Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some "Wrinkled Ladies" Fun!

Hey Mama readers - this is one awesome, hilarious video you don't want to miss. It makes me feel good about all those lines and gray hairs that have a bad habit of appearing.  =)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Review: Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston

Today, I am reviewing Secret Sisters by author Tristi Pinkston. First, the book jacket blurb:

Ida Mae Babbitt, president of the Omni 2nd ward Relief Society, didn't mean to become a spy. But when visiting teaching stats are low and she learns that one family under her care is in financial trouble, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure they have what they need. If that includes planting surveillance cameras in their home and watching them from a parked car in the woods, well, isn't that what any caring Relief Society president would do?

With the help of her counselors Arlette and Tansy, Ida Mae soon learns that there's more to the situation than meets the eye. It's all in a day's work for the Relief Society.


My Review:

I first met Tristi Pinkston about five years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed her historical fiction novels. Recently, she has stepped into contemporary fiction - first with Agent in Old Lace, and now with the first book of her Secret Sisters series.

I've found it intriguing to see Tristi's writing go from her serious, engrossing historical to such a light, humorous style. If you've ever met Tristi, you know that each style shares parts of her personality as well. I really can't compare the two styles or choose one I like over the other - because they both illicit different responses from me. But, as a reader, author, and stressed-out-mom, I most definitely enjoyed Ida Mae and her personality. Secret Sisters is just the right combination of a shorter, light-hearted read that doesn't make me feel guilty when I take a break from all the mayhem that rules my house from the time school gets out until the munchkins are safely tucked in bed. I found myself laughing out loud at the exchanges between Ida Mae, Tansy, and Arlette. There are other characters who play smaller, but important parts in the book, such as Ida Mae's nephew - the gadget geek. I totally love how he reminds me of my hubby! "Let's try this! Ooh - what if . . ."  Yep - a day in the life of Danyelle Ferguson.  I also enjoyed the Relief Society Secretary, who is a busy mom (like moi) and who totally jumps on the chance for something more exciting than changing the next dirty diaper. Again - a day in the life of, who? Oh yeah - me.   =)

So, if you're looking for something fun and interesting to lighten your day, I highly recommend Secret Sisters. I'm most definitely looking forward to the next book to see what escapades Ida Mae and the girls get themselves into!



You can find out more about Tristi on her website or her blog.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Awesome Endorsement!

Our editor sent us the following endorsement for (dis)Abilities and the Gospel from Lloyd Kinnison, a professort at the Texas Woman's University. It was so awesome, I had to share!

*****

My journey with (dis)Abilities and the Gospel began during a conversation with Lynn Parsons.  At that time she was enrolled in a graduate special education class under my direction.  I asked the students if they were aware of any professional books written to the topic of teaching religion to students with special needs.  I was not interested in a specific protestant denomination’s orientation, but ways to teach special needs children about God and His Son.  To my surprise, Lynn indicated she and a friend were in the process of writing a book for parents on that topic.  I had to wait one year to preview their efforts.  This book was worth the wait!  In my opinion, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel is a resource that may be read, reread, and used many times and still offer the reader new ideas and suggestions for teaching religious content to children with disabilities.

The readers of this book will find it is a living document to help parents and religion teachers gain an understanding of the challenges and rewards brought by a child or adult with special needs to a church or congregation.  Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons have brought their experiences as parents and as educators to assist those responsible for bringing religion to the lives of children who learn differently and whose behavior may not fit the norm or conform to adult comfort level.  The authors have beautifully woven the frustrations that have been experienced into an action-living plan to help the children with special needs.  The organization of the chapters permits the reader to select a specific topic, obtain suggestions and move forward without reading each proceeding chapter.  The authors provide the readers with specific suggestions which may meet the needs of the child in one setting or at different ages. 

Finally, the authors have included a much needed section related to adults with disabilities and the very unique challenges this population face daily and the challenges these individuals bring to our religious teachers and leaders.  Our society is forgiving of children, but slow to give the same forgiveness to adults who have the same challenges as children.

My vision is that the information provided in (dis)Abilities and the Gospel will be of value to a wide population of religious formation teachers.  This book is needed to assist teachers of religion and our religious leaders to help children and adults with disabilities be included in our churches, as well as society in general.


Lloyd Kinnison
Texas Woman’s University
Professor of Special Education

Friday, April 16, 2010

House Made Out of Bricks . . . Lego Bricks!



If my boys could have a say, this would totally be their dream house! They are Lego fanatics. I thought it was fascinating to see how the house was made - I'm talking a true proportioned house, people. Not little Lego guy house. This is a must see for every Lego lover - past or present. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book Review: Women of the Book of Mormon by Heather B. Moore

I am so excited to review Heather B. Moore's new release, Women of the Book of Mormon. Back cover blurb:

Explore the lives, circumstances, and choices of women in the Book of Mormon in this uplifting and inspirational volume that illustrates the parallels between the lives of the women of the Book of Mormon and LDS women today. With new insights on practically every page, author Heather B. Moore explores the written and unwritten stories of the prominent women in the Book of Mormon — taking familiar material and providing vivid details about family dynamics, domestic practices, and other aspects of daily life. By applying historical and cultural contexts to the situations of women like Sariah, Abish, Eve, Mary, and the faithful mothers of the striplings warriors, you will peek beneath the surface of the scriptural accounts to better understand both the righteous women of the Book of Mormon — and the women who didn’t use their agency wisely.

An ideal gift to share with mothers, sisters, and friends, this refreshing and engaging book offers new insights into the temporal and spiritual lives of our ancient sisters.

My Review:

I found Women of the Book of Mormon absolutely fascinating. I get to learn so much about the prophets and other men in the scriptures, but often I'm left wondering what it was like for the women who lived during that time. Did they try to persuade their husbands to make better choices? Did they even get a choice in how to live or what to believe? Were there women who weren't happy with their husband's choice to follow a prophet who they didn't believe? What kinds of challenges did they face that I could learn from or relate to today? There are so many questions that are often left unanswered. Women of the Book of Mormon answered many of my questions and helped to paint a portrait in my mind of the lives of some incredible women, such as Sariah, Abish, and the mothers of the Stripling Warriors. There are also appearances from women from the Bible who are mentioned in the Book of Mormon, like Eve and Mary. I realize this list is repetitive from the cover blurb, but learning about these women left quite an impression on me. It's inspiring to learn about them and realize each of them is my sister in the gospel as well.

This is an excellent book for any lady in your life from Young Women's age and older. Wives would love this for Mother's Day! Depending on the reading level of younger daughters who are in Primary, some 8-12 year olds may really enjoy the book as well. My nine-year-old daughter looked through it when it arrived in the mail and immediately asked to read it when I was finished. My younger kids all loved the gorgeous art.

Women of the Book of Mormon can be purchased at Deseret Book.

You can find out more about Heather B. Moore on her website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Cover!!!

I'm so totally excited to share the cover for (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. I absolutely love how it turned out. A HUGE thank you to Cash Case, the cover genius at Valor Publishing.



The background looks slightly peachy or pinky depending on your monitor, but Valor has said it's actually a very nice ivory color. I love the way the title was set up with the "and the" stacked on the side. It's so exciting to see everything coming together! Time is going by so quickly. My munchkins get out of school in four weeks, then it will be June & time for the book's launch party. Happiness all around! Watch for book signing dates to be announced soon!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Autism Speaks Gift Card Winner!

Thank you to everyone who commented and emailed about our first week's contest. The winner of a $10 Gift Certificate to Autism Speaks' store is . . .

Cindy Beck!

Cindy, please email me your snail mail info.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Review: I'll Know You By Heart by Kimberly Job

Today's book review is I'll Know You By Heart by Kimberly Job. Here's the back cover blurb:

The day Stephanie Roberts met Jared Wakefield, she didn't realize they'd met before. Running from an abusive marriage and trying to safeguard her children, she turns to Jared for support, but he needs more from her than she might be capable of giving. With her abusive husband looming in her past, the difficulties they must overcome to be together seem insurmountable.

Is it possible for love to conquer all?
I'll Know You By Heart is a timeless romance that explores the possibility that relationships span the entire realm of eternity. A story about abuse, hardship, and betrayal, it is ultimately a story about the healing power of everlasting true love.

My review:

In my opinion, the back cover blurb doesn't do justice to the story you'll discover in this book. This book is so much more than a romance. It's such a true to life story, with raw emotions and a mother's struggle to survive & recreate a life for her and her children - all while also trying to escape the negativity and poor self-esteem which results from years of abuse. By the end of the first chapter, I knew Stephanie was a woman I could personally connect with as a survivor of abuse. The turmoil and emotional upheaval she experiences - Kimberly Job did such an excellent job detailing and pacing it throughout the book. I love that she also showed Stephanie's journey back to rediscovering her worth as a daughter of God.

The element of romance was expertly woven in, so that it didn't seem contrived, but rather more natural. What I loved was that the romance didn't "cure" either characters situations or trials. Instead, a friendship was formed. As they helped each other - through child care and listening to each other's rough or good days - their friendship became a great foundation for love that slowly bloomed.

I'll Know You By Heart was a powerful book I couldn't put down. I read straight through to the end. If you enjoy a good family drama with a romantic flair, you would truly enjoy this one!

To find out more about Kimberly Job, check out the following links:

Her blog

Her website

Her books are available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Coolness

Actually, the weather during Easter wasn't cool at all. We had temps almost into the 80's. It was lovely, but borderline air conditioner weather. Personally, I love it when the weather is around 70-72 degrees. I open up all the windows and let the Kansas wind blow though my house - hopefully without slamming any doors closed or loose papers flying through the house. That Kansas wind can be dang strong, but I totally love the air flow it creates.

It was also General Conference this past weekend. I was impressed that all of our kids sat through three whole sessions! Sometimes they munched on snacks, other times they colored. They even asked some really good questions about some of the talks that were given. My favorite moments of conference -

*Each time President Uchtdorf was at the podium, my five-year-old, Rob, kept asking me if he was Brother Lyons from our Bishopric. Then he would ask me when Brother Lyons was getting up to talk. So cute!

*Listening to my kids sing Follow the Prophet all weekend.

*Singing with my family during all the music breaks.

*Actually getting to watch conference on TV for the first time in . . . I don't know two or three conferences. It was wonderful! I loved the talks by Sister Beck, President Uchtdorf, and Elder Holland.

Now, back to Easter. We did have one minor Uh Oh at our house. The kids woke us up Sunday morning and reported that EB had not arrived as promised. My first through was, "I am such a crappy mom!"  My husband reports that his first thought was the theme song from Mission Impossible. Definitely the difference between a woman and a man. A woman feels guilty, a man gets pumped up for the challenge.

We gathered the munchkins together to color eggs while I went to go do some laundry. And low & behold, the kids discovered that EB did come - he just delivered all of their goodies to the basement. He's such a sneaky bunny! Last year, he left notes for the kids on the refrigerator with clues for a treasurer hunt to find their baskets, so this wasn't totally unusual for Mr. EB. Our family had fun playing with the new bubble machine & balls. We even had a big egg hunt, in which I discovered our three-year-old has quite the little temper brewing. Whew! I thought she was going to pummel her ten-year-old brother when he found the last egg.

The rest of the day went smoothly. The kids liked the ham, fresh fruit salad & cheesy potatoes much more than the green bean casserole. Oh well. At least every left the table with a full tummy, right?

Later that night, I received my very own Easter surprise. I discovered my book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel, is now listed on Good Reads! Wohoo! It's the first time I've seen my book listed somewhere other than my website & my publisher's website. I was so, so, so excited! Go here to see it - and be sure to add it to your reading list. If you were a test reader, please leave feedback about the book. Thanks!

It was about 10 pm when I found the book online - and I just had to make some phone calls. Thank goodness my co-author didn't get too annoyed with me waking her up. Of course, she was much happier after she booted up her computer to check it out as well. Such fun! Then my hubby started snooping around - and guess what he found? Barnes & Noble has it listed on their website, too!  You can check it out here. If you're interested in pre-ordering, BN has the best price I've seen so far.


So, all-in-all, it was a great weekend. My family got to play together, learn more about the gospel and our Savior, and had a few surprises to keep us on our toes. How was your Easter weekend?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Autism Awareness Month & Giveaways!

April is Autism Awareness Month. 
Specifically, April 2nd  is World Autism Awareness Day! 


"Be Aware. Be Understanding."

This is my very favorite quote. Autism awareness is so important to me, to other parents, and to individuals with autism. I have met so many other parents who have struggled with their kids at a park or store and received comments from those passing by about their child's lack of manners or the parent's lack of discipline. While these comments can be thought of as rude, really they are a result of 1) not being aware of the full situation, and 2) not being kind and understanding.

Even though there's a lot of publicity about autism these days, I often meet people who don't really understand what autism is. Well, guess what? I'm a parent of child with autism and I still don't understand what autism is! Autism just isn't that simple. There's no easy definition or description because it effects each individual differently. You can't just look at someone and say, "Hey, he has autism." If you don't interact with someone who has autism on a daily basis, you will most likely miss any cues that might make you think of autism.

So how can you help if it's not easy to tell if someone has autism? Just be a good community member.The key making parents and individuals with autism feel comfortable - no matter the circumstances - is to be kind and understanding. 

Do you remember that rule your parents taught you about - if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all? Live it.

If you encounter a situation where a parent and child are struggling & the groceries go flying or an adult is having a difficult time expressing what he's trying to find in a store and you feel comfortable helping, then do it.  The help could be as simple as picking up the groceries, walking beside the parent to the car, then putting the groceries in the trunk. Something so simple can make a huge impact on a weary parent, whether their child has autism, another disability, or is just a tired kid throwing a tantrum. Do you see how just being a good member of the community can help anyone and make your town a happier place to live? The difference is really just your attitude and being kind.

I challenge you today to make a change, to be more aware of those around you, and to reach out & share a simple act of kindness with just one person. Then do it again tomorrow. Make it a goal each and every day.

Share the Love

Not only is this Autism Awareness Month, but my book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel, just became available to pre-order! My co-author (Lynn Parsons) and I thought it was divine that our book - which is meant to help families and church leaders teach the gospels to individuals with mental disabilities (including autism) - is beginning it's promotions during such a relevant event. You can learn more about our book here.

To celebrate Autism Awareness Month, my co-author and I are hosting a give away each week.

List of Prizes –

Week 1 – $10 Gift Card to the Autism Speaks store

Week 2 – An autographed copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. Will be mailed when released in June.

Week 3 – 8x10 Autism Awareness Art Print

Week 4 – An autographed copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. Will be mailed when released in June.


This week's give away is a $10 Gift Card to Autism Speaks' store.

Entry Rules:

All entries must be received by noon on April 9th. The winner will be drawn (via random.org) and announced that afternoon. You can enter on both my blog & Lynn's blog. All entries will be combined together and a winner drawn each week. You do not need to leave a separate comment for each entry. Just let us know what you did & we’ll add the entry points to our spreadsheet. If you enter via Facebook or Twitter, you must friend us to see your statuses. Also, if your blog is private, we need to either be invited to view your blog or that post won’t be eligible for an entry. Although you are still welcome to blog about the contest and our book! 

How to Enter:


1 entry each - Facebook and/or Tweet about the pre-order w/ link to Valor pre-order link. Please include the Twitter hashtag #DAG.

1 entry each – Facebook and/or Tweet this contest w/ link to this post. Please include the Twitter hashtag #DAG.


Danyelle on FB
QOTC on FB

Danyelle on Twitter


Lynn on FB
Lynn on Twitter

2 entries each – Blog about Autism Awareness Month & the book order w/ links to our author websites and the Valor pre-order link. Include the contest information w/ a link to this post for an extra 2 entries.

Danyelle's Author Website
Lynn's Author Website

3 entries – Sign up for our mailing list (snail mail address) & email newsletter. We will only send stuff to you via snail mail if we have a signing coming to your area. The email newsletters vary, but do not come out more than once per week. Your information will not be shared with anyone outside of the two of us. Email Danyelle at QueenOfTheClan@gmail.com  and email Lynn at ldparsons60@gmail.com

5 entries – Pre-order your copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. Click here to pre-order.



Thank you for helping us promote autism awareness and our book. Remember my challenge to each of you and good luck with the give away!
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.