Friday, December 16, 2016

Divine Signatures, The Confirming Hand of God

From Latter-day Saints, we know God exists, but sometimes we may wonder, "Heavenly Father, are you really there for me?"

When trials seem beyond our ability to bear, some people lose their spiritual bearings, while others are made even stronger. How can we strengthen our faith and deepen our testimony to the point that we can endure whatever life holds in store for us and emerge stronger than before?

In this unique book, Gerald N. Lund shows how having a correct idea of God's character, perfections, and attributes is essential to our ability to strengthen our faith and develop our testimony.

He also reminds us of how much God loves His children and that He "delights" to bless us, especially when we are striving to do His will. As and example, Elder Lund introduces the idea of a "divine signature": "Sometimes blessings come in such an unusual manner and with such precise timing that they accomplish something in addition to blessing us. They so clearly confirm the reality of God's existence that they buoy us up in times of trials."

Throughout the book, Elder Lund relates story after story - some from Church history, some from his own life, and some from acquaintances - that illustrate the inspiring and life-changing insights he shares.

This book is a powerful blend of personal reflection and deep doctrine that will help us identify the tender mercies and "divine signatures" that abound in our own lives and which will lead us closer to God

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Short Story From first draft to final product

18713473From STORY is not a typical "how to" guide. I spent time looking for a book which would show me how a "raw" story was developed through drafts, with comments received and the changes made. Struggling to find such a work, I decided to create my own, being transparent and honest in the details.

Using the story that gained me an offer of a place on a Master's in Creative Writing, SHORT STORY will take you through three drafts of the work.

The book details not only the major revisions, feedback given by a professional novelist and an academic, but also has a bunch of tips from my writers toolbox condensed between the drafts.

I hope that the process provides something useful for you, be it a tip from the writing toolbox, a look at the editing process, or motivation in knowing that you can do better than I did!

My Thoughts: It took a bit to get through but I enjoyed the items he brings up about writing. Nothing really new but good points just the same.

Moving in His Majesty and Power

336836From father finished working  on the manuscript of this book just ten days before he passed away. By that time he had little energy, but in the last weeks of his life, he was focused intently on two almost-consuming priorities: spending time with his family, including giving blessings to grandchildren who had not yet received one, and finishing his last manuscript.
As these priorities exemplify, Neal A. Maxwell was a teacher. He loved the word of the Lord. He believed with the psalmist that the word of the Lord "is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). He observed, "When one sees life and people through the lens of His gospel, then one can see forever" ( Ensign,  May 1974, 112). That perspective guided his life's work.
Dad often said the gospel was inexhaustible, and his actions underscored that belief. The gospel was for him an endless source of truth and joy; he found the study of it invigorating. He taught it in his daily walk and talk and through his sermons and books. His desire to capture in words the insights and connections his perceptive mind noted stayed with him throughout his mortal life.
At my father's funeral, President Gordon B. Hinckley noted: "I know of no other who spoke in such a distinctive and interesting way. When he opened his mouth we all listened. We came alive with expectation of something unusual, and we were never disappointed. . . . Each talk was a masterpiece, each book a work of art, worthy of repeated reading. I think we shall not see one like him again" ( Church News,  31 July 2004, 3).
Moving in His Majesty and Power  is the last installment in Elder Maxwell's printed legacy. It includes, in revised form, three talks he gave in the last two years of his life and which he felt were worthy of publication. It also includes a section of succinct, penetrating gospel insights on a wide variety of topics, similar in format to that of his previous work, W hom the Lord Loveth.
I hope you will enjoy this book. More importantly, though, I hope my father's objective in writing it will be achieved, namely, to help us resolve to become more committed disciples and to deepen our gratitude for the inexhaustible gospel he loved so deeply and proclaimed so tirelessly.
Cory H. Maxwell

My Thoughts: I love reading Elder Maxwell. I enjoyed listening to him more but this was close.
This was a great collection of final thoughts from a great man who had gone through so much, yet stayed so humble and close to the Lord.

A must read for any who enjoy Elder Maxwell

Temples Sacred Symbolism, Eternal Blessings

21948189From temples aren't just pretty white buildings—they are Heavenly Father's classrooms. When we enter His holy house, the Lord teaches us through symbols so we can understand and retain more of the sacred instruction provided there. In this book, David J. Ridges not only helps us find these symbols within temple walls, but he brings to light profound symbolism as found in ancient Israel’s tabernacle worship and elsewhere in scripture. As you understand the symbols explained in this book, your experience will be redefined with deeper meaning.

My thoughts:At first glance of the title I had high hopes of something a little more "deep" but in reading it I could see how the author could not go there.
I still found this book to be a great read and helpful in confirming my thoughts on symbolism and also where it can be applied in the scriptures.

A sort of quick read but one you let sit in your brain and ponder on it afterwards

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Quenching Spiritual Thrist

Really 4 talks combined on 2 CD's but I count it as an audio book
Really good

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I Need Thee Every Hour

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important even that ever or ever will occur at any time or in any place in our universe. It is a gift not only for our last breath and the last day of our lives, but it is also for every day of our lives and every breath of our lives. For it is during the hours of our everyday lives that we work out our salvation, usually unobserved by others, sometimes feeling alone, and often feeling opposed.
Though commonly mentioned in the Church, the Atonement of Christ is frequently misunderstood by many of the Saints. It is often viewed as a tool that is only to be employed when dramatic sins are committed. However, the Atonement is something that should be a part of every facet of our lives ‹ in both joyful periods and challenging times.
Drawing on his personal experience as a husband and bishop, David Vandagriff has written I Need Thee Every Hour to help readers see how the Atonement can encourage us and improve our lives as we realize the enormity of the Savior's sacrifice and how far it extends. Using real-life stories, each individual chapter discusses how the Atonement relates to different areas of daily life ‹ including death, prosperity, trials, service, and undeserved suffering ‹ to show how the Atonement is the foundation of all hope and the proof of a loving God.

Migthy Miracles

“We do have miracles today—beyond imagination . . . What kinds of miracles do we have? All kinds—revelations, visions, tongues, healings, special guidance and direction, evil spirits cast out. Where are they recorded? In the records of the Church, in journals, in news and magazine articles and in the minds and memories of many people.” —President Spencer W. Kimball
Elder Matthew Cowley witnessed and participated in countless miracles throughout his storied life. As an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from 1945 until his death in 1953, Matthew Cowley was among the most spiritually powerful and well-known of the Lord’s servants. In this compilation of vignettes, taken from personal journals and correspondence, as well as the treasured memories of those who knew him best, the details of many of his most miraculous experiences, including healing the blind and witnessing the raising of the dead, are painted in vivid detail. From his early missionary work with the Maori people of New Zealand to his widespread influence as an Apostle, Elder Cowley blessed the lives of Church members around the world with his gifts of faith and healing. Sure to edify and uplift, this biographical portrait of one of the Lord’s elect will inspire readers to recognize the mighty miracles in their own lives.

I Loved this short book