"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
October 10, 2012
Three Tiny Treasures Offer Wealth of Wisdom
by Laurie Williams Sowby

A good talk merits being reread and repeated. Here are three small hardcover gems from Deseret Book whose phrases bear repeating — and that feature lovely design and illustration to make them books worth giving, too.

Your Happily Ever After (2011, 58 pages, $14.99) is essentially the entire text of the talk originally given by President Uchtdorf at the general Young Women meeting in March 2010. Using fairy tales such as “Beauty and the Beast” as examples, he says, “It’s your reaction to adversity, and not the adversity itself, that determines how your life story will develop.”

Although the talk can be easily found through lds.org, the book is so much more appealing than a printout from a website. Individual pages highlight memorable phrases with embellished script, borders, and fanciful backgrounds.

How could a teenager not take comfort in President Uchtdorf’s words, “If you ever feel your burden is too great to bear, lift your heart to your Heavenly Father, and He will uphold and bless you”?

Counsel to help young women — or anyone, for that matter — create their own happy life comes in seemingly simple phrases such as “Stay true to what you know is right” and “Trust [Heavenly Father] enough to follow His plan.” The message is brief but solid in this little book that packs a big punch.

Young Women General President Elaine S. Dalton also shares advice and counsel to the young women of the Church in Shine! (2012, 58 pages, $15.99), adapted from her talk at the general Young Women meeting last spring.

Pages with lots of words are broken up with appealing photos of nature, people, and places that relate to the text. Stories about her mother, grandmother, daughters, and granddaughters personalize the talk and invite readers to relate.

One page outlines a mnemonic device filled with good advice: SPARKLE (Smile, Pray, have a positive Attitude, Read [the Book of Mormon], Keep the commandments, Live the standards with exactness, and be an Example of the believers).

Sister Dalton offers powerful reminders of a divine heritage and bright future that give Latter-day Saint youth every reason to shine in the present.

Equally powerful although more succinct are Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s quotations in Created for Greater Things (2011, 156 pages, $15.99). Gleaned from his many talks and writings, the entries range from short quips to full-page text.

In well-chosen words and parallel speech which we’ve come to appreciate in him, Elder Holland gives sound as well as profound advice: “If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.”

He reminds parents to remember that “God will send aid to no one more readily than he will send it to a child — and to the parent of a child.” Another entry cautions parents to avoid comparing their children and instead help them “escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are ‘enough.’”

Beautiful photographs from nature make the book visually as well as spiritually inspiring, and small touches of humor make us smile at their wisdom (“Nothing is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse”).

This little book is chock full of quotes worth repeating. (Oh, for a table of contents or index that could make them easier to find when you want to quote them again!)

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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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