Monday, December 15, 2008


The older I get the more I realilze that I don't like snow. I hate being cold and wet and dislike having to pull on hats, gloves and scarfs every time I go out. In my pefect world snow would start after Thanksgiving and leave right after the new year. Snow is kind of vital for making Christmas feel like Christmas. The only pleasant thing about snow though is that when big storm hit I can wrap myself up in a blanket and slippers and loose myself in a good book--not that I need an excuse to read, but there is something wonderful about reading a book when you can look out and see snow falling.

Review of "The Big Book of Sacrament Time Activities"

The Big Book of Sacrament Time Activities: Junior and Senior Editions by Jenna Mitchell were recently reviewed.

I am one of those mean moms that don't let their children do activities during sacrament meeting but I have found that our Sunday afternoons have been wasted away in front of the T.V. and I have been looking for some solutions to help my children enjoy the Sabbath.

I got these great activity books full of puzzles, word searches and games that help teach the scriptures and gospel principles. The Junior edition is still a bit too difficult for my four-year-old son but my eight-year-old daughter and I had a great time doing some of the puzzles together the last couple of Sundays. These are definitely a keeper.

Visit the original post here

Author Karl Beckstrand to be on KUTV News

Karl Beckstrand, author of Anna's Prayer, will be featured on the KUTV 2 noon news (in Utah) today, 15 December. With the segment on him airing about 12.45 p.m. Anna's Prayer is the true story of ten-year-old Anna who arrives in Utah--not knowing anyone and unable to speak English. Anna learns that the Lord not only hears, but answers prayers.

Between now and Christmas, Karl will be signing his book at the following locations.

Provident Book
Wednesday, 17 December
4:30-8:00 p.m.
661 W State Street, Pleasant Grove, Ut

Sandy Costco
Friday, 19 December
4:00-8:00 p.m.
11100 Auto Mall Drive, Sandy, Ut

Murray Costco
Saturday. 20 December
10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
5300 S. State Street, Murray, Ut

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review of "Alone But Not Lonely" by Paul Brandt

Marie Ricks on her blog recently reviewed Paul Brandt's book Alone But Not Lonely.
We all have loved ones--family members and close friends--who are single and searching for someone to love for forever. The singles we know are in all types of situations. They may have been searching for a spouse for just a few years or many years. They may be divorced or have lost a spouse. It is because there is someone in each one of our families or close circle of friends with special family needs that Paul S. Brandt's book, Alone But Not Lonely, is such a wonderful addition to the library of LDS books of help and encouragement for singles.

Alone But Not Lonely covers all aspects of loneliness and the difficulties of being single, especially in an LDS context. Brandt defines loneliness and answers the deep questions that most singles have about acceptance, love, faith, and hope. After ten chapters of instruction, encouragement, exercises, doctrine, and Brandt's "Four Weeks to More Joy and Love" program, Alone But Not Lonely culminates with seven empathetic essays written by LDS singles in unique situations.

Alone But Not Lonely is full of instruction, encouragement, and ideas for change. Based on his qualifications as a social worker, psychotherapist, marriage and family therapist, renowned speaker, and latter-day saint, Brandt is able to addresses the unique challenges of LDS singles in an encouraging, informative, understanding, and doctrinal-based way. Furthermore, in Alone But Not Lonely, Brandt is able to talk to his readers not as a therapist, a bishop, a father, or even a friend, but almost as if he were the voice of the readers themselves, reminding them what they believe, what hope there is to cling to, how to keep going day by day to find joy, and what they can change.

There is something powerful in a book like Alone But Not Lonely when its only weakness is that its page headers don't identify what chapter you're in. Paul Brandt's Alone But Not Lonely is an amazing find for anyone struggling with loneliness and the discouragements of being single.

To check out the original review, click below

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Leatherwood Press author, Diana Mahony featured in an article

Daian Mahony, author of God Made Us to Laugh, was recently interviewed for an ABCNews. com article titled "Why Pain Makes Us Laugh."

Check out the full article at

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Review of "The Essential Latter-day Saint Guide to Finding Your Family"

Reviewed by Jaymie Reynolds
On 10/9/2008

Leatherwood Press, 2007 Paperback:
293 pages
ISBN 10: 1-59992-057-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-59992-057-3 Price: $19.95

The world of family history is growing bigger and more well known every day. Many people are driven to seek out and connect to their own past. Some people though, myself included, are fairly new to this world. I grew up hearing stories of long dead family members and enjoyed feeling a common bond with them. Now that I am ready to begin seeking out these lost loved ones on my own, I am overwhelmed by the process.

In researching family history, there are so many resources and tools available that I have never been sure which are most user-friendly and appropriate. Michael Otterson has recognized this need in many people and has, through his book, The Essential Latter-day Saint Guide to Finding Your Family On The Internet, attempted to simplify this process for overwhelmed and under-motivated beginners.

Mr. Otterson begins his book with a background of why family history is so important and what tools are available on the internet. He shared a quote by Alex Haley, the author of Roots, that accurately sums up the feelings of many who are seeking to locate their ancestors.

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage--to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, ther is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness." (p.18)

In addition to this background, the author cautions, "family history calls for some common sense, good judgment and reasoning skills, and a little imagination." (p.19)

This book is very thorough and covers the bases of how to choose the right software for you and how to add names, notes, and other sources. Mr. Otterson also includes information on how and where to look on the internet. There is a chapter that explains how to network and use teamwork in your research as well.

The Essential Latter-day Saint Guide to Finding Your Family on the Internet has several chapters that focus on finding ancestors who hailed from the British Isles. It is estimated that about 70% of Americans will find there ancestors in this area. There is, however, sufficient data included to help those who need to search other areas to find their progenitors.

One of the things that I found most exciting about this book is the author's inclusion of how one can find family stories on the internet. The author appropriately titles this chapter, "Meat on the Bones". For me, one of the most exciting parts of doing family history is finding the opportunity to get to know my family members as people rather than just as a name on the page.

Overall, this book appears to be a fabulous resource for those beginners who are ready to find their own roots. It is geared toward those who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but has tips that are useful for anyone who is looking to build their own family tree. Although there is a great deal of information presented in this book, it is presented in a very clear and concise manner. If the reader truly desires to find lost family members, they can easily sit down with this book and take one chapter at a time. If the reader applies each step in the chapter as they finish it, their family tree will be well underway by the time they reach the last page.

The Essential Latter-day Saint Guide to Finding Your Family on the Internet takes an overwhelming and oft-times confusing subject and brings a clarity and simplicity to it that will encourage many people to seek out and document their own family beginnings.

Found on

Review of "Finding Peace"

Title: Finding Peace: Steps to Overcoming Guilt for Latter-day Saints
Author: Betsy Chatlin, LCSW
Publisher: Leatherwood Press
Genre: Non fiction/ Motivational
Year Published: 2008
Number of Pages: 189
Binding: Paperback
ISBN13: 978-1-59992-087-0
Price: $16.95

Reviewed by Karen Hamilton

Betsy Chatlin has a way of writing that is soothing, peaceful and
motivational. She is a clinical social worker and is able to connect
with those who are seeking peace and relief from guilt. With all that
she has experienced and learned in her years of service, it is amazing
that the spirit of compassion is still alive and strong in her.

The chapters are designed to cover one aspect of guilt and what it does
to individuals. The first chapter is one of hope and is encouraging.
This is the perfect way to start a book about guilt. Chatlin encourages
everyone to find “glimmers of hope” to start to overcome guilt and to
understand that life is made of “pieces of joy."

“Guilt is a pebble with the potential of a pearl. Unfortunately,
sometimes guilt is a boulder. But even a boulder has the potential of a
pearl. …….. I think of a pearl as beautiful, choice- a treasure. Guilt
is something to be taken care of, and the result is a decrease in the
pain, but it is not something to cherish that is beautiful. ….. Guilt is
not beautiful. …. But the eternal truth is that we must learn the
lessons from our guilt, then keep the instruction and the
transformation. We must leave the acute pain of the guilt behind and
stop defining ourselves by the sin, transgression or mistake that led to
the guilt.” (pgs. 20-21)

Chatlin expresses the reality of guilt in simple terms that are easy to
grasp. She shows that guilt is different for everyone, even when there
are similar circumstances. “As pain is to the body, so conscience is to
the soul. While physical pain has dozens of balms in bottles, tubes or
jars, there is only one remedy for a pain stricken conscience: that
remedy is repentance.” (pg. 29)

The questions that Chatlin poses are thought provoking, and cause one to
seek the answers for themselves. One such question is, What does
happiness look like? I am fairly sure that it is different for everyone.
My happiness involves a clean home and a happy husband and children;
maybe with the bills paid. I’m not asking for much. Happiness can also
change, depending on circumstances and age.

This is a book that is written with gentle guidance and loving concern
for those who are struggling with guilt. With the easy to grasp writing
I recommend this book for Church leaders, parents, and anyone who is
looking for soothing balm for the soul. There are many who will benefit
from Betsy Catlin’s words of hope. This book is now a permanent fixture
on my shelves.

Review of "It Wasn't Raining When Noah Built the Ark"

Title: It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built the Ark
Author: Tami Girsberger
Publisher: Leatherwood Press
Genre: Nonfiction
Year Published: 2008
Number of Pages: 168
Binding: Paperback
ISBN13: 978-1-59992-085-6
Price: $12.95

Reviewed by Karen Hamilton

“…Why is it such a challenge to follow the Boy Scout motto to Be
Prepared? I think we simply don’t know how to prepare, or at least how
to prepare efficiently and STAY prepared……How do you decide which
information is valid? How do you collect the very best ideas for
preparing yourself and your family?” (p7) Tami Girsberger has put many
ideas into simple formats that are easy to understand and not
overwhelming to read.

There are twenty-four chapters that deal with separate issues of
preparedness., from the simple and most basic to the more advanced and
long term preparedness issues. There is no being overwhelmed by the
information that is presented. The information is presented in such a
way that it is easy and simple to use. The book is organized so that if
there is a specific topic that is more urgent to work on, it is at your

This book covers Preparing your Family, Preparing your Home, Emergency
Packs, Preparing your Vehicle, Your workplace, Family first-aid kits,
Water storage, Sanitation, a Three-month supply, One-year supply,
Important Documents, Family Finances, In the event of an Evacuation,
Preparing for a Pandemic, Sheltering in Place, Staying warm without
electricity, Cooking without electricity, Becoming a CERT Volunteer,
Establishing a Neighborhood Plan, Basic Block plan, Candle Can,
Generators, Neighborhood survey, and last but not least State Offices
and Agencies of Emergency Management.

In the chapters Preparing your Family and Preparing your Home, you will
find information that most children learn in school at one point or the
other. Tami Girsberger gives step by step instruction and explains the
steps in a way that makes sense. Some of the suggestions are ones that
should be second nature to all of us: if you have an emergency plan,
practice it until it is habit, use friends and family as a resource in
an emergency, secure the water tank as this can become a water source in
case of a disaster, etc.

There are similar suggestions and lists in each of the chapters. Some of
the needed items Tami Grisberger suggested I had not thought of and some
I had not thought of needing. This is a book that I will be giving as
gifts to my family for Christmas so that they to can benefit from the
information provided. I strongly and highly recommend this book to all
who want to be prepared for what life may throw at them. After all, one
does not rise above a disaster, but rather sinks to the lowest level of

Monday, October 27, 2008

Review of "An LDS Girl's Guide to Real Beauty"

Finally, a fun and age-appropriate book for young girls (perhaps ages 8-13) that discusses beauty, hygiene, exercise, modesty and self-esteem! First off I have to say that this book is absolutely precious - the illustrations are very feminine and fun. My 8-year-old daughter is going to love this book (I am saving it for her for Christmas so mum's the word).

In the introduction the author, Leslie Cheret, says that she was inspired to write this book after spending time working with girls in primary and young women and seeing that so many of them have poor self-perception. I recently heard a study that young girls start deciding that they are fat and ugly somewhere around age 11. It is easy to understand this because of the media they are exposed to and sometimes, sadly, because of their own mothers who unwittingly share feelings of not being good enough, smart enough or thin enough.

I love chapter two that is entitled Self Confidence and Wonder Woman because it discusses spiritual power and having the holy ghost with you - two things that make a girl or a woman truly beautiful.

Chapter three gives away a wonderful beauty secret - SERVICE! What would this world be like if it was filled with women who had the spirit with them and were constantly seeking ways to serve?

I think that my favorite chapter in the book is chapter five which is called Modest is Hottest. Shopping for girls these days can be a pretty tough job, even for the very young ones, because the stores offer short shorts, tight shirts, and well, you get the picture. I love the reminders in here that boys like girls who dress modestly (at least the kind of boys that we all hope our daughters will be dating).

An LDS Girls Guide to Real Beauty is an excellent supplement for the Faith in God Program for Girls. I can't wait to go through this book with my daughter and have a fun way to discuss some of the topics found in it. My daughter loves to read and so I don't doubt that she will have fun reading this book, but I think that other girls who may not like reading as much will be equally enthusiastic to read it because it discusses topics that they are curious about.

*Available at Deseret Book

Review of "Short Talks for Kid's"

This is a wonderful resource to have on hand when your young primary-age child has been assigned to give a talk in primary. I think I will also be pulling it out for Family Home Evening.

Each chapter is filled with a few one-page talks that discuss principles of the gospel (i.e. forgiveness; Jesus Christ, our Savior; prophets; Heavenly Father's Plan, etc...). They are written in plain and simple language that a young child can understand and feel comfortable speaking. Depending on the child, she may also be able to memorize one of these short talks.

Visual aids can easily be added with the help of the Gospel Art Kit or homemade pictures! At the bottom of each talk is a recommended picture to use from the Gospel Art Kit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

God Made Us to Laugh Article

Last week, Jerry Johnston of the Deseret News and Mormon Times wrote an article about Diana Mahony's book God Made Us to Laugh. It was a great article that highlighted the unique aspects of her book. As emeritus BYU–Hawaii professor Diana Mahony, Ph.D., explains how our sense of humor is the fingerprint of our personality—an indicator of our values, our character, and our worldview. Mahony also shares how the good humor of LDS General Authorities past and present is a cultural treasure that actually teaches doctrine. The reader will also learn what “loud laughter” and “light-mindedness” really mean, and why there will be laugher in the hereafter.

To read the Mormon Times article, click on the following link:

Review of "Games and Activites for LDS Girls"

Title: Games and Activities for LDS Girls
Author: Jenna Mitchell
Publisher: Leatherwood Press
Genre: Non-fiction
Year Published: 2008
Number of Pages: 64
Binding: Paperback
ISBN 10: n/a
ISBN 13: 978-1-59992-084-9
Price: $12.95

Games and Activities for LDS Girls by Jenna Mitchell and Illustrated
by Rebecca Miller is one book that can be judged by its cover. With
bright funky colors and cute pictures, this is a book whose packaging
definitely sells. Moms and daughters alike will pick the book up
because of its fun look. If they take the time to really look inside,
they will continue holding it because of the content.

The beauty of this book is that the activities can be used by a wide
range of ages and most can be played over and over again without
losing their charm. This is a collection that contains party games,
word searches and other similar activities, and it even includes
several recipes. Because there is such a wide variety of activities
and games included, this book could be used in many situations.

Girls and their mothers will love party games like "Name That Toe",
"Modesty Shots", and "3-hour Slumber Party". Giggles and good clean
fun are sure to ensue. For quieter occasions, the mazes and word games
are a great way to fill some time. Many of these activities can even
be used for a fun-filled family night.

Even though the target audience for this book is young Latter-day
Saint girls and their mothers, most of the activities in this book can
be enjoyed by girls of all faiths. One concern that this book brings
up is that no part of this book may be reproduced or copied without
permission. This makes it difficult for a parent who would like to use
the word games and such as part of a party or family activity. It
would be nice to see this changed to allow families to copy pages to
use solely for such uses.

This book is a great resource for any mother who is looking for ways
to allow her daughters to have a good time and laugh with their
friends in an age appropriate, mom-approved way.

Review of "It's Never Too Late"

Title: It's Never Too Late, Simple Acts to Enhance Your Life
Author: Britney Rule
Publisher: Leatherwood Press
Genre: Non-fiction
Year Published: 2008
Number of Pages: n/a
Binding: Paperback
ISBN 10: n/a
ISBN 13: 978-1-59992-091-7
Price: $14.95

Reviewed by Jaymie Reynolds

In the weeks leading up to the new year, countless people will berate
themselves for falling short of the lofty goals they set one year
earlier. At the same time, those who have chosen not to set
resolutions for themselves, will either try to ignore the nagging
voice that is urging them to seek some self-improvement or sit back
and congratulate themselves on their "never try/ never fail"
philosophy. The remaining population who fall somewhere in the middle
will waffle back and forth between the two. Then, come January first,
the whole process will begin again.

In It's Never Too Late, Simple Acts to Enhance Your Life, by Britney
Rule, readers, young and old alike, will find some of the basic tools
that will allow them to step off the roller coaster of yearly
resolutions and make simple improvements daily. With over 150
solutions to individual weaknesses, this book reminds us that small
steps can lead to great improvement. While this book is geared toward
members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, anyone who
is seeking to improve their life and draw closer to God can benefit
from the wisdom that is contained here.

This is a small book and a simple read. Each page has a basic
principle listed. Underneath that, there is a brief explanation that
makes it easy to apply on an individual basis. Because the explanation
is brief, readers can easily apply these things regardless of where
they are currently in their own lives. Also included with each
principle of improvement is a quote or a scripture that underscores
the thoughts that are presented.

Britney Rule does a great job of simplifying self-improvement. Each
thought offered can be used as the basis for forming new habits and
changing who we are. It is really simple for the reader to pick one
page and focus on it each day for three weeks until it becomes habit.
This book can also be used as a tool to choose a gospel topic of
study. The reader can research scriptures and quotes by spiritual
leaders on any of the given topics. The study of the topics in this
book can be quite versatile and can be as brief or as in depth as the
reader chooses.This book is presented in a straightforward and
thoughtful manner. I would not change anything about it. I would
recommend it to anyone who is seeking to become a better person.