Friday, January 13, 2017

Daughter of Ishmael


by Diane Stringham Tolley



In one statement, Father Lehi and Father Ishmael had stripped her gentle, girlish dreams and replaced them with stark reality. She was marrying a stranger.

When Hannah learns she will be given in marriage to a son of Lehi, she dreams of raising children in the paths of righteousness with a worthy priesthood holder. Instead, she is met with unimaginable hardship: an arduous journey, a cowardly husband, and possible infertility. Hannah had promised herself long ago that she would follow the Lord and His prophet, but when she thinks her journey is over, she is faced with an impossible choice between faith and family.

These oft-heard stories of the Book of Mormon come to life in a new light in this gripping novel crafted by Diane Tolley. Hannah, daughter of Ishmael, leads a hauntingly-similar life to that of Hannah in the Old Testament. She is beautiful and wise, polished by the hardships and difficult choices thrust upon her. Will she stay true to her faith and lose her family? Is her family already lost?

This is an enjoyable read that will cause you to reflect on your own life, your faith, and your choices for time to come. Experience the Book of Mormon story in a new light.



Diane Tolley lives on the great Alberta, Canada, prairies. She comes from a family of writers, and loves her craft. She has two delightful Christmas novels: Carving Angels and Kris Kringle’s Magic. You will love Daughter of Ishmael as well.


Thanks, Diane. We’ll look for the sequel. Hope to see it soon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Magic of Listening

            As a therapist, I had many clients that came to me, looking for advice to solve their problems. I am always hesitant to give advice. Healing is within all of us. Look inside and listen to your internal wisdom. You have the capacity to mend yourself—to polish and refine your nature to become your best self.


I was on a commuter train the other day, and a lady came up to me and asked if I had been a therapist in Las Vegas. I said I had been. She said she had been one of my clients. I didn’t recognize her, but she introduced herself, and I remembered her.
“I appreciate all you did for me,” she said.
I smiled and said I was glad.
“You helped me find goodness in myself.”
I hugged her.
“As you listened to me talk about my problems, I began to see value in myself. I found the self-worth I needed to direct my life.”

Listen to yourself.
*You have the innate capacity for healing yourself.
*Spend some time each day in meditation.
*Picture yourself in a beautiful internal garden or on the sea shore.

*Look for an internal guide, walking there to be your mentor.
*This mentor may be someone you know, a family member, or a wise teacher.
*Discuss your problems with this counselor.
*This internal guide will listen.
*The two of you decide together the direction that is best for you.

The best you have is within you. Access it and become your best self during 2017.

Those who seek to listen to their own inner voice forget to listen to the judgment of others. Vironika Tugaleva




Monday, December 26, 2016

Less Is More

When I was young, I had a baby doll named Coralee that I loved.  She was my best friend. We discussed our problems, went on adventures together, and just hung out. Coralee helped me pick the peas in the garden and crack apricot nuts.


My friend Kate had lots of dolls. She invited Coralee and I to tea parties and picnics in the park. Coralee and I happily joined her crowd. Kate's bundle of dolls went everywhere she went. She tried to keep track of them all. But she would invariably forget one of them in the park to be rained on, or she would leave another in a store to be picked up by another child. There were too many to keep track of.



Coralee and I were best companions. Kate and her dolls were acquaintances. I didn’t want acquaintances. I wanted a best friend. I couldn’t love so many dolls.

Do you have too many things in your life?

Our society has a mentality of abundance. When we have too many  things, we develop a throw-away mentality like my friend. If she lost a doll, it was okay. She could always get another one.

That’s not for me. I like my few things, and I cherish them.

Connections: It's all about connection.

For me: Less is more.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fairy Fun

When our children were little, a fairy family would come to our house right after Thanksgiving to stay until Christmas day. They came for fun adventures and to be Santa's helpers in spreading Christmas happiness.

Our kids built elaborate houses for them each year - sometimes out of graham crackers, other times we made homemade gingerbread, and when they wanted a really fancy design, cardboard covered with vanilla wafers. They decorated the yards with candy cane toboggan runs, gumdrop trees and silver sprinkle skating rinks.

The fairies wrote notes to the children to tell of their escapades. One year Tom broke his leg because he got going too fast on the toboggan run and crashed into the gumdrop forest. Another year Melinda and her winged horse needed a high dive to practice jumping into a swimming pool. Aunt Matilda got a cold. Uncle Henry needed honey candy  to cure a tooth ache.

The children watched for the tiny foot prints and little wings. Each night before bed our little ones wrote a letter to the fairies.

The best part was having the fairies help with holiday service projects. Everyone made cards and cookies for older people in the ward. Tiny foot prints magically appeared on the envelopes. Everyone sang for neighbors. We were all sure we could hear the fairy voices. The winged creatures were very good to scout out a house to see if it was safe to door-bell ditch.

We had lots of good times with this over the years, and now the grandkids are in on the fun. They have to watch out, though, because the parents still like to make the houses and get in on the excitement.

Try this in your family. Magic is part of Christmas.