Baptism and Boomerangs

I recently had the opportunity to read a charming book with the most delightful illustrations.

Baptism and Boomerangs is a new children’s book by author Sherrie LM Gavin. The bright and very Aussie illustrations are by Tatiana Lawton.

Using an Australian boomerang as a metaphor to teach the most important lesson a Mormon child of almost 8 needs to know.

Young Amara and her brother Jack go to the park with Grandad. He teaches them about Heavenly Father’s perfect plan, that we can return to Him. So it is with a boomerang, get the throw right and it will return to you…

Even the love-it-or-hate-it Australian salty spread Vegemite appears in one of the illustrations. Can’t get more true-blue than that. 

I am delighted to recommend this book to you. I received a preview ebook copy to read.

You can purchase a copy here

or at this event in Brisbane


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Becoming self-reliant

This week I attended Week One of a 12 week church course about becoming self-reliant. I had not heard of the course, but was told about it by someone who thought it might be just right for me. The description grabbed my attention. More about that later…

I arrived at class number one eager and excited for the possibilities ahead. I ‘felt’ this was a pivotal opportunity for me. I had received this first manual, (below, yes, it is very orange) and commenced working my way through the exercises. Students are asked to take a private but none-the-less good look at their situations and circumstances.

In class we discussed the letter from the First Presidency which is inside the front cover.

Then we looked at D&C 29:34

‘Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal…’

This scripture is worthy of serious pondering.

Then what happened?

Sign up to receive my next report….


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Revolving doors: adieu, Terrie.

The terminus of life is busy and filed with emotion.

We all experience the joy of arrivals and the sorrows of departures.
I wonder if the revolving door on the other side of the veil has the heartstrings being pulled in reverse.
No doubt there would have been much joy as Terrie arrived. Her family and friends who had gone before, excited to see her.
Would word of her arrival spread in respectful whispers…have children found their way to her side.
Has a little hand slipped into hers?
A year ago, as the west coast slept, in the East Terri would be up early. In Australia I was up late. I’d message her send me your list…these were the early days of MWS.  (Mormon Women Stand where we were co admins, and tech support)
We had quickly developed a smooth comfortable working relationship, which developed just as rapidly into a friendship and mutual support system.
One day the words ‘visiting teaching’ appeared on the list. I asked and she responded she was in the middle of completing a major item on the list, could I help with her visiting teaching? Thinking I would need to whip up a handout for her to print I readily agreed to help. Turned out she had some practical issues. The house was half packed for a move, where were her shoes and an appropriate outfit?
Ok I said you finish up and I’ll, um, pray. Then I’ll work on the list while you are out.
Done. Flashed up on the screen.
I began the next task when suddenly messenger flashed up. ‘How did you do that’?
When Terrie returned she said she had gone into her room and saw her shoes neatly waiting for her with a clean pressed appropriate for visiting teaching outfit hanging alone in the wardrobe.
I laughed and reminded her that’s what she said she needed. We were jointly humbled and grateful. She had completed her local assignment and I’d gotten a few things on the MWS tech list completed.
We worked on more than MWS together.
Terri would send me links to houses she and her husband would be viewing. We laughed our way through a discussion as to whether walking distance to a bookstore was a benefit, or not, with regard to a particular house.
She didn’t want to live in a place called Pottsville. I did some research and wrote back with a list of what I thought were astoundingly positive reasons. The house looked great. The history was remarkable. We talked it through.
So far all our conversations were two subjects: the technical work we were completing behind the scenes, the personal subjects we were discussing.
When Terrie became unwell we talked again. Our conversations changed. Because of my life-long serious health  issues we had new common ground.
We talked of challenges. We talked of faith, courage, surrender. Not giving up but surrender to our Father’s will. We talked of love.
We talked – online typed conversations – several times during her short final journey. The spirit whispered it would be a short journey.
Terrie’s ability to respond became limited and difficult. She told me she could read even if not formulate a response. We agreed just one letter would be fine. I typed support and love. She replied.
Then with silent untyped agreement we stopped.
A few days ago I felt she was about to go. To go home.
A few hours ago, she did indeed go.
Now I think only of the joy that is hers. Her journey here is done, and done well. Very well.
Terrie is already missed acutely and deeply here: by those of us at MWS, admin and community. By her family. Her husband and much loved grandchildren.
I have no tears. Her example was powerful. I think of her as she now is. Her joy.
Terrie’s influence lingers, and will linger long. Very long.
*Note: I had some layout issues with this post, and no Terrie, to scoot over to discuss it with….
Posted in Love, Mormon Women Stand | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Women of the church: what do we get?

Sisters, I’m finding it increasingly frustrating (not hugely, but the irritation is there) hearing from so many quarters about what ‘people’ think we as LDS Women do not have. Should have. Want. Or ought to want. And the limitations and discrimination they perceive this as giving us.

Perhaps we are not there – the perceived destination of everythingness –  but may I say, and I’m backed here by Sheri Dew in this clip, that righteous women in the church generally focus on what we do have. Not what we don’t.

That has been my experience. I am not saying every sister,….but generally speaking

We are busy doing all that Sister Dew listed, and then some. We are focused and dedicated. You know your life, it’s busy.

We are not sitting around crying over what isn’t. Regardless of whether it’s isn’t yet. Or isn’t ever going to be. Why do we need more? 

The question is ‘Women of the church: What do we get?’

Sheri Dew responds…


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Reflections: pondering the Elder Bednar devotional

Elder David A Bednar was recently in Australia. We do not see Apostles here every day, and rarer still is a Prophet’s visit. Though I have listened in person to Spencer W Kimball, Howard W Hunter, Neal A Maxwell, L Tom Perry and Gordon B Hinckley twice: as Apostle and as Prophet. Plus, now Elder Bednar, though not actually in person. But hey, he was here on the same continent as me. So to me that counts.

David A Bednar

The Devotional was in the form of a Q and A session. Members were encouraged to ask serious relevant questions.

The questions ranged from how to change a teenager’s heart to  how to balance work home and family? How do we align our will with that of Heavenly Father, to what can we do to receive the gift of charity? How can we deal with indiscretion in marriage? How can we forgive, through to a single sister seeking guidance for her life circumstances? (that’s me paraphrasing)

Elder Bednar requested that beyond any notes that might be made of the questions and responses he would give, that those listening write down what the Holy Ghost prompted us to do….he encouraged the congregation to seek our own answers to our own specific questions as we listened to the stories and examples he shared.

We are of course, familiar with the lessons contained in the parables that Jesus shared with those seeking enlightenment from him.

For myself I came to understand more about the atonement that I had ever before. A few serious conversations over the next days. A quickening of the mind occurred, the spirit led me to understand the enabling power of the atonement. I had not grasped that before. As I reflected back through various experiences in the years since my baptism, I began to see over and over, a something far beyond my abilities, that truly enabled me to reach and stretch way beyond my natural ability. Smiling with recognition, a certain peaceful joy spread through me. I felt – feel a deep, soul-deep gratitude. I feel loved. I feel trusted. I feel a desire to be trusted even more. To be more worth.

Then into my life came an undesired irritating frustration. I expressed in simple terms how I felt. I received back way more than I expected or thought was deserved or needed. But now something happened. Something different. In the past I would have responded at length and in specific detail where I was at; however when you have learned something, really learned, you need to live by it, apply it. You need to be different. To act differently.  Thus I said nothing. Nothing outward. I turned instead to prayer. I felt a concern and love for what had been shared. I felt able to pray for the other person more than for me.  I felt a peace. I realised the atonement had again enabled me to step away from a habit of behaviour and be, in that moment, a better version of myself.

I am sure that I will not be 100% successful at this 100% of the time. However it is encouraging when one is in a sweeping learning curve, to be able to apply the lessons being taught.

Elder Bednar urged all those present to honour our ordinances and covenants.

Wondering what all this is about? Visit 

Did you attend? What did you learn? What have you learned about the atonement?


 Want to read more about life in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Visit Mormon Women Stand.

Posted in Devotionals, Elder David A Bednar, Inspirational, Reflections, Special Events | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Katarina Jambresic publishes ‘A Global Testimony’

Katarina Jambresic’s journey from war-torn Croatia to Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Scholar and the metropolis of New York City. 

She navigated her way through complex USA migration policies using faith and Tuesday fasting. Now she is the editor of A Global Testimony — 62 power conversion stories from around the world.

(Worldwide ordering options are below)

Read Part 1 of the Katarina Jambresic story: ‘Dreaming of the New World

Read Part 2 of Katarina’s story:  ‘Tuesday Fasting’ on Mormon Women Stand

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Katarina….

When did you start this project? The idea was born on April 21, 2013. I started the next day.

What was the inspiration for the book? I had felt prompted to author a faith-based book for about two years but no particular topic felt right. After a very inspiring fireside by Jeff Benedict, I called a friend to discuss it and he said, “Someone should write all these amazing conversion stories down.” The topic became crystal clear right there. “I should!!! And they should be from all over the world. One per country!” I envisioned the title as soon as I got off the phone. I never reconsidered it.

How did you locate the contributors? I couldn’t use Church emails for a personal project and I wanted to give everyone a chance, not just random friends of friends, so I used every avenue available to me. Probably the best connections came through fellow general conference translators. I had an excel spreadsheet with all the countries printed out and went booth to booth collecting emails while I was off the air. I was able to reach key people in many countries that way. I then turned to Facebook and joined every mission/country group on earth that accepted me. Alex Balinski of “Prepare to Serve” and Ben Arkell of “I Love the Book of Mormon” were especially helpful in spreading the word. I was telling everyone about it and New York is very international so a few came through people I knew, including Croatia, of course.

How has your faith assisted you through this whole process? It was an inspired project. I felt that excitement from the start when you just know you are doing exactly what you should be doing. It had been a while since I truly felt that so I knew the difference. It wasn’t until the first few stories came in, and really moved me, that I realized this would change lives. At that point no sacrifice seemed too big. The process is extremely time-consuming. I was immersed in it full-time while also working part-time so faith in this being a valuable creation and the right thing for me was an essential component.

What has been the greatest challenge for you, on this project? Time. I thought I would spread the word and the stories would just keep flying in. Then three weeks later, I would go through hundreds of them and pick the best one for each country. I still hope future projects go a lot faster but I did not anticipate the amount of emails and follow-up required to get just one story or even a photo – sometimes it went on for months. Many stories needed to be translated at least four of which I did myself (Spanish). I didn’t start editing till August of this year because taking time to do that meant nothing would be moving forward on the compiling side. Editing ESL text took full three months with another month added for proofreading. The median length of all books according to Amazon is 64,000 words. A Global Testimony is almost three times that.

Do you still fast on Tuesdays? How has this assisted on this project? Week days are great for fasting as there is typically not as much going on as there may be on your average Saturday night. I fast on any day that works best. And whoever said that increasing your fast offerings yields extra blessings was right. You simply can’t outdo God. There are windows He’s opened that I would never think to pray for. This project did not require as much fasting as it did hard work, but the hand of the Lord was evident throughout in placing all the right people in my path – seemingly random encounters that resulted in great stories etc. There is something for everyone to identify with which gives the book a broad reach.

What did you study at BYU? Marketing Communications with a Business minor. I was interested in too many things but I had to pick one.

What was the ‘dream job’? It wasn’t a dream job; rather, a more flexible, less stressful environment. It only required me to go to the office three days a week which allowed for more travel. When your friends, dates, and family are scattered all over the world, you need the time to get to them. The dream job would entail location independence.

Have your parents joined you in New York? How about your brother? No, they would never leave Croatia but they were able to visit once all together. Normally, I go there once or twice a year.

What is your next project? Now we need to “flood the earth” with these testimonies and concurrently start a few other projects. One will focus on powerful missionary experiences. Perhaps one featuring faith-promoting stories from ancestors that are passed down in the families and could include people of all denominations. There may also be one on celestial marriages. All global of course.

Tell me about being a general conference translator? It’s a great privilege to serve in that capacity. The talks are translated in advance so we read along and watch for any changes. You hear yourself in one ear and the speaker in the other. With the recent change, you can also pick the native-language channel or the English translation. The first such speaker I got was named Carlos. I figured my Spanish was good enough to follow him directly as I wanted to minimize lag time. Then he started speaking Portuguese. Translated text still made it possible to follow him but I sure wasn’t going to attempt Mandarin Chinese. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting several apostles as they came to visit and participate in our devotionals. It says a lot about how much they care for the gospel message to reach all corners of the earth, being there with us an hour before conference starts.

Is there anything else you would like to share? When I sent out the help questions for the stories, I wanted the readers to get to know these individuals but there was a special focus on the conversion process – those moments of feeling and recognizing the Spirit for maybe the first time, the verses of scripture that had the greatest impact, how they recognized truth, trials they went through – and that is what makes the stories so powerful. These people are pioneers who established the Church in their countries, translated the scriptures or became Area Seventies. They are traditional families, singles, single parents, children joining without parents, parents of inactive children, “golden” converts, former addicts, the rich, the famous, the poor and everything in between. There is not one story in A Global Testimony that won’t resonate with someone. I feel so grateful to have had the privilege of compiling this much spiritual power into one book.

‘ A Global Testimony: 60 Different countries One powerful message’.

Age Range: teen to 80+

Testimonies from: Europe Asia Americas Africa Oceania

* Visit the website 

Order online, one or more copies

* Purchase this book from Amazon

* Purchase this book through Kindle    includes Look Inside option

* Like the  Facebook Page

David Archuleta endorses ‘A Global Testimony’

Read Katarina’s own story here

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A relevant question

During Elder Bednar’s BYU Education Week Devotional he gave examples of how the church, as well as some members were already reaching out on-line.

He quoted the title of an article my friend Terri had written…along with 16 other women we are part of the Mormon Women Stand Admin team.You can find MWS on Facebook also.

It’s a very relevant question.

Terrie is one busy lady, as an editor for MWS and LDS.blogs etc.  She’s has a family, including a cat to take care of and beautiful grandchildren. Terrie adores being a Primary teacher, and loves books. She is also delighted by miracles. She is a true wordsmith. Check out the meme Deseret Book made of Terrie’s very poignant question. Then visit Bonnie Oscarson’s Pinterest account and decide how you would answer the question Terrie poses in the article.


Posted in Agency, BYU Education Week, Church News, Inspirational, Learn more, Social Media, Special Events | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment