Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Remembering Why We Are Here

Here is a neat little thought I found on life.

"We each have an important role to fulfill during this journey we call life. The things we absorb along the way can sometimes leave us feeling overwhelmed, confused, and not sure which direction to follow. Recall, Reclaim, and begin working toward fulfilling the purpose for which you were sent and you will find new meaning, joy, fulfillment, and a sense of deep inner peace in each and every area of your life."

Life is a challenge sometimes, but aren't we up to it?

Have a great day!

Suggested Reading

Book: Dynasty Of The Holy Grail: Mormonism's Sacred Bloodline
Author: Vern Grosvenor Swanson

The Book
Dr. Vern G. Swanson has produced a thought-provoking book on the topic of the Holy Grail and the bloodline of Jesus. His perspective on the subject has grown after reading nearly 400 books on the Holy Grail, and his 28 years of research on the topic. Going far beyond the mortally flawed best sellers, Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code, his epic book will be applicable to both Mormon and non-Mormon audiences. It is certainly the most significant scholarly tome on the Holy Grail and the bloodline yet.

I've read through this book over and over, and I still read a bit of it each day. I can't praise this author enough for his divine insight in both writing it and the amazing information it includes. Each time I read through it I learn something new, and my love for the Savior is increased even more. When you read this book and look up the scripture references, everything clicks and makes perfect sense.
Dynasty Of The Holy Grail is a must read. Get your copy today!

Monday, March 23, 2009

An "I'm So Beautiful-I Love Myself" Moment

Okay, ladies, do you ever have those moments when you look in the mirror and say, "Dang, I'm beautiful?" Are you ever overcome with the feeling that you absolutely love yourself, curves, gray hair and all?

Women are so different from men because men have those moments frequently. My husband often looks at his reflection, runs a hand over his balding head, strikes that GQ pose, and says, "I'm pretty good looking. I smile and tell him I agree. And every time he does that it makes him even more handsome. Do you know why? Because he feels it inside and it oozes out of him.

I'm starting to have those moments myself more and more. And I'm not talking vanity, but just feeling that I love everything about me. As a matter of fact, I'm feeling that way right now. I looked in the mirror this morning and thought, "Whoa! You are awesome!"

So I challenge all you ladies out there to allow yourselves those moments and hang onto them. Rejoice in the beauty God gave you and thank Him for it:o)

Suggested Reading

Book: A World Of His Own: In The Land Of The Creoles
Author: Arlette Gaffrey

The Book
This is an historical fiction set in New Orleans in 1809. The story is about a young man who arrives in New Orleans to start a new life. The story traces his struggle to build A WORLD OF HIS OWN where he feels he truly belongs. It also follows his disastrous first marriage to a spoiled, selfish, head-strong woman who dies and leaves him with her illegitimate son and shattered dreams.

This is a must read for anyone who loves historical romance, and even if you don't. I read it in a day because I couldn't put it down. The characters are intense, the details very vivid, and the history of the Creoles is fascinating. Arlette really did her research, and being descended from the Creoles helps, I'm sure:o) She has a great writing style and the story pulls you in and doesn't let go. By the time I finished the book, I felt like I had just watched an epic love story.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Arlette and she graciously took the time to answer some questions.

Arlette, thanks so much for visiting with us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a French and Spanish Creole born in New Orleans. My family goes back many generations in the Cresent City. I was born in a big mansion that had been in our family for about one years. The house has since been turned into a Bed and Breakfast Inn. Anyone interested in seeing what the house looks like can find it at www.elysianfieldsinn.com. I'm going home in May this year, and plan to stay in my old house for a few days. When I was ready for school we moved up to the Garden Dristict so I could attend Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) Academy, a private Catholic girl's school. When I was 18 years old I went to a fashion show, the first I'd ever been to, and before the day was over I was hired by the agency to be a professional high fashion model. I modeled from age 18 to 55 years of age. I married a career Naval Officer who was also a Navy pilot. I loved the life. We got transferred a lot so I was able to model where ever and when ever I felt like it. I have three children, one daughter and two sons, all are married. I have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. The two oldest, one boy and one girl are married. The other four aren't, but then three of them are quite young. 12, 10 and 8 and so far they haven't been interested in getting married just yet, thank goodness.

When did you begin writing and what made you start?

All my life I flirted with the idea of someday maybe writing a book, but moving around like we did, and raising three children in strange places never gave me time. But after my children were all grown and moved out of the nest and I was all alone, it seemed like a good idea to at least give it a try. I was in my late 50's when the story began to form in my brain. For the first year I wrote the book in my head, and started to do a lot of research. Slowly I started to put the story down on paper. I didn't know how successful I'd be since I'd never had any type of writing class. I just wrote from my heart and let the story write itself. And much to my amazment it was well recieved. I love all the wonderful reviews I've received on Amazon.com.

I absolutely loved you book A World Of His Own, In the Land of the Creoles. The setting and details are amazing and the characters definitely stay in the mind. Tell us a little about the story and how your own background ties into it.

Since there was no Television in my day, story telling was one way we entertained ourselves. And my family had a lot of wonderful stories to tell about New Orleans and our Creole hertiage. My uncle owned a plantation and I would spend many summers on the plantation with my little cousins, so I knew what plantation life was like. I also had to do a lot of research to understand how sugar cane is grown and also about how steamboats were built at that time in history. And of course I had to do research on Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson and Henry Shreve, plus remember what I had already learned about The Battle of New Orleans. My story is about a young man who is torn from his family during the French Revolution. He is only a child, and he is sent to England to live with distant relatives. When he grows up he leaves England to return to France where all that he loved is gone, so he sets out for the new world to start a new life in New Orleans. The story follows him as he struggles to build a world of his own. He becomes a very successful plantation owner and also finds love but even that is a struggle.

Do you have any other published books?

Not yet, A World Of His Own - In The Land Of The Creoles was my first written book and the first one I've published. However I now am about ready to publish my second book which is also about New Orleans. It is set in 1846, and titled "Beyond The Columns". I recently comissioned an excellent artist to draw the cover for the book. And right now I am having it edited. When I write I get so caught up in the story that I don't always pay attention to my punctuation, so I am having someone proof read it for me. I also have two other books finished and ready for publication in the future. Both of these books take place in England and are called Regency Romances because they are set in 1814. One is titled "A Marriage of Convience" and the other is "Courting Jennifer". These books also required much research, but I learn so much when I do the research that it doesn't seem like work.

Are you working on any other projects?

At the moment I am writing another book about New Orleans, my fifth book, third about my home town. This one is set in 1734, and titled "The Casket Girl". Like my first two book about New Orleans it requires a great deal of research. But I love learning even more about that enchanting city. There is an old saying "You can take a native out of New Orleans, but you can never get New Orleans out of a native". and that's how it is with me. I have such wonderful memories of how New Orleans was when I was growing up.

Arlette, you're a pretty amazing lady. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to get to know you better:o)

Thank you. I really appreciate the interest you have shown in my book and also in me. But the pleasure is all mind I promise you.

Get your copy of A World Of His Own from Amazon.com
I promise you'll love it!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Opportunity Is In Everything

Albert Einstein said, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Winston Churchill said, "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." There is a great truth in these words.

Everything we go through in life contains a learning experience. The trick is taking hold of those experiences, recognizing them, and internalizing them. Life's lessons, whether good or bad, are our greatest opportunities because we grow from them. They shape us and mold us into the people we are or the people we want to be.

So,when adversity and trials arise, instead of saying, "Why did this have to happen to me," think, "This happened, now what am I going to do with it?"
Whenever people ask me if I would change things in my life if I could go back, I say no. Why would I? I would never want to miss the opportunities that came from the trials or miss the lessons learned.

Just a little something to think about when you face each new day:o)

Suggested Reading

Book: Confessions Of A Completely In*sane Mother
Author: Kersten Campbell

The Book
Welcome to the world of Kersten Campbell! She s a mother of 5 children, a devoted wife, and an extremely enthusiastic homemaker. As she strives to have sanity in her crazy household, Campbell infuses her humor in every situation that she comes up against. Whether its her two-year-old creating a mushroom cloud of powdered milk in the kitchen or trying to sleep in a tent with five children on a campout, Campbell works with her family to overcome their problems and find laughter in all situations.

Humorist Kersten Campbell expertly writes on the escapades of daily life that any woman can relate to. With subjects ranging from zucchini crime to selling rocks to the neighbors, this book is sure to please any mother who is overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, bored, or ultimately happy.

Mothers and grandmothers everywhere will find therapy and comfort through the humor of these hilarious escapades.

This book definitely made me smile and sometimes laugh out loud. I can relate to so many of the situations in the book, and I'm sure many other mothers can as well. I love Kersten's sense of humor in how she faces each new crazy situation with her family, as well as the quirky trials of womanhood. From getting a haircut to going camping with the family to preparing for a talk, there is no way you can read these little stories and not come away feeling this lady is a kindred spirit:o)
Get your copy of Confessions Of A Completely In*sane Mother today! You'll be glad you did.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rose-colored Glasses

I remember taking my mother to a country concert in the mid 80s in my hometown of Asheville, NC. We went to see Randy Travis, one of my all time favorite country singers, and Conway Twitty, my mom's favorite. The concert was at the coliseum.

As I looked around that evening, I noticed we seemed to be the only two black people in the audience. For some people that may be a little uncomfortable, but not for us. We had our rose-colored glasses on that night, the ones we never left home without, and it seemed to us that everyone around us did as well and we were completely accepted. In a state where there is still a good amount of racism, this was a great thing.

My mother taught us to never see color. She gave us that pair of glasses when we were young, and I have never taken them off.
Now why, you may ask did I bring this experience up. Well, I think we should apply this to the people in our lives. We are have our quirks and faults and we want to be accepted for what is in us and we should be willing to do the same. Carrying that pair of rose-colored glasses with us and pulling them out when we need them can help. That's not to say we should be oblivious, but if we could only look past the small stuff, we would be okay.

After all, we are supposed to do all we can to love those around us. So if you're ever around others and you need to take out that pair of imaginary glasses, do it. Even be a little crazy and make the actions of pulling them out of your pocket and slipping them on. Sure, those around you might think you're a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, but so what. To you, everything will be beautiful!

Suggested Reading

Book: The Looking Glass
Author: Richard Paul Evans

The Book
Popular author Evans has written yet another sentimental, action-filled, and crowd-pleasing love story. This time around, he takes a trip back to the Wild West, choosing 1850s Utah at the height of the gold rush for his setting. Hunter Bell is a former minister running from the emotional pain of his past. He has forsaken God after his wife died in childbirth, and he is now seeking to make a fortune in Utah's rough-and-tumble mining towns as a card shark, hoping to send money back east for the care of his young daughter. He wins a large pot playing poker but is forced to flee into the wilderness to stay one step ahead of the vigilantes who want his winnings. He ends up in Indian Territory, where he discovers a huge vein of gold. Word of his find spreads far and wide, and an entire town is hastily erected around his claim. Enter Quaye and her extremely abusive husband, Jack Morse, who is tempted by the lure of gold and easy money. Quaye was sold to Jack during the potato famine to get her out of Ireland and has consequently accepted her husband's humiliations and beatings as her lot in life. But the grip of her stoicism and self-effacement are gradually loosened once Hunter rescues her from a raging blizzard and brings her into his cabin to recover. They begin to heal each other.

No matter how many times I read this book, I get teary:o)
Get your copy of The Looking Glass today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Commandments of Life

I hope you are all having a great morning! Truthfully, every day is a great day when God is in it, right? I thought you would agree:o)
I visited a great site this morning and found this amazing set of rules to follow in life.

The Ten Commandments of Life

FIRST - Fully and unconditionally love yourself. Recognize your Divinity. Honor yourself.

SECOND - Unconditionally love and accept others. Recognize their Divinity and honor them.

THIRD - Take responsibility for your actions. You always have a choice; how you feel, act or what you say. Act, don't react.

FOURTH - Be a Master of Divine expression. Live the Universal Laws of Love, Peace, Truth.

FIFTH - You create your life (by your choices, feelings and actions). Live in joy.

SIXTH - Let go and allow (let God). Listen to and follow, unconditionally, your small quiet voice; your spirit (God).

SEVENTH - Be thankful and humble. Give thanks for what you have and receive. Be grateful.

EIGHT - Your sustenance comes from inside you (God). Trust. You will always be provided for.

NINTH - Your body is the temple of your soul. Nurture and care for yourself.

TENTH - Live in the present moment. Life can only be experienced now.

If we follow these suggestions along with being obedient to God's laws, we'll be sitting pretty, don't you think?

Suggested Viewing And Reading

Movie: Fireproof

Lt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. Inside burning buildings, it's his natural instinct. In the cooling embers of his marriage, it's another story. After a decade of marriage, Caleb and Catherine Holt have drifted so far apart that they are ready to move on without each other. Yet as they prepare to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb's dad asks his son to try an experiment: The Love Dare. While hoping The Love Dare has nothing to do with his parents' newfound faith, Caleb commits to the challenge. But can he attempt to love his wife while avoiding God's love for him? Will he be able to demonstrate love over and over again to a person that's no longer receptive to his love? Or is this just another marriage destined to go up in smoke?

If you haven't seen this movie, go out and get today and watch it this evening, only make sure you have a box of tissues handy. This this is one of the best movies on the importance of marriage and unconditional love I have ever watched. Even if you have a great marriage, there is no way you can watch this movie without being affected and changed for the better.

Book: The Love Dare
Author: Alex and Stephen Kendrick - Companion Book to Fireproof

The Book
Too many marriages end when someone says "I've fallen out of love with you" or "I don't love you anymore." The Love Dare discusses how these statements reveal a lack of understanding about the fundamental nature of true love.

As featured in the popular new movie Fireproof, from the team that brought us the #1 best selling DVD Facing the Giants, The Love Dare is a 40-day guided devotional experience that will lead your heart back to truly loving your spouse while learning more about the design, nature, and source of true love. Each reading includes Scripture, a statement of principle, the day's "dare," and a journaling area and check box to chart progress.

Dare to take The Love Dare, and see your marriage change forever.

Fireproof and The Love Dare are sold everywhere. Get your copy of both today. I promise you will be glad you did:o)