Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"I'll Know You By Heart"

A few weeks ago, I was given the chance to read a novel by a new author, Kimberly Job. When her book arrived, I was intrigued by the cover. I thumbed through the first few pages, and was instantly hooked by the storyline.

This work delves deeply into the troubled world of marital malevolence. Stephanie, the protagonist, has suffered repeated physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, Mark. One night after enduring another severe beating, Stephanie gathers her three children, and flees their home. This time Mark had not only struck her in anger, but he had also hit their teenage son, Tyson, when the young man tried to intervene. Deciding Mark had crossed an invisible boundary, Stephanie seeks solace and safety at her mother's abode. She files for divorce and soon finds a small apartment where she attempts to rebuild a safe life for herself, and her children.

Discouraged after spending several days job hunting, Stephanie eventually lands a position as a receptionist at a pediatrician's office. A natural with children, Stephanie impresses the doctor by her compassionate nature. She quickly learns the skills needed for the business end of this occupation, and she is thrilled by her ability to provide a livelihood for her children. Ranging in ages from sixteen to eleven to seven years old, each child is dealing with a variety of emotions. Stephanie does her best to help them cope, but her two younger daughters don't fully understand all that has taken place, and the eleven-year-old, Maddie, seems especially resentful of the situation.

In the middle of all of this, another character is introduced: Jared. Recently widowed, Jared is struggling with raising his five-year-old daughter on his own. He alternates between extreme grief, disgust, and anger over the way his deceased wife had embraced the dark world of alcoholism. Dying in a car accident while drunk, his wife had never seemed happy in her role of wife and mother. Absorbing enormous pain, Jared is trying to piece his life back together as best he can. Realizing he will need another caretaker for his young daughter, he meets Stephanie at the pediatrician's office, and the two agree to a babysitting arrangement. This will provide Stephanie with much-needed added income, and Jared's daughter with a safe place to stay after school each day.

Just as Stephanie's life seems to be sorting itself out, a dark cloud of fear descends as her soon-to-be-ex-husband discovers where she is now living, and where she works. Mark is determined to be reunited with his family and he resents the time Stephanie spends with Jared. Out of control, he strikes back in a familiar fashion, leaving his family in a nightmare of turmoil and pain.

This is a novel that touts survival despite horrific circumstances. I believe it will do much toward helping those who may be enduring a similar situation and that it will open the eyes of others who do not. Unfortunately, we live in a society where abuse is on the rise, an evil tendency that needs to be eliminated.

I'm giving this novel a thumbs way up. In my opinion the author, Kimberly Job, has written a timely book with an important message. Abuse should not be tolerated in whatever form it surfaces.

You can purchase
"I'll Know You by Heart," on this link: Buy this book

And you can read other reviews here: "I'll Know You by Heart"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Busy Day in the Neighborhood =)

Wow, the past couple of weeks have flown by. Possibly due to the numerous activities that surfaced for our clan. As such, I figured I would share a few pictures, documenting why I haven't blogged much the past few days:

First, two weeks ago, our son, Derek, graduated from BYU-Idaho as a computer engineer. It was a proud day for all of us, including his lovely wife, Kristen, and their cute little daughter, Aari.

Then last weekend, my husband and I headed to Utah to meet up with some author friends. One of our friends from England, Anna Buttimore, was here for a visit, and we met up at a fun restaurant in Murray for this event. You might recognize a few faces. ;) We had a great visit and a lot of laughs.

Kennon and I also went for a drive up our local canyons to see how much snow still needs to melt. We found out: a lot! =D

This week is looking about as crazy. This morning we're heading to Logan for an eye appointment for me. Then this weekend, we'll drive up to Rexburg to help Derek, Kristen, and Aari move to Utah. (Derek was hired by Hill Airforce Base, so they'll be living in Utah land.) We'll stay down in Utah for the weekend, and head home next Monday. Kris will keep the homestead going for us in our absence.

After that . . . I suspect life will continue to be full of interesting adventures. But in way of good news, as least we're never bored. ;)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book Review: The Thorn

I recently read the first book in a new fantasy\speculative fiction series entitled, "The Thorn," by Daron D. Fraley. I've always enjoyed fantasy novels; I cut my teeth on "The Hobbit," when I was about nine years old. =)

The Thorn introduces us to the fictionalized world of Gan, a planet where two suns and multiple moons are commonplace. The first chapter draws the reader into an ongoing conflict between three separate clans, descendants of three brothers: the tribes of Daniel, Gideon, and Uzzah. Daniel and Uzzah are allies, peaceful colonies that fulfill differing roles in their communities. Daniel holds the keys of leadership, Uzzah retains important priesthood keys, and Gideon was supposed to be the protector of both. Instead, Gideon's descendants are full of fury aimed at the clans of Daniel and Uzzah.

Twisted legends handed down from generation to generation have convinced the Gideonites that their neighboring tribes are troublemakers, intent on robbing them of their freedom and their lives. Led by a corrupt emperor, Gideon wages war with their brother tribes, causing untold heartache and pain.

At the beginning of the story, a Gideon war party wreaks havoc in the city of Hasor and slays the king. Moments before his death, the king of the tribe of Daniel implores his son and heir, Jonathan, to protect the Thorn, a scepter symbolic of the Great King, and flee before he is discovered. Jonathan manages to escape to safety, only to later learn that his father has been killed. Grieving, he prayerfully seeks guidance and is led to a small Gideonite war party that holds his longtime friend, Eli, a Uzzahite priest, captive. Jonathan frees his friend, and together, they wipe out the entire war party, with one exception, a young Gideonite who begs for mercy.

Pekah is a young warrior of the tribe of Gideon. He is saddened by the violence he had witnessed and he pledges to serve Jonathan and Eli if they will spare his life. Together, the three young men travel to Ain, a city where Eli's sister, also Jonathan's fiancee, is being held prisoner by a portion of the Gideonite army. As they travel, Eli and Jonathan teach Pekah the truths regarding their brother tribes. They also share their knowledge and conviction of the Great King, who will one day come to Gan to rule and reign in righteousness. Desiring to repent of his former misdeeds, Pekah agrees to be baptized, eager to begin a new life.

The Thorn is a well-written novel of intrigue and symbolism. Readers will note many similarities between the storyline of this new book, and The Book of Mormon. A classic tale of good overcoming evil, I predict this new series will appeal to most readers. You can purchase it by clicking on this link: The Thorn

Also, you can read other reviews of this same book by clicking on this link:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Conference in General mode =)

Living in a mountain valley as we do, we've come to realize it's important to prepare for those pesky surprise storms that come into our lives on an all too frequent basis. So even though it's April, and in most areas that means spring has sprung, we're still dealing with winter storms. Like the one that descended today.

When today's storm was predicted last night on the news, we figured we would receive 1-2 inches of snow at the most. WRONG!!! In our little town it was closer to 5-6 inches of fresh snow. This made driving into town early this morning quite the adventure. I followed a snowplow down the road that leads from our house to the main road. Then I tried very hard to stay inside the tracks made by the large semi-trucks that pass through our valley. It was still a bit tricky to keep the car on the road. I finally took a detour into nearby Montpelier, thinking it would provide better traction. Au contraire. I slid more on what we call the "8th Street Exit," than I had on the main road. I was nearly 5 minutes late for an appointment, but I did eventually arrive safely.

We do our best to prepare for these surprise storms. The trunk of my car still contains my winter boots, gloves, and earmuffs just in case I get stranded. When I travel a great distance, I also add a blanket, small shovel, and a handy plastic container of kitty litter that provides great traction. I drive slower when the roads are a mess, and allow extra time to arrive at the intended destination.

At home, we make sure we keep plenty of food on hand in case we can't make it into town to pick up groceries. We also keep items like "Snow-melt," and snow shovels handy in case we need to treat icy build up on our sidewalk, porch, and driveway. In short, we try to be prepared, knowing that wintry storms tend to linger in our neck of the woods until closer to June.

This past weekend provided a wonderful opportunity for us to prepare for the physical, emotional, and spiritual storms that may arrive in our lives, unannounced. We never know when a trial lies around the corner. As such, it behooves us to do those things that will fill our spiritual cupboards.

During the past couple of years, I've made it a habit to take notes during stake, and general conference sessions. I write down scriptural references, topics, and anything that stands out to me as important counsel to follow. Then on bad days, when storms descend, I dig out those small notebooks and flip through my notes. I always find solace in those pages, that I tend to keep inside my scripture bag for easy retrieval.

This past weekend we were given a chance to drink deeply from the living waters. How blessed we are to have access to these inspired talks by the leaders of our church online, and soon in magazine form. These messages of hope, love, and guidance can be accessed in a multitude of ways whenever we feel the need. It is my prayer that we will take advantage of this convenience often, preparing ourselves for the times when when storms spring into our lives.