Saturday, December 31, 2016

trace all my books [2016]

In a lot of ways 2016 feels like a wash as far as my own life went--as far as personal, social, or spiritual development. But then I remembered that I kept my resolution about 60% of the time! That's better than it could be. (And it might've even been more. 75%? The world is my oyster.) (My resolution was to make my bed every day, in hopes that once I was there I would kneel down and pray instead of not doing that...which did not happen 60% of the time. But the only real resolution was making my bed, and I did that a lot.)

We'll see if I can keep my 2017 resolution, which is to shower more often. Starting tomorrow!

I mean, I know I am different than I was at the start of the year. Too many things are the same, but there are some good differences I think. And some bad ones. When was the last time I cooked for myself? Not sure.

There's a lot to be disappointed in myself about, but we're looking forward.

Anyway, I decided to make a year-end vlog to roundup all the books I read this year. It's 10 minutes long so you may not find it worth your time (also because I used my phone to record it all, it's rather quiet). But there's a couple fun things in there. In my opinion.

I tried to say Happy New Year but my phone doesn't start collecting sound for a bit. Didn't know that. Anyway here's the rundown of books I thought were worth mentioning this year. Except I didn't even mention Hamilton. Or Harry Potter.

Books featured in this video:
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis
Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley

Authors featured:
Megan Whalen Turner
Diana Wynne Jones
Tamora Pierce
Terry Pratchett
Georgette Heyer
Jennifer Beckstrand

Here's to a good new year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 98]

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas music this year. Unfortunately not thinking enough to be fully prepared to write this blog post, but still thinking about it.

I've been thinking about how my favorite Christmas songs are the ones with some immediacy to them. I like babies, including the baby Jesus, but I don't really get excited about celebrating the birth of a baby so much. I like the ones where we think about what His condescension means for us now, and what it means when He will return.

There are so many wonderful Christmas carols in the world that carry a lot of that meaning for me, but for this post I've decided to stick a little closer to home, to the Christmas hymns I'm most familiar with. Here are my favorite lyrics from each of the 14 Christmas hymns in the LDS hymnbook.

#201: Joy to the World
No more will sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make the blessings flow far as the curse is found.

#202: Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
Sing in exultation

#203: Angels We Have Heard on High
And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains

#204: Silent Night
Love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace.

#205: Once in Royal David's City
And our eyes at last shall see him, through his own redeeming love.

#206: Away in a Manger
Fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

#207: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.

#208: O Little Town of Bethlehem
In this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in

#209: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Light and life to all he brings, ris'n with healing in his wings.

#210: With Wondering Awe
The heavenly star its rays afar on every land is throwing, and shall not cease till holy peace in all the world is growing

#211: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to man begin and never cease

#212: Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains
Hasten the time when from every clime, men shall unite in the strains sublime: Glory to God in the Highest. Peace on earth, goodwill to men

#213: The First Noel
surely there is a third verse somewhere that has some meaning. I like this song but the lyrics in the hymnbook are meh (to my standards).

#214: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
The world revolved from night to day

Then let us all with one accord sing praises or something to our Lord. Is a nice Noel lyric. Has some application to today. Or would, if I quoted it correctly.

Anyway. I really appreciate the opportunity Christmas music gives us to think about Christ more. Christ, His life, His sacrifice. What we can give Him, poor as we are, in return for the marvelous gift.

Finally, I can't let the post end without mentioning this special song, Carol of Joy. I mean, talk about immediacy. "Oh fearful world, to you is the song." In the bleak midwinter when we hear carols, listen to the music, understand the lyrics -- our hearts open to the Savior. That's what I love about Christmas music.

But I don't have anything to say about it that my cousin Megan hasn't already said. Read her words. Be in awe of her talent and sad that you don't even get complete sentences in my posts all the time.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

halos on evergreens

On this day 10 years ago, at this approximate time, something happened that was a ~~big deal~~

at the time. It was a big deal at the time. It was...oh man. It was such a deal.

I wrote something about it as my autobiographical fragment for my creative writing class in 2008 so it's immortalized for me forever. Here it is.

I hadn’t thought the night could get any more awkward. After virtually inviting myself over to a boys’ apartment to wait out the hours until one of them, Jonathan (whom I was hopelessly infatuated with), opened his mission call, feeling conversation stilt and falter, and watching as the appointed time came and the lobby filled with girls that all knew each other and him a lot more than I knew anyone there, I was seriously reconsidering the wisdom of attending the event.
That was before every single girl (and the few guys that came) gave him a hug in congratulations.I dithered. My infatuation with Jonathan didn’t extend to my being comfortable enough with him to give him a hello when I saw him on campus, let alone a hug. Unfortunately, I waited so long that I was the only one (besides Jonathan’s roommate Robert) still there. 

Finally, there was nothing for it but to approach him.I stuck out my hand. 

“Well . . . obligatory missionary handshake.”

“Uh, yeah, I guess so.” (Is it any wonder I liked him so much?)

We shook hands.

“Good luck,” I added. “Thanks for letting me come.”

“Thank you for sacrificing your sleep.” Because his family lived in Sweden, he waited until 11:00 to open his call so that it would only be 7:00 in the morning when he phoned them—and 11:00 was a lot later than I was usually willing to stay up on a school night.

“Oh, I didn’t want to miss this,” I said casually (I hoped).

We were still shaking hands.

“Well, thanks.”


I was nervous, so of course I started rambling. “Hey, Patricia wants to do something with you guys sometime soon, so I guess we’d better hurry before the semester ends otherwise you’ll be gone, won’t you, and that sort of defeats the purpose. Maybe we’ll go bowling or something?”

“Um, okay.” I had trouble looking him in the eye (and not just because he was very tall); there was some expression there that unsettled me.

“Oh, and that dinner you have with all your friends, make sure that it doesn’t happen over ward choir. You shouldn’t miss ward choir.” Ward choir was my favorite time to see him.

“We’ll do our best.”

He was shaking my middle finger. That was awkward. I took away my hand.

“Thanks again.” I backed toward the door and flashed a farewell smile at Robert, who had watched this whole interchange with little reaction (I found out later that he likely had a crush on me, so I expect he was just hiding his distress). “See you Sunday – or before, if we end up doing something!”

“Bye!” they chorused.

I ran across the lawn to my apartment building, and didn’t sleep a wink that night.

 Oh 2008 me. There are some things I would change about your writing.

Anyway I didn't change any names so if you know these people don't tell them what I said. Like. They know. But we don't have to talk about it. It's well in the past. (And if you're reading, hi! Sorry we haven't talked in a while and there was no good way to ask you about this. surprise?)

A lot has changed in the past 10 years. My life is very little like what I thought it would be back then. And I think I'm glad about that; most of what I've done and what's happened have been blessings in my life, or learning experiences. I didn't know anything when I was 18 years old. I certainly didn't know that this handshake would still probably be the most exciting thing that ever happened to me ever (I mean, I still remember the date when it happened).

The right conclusion isn't coming to me. Do I want to expound more on the flush of first infatuation? (This was after high school AND after my first boyfriend so I don't know why this stuck me so much.) Do I want to say more about how life changes in ten years?

Or do I just wanna say good night?

Good night.

Edit: Good morning! Last night (which was honestly this morning #stoptheweek) I was in bed, falling asleep, and began reflecting on the day. With this and other experiences, I realized that the lesson I'm really taking from this story is that life goes on. When the handshake thing happened I honestly thought I might never get over it. But I did, about 5 years ago (yeah, do that math). I talked to someone yesterday that I honestly thought I'd never get over; but I have. I talked to/thought about some people that I still haven't gotten over and sometimes it feels like I never will -- but life goes on!

That's the conclusion I wanted to draw.

P.S.: the title of this post is the most amazing thing ever.

Monday, November 21, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 97]

This is a quote from my patriarchal blessing that I want to remember, so I wrote it down. I hope I remember it.

It's Perfect

Monday, November 14, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 96]

At extended devotional we learned about poverty. As part of it, we watched portions of Elder Holland's address, "Are We Not All Beggars?" that I'd actually seen at work within the past week.

Here's some paragraphs from the talk that I like.

Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind’s greatest and most widespread challenges. Its obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating. In any case, the great Redeemer has issued no more persistent call than for us to join Him in lifting this burden from the people.
Brothers and sisters, such a sermon demands that I openly acknowledge the unearned, undeserved, unending blessings in my life, both temporal and spiritual. Like you, I have had to worry about finances on occasion, but I have never been poor, nor do I even know how the poor feel. Furthermore, I do not know all the reasons why the circumstances of birth, health, education, and economic opportunities vary so widely here in mortality, but when I see the want among so many, I do know that “there but for the grace of God go I.” I also know that although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am my brother’s brother, and “because I have been given much, I too must give.”

Something to think about.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

and the words, they're everything [wwis 14]

Hello friends! Been a while. I recognize that this is not my most popular segment here on the blog (I even realized a few months ago I'd accidentally used the same set of tweets twice and no one said anything) but I like it. I like feeling funny every once in a while.

NaNoWriMo is going on now.

I mean, that takes SOME talent.

This is probably why I could reach my biceps with my tongue. Working out!

I am at my least feasible when I am a light sweater. Please don't hold that against me (though you are welcome to find a sweater to hold against me, now that it's about to be cold).

Would you wear a light sweater to pick cherries? 

There's...not really any other reason to be grateful for the souls of men in the eternal worlds.

I want to fall into line with pop culture and say "2016 was not swoonworthy." But what I think I meant when I made this tweet (April 2015) was that I hadn't been on a date in a year.

I'm grateful for the souls of men and women in the eternal worlds that are too cute.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

a change is gonna come, said the signal to the noise

It's been a rough day. Last night at around 9 I did the math, figured out the outcome, shook my head, checked Facebook to see what the reactions were, and went to bed (and then kept checking Utah election results for a while, just to see). It wasn't what I wanted, but I knew everything would be okay. Slept just fine, even.

Today I got to work and started reading more reactions. Some were hopeful, some were even happy, but a lot were really, really scared. (Mainly people the president-elect has targeted: blacks, Latinx, Muslims. LGBT I think?) I started absorbing their fear and began crying.

Yep, at work. It's fine. I went to the file room to catch up on some filing and hopefully calm down.

Caught up on some filing but then started thinking about how people (men) are going to think sexual assault is okay because the president-elect made it seem that way. I am afraid of that. That did not calm me down. Kinda the opposite, actually.

I eventually recovered but I have this awesome feature I like to call the "amazing human faucet" -- sometimes when I start crying, I don't stop. It just keeps going for a few hours. At my desk I could hear the various celebrations of coworkers who were legitimately happy about the outcome of the election and I just felt for those who are unhappy, whose perspective the people at work don't see or don't care about.*

Anyway, if people look like they've been crying, don't ask if they're okay. It might make them start crying again even as they say "Yep everything is fine"

And I do believe that everything will be fine. I, and all others disappointed by this outcome, are allowed to grieve. Allow us this space so that we can come together full-heartedly to believe in America, and to work righteous endeavors.

*Hey, just so you know, it's okay to disagree that certain policies are good/bad for America. But don't dismiss people's fears about how something will affect their life. Their feelings are valid (because they're their feelings! They're real things), and so are yours. If we work from that understanding, we can actually get somewhere.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

mother says years ago

It's my mother's birthday! To celebrate I came up with 50 (an arbitrary number, obviously) fun facts/cool things/interesting opinions about her.

50 Tidbits About My Mom (Because She's Cool)

1. Today is a special birthday for her because it's an awesome palindrome: 61616.
2. She has green eyes and dark hair. Straight-up Harry Potter combination.
2. She used to teach junior high. Not everyone can do that but my mom did. She taught Math and English.
3. She let me use all her old pre-algebra fun things that she had from when she was a teacher. Pre-Algebra with Pizzazz. I learned so much.
4. My mom makes it a point to not have favorites. No favorite children, no favorite food, no favorite book, no favorite color. Makes life easy, except when you're trying to plan a favorite dinner.
5. She is the designated driver in our family.
6. She drove from Logan to Salt Lake every business day for a month so I could have radiation.
7. And also whenever I stayed at the hospital she stayed with me. It was great not to be alone (and also I got her to laugh at Cake Wrecks one time, and she tries not to laugh because it shows favor).
8. She is good at reading picture books. I am certain she has many memorized (not that it's hard to memorize "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" but she's got it). It is this and other things that indicate...
9. She is a fun grandma.
10. My mom tried to make me learn how to clean. It didn't work but I appreciate her continued effort.
11. She did make me practice the piano (and violin, when that was a thing). That worked at least.
12. She has always been good at taking pictures! My childhood is pretty well documented (and also my life now; most of the pictures of me these days are still ones she takes).
13. My mom is physically active and very strong.
14. The only time in my life I've ever exercised regularly is when she made me come to aerobics with her for a few months.
15. She maintains the yard and the garden beautifully. It is a beautiful place outside my house.
16. Part of maintaining the garden is allllll the harvesting and allllll the preserving. So much canning in the summer! She does it!
17. She's my mom but she lets me be a grownup.
18. She is a fast typer.
19. She is an excellent seamstress! Growing up we all had matching clothes and I still have many clothes made by her in my closet (that i wear regularly).
20. We had so many cool birthday parties growing up. I had a rainbow party once. She tried so hard to socialize me, bless her heart.
21. She is a good decorator of our house.
22. She played the clarinet. She does play the piano currently but I don't know if i've ever actually heard her play the clarinet, but I know she was decent at it.
23. She is involved in the community. She was a room mother in elementary school. She was also PTA President which is a big deal.
24. Also she's politically involved which is convenient because it means I don't have to and I always know how to vote.
25. She is reasonably accomplished at doing hair. I don't think she'd want to do it for prom or anything but I always looked neat as I went to elementary school. A good braider.
26. She goes along with my dad on hikes and stuff, which is more than I'm willing to do.
27. She is great at planning vacations.
28. She is also great at hosting large gatherings. Hostessing doesn't come the most naturally to her but she does such a nice job.
29. She lets me take food from their house every time I come visit.
30. She likes flossing. When I was trying to start flossing part of my motivation was her telling me how much she likes it. I probably wouldn't ever have become a regular flosser without her example.
31. She's also a good example of other things, like fulfilling her callings and reading her scriptures.
32. Also she attends the temple weekly. I used to go with her and now I don't, but I also try to go weekly.
33. She takes me shopping for clothes and otherwise I probably would not have clothes because shopping is the worst. Alternately she also takes my sisters shopping and then I can take their clothes. Either way it's a win for me.
34. She is an involved missionary mom. Always making sure to be around on Mondays and sending lots of good packages.
35. She knew about Wicked before it was cool. Because we liked to listen to Showtune Saturday night, which means that we grew up cultured!
36. She taught me how to write left-handedly.
37. She is good at the finances and knowing when we can make big purchases without my dad knowing.
38. She is good at pushing us out of the door to go to college (this brought to you by the fact that my brother is moving to Provo today [surprise] and they are packing him up. she's packed a lot of us up)
39. She gets along with her family.
40. She gets along with dad's family.
41. She doodles while she's on the phone and I don't mind at all that that habit has passed down to me.
42. She tried to get me to own a smart phone for like 3 years before I finally did. She cares that I have a functional phone. Not that I ever call her.
43. She calls me on the phone to make sure I'm okay.
44. We recommend books to each other. She is pretty good at it.
45. She's also willing to read the fanfiction I recommend to her without overt judgment of my tastes.
46. She went through this phase where she'd make CDs for me to listen to in college. Just a weird mishmash of whatever she'd been buying lately. I still have them.
47. She reads my blog. She watched my vlog. She is generally supportive of our creative endeavors, which is great.
48. We grew up never having tried fish, asparagus, broccoli, avocados, or any of the other foods my mom doesn't like.
49. Which reminds me, have I mentioned this yet? She is a great cook! I could probably list 50 more things that she cooks that we like to eat in our family, but suffice to say that it is great to eat at home!
50. Popular opinion: she is the best mom ever.

Someone else give me a picture to put on this post.

Monday, May 2, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 95]

I like this quote. Happy Monday.

“The Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings. Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith [2013], 183–84).

Monday, April 25, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 94]

Today is National DNA Day! I love DNA. It's so cool. And mentioning the fact in front of my entire department today made me special.

I have used this picture before. It's my favorite DNA picture.

It may have seemed like I was bringing it up out of nowhere, but my train of thought was actually pretty easy to follow! The question that prompted me gushing about DNA was, "What does complement mean?"

Complementary bases are like the coolest part about DNA. I mean, beyond everything else cool about DNA. The bases complement each other because they fit together despite being different. When the A and the T  and the G and the C are lined up right, they bring the strands together into a complete DNA...strand.

Every once in a while I go through a phase where marriage talk is everywhere, and this past week or so has been one of those times. I've been listening to Presidents Ucthdorf and Eyring's talks from this past Priesthood session. It got mentioned a couple of times at stake conference (but only as often as it probably would've gotten mentioned in a family stake). And then we had that lesson on it at work today!

Oh, and also it was my parents' 30th wedding anniversary.

One great thing about marriage is the way you complement each other. I think of my parents and other married couples I have in my life. They're not the same; in fact they're quite different people. But working together they're stronger.

Oh wait. That's a quote. Here.
We know from the scriptures that “it is not good that … man should be alone.” That is why our Heavenly Father made “an help meet for him.” The phrase help meet means “a helper suited to, worthy of, or corresponding to him.” For example, our two hands are similar to each other but not exactly the same. In fact, they are exact opposites, but they complement each other and are suited to each other. Working together, they are stronger. (x)
Naturally you might expect that all this marriage talk has been causing me to ponder what I'm looking for in a marriage partner and also what I can do to become a better marriage prospect, and you're not wrong. Those thoughts have crossed my mind.

But also, my testimony of the institution of marriage has strengthened. I know that it's ordained of God and only by entering into and faithfully keeping the covenant of celestial marriage can a man and woman fulfill their divine, eternal potential (x).

And just like DNA is ligated together and becomes the source of life, a man and a woman can be ligated by the marriage covenant to create even more abundant lives for themselves and for their children. That's great. It's a great thought to have.

Monday, March 21, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 93]

I happen to be working on the Resurrection. Here's a nice quote from President Hinckley.

“The miracle of that resurrection morning, that first Easter Sunday, is a miracle for all mankind. It is the miracle of the power of God, whose Beloved Son gave His life to atone for the sins of all, a sacrifice of love for every son and daughter of God. In so doing He broke the seals of death. …And just as He took up His body and came forth from the tomb, even so shall all of us enjoy a reunion of body and spirit to become living souls in the day of our own resurrection.
“We rejoice, therefore, as do many, and as should all mankind, when we remember the most glorious, the most comforting, the most reassuring of all events of human history—the victory over death” (“The Victory over Death,” Ensign, Apr. 1997, 4).
I may have a little more Easter stuff to say this week. But this is a nice start!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

and the words, they're everything [wwis 13]

Boy do I have spring fever today! So here's a bunch of old status-bot tweets relating to summer. Sort of.

I'm just, I'm not sure there's a better thing than a garden tomato liberally garnished with bacon.

This sounds like my kind of picnic (especially if combined with the previous)

Sometimes leftovers don't always pan out the way you hoped.
Or this might be about a regrettable summer haircut.

Like, do people not know that they're leaving their prints for the sun to shine on? (Sunshine. Relevant.)

Mosquitos are summery. Also finding stuff is a good summer activity (wait of course! geo-caching!)

Sounds like an ideal summer activity to me.

I once took an anatomy course over the summer (this year I'm attempting accounting)

I like imagining what this qualifying sentence could have followed. "She was loved in all the eternal worlds." "Well, most of them."

Yep. When I first randomly placed all these tweets in this post I didn't know they were all going to relate to summer so well (Well. Most of them). They're also not SUPER funny, but I am sure one of the next WWIS installments will be hilarious. #staytuned

Monday, March 7, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 92]

I  had an idea for MM but I forgot it. So have this nice quote that I just copied so it's conveniently right at my fingertips already.

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” New Era, May 1975, 20).

(President Benson)

Is this becoming more of a monthly thing than a weekly thing? Okay.

Monday, February 8, 2016


The summer I was 20 I lived with my grandparents, Mima and Granddaddy. Granddaddy passed away a few days ago and I was thinking back on my time with them -- they both showed me incredible patience. I also have one story that comes to mind...

So that summer was when Granddaddy had a car he preferred to drive around, this one:

what a GEM
It was always a thrill to go careening down neighborhood streets in that car vehicle, which had a top mph of I think 25. (One time we even drove it on Center Street (speed limit 40) which was extra exciting, but it was important that we buy that ice cream.*)

One time I asked why he preferred this car vehicle, and he responded "I want to leave my descendants an earth to live on."

I appreciated that.

[*the summer I lived with them they were very careful to always have ice cream for me to eat. I appreciated that too.]

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Literary Nunnery, Ep. 50: in which Leslie has an ideal Saturday

I've forgotten for a long time to post this video. It's just hard to remember! But here it is. I look really nice so this is as good a time as any to quit while I'm ahead. 50's a nice round number anyway.

  • Books featured in this video:
    Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
    Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

  • Monday, February 1, 2016

    followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 91]

    In Ezekiel 33:10-16, the Lord warns that we're not guaranteed heaven just if our righteous acts outnumber our wicked ones:
    10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
    11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
    12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
    13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
    14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
    15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
    16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

    In good news, if we end up righteous after having some wicked moments, that's good!

    Here's a quote by a General Authority on the matter:
    The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become” (“The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32). good :)

    Friday, January 22, 2016

    The Literary Nunnery, Ep. 49: in which Leslie does a footage dump

    Both of these videos were filmed before Christmas, if you're wondering how I'm doing. Also I apologize for the phone shakiness on the second half (but I do not apologize for the double chins -- I accept my life).

    Books featured in this video:

    Soundless by Richelle Mead

    Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn

    Friday, January 8, 2016

    The Literary Nunnery, Ep. 48: in which Leslie likes other books better

    NEWS FLASH!! If you read this before January 10th you can get "My Double Life" by Janette Rallison for FREE on Amazon.

    Sometimes I like books but I more like how they remind me of other books I liked better.

    Books featured in this video:

    Rook by Sharon Cameron

    Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

    For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

    The Truth about My Sucess by Dyan Sheldon

    My Double Life by Janette Rallison

    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    The Literary Nunnery, Ep. 47: in which Leslie keeps it short

    If you feel like this was too short, feel free to watch my 2015 recap which is too long (but it's NOT too long).

    Books featured in this video:
    Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

    Monday, January 4, 2016

    followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 90]

    Yesterday was J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday! To celebrate I got together with my little Tolkien book club and we watched all the special features about him and how he came to write Lord of the Rings. It was so fascinating to see how his education and interests synergized to create the mythology of Middle Earth, and how his life experiences prepared him to write the story. A story of hope beyond guarantees.

    (The only time for despair is when the outcome is 100% certain. We never know for sure how things will turn out -- there is always hope.)

    It reminded me of this very nice BYU devotional that was given last month. (Last year, whatever.) I actually recommend reading or listening to the whole thing, but here's a nice paragraph.

    The Lord of the Rings, written by J. R. R. Tolkien, is another fantasy classic that tells of a quest to destroy the powerful and evil One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. It too seems to be about creatures and places that never existed. And yet what has made it the most popular book in the twentieth century, second only to the Bible, is not its fantasy but its realism. It is not just about brave hobbits fighting the armies of Mordor but about the universal heroism of all of us—seemingly little people—who must fight against the evil of our own day in whatever way we can, calling on an inner strength we didn’t know we had as we do our part in the great struggle that is always going on between ultimate good and ultimate evil.
    All we have to decide is what to do with the time given us.

    Friday, January 1, 2016

    I can trace all my books [2015]

    Happy New Year! Right now I'm uploading a 2015 book recap for my vlog. It's taking forever -- not sure if it's the phone or the internet at home (both unusual quantities for my videos). So I have plenty of time to write a blog post about books too.

    Of the ~150 books I checked out this year, I can single out ~30 that I really enjoyed and recommend. Man am I ever grateful I learned how to be picky and not force myself to finish every single book I try.

    I am pretty sure I filmed myself liking more than 30 books. And I am kind of regretting not mentioning Bone Gap in my video. Oh well. I guess it's not the be-all end-all 2015 recap. You can also just watch all my vlogs to give you a good sense of the books I liked.

    But here's a list. Lists are fun.

    In the category of ongoing/finished series that I have enjoyed this year are the following:

    • The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal -- complete (I haven't completed it but the series is complete). First book is Shades of Milk and Honey
    • The Paper Magician Series by Charlie N. Holmberg -- complete
    • Finishing School by Gail Carriger -- complete (I have the final book on hold)
    • Tales of Arilland by Alethea Kontis -- complete (? I think). The first book is Enchanted (and that's the best one)
    • The Otherworld Series by Skylar Dorset -- complete. The first book is The Girl Who Never Was
    • Duplexity by Amy K. Nichols -- complete (I have the final book checked out). The first book is Now that You're Here
    • Tyme Series by Megan Morrison -- just starting. The first book is Grounded
    • The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey -- just starting.
    • The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows -- just starting
    • The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson -- just starting. First book "Walk on Earth a Stranger"
    • The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff -- just starting
    • The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner -- complete (I have the final book on hold). First book is 'These Broken Stars"
    • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer -- complete.
    • Elemental Blessings by Sharon Shinn -- complete? First book is Troubled Waters
    Haha that's not a ton of books or anything. And I'm not even done.

    Here's a list of fairytale adaptations I read this year and also other books by the same author that are not necessarily in a series (how's that for a specific list):

    • Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay. Also the author of Of Beast and Beauty which I really liked when I read it in 201...4. Nope, 2013.
    • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Also Crimson Bound! I read them both this year
    • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis. I have Spinning Starlight checked out right now and I'm excited
    Here's a list of other books I really liked. They're either fairytale adaptations or have heavy elements of fairy and folk tale. I know who I am:
    • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    • Valiant by Sarah McGuire
    • Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (actually this one is not an adaptation as far as I can tell -- it wins)
    • Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas
    • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (actually this is the most original -- but it didn't come out this year either, so...)
    Hey my video is finished uploading! Here it is! If you're wondering why it's worth watching when I've already listed everything right here for you I have two compelling reasons:
    1. My face
    2. I discuss my reading resolution for 2016! Don't you want to know what it is?