March 20, 2014

My New BOOK!

I am really excited, many of you know that my second book, COUNTING CANDLES is coming out in a few months! It is getting really close to the date—June 2014—just before Father’s Day (making it a PERFECT GIFT for you or your family members!)

After writing WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN, I really liked having feedback and people interested. (The second edition just came out last month) Of course I continue to write. I always have an idea for a book or am looking for ways to describe events in writing, so having a second book—not about me this time—come out is AMAZING!

The last few months have been busy working with editors and the marketing team at Cedar Fort Publishing. They have been really fun to work with and extremely personable. Publishing a book is a very personal experience. You are placing your ideas and thoughts out there for people to critique, judge, or have opinions about and that is nerve wracking and exciting all at once! So having a great publisher to work with makes a HUGE difference.

I was excited to see a copy of the cover page a few weeks ago—it is still in the final stages of approval, but I am guessing it will stay this way or be only slightly different.

The marketing rep sent me this photo of the ‘proofs’ they have in stock. Proofs usually come out before hand to help promote the book before the actual release date. Kind of giving someone the ‘scoop’ before the book is released! Proofs are used for editors and other publishing team members to review the book one last time before it goes public, and they are also to promote the book with media etc.

These covers have not even been placed on the market to be seen yet, so I guess that means I am effectively leaking my own book cover, hahaha!

I just wanted to share because I am really excited about this book!

Here is a quick synopsis about the book:

“As accountant James Smith approaches his 40th birthday, he concludes that his life is tedious, ho-hum, dull, and, well . . . mediocre. He can't image the vast ways that those around him are affected by his simple, caring acts. This tale of the extraordinary impact of ordinary lives is sure to touch your heart.”

You can also pre-order your copy on CountingCandles

Thank you all for your support—always.

March 16, 2014

The Right Place at the Right Time

 We often hear about being in the “wrong place at the wrong time…” as an explanation for a tragedy or hardship in our lives, but I have learned over the years that being in the right place at the right time is just as powerful and maybe more of an impact on our lives.

Often, these experiences happen and we look back and realize there was Divine intervention into our lives LONG before we realized it. Nothing happens by accident.

Let me give you some examples from my own life. Lady Hiva and I were 25 when we were married, and for those of you who don’t know (and those of you that do) that is REALLY OLD for an LDS person to get married. We laugh about that now because it was the right time for us. Lady came back and we met at the perfect time in our lives to start an eternal relationship.

There have been countless times when I have met someone and later that relationship is one that becomes mutually beneficial when a problem arises and later solved together. Being assigned to the Philippines was unexpected, but with the church and community service we accomplished there, we really feel we were sent there for a reason.

Being back here in Washington, DC has been the right place at the right time for SO many reasons. Tau’aho and Lady were able to get the medical care needed to have a healthy baby and we have seen our families countless times during our time here. Being in the Foreign Service, time with family is a VERY PRECIOUS commodity.

Going to Turkey feels the same way. And that brings me to the most recent example. I started learning Turkish in September and every week I progress. Hopefully I have enough of it down to pass my  assessment test! About 6 weeks into Turkish one the the leaders at church stepped into a class and said, “Do you speak Turkish?” I confirmed I did and he then asked me to follow him. After we were in the hall he told me a lady had shown up at the church and did not speak English and he wanted me to translate. I am not sure how he was able to understand she spoke Turkish, but I was more stressed about the fact that in 6 weeks I was excited to say little things like, “My name is Dust” or “The weather is beautiful.”

No pressure!

Luckily, between me and another Turkish student we pieced together that she had a daughter living nearby that also spoke Turkish and English. We went over to their home and when we walked in I knew her grandson. I had met him several months earlier at a meeting. Small world.

Both the grandson and this woman, Sebahat, started to come to church. EVERY WEEK. That is quite a feat especially when she does not speak English.  Lady Hiva and I sat with her every week and I translated. At first my translations were shaky—I mean we don’t learn ANY gospel terms at work, right? So I was on my own. For example, my translation for something like, “..Jesus Christ gave us the chance to repent and be forgiven…” was something like, “When we are good, God loves us.” (I didn’t know how to say Jesus at the time.

Eventually, with Sebahat’s patience and my painful thinking process (aided by google translate  on my phone for words like blessings and faith) the translation became more comfortable and easy. Lady Hiva and Tau’aho really enjoy her happy personality too. Sebahat even made Tau’aho some sweaters.

Sebahat’s grandson was baptized a few weeks ago and it was then that Sebahat, after reading the Book of Mormon several times decided she too knew she wanted to be baptized. Tonight I was able to baptize her. It was great to see her love for Heavenly Father and for the gospel.

I am glad that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to meet her grandson and then again to meet her. I am glad I am learning Turkish so I could help…at least with broken translations!

March 08, 2014

Women: Inspiring Change!

Today, 8 MAR 2014, is International Women’s Day. Each year the 8th of March celebrates this date. The United Nations comes up with a theme for IWD and this year the theme is “Inspiring Change.”

I think that this is a fitting theme for the year. I must tell you that I am a bit of a feminist myself. Meaning I believe strongly in the value of women and they must be treated as equals. I believe their dreams, aspirations, and beliefs should be fulfilled as much as any male’s should. Women’s contributions to our lives are unmeasurable and I believe they should be applauded for it.

That being said, I also truly believe it is a team effort. There are divine talents and skills that men and women have and as a team they make up two halves of a whole. For example, I am married to the AMAZING Lady Hiva. Those of you who know us can attest that we are very different in personality, perspective and background. Sometimes those differences cause us to do some mutual problem-solving, but for the most part our individual strengths contribute to being a stronger couple. We counter balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

The way I see it, Lady’s success is my success and her happiness makes me happy. And the opposite is also true, my success is in large part due to her influence and inspiration. There is a balance we work towards. Being part of a team doesn’t mean that one side is ‘giving in’ or ‘losing their independence’ it just means we need to work together in love and respect.

The contributions of women all over the world can be seen in our homes and as drastic as inspiring change in equality and culture. Lady Hiva and I saw that when we started the sustainable living project for battered anddisplaced women in the Philippines. It gave these women a way to create change in their own environment.

So today I celebrate the inspiring women in my life and around the world who make the world a better place. My heart aches for women in situations they cannot control nor escape. I pray for their peace and comfort until their day of liberation comes. I hope that I can do my part, as a man, to balance the inequalities and show my reverence for womanhood.

So happy International Woman’s day to you all…and especially my Lady Hiva!

March 03, 2014

Another Snow Day!

So this winter has been a snowy one. Our friends and families in northern, more cold prone, areas will tell us that we are being weak and whiny. Maybe we are. Lady Hiva and I haven’t been in cold weather for years!

The whole area shuts down on impending snow. This is has been the…who knows how many, I lost count…snow day this season. It feels reminiscent of our typhoon season shut downs in Manila. (not that I’m really sad about not going to work, I was scheduled to have an evaluation today…but get an extra day to not stress about it! HAHA)

The best part about being home is that I get to spend the day with Lady and Lucky. We decided today that we should take him out in the snow for a few minutes. He wasn’t sure what he thought about it all, but he sure looked cute in his rolly-polly outfit. (ok, I admit I think he looks cute in anything…but who doesn’t think their child is amazing?!)

He liked being outside, but he was not sure about being in a suit that he couldn’t move. We sat him in the snow and he started to fall backward but couldn’t do anything to stop himself. We had to get a few photos of him making a Lucky little snow angel!

Going over....TIMMMMBERR!

This is a you help him or take a photo first?.. moment. See where my priorities are..hahaha

But mom will rescue. Look at his disdain towards me