Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seeing the Savior Face to Face

2 Nephi 33:11 reads, “… for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are His words, at the last days; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar…”

I believe that each time I read the Book of Mormon I come to know the Savior a little better. My goal in starting over this time is to increase my relationship with the Savior, but also to share with my future grandson my testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. I want all my children and their children to know that I believe in Christ; that all that I am and do is to be like him and closer to Him.

We need to become like him. I love all the examples of Christ-like living of the people in the Book of Mormon: Moroni – an example of forgiveness and courage; Ammon – and example of repentance and service to his fellow people; Alma the Elder – example of faith as he earnestly prayers for his wayward son, and an example of perfect hope; the Stripling Warriors – examples of obedience; Nephi – also an example of obedience, but also an example of courage and forgiveness, not to mention a gentle heart; Captain Moroni – an example of loyalty and courage; The Brother of Jared – an example of great faith and compassion as he moved to the ends of the earth because he had compassion for those he loved; King Benjamin – an example of work and loving service; Mormon – an example of being a peacemaker; Abinidi – an example of courage and honesty.

I want to be like these heroes. I pray that my children and grandchildren develop these character traits as well. What better way to help them, and myself, along that path then through the study of their lives and testimonies of Jesus Christ?

We are all on our way to becoming like Christ. But we must know him to become like him in every way. I love this story shared in a Conference talk:

“This Man Knows the Shepherd” by Robert E. Wells (CR, Nov. 1980, p. 12)

Some time ago a great actor in the city of New York gave a wonderful performance in a large theater, at the close of which there were rounds of applause. He was called back again and again. Finally someone called to him, “Would you do for us the Twenty-third Psalm?” “Why yes, I know the Twenty-third Psalm.” He recited it as an actor would, perfectly, with nothing left to be desired as far as a performance was concerned. When he was finished, again there was thunderous applause. Then the actor came to the front of the stage and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, there is an old man sitting here on the front row whom I happen to know. I am going to ask him without any notice if he will come and repeat the Twenty-third Psalm.” The elder gentleman, of course, was frightened. Trembling, he came to the stage. Fearfully, he looked out over the vast audience. Then, as though he were at home only with one, he closed his eyes and talked to God, and said, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Then changing to address the Savior directly and intimately: “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, they rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” When the old man had finished, there was no applause, but there was not a dry eye in that house. The actor came to the front of the stage. He, too, was wiping his eyes. And he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I know the words of the Twenty-third Psalm, but this man knows the Shepherd.”

Boyd K. Packer said: “We are no more or less than the image of Christ which does become engraved upon your countenance – that you are he and he is you.”

I also want to develop a better understanding of basic gospel principles. I am going to search for a better understanding of these doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon:

a. Jesus is the Son of God.

b. Jesus is the Christ.

c. Christ is the Promised Messiah.

d. The Fall of Adam.

e. The Plan of Salvation

f. The Atonement

g. The Resurrection

h. The Spirit World

i. The Necessity of Ordinances

j. The Doctrine of Justification (the relationship between grace and works)

k. The gathering of Israel.

l. Continual revelation.

So tomorrow we start. Tomorrow I will be studying the title page. I decided it counts as scripture study. After all, Moroni wrote it under the direction of the Spirit.

So, join me. Read the title page and the testimonies of the witness. Read the commentary on my blog and comment. Let us all work together to edify, strengthen and uplift our study.

I know that this is the right thing to do for me. I am hoping someone (I know there are a few of you) will join me. Feel free to share the links. The more the merrier.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book of Mormon Challenge in Two Days! Are You Ready?

It's almost time for my book of Mormon Study.  This time I am studying the book of Mormon with my new grandson, Benjermin, in mind.  I've been thinking about what I hope it learns from my most favorite book.  Hear are the basic truths I hope he learns as he studies the Book of Mormon and as he reads my thoughts and testimony that I record in "his" special copy:

a. The Book of Mormon is an independent witness that Jesus is the Christ.  Through this marvelous book I have learned more about the Savior and gained a better understanding of His role in my life.

b. The Book of Mormon is a witness to the Bible. Remember, all saving truth will be established in the mouth of two or more witnesses.  Because of the Book of Mormon, I know the Bible is true.

c. It is tangible proof that Joseph Smith is a Prophet.  There is no way an uneducated farm boy could have come up with such an elaborate story in such a short amount of time.  Besides, he didn't even write it.  He had scribes.  ;)

d. It stands as proof that God is in reality the same yesterday, today, and forever.  AND He remembers His promises.

e. Through it the gospel is purely known. Our commission is not to teach all truth to the world but to teach those singular truths essential to salvation. These truths are known only through revelation and rightly declared only by those properly called of God.  The Book of Mormon does that.

f. It is a scriptural testimony of the gathering of Israel to the faith of their ancient fathers.  It's a family history!

g. The spiritual power and purity of doctrine in the Book of Mormon can bring a person closer to God than any other book.

I do hope Benjermin loves this book as much as I do.  I am excited to get started.  How about you?  Are you ready?  Do you have a copy to mark and to make notes in?

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now...

I can see clearly now, the fuzz is gone,

I can see all obstacles on my way

Gone are the aging eyes that had me blind

It’s gonna be a clear (clear), bright (bright)

Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the headaches are gone

All of the stabbing pains have disappeared

There is a whole world out there unseen before

It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)

crystal clear day.

Look all around, there’s nothin’ but a clear view

Look straight ahead, I finally have a clue

I can see clearly now, the fuzz is gone,

I can see all obstacles on my way

Gone are the blurry eyes plagued my day

It’s gonna be a brand (brand), new (new)

crystal clear day.

Today, I picked up my new glasses. I had threatened not to leave the building today unless I was leaving with glasses or my money back. 9 weeks is a long time to go without clear vision. To clarify, I picked up my new progressive lens glasses. Yup, it's official and I can no longer live in the sweet shadow of denial. I need bi-focal lens and my eyesight is getting worse. I am getting old. As if the assistance to my eyesight wasn't ENUFF already, I am almost a Grandma! Granny, ya’ll! I’m feeling old now.

These new specks are more square than my last glasses. I am hip now. Maybe I need to get a hip haircut to go with the hip specks. I wonder.

I'm feeling freshly be-spectacled as I sit at my computer, soon snuggle up with Happy Potter and a good night’s rest.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Salad Days 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, and 241

Monday, November 21, my daughter made me this salad for lunch so I could eat between lessons.  She did a real nice job mixing  salad greens, red onions, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, and ham.
Tuesday, November 22, I made a quick Taco type salad with salad greens, guacamole, and tortilla chips.

Wednesday, November 23, I got a salad from the grocery store.  It included lettuce, tomatoes, pepperoni, olives, salami, and I added feta cheese.

Thursday was Thanksgiving day.  I followed the recipe my sister gave me and made a Spinach salad that included spinach, sliced apples, almond slivers, bacon, red onion and raisins.  We also made a vinaigrette.  It was yummy.

Friday, November 25, I enjoyed spinach, curried chickpeas, tomatoes and feta mixed together as a salad.

Saturday, November 26, we celebrated our anniversary a little late.  Our real anniversary was Thanksgiving Day.  We went to a Thai restaurant.  I ordered a Thai salad .  It had lettuce, cilantro, cucumbers, bean sprouts, and fried rice noodles, smothered in a peanut dressing.  It also came with shrimp.  It didn't say it had shrimp on the menu,.  I am allergic to shell fish, so I avoided them.  Thankfully I didn't react to them being on the plate.  It was very yummy.

Tonight I only had lettuce in the house and I used a little Thai dressing.  I guess I'm in a Thai mood.

So there are the salads for the week.  Not bad.  I have to say.  I'm hoping to come up with some other good ones this week.  Wish me luck

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Life is Short... find the Joy Now

The past couple weeks I have been reminded of the fact that life is short.  I good friend, a young mom of 6 great kids, started chemo for breast cancer; a young man died leaving a grieving fiance and family; and today a friend posted that her 16 year old son died yesterday.  My heart is breaking for them all. My heart is breaking for their loved ones. All are young.  All had dreams of being with family and friends forever. 

Life is short. We seem to think that we’ll live forever on this earth. We spend time and money as though we’ll always be here. We buy shiny things on Black Friday, fighting through crowds and standing in lines, as though they matter and are worth the debt and stress of attachment. We put off the so-called “trip of a lifetime” for another year, because we all assume we have another year. We don’t tell the ones we love how much we love them often enough because we assume there’s always tomorrow.

And we fear. Oh, do we fear. We stick it out in dead end, miserable jobs and situations because we’re afraid of the risk of stepping out and finding something new. We don’t reach high enough or far enough because we’re worried we’ll fail, forgetting – or never realizing – that it’s better to fail spectacularly while reaching for the stars than it is to succeed at something we never really wanted in the first place.

I do it.  Why do you think I am still at this "healthy" state?  Why do you think I stay in the same "comfortable" station in life and rarely try something new?

Years ago a friend from high school was dieing of AIDS.  He called and wanted to chat.  I was too busy with toddlers and worries of lack of money.  I was afraid of the unknown surrounding AIDS.  I was afraid..  I didn't want to take the time, or to make the effort to go visit him.  I regret that now.

We think we’ve got forever to make things right.  Or that the concerns that weigh us down are so pressing that we can't focus on anything else. We worry about the trivial to the neglect of the most precious thing we have: moments we’ll never see again. We talk of killing time, passing time, and getting through the week, forgetting we’re wishing away the moments that comprise our lives... moments with the ones we love.

We say time is money when in fact the time we have is ALL we have. Money can be borrowed, time can’t. We fear taking risks, unaware that the biggest risk we run in playing it safe is that we have never truly lived. And then it’s too late. We watched our favourite TV shows, we fought a losing battle with our weight, we picked up the guitar once in a while and never quite finished the continuing education we wanted to do. We managed to get a large flatscreen and new cars once in a while, but the list of things we’d have done if we could really, truly could have done anything, kept growing. And we never did them.

It is time to truly live.  It is time to live for the moment.  It is time to find the JOY in every moment we have with family and friends.  It is time to create more of those moments and to truly make a difference in the world one moment; one decision; one brave act at a time.
Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen. Your kids can come with you. Your job can wait. You can find someone to feed the dogs, cats, and chickens. I know, I know, there are so many reasons we can’t and some of those reasons are valid.

Life is not only short, it is also sometimes profoundly hard. But I think sometimes our reasons are in fact only excuses. Excuses keep us in the dark.  Living the dream is not self-help, positive-thinking, wish-upon-a-star kind of stuff.  It is the realization that life is short and no one is going to live my life on my behalf. It is the realization that dreams are dreamed to come true.  After all, God's work is to bring to pass our eternal joy and immortality of His children.  And "men are that they might have joy."  

And one day soon – because it’ll seem that way, I know it – my candle will burn out; I want it to burn hot and bright while it’s still lit. I want it to light fires and set others ablaze.

Say what you mean... make a difference... tell people you love them... find someone to help... enjoy a few sunrises (today was beautiful in Central Oregon)... eat a little chocolate... call a few family member... give someone on the street corner lunch, even if it's a Happy Meal.

Life is short. Live it now. And live it with all your strength and passion now. Don’t keep it in reserve against a day you might not have. While the ember is still lit, fan it to flame. Be bold about it, even if your circumstances mean all you have is to love and laugh boldly. Because now is all we have, and these dreams won’t chase themselves.

Maybe I should save up and go on a real vacation too....

Life is short... Live now... And Love tons.

On to the next Holiday

Well, round one in the holiday feasting has come and gone.

I believe I soundly defeated one of the worst eating days of the year.  I successfully ate a spinach salad, whipped sweet potatoes, turkey and ham.  I stayed away from mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cheese bread dip, cream cheese and yogurt fruit dip, rolls, stuffing and pie.  My mom goes nuts when making pie.  I think there were 14 pies and 2 cheese cakes.  I know.  Tempting.  But I kept in mind the aches and pains eating wheat and dairy bring and I just said no.

Friday... same story.  Friday after Thanksgiving is traditionally a gluttonous day of eating leftover.  I ate salad.  I ate GF bread and Marionberry jam.  I did taste the inside of a fruit pie, but no leftover potatoes, stuffing, and the like for me. 

I may have consumed more calories than I usually do, but I didn't come close to eating the caloric intake of family members (teehee) or that I have in the past.

So... I call it a win.  One down, 35 days to go to get to the end of caloric craziness and New Years.

Oh... and Salad Days continue.  I just need to get home to load the pictures of my salads so I can blog them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

22 years...

Today is my anniversary.

Funny.  Today reminds me of our wedding 22 years ago.  Like then, today has been focused on family, not the event.  Today we spent making and eating food and hanging out with family.  22 years ago we had Thanksgiving in the driveway of our apartment.  Thankfully, the weather was nice that day was we played some goofy game my mom made up with clothes pins and a milk carton out side of our tiny apartment.  The weather is not so nice today.  The wind is blowing and the snow and rain mix driving side ways.  Thank goodness it's wasn't like that 22 years ago.

There are some days I wonder how we made it this far.  Some years were rougher than other years.  Some years seemed like smooth sailing.

22 years.

Well... at least I still like him.  He can still make me laugh.  His real smile still makes me smile.  I still think he's smart... most of the time.  He still brings me water... even if I trick him to get out of bed to get me some.  He still surprises me... like a cool birthday present of finally fixing the kitchen floor and the kitchen chairs, or the crazy scavenger hunt date with the fabulous Fabio O'Connory.  He still works hard to support the family.  He still lets me drive.  He has stopped trying to get me into canoes and amusement park rides because he finally understands I hate them.  He still likes everything I cook... or is it that he has finally learned that he should eat it or starve?  He will add blankets so I can sleep with the window open.  He bought a camp trailer because he finally learned I don't like camping in a tent.  He let me buy the last car.

I found the perfect card... my style of anniversary gift list.  It said 22 years the gift should be Terra cotta.  I got John a terra cotta dog bowl and made "dog food" with chocolate pudding made with coconut milk and coco puffs.  It made him laugh. 

Hard to imagine in the next 22 years.  These 22 went by fast enough.  I could see the next 22 fly by.  I can't wait for the Burlap year!

Thankful for... the memories... new and old

Today I am thankful for my memories of holidays past and present.
My family loves to laugh... especially when the sentence begins with, "remember when..."

Today as we were all getting ready for Thanksgiving feasting many such belly laughs burned calories.  (Good thing to since we had so much food).

"Remember when dad sat outside and cooked the turkey with his flame thrower?"  Actually, I don't remember that.  It was a year I didn't come to Thanksgiving with the rest of the family.  Apparently, my dad wanted a deep fried turkey.  Being the safety conscience guy that he is, he decided to skip the boil of boiling oil and opted for the turkey in a bucket and his flame thrower.  He sat out there a good 2 hours carefully checking the temperature of the bird and minding the flames.  He finally brought in a char broiled, shrunken offering that didn't make it to the table.  Good thing mom had an additional turkey in the oven.

"Did I remember the yeast?"  Mom was making rolls.  Normally, she is the best bread maker I know.  Today I was wondering if her mind was failing.  She couldn't remember her recipe... the one she has used for 20 years.  Paul talked her through what she put in the bowl.  Even after sprinkling the yeast on top of the dough, the roll came out nicely.

"Pass me a roll."  Jen chucked a roll at Paul and it hit the wall behind him.  It reminded me of the first Thanksgiving that my brother-in-law came to eat with the family.  My cousin passed the jello the very same way.  I do have to say, roll are more aerodynamic than jello.

"Did you just pat my butt?"  My brother brought his family and his brother-in-law who is challenged with cerebral palsy.  They were loading up to go home and Paul picked Tyler up and then needed to set him down.  Tyler got us all laughing.  Paul was a bit speechless.  A miracle in itself.

I think my favorite memory is all the love bouncing around as all the there is no room in the kitchen.  Too many butts in the kitchen.  Everyone working for a common cause.

Or maybe it's all the cousins playing like they've been BFF forever, even if they rarely see each other.

Or maybe it's mom comparing the turkey to my sister during labor.

Or the discussions of labor with the two pregnant women.

Or my sister telling my nephew to (who was pretending to be a puppy) to pee on the wall.

Or maybe it's the surprised look on my brother-in-law's face when I tell him that the P%*py mess in the bathroom included the floor.... and he missed it in the clean up.

Or maybe it's how the women run around making food and fun while the men grunt to football games and take naps.

Or maybe it was the funny little turkey's we made with M&M's, or the kids sliding down the stairs on blankets because they were, "bored."

However, I'm pretty sure that it's mostly family.  My favorite memories of the past are holidays with my cousins, the Whites (Byron, Marara, Moana, Nick, Bobby, and Kiri), and my Grandma and Grandpa White, and even friends all crowded around the long picnic table we called a dining table; quite cozy on rough wooden bench. (Oh and my favorite food was the Trifle my Aunt Marara would bring. mmm).  These memories include all the relived stories, the jokes, the music, and the laughter.

Now, we don't really get many holidays together.  Most of my siblings live far away.  Now we count on phone calls from Australia (Hi Dave, Michelle, and kids), and from southern Utah (Hi Carol and Bob and the boys), and from eastern Idaho (Hi Anna and John and kids).  And then we start in on John's side of the family and the phone calls come from Utah (Grandma and Grandpa, Mark and Lesa and kids, Lisa and JP and kids), and from New Jersey (Hi LeAnn and Phil), and from Colorado (Hi Lorin).  This year there are a few less phone calls because Jen and Craig and their kids and Paul and Gena and their boys, and John and I with our kids all made the trek to Grandma's house.  (Why don't we call it Grandpa's house?) 

So today I am thankful for memories... the old and the new.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for.... ROAD TRIP!

Today I am thankful that we are headed over the river and through the woods to Grandma and Grandpa's house!  It's been many moons since we've had a vacation.  Visiting family is the best vacationing a person can do.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful for... my bed

It's been a long day.  5 am was ever so long ago.  After teaching Seminary, working out, teaching voice from 9-11:30, teaching Institute from 12:30-1:30, carting Chad to school and then teaching from 2-5, and visiting a sick friend, I went to a rehearsal for the Messiah sing in happening next week.  By the time I got home at 9:45 I was beat.  I am looking forward to snuggling down in a cozy bed. 

I haven't always had a cozy, comfy bed.  One day, as I walked home across the field, I saw my bed go flying out of the bedroom window.  At first I was confused.  Had I been kick out and if so, what I had I done?  Thankfully, my mom had been given a mattress that fit my box spring.  She thought it would be a good idea to get rid of my mattress, with the springs poking through, in favor of a "new-to-us" mattress.

Years later, that same mattress moved into my first apartment as a married lady.  The two of us were very cozy on that full size lumpy mattress... and soon the three of us.... and then the four of us... and it was quite crowded when the five of us needed to be pried out of the bed in the morning. 

Believe me, we were dieing for a new bed.  We were so relieved when a person from church gave us a queen size bed.  There was a little more room to spread out.  However, the lumps and bumps in that bed was pretty hard to sleep with.

Eventually, my brother Paul and his wife got a new bed.  We were blessed with their king size bed.  That bed served will for many years.  However, it too was quite worn out.

Finally, we caved.  We bought our first "new" bed... ever.  For the past four years we have slept like babies.  We bought the nicest mattress; one of those fancy memory foam kind with a warranty to the Millennium.  We may have down sized to a queen size bed... but it was worth it.

Today, I am thankful for my bed.

Pumpkin soup

Many people have ask how I made my pumpkin soup.  To be honest, I am mainly a dump-in-what-I-can-to-come-close-to-the-recipe kind of cook.  Thus, the following is as close as I can get to the recipe I made for...

Pumpkin soup

4 tablespoons butter (I used Smart butter)

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, crushed

1-2 tablespoon Thai red curry paste

4 cups chicken broth

1 can pumpkin

1 can bamboo shoots

1 can mushrooms

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped

1 can coconut milk

Green onions curls, optional


1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic in hot butter, stirring continually, until tender, about 2 minutes. 2. Add curry to onion mixture and mix well. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. 3. Stir broth into onion mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. 4. Add pumpkin, butternut squash and coconut milk to broth mixture and mix well. Cookuntil squash is tender but not mushy. 5.  Add bamboo and mushrooms.  Serve warm or reheat to desired temperature. Ladle into soup bowls. Top with green onion curls, if desired.
So... there it is.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for... my general well being and health

Lots of thoughts today... however, I think I'm most thankful for my general health and well being.  I am thankful for all the little things that help a person be a better person.

I'm thankful for my yoga time.

I am thankful for my oils and herbs.

I am thankful for healthy food and clean water.

I am thankful for a good massage once in a while.

I am thankful for I am rarely sick... if you don't count the headache I have currently due to a lack of glasses.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Salad Day 231, 232, 233, and 234

 Thursday, November 17 I mixed Hawaiian chicken with mixed greens, and left over 5 bean salad.  It turned out pretty yummy.
Friday, November 18, I made a Broccoli Slaw with shredded broccoli, mayo, and craisins.  Turned out yummy!

Saturday, November 19, John took me to Marco Polo for my birthday.  Dinner came with a yummy salad of greens, a couple carrots, tomato, and honey mustard dressing.

Today, Sunday, November 20 was a little boring.  I just had lettuce with Italian dressing.  At least I had a salad.  Right?

The Hint Couldn't Be Any BIGGER

About a week ago I posted about how I felt impressed to increase my reading of the Book of Mormon.  At the time I was pretty sure I was ready to add one more thing to every day.  Today I'm sure I' had better follow through.

The talks at church today centered the same Conference talk that had prompted my desire in the first place. 

Primary seemed to talk about making scriptures more prominent in your life.

Our home teachers came.  Guess which talk they focused on.  Elder Scott's scripture talk.

Ok... I get the hint.

I've been thinking about giving this marked copy to my coming grandson.  I've been think about when would be a good time to give him this marked copy.  I've been thinking about what would I want him to know about me and about how I feel about the scriptures and the gospel.  I'm excited to get started reading and marking just for him.

This week I will get that new copy of the Book of Mormon.  I will Write his name in it.  I will think and pray about what things will he need most.

This is going to be a great adventure.

Are you with me?

Thankful for Parents...

Today I am thankful for parents.

Yesterday was my birthday.  I spent the day "parenting" and attending a school preview with my daughter.  I came home to "parent" the kids at home.  Thankfully, I didn't need to boss them about cleaning up.  John had done that for me.  But I did "parent" and watched the last part of our Harry Potter-a-thon with the kids.  Then I left them to their own devices and went out to dinner and to a play with John.

The whole day, I kept thinking how much what I was doing reflected my own experience with my parents.  I didn't talk to any of my siblings or my parents yesterday.  I guess they were all busy, as was I.  But I kept thinking of of them and memories of birthdays past.

Going to the school thing reminded me of how my parents taught me to love education; to love reading and good books; to value bettering myself.  We aren't going to be paying for my daughters schooling, but we are going to help her with transportation and a home.  I was reminded of how my parents sacrificed to help me where they could, even if they couldn't help me financially, they supported my college in education in every way they possibly could.  My mom even wrote me letters on TP.  Hey!  I got a letter and caught up on the dirt at home AND I had a little something to clean up messes where I was.  :)

After the school thing, we stopped at a fabric store.  We were looking for Christmas ideas and getting the last fabric needed to finish the kitchen chair project of the day before.  I was reminded of how thrift my parents were in fixing things to make thing work.  I was reminded that I was grateful for kitchen chairs and not sitting on benches that my dad said were like traffic cops... had to follow the grain or you got pinched.  I was reminded of all the homemade Christmas gifts; the countless bears and dolls, the badger, the clothes, and even a couple books my mom stayed up late making for us children.

I got home to a nearly clean house with a table in the middle of the dining room full of tools and Gorilla glue and duct tape holding down the kitchen floor.  I was reminded of my dad and all his creative "fixes" around the house.  I was reminded of my mom as I noticed I didn't have to do the dishes and the counters were wiped off.  She's always been good at that and I've always hated that.

We watched Harry Potter and I was reminded of the stories read at bed time and the fighting over who got to sit by who.  The side conversation through out the movie reminded me of how much fun we'd have as kids quoting movies and stories and even Smothers Brothers.  I was reminded of my parents joy in laughter.

At the play I was reminded of my mom as I thought of how she taught me to love theater and music.  I was reminded of my dad and his supportive attitude when it comes to artsy things.  John is supportive like that. 

We came home to a grumpy teen who wanted to go to a friend's house at 10 pm.  My first thought was, "heck no!"  but I was reminded of how my parents handle their difficult parent child interaction and decided that a rude response would not induce co-operation.  I chose to say ok and to remind him of his curfew.  Sure, we had to stay up to give rides, but there wasn't a fight.

So, today, I am thankful for my parents.  I am thankful they parented me and taught me.  I am thankful they are my friends and that they continue to show love in all that they do.  I might not have had the opportunity to talk to them yesterday, but I know they thought of me yesterday.... and they sent me a little money to go towards new glasses.

Thankful for... live theater and other forms of entertainment

Yesterday I went to see Lion in Winter at Pentacle Theater for my birthday.

I do love live theater.

I had taken a long break from theater.  Raising kids, lack of money and time, and availability in a small town all contributed to my theater fast. 

As my kids got older and more independent I snuck back into little roles of tech help in the local dance studio and HS productions.  I think it's safe to say that this year I no longer lingered along the edge with my toes in, I dove right in.  This year John gave me tickets to see Broadway tour shows in the Portland.  This year I volunteered at a local community theater as an assistant (maybe even co) director.  This year I designed 4 fantastic sets and lights to go with.  This year I even directed a thriller.

I've missed live theater.  I fear, however, that 2012 may not have as much theater involvement.  Thus far, I am not directing a show.  I am not involved at the community theater for the next season.  I don't know any of the directors.  I will still design a couple shows.  The Broadway series only has a few shows I'm really interested in.  I might get to see a couple shows locally.

But today, or rather yesterday, I am/was grateful for the live theater experience.

Thankful for... honey do lists (Some how missed posting this yesterday)

Yesterday was an extremely busy day of laying around and watching movies.  Yesterday, Kimber and I had our second annual Harry Potter-a-thon.  It has become "the Birthday" celebration.

Kimber came at 5:45 am and snuck around the house in the dark giggling because she felt like Santa.  Goofball.

I rolled out of bed around 6 and we started the first movie.  John jumped out of bed and got dressed without a shower.  I thought that was odd, but he just said the sooner he got out the door the sooner he could come home.  So off to work he went.  About 15 minutes later he came back into the house with some wheat free brownies singing.  He took the day off to do all the chores I'd been asking him to do for the last couple of years... as my birthday present. 

He worked on the kitchen floor that is now coming up because he never got to seal the crack where the two pieces meet.  He reinforced all the kitchen chairs.  (It helps that we were down to 2 kitchen chairs and all the desk chairs in the house just to eat dinner together.  LOL).  While he did that, Kimber and I put new vinyl on the chairs that he repairs while we continued to watch Harry Potter.

We did take a break to run down to the HS and finish taking down the sound shell and to turn in my work hours.

By 10:30 pm  I was falling asleep.  There was 30 minutes left in the 6th Harry Potter movie.  The house was a disaster.  I will have to clean my house today to get a clean house for my birthday.  After Kimber gets off work we will finish the Harry Potter.

Meanwhile, after 7 years, the kitchen floor is finally glued down and sealed.  After the kitchen chairs biting the dust one by one , we now have a full set.  After 5 years of sticking to the ceiling, the food from a food fight is coming down.  and the hot tub will be working by the end of the day. 

I am thankful for the Honey-do list.... and that it's getting shorter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for... good friends

Today I am thankful for good friends. I have many friends (family included) who are reliable, kind hearted and thoughtful.

A good friend is honest. A good friends keeps promises. A good friend is dependable. A good friends will own up to their mistakes. Good friendship is based on trust. A good friend keeps private things private. A good friend knows the old saying, if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing…. But mostly they shower people with nice things to say.

A good friend is loyal. A good friend defends your honor.

A good friend shows respect for others.

A good friend helps out… sometimes even before you know you need help.

A good friend listens… and stays calm. A good friend shares tears, shares joys and shares laughs. A good friend is there for you.

A good friend doesn’t judge.

A good friend is selfless and will often go the extra mile.

A good friend lifts and doesn’t tear down.

A good friend is generous… shares… is not demanding… doesn’t “size up”… returns things they borrow.

Today I am grateful for the friends I have that meet these criteria. I am grateful for all they add to my life. My only hope is that I am this kind of friend to them.

Thanks friends… hopefully, you know who you are.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful for a Way to Make Ends Meet...

In a world where many are under-employed, it is a blessing to have a job.

I am thankful for my husband's job and that his income covers most of our expenses.

I am grateful for the variety of odd jobs that bring in the extra cash we need for groceries, glasses, medical needs, and the rapidly approaching holiday season.  I am thankful for the little people I watch and the small income it brings in.  I am thankful for my voice students and the small income teaching brings in.  I am thankful for the occasional surprise of a stipends from the HS.  I mostly volunteer, but sometimes, I get a little something, and it's always right when we need it most.

I am grateful that my daughter got a job and is earning money for her college education.

I am thankful for a bounteous garden and the harvest of fruits and veggies we canned and preserved for the long winter months.

I am thankful for my food storage and how the food in the garage somehow helps the food budget stretch farther.

I am thankful for the "hand-me-down" bags that show up at our house.  Even I am blessed by these packages of budget stretching goodness.

I am thankful that all these things work together to "make our ends meet".  Without God's mercy and all the little miracles around us, we would never make it.

Salad Days 226-229

 Saturday, November 13 my son-in-law made a yummy salad with fresh spinach, snap peas, avocado, chopped apple, green peppers and tomatoes.  Add a little mashed potatoes and one slice of ham and you get one yummy dinner.
Monday, November 14, I enjoyed leftovers of Sunday's salad.  I did add some chicken.
Monday night I finished off the Sunday salad.  I don't know what is wrong with my family.  They won't eat salad.  At least I got the leftovers.

Tuesday, November 15 I made a spinach and veggie salad for lunch and...

... enjoyed a 5 bean salad for dinner.

Today, Wednesday, November 16 I had a taco salad for lunch.   However, I am most impressed with my dinner.  I made pumpkin soup for the first time.  I have to say it tastes better than the pumpkin soup I tried at a Thai restaurant.   As a side line.... I've been to Curves for the last 4 days, not including Sunday.  I'll give this one more shot... I guess.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankful for... Modern Communication

I am thankful to FACEBOOK, and all other forms of communication. On Facebook I’ve found many old friends from high school and college. I’ve hooked up with people who have moved away. I can keep up with my siblings, some of which in far off places like Boise, Idaho Falls, Phoenix and Australia. Today I got to chat with a former exchange student. I was so excited to hear about his life, that he was back to church and planning on taking his family to the temple. What a day! I am most thankful for Facebook because it makes stocking my kids so much easier. :)

I am thankful for e-mail. I like to write letters and notes, but they often take far too long. I like the convenience of electronic mail.

I am thankful for cell phones. It sure makes it easier to track down my teenagers.

Today I am grateful we have all advanced past sending up smoke signals.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful for... music

Music... among the gifts that God hath sent, one of the most magnificent! - Longfellow

I spent the day teaching music. it wasn't perfect. But it was music, and it was joyful. I love music!

Music is like an old friend; there when I need him. When I’m feeling low – music is the comforter. When times are rough; music softens the blow. There’s something very, very special about music.

Music is so expressive. With it, one can speak out joy, sadness, praise, despair, and any degree of emotion in between... without using a single word.

I also love fun, bouncy music that you can play while cleaning the house - to keep your spirits up while you eradicate dust and dirt. The louder the better!

And I love quiet, contemplative, instrumental music to play when I'm in a thoughtful or quiet mood.

I can’t think of a time of day at my house that you can’t find music raising the roof and filling the air.

I enjoy nearly every kind of music you can think of… Broadway musicals; classics such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky; artists on the Windham Hill label; great singer such as Barbra Streisand, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Adele; crazy bands like Muse, the Preset, and U2. Truth is, I like nearly everything with the exception of rap and hard rock… and most country music. I find that the collection of music on my MP3 and computer surprises most people.

There’s always been a place in my heart for music. I’m thankful for it. Beyond a doubt, it calms me. It gives me the peace I so often need and deserve. Without music, I would have failed many more times than I already have.

Without music – my soul would stop singing.

Today, I am thankful for music!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I am Thankful for scriptures!

Today I am grateful for scriptures and the opportunity study them.  I am including Conference in my list of scriptures to study and to have gratitude for.

Today I have spent a few hours studying the Old Testament for my seminary lessons of the week.  I love the stories found in the Old Testament.  I love the principles of the gospel they so beautifully illiterate.  I love to carefully mark passages in the margins of my scriptures with thoughts and impressions as I study.

Today I also read the first two talks in the November 2011 Conference issue.  I feel inspired to act on an impression I had a few weeks ago.  Today's post is to test the waters.

Elder Richard G. Scott spoke on the power of Scriptures in our lives. 

"Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high."

I made a list of the principles he taught us regarding the scriptures:

1.) Scriptures offer "solutions to life's most perplexing problems."  All this is available at our finger tips... if we open the book.
2.) Scriptures are "inspired... through the Holy ghost." thus "they are pure truth."  We can trust them.  "Their use provides a foundation of truth..."
3.) Scriptures are "the key to open communication with our Father in Heaven."  Prayers are answered through the scriptures.
4.) Scriptures, when used correctly, "provide the strength of authority" to our testimonies.
5.) Scriptures are "available when needed."
6.)  "Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world."  He then taught of the great power that comes from committing scripture to heart.
7.) Scriptures "give great direction in life."
8.) Scriptures are a "key to unlock revelation and guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost."
9.) Scriptures "calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope, and restoration of confidence in one's ability to overcome the challenges of life."  Scriptures are also a "potent power to heal emotional challenges."
10.) Scriptures have different meanings at different times in our lives.

I've been pondering all these thoughts.

I've been pondering what I can do to improve my personal scripture study.

I've been longing for an opportunity to have a meaningful scripture conversation with adults. (I serve in Primary as the pianist on Sundays and haven't been to Sunday School or RS in 3 years.)

I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog dedicated to study of the Book of Mormon.  I just didn't know if it was a good idea.

The end of Elder Scott's talk bares testimony that "those who consistently read the Book of Mormon are blessed with an added measure of the spirit of the Lord, a greater resolve to obey His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the divinity of the Son of God."

I think I have my answer.  DO IT. 

Now the question is, should a start a new blog or should I just add the posts to my existing blog?

What do you think?  Are you with me?  Would you study with me and make comments?  I'm dying for scripture conversation.

Here are my goals:
1. Read one chapter in the Book of Mormon a day and comment on the thoughts I had while I read.  I will reserve 1 day a week to reading and commenting on a conference talk.  I need to develop a better habit of studying modern revelation.
2. Get a simple copy of the Book of Mormon and mark it as I go.  I've been marking my Standard Works as I prepare for seminary and have decided to give each child a set that I've marked when we all get older.  Interesting thing is that I've basically marked each set as I parented each kid through their teen years.  I am hoping that these books become a treasure to them as they are to me.  I now have the goal to repeat the Book of Mormon over and over, one chapter at a time, until I have a copy for each grandchild, the first to be born in February.
3. For now, I will publish my reading thoughts here on this blog.  I will tag them as BofM study.  you can go directly to each post from the clicking on that tag in the subject list to the left of the blog.

Elder Scott threw down the challenge.  "May each of us avail ourselves of the wealth of blessings that result from scripture study..."

So there you have it.  What do you think?  Please tell me.  I plan on starting my Book of Mormon study December 1.  Are you with me?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Today I am thankful my vacuum sucks... finally....

Lately, I've been having trouble with me vacuum.

This vacuum is most likely the best vacuum I have ever owned.  The first week I owned it, my carpets were clean.  In fact, if carpets could sparkle, mine did.  A couple years have passed now.  The carpets no longer "sparkle".  In fact, they look down right dingy. Three dogs, three cats and 4 kids at home have a way of trashing carpet.

I decided to take apart the whole thing.

It is a bag-less vacuum.  I got a screw driver and took the whole thing apart and washed it.  Sadly, it still didn't suck well.

I discovered a filter I had never noticed before and washed it.  It still didn't suck well.

Frustrated, I decided to actually read what was printed on the machine next to the filter indicator.  It suggested that I empty the canister.... check... clean the filter.... check... check the hose for blockage... oops.  My bad. 

I pull the the hose off and successfully removed a hairball the size of a small rodent.

My vacuum sucks.

Today I am grateful for clean floors and for the fact that I had to empty the canister three times on the family room alone.

Salad Days 224-225

Friday, November 11, my husband took me to one of out favorite Mexican restaurants and I got a Chicken Taco Salad.  I asked them to hold the cheese and sour cream and got extra guacamole.  I also avoided shell bowl.  It was yummy.
Today, Saturday, November 12 I had a Greek Salad.  It was also yummy.
Today I also officially started Curves again.  I hope I can kick my fitness butt...  wish me look.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful for ... Veterans

Today’s thankful post is easy. Today I want to express my heartfelt thanks to American’s veterans for their dedication and service to our great country. I am thankful for everyone who has served our country in the armed forces. I am proud to count so many people in my life as veterans – both my grandfathers, my dad, my uncles, my father-in-law, and even my friend are all veterans.

Not only have our veterans protected us and our freedom during times of war, they also look after us during times of peace.

While we would prefer that things always be peaceful the reality is often otherwise. During times of war or crisis our veterans were there. It’s not just the human veterans that I am thankful for today, I am also thankful for the countless animals that served our country too. The horses, dogs, mules, homing pigeons, and others served our country with pride and dignity too.

Thank you for your selflessness, thank you for your sacrifices, thank you for your commitment, thank you for your bravery.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I am grateful for ... seminary...

I have to say... seminary keeps me sane.

I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to grow and to learn and to teach in seminary each morning.

Today was extra special.

Today's lesson was a discussion of Genesis 42-45... the story of Joseph and his brothers... a story of forgiveness.

I started down my lesson plan but soon through that out the window.  I may have been teaching the class, but the Spirit was teaching me.

These chapters really should be titled "Pause and Think: How Do I Treat People Who Wrong Me?" 

Joseph amazes me!  After all, his brothers treated him poorly.  They were jealous of his station in their father's heart.  They were jealous of his obedience.  They sold him for mere change because of greed.  They wanted their cake and they wanted to eat it too.  Once he was sold into servitude he life didn't improve right away.  He was a slave and then thrown into jail when his employer's wife lied about him because she was angry that he wouldn't betray his employer.  After hanging out in prison for many years, he was finally set free and even rewarded as the 2nd in command in Pharaoh's kingdom.  He is put in charge of saving grain because he interpreted the Pharaoh's dream.  Because he saved the grain he saved the people from all the land from starvation during a famine.  He even saved his family as they limped into town asking to buy some of the grain.

Now, at this point Joseph could have turned them down... given them a taste of their own medicine.  but he doesn't.  (He is my hero).  He is cautious and wants to truly access the condition of their hearts.  He allows them to believe that they don't know him.  Maybe they looked at him and wondered why he looked familiar.  However, they were blinded by their own guilt.  They couldn't believe that Joseph could still be alive, let alone the 2nd in command in Egypt.  They believed that he only spoke Egyptian and couldn't believe that he would be able to speak Hebrew.

After he questions them and learns that his father and a younger brother still live and that they seem to have great remorse for their treatment of him in the past, he allows them to buy the grain.  Not only does he sell them the grain, but he give them back their money.  He does require some sacrifice on their part and keeps one of the brothers as collateral for the return of the younger brother. 

Joseph sees the evidence that his brothers' hearts have changed, but he wants to be sure of their intent when they return with Benjamin.  He throws a party and gives Benjamin more then the brothers at the party.   He then tests his brothers to see if they will throw Benjamin under the bus by sending them off with more grain and placing a valuable cup in Benjamin's bag.  When Benjamin is discovered with the loot, his older brothers offer to sacrifice themselves rather than breaking the heart of their father.  In addition, they see Benjamin as an innocent party in the crime.  They can't believe that he could have done this wrong. 

Joseph rejoices.  His brothers' hearts have truly changed.  The test was for their sake, not for revenge for the wrongs they had inflicted upon Joseph.  He finally steps into their view, speaking to them in their own language.  They too rejoice and at long last the family is reunited.

As I taught this story the parallels between Joseph and the Savior become more vivid in my mind.  It's not that I've never heard of these principles before.  I have.  I've even taught them.  I've practiced them in my own heart and in my own repentance process.  I just was blessed with a clear picture this morning that brought peace to my soul and answered the prayers of my heart... even the prayers I had lifted up not an hour before.

The Savior has ever reason to question our motive and to refuse to offer assistance.  After all, his brothers and sisters treat him poorly and treat His commandments with disrespect and dishonor.  Some are even jealous of His station in the Father's kingdom.   He is often sold for mere change because of greed... sold for greed.. sold for pride... sold for sin.  Many of His brothers and sisters believe they should be able to sin without the consequences that are attached to that choice.  He lives in the service of those that miss treat him. He was even thrown into prison because someone falsely accused Him of misdeeds.   He has been awarded for His obedience and service the #2 potion in His Father's kingdom.  He serves as the Bread of Life and saves those who approach him and are willing to pay a small amount for the blessings they are given.  In return He gives them not only what they need and what they ask for, but He increases the blessings.  He saves lives.

He could turns us all down.... instead He is cautious and wants to truly access the condition of our hearts. He often don't recognise Him because we are not looking for Him... like His friends that missed that they walked from one town to the next with their close friend because they were not looking for him.  He allows us to believe that we don't know him.  We are blinded by our own guilt. It is so hard to believe that He lives and cares about us. 

I don't believe the tests are meant to be mean.  I think they are to truly assess the depth of our change of heart.  As our hearts are truly changed He comes into view as our guilt melts away.

I also learned that Forgiveness is His job... I mean, only God can truly erase the wrongs of the world.  The forgiveness that we are required to give is to trust in him.  To trust that He can do his job.  to trust that His punishments and rewards are just and that we are not in  charge of the hearts of men.

I also learned that it is not a lack of forgiveness when I am cautious around those that have hurt me deeply.  I trust in God.  I also know that God expect me to be smart and to keep my heart and family safe.

Then we are able to truly rejoice.  The test is for my sake, not for revenge for the wrongs that may have been inflicted upon my or by me. I know that Christ steps into view.  He speaks to our hearts and to our souls.  I can now imagine that the reunion will be great! 

Today I am grateful for seminary.... and the lessons I learn there.

Salad Days 220, 221, and 223

Tuesday, November 8 I got adventurous with my salad.  I combine mushrooms and thinly sliced onions and sauteed them in olive oil.  I then tossed them with European salad greens and fresh chopped  basil.  It was very yummy!
Wednesday, November 9 I tossed salad greens with toasted slivered almonds and chopped figs.  For a dressing I watered down almond butter and added red wine vinegar.  I then added a little feta goat cheese.

Thursday, November 10 I mixed pickled beats, toasted almonds, a tablespoon of orange juice and olive oil.  It was surprisingly yummy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful for motherhood, daughters and best friends

“Mom! Mom, you’re my best friend.”

I first hear those words just over 18 years ago. Once in a while, I still hears them from one of my four daughters… sometimes even from my teenage daughters.

At the time, I worried that I would never live up to the title. I worried that, maybe, I couldn’t be her best friend. I will be the mom, for life.

This isn’t to say that mothers can’t also be friends or that we can’t be, at the very least, fun. When it comes to your children, you love them so much and you honor their clever insight, wisdom and how well they know you. Sometimes your children crawl into bed with you at night and snuggle. There is plenty of room in there after all. The next thing you know they are borrowing your clothes and confiding in you. All like that best friend you cherish so much. BUT THEY ARE STILL YOUR CHILDREN.

But motherhood is a cosmic force. It is a love that is bigger than me, bigger than my biggest ideas, bigger than any of my understandings of how the cosmos works.

Motherhood splits you open, a tree sliced by a bolt of lightning, splinters flying. I float now in a space marked by longing of the years when grubby little hands grabbed my face and vulnerability as a crabby teen unleashes his wrath in the family room and joy of watching my oldest daughter get ready for motherhood for the first time. I find myself in a place where no amount of glue could assemble my pieces as simply or as seamlessly as they were in the years before motherhood. Yet… I can’t say I’d change anything.

Today I am thankful to be a mom, a daughter, a sister, and friend… sometimes all at once.

Today I am thankful for the 3 hours of one on one time I had with my youngest daughter. She went to a job with me and we did her schoolwork responsibilities. I am grateful I could be her mom and her friend.

Today I am grateful for young teen daughter who stayed at home with little people and held the fort while I was gone. I am grateful that we share a love of music and singing loud.  I am grateful that I can be both mom and friend.

Today I am grateful for the text messages and the Facebook posts and the phone call with my oldest daughter. It is so fun to help her prepare for her first baby. I’m grateful that as she moved into adulthood, we both are able to embrace the role mom, daughter and friend.

Today I am grateful for my young adult daughter who often becomes the family taxi driver, chief in charge of holding things together while I am volunteering at the HS or working for a little extra money. I am also grateful that she listens when I need a listening ear and that we can have fun together. Today, I am grateful she played all those roles… and I got to be both mom and friend.

Now I am about to become a grandmother. The gate will soon swing in a new direction. My role may become less complex, more smooth and singular – at least in the aspect of becoming the best friend of someone new. I bet it turns out Grandma just might be Benjermin’s best friend. 

Today I am thankful for motherhood, daughters and best friends all wrapped into one.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful for... dishwashers

Weekends are rough on my kitchen.  We are so busy playing and working that we let the dishes stack up.  Sure, we get a few loads in, but I can guarantee that by Monday both sinks are full.  Today is Tuesday and I am just now getting so I can see the bottom of the sink.

Yesterday there were

So. Many. Dishes.

But I haven't done it alone.

Today I am thankful for dishwashers... of the beautiful two daughter variety and the power variety.

Today I'm thankful that one daughter did 2 loads and the youngest stepped up and even did a load.

Yesterday I was thankful that dishwashers exist.

Today I'm grateful when they are put into use.  :)
I am thankful to have a dishwasher so that I can get the dishes done more quickly, generally, which allows me more time to do more chores! Who doesn't want to do more chores? Thank you, dishwasher!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Salad Day 218 and 219

 Sunday, November 6 I had salad greens, dairy free dressing and yummy Cranberry Chicken as my salad.  It was pretty yummy.
Monday, November 7, I tried to make a veggie salsa kind of salad I had tasted a couple months ago.  my friend Rachel made it.  I never asked her for a recipe, so today I tried to wing it.  It was pretty good.... but Rachel's was better.  All I did was drain a can of corn, a can of kidney beans, diced a red pepper and a green pepper.  Chopped some cilantro and an avocado.  Sprinkled some Mediterranean sea salt and some cracked black pepper.  I mixed it all together and use tortilla chips as my utensil.  I thought I'd be eating it tomorrow to, but my kids surprised me and ate it all.  go figure.

Thankful for... SOUP!

You’ve been working hard all day and you come home to a warm bowl of yummy soup. Delicious.I love split pea soup…such comfort food! My kids calls it “slop,” but likes it too, I guess.  LOL.

When you get sick, what does your mom bring you with the cup of herbtea? Big bowl of soup. Perfect!

Think of great childhood memories, or at least good childhood meals, I guarantee at least one of them deals with soup. Why? Because soup is magical comfort food.  That's why.  Lets think about this, soup with its warmth and deliciousness can be made to increase the amount of food we have. Beef, Chicken, vegetables can all be used to make soup, and just about anything can go into it (even in cartoons where they pull out a shoe).

Today was National Split Pea Soup day.  I made soup.  Perfect for the blustery, rainy day that it was.  I even got to share it with my pregnant daughter who doesn't feel well today.

Split pea soup is probably the best tasting ugly food there is.

Who ever made the first soup I thank you (they had to wait for waterproof containers so they could boil water).

Today I am thankful for soup... Split Pea Soup to be exact.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful for...

I know.  I missed a couple days.  It wasn't because I wasn't thankful for something... I was just obsessed with getting the model for the set I'm designing done.  I was so obsessed that I nearly forgot about eating, and laundry, the kids.... the works.  Thankfully, I finished the model and the director loves it.  I'm happy.  I can now move on to find a new obsession for the day.

This week we made dinner for the missionaries.  The power went out 45 minutes before they were to arrive.  We started the meal outside on the big propane burners.  Not my favorite way to cook, but it will do.  We ended cooking the meal in the kitchen... on the stove... like normal people do because the power was restored. 

My thankful for Friday?  Good food and modern appliances, kitchen tools, etc. I'm grateful to live in a time when even the worst ovens are still more reliable and consistent than the options that were once available. I'm grateful to have the things that I need in order to easily prepare good food for my family. What a blessing!  I am also grateful for full propane tanks and the big burners I can on.  Without them it would have been a cold dinner indeed.

This week we ran out of TP.  As child number 4 used her cell phone to call the house phone for someone to bring her TP, I had to laugh at how things have changed.  It wasn't that long ago that the same child was in tears because no one heard her chanting "I NEED TOILET PAPER!" for 30 minutes.  I also remembered the times growing up when I would have to run across the yard from my "bedroom" to the house to use the bathroom in the house.  Sometimes you couldn't wait that long.  The cold air hitting you seemed to have the ability to shock the pee right out of you.  Funny thing is my mom's current garden now sits where we would pee because we couldn't make it to the bedroom.  LOL.

My thankful for Saturday?  A working, cozy bathroom with a toilet and toilet paper.

Today is Fast Sunday.  I have tons of things on my mind... too many to list out and sometimes the list is a bit overwhelming.  I feel blessed that I started the day feeling strongly the Spirit of the Lord.  I was able to feel the Spirit as I walked up the street to the church building with my husband.  I felt the Spirit as I sat and listened to the prelude music and quietly greeted  people at church.  I felt the Spirit as I took the sacrament and contemplated the Atonement, the Savior, and the symbolism that I find in the ordinance of the Sacrament.  I felt the Spirit as the little children, parents, and friends bore witness of the gospel truths and their love for the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sadly, I couldn't see people's faces.   Just over a month ago, my glasses broke.  A lens fell out at a football game.  I haven't gone to get new glasses because we don't have the money for them. (Not that I don't work hard and that my husband doesn't work hard.  We do.  It just seems that much of the work I do turns out to be for free.  I'm trying to see that as God needs me to bless someone else, but it doesn't help me get glasses for myself any faster.  Sorry.  I regress).  Not having a pair for glasses is making it difficult to see far away and is causing bad headaches for me that turn to near migraine levels by the end of the day.  I've been wearing my prescription sunglasses everywhere, even at night, but it just didn't seem right to channel Ray Charles at church.  Thus, while sitting in my usual, nearly at the back of the chapel seat, I couldn't see who was speaking.

I am thankful for the Spirit of the Lord that helped me to see clearly.  Even though I couldn't see their faces, I could "see" their love for God.  I could "see" their testimonies.  In some ways, I could "see" their hearts.  It occurred to me that my glasses were like putting on the Spirit.  The Spirit helps me to "see" things of God more clearly. 

The Spirit helped me to "see" that many of the testimonies shared today were addressed to me (sorry to the rest of the folks there).  The Spirit helped me to "see" plainly and clearly that God does know what weighs heavily on our hearts and that He is sad that we feel sadness, frustration, loneliness and despair, but if we are patient things will be better and will be made clear.

Then my mind drifted to yesterday... the baptism of a little girl we know.  The speaker that shared thoughts about the Holy Ghost brought a dove to help illustrate the story of Jesus being baptised and the the Holy Ghost coming in the form of a dove. 

I have never seen a dove before.  I always thought they were like pigeons, gray, fat, and annoying with beady little eyes.  This dove was beautiful.  It was soft and pure white.  It was delicate and yet strong. 

The women explained that she often wondered why the Holy Ghost would be represented by a dove.  She thought it must be because they are white, representing purity.  They mostly make quiet soothing sounds, but they can make a loud noise if they need to be heard.  As she was talking the bird took flight.  

First of all, it was shocking to see a bird flying around in a church building,  Then, I was stuck with how peaceful and freeing it was to watch the bird soar around the room.  I was reminded that the Holy Ghost helps us to soar too.  It is the Spirit that sets us free.

The bird glided down and landed on the piano next to me.   The little girl that owned the bird quietly walked over and gently picked up the bird.  The bird seemed to love her and willingly went with her.  I think the Spirit feels the same way.  I'm sure that the Spirit loves us and wants to be with us.  I'm sure that the Spirit loves it when we gently pick Him up and take him with us.

So, today, I am grateful for testimony meeting.  I am thankful for the clarity that comes when we put on the calming influence of the Spirit.  I am thankful for the little girl that shared her testimony that God knows when we have nightmares and that the Spirit will remind us to keep our shield of faith.  I am grateful for the brother that stood up and reminded me that God knows of our heart break when loved ones fall away, but that He also expects us to not give up on them.  He will lead them back.  I am grateful for a daughter who shared her testimony of trusting in God when times are hard and the daughter who wanted to share her love for Christ, but got scared and needed someone to stand beside her.  I am thankful for my husband who stood up and stood with her to give her courage.  I am grateful for a dear friend, that although she did not stand and speak, showed her testimony in the dignified way she loving  she greeted people today, even after announcing personal devastating news this week.  I am grateful for those who shared publicly, and those who shared silently in the way they choose to live.

Today I am grateful for testimony.

Day 215, 216, and 217

Thursday, November 3,  I had potato salad.  Nothing special... just got it in a tub at the grocery store.
Friday, November 4, I had the leftovers from the potato salad from the day before.  Some days I'm lazy like that.

Saturday, November 5, John took me to Northern Light, and movie place that has tables and you can order food.  I would have taken a picture of the taco salad... hold the cheese... that I enjoyed.  Unfortunately, I couldn't see it in the dark.  The people around me, enjoying the Planet of the Apes movie would not have enjoyed my use of a flash to get a picture either.  Thus, I found a picture of a taco salad that I imagine it looked like.  It was most definitely delish!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Salad Day 214

I've got this killer head cold for the last couple of days that is giving me headaches that are stopping me in my tracks.  I didn't feel like making a salad.  However, last night, I did manage to throw together some salad greens, and avocado, some peaches, and some dairy free ranch dressing.  It turned out pretty good.


I am Thankful for FALL!!!

I am thankful for the changing seasons.  Something about this season just warms my bones, makes me feel all warm and cozy and brings a genuine smile to my face. I love the transition from warm to cool and even from cool to cold. Fall is just so comforting, the way it wraps around you like a big, comfy blanket, filling your lungs with crisp air, sprinkled with warm tones of cinnamon, nutmeg and other delicious aromas. I love watching the changes in the trees and plants. It's a beautiful thing, and it makes my heart happy.

So today, I’m thankful for fall and all that it brings with it.

•Drinking my weight in hot apple cider

•Watching the leaves change color

•Long, crisp walks

•Fall clothes – especially BOOTS

No to mention, snuggling up with a warm blanket; Yummy soup; sweaters and sweat shirts; Need I go on?

I am LOVING this weather.  Still I dream of SNOW (rare in these parts) then I will LOVE the Peach on earth of Christmas season. And then the first blooms of spring. And the lazy days of summer….

Ok... I love all the season.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An attitude of Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.”  Melodie Beatty

I know everyone and their dog is blogging about what they are thankful for this month... but just because everyone is doing it doesn't mean I should avoid making a list of what I am thankful for.

Then i remember what Thomas S. Monson taught, "We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."

Thus, I leap onto the band wagon and begin a daily record of something I am grateful for:

I'm thankful for financial blessings. I know.  Shocker.  Especially in the light of recent complains of people not paying for my services and the fact that I've been know to complain in the past of a shortage of cash.  However, I must admit, miracles happen.  We often don't have a lot, but somehow we always have enough to pay the bills and pay the house payment. We have a roof over our heads, functional utilities that remain that way, and food to eat. Hand-me-down bags arrive.  A surprise check comes in the mail.  A car continues to run.  Free apples turn up on the door step.  There are a lot of times that there is no logical reason that the money should stretch to cover all of our needs; miracles happen, and ends meet. I lovingly refer to these miracles as "Loaves and Fishes."  Perhaps it is due to the fact that we never are hungry and there is always enough food to go around, even when extra people come for dinner.  I am grateful for those miracles.

Sometimes, I find myself complaining when things are tight, but I need to remember that sometimes when things are toughest, it's easier to see the blessings.

I am also grateful that john is taking a more active role in bill paying.  Since the day we got married, I have been responsible for paying the bills.  I haven't been responsible for coming up the lion share of the money to pay them.... just writing the checks and popping them in the mail.  In the last couple of months John has taken over.  I have to admit... I'm not taking to the change very well.  I don't always agree with how he does things.  For example, I would have never gotten more checking accounts in an effort to curve spending.  I would have been concerned that checks would bounce and we'd loose track of what money was where, but he is sure that this new development will help.  All the same, I am grateful that I don't have to think about it.

Salad Day 213

Yesterday was my Salad Day 213.  Thinking back, that is a lot of salad.  I got to the end of the day and realised that I hadn't had a salad yet.  It was a little late.  I was coming home from observing auditions for the winter musical at the HS.  My son was lamenting that he wanted onion rings.  with  a quick turn to the left, both our issues were solved... a Dairy Queen grilled chicken salad for me and onion rings for him.  I know.  I could have made a salad for myself at home.  but there is nothing like being lazy to end a salad streak... so DQ it was.  at least it's tasty and I'm still moving forward on my goal of 365 salad days in a row.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So.... I've been a-wall from SparkPeople for a few months. I started blogging on my "Resigning as General Manager of the Universe blog (although I've backed off on posting on that blog too, due to my attitude issues), and beleived I was too busy to track myself on Sparkpeople.  Plus, I was suffering from a severe case of bad attitude.

The thing is, I have cut all wheat, dairy, and soy from my diet due to allergies. I've been eating a salad a day. No change in the old body. Boo!

Hello! I'm eating like a rabbit for heaven sake!

Ok... I will admit, that after a year of allergy free diet and no change in the body, I didn't make exercise a priority. Sure, I went on a walk, once in a while, with my daughter. I even got on the treadmill a couple times. I just didn't do all that I could to break a sweat every day, like I know I should.

In addition to my grumpy feelings of having a restricted diet and I am exactly the same weight, I was suffering from a severe dislike of exercise due to my childhood.

Before you start to judge me on that account, let me explain. I come from a family that loves sports. I am not good at sports. I tried volleyball until my Junior year in HS and after that Junior year, and never playing a game from 8th grade to my Junior year, I quit. It wasn't worth the pain. This year, I have been reliving that humiliation through my son. He isn't good at sports either, but he tries hard. He goes early to practice. He goes to all he daily triples and daily practices. He goes to an extra weight training class. Still, as a Junior, he doesn't get to play.   In fact, he never played a home game until the very last game of the year... for 4 plays.  Sad.  We all go to every game, home and away games, to watch him stand on the sidelines. His sadness weighs heavy on my heart.

Meanwhile, all those old feelings of how much I can't stand exercise have been screaming loudly in my head.

But it's time, once again, to get over that.

I thought about when I've been most successful with exercise. It was at least 9 years ago when I went to Curves.

So I called Curves. They have a sign up special next week. I called my husband. We decided to make it a priority in the old budget. I will give it my all for one year.

I also get to get my eyes checked today. My glasses broke a month ago. I haven't had the money to do anything about it. However, the headaches at the end of the day are getting old. It's time to bite the bullet and buy new glasses.

Sometimes the "money" bullet is hard to swallow. I work very hard... watching other people's kids, teaching voice lessons, and working down at the HS. Often, my work goes un-paid. I do charge for my services, it's just that some people find reasons as to why they don't pay me... thus, spending money becomes an issue.

But, I've decided. Glasses and help with exercise are worth the expense and the effort.