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Reading Roundup | November 2016

Reading Roundup November 2016: Book reviews for The Lampfish of Twill, Repurposed Faith, Potty Training for Dummies, and Potty Training for Boys

I know, I know…I say it every month…but boy did this month just fly by! It seems like less than two weeks ago we went Trick-or-Treating, and now before my eyes, Thanksgiving is over, and the house is decorated for Christmas. Luckily, I was able to read four and a half books for this month’s reading roundup.

Reading Roundup November 2016: Book reviews for The Lampfish of Twill, Repurposed Faith, Potty Training for Dummies, and Potty Training for Boys

Potty Training For Dummies

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We decided to try potty training around Halloween. So, I read this book in hopes of advice in addition to all my friends’ and family’s advice and tips. It was the first “For Dummies” book I’ve ever read and I can tell that I do not like the set up of this series–it’s too crowded, to junk-y.

I did get some good tips, but they tried to be as generic as possible. They also switched back and forth from referring to your toddler as a him or a her and with different names. I know they were trying to appease to both moms of girls and of boys and of different cultures, but it got really annoying. There was also a ton of links to specific brands of training potties or apps, etc. Did they expect me to type the entire URL out after reading the book? Because this book tried to be light-hearted for the series, even though it was “written” by PhD’s and pediatric specialists, I feel that it was ghost written by some intern.

Potty Training for Boys: The Easy Way

This was a much more useful book. I mean, for starters, it was specifically geared towards boys, who apparently have different issues with potty training with girls. It helped me get into the mindset of my almost 2.5 year old son and see things the way he sees them, which helped me a lot. It gave a lot of specific tips and tricks to help boys and made me a lot more confident about quitting potty training for now. I’ll definitely pick it up again when we start again. It also give a lot of troubleshooting and different methods for different boys. Even Justin read this book!!!

The Lampfish of Twill by Janet Taylor Lisle

Book review of The Lampfish of Twill for Reading Roundup November 2016

I actually unknowingly read another one of Lisle’s books before: The Afternoon of the Elves, and to be honest, liked that one better. This book follows young Eric, an orphan being raised by his aunt in the perilous fishing community of Twill. Twill is settled on harsh cliffs near rough waters. Fishing is all they know, and it is a dangerous game on their shores–they are used to lives being lost constantly. However, the lampfish brings them hope. These legendary fish are huge and provide a ton of meat as well as bones and oil for deeply needed supplies. However, they are rare and extremely tricky to hunt and catch. After meeting weird, mystical old Mr. Cantrip, he begins to change his mind on fishing lampfish after he learns the truth about them.

I am unsure on how I feel about this book. I think the writing could’ve been better. The ending was a bit anti-climatic, as was the climax itself. It just kind of fizzled out with no real resolution. It was also confusing at times. But, I did like the culture that Lisle created for the village of Twill. It would definitely be an interesting read for a junior high class to do together!

Repurposed Faith: Breathing New Life into Your Quiet Time by Rosie Williams

Book review for Repurposed Faith for Reading Roundup 2016 November

** I received a copy of this book from Ambassador International Publishing in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

This book is about taking your quiet time you use in the Word or studying devotionals and making it more purposeful, more intentional. Sometimes, we either get out of the habit of daily scripture reading, and sometimes, we just go through the process of reading verse after verse without really getting any meaning out of it. I know that I’ve had that issue recently…Rhys has been waking up a bit earlier ever since Daylight Savings, which is during my daily scripture study time. So, I try to do scripture study while Nick Jr. is on…I haven’t really gotten a lot out of it this past month. So, I’m now trying books only for Rhys while I read scriptures.

What I love about this book is that Williams gives all sorts of different suggestions on how to be more purposeful with our scripture study in ways that will benefit us and our personalities. She also mentions promises that God gives to us for when we are intentional about studying His Word. I think that sometimes, we all need a small reminder on how to be better about our personal time with God and Christ.

What books did you read this month?

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Trusting in God

My husband is a private person. I am not. If up to me, I’d tell the whole world my entire life story. But, my husband is a bit more decisive on what he likes or wants to share. I know bloggers who are completely transparent about their personal lives. My husband prefers to draw a line in the sand between our personal lives and our blogging lives, and sometimes I like to flirt with that line.  However, I feel this time should be handled differently. And, as much as I’d love to write more for therapy and support, I highly respect my husband. So, all I’m going to say is this:

I’m very sorry I’ve been absent from social media for a while. In the same short time period, we have received some wonderful news for our family as well as some devastating news affecting us directly. Justin prefers to keep quiet about both for now, and I’ll will follow that request.

But, timing is a butt. It truly is.

I know the apostle Paul once said that he “glories in tribulation”, but to be completely honest, I am sick and tired of all the trials Justin and I have been given in our almost 4 years of marriage. We’ve had our fair share, I feel. The worst (before now), was right before Rhys was born…we hadn’t found a place to live yet and Justin hadn’t found a job yet. I wanted to give up having faith that God would provide for us. But, just at my lowest point, God spoke to me and answered my prayer. In a fatherly tone, he then commented, “See, I told you.”

I’m trying really hard to keep that lesson in mind right now. But, even though I want to give it all up, wallow in pity, and say “woe is us, we are destined for a lifetime of disappointments,” there is a small spark of hope left.

Yesterday, while trying to figure out a scripture to post for my #sharegoodness Instagram post, Proverbs 3:5-6 kept coming to my head:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

God is trying to teach me the same lesson. I’m afraid of making light of our situation, which should not happen. But, I’m trying my absolute hardest to not doubt. The Lord does have a plan. He will help us. I may not understand when or how or why He is doing it the way He is, but He requires and demands my trust. I want to give Him that trust. Things will work out for the best for our family in the end.

So, if I am not super responsive or present on any social media, or light-hearted and jovial, please be patient with me as Justin and I try to navigate the next few weeks.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Hopeful Church

Not your typical heaven and hell outcome. Because of HIM, because of His Grace, we can all live again because He loves us so dearly and so deeply. #hallelujah

The more I become an adult, the more I begin to understand the doctrine of my church more and more. Being a teacher, and now being a mother, has opened up my eyes and allowed me to glimpse at what it must be like for our loving Heavenly Father. And, the more and more I feel for Him, but the more and more I am so grateful for such a hopeful church.

I have been Mormon all my life, as you know. Throughout my life, I have heard from friends, Internet, articles, history, school, literature, etc. of heaven vs. hell. I have read and heard of ministers preaching brimstone and fire. I have seen and learned of religious men and women who have the fearterror (not the fear-respect) of God. I have felt for my friends and characters who mourn lost ones who failed to join their religion because they believe they won’t end in heaven.

What a relief for me in what I and my religion believes. We have a more hopeful outlook in the afterlife.

Not your typical heaven and hell outcome. Because of HIM, because of His Grace, we can all live again because He loves us so dearly and so deeply. #hallelujah

Christ died so that we may live. Through His Atonement, He gave the greatest gift to mankind–GRACE and the hope of eternal life. In the LDS Church, we believe that after the say all and end all, after the end of the world, the Millennium, the Judgement, and the ultimate success and triumph of Christ and Heavenly Father over Satan, there is a wonderful plan for us. (Click here to read more about the Mormon view of the afterlife and the 3 degrees of heaven.) We don’t believe in “heaven” and “hell” in a traditional sense. But, we do believe in 3 kingdoms of glory. The highest is where God and Christ have domain and where the most righteous of His followers will live forever after. Then, two lower degrees, both of which are still better than any life known here on Earth. Even the sinner, the murderers, the bad guys have a chance to repent and accept Christ as their Savior and the only Way in the after life.

This is because if we mess up, if we sin, and of course we will-we are mortal men, we have the opportunity to repent and to receive His grace and forgiveness. There is no limit to the amount of times we can repent and use His Grace. How hopeful is that!?!

God is our loving Father. We truly believe that He is our literal father and we are His literal children. Because of this, He cares so deeply for us. He is not truly a vengeful God. Yes, the Old Testament describes Him as such, but do you really think that God would change between the Old Testament and the New Testament? God does not change. But, our understanding of Him does. He knew that we would fail constantly to our carnal and mortal weaknesses, and because He loved us so much, He sent His only Begotten Son, Christ, to atone for us. God loves us as children because we ARE His children. Therefore, although He may be very, very exasperated at us, He still loves us and desperately wants us to succeed and return to Him.

I am coming to understand this more and more with each passing year. Being a teacher to junior high students really opened my eyes to this characteristic of a long-suffering, disappointed, but still ever-loving God. Teaching is all I ever wanted to do when I grew up. It was (and still is) my passion in life. I immediately formed a loving, caring bond for each and every one of my students. My goal was to help them succeed. And, as a teacher, after getting to know them and see their work, I could tell what their potential was. I knew what their abilities were. I knew what they were capable of achieving. Of course, God knows that about all of us–He created us!

But, alas. I taught 12-14 year old kids. Of course many of them didn’t care about school work. Of course many of them weren’t living up to their potential or ability. It exasperated me. I wanted so badly for them to succeed because 1) I knew they could, 2) I knew it would relieve them and make them happier. I would tell my students that I knew they could do better. I told them how much I wanted them to succeed. I explained to them that I didn’t like their current grades, it twisted my stomach. But, that their current grades going home on report cards should be a lesson. Tomorrow was a fresh start. Tomorrow they could try again. Tomorrow we could forget about yesterday’s failed test or forgotten homework, or misbehavior. Tomorrow we could and would do better. Many times, I’d give them a second chance–I’d extend deadlines, I’d allow them to correct tests for points back. I would always plead with them to take the opportunities I was giving them. However, I never forced them. It was their decision. They already knew what was expected, and they had their agency. Many never did, even though in class they would promise to do better, they would promise to submit a paper, promise to do corrections, promise to get a parent signature. A few did, a few would apologize even though they did everything I ever asked and more. I knew there were some who really did struggle but always went above and beyond in their effort. Those were the few that I really cherished. I used them as examples. I wanted them to help lift up and encourage their peers. There were times I’d be very passionate in my lectures about wanting them to do better, about their potential, about giving them second chances. Many times I would warn it was the last time I was going to give them this opportunity. But, I’d still offer it on other assignments. It hurt when they didn’t try, but I never gave up being hopeful.

Can you see how I believe I am beginning to understand my Father in Heaven better? He has given us all agency. He has given us all commandments and expectations. Sometimes we fall short. He asks us to repent and to change. We promise to do better. But, then fall short again. He admonishes us to do better and forgives us again. We promise to do better and then fail again. He warns us to repent and change. We do…for a short amount of time. But, I cannot emphasize enough the amount that He loves us. He loves us so much that He has already given us the knowledge that He will triumph. That we have a hopeful future. That we can always ask forgiveness, receive Grace, and try again and become better. That we will be with Him afterwards.

What a hopeful church I belong to!

Tayler signature


Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

What I Love About My Faith | #LoveBlog Challenge

What is it about religion and faith that is so important? That causes wars of blood and words to be fought? That causes such deep soul anguish and such ethereal happiness?It is what the religion teaches, what it promises, what it provides, and how it makes you feel. I am so grateful to my religion and I love it so much.  These are the reasons why.

What do you love about your faith? I love the Atonement, and the hopeful view of the Gospel the LDS faith brings
Jesus Christ’s Atonement
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He is Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. He is our eldest brother. He lived and died that we may die and live again. Through His infinite atonement, we can be forgiven of our sins and live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. For more information on His Wonderful sacrifice and Atonement, click here.

Eternal Families
We believe that in our church, we can be sealed together for all time and eternity. “Until death do you part” has no place in our religion. When we are married in an LDS Temple, a husband and wife are married to each other forever. And, all your children are automatically part of that promise. So, we believe families can be together forever. To learn more about our view on eternal marriage and eternal families, click here.

The Community
We Mormons are super tight-knit. No matter where you move, you can easily look online for your new congregation family because we are organized by geographical location. We have callings to help minister to each other personally and individually. To learn more about the culture and community of Mormons, click here.

The Temples
Have you ever seen a Mormon temple? They are beautiful! Such gorgeous architecture. But, more than how they look is what I experience in them. The Temple is a place for individual learning, growth, and communication with our Savior and Father. Sacred ordinances are performed there for those living and by proxy for those deceased. It is such a peaceful, tranquil, loving place. To learn more about Mormon temples, click here.

Hope in the Afterlife
We have a very positive, hopeful view of the afterlife. We believe families will be together forever. We believe in three kingdoms of glory. We don’t necessarily believe in a fire and brimstone hell. I don’t really want to get into the theological details in this post, but you can learn more about the Plan of Salvation (or the Plan of Happiness as we sometimes call it) here. But, the point being, because Christ died for us, we can ALL have a chance to return to the highest degree. 

What are your religious beliefs? What does your faith teach about love? How does your faith influence your relationships?

And now, I want to introduce two new friends, my lovely co-hosts for the #LoveBlog Challenge.

Brita Long: Christian feminist blissfully married to Dan Fleck for almost two years. Lover of Paris, pink sparkles, sensible shoes, manicures, and books. Fueled by hot tea and mimosas.

Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Tumblr // Google+ // Bloglovin

Meet Alessia Cesana: Catholic bachelorette in the big city of London, navigating the world of dating and broken hearts like a Carrie Bradshaw in mantilla veil and ballet flats. Historian, professional geek and charity co-founder in her spare time. Loves Jane Austen, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, her Ray-ban Wayfarers and Tim Stanley’s hair.

Twitter // Instagram

And of course, Me: Mormon stay at home mom married to her best friend, Justin, for 3.5 years. Mother to 19 month old Rhys. “Retired” history and English teacher, runner, lover of video games, fantasy, books, and cooking. Consumer of Italian food, chocolate, steak, and strawberries.



Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

My Trial of Faith

I was born a Mormon. I have always been a Mormon. I have never ever doubted my Mormon Church. I consider myself educated and well-rounded. I’ve had many friends of different denominations. I have researched medieval history (which of course, church and religion is a huge part of). I do my scripture reading. I’ve read about esoteric history. And my testimony that the Mormon church is a true church of God has never diminished.

That all changed earlier this year. I had joined a group of female Christian bloggers. I loved it. I loved feeling the Spirit through them and the example they were setting for me. However, they made me realize that, no matter what church you are a part of, sometimes you lose sight of the core doctrines. This could be because of church responsibilities, other sermons on other moral aspects or rituals of church, life becomes super busy, or trials are heaped upon you. But, I didn’t see that coming from these Christian women. The light of Christ shined through them so transparently and so brightly. I was jealous of that because I was beginning to feel like I was taking my church and my faith in Christ for granted.

Then, one of them posted about how Mormons aren’t Christian. I was taken aback. We worship Christ as Mormons; it’s even in the proper title of our church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and even in our scriptures: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Christ. He is the center and cornerstone of our religion. All of a sudden, everywhere on the internet, I started seeing anti-Mormon stuff. Half-truths, rants from ex-Mormons, bad publicity, rumors exaggerated. My church published some historic essays that revealed that some uncertain things some of us grew up hearing was anti-Mormon was actual truth and fact. It rocked my world. Wrongdoings, mistakes, and errors of the church were becoming evident to me. All of a sudden, I was searching out negative things about the Church. When you begin to intentionally or worriedly search out negative things about your church, no matter what church, a wedge is pushed further and further between you and Christ. 

I was starting to wonder if the Mormon Church was any more true than any of the other Christian branches. I was wondering if there were truths and deeper doctrines of the Church that I wasn’t aware of. I wasn’t trusting of the authority of the Church and was ashamed or disagreed with past and present decisions and actions of the church. I was wondering what I truly believed. I was losing faith in myself. What wasn’t helping were a few friends going through the same issues as me, their own personal trials of faith with the Mormon church. One of them even decided to leave the Church wholly.

After a lot of praying, thinking out loud, and listing my issues, I realized that I wasn’t losing my believe in my church, but I was becoming disenchanted with the Church as an organization. However, my dad gave me some good advice: 1) Does the church say anything contrary to making you a good wife, mother, or person? No. So it is a good church. 2) This is the Church of God being run by mortal men. That really caught my mind. There have always been issues in God’s church. Peter and Paul fought a lot about interpretation God’s doctrine, especially when it came to Jew vs Gentile. The early Catholic Popes had their own issues. Every religion has made mistakes. It’s just that our religion is peculiar because of the Book of Mormon and we are a relatively new religion. This Church hasn’t had as long as others to rectify it’s mistakes or overcome adversity. We are Christ’s Church, but who are we, as mortal men destined to mistake and sin, to run His church? How are we to 100% correctly interpret His intentions and commandments every single time? I began to realize that the Gospel is perfect, even if His church is not.

With more and more praying, talking with my parents, husband, and even my Bishop, I decided to start over. I decided to focus on the center of my religion, which is Christ. I decided that if I got to know Him better, rather than just take Him for granted, if I purposefully sought Him out and tried to intentionally change myself and put more faith in Him and His ways, I might get back to my strong testimony with more understanding and intention.

So, that is where I am at. I have been released from being the 3-4 year old (Sunbeams) teacher so that I can return to adult Sunday School and Relief Society and be edified with the meat I desire of His Gospel. I am staying strong in my personal and couple scripture study. I’m being more intentional with my prayers. I’m reading books on Christ by Mormons and other Christians. I am following General Authorities on Twitter and feeling inspired by their words. I am listening more purposefully in church. I want to be proud of my church and I want to have a strong testimony again and I want to be an inspiring Mormon mother.

I’m not really sure how to end this post. I guess this is a big deal for me since I have never once doubted until recently and am honestly, a little embarrassed by it. But, I feel that I have made some good progress as I have studied more on eucharisteo (giving thanks to God in everything) and tried to better understand the Mormon philosophy on His grace. I still may not have perfect faith in the Church organization.  But what really is the Church of God? An organization and the decisions and policies they make, or the hearts and souls of the Christians? That is what Zion truly is. And that is what I am working towards. So, I will always be a Mormon. I will never leave my religion. But, I will always be trying to improve my relationship and understanding of Christ my brother, my Redeemer, my Lord, my Savior.

I am really loving reading Mormon and Christian books…do you have any recommendations for me?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.