Saturday, December 31, 2011

Answers from Heaven

Song Stuck on the Brain: Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends. I did, in fact I think this was the best Christmas I've had in a long time. No stress, no family drama. Just fun, fellowship and family.
This was our third Christmas without Dad, and although we still think of him often and miss him, our joy in his being at peace makes it easier to deal with those moments when we miss him most.
As a reminder of that, I felt lead to write down an experience I had shortly after Dad died and submit it to a local, church published magazine that shares those testimonies with people all over the world. After emailing it to the editor, I felt like I should share it here as well for any who need a reminder that Jesus is alive today, He loves us, and still actively moves in our lives.

“It’s cancer.” Dad sits upright in the hospital bed, his yellow skin an odd contrast to the white sheets. Jaundice is just one of the many physical signs that his body is broken.

My sisters, Judy and Angel, and I surround the end of his bed and listen while Mom and Dad repeat the doctor’s news. There’s a tumor in the duct between his liver and gallbladder, hidden from all scans until now. After several years of unexplained illness and numerous tests, they found the answer, only it’s too late to do anything. The doctors don't think he has long to live.

As I hear the news that in all rights should have devastated me, instead I feel a deep calm and the words run through my mind, “Everything is going to be okay.” And I knew they were true. We would pray and hope for a healing, but if in the end God called Dad home, it would still be okay. God would take care of us.

One month to the day after hearing the news, our family found ourselves gathered around Dad’s hospice bed. He had quickly slipped from conversation just a few hours earlier to being unable to speak. We each said goodnight, kissed his whiskered cheek and told him how much we loved him. Then, before going to our own home, my sisters and I joined Mom in prayer. Each asking for God’s blessing on Dad that night and giving him over to the arms of Jesus; if it was Dad’s time to go, no one wanted to hold him back from joining his Savior.

Angel and I went home and within a few hours received a call from Mom. Dad had gone peacefully in his sleep. We grieved and we rejoiced. Dad’s greatest desire was to be a part of Zion , to see the evil of this world put away so we could all share together in the loving presence of Jesus. Now he was where he could be happiest, he was no longer ill and could once again take up his ministry from the other side.

We all had many testimonies that came with Dad’s passing, more than I have room to share here, but one in particular stands above the rest for me. About a month after Dad died, on a Saturday afternoon, I went to take a nap. I dreamed that I was sitting in my living room and Dad was sitting across from me. He looked good, much as I remembered him when I was younger, his full beard and hair were red once again. He was dressed in his usual style, plaid dress shirt and suspenders with slacks.

I looked at him with surprise, “Dad?” Excitement flooded through me. “Are you happy?”
“Yes,” Dad assured me.
“What’s it like, can you tell me all about it?”
“No, but you’re going to love it when you get here.” Dad smiled.
“Will we see you again?” I wondered in my heart if this would be the only time for me to see him.
“Yes.” I knew in my heart that Dad’s assurance was true.

I awoke shortly after and was so excited I immediately went to find Angel and tell her. I described our conversation.
“It’s odd that my first question was if he was happy.” I mused. “Of course he’s happy. He’s with Jesus, why wouldn’t he be?”

Angel agreed. In fact, for weeks we had talked about how Dad would finally be able to see the libraries of heaven and learn about all the things that he was so curious about. That was Dad, always curious, always looking for answers and knowledge about everything.

The following day, we joined Mom and the rest of the family at her house for Sunday lunch. Afterward, I told Mom about my dream. She was quiet for a while, and then shared what had happened the night before. Saturday night, she was feeling lonely and sad, really missing Dad. She spent some time reading her scriptures, and before going to sleep, she told God, “If I could just know he was happy, that would help.”

I was amazed and excited. That explained my first question. It wasn’t for me, it was for Mom. God sent her answer on Saturday afternoon, hours before she prayed and asked her question. It was a comfort to all of us and I was reminded once again, that everything is going to be okay. God is truly amazing in His love for his children.
(I was not paid to have this published, it's strictly for ministry.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

GRPR: Wayward Son by Tom Pollack, Jim Alves & John Loftus

Song Stuck on the Brain: Pat-A-Pan by David Archuleta

Today I'm touring a novel on behalf of Glass Road Public Relations.

Wayward Son

Tom Pollack with Jim Alves and John Loftus


Buried near Italy's Mount Vesuvius is a remarkable observatory containing artifacts dating to the earliest record of human events. Only one person-the Getty Museum's Amanda James-can unlock the mysterious doors that guard the chamber.

But once inside, Amanda is shocked to discover evidence left behind by a notorious biblical killer-who long ago wandered off the pages of history.

The first novel of a series, Wayward Son takes the reader on an amazing voyage, where epic adventures in Egypt, Greece, China and Rome collide with modern-day intrigue and suspense.


I intentionally posted the book blurb first this time, because I want you all to see what drew me to sign up for this tour. It sounds exciting! I love archeology and suspense and mystery. However, when it comes to Biblical history, there's a fine line between 'What IF?' and 'Let's just change the facts'.

First off, let me apologize in advance. I hate giving negative reviews, and when I do, I try my best to be honest but not cruel. I hope that shows. I do try to be careful when I choose books to review. I know some books aren't my style, so I avoid them. Speculative Fiction being one of those genres. But in reading the book blurb, I didn't get the impression that this was speculative fiction. If I had, I might not have picked it up. So, I realize some might read this book and have a completely different reaction, but I have to be honest. Here goes.

(SPOILERS) The book started out great. Amanda is an interesting character. So are her contemporaries. The journey to Italy and the triumph of breaking the code to open the buried doors were wonderful. Edge of my seat, ready to go. Then Amanda touches a pendant in the buried room and is sucked through time in spirit to see Cain fleeing his home after killing Abel and being cursed by God. Although a strange and kind of jarring leap, I stayed with it. Remember I love SciFi and Fantasy, so this isn't a stretch for my mind. By the way, this is the Biblical killer mentioned in the back blurb.

Within a few pages, I found myself scratching my head and saying "WHAT?" Cain comes off as a victim, a pawn that is clueless. The Master of Spirits as he calls Satan, is of course rationalizing his murder of Abel and slandering God. No problem there, Satan twists the truth. But what did bother me is that Cain acts as if he doesn't know who this Master of Spirits is, or why any of this has happened. He's just a confused human suckered into this mess and is now cursed.

The KJV isn't as clear on this accounting, but the Inspired Version in Genesis 5 makes it clear that Cain knew who Satan was and had covenanted with him. It says Cain loved Satan more than God. Cain swore a blood oath and begin a secret society that worshiped Satan. Cain may have been a pawn in Satan's plan, but it was not unknowingly or unwillingly. IV Genesis 5:6-26.

My second contention with the plot is that Cain's mark placed by God upon him is immortality. He has super healing abilities and doesn't age. He can't make anything grow if he plants it himself, but he can become ruler in the land and is powerful enough to control the lands around him as well. In KJV Genesis 4:15 it states "...And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." This mark would need to be visible in some way so that people would know not to kill him. Simply allowing him to live forever in no way shows anyone that they shouldn't kill lest they be cursed. The IV Genesis 5:25 states "...and I, the Lord, set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." It's a matter of common sense, we may not know what the mark was, but it did need to be visible or at least known in some way to all who came in contact with him.

Next is Cain's sneaking aboard Noah's Ark to hide as a stowaway. Foraging on food for the animals, he manages to stay hidden from Noah and his family for months. Yes, the ark was only afloat for 40 days, but it took longer for the waters to abate enough for them to leave the ark, nearly a year in fact. KJV Genesis 7:11 "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." Genesis 8:13 "And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first [month], the first [day] of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and NOAH removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry." Noah, a prophet of the Lord was unaware of a stowaway murderer and Satan worshiper on his boat? God stated that only Noah and his family aboard the boat survived.

I could keep going through the novel, but I think you understand why I disliked this book. Although it had an interesting premise, it was a great disapointment to me. I felt like too many liberties were being taken with Biblical truth and couldn't enjoy the story, no matter how well written.


Tom Pollack (center) has a passion for sailing, which led him to a friendship with Roy Disney, and ultimately to the release of Walt Disney Pictures' critically acclaimed motion picture, Morning Light. The film is based on Tom's original idea of documenting the exploits of a group of college-aged sailors recruited to compete against seasoned pros in the Trans-Pacific race from Southern California to Hawaii.

Tom graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor's degree in political science. He resides in Dana Point with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children. Tom serves as President of the Mission Basilica School Foundation in San Juan Capistrano and the Chairman of ExplorOcean, Newport Beach's popular nautical museum.

Jim Alves (left) recently completed a 25-year career in bond sales and trading. He graduated from The University of Massachusetts with a bachelor's degree in finance and economics. He currently is Chief Executive Officer of Prometheus Holdings, a financial consulting firm. Jim resides in San Clemente, California with his wife Jackie and their two young boys, having successfully launched two older sons from the nest.

John Loftus (right) spent 23 years at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), where as a Managing Director he focused on new product development and marketing. A graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, his writings have been published in various financial journals and textbooks. Now President of Cascada Productions, John is also active in philanthropy and the non-profit sector. An Ohio native, John resides in Newport Beach, California, with his wife, Lori. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Glass Road Public Relations provided this book free for review.
For a brief introduction on the differences between the KJV and the IV of the Holy Scriptures, click HERE. For more information on the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ visit Restored for articles and study guides as well as a full, searchable database for all 3 books of scripture and Church history.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A new favorite Christmas recording

The countdown has long begun and I've been busily planning the holiday and baking up a storm, but I had to share one of my new favorite Christmas recordings by Barlow Girl. They give me goosebumps! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Candle Burning Bright

I saw this video on and it had me in tears. It's so moving and a beautiful tribute to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, Jr. suffered a lot for his service, but no more than asked for any servant. Great video and song.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall

Song Stuck on the Brain; Mary Did You Know?

The Christmas SingingA Romance from the Heart of Amish Country


Cindy Woodsmall

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?

Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.

Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration.

Read the first chapter HERE.

Enjoy Waterbrook Multnomah titles? They're offering 30% off and free shipping on The Christmas Singing (and any other title) when you use promo code CHRISTMAS11 at checkout on The coupon code expires on December 20th, 2011.