Monday, April 26, 2010

Writer's Conference

I just returned home from a writer's conference in Provo, Utah.

Provo, Utah? Yes, and it was fabulous! There were over 400 participants, the workshops were informative, the keynote speakers were inspiring, and the food was tasty. It was so much fun to rub shoulders with other writers--some of us already published, and some just starting to put pen to paper, or fingers to computer keys.

I had the privilege of teaching a workshop about writing historical fiction, and my attendees had such great ideas and great enthusiasm. It was inspiring to see the passion many of these folks had for the written word, and the persistence they had in the face of rejection. (Of course, rejection comes with the territory).

I also sat down at "Boot Camp" with three very talented women who wrote children's picture books, and together we worked to structure the delightful pieces into saleable products. It was so much fun to be involved in that rudimentary process. Thanks ladies for the opportunity.

I would advise anyone, with the slightest inclination to write, to attend a writer's conference and get inspired!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thoughts on Life

We are experiencing a phenomenal sunny day! Where yesterday there were clouds, there is blue sky. Where there was snow and sleet, there is a soft clear breeze. My dog sleeps in a patch of sun on the kitchen floor, and I don't have to turn on a light at noon to read a book.

I'm not complaining about the rain and snow; we need it for the parched summer months, I'm just trilled with today--with the beauty of a spring--with having feelings of gratitude--with the metaphor I acknowledge.

I've been through some tough times recently (like the dark gloomy days), and now, for a time at least, things have settled down (sunshine). I made it through the tough times by giving things over to God. The mean and scary situations were nothing over which I had any control, so who better to pick up the burden? I do the best I can to be the best me I can be, and I leave the rest to God. It works out very well. I don't shirk my responsibilities, but I don't waste time in worry.

Here's a quote from Martin Luther that I repeat often to myself:

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."

Monday, April 5, 2010


The Cleansing of America

a book by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen

Anyone familiar with Dr. Cleon Skousen's book, The 5000 Year Leap, and its association with the founding of America will probably look at his newest book, The Cleansing of America, published by Valor Publishing, and surmise it to be a follow-up book. Not so. While it does talk about America's political underpinnings, it is much more a book of end-days prophesy and America's role in that process. Appreciation for the content requires a belief system grounded in prophets, latter-day revelations, and personal preparedness--spiritually as well as temporally.

The book reads like a textbook. Skousen himself states in the introduction that the book comprises seven chapters which were seven independent lectures addressing a common subject from different perspectives. The central theme is the way in which the land of America will be prepared for its place in the end days prophesies. At the conclusion of each chapter is a list of questions, which suggests that the book's most useful application would be in a group setting where discussion could take place.

Dr. Skousen maps destructive forces in this country pulling us from the values and ideals first established by the founding fathers. He talks about the scourge that the Lord will utilize to "cleanse and scour America" of its wickedness, and includes prophesies concerning the same. Indeed, the book delves into doctrinal areas not normally covered in Sunday study: The battle of Armageddon, the calling of the 144,000, and the ushering in of the millennium, to name just a few.

The book was simultaneously fascinating and disconcerting. It's that debate of having your fortune told...I'm intrigued, but do I really want to know the future? If your curiosity wins out, I think you will find, The Cleansing of America, to be informative and thought provoking.

The book seems well researched and documented, with copious source notes at the end of each chapter, and while it would be difficult to check all the references, at some point one must trust Dr. Skousen's scholarship.

I did have one peeve that deals with an editing blunder. Periodically throughout the text a word or phrase would be capitalized, I suppose to EMPHASIZE its importance, but the effect was jarring. I suppose Dr. Skousen included these CAPITALIZATIONS in his original manuscript to instruct the reader to a pertinent idea, but I would rather do my own underlining and highlighting. I think the editors at Valor should have removed the capitals.

The Cleansing of America is being published posthumously by Dr. Skousen's family. He told them that they would know the "right time" to dust off the manuscript and present it to the world for inspection. In America's current political climate, the timing seems right.