"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
July 16, 2014
New Books Offer Simple Pleasures, More Love at Home
by Laurie Williams Sowby

Lori Nawyn has compiled a year’s worth of inspirational thoughts and inspiring ideas for women into Simple Things, a compact paperback from Covenant (2014, 359 pages, $15.99). The collection’s subtitle accurately describes it as “Daily Thoughts, Stories, and Inspirations to Live More Fully.”

Organized by month and day, the book gives a theme for the month, followed by suggestions for “making the most of” whichever month it is, geared to the season and theme, including simple activities, craft ideas, and easy decorations to “nurture yourself and those you love.”

Each date has short thoughts, quotes, scriptures, personal experiences, and stories that illustrate the theme and offer women encouragement and motivation along with inspiration. A handful of seasonal recipes appear at the end of each month section.

This could easily have been a slick, colorfully illustrated, expensive hardcover book, but Simple Things is a compact, jam-packed collection that gives you your money’s worth.

Kevin Hinckley, a private professional counselor, lets it all hang out (well, some of it, anyway) in The Husband Whisperer — The Gentle Approach to Communication in Marriage (Cedar Fort 2014, 118 pages in hard cover, $14.99).

The title seems a bit misleading, as the stories he shares and the principles he espouses are not just for wives, nor even just for women. He’s actually advocating and showing the success of toning down our voices and attitudes in all communication. His techniques work with children and teenagers as well as adults, including co-workers, roommates, and bedmates.

A crucial chapter lays out what whispering is not. It is not passive, silent, or manipulative; it doesn’t have to gently win every argument (offering quiet sincerity instead); and whispering doesn’t mean fixing or enabling.

“Speaking gently is not silent,” he writes. “It is speaking up in a way that cannot be misunderstood by clearly explaining difficulties as you see them. It is making your insights and concerns known and accounted for in a moment of decision making.”

He reflects on the way the Spirit communicates and urges humans to do the same with “a voice that is mild but full of power and strength.” In other words, meekness doesn’t mean weakness.

The author’s conversational tone and clear explanations are advice borne of experience — not just his, but people he’s counseled. It’s psychology in layman’s terms, with the addition of scriptures, General Authority quotes, and illustrations.

He explains how men’s and women’s brains work differently and shows how a real-life conversation that could be confrontational, angry, or argumentative can be couched in phrases that avoid those results while getting at the underlying concerns.

The Husband Whisperer offers tools for a little more peace as well as love at home.

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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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