Monday, January 25, 2010

No Going Back by Jonathan Langford

Every parent knows how painful it is to watch your child make poor choices, and it is especially hard when they give in to temptations and trials and make choices that could jeopardize their future. Sometimes they choose paths that bring heartache to both them and the family. But then again sometimes they face weaknesses that they honestly fight to overcome, and it becomes a day-to-day struggle for them. You ache for them immensely, but you can't shelter them from the pain that could strengthen them and help them to grow.

I had the opportunity to read No Going Back by Jonathan Langford. It is the story of a Mormon teenager dealing with the issue of same-sex attraction. I was deeply touched by the story and I read the whole book in a day.

The Book
A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003. His straight best friend. Their parents. A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. In No Going Back, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties.

I will warn you that there is some language, mostly at the beginning, but none of it is explicit. Despite that, I was completely drawn in to the story and it stayed with me long after I finished the book.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meaningful Rambling From The Heart

One of my favorite picture books is The Spyglass by Richard Paul Evans. The story teaches that instead of seeing things just as they are, we should see things how they could be, then do what we can to make it so.
God has blessed each of us with the gift of thinking positive and doing what we can to better ourselves and the world around us. But with that gift comes its opposite-to let negative things bring us down and allow ourselves to wallow in that negativity. It all depends on which emotion we choose to feed.
I know how easy it is to become overwhelmed with the things that are happening in the world today and the negative changes taking place. This country is definitely not the country it once was, just as we as Americans are not the people we once were. So many things have been lost along the way, things that used to make America great. And because of that, we have lost something.

Yet human beings are amazing creatures. We have to ability to bounce back, to grow stronger, to see the bigger picture, but . . . only when we allow ourselves to, only when we decide that nothing is going to hold us back. Not when it comes to our goals for this country, for our families, or for ourselves. We get knocked down, but we have an ingrained ability to get right back up. If we want something bad enough, nothing can stop us from going for it. Nothing that is, except for our inner selves.

There was once a person who was born in one of the worst of circumstances. With everything she had been handed in life, she was destined to fail in life and become one of those tragic stories that would be told then forgotten.
But then this person decided she wanted something better. She grew to understand who she really was and began to see the possibilities rather than what was. With God's help she was able to not only reach those things possible, but surpass them. While some come from the best of circumstances and do nothing, she rose above the worst of circumstances to do great things. These things might not be great according to the world's standards, but they were great just the same. She went on to be a wife, a mother, a friend, and she continuously strives to be the daughter of God she knows she can one day be.

And all this was possible because she looked through God's spyglass, saw what could be, and took on a journey to make it so-a journey that will never stop in this life.
What if we did that as a country? Just think of what could be accomplished with God's help! Just think of what we could overcome!
There is opposition in all things and we will never escape that fact. But would we even want to if we could? I hope that answer is a resounding no. Because where would the growth be? How could it come without adversity? Simply put, it couldn't.

May we all take a good look through God's spyglass, see what can be, in our own lives, and in this world, and do what we can to make it so:-)

Suggested Reading

Book: Farworld: Landkeep

Author: J. Scott Savage

The Book
Four mythical Elementals Water, Land, Air, and Fire have the power to save two worlds, Earth and Farworld, from a common enemy: the Dark Circle. In book one, Water Keep, a portal has been opened between the two worlds, allowing Marcus, from Earth, and Kyja, from Farworld, to combine their unique gifts and begin their epic quest to find the Elementals. In book two, Land Keep, Marcus and Kyja travel with Cascade, a Water Elemental, toward Land Keep, the home of the powerful and wise Land Elementals. However, their journey may end before it even begins. Land Keep is empty, deserted for at least a thousand years, and the rumor is that the creatures who once controlled all land magic are extinct. Marcus and Kyja's only hope seems to lie in finding the Augur Well, a legendary Oracle protected by subtle traps and mind-bending trials. To succeed in their quest, Marcus and Kyja must also avoid the Keepers of the Balance, an order dedicated to redistributing magic to the rich and powerful. And they must travel far underground, where Cascade is unable to follow and where they will be unable to leap to the safety of Earth. As the Dark Circle closes around them, Marcus and Kyja are faced with the temptation of what they desire most. Sacrifices must be made, and not everyone will survive unscathed.

Monday, January 4, 2010

So . . . How About Those Goals?

Like everyone else, I usually set goals for the new year and end up accomplishing only one or two. This year I only have one goal, but in reaching for this goal, hopefully good things will follow because this goal encompasses everything else I would like to accomplish.

My goal? To be a better person this year, to be better than I was last year.

I think out of all the goals I've set for myself over the years, this one is the most important to me, because if I can reach this goal, then I will be a little closer to being worthy of all the things I've been blessed with in my life. And I have been blessed with much.

Almost twenty-four years ago, I was given a new life and was able to leave a pain-filled one behind. I've tried to show my gratitude and live this second life well. I've fallen short many, many times along the way, and I'm sure I will continue to fall short.
But I guess what's important is getting back up and starting anew, never losing sight of the goal or the prize.

So that is my goal for this new year-to be a better person and help make the world better by doing that.

What are your New Year's goals?
Leave a comment and share your goals and you'll be entered into a drawing for a copy of my books The Journey and Mercedes' Mountain!

Suggested Reading

Book The Best of Times: A Dickens Inn Novel
Author: Anita Stansfield

The Book
A sprawling Montana setting; a charming bed-and-breakfast inn brimming with Dickensian decor; a beautiful and deeply spiritual innkeeper with secret sorrows from her past; a Granny who is as delightful as she is wise; and a handsome guest whose lifestyle and past are both troubled and troubling these are the elements of a captivating novel of romance and intrigue. With characters that are vital and vulnerable, and a plot that is wholly unpredictable, this story is a journey of choices and amazing opportunities. Once again, Anita Stansfield proves her versatility as a storyteller extraordinaire in this novel that is an ingenious blend of romance, mystery, and Dickensian charm. The Best of Times will prove to be a favorite in the best Stansfield tradition.