? ??????????????????? ????Easy Install Instructions:???1. Copy the Code??2. Log in to your Blogger account
and go to "Manage Layout" from the Blogger Dashboard??3. Click on the "Edit HTML" tab.??4. Delete the code already in the "Edit Template" box and paste the new code in.??5. Click "S BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS ?

Friday, July 31, 2009


Hey! You'll never guess what I just ran across! I found the formula that Weight Watchers uses to calculate their points:


***You cannot claim fiber unless it has a minimum of 4 grams


Spinach and Nectarine Salad (from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/)

Serves: 2 (main dish)
Points: 4

2 tablespoon(s) orange marmalade
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon(s) white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon(s) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
1/4 cup(s) slivered almonds
1 package(s) (7-ounce) baby spinach
2 ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into wedges

In microwave-safe small bowl or 1-cup liquid measuring cup, combine marmalade and shallot. Cover with vented plastic wrap and cook in microwave on High 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

In small skillet, cook almonds on medium 5 minutes, stirring until toasted. Set aside to cool, about 2 minutes.

To serve, toss spinach, nectarines, and marmalade mixture until combined. Place on 2 dinner plates; scatter almonds on top.

Each serving contains 285 calories, 14 grams fat, and 14 grams fiber.


"You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - Dove Candy Wrapper


If stated as an equation, the way to achieve true conversion might be expressed as:

humility+godly sorrow+prayer+repentance+patience=conversion

One scripture that expresses this process is Mosiah 21:14-16, where the people of Limhi meet Ammon and are converted.

"And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions."

"And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to . . . ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage."

"And it came to pass that they began to prosper by degrees . . . "

There are several key lessons to be learned from this passage:

1. Though it sometimes may seem that God doesn't hear our cries, He does. Perhaps, He is slow in His answer because of our iniquities. When we feel that our prayers are not being heard, maybe it's time to take a good look at our lives and see if repentance is needed.

2. The Lord doesn't always deliver us out of bondage when we ask Him to, but if we take time to notice, we will usually find small daily miracles, ways that He is easing our burdens, allowing us to continue on. Sometimes the burdens we carry serve to strengthen us, therefore He cannot always take them away, lest we remain weak forever.

3. God usually allows us to 'prosper by degrees,' rather than all at once. Why? I feel that it is to see if we will acknowledge His hand in our lives. Do we show gratitude for the little blessings we receive each day? Or are we waiting for a mega download of blessings all at once?

I testify that while true conversion doesn't always come easily, it does come to those who follow the formula. Those who seek God with patience, in turn receive His comfort and direction, and their lives will never be the same.

"Treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle tthee in the arms of my love" (D&C 6:20).

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Grilled Asparagus (from Good Housekeeping, July 2008, 190)

Serves: 4
Points: 1

1 lb. medium asparagus, ends trimmed
1 T. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Prepare outdoor drill for covered direct grilling on medium. Place asparagus on jelly-roll pan; brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer asparagus to grill topper or vegetable basket on hot grill grate. Cover grill and cook asparagus 6 to 8 mintues or until lightly charred and tender, turning occasionally. Serve warm or at room tempertaure.


"Are you … continually increasing your testimony by diligent study of the scriptures? Do you have a daily habit of reading the scriptures? If we’re not reading the scriptures daily, our testimonies are growing thinner, our spirituality isn’t increasing in depth. We, ourselves, must be studying the scriptures and have a daily habit" (President Harold B. Lee, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 59).


Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi recently wrote about a topic that is near to my heart: opening the heavens by daily pondering and praying. He asked:

"Do you want to feel the love of God more powerfully in your life? Do you want to feel more in tune with His Spirit? Do you want to have the heavens opened to you daily?"

"There is a way you can feel a daily renewal of God's everlasting love and drink from 'the fountain of living waters' (1 Nephi 11:25). It follows a pattern set by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he went to a grove of trees early one morning in 1820 seeking answers to his questions. I speak of a morning devotional time spent in prayer, meditation, and scripture study. . . " (Elder Yoshihiko Kikichi, "Opening the Heavens," Ensign, August 2009, 34).

I want to add my testimony to Elder Kikuchi's that a daily devotional will infuse you with power from on high. I have only recently, within the last six months, reinstated the practice of a daily morning devotional, and since then, my life has changed dramatically. Yes, I feel the love of God more powerfully in my life. Yes, I feel more in tune with His Spirit. Yes, I have had the heavens opened to me. I am able to stay closer to Him each day, despite my many imperfections. I am more able to recognize the little miracles all around me. I am more aware of my standing before God, and what I need to do to improve. Furthermore, I am more aware of just how much I am loved: of my individual worth. My relationship with my Father has become very real and for that, I am so grateful.

Joseph Smith said: "The manifestation of the gift of the Holy Ghost, the ministering of angels, or the development of the power, majesty or glory of God were very seldom manifested publicly . . . but most generally when angels have come, or God revealed Himself, it has been to individuals in private, in their chamber; in the wilderness or fields, and that generally without noise or tumult" (Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 2007, 121).

Where is your chamber? Where is your sacred grove? Where do you have your daily "sweet hour of prayer?" Do you daily "cast on Him your every care?" Do your heartfelt prayers ascend to him each morning, making all your "wants and wishes known?" ("Sweet Hour of Prayer," Hymns, 1985, 142).

I testify that as you begin seeking the Lord earnestly each morning, literally putting the Lord first, by putting Him first thing each morning, that your days will begin to orchestrate themselves, that your priorities will become evident, that your spiritual keenness will improve, and that you will develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with your Father in Heaven and with the Savior, who truly love you deeply.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Three-Bean Tuna Salad (Good Housekeeping Magazine, July 2008, 43)

Serves: 4 (main dish salad)
Points: 7

1 lemon
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 (15 oz.) cans beans, any assortment (I use cannelini, kidney, garbanzo or pinto)
2 (6 oz.) cans tuna, drained and flaked
4 large Boston lettuce leaves

From lemon, grate 1 tsp. peel and squeeze 2 T. juice. In large bowl, stir together lemon peel, juice, oil, celery and onions, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. ground pepper. Stir in beans until coated, then gently stir in tuna. Serve bean mixture in lettuce cups.


Chicken Fiesta Salad (from http://www.allrecipes.com/)

Serves: 6
Points: 5

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (1.27 ounce) packet dry fajita seasoning, divided
1 T. vegetable oil
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (11-oz.) can Mexican-style corn
1/2 c. salsa
1 (10-oz.) package mixed salad greens
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, cut into wedges

Rub chicken evenly with 1/2 the fajita seasoning. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear; set aside.
In a large saucepan, mix beans, corn, salsa and other 1/2 of fajita seasoning. Heat over medium heat until warm.
Prepare the salad by tossing the greens, onion and tomato. Top salad with chicken and dress with the bean and corn mixture.


Fast Day

I hunger, Lord, and sense my need,
Yet not for want of bread alone.
Upon the Bread of Life I'd feed
And shun the temptor's loaves of stone

While wandering through this wilderness
While none but Thee fills emptiness.
I thirst, dear God, and parched, I seek
For water from Thy cooling well,

A living drink which quenches deep.
Thy fountain must my drought dispel
Lest in an arid world I die
My deepest thirst unsatisfied.

I faint, O Lord, and feel the lack
Of nourishment for my weak flesh.
My weak spirit too grows slack.
Thy power must my strength refresh

While in this desert I endure
The temptor's wiles and sin's allure.
I've lifted up my prayers to Thee;
With hungry souls I've shared my bread.

Hear then, my cry, my heartfelt plea.
Say "Here am I!" Upon me shed
Thy light to guide my pathless way
And my darkness as noonday.

(John S. Tanner, Ensign, August 2009, 39)


In Matthew, Chapter 4, we read of Satan's attempts to tempt the Savior during his forty-day fast. A recent article in the Ensign discusses the story and classifies his temptations into three categories:

1. Temptations of the appetite
2. Yieldings to the pride, fashion, and vanity of the world
3. Gratifying of the desire for riches of the world, or power among men.

In the story of Satan tempting Christ, we see examples of all three methods. "When Satan said, 'Command that these stones be made bread' (Matthew 4:3), he was appealing to the appetite. He knew that Jesus was hungry, that He was physically weak, and he thought that. . . he could awaken a desire to eat. Failing in that. . . Satan then tried Him in another way--an appeal to His pride, to His vanity. . . But the Savior answered him in terms of scripture, 'It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God' (Matthew 4:7). What was the third? An appeal to. . . power, domain, wealth: 'All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me' (Matthew 4:9). 'Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written Thou shalt worship the Lord they God, and Him only shalt thou serve' (Matthew 4:10)" (David O. McKay, "Unspotted from the World," Ensign, August 2009, 27).

The article goes on to suggest that we might classify our own temptations into these three categories, allowing us to better understand how Satan works on each of us, and thus how better to defeat Him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Every time you get up
And get back in the race
One more small piece of you
Starts to fall into place.
--Rascal Flatts, "Stand"


Well, today is my 29th birthday, and incidentally, my weigh-in as well. I am so excited to announce that as of this morning, I have lost TWENTY POUNDS!!! (That was before I went to Winger's for my birthday slice of asphalt pie...16 points.) I want to thank all of my readers, commenters and followers. You guys are AWESOME and I couldn't have made it to twenty without you! My next goal is 10%, which I should probably hit pretty soon, too. Thanks again!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Southwestern Beef Chili (from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 4

1 T. olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 poblano or bell pepper, chopped
1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef
2 T. tomato paste
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. chili powder
kosher salt and pepper
1/2 c. corn kernels (from 1 ear, or frozen and thawed)
1/2 c. grated 2% milk Cheddar (2 ounces)
2 scallions, sliced

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and poblano and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until it is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is slightly darkened, 1 minute. Add the beans, chili powder, 3 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the corn. Divide among bowls and top with the Cheddar and scallions.

Each serving contains 250 calories, 9 grams fat, 11 grams fiber.


"When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power." --Ezra Taft Benson


I think as members of the church, sometimes we forget that the temple is not just for doing vicarious work for the dead, or for sealing together families for eternity, but is also for US. By attending the temple regularly, we bring into our lives a greater measure of peace, understanding, revelation, and capability to accomplish the things we are intended to accomplish here on Earth. In this month's Ensign, we read:

"Other blessings come as well. The temple is the Lord's university. When I go there I always learn something new. I learn something important for my eternal progression. I learn something about how I can live my life better, how I can solve problems, and how I can serve more unselfishly. I can receive direction and insight into my life because the temple is a place of personal revelation."

"The temple is also a place of peace, comfort, strength, and power. Whenever we are in the temple, we feel renewed. The temple helps us face life's challenges with more faith and trust in the Lord" (Cheryl C. Lant, "The Steps to the Temple," Ensign, August 2009, 23).

As I deal with my daily struggles, I need to remember that I can draw power from regular temple attendance. I often forget this. I will recommit myself today to return to the temple: the Lord's University, and learn.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Honey Chicken Skewers with Grilled Corn Salad (from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 9 (including corn)

1/2 cup ketchup
2 T. honey
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and pepper
canola oil, for the grill
6 ears corn, shucked
1 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 scallions, sliced

Place twenty 8-inch wooden skewers in water to soak. Heat grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, honey, and Worcestershire sauce; set aside.

Slice the chicken lengthwise into twenty 1/2-inch-thick strips. Thread each strip onto a wooden skewer. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Lightly oil the grill. Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes, basting with the ketchup mixture during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, grill the corn, turning occasionally, until slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cobs, place in a medium bowl, and toss with the butter, scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the chicken.


"I know that His tender mercies and His miracles, large and small, are real. They come in His way and on His timetable. Sometimes it is not until we have reached our extremity. Jesus’s disciples on the Sea of Galilee had to toil in rowing against a contrary wind all through the night before Jesus finally came to their aid. He did not come until the "fourth watch," meaning near dawn. Yet He did come. (See Mark 6:45–51.) My testimony is that miracles do come, though sometimes not until the fourth watch (Susan W. Tanner, "My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord," Ensign, May 2008).


Have you ever wondered if you weren't really, truly alone in the world? I know I have. I've heard time and again that we are never alone, that we are surrounded by those who love us here on Earth, by angels, and by the spirits of loved ones who have passed on or who are yet to be born. I also know that as a member of the church, I have been blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that following my righteousness, I am privy to the blessing of his companionship. Still, at times, it is so easy to forget that these promised acquaintances are very real. I cannot see the angels, other members sometimes are too busy to assist me, and the comforting voice of the Holy Ghost is so still and quiet, that I often miss its whispering.

Still, I know that even when I feel abandoned that I can rely on these blessings. I can turn myself more fully to living the principles of the gospel, which allows me to more easily feel the Holy Ghost in my life. I can reach out to others, in turn receiving peace in my heart and lasting friendships that enrich my life in so many ways. I can continue to have faith that angels are round about me, cheering me on as I make righteous choices each day. Most importantly, I can remember the Savior, who was truly alone, so I would never have to be. I can remember that He can understand my feelings of loneliness and desertion perfectly:

". . . he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him."

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. . . he was despised and we esteemed him not."

"Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted."

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healed."
(Mosiah 14:2-5)

I will try to remember that I am never alone. I will try to always remember that he will never leave me comfortless. This knowledge will surely bless me and keep me going through difficulties here on Earth, teaching me compassion for others, forbearance, and blessing me with a deep and abiding testimony of the Atonement.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Baked Chicken Parmesan (from http://www.laaloosh.com/)

Serves: 8
Points: 5 (without pasta)

4 (8 oz) chicken breast halves, sliced in half
1/4 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
½ c. Fiber One cereal, ground into fine, breadcrumb-like consistency
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. low calorie butter, melted (I like Brummel & Brown Spread)
3/4 c. reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1 c. marinara
Non-fat cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with spray.Combine breadcrumbs, Fiber One, and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture. Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken. Lightly spray a little more cooking oil on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 5 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon sauce over chicken and top with shredded cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Enjoy! ***1 c. white spaghetti would add another 3 points to this recipe, while 1 c. whole grain spaghetti would add 2 points.


"Baptized of John in the river known as Jordan, He commenced His official ministry to men. To the sophistry of Satan, Jesus turned His back. To the duty designated by His Father, He turned His face, pledged His heart, and gave His life. And what a sinless, selfless, noble, and divine life it was. Jesus labored. Jesus loved. Jesus served. Jesus testified. What finer example could we strive to emulate? Let us begin now, this very night, to do so. Cast off forever will be the old self and with it defeat, despair, doubt, and disbelief. To a newness of life we come—a life of faith, hope, courage, and joy. No task looms too large; no responsibility weighs too heavily; no duty is a burden. All things become possible (President Thomas S. Monson, "Examples of Righteousness," Ensign, May 2008).


Colossians 1:10-13

"That ye may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

"Stregthened with all might according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness:"

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:"

"Who hath delivered us from darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Philippians 4:6-7

"Be careful for nothing; (JST says "don't be unduly concerned about anything); but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ."


One-Point Peanut Butter Cookies (from http://www.laaloosh.com/)

Serving size: 1 cookie
Point Value: 1 point

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. table salt
3 T. reduced-calorie margarine, stick-variety
2 T. reduced-fat peanut butter
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 sprays non fat cooking spray

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.Combine margarine and peanut butter in a mixing bowl; beat on medium speed until blended and smooth. Gradually add both sugars and beat until blended; add egg white and vanilla and beat until smooth. While beating on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just blended.Transfer dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and roll into an 8-inch log. Wrap log in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours. (Note: You can make the cookie dough up to 3 days in advance and freeze until ready to bake.)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray. Remove cookie dough from freezer and slice crosswise into about twenty-four 1/3-inch-thick slices; place slices 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden around edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Yields 1 cookie per serving.

***Flavor Booster: Browned margarine has a nutty flavor that enhances a peanut butter cookie. Melt the margarine in a small skillet until it sizzles and just begins to brown. Remove from heat and freeze for 20 minutes, or until firm, before using in recipe.


Life is like a home-improvement project:

"Enduring to the end is definitely not a do-it-yourself project" --L. Tom Perry

"Ask how. Ask now." (Sherwin Williams)

"You can do it. We (other members and leaders of the church) can help." (The Home Depot)

"Let's build something (the kingdom of God) together." (Lowe's)

At one time or another, each of us will get to the point in our remodling, when it will become necessary to call in the great Contractor. We will no longer have the knowledge or power to complete the project ourselves. We will need the vision of the one who can see the beginning from the end. We will need the proper tools. We will need help to keep from becoming discouraged. True, we might keep trying to accomplish our renovation on our own, but quite possibly, we would be violating codes, requiring us to start over sooner or later. It would be much better for us, to make the call, and allow the professional to help us with our task.


"In many cookbooks there are pictures of the perfect dishes that recipes make—the fulness of the joy of cooking. These pictures are important because they help us envision the outcome if we strictly follow the directions as given in the recipe. It is important to begin with the end in mind, but the end represented by pictures in cookbooks is an end that is only possible if everything is done right. If directions are not followed or an ingredient is left out or miscalculated, the desired taste and appearance are seldom attained. The picture of a perfect dish, however, can serve as motivation to try again to create something that is both delicious and beautiful.

When we think of eternal life, what is the picture that comes to mind? I believe that if we could create in our minds a clear and true picture of eternal life, we would start behaving differently. We would not need to be prodded to do the many things involved with enduring to the end, like doing our home teaching or visiting teaching, attending our meetings, going to the temple, living moral lives, saying our prayers, or reading the scriptures. We would want to do all these things and more because we realize they will prepare us to go somewhere we yearn to go" (L. Tom Perry, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ensign , May 2008).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sweet Potato Risotto (from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 6

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup dry chicken broth
1/2 cup grated reduced-fat Parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the broth and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed.
Measure 3 1/2 cups of water. Add 3/4 cup at a time and cook, stirring occasionally and waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. It should take 25 to 30 minutes for all the water to be absorbed.
Stir in the Parmesan and oregano.
Each serving contains 290 calories, 7 grams fat, and 5 grams fiber


"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments." — Jim Rohn


The Power of the Food Diary

"Dieters who write down everything they eat each day lose twice as much weight as those who don't, according to one of the largest weight-loss studies ever conducted.

This confirms the importance of keeping a food diary — advice that nutritionists and weight-loss programs have pushed for years. . .

Food diaries are a "powerful self-management technique. They help you figure out where the extra calories are coming from," he says. It works best if someone else looks over your food record. "When you put yourself in a position where you are accountable for your behavior, it changes behavior. . .

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in Chicago, tells people that a food diary "is the best way to monitor every crumb, morsel, nibble, sip, swallow and bite you take" (from "Using Food Diaries Doubles Weight Loss, Study Shows," Nanci Hellmich, http://www.usatoday.com/, July, 2008). To view the entire article, follow this link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2008-07-08-food-diaries_N.htm

Here are some great resources for how to start journaling (tracking), printable trackers, and online journaling:

http://www.laaloosh.com/ (my favorite)

Happy tracking!!!


Yesterday, I had the privilege of sitting in on my husband's Sunday school class, where he was teaching the twelve- and thirteen-year-olds about being in the world but not of the world. He brought up a really vivid analogy of how Satan works against individuals:

A fisherman knows that he can have much more success if he uses the right bait for the right fish. Also, he has learned that he is more likely to catch a fish in the dark than when the sun is shining brightly.

The parallel he drew was that Satan knows us individually and knows to use the right bait. For example, he knows that he might not have much success in trying to tempt me to view pornography or commit a sexual sin, but he does know that I have a weakness with food, as well as with my self-confidence and body image. So these are the areas he really hones in on, knowing that if he is successful, he can eventually conquer me entirely.

He also knows that during times of darkness or confusion, he will be more likely to "catch" me. When I turn, even briefly, from the light of the gospel, that is when he will move in quickly. Just like the fish in the early morning hours, swimming in darkness can prove to be spiritually fatal.

So, what can we do to avoid the craftiness of Satan? How do we survive the darkness that will inevitably surround us at certain points in our lives' journeys? The answer is found in 1 John 5:5, 7:

" This is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. . . "

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

In other words, we must remain close to the Savior constantly to protect ourselves from the hooks and snares of Satan. We must not be deceived by the baits he uses. We must walk beside the Lord in all that we do. We must humbly ask God to "teach us to walk in the light of His love. . . " I testify that as we consciously choose to invite the light of the Savior into our lives, we will protect ourselves from the craftiness of Satan, and be able to discern the baits and lies which he employs to bring us to eternal destruction.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Facing Doubt and Discouragement

"In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike--and they will--you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection (see 2 Kgs. 6:16-17). They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham's seed" (Jeffrey R. Holland, "For Times of Trouble," BYU Speeches, 1980, 45).
2 Kings 6:16-17
"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."

"And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his a eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
All I can say to that, is wow! Next time I feel alone, I'll have to visulize those horses and chariots coming to my aid!


Center Your Life in Jesus Christ

"True, enduring happiness, with the accompanying strength, courage, and capacity to overcome the greatest difficulties, will come as you center your life in Jesus Christ. Obedience to His teachings provides a secure ascent in the journey of life. That takes effort. While there is no guarantee of overnight results, there is the assurance that, in the Lord's time, solutions will come, peace will prevail, and happiness will be yours" (Richard G. Scott, "The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 41.


Angel Food Cake with Lime Drizzle (from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 8
Points: 2

1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup sugar
1 store-bought angel food cake
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
12 ounces fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Combine the lime juice, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cool.
Divide the cake, strawberries, and pineapple among individual plates.
Add the zest to the lime syrup and drizzle over the fruit and cake.


Sauteed Zucchini

Serves: 6
Points: 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano, chopped
kosher salt and pepper

Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the zucchini and cook, stirring only occasionally, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer the cooked zucchini to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and zucchini. Return the first batch to the skillet.

Stir in the garlic, marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.


Brown Rice Pilaf

Serves: 4
Points: 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup (1 ounce) sliced unsalted roasted almonds
kosher salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender and the broth is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the parsley, almonds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and transfer to a serving bowl.


We're off for the next few days for our annual Bear Lake trip, so I won't be posting again until Monday, the 20th. Check back then for more posts. In the meantime, I'll leave a few recipes for you to try over the weekend!

:o) Kristen

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes (from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
kosher salt and pepper
2 bunches spinach (about 1 pound), trimmed
8 eggs, separated (yolks kept whole, if possible)
4 ounces light cream cheese (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it begins to wilt, 1 minute. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.

Beat the egg whites until foamy, about 30 seconds, then pour them over the spinach mixture. Carefully place the whole yolks over the top.
Bake until the whites are set, 20 to 22 minutes. Divide among individual plates. Add dollops of the cream cheese, if desired.

Calories: 200, Fat: 11, Fiber: 6

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce (from http://www.realsimple.com/)

Serves: 4

Points: 7

12 ounces linguine
1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat Parmesan

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the tomatoes, oil, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce and half the basil. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and the remaining basil before serving.

Fat grams:8, Calories: 350, Fiber: 4


"As experiences accumulate in our lives, they add strength and support to each other. Just as the building blocks of our homes support the rest of the structure, so too do our personal life experiences become building blocks for our testimonies and add to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" (Elder Ronald A. Rasband, "Special Experiences" Ensign, May 2008, 11).


Recipe for Salvation

Serves: All

1 contrite heart
2 clean hands
1 c. knowledge of the goodness of God
2 c. patience and long-suffering
2 c. knowledge of the Atonement
3 c. diligence in keeping commandments
3 c. humility
1/2 c. trust
1/2 c. faith
Repentance, as needed

Start by mixing together knowledge of the goodness of God, patience and long-suffering, and knowledge of the Atonement. Add diligence in keeping commandments, humility, contrite heart, clean hands, mixing in repentance as needed. Fold in trust and faith then serve to others. (Mosiah 4:6)

But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage. (Mosiah 7:33)

Monday, July 13, 2009


President Monson said: "[TheLord] commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and . . . they shall learn in their own experience Who He is" (Thomas S. Monson, "The Way of the Master," Ensign, Jan. 2003, 7; quoting Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus [1948], 401).


"When God makes a promise,
It remains forever true,
For everything God promises
He unalterably will do.

When you’re disillusioned
And every hope is blighted
Recall the promises of God
And your faith will be relighted."

--Helen Steiner Rice

(From Expressions of Comfort, Barbour Publishing, 2007), 187–88)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas (from Real Simple Magazine, June 2009)

Serves: 4
Points: 6

1 2- to 2 1/2 lb. rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (or canned white and dark chicken)
4 c. baby spinach
1 1/2 c. grated Monterey Jack
4 large whole grain flour tortillas
1/2 c. store-bought salsa
1/4 c. fat free sour cream

Heat grill to medium. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, spinach, and cheese. Dividing evenly, place the mixture on half of each tortilla. Fold the other half to cover.

Grill the quesadillas until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with the salsa and sour cream. Add corn on the cob and seasoned black beans to make a meal of 9 points.


Salmon Burgers (from Real Simple Magazine)

Serves: 4
Points: 8 with bun

1 1/2 lbs. skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper

Heat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill grate. In a food processor, pulse the salmon 3 to 4 times, just until coarsely chopped (the mixture should still be somewhat chunky). Add the scallions, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and pulse to combine. Form the mixture into 3/4-inch thick patties.

Grill, turning once (do not press or flatten), until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes each side. Serve on rolls with desired toppings (the magazine suggested avocados and fresh cilantro).

Veggie Burgers

Serves: 4
Points: 6 with bun

1/4 c. couscous
1 large egg
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1 (15-oz.) can lentils, rinsed
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 T. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine the couscous and 1/4 c. hot tap water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In a food processor, puree the egg, sunflower seeds, and 3/4 c. on the lentils until they form a paste; transfer to a bowl. Mix in the carrot, onion, lemon juice, couscous, the remaining lentils, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Form the mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, 20-25 minutes.

Heat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill grate. Grill the patties, turning once (do not press or flatten), until charred and heated through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve on rolls with desired toppings.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Journey to Exaltation

"The way to exaltation is not a freeway featuring unlimited vision, unrestricted speeds, and untested skills. Rather, it is known by many forks and turnings, sharp curves, and controlled speeds. Our driving ability is being put to the test. Are we ready? We’re driving. We haven’t passed this way before. Fortunately, the Master Highway Builder, even our Heavenly Father, has provided a road map showing the route to follow. He has placed markers along the way to guide us to our destination."
Thomas S. Monson, "Crisis at the Crossroads," New Era, Nov. 2002, 5


Mosiah 3:19

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Friday, July 10, 2009


Summertime Pasta Salad

Serves: 8
Points: 4

1 bag tri-color pasta
1 small bottle fat-free Italian dressing, chilled
garden vegetables (I like green peppers, carrots, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, olives)
cubed mozarella
1/2 c. reduced-fat Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. Toss with remaining ingredients (you may not want to use the whole bottle of dressing). Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. If you want to make a meal out of this, just add some canellini (white) beans and some chopped up ham, which would add another 2 points per serving.


"Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than the words of the Lord: 'My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them' (Ether 12:27)" (Thomas S. Monson, "Our Sacred Priesthood Trust," Ensign, May 2006, 57).


Mosiah 2:23-25

"And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him."

"And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted to him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore of what have ye to boast?"

"And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the eart; yet ye were created of the dust of the eart; but behold it belongeth to him who created you."

It occured to me as I read these and other verses in Mosiah this morning, that there could be potentially a fine line between feelings of godly humility and feelings of self-doubt. What are we supposed to learn or to feel about our worth from reading these verses? What was King Bejamin's intent when he taught that we are "worthless" and "unprofitable servants?" Are we then supposed to feel that we have no purpose, no hope, no value? No. I think that the purpose of these seemingly harsh words is to remind us that just as "with God all things are possible," that without God, we cannot do anything of worth. Ironically, we are intended to learn a great deal about our divine potential from these verses. We learn that on our own we are nothing, but that we have God on our side, which ensures eternal and exquisite value and triumph!

I love, love, love the promise that King Benjamin gives in verse 24: " . . .do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you. . . "

I don't think that humility means we should feel worthless. I think that humility, rather keeps company with hope in God. It speaks to me of the joy and peace that come with a godly partnership here on earth. It means that we have learned to be submissive and meek as a little child. So, let us banish all thoughts of despair, all negative thinking of ourselves. Instead, let us fill ourselves with godly humilty, the kind that allows great and wonderful blessings to enter into our lives as we join with the Father, acknowledging that we are eternally His.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Rosemary-Apricot Chicken (from www.betterrecipes.com)

Serves 6
Points: 5

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 c. fat-free chicken broth
1 c. all-fruit apricot preserves
1 T. honey mustard or Dijon

Preheat oven to 350; line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl crush the spices, combine with salt and pepper, and rub over both sides of chicken breasts. Place in prepared pan; pour broth into pan. Bake for 20 minutes. In a small bowl mix preserves and mustard, brush or spoon over chicken and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until done.


Three more things to do if you are dealing with depression or discouragement:

1. Pray morning and night
2. Study scriptures 30 minutes a day
3. Attend temple regularly

A wise friend of mine once counseled me that if your life is not going well spiritually, you can usually trace it back to a defecit in one of these areas.


Rx for Depression. . . D&C 88:123-126

After my second daughter was born, I had a pretty serious bout with postpartum depression. I found myself dealing with an extremely colicky baby who wasn't gaining weight, I was serving as a counselor in the Relief Society Presidency, and I was working graves at a catering business. My energy was so depleted and I could hardly function at all. My house was a disaster and I began to gain significant weight. Simply put, I was miserable.

One day, I found life-changing respite while reading in D&C 88:123-126, which I now refer to as the cure for depression:

"See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires."

"Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and minds may be invigorated."

"And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity. . . "

"Pray always, that ye may not faint. . . "

As I began to apply this scripture to my life, my broken spirit was healed and the deep depression dissipated. Now, each time I begin to slip back into these old feelings, I read this passage, and quickly pinpoint the area which needs work. I am so grateful for the very personal and timely help the Lord prescribed for me in my hour of need, and I truly have a testimony of the power of personal revelation.

I wrote in to the Church News a few years ago and shared this story with them. It was published in January, 2008. Here is a link to the article if you're interested: http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/51529/Living-by-the-scriptures.html

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Fruit and Nut Slaw (from www.sheknows.com)

Serves: 6
Points: 3

1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained, reserve 2 T. juice
2 T. lemon juice
1 banana, peeled, sliced
3 c. shredded cabbage
1 cup diagonally sliced celery
1 (11-oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. raisins
1 (8-oz.) container orange flavored low-fat yogurt
1/2 tsp. salt

Place sliced pineapple in a large bowl and set aside. Combine saved pineapple juice with lemon juice. Mix in banana and combine with reserved pineapple. Mix in cabbage, celery, mandarin oranges, walnuts and raisins. Mix yogurt with salt and toss with fruit mixture. Chill, covered, until ready to serve.


"Life is like a balancing beam--straight and narrow. Everyone falls off once in a while. No one can do it perfectly all of the time, but we always have the choice to get back on and finish the routine. The difference is that even though we all have made mistakes, we can still get a perfect ten. The victory stand has room for all of God's righteous." --Diane Ellington Smith
Ellingson-Smith was an All-American gymnast at Utah before battling back from a devastating accident that left her paralyzed for the rest of her life. From 1978-81, Ellingson-Smith was a three-time All-American on the uneven parallel bars and finished second in the 1981 National Championships. She was co-captain of the 1981 national-title winning team, the first of 10 national titles the Utes would win over the next 22 years.

After her college career ended Ellington-Smith joined a Professional Gymnastics Tour. While practicing on the vault before her first meet, she over-rotated and landed on her neck. She fractured a cervical vertebrae and was paralyzed from the chest down. Although confined to a wheelchair, she finished her degree at Utah in elementary education and spent seven years teaching third grade. The Diane Ellingson award is given yearly to the most inspirational Ute gymnast.

Ellingson-Smith now spends her time as a motivational speaker. She is the founder and president of a sales, motivation, leadership and achievement company. She is also the subject of the best selling biography "Don't You Dare Give Up!" Diane is married to Scott Smith,
and has four step children.


Anyone who's ever tried to lose weight undoubtedly has asked at least once: "Why does it take so long? Why can't I see the results I desire NOW?"

I think in my struggle that's where I am right now. I've lost almost 15 pounds, but no one really notices it, and now that my body is regulating, it requires more of an effort than ever before. Quite honestly, I'm frustrated. I'm discouraged, though I know that I shouldn't be. So today during my morning prayers, I asked my Heavenly Father to bless me with reassurance that I CAN do this: that I have the capability to continue trying, even if I have to lose forty more pounds before anyone else notices a change in my appearance and even more to reach my ultimate goal. As I opened my scriptures, I felt prompted to turn to Psalms 27. Imagine my shock when I read verse 14:

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord."

Thank you! That was the exact prescription I needed to heal my tired heart today. I love how the verse doesn't say "he will strengthen thee," it says "he will strengthen thine heart." I think the reason for that particular wording is because we only become strengthened AFTER we pass through the trial of our faith. But what a blessing it is to know, that while he may not choose to take away our burden, he can strengthen our hearts so we will have the courage and good attitudes necessary to lift it. I am so thankful that my Father in Heaven cared enough to help me through today. I know that if you have a hard day, or many hard days, he will be there for you as well. The miracle WILL happen through our faith. Sometimes we just need to wait on the Lord.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


"I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, I ought to do.
What I ought to do, by God's grace, I will do." --author unknown


Healthied Up Taco Meatloaf (from www.betterrecipes.com)

Serves: 10-12
Points: 4

1 envelope taco seasoning
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 onion, grated with juice
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup romano cheese
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup cooked brown rice
3 lbs ground turkey
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded monetrey jack cheese
1/4 cup romano cheese (optional)

Mix together eggs, taco seasoning, black pepper, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, brown rice, bread crumbs and cheeses. Add turkey and mix until thoroughly combined. Grease sheet pan with 2 tsp olive oil. Form two loaves of meat mixture on pan. Top each loaf with tomato sauce and cheeses. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/4 hour or until meat thermometer registers 165 degrees. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.


"Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out." --Oliver Wendell Holmes

"I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung." --Tagore


In January of 1999, I attended a fireside where Sheri Dew spoke. At the time, I was struggling with frustration and a sense of self-doubt due to some recent setbacks. I remember that night very clearly as being a spiritual turning point for me. Here are some of the thoughts I wrote down from that address:

"Sisters, read with me, D&C 93:1-2: 'Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am. And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' Now, sisters, note this: The verse says every soul. . . it doesn't say every darling woman with great hair" (Man, I still love that one!)

"Of all our needs, I believe that the greatest is the increase of our faith."

And this is the one that changed my life: "Sisters, I think that if God were here tonight, he would say this to you: You are doing better than you think you are. You are doing great things! Thank you. Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying."

And to my fabulous blog readers, I too would echo Sister Dew's sentiments that you are doing a great job as mothers, sisters, and wives! Remember that when we become discouraged to the point of inability to function, we have allowed Satan to win the battle. We must then pick ourselves up, look toward heaven and move forward, with faith that with God all things are possible.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Coke Chicken

Serves: 4
Points: 4

1/2 c. caffeine-free diet Coke
1 bottle barbecue sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine Coke and barbecue sauce in a medium size bowl using a wire whisk. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and cover with sauce mixture. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over brown rice and serve with fresh vegetables. This is a family favorite!


Thoughts About the Scriptures:

"You can't cram for the final exam--we must be reading the scriptures every day" (Brother Wilsinger, Weber Stake Conference, November 1998).

"The pearls are scattered throughout the scriptures. . . one must dig to find the precious nuggets" (Boyd K. Packer, source unknown).

"Nothing compares to the Book of Mormon, not even doctrinal books by church leaders. . . I pray that the Lord will grant us entrance into them, and when we enter therein, we will realize that we stand on holy ground" (Boyd K. Packer, source unknown).

"The Book of Mormon is a mansion. There are garden towers, turrets, secret hallways and passages. . . many rooms I have yet to enter. . . There are grand libraries and sumptuous banquet tables. . . Let us not behave as tourists and scarcely go beyond the banquet hall. We must strive to enter all the rooms of the mansion" (Neal A. Maxwell, source unknown).


In this month's Ensign, I read a short article that deeply touched me. It was written by an energy-depleted mother of three young boys. One morning, she awoke to a sick son. As the day progressed, there were spills, messes, diaper changes, outfit changes, errands to run, laundry to do, meals to cook, etc. As this sweet mother went through the day, she thought of all the things she never had time for: family history, serving her neighbors, missionary work. . .

"Finally with the children in bed. . . I picked up the Ensign, which was open to a talk by President Henry B. Eyring titled, 'As a Child.' My eyes fell on a passage I had previously marked: 'To keep the blessing of [changed natures] in our hearts will require determination, effort, and faith. King Benjamin taught at least some of what that will require. He said that to retain a remission of or sins from day to day we must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and help people spiritually and temporally' (Ensign, May 2006, 17)."

This sister then thought to herself, "How can I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and help others when I can scarcely take care of my own family?"

Then she shared the following: "I could see the day replay in my mind--full of feeding the hungry, doing laundry to clothe the naked, gently caring for our sick baby, helping our five-year-old prepare a family home evening lesson on missionary work, and then discussing with our family, the power of example--in other words, helping people spiritually and temporally" (Carolynn R. Spencer, "Was I Living the Gospel Fully?" Ensign, July 2009, 71).

This article was a great reminder to me that as mothers, we are doing the right things for the right reasons! I am serving others. I am helping to build God's kingdom. With each diaper I change, with each lesson I teach, with each meal I prepare, I am truly serving God's own children. What in this life, could be more noble, more important than that responsibility and privilege?

Thursday, July 2, 2009


When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.

He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”

I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.

I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened. . .

My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done. You remember that song we sometimes sing: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children? I will do that. And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him. I testify that He loves us and blesses us, more than most of us have yet recognized. I know that is true, and it brings me joy to remember Him (Elder Henry B. Eyring, "O Remember, Remember," Ensign, November 2007, 66-69).


Chicken-Strawberry Salad (from http://www.betterrecipes.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 4

2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil or salad oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 cups spinach leaves
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
Dressing: In a screw-top jar combine 2 tablespoons orange juice, the oil, and sugar; cover and shake well. Chill dressing until serving time. For marinade, combine soy sauce, green onions, 2 tablespoons orange juice, the lemon juice, and garlic. Place chicken in a plastic bag set into a shallow dish. Add marinade; seal bag. Turn chicken to coat well. Chill 2 to 4 hours, turning chicken occasionally. Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Grill chicken on an uncovered grill over medium coals for 5 minutes. Brush with marinade; turn chicken and brush with marinade. Grill 7 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Cool slightly; slice chicken breast. Discard any remaining marinade. Line 4 individual plates with spinach leaves. Arrange strawberries, oranges, and chicken breast slices on spinach-lined plates. Shake dressing; drizzle over salads. ***When I make this, I add a handful of toasted almond slices. If you did this, you would have to add another point or two. =)


Recognizing Miracles

Lately, I have been making more and more of an effort to recognize the daily miracles in my life. This post may be a little more personal than many I have written, but I want to share with you my testimony that God blesses us in ways we don't always recognize.

We have been struggling financially this year. My husband's hours have been cut back dramatically at work, and as a result the overtime pay we were so used to before is gone, which has required him to pick up a second job just to help ends meet. He is working the same hours as he was before, but we are making much less. But before I start sounding too gloomy about the situation, I must share with you a series of events that have allowed us to survive this unexpected development.

We were able to attend a personal finance course last fall which taught us the importance of getting out of debt, how to budget more effectively, and how to live on less. As a result of this course (see www.daveramsey.com for more information), we were able to eliminate more than half of our debts before the unseen trials came our way.

Next, we were prompted to apply for Tyler's second job several months before the financial difficulties started. He is now working weekends with troubled young men who have been sent to his facility by the state's court system. Not until after he had already started, did we realize that his patriarchal blessing stated in a very specific nature that he would spend time working with "troubled young men" and help them "overcome bad habits."

In the meantime, we have been blessed through the promptings of others. For example, when we needed a crib mattress, a sweet Spanish sister from our ward brought one to us, explaining in her broken English: "You need this, yes? The Spirit tell me. . . "

Family members have given bags of beautiful, stylsih hand-me-downs that will serve as back-to-school clothes. The rain this years has blessed us in many ways, allowing our large garden and little orchard to produce in abundance, yielding healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as allowing us to water our lawns less, and use our air conditioning sparingly. Members of our ward have brought diapers they no longer needed. Visiting Teachers have brought us goodies that improved our moods just when we needed a pick-me-up. Our children have qualified for free preschool through the district, eliminating yet another cost from our budget. We have received nice work clothes from my husband's brother, which allow him to look well-dressed and professional on the job during a time when we don't have any extra money to spend on such things. And my husband still has his job, as well as a second job that not only pays the bills, but gives him great personal satisfaction. The list of blessings goes on and on. . . In fact, we have started a family Miracle Journal where we record these experiences and many, many others as a testament of God's love for us.

Why am I telling you all of this? I hope that you will be able to recognize the miracles in your lives. I hope that I will continue to be mindful of God's hand in all I do. He is blessing me with associations, with daily spiritual guidance, and in many, many other ways. Miracles are happening all around you. Look! Recognize them! Then write them down!


Jacob 3:2

"O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm forever."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Turkey Pinwheels (from www.betterecipes.com)

Serves: 4
Points: 3

4 slices oven roasted turkey
5 T. reduced fat cream cheese
2 T. chopped green onion
1 T. chopped fresh spinach

Mix cream cheese with all ingredients, except turkey. Spread equal amounts on turkey slices. Roll up turkey and cheese mixture. Chill 30 minutes or more. Slice into 1-inch pieces and serve as an appetizer at your next party.