Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Conversations with a Moonflower by Christine T. Hall

What on earth had just happened to me? It was a plant, for heaven's sake! And with the exception of the bright yellow blooms, it looked more like a weed than anything you would purposely put in a garden. But this mysterious plant had captivated me, and I couldn't wait to tell the others what I had seen.

Chris's life is anything but peaceful when she returns to Carraugus County to clean out her deceased grandmother's home. But her life changes forever when an Amish woman invites her to watch a moonflower open. Chris never would have believed that a simple plant could lead her on such a remarkable journey -- a journey that would remind her of truths she had long ago forgotten.

This debut by Chris Hall is guaranteed to uplift and inspire long after the story ends.


My Review

Conversations with a Moonflower is a short, but thoroughly thought provoking read. The story of Christine and her flowers was fun and interesting. The very best part though was the further I got into the book, the more I found myself pausing after chapters to think about moments in my life when I had similar feelings, how I grew to be who I am today, and what events in my life led me to where I am. Or I would stop in the middle of a chapter and just think about a statement that had just been made - and just how much I loved it. Conversations with a Moonflower may be a little book, but it makes a huge impact on the reader. I highly recommend it!


Purchase your copy of Conversations with a Moonflower at Amazon.com, Deseret Book, or Barnes and Noble.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's a Giveaway Party!

 This week, I'm participating in the Awesome August Blog Hop.

Every blog on this hop is offering a fun prize, and entering is quick and easy.  Simply follow the instructions on each blog, leave a comment, and bop right along to the next blog.  You can win multiple times, so be sure to check out all the participating blogs!

So, this past Saturday, I spent the day glued to my sewing machine (a very rare occurrence) and made these totally cute Crossbody Runaround purses for me & my girls.


For the Awesome August Blog Hop, I'm giving away this cute Crossbody Runaround purse that's oh so ready for fall! Perfect for wallet, cell, and keys for shopping, running around with friends, and fun activities around town.



To enter:

1.  Follow my blog.

2.  Head over here to Amazon and click "Like" on my book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel.

3.  Leave me a comment and tell me that you've done both things.  If your e-mail isn't available through your profile, I'll need you to leave that, too - I can't tell you if you've won if I can't contact you!

This blog hop runs through Wednesday night at midnight, so be sure to enter before then! The winner will be notified by e-mail. 

Now that you've entered my contest, come meet all my other blog friends and see what fun things they are offering!

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's the Weekend!

This week has been one super busy chaotic mesh of schedules.

Did I get everything done? Nope.

Am I going to stress about it? Probably - but not until Monday.

I'm taking my family and we're going to take a last minute trip to visit one of my awesome cousins. I'm excited to spend some time with her and her two munchkins. I'm hauling along my sewing machine and our Settlers of Catan game. It's going to be a blast!

So grab a lemonade and relax for the weekend, too.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Unexpected Chaotic Fun!

I have an article coming out internationally for my church about how to help kids with cognitive disabilities at church. Late last week, I got an unexpected phone call. The magazine's art department requested a photo shoot with my son and I. They contracted with an awesome photographer - Erin Jensen - and an appointment was set for four days later.

I was super excited but then . . . questions and to-do list items started to pour in. 

Contact Isaac's church Sunday school class and beg them to be in the pictures. 

Pray, pray, pray for Isaac to have a good day at school, so he'd be in a good mood for the photo shoot!


What about clothes? What will I wear? 

And oh my gosh, my gray hair is showing!!!

I quickly called Gina - a total hair genius - told her what was happening and asked if she could fit me in so I wouldn't look like Frump Mom.  (No laughing!) She was awesome and not only fit me in, but also made time to style my hair the day of the photo shoot.

That Sunday, I asked Isaac's class to participate. Everyone was great! It turned out to be much easier than I anticipated. Whew!

Next item, clothes. Awesome photographer chick that Erin is, she took me shopping and we pulled together a simple, but beautiful, outfit.

Isaac had a great day at school (Thank you for answered prayers!) We finished his homework, had a quick easy dinner, then went off for the photo shoot.

It. Was. Awesome!!!

Erin was a blast to work with. She was fantastic with Isaac. She had him laughing, smiling, and totally at ease. I loved how she had us interact together as she took pictures. There were very specific pictures she was looking for. I liked how she put us together to fit those needs, but did it in a way that was so us - me and my guy Isaac. I can't wait for the article to come out just to see how they turned out!  =)

The photo shoot was mind opening in another way too. I have always taught the younger kids at church and for the last four or five years, have not seen my son interact with the kids in his church class. While Erin was taking pics of them together, I got to stand back and watch them all goof around and talk together. They are one big bunch of energetic kids who joked with Isaac and each other. He just fit in - even with his quirkiness. It was one of those heartwarming, incredible Mommy moments when I realized the other kids like Isaac just the way he is. They accept him. They're his friends.

It was a wow-happy-tear-filled moment. Nothing makes a mom with a special needs child cry faster than seeing her child accepted and loved.

Isn't it awesome how something so unexpected and not-at-all normal can bring such great moments? I know it's one I'll never, ever forget.

*****

Now, I need your help with something. Awesome person that Erin Jensen is, she took a few pictures of me as a thank you. Wohoo! The following photos are the same pose, just different crops. I'm trying to decide which ones I want use for Facebook, Twitter, my blog, and website. It doesn't have to be the same one. For example, on Twitter you just get a tiny square, so I was thinking one of the closer cropped ones for there. Please tell me which are your faves and why. Thanks everyone!



 BW#1

 Color #1

 BW #2

 
Color #2

 BW #3

Color #3

 BW #4

Color #4

Friday, August 19, 2011

All Because Two People Fell in Love

This weekend is my 13th wedding anniversary. Some say that 13 is unlucky, but it's my hubby's favorite number. So I'm holding out for the best year ever!

With my anniversary approaching, our past, present, and future has been on my mind. I started going through our photo albums - both scrapbooks and everything digital. It's been fun to reminisce, to see how much we've grown (both in numbers, spiritually, and personally). I wanted to put together a brief photo collage - just one or two pictures of our family from each year. I'm such a visual person. This is what happens when two people fall in love . . . I can't wait to see what the next 13 years bring!


August 20th, 1998
I married my very best friend, John Ferguson.
He makes me laugh, curls up with me when I cry, and loves me perfectly.






Christmas 1999
Our first child, Isaac, was born in August.
He was such a happy little guy and made us into a real family.




August 2000
Isaac turns 1 year old!



Fast Forward to Fall 2003
I don't have my pictures scanned for the years between.  =)
Isaac (3) and his sister MJ (2) playing together at the Pumpkin Patch.
This was one year after Isaac was diagnosed with autism. I was so grateful he had MJ, his very best friend and favorite person to play with.



 August 2004
We welcomed another little boy to the Ferguson Clan - Rob!


Rob (2 weeks), Isaac (5) and MJ (3)
Isaac graduated preschool and started Kindergarten. 
MJ started preschool.
Mom and Dad stressed, but kept up their weekly date nights!

2005
A trip to Washington coast for a week as an anniversary trip . . . 
and lots of fun museum visits with the munchkins!
 
Isaac (6), MJ (4),  and Rob (1)

 
2006

Isaac (7) and Mom at the zoo.

MJ's Preschool graduation.
MJ (5) and Rob (2)
 
One December 27th, we buckled up and moved to Kansas!

2007

Our last little girl, Anna, was born in February.

Anna (hours old), Rob (2), Isaac (7), and MJ (6)

2008
 
Isaac's baptism (with Aunt Lindsey).
Isaac (8), MJ (7), Rob (3), and Anna (1)

Our first 5K together as a family (with Jill Hessler & her son).

2009

MJ's baptism on January 23rd
Isaac (9), MJ (8), Rob (4), Anna (2)

 Isaac (10) and MJ (8)

Rob (5) and Anna (2)

2010

We *heart* Special Olympics!
Isaac (11)

First Daddy-Daughter Dance
MJ (9) and Dad

Rob's Kindergarten Hoe Down (gotta love Kansas!)
Anna (3) and Rob (5)


2011

Isaac (then 11 - just turned 12!)

 
MJ (10)
 
 Rob (then 6 - just turned 7!) and Anna (4) at the Primary Talent Show


So many gorgeous, wonderful blessings. 
All because two people fell in love . . .


Happy 13th Anniversary, Sweetie!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop Winner!


I'm back from my book tour and playing catch up on my to-do list. I can't wait to update y'all on Monday with some fun stuff that's happened.  =)

But right now, I'm going to announce the awesome, lucky duck winner of the Summer Giveaway Hop!

(drum roll please . . . )

Congrats to participant #22 - CHERYL!

cjabdelnour said...Imprints or Chocolate Kisses. Thanks! Cheryl

Wohoo! I love happy news!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2011

LDS Bookseller's Association Convention 2011

This was the first year I've been invited to attend the LDS Bookseller's Association (LDSBA) Convention. And yes, it's a by invitation only event for authors. Authors who have had recently published books and who have books that will be released in the next six months might be invited to attend the event. Lynn and I were lucky enough to score coveted entry tickets.

The purpose of the LDSBA convention is for publishers and vendors display their recent and upcoming products for book store owners and managers to browse and place orders for their store inventories.

First, can I just say wow? I had absolutely no idea there were so many product vendors that made and distributed the products found in a book store. It was incredible! Everyone from artists, jewelry, book marks, cards, ties (oh yes, I discovered the AWESOMEST ties EVER!), food storage, t-shirts, trendy women's clothing, cute signs, crafty items, pens, bakery items . . . and the list literally goes on and on and on. And that doesn't include the different publishers who attend as well. It was fun to wander around and chat with the vendors on display. I met a ton of wonderful people, some of whom I'm going to interview and share giveaways on my blog. Yeah!  =)

After the vendor displays (which was all day long), there was a mix and mingle for authors and bookstore owners. It's kind of like speed dating, only way more fun! It was so fun to talk to the bookstore owners - most of which already carried our book and who had some great stories from their customers. Happiness! Lynn and I chatted with them about setting up events and signings. It was truly great, great fun!

Another awesome part of LDSBA is having the opportunity to see a bunch of your writer friends. It's one of the best highlights for me since I live so far away from all my Utah writer friends. It's like a mini family reunion (cause the huge family reunion is at the Storymakers Writers Conference!).

So, here are some pics with me and my awesome writer friends. Enjoy!

Oh no! It's Jacob Marley, coming to haunt Lynn & I!

Some awesome Authors Incognito chicks:  Theresa Sneed, Betsy Love, Danyelle Ferguson, Lynn Parsons, and Tristi Pinkston


Me & the incredible Tyler Whitesides, author of Janitors. I'm so thrilled about his success!

My book at the Cedar Fort Publishing display!!!

I just had to get my picture taken with Scott Wright . . . just to taunt my hubby. Wahahahaha! I got to hang out with Scott and you didn't!  =)

The true reason why Scott is so cool - his AWESOME other half, author Julie Wright!

Me and my fabulous friend, Lisa Mangum, author of the Hourglass Door Trilogy.

I finally got to meet Dennis Gaunt in person! He's absolutely hilarious! No wonder I enjoyed his book so much! Bad Guys of the Book of Mormon (written by a truly fun guy!)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Deseret News Reviewed (dis)Abilities and the Gospel!

Hikari Loftus from Deseret News gave an excellent review of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. I normally just share a small quote and give a link to reviews, but I couldn't pick just one! You can find the full review on Deseret News' website here.
Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons’ book “(dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs closer to Christ,” is full of suggestions, tips and hope for those who are seeking ways to bring their children to Christ.

This book is a helpful reference for parents, but should also be required reading for leaders and teachers who have children with disabilities in their classes or Scout troops.

Although the book was written using LDS Church meetings as examples, the information does not apply to LDS Church members alone. The suggestions are useful to any congregation or group with members or participants with disabilities. The book provides a glossary of Mormon terms to make applications and translations easy.

Each page teaches love, patience, determination and respect for the "special spirits" that are part of your church family. This book will help parents and teachers come up with plans that will help the children in their ward family be participants in the gospel.


Intrigued? Go check out the full review! Or find out more about (dis)Abilities and the Gospel on my website.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guest Post & Book Review: Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

TODAY is the last day to participate in the fundraiser for the Christian Youth Theater! Please support youth with special needs as they develop their talents of acting, singing, and dancing. You can order at any Barnes & Noble nation-wide or even online at  www.bn.com/bookfairs. Please use book fair #10512580.

I'm off in the land of the Utes, attending the LDS Bookseller's Association Convention. If you live in Utah or Idaho, check out my sidebar for upcoming signings in your area from August 2nd through 10th.

Now. let's talk about this awesome new book series. I was given an ARC of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides to review. But my hubby (aka John Waverly) stole it from my stack of "books to review" and devoured it. He also posted a very fun review on his blog, which I'm sharing today. I plan to read this book with my ten year old daughter when I return from my book tour. I'll share my thoughts and an interview with the author then.

Review by John Waverly.

Before I get into my review there are two things you must know.

First, this book doesn't come out until Fall of 2011, so you'll have to wait.

Second, everything in this book is absolutely true. I used to work as a Janitor and still remember the daily battles with Toxites. I miss my magic brooms, vacuum, and dust rags. And I'm incredibly jealous that Spencer and Daisy got to use mops. Mops! My boss never let me use the mops.

My Review: Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

The other day, I had several new books I wanted to read. Sadly, I can only read one at a time, so I decided to skim through the first chapter of each one. I picked up Janitors first and didn't close it until I'd finished the entire book.

Janitors is a fun and zany story with a good middle-grade voice and lots of wonder and action. If you are 8-12 years old, or have kids in that age, or (like me) you still act that age you'll enjoy this book.

Back Copy

Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it's draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve-year-old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy "Gullible" Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers. Who can Spencer and Daisy trust and how will they protect their school and possibly the world?

Janitors is book 1 in a new children's fantasy series by debut novelist Tyler Whitesides.

You'll never look at a mop the same way again.

About Guest Reviewer John Waverly

Like most writers, John Waverly lives a triple-life. By day he is a software designer for Fortune 500 companies. By evening he is a coach/taxi driver/chef/referee/maid/psychologist to four wonderful children and tries to complete something off his honey-do list every once in awhile. At night, he writes modern stories full of action and magic.

You can find out more about John on his blog, Facebook Page, or Twitter.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop

Don't forget that my fundraiser for the Christian Youth Theater is going on right now! Please support youth with special needs as they develop their talents of acting, singing, and dancing. You can order at any Barnes & Noble nation-wide or even online at  www.bn.com/bookfairs until August 3rd. Please use book fair #10512580.



This week, I'm participating in the awesome Summer Giveaway Hop. There are literally hundreds of blogs giving away books from August 1st through the 7th. Check them out. Enter to win. Then cross your fingers and hope for a happy email to arrive!

Here on Queen of the Clan, you can enter to win your choice of one of the following books:

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel by Danyelle Ferguson & Lynn Parsons, M.S.

 Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards

Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes

Rebound by Heather Justesen

To enter, simply follow my blog and leave a comment about which book you'd like to win. Be sure your contact info is either public on your blogger profile or leave your email address too. Contest closes on August 7th at midnight.

I will be on my book tour until August 11th. I'll try to announce the winner on the 8th, but it may not be until the tour is over. Have a wonderful week!

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.