Posts Tagged With: Love

Review: The Inn at Rose Harbor


The Inn at Rose Harbor
The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the past I have not enjoyed Debbie Macomber’s books and I know written a review that did not reflect positively at all. One of my followers, stood up for Ms. Macomber and pleaded with me to give her another chance. A few weeks ago, I found myself desperate for another ‘light’ book to read, this was one of the few available, so I thought I’d give it a chance. I have to say, I really loved it! I was very surprised, and grateful for the uplifting story shared.

I thought in this particular book, her writing was very good. The characters were believable, and lovable, and well formed. I loved that despite the heartbreak and tragedy in the main characters own life, she moves on with life and doesn’t let it beat her. She finds a way to serve and love those other broken souls around her, and vows that everyone who comes through her life, leaves a little bit more healed. I love that.

I really enjoyed this one, and I’m planning on giving some of her other books a chance too. Maybe on the other one, I was in a funk, and projected my own issues.

(Actually finished in just 2 days! 23 January 2014)

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Review: Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life


Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life
Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life by Gordon B. Hinckley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely loved the Way To Be!, just as much as I adore President Gordon B. Hinckley! It was wonderful to read this book again, to hear his voice and feel he pure love that exuberates from him. How I’ve missed this great man. I’ve read this book a few times and will read again. Always new applicable points and views! I highly recommend for anyone of any background, faith, religion, etc. Just basic and profound views and points, of being a good person – just because you should try to be a good person.

My uncle wrote on his coffin, “Do good because doing good is good to do. Not because of threats or promises of Heaven or Hell.” I love that. I think that this book helps mostly guide on simply BEing a good person!

President Hickley stated in the book, “Rise above mediocrity, above indifference. Become involved and speak with a strong voice of that which is right. ”

I originally took fantastic notes while making my journey through this book. But looking back. I feel like I highlighted the whole book! šŸ˜

Nonetheless, the 9 Be’s we should all remember are as follows:

9 Be’s:
Be Grateful
Be Smart
Be Involved
Be Clean
Be True
Be Positive
Be Humble
Be Still
Be Prayerful

Finished the book 1 October 2013.
I highly recommend this book to all, over and over again! Enjoy and BE an amazing contribution!

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Categories: Beauty of the World, Book Reviews, Career, Cause, Education, Family, Health & Nutrition, Humanity, Life, Literature, Passion, Purpose, Relationships, Service, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: That Perfect Someone


That Perfect Someone
That Perfect Someone by Johanna Lindsey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this in only two days!! I nearly forgot HOW much I love Johanna Lindsey!! Her books might be very predictable, but she is a delightful and engaging storyteller! Always such a breathe of fresh air and fluff for my brain! šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ I had to put this away before I finished it in one day so that I might relish in the story longer…

This book as well as her other books was fun, light-hearted, full of funny moments and real life situations and lessons. She does have small lovey scenes that if you are sensitive, you might want to skip over, but they are really pretty mild.

In addition, I’ve decided I am going to finish my crazy hard end of months with a great fluff book. šŸ™‚ Totally makes it better! That is going to be my little treat to myself. šŸ™‚

(Finished 30 August 2013)

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Review: Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story


Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick

Dame Daphne

Dame Daphne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I saw this book recommended from my library, and needing a new biography to read, I jumped on it. Being the Granddaughter of an Elephant Trainer and having a great love for the wonderful gentle (in my experience) giants, I was ecstatic to read this! Perhaps I thought this book would be more like the stories I have heard all my life of my Grandfather & his Elephant friends, and the additional memories of my Father working with him and my own memories. Or perhaps I thought it might be similar to Water for Elephants, which I also loved. Perhaps I thought I’d hear more of the stories that I heard from my former in-laws of their lives in Africa (Angola, Congo & Botswana) before coming to America as refugees….

To my surprise this was uniquely not like any of what I had expected. Ā Dame Daphne is definitely an interesting person, who

David Sheldrick

David Sheldrick

has lived an extraordinary life and I feel made a greater impact on the world than she realizes, let alone Kenya, and the rest of the African continent and it’s largest population. While there were something’s she shared in her life, decisions and actions that I personally don’t agree with she is still a stellar woman. Who undoubtedly ADORED her second husband David, who helped build her ultimate legacy as well as his.

In the reading of the book, I felt that at many times it dragged on and on. That Dame Daphne obviously prefers the company of animals to humans, and that the relationships with them, how brief some may have been were much more significant than those of anyone outside of David and her two daughters. That being said the stories of the animals, which are the basis of this writing, seemed never to end and went into considerably too much detail, which made me want to skip a lot, although I never did. But then it felt like a chore to persevere through the book rather than go along for the ride.

English: Baby elephants in "The David She...

English: Baby elephants in “The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust”, Nairobi, Kenya. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has, between 1987 and 2009, successfully hand-reared over 85 newborn and very young elephant orphans through its Nairobi Nursery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This being said, there were many wonderful parts of her story that ultimately teach us lessons and leave us yearning to make a difference in the world around us. To follow our hearts, our passions and find our greater purpose here on Earth. Sadly most of the greatest parts of this book were in the last few pages. However, I’m sure that without reading the entire epilogue that they would have not been as dramatic or left such a deep impression. I feel that reading this book has left an impression on my heart that will stick. A further love of the African Wildlife, and fascination of Africa, more rooted desire to visit there someday and find my own way to serve there and here at home.

Avril Jenson

Avril Jenson

Dame Daphne Shledrick

Dame Daphne Shledrick – http://http://youtu.be/dqvDHx0vJrI

Passages that really stuck out were about Elephants and their amazing memory. A few of my most vivid memories are those with the Elephants, myself, my Grandfather & my Father. I’d always heard this my whole life… Until I was a teenager I didnā€™t fully comprehend. I remember going to The Hogle Zoo with my family, where my family had worked. My father was a boy/teenager when he’d worked at the zoo with his father. But I remember the elephants come running and seemingly so excited to see my father. Normally the elephants would ignore the tourists unless they were giving them food. But all my father had to do was walk up to the fence, say softly “There’s our girl. Hey Toka.” She immediately turned and ran to my father trying to reach him over the ‘moat’ around her pen. She seemed to be smiley and giddy as a child, mimicking my fathers similar reaction. My father hadn’t been there in years, and had been a boy. But I knew then Toka, Toni and Hydori all remembered my father, and associated the love and joy that my Grandfather (Avril Jenson) gave to them for all those years with my father as well. As you can imagine the times of going to the zoo with my Grandfather were even greater, with similar but more intense reactions of love and excitement for my Grandpa, who simply loved and adored these amazing creatures.

Dame Daphne relates a similar experience when one of her elephants joyously runs to enthusiastically greet a former caretaker from 30 years in the past. Her closing statement of the book Is that she has learned her lives greatest lessons from the elephants, wherein which no matter the wrong that had been done to them they had such a high resolve to forgive the trespasses against them, without the ability to ever forget. What a strong lesson in that simple statement! We as humans have the ability for things to slip from our minds, to actually forget many things after a great or small wrong as besought us, yet forgiveness is such a huge thing for us to obtain or give, and we can let it go, we can forget it ever happened and go on with life! Imagine never being able to ever to simply forget, but having to consciously forgive and take the higher road, to give others the chance to grow, learn and become better individuals, even though they might never do so.

She also elaborated on things such as a conviction that Elephants must be able to communicate telepathically. This, I find simply fascinating! I’m anxious to follow the studies through the rest of my life to see what we are able to figure out about their higher level and ability to communicate. In addition she also made reference to the fact that the animal kingdom seems to function at a higher level of understanding, in a much older and adjusted world. As if they have been given blessings and understandings than any of us humans could ever comprehend. Thinking on this, I believe she is right. We already know that God has only given us so much knowledge in this life so far, because of our cardinal selves, and the fact that we haven’t been able to raise ourselves high enough yet for further enlightenment. What a cool time that will be!

Despite the sometimes long and drawn out seasons of this book, I still highly recommend.

If you are interested in learning more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and how you can be involved go to their website to learn more:Ā http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.orgĀ You can also follow them on Facebook, & YouTube.

david-sheldrick-wildlife_152012217521.jpg_article_singleimage

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Categories: Beauty of the World, Career, Cause, Education, Family, Humanity, Life, Passion, Purpose, Service, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Goose Girl


The Goose Girl (novel)

The Goose Girl (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Goose Girl
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to think when Kylene recommended this to me. Honestly I took a look at it and said yeah, I probably won’t be super into it, but probably won’t hate it. Kylene hasn’t led me astray yet with decent books, so I thought I’d give it a chance, besides I don’t get too many recommendations from people, just the online library that certainly does lead me astray! In addition, I was surprised to find so many friends who had already read this unknown book. So I put the book on hold and found it surprisingly engaging from the first chapter. It was fun to learn about the fantasy and folklore of people who have underlying ‘language skills’ of the animals, birds, people, wind, fire, etc. Fascinating concepts frankly. I found myself connecting quickly with the Princess Anidori, and certainly falling in love with her prince as well. I love the depth the book displayed so elegantly of the princess. She was highly capable and incredibly loving, she took her bad situations in stride, but never gave up, she was enticing, witty, engaging and smart! Great book, I highly recommend as well. I’m excited to read the rest of the series, and grateful the story goes on!

(Actually finished July 7th 2013)

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Review: Les MisƩrables


English: Jean Valjean, monsieur Madeleine

English: Jean Valjean, monsieur Madeleine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Les MisƩrables
Les MisƩrables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Les Miserables between 12-14 years of age. I have to say this was one that I remembered much differently. This is the primary reason I’ve enjoyed going back and re-reading many of the books that I read 15+ years ago. I enjoy seeing how my perspectives have changed.

Now, this being said, this is a story that we are all very familiar with. Seeing that it is a classical literature art piece, and then adapted for stage and film. Not to mention the phenomenal music score.

Unfortunately, I think that I like the stage/film versions best. It takes the very best of this very long book and all levels of it’s wordiness and helps you take away the greatest lessons it teaches. I know, normally I’m not a fan of abridging. But I felt that because of the extended length of this even if it’s been abridged takes away much from the lessons Mr. Hugo wanted to teach and instill within our souls.

I found that with the extensive length that I would get distracted by random annoyances. I also was disappointed by the parts that I felt that really had the greatest affects on the characters were not elaborated upon as much as other parts continuing on describing things that in the big picture didn’t play a vital detail. That was frustrating.

I also have come to realize more and more lately that I have a very hard time with ‘Love at First Sight’ or the like. I was so annoyed and mad through the sections that went on an on about what’s his bucket’s (I know, I should know – writing this review a few weeks after finishing) love for Cossette, when they’d never even carried on a conversation! He’d only seen her, and basically stalked her. Then Cossette conveniently falls in love with him because she notices him back and enjoys his behavior, mind you he’s terrified of her father and she plays games, like, Oh, Father, I didn’t even see whom you are talking about… etc, etc. Gag me! When authors expound and go on and on about their undying love for when they have never even had a conversation I want to do violent things to people! Gag me!

On the positive note, I do enjoy the handful of references to songs that the people have integrated into their lives, makes the whole stage/movie versions of this a bit more reasonable to see how they were able to more realistically convert and retell this story.

The story finally started getting good around page 1,200. The battles, the mercy… although still I was saddened the parts that I really love were not as well expressed. šŸ˜¦

Taking an overall look at this story and what we learn from it, I love the story of trials, tribulations and overcoming ourselves and allowing love and mercy to ultimately work in our lives, for the greater good of ourselves, our loved ones and those who despise us. I love how one simple act of mercy changes the entire life and outlook of one man. Of that change of heart the changes and good he is able to deliver to the world and make it a slightly better place. I love seeing the selfless acts of service and sacrifice and how no matter how things don’t work out completely for him he continues to pay it forward in all that he does. Even in the end when Valjean shows a parallel act of mercy to the one man who hates him most in this world, Inspector Javert, whose whole life purpose almost seems that it is to destroy Jean Valjean, Javert can’t handle it. He doesn’t take the chance, he can’t allow the love and Mercy in his life, and kills himself. Likewise, how do we respond when shown the same love and mercy? What do we do with it? Cossette’s young husband’s attitude changes so drastically himself when he finds out of the wrongs Valjean has done in his life, but his heart softens and overflows with love in an instance when he finds out the other side of Valjean’s story of love and sacrifice.

I think ultimately we need to take a good hard look at this story and what we learn from it, how it applies to us, how we can improve our own self beings and implement into our daily lives. Obviously, with my annoyances, I still highly recommend this great classic.

(Actually finished August 23rd 2013)

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Review: Ensign – June 2013


Ensign - June 2013
Ensign – June 2013 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I honestly love the fact that we have The Ensign available to us!! It never ceases to amaze me how each month it’s filled with articles that I swear, were written just for me! In addition its material is not always applicable to me, but also put forth in such a manner that I am able to internalize the doctrine greater. Resulting in feeling closer to the Lord and the Gospel. šŸ™‚

http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013?lang=eng

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Review: CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SINGLES SOUL


Chicken Soup for the Cold

Chicken Soup for the Cold (Photo credit: texascooking)

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SINGLES SOUL
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SINGLES SOUL by Jack Canfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honestly, I love the Chicken Soup For the Soul Books – Probably why I keep reading them…

Five years ago I had just gotten married, moved into a new home and was trying to enjoy the benefits I always heard about that come with being a ‘newlywed.’ Most of that ‘enjoying’ was me hanging on to a nice moment here and there, learning that all I had hoped for was far from reality. At that time I had put a Chicken Soup for the Soul book in our ‘bathroom reading materials.’ Little did I know at the time from that point I would find myself stowing away in the bathroom – reading these great short stories! What a blessing that had been to me then, to have 5 minutes of joy in a life and marriage that wasn’t what I’d always hoped and didn’t bring half the smiles this little book gave me. How grateful I was though, I honestly think that this book helped me survive, it was at least one of those sweet tender mercies from the Lord that helped me survive, others were my sweet little Jada (my niece – how I miss her!) and my amazing and simply wonderful neighbor Rhonda, who helped pick up the pieces of my broken heart. I wish I could find or at least remember which ‘Soup’ that this was… About the same week that I finished my ‘Soup’ my ex-husband also asked for a divorce.

I was given this particular “Soup” shortly after my divorce four years ago, I chuckled to myself and said well I guess there is a version for every stage! Secretly I’ve hoped that once I finished reading this one that my chapter of being ‘single again’ in my own life would also come to a close… While it hasn’t been the same week, I’m hopeful. I’m so grateful for this book, the progression through different stages of singleness and the healing and heartbreaking stories alike. I felt like I had a support group this past four years, which was absolutely needed as I found myself alone and isolated from what friends I thought I had, in a strange new place and navigating career suicide with my move. I found myself having to rebuild my life nearly from scratch, re-evaluate who I am, what I believe and what impact I currently have on the world around me and what I want to change to be the difference. I purposely slowed down at reading this book, only allowing myself to read one or two entries a week, and sometimes less. I felt that I needed the time to process others stories and my own mind and heart. I honestly think that this book helped me from truly assisted me in my will to not become bitter and vengeful, but more grateful that he let me go and had the courage to do so, allowing me to have a much better chance at happiness. From experiencing my bad marriage and my loneliness before hand to my life now and my attitude towards myself. I’m so grateful for the experience. I truly am happy with who I am, happy with how I give back to the world and make an impact, and know that frankly I was an amazing wife, and might someday again have that chance, but I love hanging out with myself and now really comfortable in my own skin. All of this is intricately entwined together as this has been a long and sometimes painful, and mostly joyful growing experience, and has been a nice little journey and chapter of my life. Thank you Jack Canfield for your guidance through this minefield. šŸ™‚

Ps. If I decide to marry again one day, I look forward to it with joy. But in the meantime I’m loving each moment of being single!

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Review: 16 Lighthouse Road


16 Lighthouse Road
16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I just finished my semester of college, and all my required text book reading. I was feeling like I needed and wanted something light-hearted and maybe a little bit cheesy. I admit it, I love being cheesy! I openingly fantasize about the love I someday hope to really have, so I do enjoy romances from time to time. I have to believe for myself that crazy love is real! I know I’ve experienced it – when I don’t downplay it and be honest with myself. For this I’m incredibly grateful! I also have horrible romantic experiences that I’m also grateful for because they make me appreciate the great. But often times I feel like I loose faith and hope in finding crazy real love again. That’s why I enjoy these ‘fluffy’ books. Now, I’m also a realist and completely realize that not all of life is like this, and we are one of the few lucky ones if we but just a moment or two of these moments and memories!
However, that being said – This book needed work! At the beginning of this book, I felt like I have read one of Debbie Macomber’s books before, however cannot find any record of such. I do not know if this is one of Ms. Macomber’s first books – but her writing style indicated so. It was frustrating most the time. Now as far as clean level of romance. It was clean, there was mostly romantic feelings, but only one scene that was tastefully done. It was as if it had been written with a middle/high school student mentality and reality view of life. In addition, there were so many characters, that seemingly didn’t completely tie together. They all went off in different directions. I understand that the Judge was the central character, and the supporting characters were her children and their relationships, her best friend and her relationships and the life and happenings of a couple that had passed through her courtroom, in addition to the judges mother, and the judges love interest, oh and don’t forget her ex-husband. All these stories went in a million directions and never seemingly came back to tie together with a climax or a resolution! The dialog was a completely un-realistic and it was hard to not gag most the time with these ‘really, are you kidding me situations.’ I finished the book but I doubt that I would ever read one of her’s again. I might, if this was among her first books. I might read a later one and give her another chance. But if looking for a good light-hearted fluffy, feel good story mixed with romance that just leaves you grinning and warm on the inside … keep looking!

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Christmas Magic & The Festival of Trees


I love Christmas! I love the season, the smells, the feel of everything, the taste in the air and the energy all around! For years I have dreamed of having that perfect storybook Christmas, my family never had that. Oh we had our own type of Christmas Magic, but never what I knew was waiting out there…. somewhere.

I grew up all over the US, my dad works for the Federal Government in the Bureau of Land Management. Therefore, we lived in every small podunkĀ town known to mankind. Ok, not really, but it sure felt like it! I ended up going to 11 different schools by the time that I graduated from high school, so I’ve been around. We never lived close to our extended family and we always just celebrated our quiet littleĀ immediateĀ family holidays by ourselves. Which I ultimately grew to appreciate VERY much! After college, I ended up moving back East, New York City, Vermont & then was in the Philadelphia suburbs for nearly a decade. (While on that subject I think the state of Pennsylvania simply has something incredibly magic about it – butĀ especiallyĀ during Thanksgiving toĀ ChristmasĀ toĀ theĀ New Year!) Which again put me far away from extended and immediate family. As I’d always done, I adopted new family(ies). This also comes with invitations to spend holidays with other families and get a glimpse into other people’s worlds and traditions. From this I have gleamed some of the best ‘magic’ I have witnessed, and implementing their traditions and magic into my own traditions – and hoping that someday when I have a family of my own I’ll be able to continue to add to that great Christmas Magic!

However, here I find myself close to family once again and some holidays are celebrated, while most are not. If they are celebrated it’s generally because I’m hosting the whole shebang. Most the time though, I find myself ignoring the things about the holiday’s that I love so very much – in order not to be once again heart-broken. I stopped putting up decorations, I don’t want to cook my big fabulous meals, and I look forward to the quiet day off with no one bugging me, no phone calls or texts beyond Happy whatever holiday! It breaks my heart knowing this. I even do it for my own birthday anymore (I’m a Christmas week baby) no one cares, no one will come and if they do, they do stupid stuff that makes me wish I never attempted to throw myself a party in the first place. šŸ˜¦ This I know all stems from the years of heartache and let downs of having hopes so high that just maybe this year might be a fraction better. In addition in all likeliness its that awful voice of my ex-husband telling me everything was horrible because of me, and my wanting each moment to be great – even if it’s horrible – I continue to believe that there can be goodness found in all things even if it’s just a micro or nano thing… Of course I find myself just wanting to take myself on some fabulous vacation that I can’t afford; far away from everyone and everything…. and it’s warm of course!

Despite my jaded view on this subject, there are a few things that bring me such great joy!

I have been an Auction Host at theĀ Festival of TreesĀ now for 3 years! It’s hard to believe I’ve even been around here that long! I was first introduced to the Festival of Trees from my girlfriend, Andrea. (Andrea’s Main Blog & Andrea’s Second Blog – Things you will not believe!! Regarding the Health of her Children) Ā These areĀ amazingĀ stories that you need to read!) TheĀ Festival of TreesĀ Ā is a fabulous non-profit organization that donates 100% of their proceeds back to the children at Primary Children’s Hospital. Each year the first week after Thanksgiving they hold a gigantic auction at the South Towne Expo Center. People andĀ organizationsĀ donate their time, talent and resources to providing a fabulousĀ environmentĀ and things to auction. You can find Large Trees, Medium Trees, Small Trees, Centerpieces, General Decorations, Wreaths, Quilts, Statues/Sculptures, Paintings,

Photography, not to mention all the baked goods and other gifts that you can purchase there and MUCH more!Ā It’s quiet theĀ experienceĀ  Auction night is always quite elite and has a formal attire dress code. Andrea & I are Auction Hosts for whatever section we might be assigned to each year answering questions and facilitating the silent auctions in our area. What fun this is! Not only do we get to dress up in our beautiful formals, but we also get to make new friends, meet interesting people and serve! What energy fills the air here! In this one place my Christmas Magic has returned and ignited such a fire ofĀ hope and joy all around! I’m so grateful that Andrea invited me three years ago! This

is truly one of my most favorite events of the year! I’m so glad that my little effort actually makes a difference in someones life! It’s amazing to see what some of these items go for – and it’s all really for the children!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So whatever it might be that you love about the Christmas Season… I hope you find it this year. I hope you grab onto it and hold it tight. Find people around you in every capacity that you can serve in either the littlest of ways – most people are so in need of a genuine smile and a hello, or in big ways – but do it just because.

May you be blessed with the Love of our Lord and remember exactly WHY we have Christmas after all… because someone gave us the greatest of all gifts!

I’ll post a few photos from our night. šŸ™‚ Later when I am working on a better computer… šŸ˜‰

 

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Review: Your Happily Ever After


Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf Mormon

Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf Mormon (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)

Your Happily Ever After
Your Happily Ever After by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
My rating: 5Ā of 5 stars

First off, Dieter F. Uchtdorf is one of my favorite people in the world! I love his stories, his character, and view on life.

Last spring, I was in a production called “Happily Forever After”. In the show we had a young girl trying to do her homework and had to write a paper about how Fairy Tales had impacted her life or something to the sort. Her attitude is negative and jaded, as many of us have become in this harsh world that we live in. When her fairy Godmother shows up and turns her perspective around. Teaching her of the valuable lessons that we can all take from Fairy Tales.

From this production I received this wonderful book as a thank you for my participation. What a wonderful treat to have my lesson extended by Elder Uchtdoft as he takes a similar path of teaching.

He goes on to explain how we learn to love the Heroines and Heroes with their strength of character. But that they didn’t become heroes by living perfect lives, but by going through trials and tribulations, facing their fears and giants. That their stories became great stories because of the challenges they faced and how the fought and strove to be valiant in all that they faced, whether big or small.

“Sandwiched between their ‘once upon a time’ and ‘happily ever after,’ they all had to experience great adversity. Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy and love?

“… there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter. Would the marathon runner feel the triumph of finishing the race had she not felt the pain of the hours of pushing against her limits? Would the pianist feel the joy of mastering an intricate sonata without the painstaking hours of practice?

“Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.”

Again, fabulous read!!! I only shared one little piece of course, it’s well worth reading the rest! It was a quick and easy read that I finished in one setting. Great to read weakly really – keep things in perspective. šŸ˜‰ Highly recommend to EVERYONE! Enjoy! šŸ™‚

“In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise.”

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Categories: Beauty of the World, Career, Family, Humanity, Life, Literature, Preparedness, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Grand Finale


The Grand Finale
The Grand Finale by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At this point we all know I love Janet Evanovich. This was again one of her pre-Plum romances. Honestly, I love them the most! They are all somewhat similar, and of course have formulas. But I don’t care. They are cute, witty, crazy little circumstances, always with a fun main character, sometimes ditsy, this one (Berri) wasn’t, and have a hunk of a man for them, with crazy supporting characters. You can definitely see the development of Stephanie Plum‘s character and story line, and supporting characters throughout these. It’s been fun to watch the development really. This was well written, there were a few disconnects though. In addition to a few times where you can see Janet started foreshadowing somethings and then changed her mind or forgot about them. I didn’t like how it ended. It was ok, but I wasn’t ready for this story to end and thought it could have had a stronger closing, this one just kind of left me hanging and saying, “Really? That was it!?”
I really found myself identifying with Berri, recently divorced from an un-loving, un-supporting, roommate type spouse and having to find her direction in life again. While Berri didn’t know where she was going or what she was doing before; I had. My difference was having to redirect my entire career, not just find one. Both she and I are working our tail ends off burning the candle at both ends and going to school (well I’m starting). All the while we still find all these opportunities to serve just because or part of our everyday actions even though we feel like we are going to burn out at any second. One thing that I noticed with Berri & Jake and the “Little Old Ladies” aka the supporting characters is that each of them were able to find love again, and relax about it! All of the love that they found actually came very quickly and easily. This is hard for me, I live in a society where everyone meets, dates, engaged and married within 3 months. I have a hard time believing that a healthy foundation can really be built in that time frame, or that you can even remotely know the person. Most of the hold back and difficulties in Berri & Jake’s relationship & romance came from Berri herself resisting it and trying not to allow love in her life, or anyone really close enough to her to throw her off her “Plan”. Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we plan, but we have to remember that God always has a “Better Plan” for us, better than we can ever imagine, we just have to be willing to let his hand guide our lives….. in all things.

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Let Us Always Remember…


I know it’s late in the day for this… but out of all of the photos I have seen today, this one touched me the most (and was the first one I saw) May we truly never forget our friends and family that died… and what this country was founded upon. May God Bless All – Everyday. And may we always remember the hand he plays in our lives, sometimes saving our lives, our hearts, our minds, or even just our feet from stepping in something. While the tragedy that took place here, it could have been so much worse. Thank you for your love and Compassion Heavenly Father!Ā Image

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Review: The Swan Thieves


 

 

Cover of "The Swan Thieves: A Novel"

Cover of The Swan Thieves: A Novel

 
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 

Honestly, I was EXTREMELY disappointed. Elizabeth’s first book, The Historian was one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Thus, I was elated to read this one. I chose it for my book club (http://www.bountifulbookclub.blogspot.com/), thinking I couldn’t go wrong with a book by Elizabeth. It was my first time choosing a book for this club and I wanted to make a good impression. However, I’m mostly mortified. šŸ˜ The Historian took me on this crazy wild ride, that has stuck with me and lines and scenes from it randomly pop in my head. Alas, The Swan Thieves, just goes on and on. I felt like she took the entire book to tell the ‘back story‘ and I just kept waiting for the plot to start. The last 15% of the book was the most interesting and what could and would have been the most exciting part if she would have elaborated upon it just a fraction of what she spent on the first 85% of the book. Elizabeth of course kept her characters consistent and did amazing amounts of research. In addition it was very interesting to learn more of what it’s like to be an artist and a bit of a psychiatrist. Her writing style is beautiful. Still this book was very long winded and mostly I just couldn’t wait to finish it and be done. Also with the last 15% it felt as if she realized she was behind on her time schedule to finish the book and rushed to a conclusion that left MUCH to be desired. I kept hoping that the resolution would at least justify the long back story, lack of a climax, etc. It didn’t. šŸ˜ I did find myself getting anxious and questioning more about the paintings that had been talked about and described. I found myself going online and researching the paintings, painters, etc. Printing them out and placing them myself inside the book for future references. It would have been a nice appendix type addition to the printing to have included a few of them… Because it just left you wanting to see them… a picture after all is worth 1,000 words. I will of course continue to give Ms. Kostova a chance again with future writings, and pray that they are more similar in style to the Historian.

 

Oh one other thing it taught me was to make sure I never end up with an artist of that magnitude for a spouse. lol I did like a few lines and things that it taught as well. My favorite was when Marlow was speaking with his Father, who said paraphrasing, “Marlow, you just need to find someone who completes your thoughts and sentences, and when you do, you simply look them in the eye and say, “My Dear, it appears to me that your heart has been broken. Will you allow me to heal it for you?”

 

Another favorite passage was, “People whose marriages haven’t collapsed, or whose spouses die instead of leaving, don’t know that marriages that end seldom have a single ending. Marriages are like certain books, a story where you turn the the last page and you think it’s over, and then there’s an epilogue, and after that your’e inclined to go on wondering about the characters or imagining that their lives continue without you, dear reader. Until you forget most of that book, you’re stuck puzzling over what happened to them after you closed it.”

 

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Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter


Josephine Mills Awards celebrate Down syndrome...

Josephine Mills Awards celebrate Down syndrome research (Photo credit: BC Gov Photos)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!!! Simply one of the best books I have ever read! Very well written. Absolutely Heartbreaking and Encouraging all at the same time! You will find your self questioning the characters actions and reflecting upon your own decisions in life. Really shows the impact that one seemingly small decision can make on your life and the lives of those around you. Also shows how lies and deceptions will literally eat you from the inside out, and how showing a little love will change it around. I work with Special Needs Kids (12-100 years old) it is the most amazing blessing in my life, how incredibly grateful I am for it. This fact alone and how much I love our sweet friends with special needs might have been a factor of why I feel so strongly about this book. But I honestly believe that EVERY individual in the world needs to read this book, gain a greater understanding of somethings – but ultimately take a look inward. This book, the words, the events, the people will change your life and never leave your heart or mind. It is definitely one of those books that you will randomly think of in random places and change your life for the better. More than highly recommend!

In addition…. One of the biggest things to me was to watch how Caroline fights and fights for her daughter! Yes, all mothers do, however watching her refuse to give Phoebe to the ‘institution’ and to get people to treat them both with respect to fighting the school systems to get her daughter enrolled and helping her daughter get the best available future and life for herself… from education, to some sort of work to having a place in the community! It really gave me so much more of an understanding and respect for the mothers of my wonderful

Down Syndrome Foundation

Down Syndrome Foundation (Photo credit: MyLifeStory)

Group who are very Tough and are still fighting for their children to still have a chance. What a tough situation and battle. But look at the difference that this made in the world! We have come such a long way and by having these sweet and wonderful souls around us more each day – we become a little better learning how simple and true the small and simple things are in life.

I also enjoyed that the author told the story from the views of all the main characters… By doing this she was able to tell so much more of what was really going on and how the lies, deceit and continued miss-communication can turn wonderful lives and situations into pure tragedies.

Wonderful, wonderful book!

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Categories: Career, Family, Humanity, Life, Literature, Preparedness, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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