Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Inspiring Words From an Author

While I was at the LDStormakers 2013 conference, we had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker, Anne Perry. I am not very familiar with her, so I was not sure what to expect. But, I was very impressed. Not only was her accent beautiful and the cadence of her voice so soothing and enthralling to listen to, but her words were also inspiring and beautiful and brought peace to my soul. It was like a breath of fresh air.

I jotted down a few things that hit me really hard from her address:

~A good story is the finest way yo motivate people ("Good Samaritan"-motivates us to do likewise-we desire to be that person who helps).

~Good writing is communication.

~Learn to empathize with other people.

~Do you have a faith or hope others can be enriched by? Of course you do. Share your love, your faith, your doubt.

~Put down your heart in a page.

~Read other people who inspire you; see what to do and what NOT to do.

~Don't forget WHO would like to see you fail.

I don't know when or if I will ever be a published author (of books). I don't know fully where my path is meant to lead. What I do know, is that I love the Lord and His gospel. I love writing and reading. I love to share the gospel with others and bring them to the same happiness that I have in my life. That is my goal. 

So, whether I become published, or if I just continue to blog and write articles, I hope that somewhere in there, something that I have to say touches another person for good. I feel like I do most of the aforementioned things--I'm open and honest and pour out my soul in my writing. I empathize with others. I feel that I am doing (or at least trying to do) God's work. I know fully who it is that would like to see me (and you) fail. But I cannot and I will not fail because I am on the Lord's side. Additionally, we were not put on this earth to fail; we are here to learn, grow and gain experience that only this life can provide. 

I think failure comes only when we stop trying. Whatever goal you are aiming for--keep going, keep trying and it will all work out. As for me, I am going to keep working on writing my book and see where that leads me.

© Wendy 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why 8 years old is so Great at our House

My third child, Ty, is 8-years-old today. In our house 8 is a special age because it is the age that our kids get to decide whether or not they want to get baptized. It's their choice.

We believe that 8 is the age of accountability--when we can know right from wrong and act upon this knowledge. We get baptized to not only follow in Jesus' footsteps (Matt 3:13-17), but also to make special promises, or covenants, with God.

Here is a really good summary of baptismal covenants:

My Baptismal Covenants
(Renewed Each Time I Partake of the Sacrament)

At Baptism I Covenant with the Lord to:
  1. Come into the fold of God (become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ).
  2. Be called his son or daughter (take upon me the name of Christ).
  3. Bear others’ burdens, that they may be light; mourn with those that mourn; and comfort those in need of comfort (help others).
  4. Stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places (testify of Christ and set a good example at all times).
  5. Serve God and keep his commandments.
When I Keep My Baptismal Covenants the Lord Covenants to:
  1. Forgive my sins.
  2. Pour his Spirit more abundantly upon me (give me the companionship of the Holy Ghost).
  3. Redeem me that I might be numbered with those of the first resurrection and have eternal life (permit me to enter the celestial kingdom to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ)
This is a big step. I am so excited for my son to be making this choice. Because of it, he will have the Holy Ghost to lead and guide him and help to choose the right. We also believe that baptism is by immersion--symbolic of death and Resurrection (buried in the ground--death and then coming up out of the ground--Resurrection) and being fully committed to God and His cause, which is to "...bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39.)

If you would like to know more, just ask. :)

© Wendy 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

LDStorymakers Writing Conference 2013

I spent this past Friday and Saturday at a writing conference, LDStorymakers. I went alone without knowing anyone and being a fairly new writer. I mean, so many of these people had not only already started writing a book, but many were already published authors. I felt a little bit intimidated, but not too bad. Everyone was so nice and open to talking and answering questions. I met a bunch of really great people.

I learned information about pitching your book to editors or agents. I learned about writing a good query letter. There were classes on blogging and on using Twitter. I also really enjoyed talking to actual publishers from a couple of the places I am considering sending manuscripts. So much useful information.

I feel like I have grown from this experience not just as a writer, but as a person. And, as a future author. I have gotten a small start on a book. I am hopeful that things will work out. I would love if anyone wanted to be a beta reader or had any great ideas that are more geared toward a religious audience (non-fiction for now).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Where is Virtue?

I've been on a bit of hiatus while we went on a family vacation, spent the next week dealing with sick kids and have been working on other various projects. I apologize, but life and family happen!

Recently, I taught a Relief Society (LDS women's organization) lesson and have written an article pertaining to virtue. I don't think this is talked about as much as it should be, in fact, virtue seems to not even be desirable among the masses.

Virtue is moral excellence, goodness and chastity. Lack of virtuous living is evident in movies, television, music, media and the behaviors of people all over the world (think sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy outside of marriage, co-habitation, etc.).

Why? Why is society becoming desensitized to sex? Why are we degrading women, and why are women willing to be degraded? Carmen Rasmusen Herbert--former American Idol hopeful--recently shared her opinion in an article talking about this very thing. She talked about how there are restaurants where scantily clad women attract male customers who in turn ogle these women. Both are being degraded.

There is a major lack of respect for oneself and for others. Women don't respect themselves enough to dress modestly, which is also a lack of respect for men. Men disrespect themselves and women by looking/enjoying inappropriately dressed women. Does that make sense? And modesty is only the beginning...the same goes for sex and other immorality pitfalls.

I have thought before, and have now had it reaffirmed, that if we truly understood WHO we are, then our behaviors would change drastically for the better. Who are we? We are children of God. This divine heritage is often hidden by the world. So many are confused and lost and don't know who they really are. It breaks my heart to think about it.

Elaine S. Dalton, who was previously the Young Women's General President, recently addressed the world not only affirming that we are children of God, but the need for us to return to virtue. She beautifully states:
"Again I renew the call for a return to virtue. Virtue is the strength and power of daughters of God. What would the world be like if virtue—a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards, including chastity—were reinstated in our society as a most highly prized value? If immorality, pornography, and abuse decreased, would there be fewer broken marriages, broken lives, and broken hearts? Would media ennoble and enable rather than objectify and degrade God’s precious daughters? If all humanity really understood the importance of the statement “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father,” how would women be regarded and treated?"
I don't think it can be said any better than that. We need virtue, more people to choose virtue over the ways of the world. It would not only improve our lives, but also society as a whole.

As for my home, we start teaching these principles and high moral standards while our children are young. We know there is a chance that some may falter, but you can always come back and return to virtue. There is always a second chance to recommit to and realign your moral excellence.

© Wendy 2013