Monday, March 31, 2014

The First 100 Temples

Reading The First 100 Temples by Chad Hawkins was truly a treat. I don't know how he managed to do the research to collect the stories and facts about each of the first hundred LDS temples in existence. Each temple was accompanied with stories, whether from those building the temple, those touring the temple, or those using the temple. Some of the stories were downright inspiring.

Each temple has something unique about it, even when the general design has been used with other temples. It was very fun to read about the symbolism used in some of the architecture, and also interesting to read about the Lord's intervention with some temples to let them become what they are today. I was also inspired by the many sacrifices I read about from those who gave everything they had for the temple. It reminded me of what a blessing it is.

There are also fun facts about the many temple. For example, the Orlando, Florida temple has a cel from Disney's Pinocchio in its cornerstone, donated from the Walt Disney Company. The Cardston Alberta temple contains a lock of hair from Joseph Smith. Ancient relics have been discovered while excavating the land for some temples across the world. Other temples have been built in unique ways to allow them to work better with their surroundings. Again, I was amazed by the artist's research.

As an added treat, Chad Hawkins has created a sketch drawing of about half the temples in his book. Each drawing contains a hidden image (usually the Savior) that is symbolic to that temple in some way. His sketches are done so well, I was actually disappointed he didn't have one for each temple.

Sadly, this book is now out of print. But I am hoping it doesn't take too long to reach 200 temples so that the author can produce a brand new book.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Runaway King

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen is the sequel to The False Prince, which I absolutely loved. This book, while not quite as good as the first, is still a great read. I love Jaron's character, and the character development of everybody in general. Nielsen truly has a gift for writing an engaging story with engaging characters.

With his kingdom being threatened with war from both pirates and a greedy neighboring kingdom, King Jaron makes a hasty and extremely dangerous decision: he decides to join the pirates. Disguising himself, he soon finds himself in the midst of the pirates and face to face with the pirate king who has sworn to take his life. Jaron's wits and endurance will be put the the greatest test yet as he needs to outsmart and outlast all of his enemies. Not only does he need to somehow defeat all of the pirates single-handed, he also has a tight deadline to do so before the war begins.

I wish I could say more about why I love this book, but I am afraid that in so doing I would spoil too much. All I can say is that this definitely my new favorite series and I can hardly wait to begin the third and final book.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Warm Tones and Tiny Miracles

This was an excellent book! Warm Tones and Tiny Miracles is the third and final book I own by Don J. Black. Each chapter in this book is a different experience from Brother Black's life that he shares with the reader. Each of these experiences is uplifting and testimony-strengthening. Hence the title.

One of my favorite experiences shared by the author is perhaps The Hippie and the Holy Ghost. In this experience, the author and his wife were having dinner with a a couple who was very involved in the hippie movement. During the course of the meal, the man began to argue vehemently against religion, and Brother Black's beliefs. The mood and feeling in the house got dark and uncomfortable, but Brother Black finally bore his testimony and gave a personal witness of the things he knew. This not only silenced the hippie, but also brought the Holy Ghost into the home, testifying of what Brother Black had said. I liked this story, not only because I think it has a great title, but also because it teaches about the the importance of having a strong testimony and knowing things to be true for ourselves, and not just relying on other people's testimonies.

This book also encouraged me to make sure I am recording the warm tones and tiny miracles that happen in my life so that I can use them to bless others, specifically those in my family.