Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Women I Admire: Still Going Strong

Sisters in my Stake, in front of quilts they will be donating soon.


One of my first posts on this blog was about a group of women in my hometown who got together every Tuesday morning to do humanitarian work. (Check out the original post here.) After several years and two other towns, I moved back into my childhood home this summer. Crazy life kept me from the going over to the stake center on Tuesdays, but now that school has started, I went back. This time I had a daughter in tow, pedaling the same bike with the same bike trailer I'd used to haul my son over in. But everything is older. The bike, the trailer, me. I don't remember it being so hard to bike all that way! And that same day, my little boy started fifth grade.

Fifth!

Despite the years that have passed, I found a scene straight from my memory. A handful of women, many of them the same ones I met that first time, still faithfully working away, one tie, one quilt and one project at a time. I had to take a moment to think about the sheer numbers involved in what they've done. Using mostly donated materials from the stake, they have tied at least one quilt each week for the last five years! And that's just the basic stuff. They also make school kits, shopping bags, Days for Girls kits, newborn blankets, newborn kits, and a bunch more stuff I can't even begin to tally up. The stuff in the photo below are the supplies they have to move out of the room so they can get to the stuff inside. Most of the boxes are full of things to make the Days for Girls kits. They were getting ready to take them to a humanitarian meeting the next day.
The foyer outside the Humanitarian room in our stake center

The amazing thing is the reach these women have. They provide countless opportunities for the stake and community to serve and get involved, from asking for donations, to taking supplies to families or groups willing to assemble kits, to sending home sewing projects with people who can't make it to the Tuesday meetings.

I love that they are still working away like this, making a difference one Tuesday at a time. Big miracles truly come with small steps and even a small town humanitarian effort can do incredible things.

A few of the women who come to tie quilts.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Release BREAK

Break is now available online at Deseret Book and Amazon. You can also start looking for it in your local Deseret Book stores.


Preston Bensen struggles with the same social anxiety that led his father to walk away years ago. With a younger brother who has Down syndrome, Preston has made it his job to hold together what remains of their family. 

A few weeks after he loses a friend in an accident, Preston's mother announces her decision to remarry. Now Preston must deal with a prying stepdad and three emotional stepsisters. After growing up with six neighbor boys, Preston doesn't know what to do with glitter, pet mice, drama, and nonstop chatter.

The only thing untouched by change seems to be Preston's relationship with Morgan, a girl he met during the summer. But he fears that sharing more of his past will scare her away. Juggling everything at once, he reaches his breaking point. Is Preston going to end up like his father after all?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Reading Corner: The Kavanagh House (A Ghost Story!)

The Kavanagh House (The Aeturnus Machine Book 1) by [Dayley, Susan]

Built at the threshold of the steam-driven, Gilded Age, The Kavanagh House is filled with mechanical wonders, mechanized puzzles, hidden places, and seven death traps. A century later, Parker discovers the journal of Eleanor Kavanagh inside a metal, puzzle box and wrapped in a cryptic note: My father’s house is haunted and it’s my fault.

Vincent Ferrari, the ruthless, ambitious man who built the house, is destined to remain with it, long after his death. Vincent mistakes Parker for Eleanor, who finally lured him into one of his own deadly traps. Now he wants revenge.
Parker enlists the help of the mysterious Mason to find Vincent’s body. Together, while avoiding the vindictive spirit, they search for Eleanor’s hidden journal pages, which contain the information they need.

My Thoughts:

I've always enjoyed a ghost story with a decent scare, but not too much. This book had the right amount. While it's clean and isn't overly dark, author Susan Dayley doesn't tip-toe around the scary stuff either. It reads realistically and believably and the mysteries keep you going until you aren't sure what's going to happen next. I was actually a little worried about Parker's safety at times. This ghost isn't a friendly type.

My other favorite part of this story, aside from enjoying a good scare, was the environment. The details in the house are amazing. There are puzzles around literally every corner and the author has clearly done her research and created a character of the house itself. I also liked the quirky real characters, like Parker and Mason and with their unusual talents. 

Fans of the TV series, The Ghost Whisperer, would probably enjoy this book as well. So if you like a clean ghost story, give this one a try!