DiscoverLDSPMA Podcast: An Intersection of Faith, Creativity, and Skill in Publishing and Media for Latter-day Saints
LDSPMA Podcast:  An Intersection of Faith, Creativity, and Skill in Publishing and Media for Latter-day Saints
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LDSPMA Podcast: An Intersection of Faith, Creativity, and Skill in Publishing and Media for Latter-day Saints

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Interviewing Latter-day Saint creators about how they manage the intersection of faith, creativity, and professional skill. Published by Latter-day Saint Publishing and Media Association (LDSPMA). Host: Ted Finch. Producer: Cindy Anderson. Assistant Producer: Alan Sanderson. Marketing: Erin Wilder
14 Episodes
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Sherry Meidell is a watercolor illustrator who often sees in life what others miss. For her, art is a way to connect with people and highlight the grandeur of life. Sherry serves as president of the Utah Watercolor Society and has received acclaim for illustrations of children’s books and landscapes. Watercolor is magic, she says. You don’t always know how water is going to react to paper. “Often,” she says, “it turns out better than expected. ” For Sherry, creating art is a spiritual experience—the inspiration coming from without. Like her granddaughter who gave $3 to her grandfather’s medical care, all the money she had, Sherry counsels to “give the creative process all you have.” Finding that inspiration sometimes means climbing to the cliff’s edge for the right perspective or noticing the pioneer mansions that line Onion Street in her hometown, or stopping to see a spray of flowers outside the front door. Sherry has illustrated several children's books. She is currently serving as president of the Utah Watercolor Society. You can find her work at sherrymeidell.com.This episode starts with a conventional interview, but then we caught Sherry on a live microphone sharing some candid words of wisdom and encouragement to an aspiring artist. Her advice was so good that we decided to leave that part of the conversation in.
CJ Madsen is a graduate student studying choral conducting at Brigham Young University. CJ received his bachelor's degree in piano performance, also from BYU. CJ is fluent in composing, piano accompanying, arranging, and singing. He has performed in over 275 concerts and recitals during his time at Brigham Young University. CJ's recent choral/orchestral composition, One Fold, One Shepherd, has been performed seven times and was recently released as an album. He is currently writing "He Shall Prepare a Way", an opera based on the opening chapters of The Book of Mormon. CJ's musical inspirations as a conductor and composer come from his beliefs in Jesus Christ, from his life as a Utah college student, and from his family. https://cjmadsenmusic.com/
Becky Fawson pursues her passion for art with the same ferocity she did as an 18-year-old first-generation college student. Over the years, as she raised her family, she continued to hone and refine her skills as a graphic designer and illustrator. But it wasn’t until the grandchildren needed better picture books that she found her niche. “There are books that you want to hide from your children because you don't want them to bring it to you one more time,” she says.  Great children’s books, she says, will entertain, inspire, and visually delight. Fame and worldly notoriety are not the end game for Becky, but helping others feel valued by illustrating their story is. “I'm working with people, and they need somebody to value them too,” she says. If her art helps another feel their life has meaning, then Becky has lived well. Where some grandmas make quilts for their grandchildren, “I paint portraits,” she says.
Since 2014, Margaret has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help start the film industry there. Her Congolese team recently released its first feature--Heart of Africa--in both the Congo and the USA. Margaret worked for twenty years with Darius Gray telling stories of Black Latter-day Saint pioneers. She taught creative writing at BYU for thirty years and is a much-published author. 
Jeff Wheeler is a sensitive soul. He once broke into wild tears as a young teen after reading a novel. But now, as a writer who creates books so engaging that readers stay awake late into the night, he feels no guilt for their loss of sleep. In this week’s podcast, Jeff shares his desire to create spellbinding fantasy fiction using religious themes that depict protagonists of strong moral character. His books, many of which are on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list, stand in stark contrast to the grim and the dark and the gruesome that editors in the popular fiction field crave. 
Gregg Deal is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Husband and father of four, Deal describes himself as a professional disruptor of the cowboy/Indian stereotype. He combines his artistic skills with a love of history to tell the story of his people, stirring new appreciation and soul searching in his audience.On this episode Deal and host Ted Finch talk about the compelling drive to create, having persistence and faith despite setbacks and misunderstandings, the need to be true to your own beliefs, the healing power of art, and the covenant responsibility of Native Americans to care for their homeland.Learn more about Gregg Deal and his work.
Be prepared to be stirred by two authors, Ka Hancock and Spencer Hyde. They both share how they portrayed the delicate subject of mental health by drawing on their up-close and personal perspectives. Ka Hancock, the author of Dancing on Broken Glass, is a former psychiatric nurse, and Spencer Hyde, professor at BYU and author of Waiting For Fitz and What the other Three Don’t Know uses his experience with severe OCD to speak through his characters. This subject is real and plucks at the deepest heartstrings. As mentioned in the Podcast: Kay Redfield Jamison
This week’s podcast features Heidi Tucker, a grandmother of 10 whose irrepressible happiness and deep-rooted hope have inspired many to take heart and rise to their opportunities. She is an award-winning speaker and writer who has been awarded Book of the Year, Best Inspirational, and Best Cover awards for her first two books Finding Hope in the Journey and Servie’s Song. Her latest release, The Secret Keepers is catching traction with readers around the world. Heidi is a mesmerizing storyteller with a nose to detect the gospel lesson in the most common events in life. The secret to abundant living, she will say, is to look a little closer to find God’s hand governing the little details in your life.  As a mother of four who has bandaged her share of knees and risen to her own challenges, Heidi has much to say and an engaging way to say it.Check out her web page at: https://www.thepickledsunflower.com/my-story
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. He is also a popular speaker about the miracle of opening doors, faith, failure, the Christmas Jars movement, the lost art of letter writing, and many other topics. Each year Jason visits schools across the country and presents assemblies and writing workshops to students at all ages. Jason grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has also lived in Germany, Illinois, Brazil, Oregon and Utah. In 2007, while researching Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley for his novel The Wednesday Letters, Jason fell so in love with the area that he moved his family westward from northern Virginia to Woodstock.Jason is married to Kodi Erekson Wright. They have two girls and two boys.
In 2017, President Clark G. Gilbert became the first president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, a global online organization serving over 50,000 students in over 150 countries. President Gilbert previously served as the president of BYU-Idaho, the CEO of the Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media, and on the faculty of the Harvard Business School. President Gilbert currently serves as an area seventy, assigned to the Utah area. He and his wife Christine are the parents of 8 children.
Abigayl Finch is a writer, baking expert, theatre aficionado, and might be a little obsessed with musicals. She is currently a public policy major at BYU-Idaho. On our journey to become voices of light, we don’t travel alone. Sometimes you are the hero. Other times you might be the mentor or an ally. You might even be all of these roles at the same time across several different life stories. In today’s interview Abigayl and I  talk about how you can be a mentor or ally to the creatives in your life. We will share how I have supported her as her father and how she has supported me as my daughter – allowing both of us to become stronger sources of light.
Rob Eaton has authored or co-authored multiple books for an LDS audience, including President Eyring’s biography, I Will Lead You Along. He is currently a professor of religious education and a Learning and Teaching Fellow at BYU-Idaho, and he serves as a stake president. Rob has worked as an attorney, institute director, seminary teacher, and other leadership positions at BYU-Idaho. 
Al Carraway is a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ, writer, multi-award-winning international speaker, and author of the best-selling books, “Wildly Optimistic,” “More Than the Tattooed Mormon,” and “Cheers to Eternity!” After a decade spent in Arizona & Utah, she is now living with her husband, Ben, and her three kids back where she was raised, in New York, She has spent the last 10 years traveling worldwide inspiring others of her conversion and faith through difficult times. Her passion is to tell everyone that happiness exists, and it comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. That He’s real. And how to find and love Him in the hard, in the unwanted, and the unexpected. Because through it all, with God, we have every reason to be wildly optimistic. In this episode, Al talks about how she has shared her voice of light and gives ideas for how others can share theirs. 
Steven Piersanti is one of the founding members of the Latter-day Saint Publishing and Media Association. He currently serves as the director of conferences and programs. Steve is also the president and publisher of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., a leading independent publisher of books on current affairs, personal growth, and business and management. 
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