Tag: author

Merry Christmas from the Oregon Coast!

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Merry Christmas from us to you!

This year we celebrated early so that some of us can hit the road for Utah and celebrate with the rest of the family.

2019 was a great year for the Symonds family! I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of our lovely chaos with you. Funny, when the noise in the room is made by people I love, it is music to my ears.

I was raised in a large and very close family. We are still very connected through Lassie Hame, our family home on the beach. We text, chat and visit often. Christmas was a time of chaos, good food, and cousins everywhere. I loved it.

Then, later in life, we moved our family to our first home on the Oregon Coast. Although we were just down the road from the beach house, we had quiet Christmases. Traveling to the coast from Utah and even Portland is difficult in winter. Even though we had six children, I missed the constant party atmosphere of my youth.

As we celebrated our early Christmas, I realized I had recreated the big family of my youth. Even though we only had half of our grandchildren and four of our children, it was – in the words of little Maddy, “Glorious Chaos!”

Whether you have a small family, chosen family, a church family, or spend your Christmas in the service of others – I wish you a day of glorious chaos and love!

For those of you who are thinking life at the beach is sand and sun, I thought you might enjoy a little authentic Seaside, Oregon travel conditions! We started out for the airport yesterday! After a three hour drive, a night with my cousins (the best!) we arrived at the airport this morning.  Here is a little peek at our drive. Please don’t judge the backseat driver in the passenger seat (me) wearing her lucky Uggs and giving the driver absolutely sound advice.

Shannon’s List of Favorite Holiday Reads, Fun, and Family Stuff!

Here are a few things I am LOVING this Christmas season.

Each morning, I love to ground myself by starting the day with quiet study. I highly recommend the non-denominational group, Multiply Goodness. Their current study, Advent, O Come Let Us Adore Him

I am a huge fan of, Don’t Miss This, with Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler. They have partnered with LDS Living to provide daily video inspiration and study ideas for families. Do you want to introduce your children to the characters in their nativity scene? Check this out!

#LightTheWorld Check the Hashtag! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has created some beautiful content to help you and your family feel closer to Christ during the Christmas Season. You can find #LightTheWorld here. Here is a beautiful video of the nativity.

I have also been enjoying Emily Belle Freeman’s, Inklings, studyguide for women who want to know more about their role in the Priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Last of all! Have you ever wanted a Life Coach? Meet Lisa Lewis. She has been guiding participants through their 40-day Journey to the New Year. It still isn’t too late to take the journey with us.

Favorite Christmas Movies in 2019

Take a look inside my head! This movie tells the story of how Charles Dickens wrote the Christmas Carol. It is like taking a walk through an author’s mind. I LOVE it! The Man Who Invented Christmas on Amazon.

REVIEW COPIES FREE. For reading all the way to the end of this LONG, LONG, List, if you would like to join my review crew and receive a free copy of Safe House and Finding Hope for an honest and fair review on Goodreads AND Amazon, email me at symondsbythesea1215@gmail.com. Put review crew in the subject line. I will reply ASAP with Kindle versions of my books for the first 20 people who ask.

And don’t forget! My birthday is coming! So until then, I am giving away 100 Kindle Copies of Finding Hope on Goodreads. No hook and a great chance of winning since I am a small town beach author who knows almost no one! Enter here.

 

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World Changer! Debbi Rollo ~ #WaitByTheGate #ChooseLight

Just in time for Christmas and 2020 Book of Mormon study!

Debbi Rollo, author of Book of Mormon Rhymes: A Companion for Family Scripture Study, an inspirational book for parents and families studying the Book of Mormon shared her reasons for a lifetime commitment to writing only clean or inspirational books. She said:

"I believe that this world needs as much clean, uplifting, and inspirational books and material as possible to counteract the darkness and negativity that seems to be increasing. I believe that wholesome entertainment in books and media helps us to feel more joy and uplifts our spirits so we can better fulfill our purposes in life. As an Author, I am happily committed to do my part.'

"I am a convert to the church...

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World Changer! Marie Woodward ~ #WaitByTheGate #ChooseLight

Goodbye Nauvoo FREE on Kindle December 12-15th!

I am so excited to share this book with you! Marie Woodward, author of Goodbye, Nauvoo, a historical fiction, has a beautiful family history around the very subject of her book! Join me to learn why she is committed to writing clean and inspiration books, and the fascinating history behind her novel, including some family history, and a cherished recipe.

Check out this fun fact Marie shared."The picture of the Nauvoo temple image on the cover of my book was taken by my mother-in-law, Cindy Woodward. She was there on vacation and didn't realize a tornado was brewing in the background at the time she took the picture."

Marie recently had a baby. Marie shared this photo of her little family on the day they blessed the new addition to their family and her inspiration for writing clean novels.I asked Marie about her commitment to only produce clean books and she said:

" As a mother, I want to be an example to my children in writing clean and inspirational books. I want to uplift others and write books that people can be inspired by."

Marie carefully researched her own family history and Nauvoo for her beautiful novel. If you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and you know nothing of the history of Nauvoo (spoiler alert), members of the church built the beautiful city in swamp land. They were later driven violently and forced to leave behind their homes and their beautiful temple. It is such an important piece of our culture and history, our Church has rebuilt the temple and returned some of the city to its former glory. You can ...

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World Changer! Trina Boice #WaitByTheGate #ChooseLight

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When you use your dollars to purchase books, movies, or any other form of entertainment you influence the world.  Our purchases of clean and inspirational work support authors who write well-told stories and inspirational books. Together, authors and readers can create change and make a statement. Light the world with books.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To celebrate, Trina Boice, author and podcaster is making her new release,  Ancestry: How to Research Your Family History and Climb Your Family Tree:

FREE on Kindle from Wednesday to Saturday in honor of Thanksgiving!

Twin sisters, Dr. Trina Boice and Dr. Tracey Long, are both university educators and parents of a total of 10 children! Trina is movie critic at Movie Review Mom.com and has a podcast called “Daily Inspirational Quote With Trina” on Amazon Echo devices, as well as a cooking podcast called “The Daily Crumble.” Tracey is a nurse practitioner. They create online courses together.

Trina is also the author of 30 books and was named the California Young Mother of the Year, an award which completely amuses her 4 sons. She teaches online for Brigham Young University and creates online courses at https://lifelonglearningeducation.com/. She’s a movie critic at Movie Review Mom.com and has a daily podcast on Alexa called Daily Inspirational Quote With Trina. She worked as a Legislative Assistant for a Congressman in Washington D.C., and was given the “Points of Light” Award and Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her domestic and international community service.  She was selected by KPBS in San Diego to be a political correspondent. She taught classes at the famous Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College and says she has the weight gain to prove it. If she told you what she really did she’d have to kill you.

I asked Trina why she is committed to writing only clean or inspirational books and this wise woman shared her truth:

“We don’t need any more garbage in the world!”

Amen, Trina, Amen!

About the book: Ancestry: How to Research Your Family History and Climb Your Family Tree

Use These Powerful Genealogy Techniques to Immediately Begin Finding Information About Your Family Tree!

You’re about to discover how to…
Learn more about yourself when you learn about your ancestors! This book will help you know what to do with all of those old family photos sitting in a box and how to connect them to real names and dates. You’ll learn how to use popular and free web sites to gather information and build your personal family tree. Find and meet living relatives who can help you research and share more information, including stories, photos, and vital documents.

In addition to the helpful tips and “how to” information, you will also be inspired as you read true stories from people just like you who witnessed miracles as they researched their own family information. There are pages filled with fun and creative ways you can celebrate your family and honor your heritage. Even kids will become interested in helping you search for more information about your family!

You need this book today!
Here Is A Preview Of What You’ll Learn…

  • How to find information about your ancestors online.
  • How to organize the information and records you find.
  • What to do when you hit a brick wall in your research.
  • How to get information from your ancestors’ tombstones when you can’t travel to the cemeteries where they’re buried.
  • How to find heirlooms and artifacts that belonged to your ancestors.
  • How to connect with living relatives
  • How to share information with other people who are researching the same ancestors you are.
  • How to get your family and children interested in genealogy.
  • How to plan a family reunion.
  • How to honor your heritage in creative ways.
  • How to qualify for university scholarships based on your heritage and ethnicity
  • What to do with ancestors who were adopted.
  • How to create memorable family events and traditions

Just in time for Cyber Monday! Trina’s book on shopping secrets: 

The Ultimate Mystery Shopping Guide: How To Get Paid To Eat, Shop, & Play by Trina Boice

What is it, you ask? I tell my friends who are curious about it that mystery shopping is when companies pay you to act like a “normal” person and evaluate their business. The idea is that companies want to know what’s really happening in their retail stores, restaurants, and other establishments, so they pay mystery shoppers to go in and evaluate their experiences, while acting like a regular customer. The “mystery” is that the companies being evaluated don’t know about it.

Well, their managers and owners know and are paying to have an evaluation done, but they don’t know which customer is the one doing the actual assignment. The employees do not know if or when a mystery shopper is coming. That’s where YOU step in!

The book includes helpful information and practical tips on:
WHAT IS MYSTERY SHOPPING?
IS IT LEGIT?
REGISTERING WITH COMPANIES
TOOLS YOU NEED TO SUCCEED
GETTING ASSIGNMENTS
SUPPORT
THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRITY
WRITING YOUR REPORT
GETTING PAID
SAMPLE REPORT
THE LIST OF COMPANIES FROM A TO Z
BONUS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Find Trina Boice’s Books on Amazon! 

Check out Trina Boice’s Website

Many of Trina’s books can also be found at LDS Bookstores

Young readers check out Trina Boice on Instagram

Fans of Trina Boice can follow her like true fangirls/guys on Facebook

Subscribe to Trina Boice’s Podcast and YouTube Channel 

For all you serious readers! Follow Trina Boice on Goodreads

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World Changers! Christa Jaussi #WaitByTheGate #ChooseLight

Watch "Brother's Keeper" ~a powerful book trailer by Christa Jaussi

Sharing this book is a sincere pleasure. I don't know anyone who hasn't been touched by suicide in their lives. The joyful holidays can lead some of us to compare ourselves to others or to feel alone, pressured. This holiday, I hope Christa Jaussi's book reminds you that connection and loves ones are priceless, and that you matter. Every

Thursday I feature an author committed to writing clean or inspirational books. Each time, I am moved by the quality of authors and the importance of their work. This book, Brother's Keeper-a fictional novel based on author's experience of losing brother to suicide-, by Christa Jaussi has important content for our times. We are losing too many of our young people. Although it is fiction, it can start conversations and open dialogues with family members about suicide.

Christa Jaussi lost her brother to suicide in 2005...

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World Changer! Marty C. Lee! #WaitByTheGate #ChooseLight

When you use your dollars to purchase books, movies, or any other form of entertainment you influence the world.  Our purchases of clean and inspirational work coupled with well-told stories and inspirational books can create change and make a statement.

Thursdays, I like to feature authors committed to writing clean or inspirational books like Marty C. Lee, author of the Unexpected Heroes Series. I asked Marty why she chooses to write only clean fiction. Marty's answer gave away her wonderful sense of humor. She said:

"I like reading books that don't have ickiness in them, so that's what I write. My motto is "Hope, Humor, and Happy Endings."

I knew I liked Marty when I visited her blog and read her Thanksgiving reading list. She included one of my all-time favorite audiobooks, Chickens in the Headlights, by Matthew Buckley (Biography. Also hilariously funny).

About Marty C. Lee

I asked Marty C. Lee to tell me a little about herself. Marty said her characters take over her brain on a regular basis. If you catch her muttering to thin air, she’s probably arguing with one of her characters. She has learned to keep a notebook by her bed to jot down ideas so she can go to sleep and deal with them in the morning. In between writing and spending time with her family, she reads, embroiders, gardens, and teaches small children at church. She prefers walking over bicycles or cars, because her feet are less scary. (If she walks, she can read at the same time, which is a nice bonus).

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World Changer! Shawn Pollock #WaitbytheGate #Chooselight

On Thursdays, I feature authors who are committed to writing clean or inspirational fiction. Shawn Pollock has done both with his debut novel, The Road to Freedom. I asked Shawn why he is committed to writing clean books and his reply made me smile. He includes a great quote from one of America's best selling and revered authors.

He said:"I see no need for wall-to-wall profanity or smut to make a story good and compelling. I can't imagine anyone finishing a book and saying, "It was good but they could have cussed more." I also want to have characters come out...

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World Changer! Sandra Meaders! #WaitByTheGate #ChooseLight

Sandra Meaders studied English and minored in Creative Writing and History at Southern Virginia University and earned her master’s degree in Literature from the University of Akron. Currently, Sandra is raising three children, managing a blog, and doing freelance editing on the side. Lehi, Lehi, What Do You See? is her debut children’s book.

I asked Sandra why she chooses to write clean and inspirational books and, as a creative mom, what she does for General Conference weekend."I write clean books that I would want my children to read. They are my inspiration...

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World Changer! Deb Goodman #1 on Amazon! #WaitbytheGate #Chooselight

This Thursday's world changer, Deb Goodman's novel, "Billionaire Doctor" was the #1 Bestseller on Amazon! Deb is more than a prolific author of fun and romantic novels. She also writes articles, edits for authors like me, and is a regular member of our Storymakers Critique group! I asked Deb why she is committed to writing only sweet, and clean fiction. She said,"I want to be sure my books reflect God’s love for his children. I wouldn’t ever want to write something that...

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Why I went BACK to Church OR People Say the Darndest Things!

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I will never forget the moment I realized that everything I believed about my sweet life was wrong and that I needed to leave behind my marriage, my adorable little home, and essentially everything I was or thought I was. I stood in a therapist’s office on the phone. I was calling my mother to ask her to watch my children overnight so I could go home for the last time and pack to leave my innocence and shattered hopes. The conversation went something like this…

“Hi Mom. Can you keep the girls one more night?”

“How long is this going to take, Shannon? I have a lot of things to do.”

“An eternity, mom.”

The line was silent. She knew where I was. She knew what I meant.

At that moment in time, more than anything on earth, all I needed was someone to hold me and tell me we would be okay. That we might be homeless and helpless, but that they would be there for us and that our Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost would never, ever, leave our side. But that isn’t what happened.

Heaven will forever bless my family. Even though my parents had their hands full, they made room for us. And may God forever bless the members of my mother’s church, who knew me as a young woman, and never doubted me or my decisions.

But, may Heaven forgive the people at church who said the darndest things.

I wish I could say that my experience of having people at church make unbelievable statements is rare. It isn’t. Survivors of domestic abuse, infidelity, spousal addiction, and those of us who struggle to keep difficult marriages together, and all the other things life throws at us, have heard it all.

Have you ever said something to someone at church and regretted it? I know I have. Do you wonder what to say to your fellow church members who are struggling with challenges like mine? Or do you wonder why people care so much about what other people say? Shouldn’t we just buck up, get over it, and do what is right?

Five months into my divorce, I rented a house and began attending church in a new town. They had all seen the single mother and her five small children move in. From the moment I crossed the threshold at the neighborhood church, people said the darndest things. Here is a short list:

“Have you ever been to church before?”

“I heard you’re divorced. There are two sides to every story.”

“I think people should try harder.”

“You should go home and put your marriage together as God intended.”

And, “Why did you marry him? There are always signs. You should have known.”

Gradually I stopped talking to people. Eventually,  I would randomly go to my mother’s church. At one point, I stopped talking to anyone at all except a kind neighbor and my family. Then, to avoid a complete mental breakdown, I began hiring a sitter so I could run once a day because my therapist said it would help.

My sweet father held a garage sale so he could buy me very expensive Nike running shoes and the best in Nike running gear for the over one hundred degree summer temperatures. One of the local clergy said a prayer in a meeting, and in the prayer blessed that I would stop running through town in shorts (honestly. I would have laughed if I wasn’t so concerned for the clergy’s mental health).

I am tough. In fact, I have pretty thick skin. The topper will not be repeated here. Suffice it to say, I left  the church and didn’t return for more than a year.

I wish I could say I was alone. Recently, I have spoken to several women who are struggling with the things family, friends, and church members are saying to them at their most vulnerable moments.

I had come to church, bruised, beaten, broken to fill my soul and find connection and sisterhood. I had found something I would learn later was, “Victim Blaming.”

We have all done it. We have seen a couple in our little church get divorced. It rocks us. We look at them and wonder what happened. We think things like, if it happened to them, could it happen to me? They seemed so perfect.

Then, out of fear, we look for ways we are different. We think and actually say things to each other like, “It happened to them because he drinks. We don’t drink so it can’t happen to us. I would have left him too, the poor Alcoholic.” or worse, “Of course he cheated on her. Have you seen how she treats him or keeps house?”

We are engaging in typical victim blaming. It is more obvious, when we examine situations containing abuse. It is easier to see when people say things like, “She was sexually assaulted because of how she dressed.” She was sexually assaulted because the perpetrator made the choice to assault her. Only one person is responsible. The person who hurt her.

Victim blaming is how we make sense of our world. If random abuse can happen to people due to other’s random agency or choices, then we might get hurt. But, if we can find the reason it happened to “someone else” we can exclude ourselves from harm. We look for the difference between us and them, because it is like looking for Dumbo’s magic feather.

As survivors, we are already looking for a way it is our fault. It is our fault because we are loud, fat, or made bad choices. Just like others, who victim blame, we are desperately seeking a way to make sense of the senseless.

Here is what Elise Lopez, a researcher said in DomesticViolence.org’s article, Why We Blame Victims for Domestic Violence: 

“Why do some people jump to blame the victim? At its core,…victim-blaming is about self-preservation.

Compare these reactions to how some people respond to seeing a photo of an overweight person, says Lopez. “People think, ‘If I were overweight, I’d go to the gym every day and I would lose that weight.’ They don’t think about how hard that would be,” she says. …They think if somebody is being abused, they probably did something to incite it.” In essence, if people can find a reason why abuse is the victim’s fault, then abuse is something that can not only be controlled but prevented. And, in turn, it won’t happen to them.”

So, what do you say to people whose lives are falling apart?

Speak honestly, from the heart. You don’t understand. You can’t, unless you have lived their life. Only one person understands, the Savior. Avoid judgment. Try to be a judgement free and shame free friend. Leave the judgment to the Savior.

Things to say to domestic violence or sexual assault survivors:

  1. I am glad you survived.
  2. It isn’t your fault.
  3. Whatever decision you make, I will support you. I know you know what is best for you.
  4. I may not know how you feel,  but I am here to (list anything you are willing to offer including time, provide service, be a friend, always be by their side).
  5. Listen (No words necessary).

We all have friends who are making serious decisions or engaged in heartbreaking challenges. LDS Living’s article, The LDS Divorce Experience talks about members of the Church of Jesus Christ  of Latter-Day Saints. They share statistics which show prior to divorce nine percent of those surveyed were less active and eight percent were not attending church. After, six percent occasionally went, eight percent had a short period away (that was me), six percent stopped going, and then two percent increased their activity.

Interestingly, even though I was too tender to deal with the looks, the words, the strange things people said, I personally felt an increase of the spirit. Although, I was wrestling with who I was and how I wanted to live; I prayed more, read my scriptures more, and felt the sweet peace of the Savior’s love for me in miracle after miracle. I admire the two percent who increased their activity and developed the ability to seek what they needed to connect and heal. Maybe, because I write, words mattered too much to me.

During the years I was putting my life back together, I develop compassion for people who struggle. I gradually got my feet back underneath me. I was not only running for sanity; I was running towards the Savior. I experienced the mightiest miracles during my darkest times.

While I was still inactive, I was blessed to have the rare opportunity to meet with an Apostle in my church, President James E. Faust. President Faust spent an hour asking me about my experience as a sister in the church during my trials. At the end of the meeting, he very gently asked me why I was inactive. I shared the things that had been said and transpired. He was straightforward and honest in his opinion. he was compassionate and caring.

He said the darndest thing. “Why aren’t you active?” Four little words said with love and compassion, a listening ear, and an honest response.

That was it. I went back.

People say the darndest things. Things like, “I love you,” or “I don’t care what you choose, I will be here for you.”

“The reality is, the depth of our relationships is correlated to the time in which we’re willing to spend together. It’s marked by our honesty and vulnerability with one another, by the things we have in common, and in our service to one another.” MultiplyGoodness.com

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