Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book review: "Rhino Trouble" by Grant Olsen

"Rhino Trouble" published by Cedar Fort, Inc.
Author Grant Olsen has written a children's book titled, "Rhino Trouble."

Olsen tells the story of two brothers who live in Nepal. The boys are given the task to protect their village's crops from the rhinos.

The rhinos are tricky and manage to get past the boys, until, on the third night, the boys come up with a plan to save their crops.

This is a great book that not only teaches young children that they can solve problems, but it's also a look at the lives of the children in Nepal.

Illustrations are by Mike Carpenter, a digital artist.

Olsen wrote "Rhino Trouble" to honor the children in Nepal who really do protect their villages from rhinos during the night. Additionally, he is donating 100% of the proceeds of his book to the earthquake-ravaged Nepal, via The Umbrella Foundation, a charity that works to help and protect children and families of Nepal who have been displaced or trafficked.

You can find Olsen's book on or Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Book review: 'Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas'

Asleep on the HayAuthor and illustrator, Ben Sowards, has written his first book, "Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas." Sowards uses a story to help teach children and adults alike the true meaning of Christmas.

Paul lives on a farm in the midwest—the Dust Bowl. Because recent dust storms destroyed his family's crops, his parents are seeking employment out west. It'll just be his grandfather and his beloved calf, Ellie, together for Christmas.

When a couple with a baby show up on their doorstep in need of help, Paul's grandfather not only shares with them their small amount of food and gives them a place to stay, he also decides to sell Ellie to help them get their truck fixed so they can get their sick infant to the doctor.

Paul is upset at the prospect of selling his calf. The woman gives him a small box with an engraving of a scripture Paul has heard many times before, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Paul runs to the barn to be with his calf and angrily throws the box on the ground, breaking it. He discovers puzzle pieces inside, begins to put it together, but then decides to shut his eyes for a bit and snuggles up next to Ellie.

He falls asleep and has a dream where he finds himself in Bethlehem and overhears King Herod's plot to kill the baby Jesus. He runs off to find and warn Mary and Joseph.

What happens gives him a personal experience of the true meaning of Christmas and changes his heart.

With beautiful illustrations by Sowards, "Asleep on the Hay" is an enjoyable story for all ages that can bring the spirit of Christmas into readers' homes.

This is Sowards' first book he has authored, but has illustrated other books such as "A Christmas Dress for Ellen," "Seven Miracles that Saved America" and "Christmas Oranges."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thinking Through Our Fingers: When the negative feedback comes...and it will

I'm on the Thinking Through Our Fingers blog today talking about how we can "shake it off" when it comes to negative feedback (and knowing the difference between negative and constructive!).

Thinking Through Our Fingers: When the negative feedback comes...and it will: As writers, we love to hear all the awesome things people think about our writing. And while there is a lot of positive feedback (probably m...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Uplifting Weekend

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Time Out for Women. It's put on by Deseret Book and includes speakers (many or all of whom are authors) and musical groups.

Each year, they have a theme that each of the speakers put an emphasis on. "Living Proof" was this year's theme, so we were invited to focus on how we are "living proof" of God's love.

I try to jot down notes so I can remember some of what was said, though I'm not super successful all the time. Here's some of my notables (some are quotes, though they might not be exactly accurate):

Me, Jenny Oaks Baker--super talented
musician with crazy-talented children
"True faith is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not that something specific will happen." ~ Jenny Oaks Baker

Tim Ballard,
Operation Underground Railroad,
OUR Rescue

Allow Heavenly Father to put you in circumstances to grow. ~ Mary Ellen Edmunds

God will compensate for everything that happens in this life. (something awesome like that.) ~ Soni Muller, Mercy River

"Look at Christlike lives and find inspiration, not competition." ~ Lisa Valentine Clark

"When we take the sacrament, are we thinking about what He did in the Garden?" ~ Eric Huntsman

Mercy River's Christmas album that has
the song "Real." 

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a REAL person, not just a story, memory, or myth. Mercy River sang this beautiful song called "Real" that makes you think differently about the Nativity story. (Get their newest's SOOO GOOD.)

"Jesus Christ knows who you are, what has happened to you, and what will happen to you." ~ Meg Johnson

Those are just a few of the highlights. I really love having these opportunities to be spiritually fed. There is so much going on in the world, so taking time to slow down and feed my spirit is vital. We each need to take time to refocus and spend time working on ourselves and our testimonies.

© Wendy 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Thinking Through Our Fingers: 10 Things to Do During that Horrible Space Between...

Read my thoughts on the waiting game writers endure after they finish their book....and wait for publication.

Thinking Through Our Fingers: 10 Things to Do During that Horrible Space Between...: There's this awful period of time between finally having your book finished (YAY!) and waiting to get it published (AAAHHHH!!)... ...Q...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Talk to Your Kids About Pornography

Pornography has many dangers that are not limited to adults. And, unfortunately, it seems that kids are being targeted at younger ages by the media.

Look at shows geared toward children, tweens, and teenagers. Pornography isn't always full nudity; it is immodesty or revealing clothing that is intended to awaken and tamper with sexual desire. If it's not in the shows, it's in commercials, music, and some literature.

Our children become desensitized to what is appropriate and what is not. The lines become blurred. Sadly, some children view more intense versions of pornography and, what starts out perhaps as innocent curiosity, becomes an addiction to pornography.

Pornography is highly addicting, ruins relationships, destroys love, and can alter lives negatively. Some may argue that it's OK for adults and that it improves their sex lives, but it will end up destroying it by leading to sexual dysfunction at the very least. Pornography is not "just sex." It is degrading. It is taking something sacred--our bodies and procreation--and making it casual, common place, or insignificant. Personally, I also believe it can lead to child pornography, sexual abuse, rape, affairs and divorce. Not to mention, as with other addictions, a loss of self-control or the ability to stop without professional help.

Linda S. Reeves, 2nd counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, recently said,
"Many children, youth, and adults are innocently exposed to pornography, but a growing number of both men and women are choosing to view it and are drawn back repeatedly until it becomes an addiction. These individuals may desire with all of their hearts to get out of this trap but often cannot overcome it on their own. How grateful we are when these loved ones choose to confide in us as parents or a Church leader. We would be wise not to react with shock, anger, or rejection, which may cause them to be silent again.
"We as parents and leaders need to counsel with our children and youth on an ongoing basis, listening with love and understanding. They need to know the dangers of pornography and how it overtakes lives, causing loss of the Spirit, distorted feelings, deceit, damaged relationships, loss of self-control, and nearly total consumption of time, thought, and energy.
"Pornography is more vile, evil, and graphic than ever before. As we counsel with our children, together we can create a family plan with standards and boundaries, being proactive to protect our homes with filters on electronic devices. Parents, are we aware that mobile devices with Internet capacity, not computers, are the biggest culprit?"
It is vital to teach your children about pornography and the dangers of it at a young age. Children need to know what to do if they see it (come tell you!) and how to be safe on the Internet, smart phones, and even with text/picture messages.

As we told our children during a recent Family Home Evening, it's not a matter of "if" they'll see pornography, but "when." We also expressed that whether they've seen it once or a hundred times, we still want them to talk to us and we won't get mad. We are their parents and are here to help them avoid and/or overcome hardships in their lives.

This is a fantastic video to get your discussion started:

Vitally important is the need for your children, no matter their age, to understand the power and necessity of the Atonement. No matter what they have done, they can be forgiven and made clean through the Atonement. Sin and mistakes are not the end of hope. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ loves each of us and the Atonement is evidence of that pure love. If you or one of your children are caught in the snares of pornography or any other sin, use the help of a loving bishop to know which necessary steps are needed to overcome and heal from it. 

Do not allow your family to be deceived by the adversary. Talk about these important topics often and openly. Use the Spirit to help guide your discussions, as the Spirit will testify to your hearts the truthfulness of the teachings and help us each know what we need to do as individuals. 

© Wendy 2015 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Family Proclamation

Twenty years ago today, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" during the General Relief Society meeting.

At the time, it seemed pretty rudimentary, simple, and obvious. And yet, twenty years later,we can see why this prophetic message was released, how contradictory the world's view of the family is from the Lord's design for the family.

This proclamation is meant for us to use as a pattern, as direction in this ever-changing world.

Some of you reading this might feel disheartened because circumstances of life may have prevented you from living this to the full extent. Take heart in what was said during the March 2015 General Women's Meeting:
"May I point out something obvious? Life rarely goes exactly according to plan for anyone, and we are very aware that not all women are experiencing what the proclamation describes. It is still important to understand and teach the Lord’s pattern and strive for the realization of that pattern the best we can.
"Each of us has a part to play in the plan, and each of us is equally valued in the eyes of the Lord. We should remember that a loving Heavenly Father is aware of our righteous desires and will honor His promises that nothing will be withheld from those who faithfully keep their covenants. Heavenly Father has a mission and plan for each of us, but He also has His own timetable. One of the hardest challenges in this life is to have faith in the Lord’s timing. It’s a good idea to have an alternative plan in mind, which helps us to be covenant-keeping, charitable, and righteous women who build the kingdom of God no matter which way our lives go. We need to teach our daughters to aim for the ideal but plan for contingencies."
 ~Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President

On this twenty-year anniversary, I hope we can each resolve to live this as well as our circumstances allow and to teach our children the same. There is always hope, safety, and peace when we follow the Lord.

© Wendy 2015