Jennifer Ann Holt's Blog

February 25, 2014

Olivia's hands were shaking as she opened the small, pink box containing the pregnancy test. She carefully unfolded the instructions, which she read every single time she was about to use one of these sticks. The familiar words raced through her mind without really registering, but she knew the important parts by heart. Accurate up to five days before your period, and then, the appearance of one line is a negative result, the appearance of two lines is a positive result. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and whispered, “Here it goes.”

After placing the test stick face up on the counter and flushing the toilet, Olivia looked around her bathroom, studying the tiny purple flowers on her shower curtain and that place in the corner where the warm tan paint she had applied to the wall slightly overlapped the white baseboard. She noticed that they were running low on shampoo and that she needed to get a new bar of soap from the closet in the hall. She consciously kept her gaze away from the small piece of plastic lying on the corner of her counter while the required three minutes seemed to drag on for thirty. She checked her watch. Nope. One minute left to go. She knew if she glanced at the test, she would be able to get an idea of what the results were, since the lines would already be forming. Instead, Olivia directed her eyes to the laundry hamper and made a mental note that she would need to wash a load of whites today.

One more peek at her watch told Olivia that the time was up. She could check the results. Her heart was racing, and her palms had become wet and sticky. She chided herself for getting so worked up. The results would be whatever they were, and she could not do anything about them now. Olivia did not realize that she was holding her breath as she reached over, gripped the test stick in her hand, and looked down. One line. Negative. She was not pregnant.

Olivia felt the air rush from her lungs as though she had been hit right in the belly. She dropped the stick with a little clatter on the tile floor and braced herself against the vanity cabinets as she slid down to sit on the plush bathroom rug. Olivia propped her elbows on her knees and buried her face in her hands. The tears came as they always did. Slowly at first, as the results of the pregnancy test sank in, then harder and harder until the sobs were bursting, uncontrolled, from her chest. She let herself have a good, hard cry, then rubbed her eyes in anger and frustration when the tears stopped coming and her eyes began to burn.

Partly, Olivia was angry with herself. Angry that she had let her hopes build up once again. Frustrated that the news was still affecting her in this way. This was, after all, the twelfth pregnancy test she had taken in as many months. Every month she told herself that she was not going to buy another test. She would just wait and let nature tell her whether she was pregnant or not, but the “not knowing” was almost as unbearable as finding out she wasn’t.

Olivia also had to admit that she was getting frustrated with Heavenly Father. Having a family was her greatest desire, and she could not understand why that blessing was being withheld. Before her mind could wander too far in that direction, there was a soft knock on the bathroom door.

“Livvy, are you okay? I’ve got to leave or I’ll be late for work.” It was Michael. This was the part Olivia dreaded most of all. Michael wanted a child as much as she did, and it broke her heart to have to tell him month after month after month that there was still no baby on the way. She stood up and splashed a little cool water on her face. After a quick pat dry, she opened the door.

Before Olivia could even open her mouth, Michael knew. Her big blue eyes were not bright and vibrant as usual; they were darker—almost gray—a sure sign that she had been crying. She gave a nearly imperceptible shake of her head and attempted to shrug off the ache in her heart.

Michael tried to hide the disappointment that rushed through him. He knew that Livvy needed him to be strong right now. He opened his arms and said, “Oh, Livvy, I’m so sorry!”

As she buried her head in his shoulder and the tears started flowing again, she whispered, “Me too, Michael. Me too.”
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Published on February 25, 2014 19:05 • 92 views

September 16, 2013

I really enjoyed this sweet children's book written by Christy Monson and illustrated by Lori Nawyn.  Christy is a retired marriage and family therapist, and her expertise is evident in the way she simply and beautifully talks to children about how to work through their feelings "When Scary Things Happen".

"Sometimes bad things happen to good people"... this book begins.  It offers caring and practical advice about how children - or adults for that matter - can express feelings, let them out, and work to feel safe.  My favorite is "kick a pile of dirty laundry!"  (There would be plenty of options at my house.)

If you'd like to purchase this simple, yet very insightful book, you can find it at the below links.
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Published on September 16, 2013 09:57 • 3 views

September 9, 2013

I'm excited to post this review about a new book by one of my favorite author friends:  Christy Monson.  This book really resonated with a lot of things that I've been thinking about right now.  I enjoyed reading it, and it re-affirmed one of my long held beliefs (and one of the reasons that I love reading and writing so much):  WORDS HAVE POWER!

There you go.  Whether they are spoken out loud to others, read off a page, or thought within our own minds, words have power.  They have power to encourage and uplift.  They also have power to discourage and destroy.  Words have the power to bring people together or tear them apart.  Words even have power to heal wounds, dry tears, and mend broken hearts.

This message about the power of words seemed to be an underlying theme throughout Becoming Free.  I loved how the author complemented her own stories and thoughts with inspiring quotes from Buddha, Helen Keller, Shakespeare,  Benjamin Franklin, Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi and many, many others.

The author herself wrote many lines that are now on my list of favorite quotes.  Just a few of these are:  "Life happens to all of us.  It's what you do with those happenings that makes you who you are."  And "Depression is No Friend of Physical Exercise".

I've read self-help books now and then, and I often walk away from them feeling either overwhelmed, bored, or simply uninspired.  The way that Christy wrote about her own experiences from her career as a marriage and family therapist kept me engaged.  As she combined those experiences with her assertion that the words we think about ourselves and the words we say to ourselves have a real impact on what we do and how act, she hooked me.  Just a few of the areas of life she addresses are:  work ethic, healing fear, decision making, allowing imperfection, and self-responsibility.

She offered real, practical exercises to help us re-train our inner dialogue, and she wrote of many things we can focus on in our life that will help uplift and free our minds and spirits.  Some of these like gratitude, laughter, writing, service, and relying on a higher power have already blessed and strengthened my life.

I found a lot of wisdom in this book, and I highly recommend it!  If you are struggling in your life or with how you feel about yourself, this is a great place to start.  If you're more like me and you feel good about your life and the direction you're going, but are always looking for ways to grow and learn and become a little better each day, this is also a wonderful resource!

You can find Becoming Free:  A Woman's Guide to Internal Strength  at the following links:
AMAZON  or  Familius

The author is hosting a rafflecopter giveaway which you can enter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Published on September 09, 2013 23:00 • 59 views

February 11, 2013

Kadence Reynold’s favorite pastime is exploring old ghost towns, but when she and her sister, Maysha, stumble across an old journal and cheap pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling foundation near Eureka, Utah, their world is suddenly turned upside down. Immediately, strange dreams and premonitions begin to haunt “Kadie” as she learns more about the author of the journal, Charlotte Clark. Kadie sets out on a journey to learn more about Charlotte and her family, and she and Maysha travel to Bremerton, Washington, where they discover Charlotte's still living twin sister, Adelaide and her family.
Kadie and Maysha, upon arriving in Washington, are immediately immersed in Adelaide and Charlotte’s story. Kadie soon learns that Charlotte disappeared the night of a tragic fire that took the lives of Adelaide’s entire family. With the help of Logan Mathews, Adelaide’s handsome grandson, and Charlotte’s ever disconcerting presence, Kadie delves into the past. Hoping to solve the mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance, Kadie immediately discovers the secrets contained in the journal will toss her and Adelaide’s family into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns.
MY REVIEW:I really enjoyed reading Mandi Tucker Slack's new book, Tide Ever Rising.  I was pulled into the story and had a hard time putting it down.  Mandi did a great job of setting the story up, and I felt that Kadie's desire to get drawn into this adventure was sincere.  It was definitely a fun book to read!  The action moved right along, and I enjoyed the romance that was sprinkled throughout.  If you like romantic mysteries, this book will be right up your alley! You can order your copy from Amazon today, and check out more about the author, Mandi Tucker Slack by heading over to her web site
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Published on February 11, 2013 08:45 • 66 views

November 13, 2012

I'm very excited to post about a terrific book by a wonderful author!  Texting Through Time:  John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle is the second Texting Through Time book by Christy Monson.  They are in the vein of the Magic Tree House books that are so popular among young readers.  I know my three children (two 7-year-old boys, and one 10-year-old girl) are going to love this book, and it was a quick and fun read for me, as well!

Micah and Alicia's father has created a time traveling cell phone, and in this installment, they travel through time to various events in the life of John Taylor.  I loved the accurate historical details, as well as the way some serious questions (like 'Why does God allow bad things to happen?' and 'Does Heavenly Father love me even when I make a mistake?') were addressed in a simple and sincere way without slowing the story down.  I even learned a few things about the life of John Taylor as Micah and Alicia tried to solve the mystery puzzle that would allow them to return home.

This book would make a terrific Christmas gift for the young readers in your life!  Plus, if you order your copy TODAY from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and then go leave a comment on one of Christy's web sites listed below, you'll be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate!
Also, for any of my northern Utah readers who would like to meet Christy (and you really do want to meet her, she's great) the official launch party will be held on Friday, November 23 at the Ogden Temple Deseret Book from 2:00 - 3:30 pm.[image error]
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Published on November 13, 2012 04:00 • 51 views

July 10, 2012

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I'm excited to share with you a book that I had the opportunity to read.  It's called Open Adoption, Open Heart by Russell Elkins.  Russell sent me an e-mail the other day, and he was gracious enough to give me an e-copy of his book to read.  This is a non-fiction book that tells the true story of Russell and his wife Jammie's first (of two) open adoptions.  The story is told matter-of-factly and accurately portrays the adoption process.  It doesn't dive too deeply into the emotions, and could be a good source of information for someone interested in pursuing an open adoption.  I'm excited to get to know Russell and Jammie better, and look forward to reading more of their stories in the future.
To learn more about Russell, go to and look for Open Adoption, Open Heart on Facebook .[image error]
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Published on July 10, 2012 05:00 • 66 views

July 9, 2012

Congratulations to Sunny!  Using, you are the winner of the signed copy of Once Upon A Baby~An LDS Adoption Story! 

I'll get an e-mail out to you shortly!!!

Thanks to all who entered!

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Published on July 09, 2012 07:57 • 4 views

July 6, 2012

Profile PictureI was contacted a while ago by a wonderful mom named Shari Guess whose son joined their family through adoption.  She's written a sweet book for young children about LDS adoption, and I had the opportunity to read it.  She provided a copy for me and my children (Thanks, Shari!!!), as well as a signed copy to give away.  So, if you'd like to win your very own copy, just leave a comment on this post, and you're entered!  I'll announce the winner by 8:00 am on Monday morning (July 9th).  Meanwhile, check out the book's web page: or find it on Facebook.

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Published on July 06, 2012 18:14 • 4 views

May 18, 2012

A great big thank you to all of you who entered the drawing for a signed copy of Delivering Hope!  Using, the winner is......... Cindy!  I'll send you an e-mail right after I post this.  If you didn't win, never fear, Delivering Hope is available in stores and online at Seagull Book, Deseret Book, Barnes and Noble (including nook), and Amazon (including Kindle).

Thanks again for stopping by!  Happy Reading!!!!
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Published on May 18, 2012 09:22 • 5 views

May 10, 2012

I'm excited to be a part of this giveaway hop!  I'm featuring my first novel, Delivering Hope, which has only been out a few months and is doing really well!  The Deseret News says, "Sensitive ... honest ... Delivering Hope is a must-read ... an inspiring book that delivers on its name."

Delivering Hope Olivia Spencer wants to be a mom more than anything else in the world, but years of infertility have wounded her soul and strained her marriage.
Allison Campbell is a recent high school graduate who discovers that a moment of excitement has led to an unplanned pregnancy and an overwhelming heartache.
As the lives of these women touch, we see that deep love can pave the way for sacrifice, and we learn the true source of hope, healing, and joy.

To enter the drawing for a signed copy of my book, please leave a comment on this post.  If you would like an additional entry, "Like" my Facebook fan page.
Then hop on over to the other blogs on the list to enter their drawings as well!  Good luck and have fun!
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Published on May 10, 2012 21:42 • 74 views