Monday, August 23, 2010

The Value of Integrity

This morning I have been thinking a lot about integrity. Some people have much of it, some have none. I pray everyday that I can be a part of the former group, for to possess integrity is to possess a godly trait, which is what we all want. At least, I hope we all do:-)
I found some neat little thoughts on integrity and thought I would share them with you.

"To have integrity is also to have character which is also the easiest way to run into conflict with those without either."
Byron Pulsifer

"Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."
Mark Twain
"Integrity can be difficult to maintain in a world that demands you change with the wind."
Byron Pulsifer
"Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do."
Don Galer
"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."
William Shakespeare
"To have integrity means that you don't agree with everyone you meet, nor do you succumb to pressure to be something that is in direct conflict with your core ethics."
Byron Pulsifer

Suggested Reading

Book: The Fourth Nephite
Author: Jeffrey S. Savage

The Book
Kaleo Steele is starting to cut seminary and hang out with some new “friends”; in fact, he’s not even sure what he believes anymore. When his seminary teacher finds him at the wrong place at the wrong time, Kaleo is in jeopardy of missing his high school team’s regional football game—a game where college scouts will be coming to see him play. But his seminary teacher realizes that much more than a game is at stake, and sends him on a soul-searching quest.
Guided by Ladan, a mysterious old blind man, Kaleo pushes through a battered wooden door only to find himself in Palmyra, New York, in the fall of 1827. Soon he is caught up in a battle between treasure seekers—led by Allaster Blackburn, a necromancer hired to steal the gold plates—and the young prophet Joseph Smith, who is sworn to keep them safe. In his quest to find a key that will send him back to his own time, Kaleo will have to decide what to believe. Before it’s too late.

This is the great young adult story that even adults will love. I love reading all of Jeff Savage's books, and I told him I don't think he can write a bad book. I love the morals the story teaches, the importance it places on integrity, having a testimony of the gospel, and choosing what's right. The youth need these kinds of books more now than ever and I'm grateful to Jeff for sharing his own testimony through the story. He's a very talented writer and an amazing guy:-)
Jeff was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me about writing this new young adult series.

Me: I really enjoyed The Fourth Nephite. It had a great message. How did you come up with the story?
A little over a year ago, I met with Chris Schoebinger of Shadow Mountain and Deseret Book. Over lunch, he described to me a new YA series they’d really like to add. He wanted a young adult novel with fantasy and action, but that was clearly LDS from the story, to the title, to the cover. I honestly wasn’t sure I could do that. As I went back home and considered it I felt that so many authors had done a great job exploring the Book of Mormon for youth, but Church history had only been touched lightly.
Then I read about a man who was hired to steal the plate from Joseph Smith. Brigham Young described him as a “
a fortune-teller, a necromancer, an astrologer, a soothsayer, and possessed as much talent as any man that walked on the American soil, and was one of the wickedest men I ever saw.” I thought, there’s my villain. The rest of it was really doing the research and coming up with a protagonist that kids could relate to. It ended up being a lot of research, but also a lot of fun.

Me: So what's next?

Jeff: Well, I’ve already signed a contract for a second book in the series. In this book, the past has changed, and a girl Kaleo, my protagonist, met in the first book has ended up on a bad path. Kaleo and his friend Jeff Green have to go back again to fix the problem. They end up going on a mission with Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, and others. The actual mission covered over 1500 miles on foot, met two Indian tribes, converted over 100 saints in Ohio in just over a week, had Pratt thrown in jail, and nearly killed him from measles. That, in and of itself, is pretty cool. But there’s also more action, romance, and hopefully some insights into why missions are important. I want books that are exciting and fun to read by themselves, but also teach something.

I'm grateful to Jeff for the opportunity to read
The Fourth Nephite and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Doing Your Best

No matter what we do in life or what goals we strive to achieve or what career path we choose, as long as we are doing our best, we are achieving success.
Here are some thoughts I found on doing your best.

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Successful people aren't born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don't like to do."

"Try and fail, but don't fail to try."
Stephen Kaggwa

"What you want to do, and what you can do, is limited only by what you can dream."
Mike Melville

Suggested Reading

Book: Trapped
Author: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

The Book
A forged letter, a golden vial, an ancient curse...
Her expression remained somber, but excitement crept into her voice. You are the Firstborn She...You must go to them. You want me to act as bait? Not bait, Emi. A spy. Our Trojan horse.
When Emi Warrin wakes one night to find a thief in her mother's house, she has no idea the intruder has planted a trap - a mysterious letter that will change her life forever. Lured to the Austrian Alps with Daniel, the man she loves, Emi is thrown into a perilous, mafia-like world of feuding families and a devastating curse that spans generations. As the Firstborn She - the only firstborn female in hundreds of years - only Emi can free her family from the curse that will soon afflict her as well. But for Emi to break the curse, she must delve into evil designs.
As Emi struggles to understand her destiny as the Firstborn She, she learns that everything isn't as it seems and that all choices have consequences. Can Emi break the curse before it's too late?

Romance and mystery is a good combination and this book has both. (Not to mention the author is a sweet lady:-))It was a very enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more of Ronda's work.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Taking Time to Read

I love to read. It is one of my very favorite things to do, and I love all kinds of books. If I was stuck on an island alone, as long as I had shelter, water, food, an unlimited stash of orange Tic Tacs, and books, I wouldn't need anything else.
When you read a good book, your imagination can run wild and you can go to some amazing places. There are so many genres out there, which means you are bound to find something that piques your interest. So many people say they have no time to read, but there is always time. You make time because it's so important. And, when you read you are ever-learning. The knowledge doesn't stop.
So I challenge you to go to your local library or bookstore and pick out some good books. Take some time to relax and expand your mind. You will be glad you did:-)

Suggested Reading

Book: Biblical Roots of Mormonism
Author: Eric Shuster, Charles Sale

The Book
Last year, Eric Shuster wrote Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest about his conversion from Catholicism to Mormonism. Now, he and coauthor Charles Sale bring us The Biblical Roots of Mormonism, a discovery of Mormon doctrines as they are revealed in the Bible. Each chapter delves into a specific belief, such as the Godhead, premortal life, and revelation. Quoting hundreds of Old and New Testament passages, the authors show how the Bible alone can sustain Mormon theology and practice. This incredibly well-researched guide provides fresh insights about the Bible as each page reveals a new connection to the Mormon beliefs. Perfect for believers, investigators, and skeptics alike, this book will inspire and astonish as it lays out the biblical foundation of Mormonism.

I love this book and would highly recommend it to anyone investigating the Mormon church. It's also perfect for members of the church who have questions, themselves.

Also, log onto my website and read about my newest ebooks!