Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Change ~ A Phenomenon of Nature

A phenomenon of nature, change is constantly upon us. It happens for most of us a little at a time; just as the leaves turn from green to yellow-green, to gold and then to red; changing a little bit each day. One tree can have leaves with several different colors all on the same branch!



Early autumn in Brigham City, UT

As the trees make their final change the leaves begin to fall to the ground. This change prepares the trees for winter, a rest of sorts, and then comes an awakening in the spring.
It doesn’t happen all at once. During the seemingly dormant winter, the trees are still getting moisture from the earth. Gradually tiny buds of leaves form on the trees and beautiful blossoms appear as each tree awakens.
There are trees, however, that don’t seem to have such visible and outward changes—the Evergreen tree. No matter the season, its needles are forever green; a constant through all the seasons of change.


Colors of autumn in the canyon North-East of Inspiration Point near Willard, UT

Our lives often reflect the changes we see in nature. There are times when dramatic things and events occur in us, our families, our work, our beliefs and our education that are beautiful and colorful. New babies are born into your family several weeks early—priesthood blessings are given; you graduate with a Bachelor’s degree—you’ve accomplished your goal; your child’s team takes the state trophy home—their perseverance was rewarded; the missionaries come to your door and share the gospel of Jesus Christ—prayers are answered; you are offered a promotion at work—your wife to stay at home to nurture your young children.
Some of us are confident in our knowledge of who we are and we stand out at the edge of life leading those who follow. Others are timid and shy and blend in with the landscape. We don’t discover their full beauty until we travel deeper into the forest.


Sunrise on the eastern slope of Inspiration Point near Willard, UT

No matter the season of life we may be in, there are times when we feel deep despair—like all of our beautiful leaves have fallen and we are left bare to be whipped around by the cold winds of winter. Sometimes we are like the tree with the very last leaf clinging with all its might to the branch; not wanting to let go because we are afraid of what change may bring.
In 2 Nephi we read, “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”1


 The last leaf falling—Brigham City, UT
We must remember that our lives can be renewed and blossom again after those disparaging times.
Like the Evergreen is in nature, the Savior is our constant in this world of change. We gain this knowledge as we read the scriptures. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Helaman said,
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”2
We must focus on the Savior’s enduring guidance; each day finding nourishment and strength in His well of living water. As we focus on His guidance and draw upon the strength that it gives us, we can participate in all the changes of life without fear—with the reassurance that life will be renewed.


The Idaho Falls Temple dressed in autumn beauty—Idaho Falls, ID

Endnotes
1—2 Nephi 31:20
2—Helaman 5:12

Photos taken by Sharee Wanner

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Madison's Gift Review


Madison's Gift 
by Marie Higgins

Marie really knows how to capture the reader's emotions as she envelops them into the mystery and romance of Madison's Gift. This story is a perfect blend of fully developed characters and plot. I couldn't wait to turn each page to see what happened next!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Immortal Writers Review


Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers

Jill really knows her craft! She's taken her literary knowledge and love of reading to create robust, relatable characters and sent them on a fantasy adventure unlike any other. I was drawn in from the very beginning and felt like I was part of the story. Twists and turns engaged my imagination and brought the story to life. Jill has a talent for enlisting all of the reader's emotions as they join Liz, Curtis, Healer, Rob and iconic writers from the past to save the world from the evil dragon lord.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

One more thing to check off my bucket list 🌸




This is not something you get to do every day, but what an amazing experience it was to be in a music video with such talented people. Alex Boye was super friendly and very down-to-earth. Since it was posted on YouTube it's had nearly 2,000,000 views! How cool is that? During the filming, I got to stand on the roof one of the oldest buildings on Main Street. If you’re wondering - yes, I’m afraid of heights!

The cherry on top of this great experience was performing at a concert with Alex to help raise money to renovate the building we filmed the video in.


Behind the scenes...







It's also been fun to be a model for products we test at work! Granted this shot is of the back of my head, but my hair looks great! And yes, it’s really me!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Author Interview: Marie Higgins


Today I'd like to share an interview I recently had with Marie Higgins, co-author of The Witch Hunt: the first book in her Where Dreams Come True series.

What is your favorite part of the writing process and why?
Not only do I write romance, but I love to add a little (or a lot) of mystery/suspense into my stories. For the past few years, this has been my favorite part of my writing process. I love putting on my Sherlock Holmes hat and trying to figure out the mystery and the villain’s motivation.  I absolutely love throwing twists into the story, too. This is what keeps me enthralled in my stories.

When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
Many years ago I was an avid romance reader. And of course, I loved watching romance movies. One particular movie was romantic—an unforbidden love—but in the end, the hero and heroine did NOT end up together. I was so upset that this movie hadn’t ended happy. That night I had a dream (which was very common for me at this time) about a romance, and when I woke up, that was when I decided to write my dream into a story. Most of my stories start that way now. Of course, now I have to figure out how to turn my stories into movies…

Who has influenced your writing the most?
I don’t think there has been just one person who influenced me. I give credit to the author of the first romance novel that I read – Kathleen E Woodiwiss. The book was “The Rose in Winter”. That hooked me on historical romances. But I have a lot of author friends now, and they all have a little part of helping me along the way.

You’re known for your romance writing, so what made you venture into fantasy and fairy tales?
Most of my romances were Cinderella type stories, anyway, so it wasn’t hard for me to venture into writing a real Cinderella story. The first book that led me into this direction was my YA Fantasy, “The Witch Hunt”. I had a dream one night (see, I told you that usually starts my stories…) about children being sucked into a book. I was so excited about this story—mainly because it was so very different—that I realized I could turn this into a series and call it my twisted fairy tale series. Instead, the series name is “Where Dreams Come True”.

How did you decide on the title of this book?
It was easy to find a title for this particular story. My twisted fairy tale is about three teenagers who get sucked into a fairy tale book. The story they are sucked into is about Hansel and Gretel. And, because Hansel and Gretel are kidnapped by a witch… Plus, there are other twists that I won’t tell you about, but believe me, “The Witch Hunt” is the perfect title!

Who is your favorite character in The Witch Hunt and why?
Rick Stevenson is my favorite. He and his sister are two of the characters in this story. Rick is the dumb jock. Not that he’s really dumb, but he acts that way to get attention. The jabs he and his sister give each other during the story really crack me up. All of my characters learn something about themselves in this story, and they all have to overcome one of their fears. I think Rick is the one who has the best experience doing this, and his character grows so much. I can’t help but smile when I think of him and the trials he goes through in the story.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Do NOT give up! If your dream is to become a writer, don’t let anything stop you. Do all you can to achieve your goal.


Links to “The Witch Hunt”:
Paperback - http://a/co/bWqnD0X


ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Marie Higgins-
 
Since Marie Higgins was a little girl playing Barbies with her sister, Stacey, she has loved the adventure of making up romantic stories. Marie was only eighteen years old when she wrote her first skit, which won an award for Funniest. A little later in life, after she’d married and had children, Marie wrote Church roadshows that were judged as Funniest and Best Written. From there, she branched out to write full-length novels based on her dreams. (Yes, she says, her dreams really are that silly)
Marie has been married for several years to a wonderful man. Together, they have three loving daughters and several beautiful grandchildren. Marie works full time for the state of Utah, and she’s lived in that state her entire life. Marie plans to keep writing, because the characters in her head won’t shut up. But her husband smiles and pretends this is normal.
Marie Higgins is a multi-published author of romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who makes your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. 
Visit her website to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins.com 


Dusti Miller-

Dusti Miller is an avid book adventurer, frequently traipsing through the written worlds of heroes and villains alike. She enjoys putting ink on blank pages to create worlds of her own and is on a quest to find her characters’ real-life doppelgangers. So if you ever run into her and she wraps you in a bear hug while calling you by one of her characters’ names… Just go with it. Dusti lives with her husband and four children in the quaint little town of Malad, Idaho.
You can follow Dusti on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DustiDMiller
Instagram: Dusti_Miller
And Twitter: @DustiDMiller  
 try and harm Brooke. Not until he arrived, anyway.
needed to follow the storyline as Brooke had suggested, maybe the witch wou

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Watchers: Flood and Fire Review


The Watchers: Flood and Fire
By Sharee Wanner

Waking up in a strange place, Auriella finds out she is now an immortal. Much time has passed however and she wonders what has happened to her beloved Azrael. With the help of Eva and the high druid, she trains to develop her powers so she can join him in their fight against the Rebellion.

Her first task is to find a fellow Neviahan and convince him he is one of them and to come back with her. She is admonished to keep him safe because the Rebellion wants him on their side so they can control his powers. The journey takes her on a treacherous path of self-discovery and deception.

All is not as it seems when she finds out the true character of a particular pirate. Can she put her trust in him after what he's done? Will he join in her quest to overcome the evil of the Rebellion and be reunited with her beloved Azrael?


The skill and passion Deirdra possesses for her work left me excited to turn the page.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wrinkles by Mian Mohsin Zia


Wrinkles
by Mian Mohsin Zia

Right from the start the title intrigued me. How could a story about wrinkles be considered a love story?

Mian artfully crafted a story where the characters and their interaction with one another help the reader discover that despite wrinkles on our souls caused by trials, heartache and tragedy, true love can be found.

A mother's love is a powerful thing but Xavier's story of finding love encompasses much more; the love between a man and a woman, the love parents have for their children, the love children have for their parents and the love that grows in friendships. Xavier's journey to find true love is a wonderful story of perseverance, hope and discovery.

Although some wrinkles may take a lifetime to heal; through prayer, faith and love they can be healed.