Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Debut Day for Master of Lies (Chronicles of the Half-Emrys, #1)

Christmas morning hello! Many of you already know about my new novel, Master of Lies (Chronicles of the Half-Emrys, #1). I am very excited to share more of my world with you.

I thought I might give you a little taste of what is too come, so I have written a series of blog posts to help you get to know my new book. This is day one. Six more to follow on a weekly basis. I will keep them short and sweet. Enjoy!

This book is the opening story of the Half-Emryn Chronicles. The books (I have three planned for this series.) follow the lives of the half-Emrys—a half race, and their struggle between the two worlds (mortal and immortal realms) they are a part of.

What is an Emrys?

I wanted to explore the concept of light-filled beings. Immortals that could harness their internal light and project it from their bodies in a myriad of ways. My Emrys were created to be the guardians of a nearly destroyed dragon species. The Master of Light, Deian, created them from his light. They are made of that light and the light is what gives them immortality. The source within their body is their heart-center. Not their physical heart, but their spiritual heart. Emrys can harness the energy from the light and spread it throughout their bodies and even project in from themselves. Their light also gives them other abilities, such as the ability to sense emotions. They’re not mind-readers. (With the exception of the High-Emrys. She has uncanny abilities, which I cannot get into here without ruining the books. But suffice to say that because she was the first Emrys, she has an extra “something” from Deian.)

My Emrys dwell in a world called Gorlassar, which is protected by the Power of Light. In this world, there is no death. The Emrys are immortal, and the dragons are as well. But alas, there is always a something to throw a wrench in the works. Gorlassar has a portal to the mortal world, where the evil is . . . and the tainted humans.

And so what is a Half-Emrys?

As the usual case, in an immortal world that is perfect and flawless, where the people gradually become indifferent and ignorant of the outside mortal world, someone always rebels. (For some reason the Thor movies come to mind. Can I throw in a promo? If you like Thor, you might like Chronicles of the Half-Emrys!)

I mean, why would you want to leave a golden realm protected by light? It’s safe and magical and BORING. Gasp! The first Emrys to leave the immortal Dragon Realm of Gorlassar did so in rebellion. And boy, did she cause a whole slew of trouble. What happens when an immortal passes through a portal and enters the mortal world? What happens when an Emrys and a human have a child?

The result is a new half race. An immortal who can still control light. . .

But with their mortal heritage comes a flaw.

The darkness.

And there is the basis for an internal struggle. Two powers within one being.
Who doesn't love a good—light vs. dark, good vs. evil—novel?

Look for my novel on Amazon December 25 through January 1 on sale for 99 cents! 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Seven Must Haves

The Seven Must Haves:

Balance, Passion, Respect, Peace, Sanctuary, Tradition, Simplicity

Many of you have heard of the six B’s, which President Hinckley shared in his 2001 talk, A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth. Be grateful. Be smart. Be clean. Be true. Be humble. Be prayerful. Well several years ago I came up with the Seven Must Have’s and felt inspired to share them with you.

Balance: Strive for balance of spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, and economical.
And know that balance can never hold. We are always working to keep life as even as we can. Where one thing levels, then another raises or lowers on the scale. Effort is the key.
“It is much easier for those who have a righteous balance to yield ‘to the enticings of the Holy Spirit’ (Mosiah 3:19).”
“Balance in large measure is knowing the things that can be changed, putting them in proper perspective, and recognizing the things that will not change.”
Living a Balanced Life by Elder Robert F. Orton Feb. 2008 Ensign

Passion: Have passion for something!
It gives us drive. It gives us purpose. We have within us, the ability to create. So be passionate and have purpose.
“Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are creators and have entrusted each of us with a portion of Their creative power.” Elder David A. Bednar, We Believe in Being Chaste.

Respect: Respect for other people, the earth, and God.
Children must respect their parents. Teach children to respect material possessions. We can take nothing we have for granted.

Peace:  We can have peace!
“Peace is to be in the midst of things and still be calm in your heart.” Unknown
“But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and in the world to come.” D&C 59:23

Sanctuary: Stand in Holy Places.
Make our homes a sanctuary so we can feel the Holy Spirit. We stand at the door and controls what comes in and out. This includes social media that our children are exposed to.

Tradition: Build up a righteous posterity by example and tradition.
Laman and Lemuel’s traditions influenced their posterity wickedly for 480 years. (Read the Book of Mormon to understand this one.) How are we influencing our posterity? We cannot underestimate the power of righteous tradition in our homes!
Reference the 2008 Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting for more ideas.

Simplicity:  Living a simple life makes things so much simpler!
Cut back on everything unnecessary.
“The so-called ease of modern living can actually become an impediment to gospel living.” Protecting Our Families in the Last Days by Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Small Daily Improvements are the Key to Staggering Long-term Results

Time to talk about New Year’s resolutions.
No really. I don’t honestly make them. I pretend I do. What I actually do is make small tiny incremental changes and hope they become a habit.
My fascial stretch therapist told me that by doing fifteen minutes of something that we don’t want to do EVERYDAY, eventually the task will be completed. Of course he was relating this to stretching because I was having a hard time getting into a routine, but I latched onto this idea. It has been brewing in my brain for months.
Then I heard the quote, small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.
Ding ding!
Behold my new mantra.
Over the past few years I have struggled with health issues. Who doesn’t? My muscles weakened to the point that digging a hole in my garden was earth-shatteringly impossible. Opening lids that my husband screwed on too tight was impossible. I was generally fatigued and my muscles were Jell-O.
After a really intensive diet, in which I lost 20 pounds in two months, with no exercising, I knew I had to get my muscles back to go with my slimmer body.
And so it started.
One exercise at a time.
I started with pushups on my knees. Regular squats. Resistance exercises I could only do with my body. In the beginning I only managed 3 kneeling pushups. 6 weeks later I can now do 2 full ones and 13 more on my knees.
I added one new exercise every day. I added one rep to every old exercise every day. I still can’t exercise for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. But when I started I was doing 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. I now do 15 minutes twice a day. I am getting stronger!
Today I added cardio. 2-3 minutes of intense cardio. It was hard.
Mantras rock. I’m hanging this one where I can see it every day.

Now if only I can translate this into my scripture study, I’m good to go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Most Exciting Thing since Sliced Bread

As my father would say . . . that's the most exciting thing since sliced bread. What? That's because my news is most exciting indeed, to me. I'm sure many of you don't care. In this world, many people have accomplished this same thing, but until you actually attempt and accomplish what I did, you won't understand.

And drum roll please . . .

I'm a newly published Indie Author!
I have toiled for 22 long months, on drafts for three books, and finally, book number one is complete. The Master of Lies (Chronicles of the Half-Emrys, #1) is up on Amazon as a paperback and eBook.

Most exciting, truly.

Don't forget to buy your copy. Christmas 99 cent sale coming up. And to celebrate my release, I will be blogging a series all about my book. Stay tuned.

Follow me on Facebook, Author Lisa Rector.
Check it out on Amazon for the free look inside.

Here's a pretty picture.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Christ showed up at my house today, and I was unprepared.

Christ showed up at my house today, and I was unprepared.
I have been struggling with my daughter’s attitude and behavior, and finally this afternoon I snapped.
It was not a proud moment for me. I have been working for so long to control my outbursts of anger. I try to live in such a way that the Spirit is a part of my life each day. I have been praying and praying for ways to help my child. I am receiving answers and trying to incorporate changes to make our home filled with peace and the Spirit and less with tension and discord.
But we are human. I am not using it as an excuse. I have no excuse. My strength just failed me. I didn’t draw my strength from my Savior. I probably should have just stopped and said a prayer right before the screaming began. But I didn’t. I will remember next time. I will brand it on my heart.
After sending my daughter to her room, at which point my neck was so drawn tight I felt the beginnings of a tension headache, our doorbell rang. I threw up my hands and exclaimed, “Now, what?” I convinced myself that if it was a door-to-door sales person I was going to dismiss him in the rudest way possible.
I was shocked with who I saw and instantly ashamed. The missionaries were standing on my front stoop.
I cast the door open to allow the visitors into my house as I turned and retreated into the kitchen. But a cheery, “Hello, Sister Rector. How are you?” followed me.
“I’m fine,” I stated in an even tone.
“Uh oh. Now I am going to have to ask why everything is only fine,” the Elder said.
“You just missed a knockdown drag out fight with my daughter.”
I was the worst mother in the world at that moment. And I had been put in my place.
When the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put on their badge to serve their two year missions, they become representatives of Jesus Christ. I knew that it was as if the Savior had just walked through my front doors and I was ashamed to greet him. I turned and walked away.
They were here to meet with my husband and an investigator for a lesson.
I dismissed myself and busied myself with making muffins in the kitchen, the whole time, pondering what just happened. I found myself crying over the muffin tin as I scooped drops of zucchini goop in the wells.
Shame and guilt washed over me. I worked through my feelings, praying the entire time for forgiveness. I had made a huge mistake this day and wondered exactly when it went wrong. I wanted to feel the sorrow for my mistake so I could move past it.
I remembered how many times I have been taught over and over again to make our homes Christ centered. Would you be prepared if Christ entered your home? Would you feel comfortable if the Savior came into your home? Is the atmosphere of your home one in which it allows the Spirit of the Lord to permeate?
If Jesus Christ actually came through that door, how would I have responded? Would I recognize him? Or would I be too angry and embarrassed and turn away?
The reality of what actually happened sank in. I had turned away. I had chased the Spirit away, and I was unprepared for Christ. I was humbled as I felt the sorrow of a broken heart and contrite spirit.
I learned a powerful lesson today. Next time I meet the Savior I hope to fall to my knees because I know him, because I will have lived worthy enough for Him to gather me in his arms. But I think that even if it had been Christ today; He would have embraced me and held me and forgiven me, because I am one of his sheep and he knows his sheep.

He knows me and all my weaknesses and exactly what lessons I need to learn.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Women and the Priesthood

Church was quite interesting today. It opened my eyes to an issue that has been going on. Women that want to be able to hold the priesthood.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the men are the bearers of the priesthood. My husband carries the priesthood and has been set apart and ordained by another man, his father, that carries the priesthood. The line of authority can be traced from priesthood holder to priesthood holder all the way back to Jesus Christ.

The priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name. The same priesthood authority that existed in the original Church established by Jesus Christ exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. The Church is directed and led through this authority.

All male members of the Church who are prepared receive the priesthood in order to help lead the Church and serve Heavenly Father’s children. A man with the priesthood might serve in some of the following ways:

Leading congregations of the Church
Performing the ordinances of the Church, such as baptism
Blessing those who are sick

My husband has used the priesthood to baptize our daughters and confirm the gift of the Holy Ghost upon them. He has given them blessings of healing and blessings of comfort. When they were born he also gave them a baby blessing. My husband has been able to give me blessings of healing and comfort as well.

In various callings in the church my husband has used his priesthood to bless others. Right now he serves as Ward Mission Leader, which is a calling that works closely with the missionaries and helps teach others about the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the past, he served as a councilor over the young men's program, and has been a great example to some wonderful youth. Every calling that comes to my husband has been extended through the priesthood. He has been set apart and been given authority to act for Jesus Christ in his behalf.

Women in our church also receive callings in which we are set apart by the priesthood. We do not carry the priesthood, but we are given authority and stewardship over our portion. In the past, I have served as a teacher in the Relief Society (women's organization). I was set apart by hands laid on my head. By being set apart in my calling, I had the authority as the teacher to lead the class in a spiritual discussion  under the direction of the priesthood. It was most definitely a great undertaking, but each month as I prepared my lesson, I could feel the guidance of the spirit and was able to prepare my lessons to meet the needs of the sisters.

Never once have I ever wanted to hold the priesthood. Being a women is such a divine calling in its self, that I could not imagine wanting to shoulder the great responsibility of carrying the priesthood. I am a daughter of God. I have already made sacred covenants at baptism to stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places, even unto death. I am a mother, the hardest and most divine calling there is. I am equally yoked with my husband. We have a sacred responsibility to raise our children together. We have been married in the temple of The Lord, sealed for time and all eternity by the power of the priesthood. What more could I want? I am so blessed. My testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ is my sure foundation.

The men can have the priesthood because they use it to serve the rest of us. I am blessed by my husband. I am blessed by my faith in Jesus Christ. I am blessed.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Lucy Diaries

Day One--March 31, 2014--Two and a half months
As I type this my arms are exhausted, my shoulders ache, and my back is all seized up. I can hardly move—all this from day one with Lucy. I forgot how tiring it is to take care of a baby. My youngest will be eight in two short weeks. All I can think is: I am so glad I had my babies when I was younger.
As the sun was coming up, Lucy arrived. All smiles and cooing, I laid her on her play mat, and the girls entertained her for ninety minutes. Then I worked some baby magic, showing the girls how to coax Lucy to sleep. I stroked her head and whispered baby mumbo jumbo. A little da da da and a few strokes down her nose, makes Lucy’s eyelids very heavy. For a while the girls watched Luce sleep, but I then I shooed them off to get ready for school.
Lucy did not like the car pool line. Jill kept her from crying on the way to school. But as soon as they got out of the car, poor Lucy starts wailing. The line was backed up by ten cars because the traffic was busy on the street. She cried the whole seven minutes it took to get moving. Eventually the van rolled steadily down the road, which Lucy was quite fond of. When I finally backed into the driveway and slid the side door open, Luce was hiccoughing. Under each eye was a puddle of tear drops. The most adorable sad thing I have ever seen.
The morning progressed, and I learned that Lucy has about a twenty minute attention span before she wants to do something else. Swing—good—it let me get the laundry folded. She talks and giggles, happy as can be. I have never seen a baby so excited to talk to herself. Oh, but the twenty minutes are up, let’s move on. Play mat again, yes, I did Pilates while Luce wiggled next to me. She worked herself into a short snooze. Again only twenty minutes. But I was able to whip up some banana muffins.
The morning was going smoothly. I was getting some things done. I decided to take a walk with my friend. So Lucy came along. Oye, I forgot how heavy babies are. Lucy slept and bobbled along in the baby carrier strapped to my chest. It was a fine 60 degrees out with a little wind. I huffed and puffed from Lucy’s added weight. I broke a sweat, and by the time we were done our walk, I was done. Yep, that was it for me.
We came home and hung out in the yard for fifteen minutes. Lucy liked the bright sunlight and the pretty grass and blue sky. It was two o’clock now. Two more hours until mommy comes to get Luce.
It was a long two hours.
Lucy didn’t want to go back to sleep just yet. But she was getting tired. We rocked and bounced and swayed in my arms. At this point I was praying that I would be able to make it the next two hours. Oh how my arms did ache and my back pinched. Luckily, at Luce’s three o’clock feeding she drank herself into a drunken stupor. I slumped down in the arm chair with Lucy curled up in my arms for forty minutes. I think I was in a twilight sleep for ten minutes, but baby girl was zonked, in a deep and heavy sleep. I thought, yes, I finally wore her out, but it was Lucy that had worn me out.
I had to wake Lucy Lu to get the girls from school. But we were all smiles when mommy came twenty minutes later, all happy exhausted smiles. Oh wait, that was just me. Lucy was kicking and laughing and talking like she hadn’t worn me out all day.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

They are Confused

I had the opportunity to sit at Walmart and listen to the 700 Club while my oil was being changed. I had never watched this show before, didn't even know it was about religion. But the TV in the little room only had one channel and that was what was on.

The old gentleman on the screen talking had such really bad makeup. His skin was beyond any natural color. Not even tan, but just creepy, bad, makeup job. So it intrigued me, and I started listening.

The speaker and some other lady, forgive me, I do not know their names, started answering email questions from viewers. One message was from a man that asked: I thought God's love was unconditional. But I heard a pastor say that it is not, and I had been taught otherwise. Which is correct? (That was paraphrased of course.)

I thought, this ought to be good. I knew the answer, because of how I had been taught, and I know what is true.

The man, maybe he was a pastor, I have no idea, but the first thing he goes to say is: God is love, and he kept going. But the more he talked, the more I thought, this guy has no idea of who God really is. He made it sound like God was just this concept of love and not a man of flesh and blood. We are made in His image. He is the Father of our spirits. Not some orb of love.

But I know that God loves each of us.

He then explained the answer to the email question that: yes, God's love is conditional.

My first thought was, WHAT!? You have it wrong.

God loves all his children, no matter what. His love is not conditional. God, or I like to call him Heavenly Father, because he is the father of our spirits. We existed in heaven before we came to earth as spirits and our Father in Heaven is our spirit father. Plain and simple. He loves each and every one of us, whether we are righteous or wicked, a sinner or saint. His love never changes, just as the love of a righteous father on earth, he loves his children whether they make good choices or bad.

Then the pastor went on to say that God's love was conditional because we have to accept him and say we follow Him and Jesus Christ is our savior. Part of this is right...but he left out some key truths.

Okay what's wrong with that? It is not God's love that is conditional....
It is our covenants that we make with our Heavenly Father, such as, when we are baptized. It is the power of the Atonement in our life that is conditional.

And I know I lost some of you here, because not everyone knows what the Atonement is. When we came to earth, our Father in Heaven knew we would make mistakes. He knew that our way back to Him would be lost, because we would be unable to meet the demands of justice for our sins. So Jesus Christ was sent to earth as our Savior. He suffered for our sins and met the demands of justice so that mercy could hold sway in our lives, as long as we REPENT.  The healing power of the atonement works when we repent and are obedient. Repentance is a daily thing, and we can have to chance to be washed clean from our sins on a regular basis, that is how the Atonement works.

And what covenants did we make at baptism? In our church we promise to stand as a witness of God in all times, and in all things, even until death and to bare one another's burdens.

Here is the scripture from the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 18: 8-10
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

And the second thing that is wrong with what the pastor implied is: that all we have to do is say we accept Jesus as our Savior. Not a word was said about repentance or being OBEDIENT.

Obedience is an eternal principle. If we want God to keep his promises to us, then we need to keep our promises to Him. Heavenly Father has promised us many blessings in this life and in the life to come if we are obedient, repent, and endure to the end of our lives faithful.

Okay, so this is a deep post, and I am sure not all of you understand what I am getting at. But you don't need to understand all of it to know that: OUR HEAVENLY FATHER LOVES US NO MATTER WHAT. HIS LOVE IS ALWAYS THERE.

What we need to do is develop a relationship with our Father in Heaven. And we do that by praying to him, reading his holy scriptures, and having faith in Jesus Christ. Then you can understand the love that he has for you. And you will know this by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can pray and feel it in your heart, and you will know.

I leave you with words of a great Book of Mormon prophet, Moroni:
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

And of course he was talking about the Book of Mormon, but we can pray to understand any gospel truths and learn the truth for ourselves by the confirmation of the spirit.

One final thought: I did not feel the spirit while the pastor on TV was speaking. I received no confirmation that his words were true. In fact, they left me confused and disheartened. What does that say?