed my attitude about the end of that war that day., about the scope of history and it's ability to continually teach us in unexpected ways . . . about a lot of things. I want to be tough like Ole Hickory too, and never give up, no matter how hard the fight.

So thank you to all who never gave up despite adversity, and Happy Memorial Day.

Warmly,

Laurie

Friday, May 22, 2009

THANK YOU TO OUR SERVICE MEN!

IN FLANDERS FIELD

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD
(1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

LOVE STORY (Taylor Swift) meets VIVA LA VIDA (Coldplay) - Piano Cello - by Jon Schmidt

Could you use eight minutes of pure pleasure and relaxation? Check out this wonderful piece, and then check out his web site at http://www.jonschmidt.com.



Say's Jon,"Hi...Jon Schmidt here. This arrangement is dedicated to Sarah, my 7 year old daughter who loves the song Love Story by Taylor Swift. Because of a common rhythm element between the tunes, I decided I could mish/mash the two. My great friend Steven Sharp Nelson (cello percussion) really makes this tune. (http://stevensharpnelson.com )"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

REAL MEN

I loved the final scene of American Idol last night, seeing Kris Allen look around for his wife, and then, like a moment out of Rocky, I loved how he buried his face in her neck and cried. It was such an anti-Hollywood moment, real-life splendor about love and loyalty right in front of the very man who had warned Kris early on not to talk about his wife or being married lest it ruin his "Idol-image".

Bravo, Kris, for putting your wife and your marriage out there, and for not listening to "media wisdom". It's sad that the very place made famous for putting images of love on celluloid is so poor at maintaining it in real time and space. I wish Kris and his wife well. The hard part is just beginning, and I hope they can survive it.

I hope he will remember what he already seems to know--that something magical and divine is released in men when they take their place in a family. Fatherhood is the ultimate game-changer, but I see it in the men in my family as they rise to be better husbands, uncles, grandfathers and brothers.

All the men in my family played competitive sports in college, and they see themselves as alpha-males--tough, strong, driven. But put them near a child, let them hear the sound of a baby within arm's reach, and they are little more than mush.

It was one of the greatest thrills of my life to watch Tom, our oldest son, become a father for the first time. The big hands that caught footballs and strangled the opposing offense molded naturally around his new baby son. I laugh now when I see how he changes diapers, prepares bottles and feeds babies while balancing his Blackberry on his shoulder or with his earpiece in place.

There's a photo on here, taken at my son-in-law Nick's pre-fatherhood birthday party. We put together a "Daddy Diaper Bag" for him, filled with ridiculous things to commemorate his coming role. He loved it, because he was thrilled by the notion of becoming a first-time father. The thrill has only intensified. We were attending a wedding the other day. I had taken the baby from Nick's arms, Amanda was enjoy a break chatting with friends, and where was Nick? He was sitting with the guys chatting about manly sports things with a burp cloth draped over his shoulder. I wish I had had a camera handy. It was a great moment.

The single guys fight over the babies as much as they do the guitars for Rock Band, keeping watch on the clock to make sure they get their fair amount of time. I know they're going to be great fathers when their time finally comes. After all, they've had years of experience.
And I admire my daughter-in-law, Krista's, gentle way of instilling this family-love in her son, little Tommy, who hovers over his baby brother and sister like a little papa . . . no . . . like a good brother should.

It's also been delightful to watch Tom become a grandfather. The once mighty baseball player who suited by beside Johnny bench years ago moves a lot slower now. He doesn't run too nimbly anymore and most of his grandbabies are far away, but he is the king of long-distance communication and the master of web-cam baseball. Babies sleep soundly on his chest while he smiles down upon them. It's a beautiful thing.

So while we watch men crash cars, unravel mysteries and murders; and survive super-hero-making surgeries, I have to ask these few things: Can they change a poopy diaper while closing a business deal? Can they unravel a tangled yo-yo string for a waiting child? Can they watch a baby being born and not know it's the greatest super-hero moment of all?

Didn't think so. . . So to all the Kris Allen-like men who proudly declare that they are the family men, hurrah for you!

We love you all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Welcome to Our “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win” Contest!-


Some friends and I have put together an exciting contest to kick off your summer! Beginning June 1st, we will be giving away a prize a day. That’s right: 30 days, 30 treasures! There should be something for everyone: romance, mystery, historical, contemporary, and young adult fiction; children’s picture books; a variety of non-fiction; and just to liven things up even more, we’ve included a few exciting non-book prizes: a free 30 page manuscript edit, for you aspiring authors out there; an e-bay gift certificate; and a gift-certificate for a Vinyl Expressions Quote.

How can you win one of these fabulous prizes? Follow the rules below:

SUMMER TREASURE HUNT RULES:

You can send in an entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and mailing address to jdipastena@yahoo.com.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: June Treasure Hunt, Day 1; June Treasure Hunt, Day 2, etc).

(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST

(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.

You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd-July 1st to read the names of the winners.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Joyce DiPastena at jdipastena@yahoo.com.

And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

Treasure Chest clip art from http://www.leehansen.com/clipart/Themes/Pirates/pages/treasure-chest.htm

June 1
SPONSOR: Aubrey Mace
PRIZE: autographed copy of my new YA fiction book, My Fairy Grandmother.
QUESTION: What is the title of my upcoming book to be released Fall 2009?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.aubreymace.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 2
SPONSOR: Rachel Rager
PRIZE: By Love or By Sea, romance, autographed copy
QUESTION: What question does the stranger ask Alice? (Hint: Read excerpt of By Love or By Sea on the “Reading Room” page.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.rachelrager.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 3
SPONSOR: Josi S. Kilpack
PRIZE: An autographed copy of culinary mystery Lemon Tart OR a pre-ordered copy of English Trifle (release date is August 2009)
QUESTION: How many original recipes are included in the culinary mystery, Lemon Tart? (Hint: click on “Lemon Tart” tab on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.josiskilpack.com/
USA ENRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 4
SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams
PRIZE: Arizona Glyph Award Finalist: Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today Children’s snuggle, giggle picture book. Autographed by the author and the real Chase McKay.
QUESTION: What is the name of the dragon book Cindy is completing?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.cindyrwilliams.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 5
SPONSOR: Kersten Campbell
PRIZE: Autographed Copy of the Motherhood humor book: Confessions of a Completely (In)Sane Mother
QUESTION: What does the dog beg for when he escapes into the neighbor's house in the book Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother? (hint: if they click on the book they'll find the answer)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.kerstencampbell.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 6
SPONSOR: Lara Niedemeyer
PRIZE: $20 gift certificate towards merchandise and shipping at my store—8pizza on eBay
QUESTION: What is the lowest priced item and what is the highest priced item listed in 8pizza’s store? (Hint: use the “Sort By” feature).
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://stores.shop.ebay.com/8pizza
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 7
Sponsor's name: Kathi Oram Peterson
Prize: Autographed copy of The Forgotten Warrior, YA Inspirational Time travel
Question Who is Tarik?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.kathiorampeterson.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 8
SPONSOR: Donna Hatch
PRIZE: Autographed copy of paperback of the Regency Romance, The Stranger She Married
QUESTION: What is Cole accused of doing?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.donnahatch.net/ (Hint: read the excerpt under “Bookshelf” tab for The Stranger She Married)
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: IN THE CASE OF AN INTERNATIONAL WINNER, AN E-BOOK VERSION OF THE STRANGER SHE MARRIED WILL BE AWARDED
WINNER:

June 9
SPONSOR: Diony George
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Torn Apart, a fictional novel based on a true story. "If it could happen to Alyson, it could happen to anyone..."
QUESTION: What TV station interviewed Diony about her book? (Hint watch video for the answer)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// diony-george.blogspot.com
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 10
SPONSOR: Tina Scott
PRIZE: autographed copy of Coyote's Grand Adventure - children's picture book
QUESTION: What did Coyote always dream of doing? (Hint: Look under “Library” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://tinascott.net/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 11
SPONSOR: Cindy Beck
PRIZE: Winner's choice of one of the following anthologies featuring Cindy's stories (autographed copy): My Dad is My Hero, Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors, or Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers.
QUESTION: What was the name of my horse? (Hint: You can find the answer by going to the website and clicking on the button marked "Books."
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.bythebecks.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 12
SPONSOR: Valerie Ipson
PRIZE: $15 gift certificate and free shipping for a Vinyl Expressions’ Vinyl Lettering quote (check out http:// vinylsignsanddesigns.blogspot.com for examples of prize)
QUESTION: What is Valerie’s personal writing quote? (Hint: see quotes in right sidebar under “OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF WRITERLY PEOPLE: Valerie’s “personal quote” means just that…her very own quote!)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://valerieipson.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 13
SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena
PRIZE: 2007 Whitney Award Finalist: Loyalty’s Web, medieval romance, autographed by author
QUESTION: What is HelĂ©ne’s prayer when Gunthar brushes her cheek with his thumb? (Hint: Click on “Excerpt” tab on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.joyce-dipastena.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: IN THE CASE OF AN INTERNATIONAL WINNER, A $20 AMAZON.COM E-CERTIFICATE WILL BE AWARDED TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF A COPY OF LOYALTY’S WEB
WINNER:

June 14
SPONSOR: Joan Sowards
PRIZE: LDS Word Puzzles
QUESTION: What is Bednar?
WEBSITE: http://joansowards.com/node/110
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 15
SPONSOR: Anne Bradshaw
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Please, No Zits! & Other Short Stories for LDS Youth, but non-LDS will enjoy it, too! - YA genre (12 upward)
QUESTION: What does author Jeffrey S. Savage say about Please, No Zits? (Hint: scroll down right sidebar on blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://annebradshaw.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 16
SPONSOR: Laurie LC Lewis
PRIZE: an autographed copy of BOOK ONE of her Free Men and Dreamers series, Dark Sky at Dawn.
QUESTION: What current political situation has caused a verse of the Star Spangled Banner to be nearly forgotten? (Hint: click on “news” link on website)
WEBSITE: http://www.laurielclewis.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: IN THE CASE OF AN INTERNATIONAL WINNER, A $25 AMAZON.COM E-CERTIFICATE WILL BE AWARDED TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF A COPY OF DARK SKY AT DAWN.
WINNER:

June 17
SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant
PRIZE: FREE download of the eBook of your choice (Betrayal, Spellbound, Heartless, or Redemption)
QUESTION: What was the title of the very first Regency romance that Jaimey wrote from beginning to end? (Hint: Check out the post titled: "My Mind : What a Twisted Place to Live")
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.jaimeygrant.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 18
SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson
PRIZE: Free 30 page edit of your manuscript ($30 value)
QUESTION: How does Danyelle's business card describe her? (Hint: check right sidebar on blog)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://queenoftheclan.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: Danyelle says: “If they live in the USA, I will print their 30 pages, hand edit, then mail back. If they live outside the USA, I will edit the .doc file and email back.”
WINNER:

June 19
SPONSOR: Walnut Springs Press
PRIZE: I Can't Believe It's Food Storage by Crystal Godfrey (non-fiction)
QUESTION: What is the most recent new release listed on our blog? (Hint: check out post for April 13, 2009)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://walnutspringspress.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 20
SPONSOR: Caroline Gregory and Shawnette Nielson
PRIZE: Puppy Stew, Children’s Picture book. Finalist for Foreward Book Of The Year award. (NOTE: if you would like an autographed copy, please make a note of it)
QUESTION: “In order to stay warm, what do you wear underneath your shoes?” (Hint: look under the “Witchisms” tab on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://puppystew.net/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 21
SPONSOR: Marion Webb-De Sisto.
PRIZE: An autographed copy of her ground-breaking book, Crystal Skulls.
QUESTION: Does this book explore ancient crystal skulls or contemporary ones? {Hint: Take a look at “Books” in the main menu)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.marionwebb-desisto.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 22
SPONSOR: Inglestone Publishing
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Counting the Cost by Liz Adair
QUESTION: What is the name of the main male character in Counting the Cost?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.inglestonepublishing.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 23
SPONSOR: Cecily Markland/Inglestone Publishing
PRIZE: Autographed copy of children’s picture book, If I Made a Bug, by Cecily Markland
QUESTION: Who is the illustrator of If I Made a Bug? (Hint: the “bookstore” tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.inglestonepublishing.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 24
SPONSOR'S NAME: . Jacquie Rogers
PRIZE: Faery Special Romances (YA novel)
Autographed in USA, not autographed elsewhere.
QUESTION: Why does our family support Neurofibromatosis research? (Hint: Click on “Neurofibromatosis research” link and read Mercedes Rice’s story)
WEBISTE: http://www.jacquierogers.com/faerysr.html
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES: WINNER LIVING IN A COUNTRY NOT DIRECTLY SERVED BY AN ONLINE BOOKSTORE WILL RECEIVE A PDF COPY.
WINNER:

June 25
SPONSOR: Terry Deighton
PRIZE: Cup of Comfort for New Mothers (non-fiction, anthology)
QUESTION: Name any two titles from the Cup of Comfort series. (Hint: Look in the store.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.cupofcomfort.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 26
SPONSOR: Leatherwood Press
PRIZE: Messiah: The Little-known Story of Handel’s Beloved Oratorio, by Tim Slover
QUESTION: Who was the art designer for Messiah: The Little Known Story of Handel’s Beloved Oratorio? (Hint: see post for May 15, 2009)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://jdp-news.blogspot.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 27
SPONSOR: Dawson Publishing
PRIZE: Copy of The No Cussing Club by McKay Hatch
QUESTION: How many members of the No Cussing Club are there to date
WEBSITE: http://www.nocussing.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 28
SPONSOR: Nicole Zoltack
PRIZE: Woman of Honor (fantasy romance ebook)
QUESTION: What color is Caelan's eyes?
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:

June 29
SPONSOR: Sarah M. Eden
PRIZE: An autographed copy of the Sarah M. Eden Regency romance of your choice
QUESTION: "Name all 7 Jonquil brothers." (Hint: check out "The Jonquil Brothers Series" tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.sarahmeden.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

June 30
SPONSOR: Marsha Ward
PRIZE: LDStorymakers Writing Secrets
QUESTION: Who is Rulon? (Hint: Click on “Man from Shenandoah” under “Novels” link on website)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http://marshaward.com/
USA ENTRIES ONLY
WINNER:

Monday, May 18, 2009

THE LIGHT WITHIN

I learn best by visuals--little images to which my mind can cling and make the intangible and obscure more concrete and memorable. One I think on often came from an extraordinary missionary, author and humanitarian named Fred Babel who served twice by President Ezra Taft Benson's side--once as a missionary companion in pre-WWll Germany, and again after the war when Secretary of Agriculture Benson returned to succor the people of that nation.


He's gone now, but he was the dear friend of my dear friend, and so I had the privilege to hear him speak on several occasions here in the DC area. His unique understanding of the Gospel has left several of these "visual imprints" in my mind. One I love best is his analogy of the "Light Within" each of us.


To put it simply, he said we each are like a light bulb, and we gather or lose light with every choice we make. Therefore, some of us make the effort to increase our light through study, prayer, service--the exercises of faith--increasing our "wattage" until some of us become 40 watt-ers, some 75 or 100. We can also make choices that cause us to fluctuate like a strobe light, falsely hoping God will call for us on one of our "brighter" days, or we can simply make little effort at all, choosing to allow our inner light to dim.

I think of that light bulb analogy, and then I think of Matthew 5:14-16 which reads, "Ye are the light of the world. A city which is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven."

Sometimes it all seems a little too amorphous . . . too vague or huge to conceive, let alone to do. But then I think of that light bulb inside of me. Maybe I can glow one watt brighter today. Who knows? Maybe I can brightly beam more than that! This I understand. This I can do! Thank you, Brother Babel!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Blessings of the Priesthood

The priesthood is the power of God, which is given to man to act in His name. It is here on the earth today and its blessings are available to everyone. Mighty miracles can come from Priesthood blessings, but they can be called on to provide the less dramatic miracles of comfort and peace as well.

This is a great testimony to me of the Savior's love for us--that He provides for our every need.

Friday, May 15, 2009

MUSIC THAT MAKES ME CRY

Something weird happened to me between Disco and my first stint at teaching Early Morning Seminary. My musical choices switched from pop to those Seminary Cd's and now I can't find a niche.

Oh, I still love Mo-Tab, and Josh Groban and Il Divo, but try and dial that stuff on a radio station here in Maryland.

Not likely.

I'm not inclined to "rock-out" to often any more, and I can't relate to songs about pick-ups, honky-tonks or badonkadonks. I am a woman with out a radio station--a musical genre-less drifter, a station-flipper. . . and a CD switcher.

But the other day a station played a song that choked me up--"You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins. I could barely drive the car. It hit home that hard.

There are a few others that choke me up, like, "I'm Already There" by Lonestar, and "The Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts. Those will make me puddle-up every time as well.

I suppose it's because they're songs about families in varying stages--new love, parted love and and parental love. The older I get the more nostalgic I become. I realize how many moments I've lost--filed away in some irretrievable place in my memory, or worse, missed altogether because a load of wash needed to be folded or some spill needed mopping.

Maybe that's why that song hit me so hard . . . "You're Gonna Miss This". Yep, I sure do.

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED

I was visiting Tristi Pinkston's blog, and she had this wonderful quote posted along her side bar. Elder Eyring quoted it at some point, but neither of us knew who the original author was. I found it the other day. Dr. Bob Moorhead was a pastor for nearly 30 years, and this powerful oath or anthem is attributed to him.

I work with the Early Morning Seminaries, and this was so wonderful I wanted to share it with the students as they wind up their study of the New Testament. This is Christian Courage at its finest. Thank you, Dr. Moorhead, for so eloquently and boldly putting into words the precious feelings that, once ignited, are hard for most of us to adequately express, and sadder yet, to retain. And thanks for posting it, Tristi.

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED
by Dr. Bob Moorehead

I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed."
The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won't look back, let up, slow down,
back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present
makes sense, and my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, sight walking,
small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams,
chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position,
promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience,
lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my
road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few,
my Guide reliable, my mission clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back,
diluted, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the
presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander
in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I must go until Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know,
and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
My colors will be clear.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

MAKE-OVERS (Granddaughter Style!)

One of the best parts of visiting Tom and Krista, my son and daughter-in-law, is having little three-year-old Keira come downstairs to greet me in the morning. She has a cartoon-cute voice worthy of one of the princess-faeries she loves to daily dress as, making it completely impossible to resist any request she makes.

Keira loves make-up.

I'm generally still on Maryland time when I visit, which means I'm finishing up my dressing routine, (my make-up) about the time she skips downstairs to greet me. Her tiny hand knocks on the bathroom door a second before she opens it to ask in that faery-like voice, "Hi Grandma, what-cha doooooieeeeeng?"

Her smile breaks like the morning sun over the mountains, and I am hers . . . completely and irreversibly. Therefore, so is anything she wants, and that usually means my make-up bag.

It's okay. She only puts it on herself, leaving Grandma intact.

But on the above day, Grandma was babysitting for a few days, and about mid-afternoon the drowsies took over. We had played Barbies, faeries, we had colored, sang songs, read books and jumped on the trampoline, (it wasn't pretty but it was really fun!), and Grandma was running out of gas. Not so Keira. I needed one more super-fun trick before nap time . . . something Grandma could snooze through. "AHA!" I thought. "Let's play make-over!"

Not only was I an instant rock-star Grandma just for suggesting this game, it was an activity which allowed . . . no REQUIRED me to close my eyes. So while she slathered shadow on my eyes and powdered me up until I looked like a loaf of rising dough, I took a five-minute power nap.

What woke me up? The doorbell.

Of course it would be at this very moment that a neighbor dropped by to deliver a party invite to my grandson, followed a few minutes later by the dry-cleaning guy. I passed the mirror on the way to the second errand, and seeing the majesty of Keira's work, I managed a few quick swipes with a tissue to "dust myself off". But here is a glimpse of what was and will ever be one of my favorite grandma/Keira days. It deosn't get better than this!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

THE PRINCIPLE OF COMPENSATION

My family will tell you that I know nothing about current music, and that social deficit is due primarily because I hardly ever listen to the radio. Instead, I love to listen to addresses from former LDS Church conferences.

I've listened to some five or six times over before I finally get around to switching out the CD, but one talk that I will probably never tire of is Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin's final talk. It was from the October 2008 Conference titled. "Come What May and Love It".

I doubt anyone who heard it didn't laugh and feel better after that wonderful address, but I laughed so hard I skimmed right past some of the spiritual treasures it included. This little section is one of my favorites and it grabbed my attention again the other day:

The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.
One of the blessings of the gospel is the knowledge that when the curtain of death signals the end of our mortal lives, life will continue on the other side of the veil. There we will be given new opportunities. Not even death can take from us the eternal blessings promised by a loving Heavenly Father.
Because Heavenly Father is merciful, a principle of compensation prevails.


He added that we are not intended to gloss over sorrow and pretend everything is fine when tragedy strikes, but he reminded us that faith in the Lord and in His promise of compensation should help us carry on.

There is an old adage that sums this up nicely. "The Lord never closes a door without opening a window."

Lots of doors are closing these days, and new ones are opening as well. But by their very nature, we have to look up to see a window. Perhaps that's the very point.

Monday, May 11, 2009

IS SOMEONE TAPPING YOUR CELL PHONE?

A friend sent this link to me today. If you're like me, what you see will make you think twice about where and how you carry your cell phone. George Orwell, are you out there?

Friday, May 8, 2009

CONGRATULATIONS, SAMUEL!

Congratulations, Samuel Bradshaw! Your name was drawn to receive the book, "Mother, I Love You!" Email your address to me and I'll send that off ASAP!

Thanks to everyone else who played. I'll have another contest up next week, so check back in!

Samuel, I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

What do our kids really want in a mom? These messages may give us a clue. No one mentioned that they loved their mom because she was beautiful, thin, a snappy dresser, or successful. So why are so many women chasing these things? It's a good question to ponder, moms. Happy Mother's Day for all the right reasons. . . because we love, laugh and try our best!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

BOOK REVIEW

CONFESSIONS OF A COMPLETELY INSANE MOTHER
by Kersten Campbell


Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother, by Kersten Campbell, a self-confessed over-the-edge matriarch, is a delightful, side-splitting collection of quick-read personal glimpses into motherhood and family life. Campbell delivers big time with irresistible, down-and-dirty tales from the trenches as told from her irrepressible and charming point of view.

In classic Seinfeld fashion, Campbell transforms the mundane minutia of life into comical treasures imbued with warmth and tenderness. This collection of homespun vignettes is packed with positive pro-family, pro-marriage messages while dismissing the stigma over imperfection. Love matters. Laughter matters. And therefore, in Campbell’s forgiving world, there is joy despite jam on the counter tops or Cocoa Puffs on the carpet, and a virtuous woman is one such as she who sets off on motherly missions like the last-minute dash to the store for materials to create that night-before-it’s-due science project.

I tucked this book into my purse for a five-hour plane ride and laughed out loud through much of the trip. So, if Kersten Campbell is insane, sign me up as well, because family life from her point of view is irresistible!

I suggest you run down to Seagull Books or any of the many LDS Independent book stores and buy a copy of Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother for every mommy in your circle. This offering by Cedar Fort Publishing will tickle the rest of the family’s funny bones as well. It’s lots cheaper than therapy and I guarantee immediate results!









Friday, May 1, 2009

WHY I LOVE AMERICAN IDOL

Hollywood has become so much more than an entertainment mecca. This piece of real estate is the epicenter of cultural and political power.

How does that make you feel?

More and more, I feel the tug and rip at old American values as actors, writers and producers define what they perceive as a "new" America, the "new" American family, and her "new" American values.

They're good. I'll give them that. The message is subtle, delivered carefully a spoonful at a time so that even when it doesn't quite taste right, we become too addicted to stop sampling.

Appalling as it sounds, they made a movie about a battered wife who finds solace and comfort in the arms of a married man, and they did it with such tenderness and justice that the viewers found themselves cheering the characters' betrayal and the destruction of the man's innocent, unsuspecting family.

ABC filled its evening slate of youthful programs with shows built around controversial themes and plot lines that don't resemble the average American family I know. So how do they market it? As the "new" American family.

And this is why I love American Idol. A few times over the course of the show, the judges have been stunned by the viewers' choices. Head judge, Simon Cowell, actually admitted once that they, the panel of judges, really don't know what America wants. I couldn't have agreed more.

To a great extent, Hollywood tells us what we want. But once a week, we tell them. And sometimes we prove that the average American is not the sheep they perceive us to be.

Not too baaaaad.

Swine Flu - made simple