So where did the idea for this book come from?
In 2013, during the October General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I received a prompting, or a feeling while listening to the messages being shared, that I should write a book about the temple. I have written some other children’s books (as yet unpublished and unseen by anyone else), but it had been a very long time since I had attempted to write something new.
Let me be clear, this was not something I had planned. I had not been thinking about writing a children’s book about anything related to my faith, and was surprised by my rediscovered motivation to be creative in this way. Over the next few nights I wrote what became a majority of the working text for the book. I was honestly quite shocked at how quickly it came together, not in small part because I usually pour over multiple drafts of any piece of writing I know others will see.
But the temple is very close to my heart, and I have a strong testimony of the work that takes place there, I think in part because I am a convert to the Church and did not grow up aware of or able to receive the blessings that come when we spend time in the temple. So perhaps it was time that I wrote that testimony down, and I am so glad I followed that prompting. I believe the book that came together from the feelings I received during General Conference was not just my book. I do not think I did this on my own, and truly feel it was much more the work of the Lord’s hand in my life. Especially because I then put my hand-written notes away and essentially forgot about it for a year before revisiting it.
In October of that year, my first son was nearly 4 months old, and I realized that this was something I also wanted him to know. I wanted him to feel what I do when I walk onto temple grounds and experience the peace that I can take with me when I leave. He needs to know that I have a testimony of the temple and why it is so sacred. What a better way to do this than to give him something I have written (because who knows if he will ever read my sporadically kept journals)?
A year later, the papers sat untouched somewhere in a filing cabinet in our apartment, long forgotten in the process of moving and figuring out life in a new place. But October General Conference rolled around and once again, I felt strongly that I was supposed to be doing something with what I had written. It was as if someone clearly told me to submit the ‘manuscript’ for publication. Although publishing a book was something I had always dreamed of, it was not something I had ever seriously looked into and I was pretty daunted by the idea of submitting my own work for scrutiny by publishers I felt would probably just reject it anyway.
But I listened, thank goodness, and started the process of revising my text based on some of the guidelines I found for children’s books on various publishers’ websites. A wonderful family friend, Merrilee Boyack, gave me a lot of encouragement and helpful advice and connected me with a children’s book author, Annalisa Hall, who had recently published The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket. They both gave me some essential guidance that allowed me to feel confident when submitting the book to Cedar Fort at the end of October 2014. The fact that I only submitted to one publisher, and that it was accepted on my first try only solidified the feelings I had that this was not just my work, but something Heavenly Father wanted me to do, I hope because of the impact it will have on children and families who read it.
Now that I am a parent of a toddler, and am expecting another little boy any day, I most hope that this book will be another resource for parents and families to help teach children about the temple. I know this will be something I read to my own children and feel so blessed others have seen its potential. I also hope it will help us find simpler ways to share with those who are not of our faith why we hold the temple so sacred in our hearts and why we take the time out of our busy lives to go to the temple. I want others to know about the joy and the peace the temple brings, and if this is one way we can share that, I am grateful to have been part of it.