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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Easy Crock Pot Chicken Ratatouille Stew (from http://www.betterrecipes.com/)

Serves: 6
Points: 5

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 (30-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 medium eggplant (peeled and coarsely chopped)
2 tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
2 small zucchini (sliced)
1 green pepper (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 large onion (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1-teaspoon dried basil leaves
1-teaspoon dried oregano leaves

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Pour into a 3-1/2 or 4-quart crock pot. Cover, cook on low setting for 8-10 hours or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Serves 6 (1-3/4 cup).


My 5 Favorite Scriptures

5. Revelation 7:17 "For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." There have been many times in my life that I have truly needed and felt God wipe the tears from my eyes. This scripture is, to me, especially tender, and shows that God loves us like I love my own children.

4. 1 Nephi 3:7 "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. Whenever I feel that life is too hard, that I am too imperfect, or that the task ahead of me just seems unattainable, this scripture always brings me so much comfort. I know that if God commanded me to do something, I have the promised blessing of his assistance.

3. D&C 59:23 "But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come." A good friend of mine put it this way: "Be good and you'll be happy."

2. 2 Nephi 31:20 "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. This scripture somehow manages to sum up the purpose of life in a nutshell. 1. Press forward, 2. Have hope, 3. Love God and men, 4. Feast upon the Word, 5. Endure to the end, 6. Have eternal life. It's like a little formula for eternal happiness!

1. 3 Nephi 13:28-34 ". . . Consider the lilies of the field how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, even Solomon, in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,. . . even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith. Therefore, take no thought, saying what shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal, shall we be clothed? For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things, But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. . . " I like to call these verses the "Don't worry, be happy" scripture. To me, it means that God loves us so much that he doesn't want us to spend our whole lives worrying about the details, but rather seek after him, and allow him to bless us for our righteousness and faith. Not only will he bless us temporally, as the verses suggest, but he will also ensure our spiritual well-being, feeding us with the Bread of Life, quenching our thirst with Living Waters, and clothing us with the robes of Eternal Glory.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Healthier Hamburgers

Serves: 4
Points: 7

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 egg
2 T. Worcestershire sauce, divided
Seasoning, to taste
1 small onion, sliced
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
Whole wheat burger buns
4 slices 2% milk pepper jack cheese

Combine beef, egg, half of Worcestershire sauce, and desired seasoning. Mix into four patties. Combine onions, mushrooms, garlic and remaining Worcestershire sauce in aluminum foil pack. Grill burgers and foil pack with vegetables until burgers are slightly pink inside. Top burgers with cheese and continue cooking until done. Meanwhile, grill buns on grill if desired, then serve with hamburgers topped with veggie mixture and desired condiments.


"Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him" (Elder Dennis E. Simmons, "But If Not..." Ensign, May 2008, 73).


This morning, during my daily scripture study, I read a fascinating article in this month's Ensign: "Scripture Stories as Patterns for Our Lives." If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to. Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy discusses what scripture accounts can begin to mean for us in our daily struggles as we learn to draw parallels between their day and our, a concept he refers to as "bridging the gap."

Elder Jensen explains: "As you read these stories, you will see a word, a phrase, or a principle that seems as applicable today as it was in the past. As you continue your prayerful study, other principles will become apparent. As you put the principles together, you will begin to bridge the gap between the prophets and people who lived in the past--they-there-then--and us in our day--I-here-now. Perhaps this is what Nephi meant when he said that he "did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning" (Jay E. Jensen, "Scripture Stories as Patterns for Our Lives," Ensign, July 2009, 14-19).

One example: As we read of Jonah as the Old Testament prophet, who tried to escape the Lord's command to preach repentance unto the people of Ninevah by climbing aboard the first ship out of town, it would be so easy to forget that the story can also be a reminder to us of second chances. Are we trying to escape judgement from God? Are we unwilling to do that one thing that the Lord requires? Then, as Jonah is thrown overboard, and swallowed by a great fish, we might consider the roles our adversities play today. Are we causing our own pain due to the choices we make? Are we recognizing that even these foolish choices can be the catalyst for change and growth--a second chance--if we allow God to teach us?

That's just one example of how we can apply scriptural stories that we've heard over and over again to our lives. By so doing, we can renew our understanding of God's word, and bring new life into our daily scripture study. Again, I want to encourage you to all read this article as soon as you get the chance. It is excellent!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (from http://www.recipezaar.com/)

Serves: 12
Points: 4

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oat
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large organic eggs
1 1/4 cups 2% buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12 muffin tray with paper liners. Set aside.

In a standing mixer, combine the all purpose flour, wheat flour, rolled oats, ground cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mashed banana and blend on low speed for 2 minutes. Add the walnuts, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and reduced fat buttermilk and blend for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

Using an ice cream scoop, portion the batter evenly into the muffin tin and top each muffin with 3 to 4 chocolate chips. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Once they are baked through, remove them from the oven and let cool. Serve.


"A testimony then for some people, may come through a single and irrefutable event. But for others, it may come through a process of experiences that, perhaps not as remarkable but when combined, testify in an indisputable way that what we have learned and lived is true" (Elder Carlos A. Godoy, "Testimony as a Process," Ensign, November 2008, p. 102).

"The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied, we may not feel it at all" (Boyd K. Packer, "The Candle of the Lord," Ensign, January 1983, 53).


Matthew 14:15-20

"And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals."

"But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat."

"And they say unto him, We have but five loaves and two fishes."

"He said, Bring them hither to me."

"And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude."

"And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up the fragments that remained twelve baskets full."

What do you find yourself falling short of? Energy? Motivation? Self-esteem? Faith? Desire? Money? Knowledge? Here we learn a powerful lesson. If we bring Him our meager amount of whatever it is we desire, the Lord will increase it, leaving us with not only enough, but more than we need.

Additionally, the account teaches that the multitude could have gone back into the village to eat. But the Lord reminded them that they never need depart from His presence in order to be filled. Of course not, for He is the Savior and can do all things, including feeding a hungry mulitude: spiritually and physically.

So they all partook, body and spirit, and were filled, and by so doing were witness to one of the greatest miracles recorded in the New Testament. Do we head off to the village to receive nourishment, or do we choose to stay near to the Savior and feast upon His word? Are we brave enough to trust that he can mulitply our offering, and make it more than enough? I pray that I will have the courage to believe that if I make the offering, the Lord will perform the miracle in my life.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Spinach Pesto Pasta (from www.fruitandveggiesmatter.gov)

Serves: 4
Points: 5

8 oz. of fettucine
1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 c. fresh spinach, stems removed
1 c. fresh basil leaves, stems removed
1/2 c. chicken broth, low-fat, low-sodium
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 (15-oz) can of cannellini (white beans), rinsed and drained
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp. black pepper

Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and place in large mixing bowl. In a blender, add olive oil, garlic, spinach, basil, parmesan cheese, and chicken broth. Mix well until leaves are blended. Pour sauce over pasta. Mix until pasta is well coated. Add beans and red bell pepper. Lightly toss and serve. Serving size is 1/4 of recipe.

Each serving has 360 calories, 6 grams fat, 8 grams fiber


It has been several months since I first started this blog, which has been more than anything, a place to "capture" my spiritual musings and impressions. In this time, I have begun to see more and more, that as I struggle to lose weight, what I am really learning is to prioritze what truly means the most to me in life. This blog is becoming more and more a reflection of me, and hopefully, as I strive to improve my health, my readers will come to see that I am also working on my spiritual vital signs. After all, what good would it be for me to ward off impending diabetes or heart disease, if I allowed my spirit to become diseased due to spiritual apathy.

"This is our one and only chance at mortal life--here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojurn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future. . . Instead, find joy in the journey--now" (Thomas S. Monson, "Finding Joy in the Journey" Ensign, November 2008, 85).

This time, as I attempt to improve my health, I attempt also to realign those things that truly are of most importance: Am I spending enough quality time with my family? Am I keeping a positive, noncynical attitude about life in general? Am I selflessly serving those around me? Am I living up to the covenants I have made? Am I truly finding joy in this journey? Am I finding magical moments in each day of life? Am I recording the miracles I witness each day so my posterity can have my personal witness that God loves and blesses each of us?

I hope so. I hope and pray that these things will be foremost in my mind. While losing weight is a worthy and worthwhile goal, I am realizing more and more that my spiritual health is even more critical. While taking care of my body enables me to live longer, taking care of what is the very most important here on earth, allows me to live fuller.


"While we praise and honor those faithful saints who brought us to this point. . . we cannot afford, my brothers and sisters, to be comfortable or content. . . We need to believe as they believed. We need to work as they worked. We need to serve as they served. And we need to overcome as they overcame" (Elder M. Russell Ballard, "The Truth of God Shall Go Forth" Ensign, November 2008, p. 83).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Cowboy Beans (from http://www.studio5.ksl.com/)

Serves: 6-8
Points: 6

1/2 pound center cut or turkey bacon, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
1 can (15 oz.) navy or white beans
1 can (15 oz.) red, pinto or kidney beans
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
1 can (7 oz.) diced green chilies

Slice or chop bacon, place in heavy pan or Dutch oven and scramble fry until cooked thoroughly. Add chopped onion and sauté until onion is tender and translucent. Drain excess fat.
Drain, but do not rinse beans. Add beans, ketchup, sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, water and chilies to bacon and onion; bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes stirring occasionally (if needed, add additional water to create desired consistency).


In the Book of Mormon we learn of the tragedy of Lehonti. Here was a man in a powerful position, who was determined to maintain his watch of safety high on the top of a mountain. "He and those he led were 'fixed in their minds with a determined resolution' that they would not come down from the mount. It only took four tries, each one more bold than the previous, to get Lehonti to 'come down from off the mount.' And then, after having embraced Amalikiah's false promises, Lehonti was 'poisoned by degrees' until he died" (See Alma 47:4-12)

What does it mean to be poisoned by degrees? It means that we are slowly and steadily given doses of poison that our body is able to withstand, so we will not notice the harm that is being caused, until by the final dose, we are destroyed entirely. I believe that this is the way Satan approaches the destroying of powerful latter-day women. He looks for those who are positioned in places of prominence, then talks them down, little by little. Once he has brought them down to their valleys of despair and self-doubt, he begins his crafty process of poisoning their hearts, minds, and subsequently, generations of God's children.

Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women General President put it this way: "Could it be that this may be happening today? Could it be that first we tolerate, then accept, and eventually embrace the vice that surrounds us? Could it be that we have been deceived by false role models and persuasive media messages that cause us to forget our divine identity? Are we too being poisoned by degrees. . . What could be more deceptive than to entice women, young and old, you and me, to be so involved in ourselves, our looks, our clothes, our body shape and size that we lose sight of our divine identity and our ability to change the world through our virtuous influence?" (Elaine S. Dalton, "A Return to Virtue," Ensign, November 2008, p. 79)

Be aware of those voices that are trying to talk us down from the mountain of spiritual safety! Let us, as women be more watchful. Let's be more positive. Let's not allow Satan to poison our understanding of our divine potential. Let us remember, that the Lord sees our hearts, not the number on the scale, or the size on our jeans.


"At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel's end--no dawn to break the night's darkness. . . we feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face" (Thomas S. Monson, "Looking Back and Moving Forward," Ensign, May, 2008, p. 90).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Sweet and Sour Chicken (from USU Extension--Salt Lake City Office, as seen on Studio 5)

Serves: 6 to 8
Points: 5 without rice, 9 with 1 c. white rice, 7 with two c. brown rice

1 can (15 - 20 oz) pineapple chunks
1 cup water
¼ cup vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ tsp. ginger
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into thin strips
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the pineapple juice into a bowl and reserve the pineapple chunks. Add water, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger and cornstarch to the juice and mix well. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Sauté the chicken over medium-high heat until all juices run clear. Add the onion, green pepper, celery and carrots; then sauté until tender. Add the pineapple juice mixture and stir while the sauce thickens. Mix in the pineapple chunks. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve over hot rice.

***We had this for dinner tonight and it was a HIT with the family, even Tyler, AKA The Pickiest Husband in America. I didn't have any peppers on hand, so I just made it with extra carrots and celery. Super yummy! If you follow this link, you'll even see a video of the lady preparing it on Studio 5 http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=204&sid=6905323


"In this age of one hour dry cleaning and one minute fast food franchises, it may at times seem to us as though a loving Heavenly Father has misplaced our precious promises or He has put them on hold or filed them under the wrong name. . . .

"When heaven's promises sometimes seem afar off, I pray that each of us will embrace these exceeding great and precious promises and never let go. . . . God will remember you" (Spencer J. Condie, "Claim the Exceeding Great and Precious Promises," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 18 )


Whole Wheat Ginger Cookies (from Country Home Magazine, March/April, 2009, p. 102)

Yield: 30 cookies (2 cookies per serving)
Points: 3

2 1/4 c. white whole-wheat flour (or 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour plus 1 c. whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses
3 T. granulated sugar

In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses; beat well. Stir dry mixture into egg mixture. Cover and chill for 30 to 60 minutes or until easy to handle.

Shape dough into balls using a rounded tablespoon of dough for each. Roll balls in the granulated sugar. Bake in 350-degree oven form 8-10 minutes or until edges are just set (cookies will fall and crackle when removed from oven). Let stand on cookie sheets for 1 minute; transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 30 cookies.

Per two cookie serving: 115 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber


"Are you vexed by your own imperfections? Please do not be discouraged by the Lord's expression of hope for your perfection. You should have faith to know that He would not require development beyond your capacity.

Of course you should strive to correct habits or thoughts that are improper. Conquering weakness brings great joy! You can attain a certain degree of perfection in some things in this life. And you can become perfect in keeping various commandments. But the Lord was not necessarily asking for your errorless and perfect behavior in all things. He was pleading for more than that. His hopes are for your full potential to be realized--to become as He is! That includes the perfection of your physical body, when it will be changed to an immortal state that cannot deteriorate or die.

So while you earnestly strive for continuing improvement in your life here, remember your resurrection, exaltation, and perfection await you in the life to come. That precious promise of perfection could not have been possible without the Lord's atonement and His example" (Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending, Deseret Book, 1998, 158-159).


When I am trying to make a change in my life, or when I am contemplating the nature of Christ or the Atonement, I find it helps to study a list of His many names. I take each name and try to find its application in my life. This exercise will remind you of all that He tuly has done, will do, and can do, in your life to heal your heart, and bring you everlasting peace:

Jesus Christ, Christ, Master, Creator, The Word, Only Begotten Son, The Son, The Light, The Redeemer, Redeemer of the World, Spirit of Truth, The Great Physician, Jehovah, I AM, The Son of the Blessed, Advocate with the Father, Intercessor, Mediator, Immanuel, The Son of the Highest, Lamb of God, The Father, The Father of All Things, Jesus of Nazareth, The Anointed One, Messiah, Savior of the World, Savior, The Resurrected Lord, The Atoning One, The Way, The Truth, The Light, The Bread of Life, Judge, Holy One of Israel, The Lord God, Exemplar, The Millenial Messiah, Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, King of Kings

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Low Fat Potato Salad (from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/)

Servings: 10
Points: 3

3 pound(s) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 tablespoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 c.(s) buttermilk
1/4 c. light mayonnaise
2 tablespoon(s) snipped fresh dill
2 tablespoon(s) cider vinegar
1 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Chopped celery, if desired

In 4-quart saucepan, combine potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough water to cover; heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are just fork-tender.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk buttermilk with mayonnaise, dill, vinegar, Dijon, green onions, celery, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.

Drain potatoes well. Toss hot potatoes with buttermilk mixture until coated. (Mixture will look very loose before chilling.) Cover and refrigerate potato salad at least 2 hours or overnight to blend flavors and cool slightly, stirring gently after 1 hour.

Each 3/4 c. serving has 150 calories, 2 grams fat, 2 grams fiber.


"Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." ---Lucy Maud Montgomery, from Anne of Green Gables

"I'm not beautiful like you. I'm beautiful like me." ---Joy Drop, "Beautiful"



" 'I suppose every Mormon [man and] woman [have] measured [themselves] at one time or another against [their pioneer ancestors],' wrote Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. 'Am I as stalwart? As self-reliant? As devoted to the gospel? As willing to sacrifice?' Could I leave my wife and children without food or means to support themselves while I responded to a call to serve a mission abroad, or take these same innocent ones, dependent solely upon me for their survival, into hostile territory to set up housekeeping and provide a livelihood for them? Or, were I a woman, 'Could I crush my best china to add glitter to a temple, bid loving farewell to a missionary husband as I lay in a wagon bed with fever and chills, leave all that I possessed and walk across the plains to an arid wilderness?' (Ensign, June 1978, p. 54.)

"Some may feel that their lives of relative ease and convenience lack the vigor and fortitude of those who survived the pioneer days, that they can never measure up to the toil, struggles, and challenges our pioneer ancestors faced and emerge the victor.

"Yet, 'Our challenges are just as important as those of the past. Our testing is as crucial; our contributions may be as great. . . .

" 'An essential quality of the first pioneers was optimism, an ability to see new possibilities in a strange and unsettling environment. To beautify the desert, they needed faith in God, but they also needed faith in themselves and in their ability to help shape the world. The need for that faith has not diminished. . . .

" 'A pioneer is not [necessarily] a woman who makes her own soap' or a man who grubs sagebrush from the land. Pioneers are those who take up their burdens and walk toward the future. With vision and with courage they make the desert blossom and they press on toward new frontiers. (Ibid., p. 55.)"

(David B. Haight, "A Call to Serve" Ensign, November, 1988, p. 82-83)

Friday, June 19, 2009


White Chicken Chili (from www. mayoclinic.com)

Serves: 6
Points: 7 (with chips)

1 can (10 oz.) white chunk chicken
3 c. cooked white beans
1 can (14.5 oz.) low-sodium diced tomatoes
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
Cayenne pepper, to taste
6 T. shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
6 ounces baked tortilla chips (about 65 chips)

In a large soup pot, add the chicken, beans, tomatoes and chicken broth. Cover and simmer over medium heat.

Meanwhile, spray a nonstick frying pan with cooking spray. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and saute until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the onion and pepper mixture to the soup pot. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano and, as desired, cayenne pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft.

Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese and 1 teaspoon cilantro. Serve with baked chips on the side (about 10 chips with each serving of chili).

Each 2 cup serving has 376 calories, 5 grams fat, 12 grams fiber


"Only He can bless us. Only He can sustain us. Only He can cause our hearts to beat and give us breath. Only He can give us strength to bear up the burdens of life. Only He can give us power, knowledge, peace, and joy. Only He can forgive our sins. Only He can heal us. Only He can change us and forge a godly soul. Only He can bring us back into His presence. And He will do all of that and much more if we but remember Him to keep His commandments" (Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, "The Way," Ensign, November 2008, p. 35).


Elder David A. Bednar discussed the following three principles which will make our prayers more meaningful:

Principle #1: Prayer becomes more meaningful as we counsel with the Lord in all our doings (see Alma 37:37)

Principle #2: Prayer becomes more meaningful as we express heartfelt gratitude

Principle #3: Prayer becomes more meaningful as we pray for others with real intent and a sincere heart

(See "Pray Always" Ensign, November 2008, p. 41-44)


On gratitude:

"Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts" (Elder David A. Bednar, "Pray Always" Ensign, November, 2008, p. 41).

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Roasted Cauliflower (from www.goodhousekeeping.com)

Serves: 4
Points: 1

1 head (2-pound) cauliflower, trimmed and separated into 1-inch florets
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed with press
Fresh chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In large bowl, toss cauliflower florets, chopped onion, soy sauce, olive oil, and crushed garlic until evenly mixed. Spread cauliflower mixture in 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan or large cookie pan.

Roast cauliflower about 35 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally.
To serve, spoon cauliflower into serving bowl; garnish with chives. Serving size is approximately 3/4 cup.

Each serving has 70 calories, 4 grams fat, 3 grams fiber.


Hope vs. Despair

"The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircases that leads only and forever downward.

Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above te horizon or our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear" ("The Infinite Power of Hope," Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, November, 2008, p. 22).


Today I read the Conference address, "The Ministry of Angels" by Jeffrey R. Holland, and it got me thinking: do I believe in angels? Sure, I believe that an angel appeared to Mary and Joseph, announcing that they would be Jesus' earthly parents. I am sure that angels sang in the heavens that night. I believe that as a result of a father's faith and prayers, Alma the Younger was visited by a heavenly being and subsequently repented. I have no doubts the these and many other angels throughout the scriptures indeed did visit mankind and minister unto them.

Do I believe that angels still minister unto men today? While I personally have little personal evidence to that end, I must believe that it is so. Now quoting Elder Holland: "As Mormon said to his son Moroni, who would one day be an angel: 'Has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men. . . Behold I say unto you; Nay; for it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men. . . For behold they are subject unto [Christ], to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness' (Moroni 7:35-37, 30).

Here we learn that angels can and do appear to men now, according to their level of faith and dedication, as well as according to the will of Jesus Christ.

My next question was, are there angels around me daily? Are there heavenly beings that can assist me with my struggles each day? Can I call upon these beings? Should I? First of all, I realized that there are earthly angels all around me: family members, friends, visiting teachers, and strangers whose kindness lifts me and keeps me strong. But I still couldn't help but wonder about angels from the other side and what role they play in my life.

Elder Holland said: ". . . I testify of angels, both the heavenly and earthly kind. In doing so, I am testifying that God NEVER leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. 'Nor will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the earth to be saved' (Moroni 7:36)."

President Monson's favorite scripture is D&C 84:88: "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left,. . . my Spirit shall be in your heart, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

So, yes! I do believe in angels! I do believe that as the hard times come, I can and should pray for their assistance or comfort. What an incredible blessing that is! But Elder Holland does give us the following advice: "In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves--with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and the 'covenant wherewith we have covenanted (D&C 90:24).'"

I would love to hear if anyone else has any thoughts on this topic. . . feel free to share your comments!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Hello! I accidentally erased all my widgets and I will be working on the site for the next few days to improve the layout and appearance. Please continue to enjoy the posts in the meantime.


Slow Cooker BBQ Pork (from allrecipes.com)

Serves: 8
Points: 8 (with bun)

1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup regular cola (can use diet, caffeine-free)
8 sandwich rolls, split

Cut roast in half; place in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and garlic powder. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove meat; skim fat from cooking juices. Shred meat with a fork and return to the slow cooker. Combine barbecue sauce and cola; pour over meat. Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or until sauce is thickened. Serve on rolls.


In the November, 2008 General Conference, Elder Neil L. Anderson taught the importance of filling our spiritual reservoirs with that which will build our testimonies and build faith. By so doing, we are preparing for difficulties ahead, as well as bringing our spirits closer to God in submission to his will:

"Brothers and sisters, we each have moments of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must sink them deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our spiritual home storage for moments of personal difficulty. Jesus said, 'Settle these things in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you. . . '"

"Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts--these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith."

Then, he speaks of the nature of true conversion:

"Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. . . " (Neil L. Anderson, "You Know Enough," Ensign, November, 2008, p.13-14).

Read the whole talk here: http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=92a44bb52a73d110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1


"Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision" (Elder Neil A. Anderson, "You Know Enough," Ensign, November, 2008, p. 14).

Monday, June 15, 2009


Emily Jenson!!! I know she's my best freind in the whole world, but I swear it was really just a coincidence that she was chosen in the drawing for a copy of No Doubt About It by Sheri Dew! So, congrats to my BFF! Keep posted for another giveaway soon and thanks to everyone!


Instead of a recipe today, I wanted to tell you about my new favorite product. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Bear Creek Soup's Tortilla Soup Mix! Prepared according to package directions, one serving is only one point and is full of heart-healthy dietary fiber. If you add 1/2 c. crushed multigrain Tostitos chips to each bowl, you add another point. I also add frozen corn and canned chicken and top with a little fat free sour cream for a satisfying meal with a total points of only 4 per serving! And it tastes DELICIOUS!!!


"Working works while wishy-washy wishing won't." --unknown


Here are some little nuggets to help you understand your self-worth:

Psalm 8:46 teaches that God loves us and knows each of us intimately. He tells us that men are just a little lower than the angels.

Jeremiah 1:5 reminds us that God knew us long before we were born.

St. John 13:34 states that because everyone has great worth, we are commanded to love all, just as he loves each of us.

D&C 18:10 teaches that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

Abraham 3:22-23 points out that we were noble and great in the pre-existence. "These will I make my rulers. . . " We were chosen to do great things here on Earth long before we were even born.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Must-Have Chocolate Chip Cookies (from http://www.bhg.com/)

Makes: about 40 cookies
Points: 1.5 per cookie

1 cup raisins
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 c. Splenda
1/2 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces or chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a small bowl, combine raisins and boiling water; set aside. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and butter; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and sugar substitute, egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking soda. Beat until combined. Add flour; beat until smooth. Taste dough and see if more sugar is needed. Stir oats. Drain the raisins; stir raisins and chocolate pieces into oat mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks; let cool. Makes about 40 cookies.

Calories per cookie: 87 grams, Fat: 4 grams, Fiber: 1 gram


"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others" (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Come What May and Love It, Ensign, November, 2008, 26-28).


In 2 Nephi 21:14-16, we learn the magnitude and nature of our Savior's love for each of us:

"But behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me--but he will show that he hath not."

"For can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. . . "

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands. . . "

I love these verses! I must admit that sometimes in my trials, I wonder where and when the Lord is going to step in and lift my load a little. I know that he really is there with me, bearing me up, but sometimes it is hard to see. I can see why to some, it may seem that they may have been forgotten. But if we can hang in there and exercise faith, he will truly show us that we are not alone.

Then he compares His love for us to the love a mother has for her newborn child--surely the most powerful kind of attachment in the world. Yet, he reminds us that His love is even stronger. Some mothers do not have perfect love, but HE DOES. He reminds us of the wounds in His hands. . . wounds that he received in the ultimate act of love: atoning for our sins.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Fresh Tomato Salsa (from http://www.bhg.com/)

Serves 12
Points: 0

1-1/2 c. finely chopped tomatoes (3 medium)
1 (4-oz.) can diced green chile peppers, drained
1/4 c. chopped green sweet pepper
1/4 c. sliced green onions
3 to 4 T. snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 T. lime juice or lemon juice
1 to 2 fresh jalapeno, serrano, fresno, or banana peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Seed and finely chop hot peppers.* In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, chile peppers, sweet pepper, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and black pepper.

If desired, for a smooth salsa, place 1 cup salsa in a food processor or blender. Cover; process just until smooth. Stir into remaining salsa. Cover; chill until serving time. Makes 12 (1/4-cup) servings. Can keep in refrigerator for up to five days.

*Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.


"Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force as strong as steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb and tide of despair. If we will cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever. . .

We know that there is an opposition in all things. Not surprisingly, therefore, faith, hope, and charity have their opposing forces. . . The antithesis of faith is doubt; the opposite of hope is despair. And the opposite of charity is disregard or even disdain for the Savior" (Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending, Deseret Book, 1998, p. 117).

Ether 12:4. . .

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh from faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast."

Likewise, President Howard W. Hunter taught: "It is incumbent upon us to rejoice a little more and despair a little less, to give thanks for what we have and for the magnitude of God's blessings to us. . . We must continue to exercise confidence in God. . . He will bless us as a people. . . He will bless us as individuals. . . With the gospel of Jesus Christ you have every hope and promise and reassurance."


"A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish." --Russell M. Nelson

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Black Beans with Corn and Tomatoes (from www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov)

Serves 4
Points Value: 1

1 15 oz can low-sodium, no fat added black beans
1 cup cut tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 clove garlic, pureed or roasted
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or more to taste

Drain and rinse beans. In a bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes and garlic. Add parsley, pepper and chili powder. Combine and serve.


We've all heard that 'with God, nothing is impossible,' but have we ever really considered what that truly means? Today, I would like to bring out a few specific examples from the scriptures of God's omnipotent nature. Here are three that I found especially pertinent to making my point:

1. Gideon versus the Midianites. "The Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many. . . lest Israel vaunt themselves. . . , saying, Mine own hand hath saved me." The Lord directed Gideon to reduce the number of those in his army from twenty-two to ten thousand. Then, he again told Gideon that there were too many. So again, Gideon dismissed many of his troops, leaving himself with an army of just three hundred. Then, when Gideon's army was clearly outnumbered by the enemy, the Lord delivered the victory.

2. Sarah gives birth at age ninety. Surely God, who is all-powerful, could have blessed Sarah with a child much earlier in life, but He chose to do it when she was older. Why? He wanted to exhibit His power to make impossible things come to pass. When asked if Sarah wasn't too old to bear a child, the Lord replied, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?"

3. Moses parts the Red Sea. Can you imagine the miracle of the moment the prophet of the Lord raises his hands and the deep water rises obediently to each side, allowing for passage through the sea, on dry ground?

As Russell M. Nelson stated so eloquently, "To teach His people, the Lord employs the unlikely." Why would Gideon be asked to release able-bodied men to fight a large and vicious army? I believe that the reason was simple: to bear a witness to the Lord's incredible, power and knowledge.

"Suppose for a moment you are a member of a team. The coach beckons you from the bench and says: 'You are to enter this contest. I not only want you to win; you shall win. But the going will be tough. The score at this moment is 1,143,000,000 to 6, and you are to play on the team with the 6 points" (Russell M. Nelson, With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible, Perfection Pending, Deseret Book, 1998, p. 106-107).

Again, I bear testimony that with God, nothing is impossible. As you strive to lose weight, better you financial situation, overcome depression, gain understanding, increase testimony, or whatever adversity you desire to overcome, the Lord can and will work great miracles in your life, according to your faith and willingness to submit to His will.


"Praying helps us to face trials in life. Prayer centers our attitudes precisely. With that focus, we do not wander to the right or left through land mined with traps of temptation. Disciples do not flirt with danger at the edge of disaster. Experienced mountain climbers do not lean toward the dangerous edge but toward safety, with ropes and other safeguards to secure them to those they trust. So it is with us. When we climb mountainous challenges of life, we should lean toward our Master and be yoked with Him, clinging tightly to the iron rod of the gospel, to family, and to trusted friends" (Russel M. Nelson, Perfection Pending, Deseret Book, 1998, p. 91-92).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


"Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you had everything to do, and you've done it." --Margaret Thatcher

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." --Jim Ryun


Wild Rice and Chicken Salad (from Taste of Home Magazine)

Serving Size: 1 1/2 c.
Points Value: 7

3 c. water
1 c. uncooked wild rice
2 chicken bouillon cubes or about 2-3 T. granules
4 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
1 c. cut, fresh green beans
1 c. cubed, cooked chicken breast
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 T. sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

In a large saucepan, bring the water, rice, bouillon and butter to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain if necessary; transfer to large bowl and cool completely. Steam green beans. Add the chicken, tomato, onions, and green beans to the rice; stir until blended. Combine the remaining ingredients. Drizzle over mixture and toss to coat, Refrigerate to chill.

Per 1 1/2 c. serving, 330 calories, 10 grams fat, 4 grams fiber


"If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness." (Jospeh B. Wirthlin, "Come What May and Love It." Ensign, November, 2008, 26.

This is such a great talk! View it in its entirety at http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=b5f44bb52a73d110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1


Matthew 14:24-25, 29-31

"But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary."

"And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea."

"And he said, Come, And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus."

"But when he (Peter) saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying , Lord, save me."

"And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

As I'm sitting here entering today's post, a morning summer storm is raging outside, complete with thunder and windy rain, much like I imagine the weather during this scriptural account. The storminess is central to the miracle of the story.

In verse 24, we read of how the sea was tossed with waves and the wind was contrary. Do you ever feel as if your life could be defined that way? Is your soul ever tossed about and troubled? Do you feel as if the boisterous winds of adversity and the world's philosophies are blowing you to and fro, making it difficult to reach your destination?

In the next verse, Jesus comes to them in the fourth watch. The footnote explains that it would have been between 3 and 6 am. Why had he waited so long to come to them? Could it be, that Peter's experience could not have happened as it did, were he not sufficiently humbled by his trial at sea? Likewise, when we feel alone, we must know that the Lord WILL come to us, when our spirits are ready for the miracle to happen.

When Peter came from the ship, or left behind him his cares, and kept his eyes on the Savior, he was able to walk on water. In other words, with the Savior, he was able to accomplish that which would have otherwise been impossible. But then, once he doubted his ability, even for a split second, he began to sink. The Savior, then lovingly reached out to him, gently rebuking him for his lack of faith.

Have we had similar experiences? Have there been times, in the midst of adversity, when after turning to the Lord, we have received His help just to again doubt, and sink back into the deep and troubled sea? Why is it that after receiving a portion of His assistance, we can't accept Him in full measure? Why is it so hard to keep our eyes always on Him? It is human nature to doubt miracles in our lives, to over analyze, to question. But what would we be capable of accomplishing, if we would look forward, the winds and storms circling around us, and follow the Savior? Would we be capable of walking on water? Wouldn't we be able to achieve our fondest and most righteous desires? The beauty of the story is in the hope it demonstrates: the knowledge that with our Savior, all things are possible.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


How do you find time in your busy lives to incorporate physical activity? Please leave your comments! I'd love to start a great discussion about this topic and get some ideas from you all!


Diet Strawberry Lemonade (from www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov)

Servings: 4
Points Value: 2

4 cups water
1 cup sugar substitute such as Splenda
1 quart strawberry hulled, halved
1 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed or bottled

Place 2 cups water and sugar substitute in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a blender. Thinly slice 1 cup of strawberries and set aside. Add 1/2 of the remaining strawberries to a blender and blend until smooth; pour into 2 quarter pitcher. Stir in sliced strawberries and remaining water. Add sugar to taste if needed, stirring until dissolved. Cover and chill until serving.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 130 calories, 1 gram fat, 9 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar


Here's a great website that was suggested by my friend, Rachel, who works as a cardiac rehabilitation nurse. You'll find great advice, tips, and lots of yummy, healthy recipes! Thanks for the tip, Rachel!



"If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place." ~ Nora Roberts


Chinese Chicken Salad (from www.weightwatchers.com)

Serves: 4
Points Value: 5

1/2 cup(s) light mayonnaise
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp ginger
1 pound(s) cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup(s) snow peas, cut in half lengthwise on a diagonal
1/2 cup(s) sweet red pepper(s), diced
1/2 cup(s) carrot(s), shredded
1/4 cup(s) scallion(s), sliced
4 piece(s) bibb lettuce

In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, soy sauce and ginger until blended. Add chicken, snow peas, peppers, carrots and scallions; toss to mix and coat.
Immediately serve salad in lettuce leaves or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. Yields about 1 1/4 cups chicken salad and 1 lettuce leaf per serving.


"First, prayer is a humble acknowledgement that God is our Father and that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Second, it is a sincere confession of sin and transgression and a request for forgiveness. Third, it is recognition that we need help beyond our own ability. Fourth, it is an opportunity to express thanksgiving and gratitude to our Creator. . . Fifth, it is a privilege to ask Deity for specific blessings."

". . . Sincere prayers come from the heart. Indeed, sincerity requires that we draw from the earnest feelings of our hearts" (James E. Faust, "The Lifeline of Prayer," Liahona, July 2002, 62; Ensign, May 2002, 59-60).


1 Nephi 11:31

"And he spake unto me again saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick and afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out."

Anyone who's ever experienced depression or discouragement of any kind, at any level, can surely relate to this passage of scripture. Anyone who's been broken-hearted or broken-down can see the miracle in the Lord's saving grace. If you are depressed today, can you 'Look!' to Him? Do you believe that He truly can lift you from your affliction of mind and spirit?

I personally have battled with depression on more than one occasion, which has often been intensified by feelings of self-contempt due to my being overweight. Every time I have found myself feeling depressed, I have eventually been turned back to the Savior. I can truly testify to you that I have been 'healed by the power of the Lamb of God.'

This is a promise that applies to us day by day. Each time we fall, we can look to Him for comfort. Every single time we fail in any way, He is there waiting to guide us back. Every time we sin, we can know that 'he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world' (vs. 33).

All of you that are struggling in any way, do something today to invite Him into your life. Pray a little longer, really ponder the promises made in His scripture, help a neighbor, attend the temple. As we draw closer to Him, we are allowing Him to heal our tired and broken hearts. Then, as He becomes a partner in our lives, true miracles will happen in our lives daily.

Monday, June 8, 2009


"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. "
--R. Buckminster Fuller


Asian Salmon (from http://www.betterrecipes.com)

Serves 4
Points Value:9

4 4 ounce salmon fillets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 dash fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice, optional

Whisk together olive oil, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, pressed garlic, pepper and minced onion. Pour marinade over salmon, cover and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour, or up to two hours. If using an indoor contact grill, after preheating, grill salmon on lowest setting for four minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. If using a conventional oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake salmon, uncovered, for 15-18 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork.


In this month's Ensign, President Uchdorf explains the aerodynamic principle of lift: "Lift happens when air passes over the wings of an airplane in such a way that the pressure underneath is greater than the pressure above the wing. When the upward lift exceeds the downward pull of gravity, the plane rises from the ground and achieves flight."

"In a similar way, we can create lift in our spiritual life. When the force that is pushing us heavenward is greater than the temptations and distress that drag us downward, we can ascend and soar into the realm of the Spirit."

Then in Psalms we learn to set our goals even higher: "Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift my soul" (Psalm 25:1) and "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord" (Psalm 121:1-2)

"We lift our eyes toward the God of Heaven by cultivating our own personal spirituality. We do it by living in harmony with the father; the Son, our Savior; and the Holy Ghost. We do it by striving to be truly "submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon us, even as a child doth submit to his father."

President Uchdorf goes on to explain one particular principle that helps us to achieve lift: prayer. "Prayer has the power to elevate is from our worldly cares, to lift us up through clouds of despair and darkness into a bright and clear horizon."

"Prayer helps us transcend the stormy times. It gives us a glimpse of that blue sky that we cannot see from our earthly vantage point, and it reveals to us another vista--a glorious spiritual horizon filled with hope and the assurance of the bright blessings the Lord has promised to those who love and follow Him."

For the entire text of this message, follow this link: http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=2915ceb47f381210VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1


2 Nephi 7:17-18

". . . yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound."

". . . the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood. . . "

2 Nephi 7:12-13

"Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him."

"And if it so be that we are faithful to him, we shall obtain the land of promise; and ye shall know at some future period that the Lord shall be fulfilled. . . "

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Yay! I lost 1.4 pounds this week! I wasn't angelic by any means, but I stayed within my points and I tracked every day. My goal this week is to track daily even though we will be camping and to control my portions, since family reunion food is usually comfort food. I'll load up on the veggies, then have reasonable portions of the other stuff. I'm bringing a few sensible snackies so I'm not compelled to munch on cookies and chips in between meals. I also plan on being as active as possible while at the reunion. . . volleyball, here I come!


"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." --Gordon B. Hinckley


Oven Barbecue Chicken

Serves 6
Points Value: 6

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 bottles Kraft barbecue sauce
1 can crushed pineapple, drained well

Spray 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Trim chicken and place in pan. In separate bowl, combine barbecue sauce and pineapple, then pour over chicken. Bake at 350* for 1 hour or until done. Serve with corn on the cob and spinach salad for a complete dinner of 8 points.


"Yes, every test, every trial, every challenge and hardship you endure is an opportunity to further develop your faith.

Faith can be fortified through prayer. Prayer is the powerful key to making decisions, not only concerning your physical body, but concerning all other important aspects of your life. Humbly seek the Lord in prayer with a sincere heart and real intent, and He will help you." (Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending, Deseret Book, 1998, p. 81-82)


How many times have you tried to lose weight? Three? Ten? Twenty? I can't tell you how many attempts I have made, but I can tell you this: I now know that with the Lord on my side, I can do it this time if I continue with diligence, faith, and humility.

In 1 Nephi Chapter 1, we read of Nephi's attempts to obtain the brass plates from Laban. Even with great faith, it still took him and his brothers three attempts to finally achieve their goal. We must always remember that even if it takes us several attempts, we can still find that faith in God to perservere.

". . . I will go and do the things which the Lord commanded, for I KNOW that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall PREPARE a WAY for them that they may ACCOMPLISH the thing which he commandeth them."

In the next chapter, after losing his property and having his life threatened, Nephi's persistence finally pays off, but not until after just one more test of faith:

"And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. . . Nevertheless I went forth. . . "

So this time, as I try once again to lose weight, I choose to close my self-help books, to turn off the TV, and to throw away the magazine articles. Instead, I will place my life in the Lord's hands, not knowing at this exact moment what His exact plan is for me, but absolutely knowing that He does have one. I am placing my hand in His, ready to travel the path He has set. I know that as I make this simple choice, I am choosing the ability to succeed; maybe not today, or tomorrow, but after the trial of my faith.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


"When the world around you says 'Give up,' Hope whispers, 'Try it one more time.'" --author unknown

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." ~Albert Einstein

Monday, June 1, 2009


Soft Pretzels (from www.recipecircus.com)

Makes 16 pretzels
Points value: 2

1 (16-oz.) package hot roll mix
1 egg white
2 tsp. water
2 T. each any desired toppings (sesame seeds, course salt, poppy seeds)

Prepare hot roll mix according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Divide dough equally into 16 pieces; roll each piece with hands to form rope, 7 to 10 inches long. Place on prepared cookie sheets; form into desired shape (hearts, wreaths, pretzels, snails, loops, ABC letters, etc.).

Beat egg white and water in small bowl until foamy. Brush onto dough shapes; sprinkle each shape with 1-1/2 teaspoons of one coating. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


"I may not be there yet. I may have a long way to go. But I'm closer than I was yesterday." --author unknown

"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." --Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Baked Chicken (from www.weightwatchers.com)

Point Value: 3

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c. canned chicken broth
1/2 medium lemon. quartered, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a small, shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to prepared pan and drizzle with oil; sprinkle with lemon juice, rosemary and parsley. Pour broth around chicken to coat bottom of pan.

Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with fresh lemon and serve. Yields 1 chicken breast half per serving. Serve with a green veggie and 1 c. brown rice for a total meal value of just 5 points!


"Why? Why Not? Why Not You? Why Not Now?" --Aslan


Did you know that the eagle is the only bird that flies in a storm? It's true. . . google it if you want to. They have learned that they have the ability to actually lock their wings into place, which allows them to rise with the wind, much higher than they could during calmer weather.

As I was contemplating the eagle yesterday, I remembered a scripture in Isaiah that I wanted to share with my bloggers:

Isaiah 40:28-31

"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding."

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that hath no might he increaseth strength."

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint."

I recently spoke with my friend Chante, who is a two-time cancer survivor, has a damaged liver, an enlarged heart, and was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. Her whole life has been filled with unimaginable adversity. She is the one who explained to me the principle of the eagle. She explained that when in the midst of her trials, she has simply had to lock her wings in courage and faith in the Lord. Once her wings are in position, she is lifted by the winds of adversity until she reaches new heights: greater understanding, increased testimony, greater strength, greater compassion, that would be simply unattainable without her trials.

I am grateful for adversity, which has in my own life, allowed me to become a stronger, more resilient person. Through my own personal storms, I am allowed to grow, urged to emerge from my comfort zone, and become something greater and more majestic. With each storm, I vow to choose the flight. I will not hide like the other birds, but I will ascend, locking my wings of courage and faith. I will become an eagle.