Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cultivating Gratitude #11

Yesterday, while working, I was listening to a Mormon Channel latter-day prophets discussion about David O. McKay. Did you know he is the first prophet in these latter days to be a college graduate? This surprised me somewhat. I would have thought a few earlier prophets would have gone to college. I do recall hearing that Heber J. Grant could have gone to West Point, but that he chose to stay home to take care of and be near his widowed mother. But, generally, this little factoid was eye-opening.

Anyway, all of this thinking about who went to college and who did not has made me realize how grateful I am to have had the chance to go to school to earn two college degrees. Not everyone has had such blessed opportunities. And of those who did, not everyone enjoyed it.

I loved almost everything about going to college--the atmosphere, roommates, the professors, the growth I experienced (everything except the being poor as a church mouse part). And my education has opened a lot of doors for me. I am a better, more confident, well-rounded, secure person because of the six years I invested in my education. The rewards have significantly outweighed the challenges, costs, and struggles that came with attending college. And I am incredibly grateful for that.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 104:18

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Update on Harrison

Recently my nephew, Harrison, turned 12 and was ordained a deacon. A deacon's responsibility (one of several) includes passing the sacrament to the congregation. Because of his cerebral palsy, passing the sacrament is not a standard procedure for Harrison. To help the process, Harrison's father made this special apparatus that connects to his wheelchair and allows him to participate in this special ordinance. The hooks help to hold the trays for him. Today, Harrison's home teacher pushed his wheel chair as he passed the sacrament.

I have to admit I get teary-eyed seeing this.

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 3:10

Friday, March 25, 2011

I think this guy is on to something...

(Peter Glassman, owner of Books of Wonder in New York City, encourages publishers to bundle e-books and books together and predicts that the "app-book" will overwhelm e-books; from here)

I'm curious about when publishers are going to wake up and recognize what film studios realized a couple of years ago--the power of bundling physical product with a digital version. If movies can be sold on DVD with a digital download for a few extra dollars, why can't books? Seems to me that way book lovers could have their cake and eat it, too! And it would give bricks-and-mortar stores something to put on their shelves.

As for apps, I think we've barely seen the tip of that iceberg. The "app-book" (as I call it) is going to steamroller right over e-books as more and more developers realize what they can do and how they can transform the experience of reading into an event that takes full advantage of the digital platform. Of course, heaven help us if publishers think they're going to rule this world. The amount lost on CD-ROM will be nothing compared to that! The smart publishers will be looking for brilliant app developers to buy the sub-rights to their books and make the most of it rather than trying to create an industry from scratch. As Hollywood discovered long ago, collecting fees to let others create new products from yours is a sure fire way to add to the bottom line.

What do you think?

Scripture of the Day: Isaiah 58:11

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Miss Delacourt Has Her Day

A few years ago I read Heidi Ashworth's regency romance Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind (see my review here) and fell in love with the two main characters, Ginny Delacourt and Sir Anthony. I had honestly thought Ashworth had set the book up for a possible sequel, and made mention of this in a comment on her blog, only to learn that was not the case. But Heidi was intrigued by the idea and set to work on what is now affectionately known as MD2 (for Miss Delacout 2). Well, finally, that dream has come to fruition and Miss Delacourt Has Her Day has arrived. I just had to order a copy to read right away and am now here to share.

So what did I think?  Once again, I loved the main characters. What was impressive was that Ashworth gave greater depth to Ginny and Sir Anthony through the use of new situations and circumstances. I was clearly able to see growth and change in both of them. The continued use of foil characters Lucinda and Lord Avery were also an added bonus for the humorous themes of the book.

I also enjoyed the creative plot elements in Miss Delacourt Has Her Day. Sir Anthony has some fun challenges to overcome in order to be able to wed his lovely Ginny--these led to plenty of laughs and even a bit of suspense. The slight plot twist involving one character with whom I share a name (Rebecca) was a nice curveball thrown in by Heidi.

All in all, I just love Heidi's style of writing. She has an intellectual quality in her use of words that I envy. And her ability to be witty and humorous (just check out the dialogue alone!) is on par with (if not better than) Sarah Eden's work.

Ginny Delacourt felt the course of true love could not have run smoother. After all, it required only a fortnight, a pair of highwaymen, a pox quarantine, a sham betrothal, and a masquerade ball to bring Sir Anthony up to snuff. When her beloved suddenly becomes the heir to his uncle, the Duke of Marcross, protocol dictates that he drop the "Sir" from his name. It's his uncle who insists Ginny, daughter of a lowly vicar, is not the proper bride for a future duke.

Lucinda and Lord Avery arrive on the scene to stir up trouble, and Ginny's normally manipulative Grandaunt Regina seems helpless to arrange anything, least of all a frowned-upon wedding. It's up to Anthony, with help from his fussy valet, to see to it that Ginny has her day.

The road to true love just got a little bumpier.

Read additional review of Miss Delacourt Has Her Day on...
Temporary? Insanity
Dreams of Quill & Ink
Regally Blonde
Syncopated Musings
I Am a Pistachio
And on Goodreads, where there is a giveaway of the book (enter by the end of the month).

PS, check out the top of page 102 for a tribute to moi.

Scripture of the Day: Jacob 2:18

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Newest Thing in Paperbacks?

I recently read this article on  Shelf Awareness (a publishing blog) and it piqued my interest. Sound interesting to anyone?

Dutch Flip for 'Flipback' Book

A new paperback format?

The "flipback" book, introduced in the Netherlands in 2009 and "all the rage" there, is being touted as the "new Kindle," smaller and lighter than an e-reader but made out of paper, according to the Guardian.

Flipback books are printed on extra-thin paper; the spine stays open easily; text is printed "parallel" to the spine so one reads the book longways; and the whole thing is small enough to fit in a pocket.

Hodder & Stoughton is publishing a series of 12 flipbacks in June that will cost £9.99 each.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 59:16

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Funeral Plans

Yesterday my 90 year old grandfather passed away. You may recall the short (true) story I wrote about him and my father, which I posted last December (read it here). We are all grateful for the wonderful life he lived and the heritage he provided for his family. I am off to his funeral and a celebration of his life. See you in a few.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cultivating Gratitude #10

I have been working hard on my manuscript of FHE lessons taken from the lives of latter-day prophets. Their experiences are so uplifting and inspiring. I am so grateful today for the many things I am learning from this work. In fact, there is so much I am learning that it is impossible to include it all in the manuscript. I am having to pick and choose the best, which is often so hard to do.

Here is one story of George Albert Smith I am unable to include, but would love to have in the manuscript:

President George Albert Smith gave this promise to Church members that we may all remember in times of trouble:
“There are two influences in the world. The one is the influence of our Heavenly Father and the other is the influence of Satan. We can take our choice which territory we want to live in, that of our Heavenly Father or that of Satan.
“I have many times repeated what my grandfather said. He, too, talked from this stand, and it was he who gave me his name. In advising his family he said, ‘There is a line of demarcation, well defined. On one side of the line is the Lord’s territory. On the other side of the line is the devil’s territory.’ And he said, ‘If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you are perfectly safe, because the adversary of all righteousness can not cross that line.’
“What does that mean? It means to me that those who are living righteous lives, keeping all of the commandments of our Heavenly Father are perfectly safe, but not those who trifle with his advice and counsel” (George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, Oct. 1949, pp. 5–6).

Scripture of the Day: Matt. 16:25

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stand By Me

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

I think I have watched this video about a dozen times in the past few days. Just love it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 4:35

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What I've Been Up To

I have not felt like blogging or writing a lot lately. I am not sure why or what is going on, other than I was so busy in February that when things finally slowed down last week that I just completely stopped. Part of the problem, I know, was that I was a bit under the weather as well. Nothing serious--just embarrassing female stuff you all would consider TMI if I divulged the details.

So what have I been doing lately? Well, the teaching is going well. One of my students today complemented me, saying, "You're a really good teacher." This made me feel fabulous because I worry I am not doing as good a job as I could. I am also glad that this week I only have to lecture once (there is an exam for my classes on Thursday).

My dh is out of town, but will be back later today. Having him gone is stressful, but I go and buy junk food for the kids' lunches and I plan easy meals and try to do something fun with the kids. Last night for FHE we made some blueberry quick bread and cards to take to an injured ward member. We had fun riding out bikes and scooters over to deliver it together. i am beginning to appreciate these times together.

Tomorrow is our 15th wedding anniversary. We do not have big plans, although we are going to Alabama together for part of spring break (which I sold to him as an anniversary trip ;-). Maybe we will go out to eat, though, tomorrow. Any recommendations from my Mesa counterparts out there?

And as for writing, I did get one manuscript submitted last week. I should be working on another manuscript, but need to get re-motivated asap. My goal is to get this second manuscript submitted by the end of April. This is quite ambitious, but I know I can do it. I just need to get my focus back and get to work.

Which maybe I should do right now...

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 144:15