Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Sacrament by John Bytheway {Deseret Book Review}

By the way....have you heard of John?  
John Bytheway that is!

Author and speaker John Bytheway is one the best speakers ever.  I'm not exaggerating.  He has come out with several books that have always spoken directly to my heart.  Right before my hubby and I got married 12 (gasp!) years ago someone gifted us with a copy of John Bytheway's book titled "What We Wished We'd Known When We Were Newlyweds" and I have been totally hooked ever since.   I have read, or listened to, as many as I could get my hands on including "How to be Totally Miserable" and the complete John Bytheway audio collection.  I was pretty excited to see that he came out with a children's book that focuses on the sacrament...not only that but, wait for it, it rhymes!  (We love love love rhyming books at our house - it really helps you remember what you read when it rhymes!)  Thanks to Deseret Book I got an opportunity to review this book by John Bytheway called The Sacrament.  Illustrations by Nathan Pinnock really make this book memorable with life-like pictures!
It's understandable that some children appear bored or distracted during sacrament meeting. Many young Latter-day Saints are probably unsure about the true meaning of the sacrament and why we attend. With this in mind, bestselling author John Bytheway has composed a delightful poem (inspired by a short poem by Walter H. Horne) to help Latter-day Saints young and old appreciate the ordinance of the sacrament. In particular, children will learn what they should be thinking about (and not be thinking about) during this sacred time as well as what the sacrament can do for all of us.  (from the dust jacket).
Let me tell you all the ways I have already utilized this book:
1.  I read it.
2.  I read it to my Relief Society class when teaching about The Sacrament last month.
3.  I read it to my Sunday School class when teaching about the Atonement 2 weeks ago.
4.  I used it last Monday to teach Family Home Evening.
5.  My mother-in-law read.
6.  My kids re-read it.

This book is adorable and it tells about the Sacrament in a kid-friendly way.  One of the best features of the book is the last 2 pages where John Bytheway points out all the symbols you see in the chapel during the sacrament and discusses how we can use each of the symbols to help us remember the Savior and understand the atonement.  This book would make an excellent baptism gift!

The Sacrament by John Bytheway currently retails in hardback on for $17.49.  Or as a bookshelf eBook for $5.99.

I received this book free of charge from Deseret Book in exchange for an honest review.  This book is fabulous!  Thank you Deseret Book!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

LOL. Silly and Cute.

I found these pictures when cleaning off my camera card.
A few candid shots of Maggie with her Uncle Steven.
They are both silly and cute rolled into one... Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Flying Kites...

One of the benefits of having a flat, flat piece of property is we can fly kites right in our own backyard...  We had fun on a nice windy day getting our kites aloft.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Couple of Park Days

We've finally had a couple of nice days that gave 
us a couple of opportunities to go to the park!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sorry to be really random, but....I am.

It is so nice to be finally feeling like I am getting back into a routine!  Here are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks...  It's been nice enough to play outside a couple of time and windy too so we have had a few days where we could fly kites!  (A benefit to having 3 acres with NO trees right?)

On St. Pat's day we made green eggs...

Kayley decided it was time to grow a beard...

On Pi day we had fun learning how to determine the circumference of a circle.  We also enjoyed eating round foods like Chicken Pot Pi and Andy's Mint Pi....

Maggie went to her first eye exam where they dilated her eyes.  That was pretty funny.  

Frozen came out on DVD... Maggie was in heaven!!! 

No children were harmed in the making of this picture.


The girls went to a fun Star Wars themed birthday party.  Can you tell which R2D2 is Kayleys and which one is Maggies?  :) 

I introduced Kayley to Annie.  She danced around the living room just like I did when I was 7.  What a good good as I remembered!

Now that I'm getting a little bit back to normal 
I hope to get back to blogging more frequently!  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Another Good-bye

We said another tearful good-bye last week, this time to my moms dad, my Grandpa Clifford.  He will be sorely missed by many.  It was a bittersweet week filled with more reunions and a parting but the morning of his funeral was "good fishin' weather" which sure lends a feeling that all is well.  
All is well.

Power to Become by Elder David A. Bednar {Deseret Book review}

As followers of Christ, our desire is to become like Him. In fact, we have been commanded to do so. But how? 
In Power to Become, Elder David A. Bednar explores how the Savior makes possible His divine commission, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (3 Nephi 12:48).Chapters in this thought-provoking book highlight the importance of the Atonement, the spiritual gift of personal peace, the importance of priesthood ordinances, and the responsibility we have to obey willingly and endure valiantly. 
"As we increase in learning about the Savior and His gospel," Elder Bednar writes, "as we strive with ever greater consistency to act in His doctrine, ordinances, and covenants, then we are blessed with power through His Atonement to increasingly become like Him." Power to Become introduces vital tools we all can use to invite these eternally significant blessings into our lives.
This amazing book, Power to Become, by Elder David A. Bednar is the 3rd in his series about setting spiritual patterns of living.  The first 2 books, Act in Doctrine and Increase in Learning focuses on learning truth for ourselves as we seek answers in the scriptures and by studying gospel principles.  He then helps us act upon the truths that we have discovered as we come closer to understanding Christ and the examples He has set for us.  Both books were great and came with DVDs that show Q&A and group discussion with Elder Bednar.

I'm super excited that he has come out with a third book in this series to help us along as we continue learning more about following Christ.  In Power to Become Elder Bednar references the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 11:28-30 where the Savior says "that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God..."  Elder Bednar has a strong desire to help his readers answer complex gospel questions for themselves and through this book he guides us along sharing insights on everything from the atonement to priesthood power to obedience.

So insightful!  Full of spiritual learning.
Also, here are a couple of things that I really, really like about this book:

Note Taking:
Extra-wide margins allow for note taking directly in the book.  There are pages to write your thoughts and feelings, to research, study, etc.  Ok, seriously, I cringe at the idea of writing in such a lovely book...but...that sure is a nice feature!

Related Readings:
There are a lot of options at the end of each chapter to encourage further study.

Check out the QR code!  It takes you to Deseret Book's website called Seek.

On Seek you can view videos of group discussions that take the concepts learned in each chapter a little deeper.  How cool is that?

This book is another great read to add to your gospel study!  I really enjoyed it and I think you will too!

Power to Become currently retails at in hardcover w/DVD for $23.99 and as a Bookshelf eBook for $12.99.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my very own.  Thank you so much Deseret Book!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore {Deseret Book Review}

Women today are bombarded by harmful messages in society about their bodies and appearance. We often feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the impossible-to-achieve ideals touted in the media. And sometimes our harshest critics are the eyes looking back at us in the mirror. No matter the source, when our image of personal beauty is threatened, it's important to remember who the rightful beholder of true beauty is—is our Heavenly Father.  
The essays in this uplifting compilation, much like their authors, come in every shape and size, but each reaches toward the same conclusion: beauty is truth. And the truth is that everything God created is beautiful, your body included—freckles and all!
In this day and age, with modern media telling us what is beautiful and what it not, it is easy to get caught up in the trap that we are just not good enough.  I am not thin enough.  My teeth are too crooked.  My hair is so flat and thin.  Should I color my hair to cover up the gray?  Ugh!  Why can we not look at ourselves and see our true beauty and our worth?  Satan has set a trap for women in attempt to convince us to forget that our bodies are temples, beautiful and of value to our Heavenly Father.  He wants us to "resent them as prisons and abuse them with unhealthy words, unrealistic views, and harmful behaviors."  We don't want to do that!

This little book is a compilation of essays from several authors, everything from favorite Time Out For Women speakers to young children.  Edited by LaNae Valentine and Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen, each essay is thoughtfully written sharing perspectives on what makes a woman truly beautiful.  I enjoyed each essay and many really gave me pause and helped me to reflect on my inner dialogue.  I do not always speak kindly to myself and I need to do better.  Every soul is great (and lovely) in the sight of God and when we accept this we are free to see how beautiful we truly are.

I enjoyed reading this little book, each essay can stand alone, but together they make up a wealth of inspiration.

Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore currently retails at for $15.29 in paperback and for $13.99 as a Bookshelf eBook.

Don't forget the Deseret Bookshelf eBook app is completely free and is available for iPad and Android devices.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.  Thank you Deseret Book!

Longing For Home: Hope Springs {Shadow Mountain Blog Tour}

All right, do you remember, a while back I read a great book called Longing For Home by Sarah Eden.  It was SO good and I loved that it combined a lot of things that I love into one book (ie. Irish lassies, fiddles and Ceili's!)  If you don't recall or are new to my blog you can check out that review HERE.   Toward the end of that review I mentioned that Sarah Eden kind of left you hanging...I mean, would Katie Macauley find a home in Hope Springs?  Who would she chose?  The devishly handsome Tavish O'Conner or steady Joseph Archer?  Would this feud with the Irish end?  Ack!  I just didn't know!

In the second book, Longing for Home: Hope Springs we get to find out!
Katie Macauley gave up her lifelong dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, Wyoming, but her future has never been so uncertain.Katie’s heart still remains sharply divided between playful Tavish and steady Joseph, though she feels ill-prepared to make a decision. Furthermore, the town is more divided than ever with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives. In the midst of the growing unrest, tem­peratures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of fam­ine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter. 
Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will her efforts be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?
The feud rages on between the Irish Road and the Red Road!  The townspeople try so hard to get rid of the "paddies" by starving them out that they drive up the prices at the mercantile offering "Irish prices" that the Irish just can't afford.  With winter coming rapidly the Irish face the real possibility of repeating the dreaded famine.  Then, when a dear friend is critically injured, the Reds refuse to back down the prices for much-needed medicine so Katie offers a trade that the local merchant Mr. Johnson accepts.  She will work for him in exchange for his word that he will be fair in pricing to both the Reds and Irish.  Working for Mr. Johnson is sheer misery but Katie's spirits are continually buoyed by the 2 men who vie for her attention.  The fun loving and handsome Tavish and the serious but equally handsome Joseph.  Katie is confused by her affection for both men and struggles with her heart and mind in trying to decide.  As the feud starts causing physical harm to people and property Katie is caught somewhere in the middle and becomes the victim of tragedy.  In the aftermath of so much suffering, how can she choose between Tavish and Joseph?  Will the feud ever end?  Will she find a home in Hope Springs?  Katie remembers her father sharing with there that "hope springs eternal."  And thankfully it does.
I'm not going to spoil the ending but I will tell you that I was thrilled with how the book turned out when everything fell into place.  Whew!  It was another wonderful read by Sarah Eden and a perfectly Proper Romance!

Longing for Home: Hope Springs currently retails at for $12.99 as a eBook and for $14.39 as a paperback.

Learn more about author Sarah Eden 
by visiting her Facebook page and enjoy the video!

Disclaimer:  I received Longing For Home free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Time Out Classics {Deseret Book Review}

Have you had a chance to go to a Time Out for Women event in your area?  If you haven't, you are missing out.  They are fun, encouraging and inspiring!

What is Time Out for Women?
I'm glad you asked!  Every year Deseret Book sponsors an amazing conference just for ladies (and in some areas teen girls!)  Called Time Out for Women, the idea is to give women a chance to get away from their daily routine just for a couple of days and take a "time out" to refresh and socialize.  What a great chance to get faithful women to step away from their daily routine and create space for themselves and their spiritual lives!  Each year the theme is different (last year it was called "Higher") and they bring in wonderful speakers from across the globe who are spiritually prepared to motivate you to greatness.  Last year my girlfriend and I drove 3 hours just to attend a TOFW event and it was totally worth it….

So, what do you do when you can't get to TOFW?  Or, what if there is not a TOFW event in your area?  Well, I was  so pleased to review these awesome little books from Deseret Book that are written by various presenters from the event called Time Out Classics.  Small and simple they are like having your own mini TOFW seminars at your fingertips!  I was given an opportunity to review three:

Making It Through the Middle – Emily Freeman.  Life is full of challenges, and it’s easy to feel the end of our trials will never arrive. But is it the end we should be spending so much of our time focusing on? In this book, Emily Freeman shares six lessons, and various personal experiences to assist readers in staying strong when they are right in the middle of a hard time.   

When we are in the middle of trials it is hard to even imagine where the end might be and we may question if we will EVER make it.  In this little book Emily Freeman focuses on six lessons that will help the reader stay strong and endure to the end!  Making it Through the Middle retails at as a Bookshelf eBook for only 3.99 or as a pocket size hardcover (4x6) for $10.99.
Habits of Happiness – Wendy Ulrich.  When happiness doesn’t enter our days automatically, and when life isn’t going as planned, sometimes we are quick to equivocally gauge our overall happiness in life. In this book, filled with scientific research, practical advice and engaging anecdotes, Dr. Wendy Ulrich invites readers to look at happiness in a new way.
Wendy Ulrich asks readers to focus on 7 habits of happiness in her engaging little book.  Filled with personal stories and quotations each habit offers opportunities for further study and recommendations for creating lists and journal entries.  Sharing that happiness is considered a "divine outcome" Wendy helps you find a path to true happiness and joy.  Habits of Happiness retails at as a Bookshelf ebook for only $3.99 or as a pocket sized hardcover for $10.99.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Home – John Bytheway.  Sometimes the smallest phrases we use in everyday language can be eternal principles that get us through our lives. In this book, John Bytheway makes an inspiring and insightful connection between everyday phrases spoken at home and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I think John Bytheway has to be one of my all-time favorite speakers.  In this little book we hear all those old cliche phrases that our parents told us as children only they are turned around in such a way that John applies them to the gospel with our Heavenly Father reminding us that we need to Change our Attitude and Wash Our Hands and Clean Your Room and more!  You can never go wrong with a John Bytheway book and this message for Moms will not disappoint!  Everything I need to Know I Learned at Home currently retails on for $3.99 as a Bookshelf eBook, as a pocket size hardcover for $10.99, and as an mp3 download for $8.99.
All 3 books are a great read and they are such a small, cute size they would make great gifts!  Oh, and if you can, I can't recommend enough how fun a Time Out for Women event is!  You can check their website to see if they have one in your area!

I received these books free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.  A hearty THANKS to Deseret Book!
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