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One of the most fun things about writing for Meridian Magazine (nearly ten years!) is the lovely people and their books that come my way because of my association with Meridian.
Just over two years ago, Jane Birch sent me a copy of her new book “Discovering The Word of Wisdom.” Simple and unassuming, 200 pages and self-published, I let it sit for a couple of weeks. It didn’t look too important and other matters took priority. Upon opening it, however, I couldn’t put it down! It became a life-changer for my husband and I. We read it out loud and made many health changes. I wrote a review for Meridian. Her website, continuing columns at Meridian and devoted work are creating an important movement for many. I was shocked at the time, and still am, how one book could do so much for me personally, and a host of others.
Now I hope the same thing will happen with two books that were given to me this summer from friends through Meridian: Lynne Perry Christofferson with her book, “Sisters, Arise!” and Melanie Tidwell and her book, “Sacred Soul Space.”
“Sisters Arise – Becoming The Woman God Intends You To Be” by Lynne Perry Christofferson.
If you have ever wanted to know what it might be like to grow up in the home of Janice Kapp Perry and her marvelous husband, Doug, this is it, as Lynne is their daughter. They have, of course, imparted their own special brand of wisdom (that we cherish through Janice’s songs, music and articles) to her. Now, with a passionate testimony and deep knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the foundation, Lynne has hearkened to the yearning within her own soul to make the most of covenants and mortality in her own life by encouraging the women within reach of her voice to “Arise!”
In a kind and loving way, she is able to translate the counsel from the Book of Mormon on worldliness into logical and convincing perspectives on our current LDS society and culture. In the sweetest, non-judgmental way, she presents that overriding concerns for fashion, clothing and body image, the appearance of our homes and how we are using our time and talents may be extracting a far bigger part of our resources (including time, money and spirit) than our Heavenly Father ever intended. These choices have far-reaching consequences both immediate and into the eternities that she is able to articulate in a very compelling, appealing way.
What was remarkable about the book for me – besides it’s delightful humor and lovely inside stories of her own family while both growing up as a Perry and now raising her own five children — was that it was NOT a lecture. This book and her voice are gentle teachers and guides that opened my eyes to ways I know my own life could be sweeter and better, and much more in keeping with my Patriarchal blessing and my truest identity as a daughter of God. It is small, with short chapters that are easy to pick up and read, then put-down and ponder.
This is a excellent book for personal reading, for book groups, and for gifts to adult women, daughters and daughters-in-law. Available at Deseret Book and Amazon.
You can read more about the book and articles from wonderful Lynne herself right here at Meridian
and listen to the song she wrote by the same title: “Sister’s Arise.” Both the song and the book will be blessings for you.
Sacred Soul Space – Making Room In Your Life For What You Have To Offer This World
by Melanie Tidwell
When new author Melanie wrote and asked if I’d review the PDF of her book and contribute a comment for the cover, I was glad to agree. Little did I know that I’d be quoting from this book before it was even published! I was writing an article on laughter at the time, and flipped the PDF document to the chapter “Humor Me” which included a brief but hilarious account of a road trip with her sister-in-law and four young nieces and nephews that left me giggling for days. The next thing I knew, I was finding quotes and scriptures from other chapters to share with my husband at dinner, then with the missionaries as they came to visit us, then with a friend on the phone. I was so glad to get my own hard copy after it was finally published.
A book that can make you laugh and cry in quick succession, provide enriching thoughts for conversation and leave you not only feeling BETTER immediately about your own life but equipped with quick, gospel-centered tools to continue to progress is a winner in my book. And much cheaper than professional therapy.
My only real problem with this book was that I thought it was a bedside book and would lull me to sleep. WRONG. It revved me up with ideas and inspiration that provided excitement and encouragement for my own life. After several sleepless nights, I moved it to my morning reading pile to launch, rather than conclude, my day.
While Melanie may be a novice at putting her experiences and ideas into writing, she draws from a deep well that will bless all who drink from it.
It turns out I’m not the only Meridian author who loves Sacred Soul Space. Our beloved Darla Isaacson says:
Sacred Soul-Space is perfectly crafted for busy people in a busy world. It is composed of short, bite-sized chapters, and each is self-contained. When you have just a few minutes, it is easy to enjoy any one chapter separately, but the messages are so compelling you might find yourself reading on and on, as I did. Catchy chapter titles and pithy beginning quotes summarize each message. I like to compare the book to a patchwork quilt because it is made up of so many interesting pieces, yet as a connected whole it is warm and comforting to the soul—just as a quilt is to the body.
The three major sections: Time Expansion and Management, The Emotional Promotional, and Bodyworks offer timely insights, guidelines, and eye-opening tips. I found it easy to scroll down the Table of Contents and find topics that reached out to my current needs. Surely there is something for everybody in this book. Because it is well-written, thought-provoking, clear, and encouraging, I highly recommend Sacred Soul-Space.
I completely agree with another Amazon reviewer:
Sacred Soul-Space is filled with knowledge and tools that are helping me finally make changes I’ve been attempting to make for years. I believe in the concept of expanding time, but until now did not know how to actually accomplish it. Melanie makes it clear with practical steps to take to improve every area of life. Sacred Soul-Space is filled with sage advice, delightful humor, and the wisdom of great minds—past and present.
The many merits of this book for personal understanding and progress stand on their own, but this book is also an absolute treasure box of resources for Sacrament Meeting talks and lessons with quotes from LDS leaders and outstanding leaders to launch each chapter.
Her fresh perspectives on things we know, love and have discussed for a lifetime left me wide-eyed:
When was the last time you heard this quote from Harold B. Lee: “Most men do not set priorities to guide them in allocating their time and most men forget that the first priority should be to maintain their own spiritual and physical strength; then comes their family; then the Church and then their professions, and all need time.” (Bishop’s Training Course and Self-Help Guide, sec. 2, p. 7)
What a blessing that is for acknowledging that personal time to eat wisely and exercise are not selfish! The good thing about Sister Tidwell’s book is that it has a plan for seeing the time that Heavenly Father has already allowed for this.
Another personal favorite in the book was her break-out from understanding the Atonement. Yes, we know and love the “At-One-Ment” perspective. But she goes beyond to see “A-TONE-Ment,” (as in toning and firming muscles) and describes how the Atonement helps us to firm up our understanding of who we are to strengthen our lives and relationship to our Heavenly Father.
Her thoughts on favorite scriptural passages and stories are fresh and meaningful. Had you ever considered that the story of the feeding of the five thousand, with a few fish and barley loaves was not only the story of the Savior’s miraculous powers, but also his love for us through, once again the Atonement. He takes the little bit we are and have, i.e., the five barley loaves and 2 fishes) and magnifies them into something marvelous that blesses all within our reach.
I love this and I love this book. I look forward to learning and growing with it.
Please don’t ask to borrow it, as with this one, I’ll have to say, like the five virgins, “I’m so sorry, but you need your own.” The good thing is, there are plenty of copies and it’s NOT too late!
Sacred Soul Space is available at Amazon, and at Melanie’s website: http://www.sacredsoulspace.info/
Happy Reading! What wonderful books to launch the fall! Well done, though good and faithful servants, Lynne Perry Christofferson and Melanie Tidwell.
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available HERE. She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of ten. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson Tennessee, close to Memphis where they center their online business and Carolyn serves in the Primary Presidency.