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Saturday, October 30, 2010


We're off! Tyler and I are headed to Vegas for our 10th Anniversary so don't expect any posts for about a week! Thanks all!

Friday, October 29, 2010



Serves: 24
Points: 3 (per muffin)

1 (18-oz.) box of spice cake mix
1 (15-oz.) can of pure pumpkin
1/2 c. applesauce
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Spoon into greased or lined muffin tins. Bake as directed on cake mix box.


"When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual's life from maudlin, common everyday activities to a symphony of j o y and happiness."

(Elder Richard G. Scott, "The Transforming Power of Faith and Character," General Conference, October 2010.)


YUP! I'm still studying the "good stuff" from Conference. Tonight I was reading the text from Elder Richard E. Edgely's talk, "Faith--the Choice is Yours" (I know, I know. . . the title got the Chuck-a-Rama jingle in my head too!) I loved the following passage:

"Beware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. The Savior said, 'Come unto me,' (Matthew 11:28) and 'Knock, and it shall be given you,' (Matthew 7:7). These are action words: come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and unseen, and choose faith over pessimism."

What a wonderful reminder! I have always thought of faith as a sort of cycle. It takes faith to take the first step. . . to pay tithing for that first time, for example. As we obey the commandments, our faith is rewarded with more faith, which allows us to choose the right once again, and again we are blessed with increased faith, and so forth. . .

Elder Edgely then states: ". . . And what I don't know or don't completely understand, with the powerful aid of my faith, I bridge the gap and move on, partaking of the promises and blessings of the gospel."
And he warns:

"As strong as our faith is, . . . it can also be very fragile. It needs constant nourishment through continued scripture study, prayer, and the application of His word."

This is a wonderful talk! Read it. Love it. Do it.
P.S. Have you checked out the new General Conference website? You can actually make your own study notes while you read the addresses. You can also download the talks to your computer or MP3 players, and watch conference videos. Oh, and you can relive all the beautiful music from conference. You really should experience it for yourself (wink, wink):


Thursday, October 28, 2010


LIME CHICKEN (from http://www.kitchenparade.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 4

1/2 c. honey mustard
zest from 1 lime
2 T. lime juice (juice from 1 lime)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. soy sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Stir together first five ingredients and spread atop chicken breasts, covering evenly. Broil chicken until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Act for Ourselves

What stood out to you in this last General Conference? I was deeply touched by President Uchdorf's talk about simplifying and going a little slower during the turbulent times. I also loved his counsel to establish meaningful relationships with God, family members, our fellowmen, and ourselves. I could certainly relate to His words: "Some people simply cannot get along with themselves." His was probably one of my favorite talks, but after the first session and onto the remaining ones, I started to notice a theme. Maybe I'm the only one who saw it. . .

I heard the phrase: "act for ourselves and not be acted upon," at least three times in different talks. The scriptural advice stuck in my mind like glue and several weeks later, I'm still pondering the meaning of this simple admonition. What does it mean? And more importantly, how does this seemingly important, repeated phrase fit in my life?

I started thinking about agency. We are always free to choose our own actions. In fact, this precious agency, our own will, is the only gift that we possess that is 100% ours. (Everything else somehow belongs to our Heavenly Father.) Knowing that, we are placed here on earth to prove our faithfulness and determination to make correct choices. Will we choose the right? Will we truly glorify God in all that we do, wherever we may go? In short, we "act for ourselves."

So what does it mean: "be acted upon"? I think that this part of the equation refers to the inevitable consequences of our actions. When we choose righteously, we receive blessings and guidance. Conversely, when we choose sin, we are often subject to pain and sorrow.

Having a basic understanding of the principle, I started thinking specifically. I have two examples from my own life's experiences:

1. I struggle with my weight. Though at times, I try to imagine that eating unwholesome foods (sometimes in large amounts) will not matter, I cannot avoid the probability that my waistline will expand and my energy and health will diminish. If I can learn to curb my cravings and eat healthier options, I will undoubtedly benefit from that decision.

2. As a teenager, I was careful to follow the prophets' counsels regarding dating, modesty, and moral cleanliness. As a result, I was prompted by the Spirit as to whom I should marry and when. When the time came, I was worthy to be sealed in the temple for all eternity. I was blessed for the choice.

Long story, short. . . we can be productive, and progressive, striving to better our individual situations, holding to the rod and be blessed. Or, we can "be acted upon," letting our personal situations fall victim to chance or fate. In my book, I'd rather have the promised blessings of the gospel, wouldn't you?


"To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some valuable time alone with Him." (Dieter F. Uchdorf, "Of Things That Matter Most," Ensign, November 2010)


" We watch. We wait. We listen for that still, small voice. When it speaks, wise men and women obey. Promptings of the Spirit are not to be postponed." (Thomas S. Monson, "The Spirit Giveth Life," Ensign, June 1997, 4)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


CROCK POT MINESTRONE (adapted from http://www.skinnytaste.com/)

Serves: 6
Points: 3

1/2 onion, chopped
1 c. carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-0z.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 c. fresh or frozen (defrosted) spinach, chopped
2 c. cooked (al dente), small pasta such as salad mac, elbow or mini farfalle

Drain and rinse beans. Puree beans with one cup of broth in blender. In Crock Pot, combine broth, tomatoes, pureed beans, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, seasonings, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Forty minutes before soup is done cooking, add zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Add cooked pasta. Cook ten minutes more. Remove bay leaves. Ladle into bowls and top with Parmesan.


"I learned that it is okay to fall flat on your face." --Apollo Ohno

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--A Beautiful Spirit

Originally this blog was titled "Faith Precedes Size 10: Finding Joy in My Weight Loss Journey." Since I started writing, I have had other struggles sort of eclipse the original purpose of the blog and have been pleased to find that the messages I had been posting and collecting translated quite nicely to many different types of trials. I have had comments from others battling obesity, those dealing with infertility, and others who are facing un- or under- employment. One of the beautiful things about gospel study is that you find layers of meaning in the words of the prophets and in the Savior's own teachings.

I have been doing a lot of soul-searching the last few days since I read Elder Hallstrom's talk, which I referenced the other day. More specifically, the phrase: "deal with the problem directly and with all the strength you posess. . . "

I am so grateful for the prompting I received almost two years ago to start a blog. Though I haven't yet made tremondous progress with my physical health or appearance, I feel that my testimony and understanding have grown substantially. That, coupled with the support network from my readers, have made an incredible difference in my life. Thanks again for encouraging me.

When I used to attend Weight Watchers meetings I remember our class leader once taught us that the number on the scale is only feedback. If I gain one week, the number is simply feedback that whatever I did that week did not work. Calling a weight gain a "failure" is neither accurate or productive. If I lose weight however, the strategies I implemented worked and should probably be duplicated. It goes the same way in life. The only possible way I can ever really fail at anything, is by giving up. I do feel as if I have sort of given up on my goals to lose weight and I'd really like to get back on board with my plans. Though my life is riddled with stressors and complicated by uncertainty, I know that my goals are important to the Savior. They are righteous and qualify as an "anxious cause" in which I should be engaged. In short, I know that when and if I am willing, He offers His hand. He can help me get up off the ground and give this thing one more shot.

On Sunday, I did a family photo session and my husband and I had some pictures taken as well. Later, as I edited the images of myself, yes, there was the usual shock in seeing myself so large. And yes, the usual self-critical comments came to mind, but: 1) I was so proud of myself for taking the time to edit them, as I would for any of my clients and 2) I was surprised to see a beautiful spirit there in each photo. I feel that editing pictures of "fat me" was a extremely significant move towards self-love. After all, I am me. . . God's child. And He is there to help me. So, I will try again, with my hand in His.

Sunday, October 24, 2010



Serves: 5
Points: 3

1 c. homemade or store-bought beef broth
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
3 T. homemade taco seasoning
1 T. chili powder
1 (15-oz.) can red beans, drained
2 c. cooked black beans (canned is fine, rinse and drain)
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 c. cooked and shredded chicken

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven whisk together the beef broth and the tomato paste, plus about one can worth of water. Stir in the taco seasoning and chili powder. Add the red beans, black beans and tomatoes. Stir, heat through and simmer for ten minutes. Stir in the chicken. Simmer a little longer. (If simmering longer than 15 minutes, cover to prevent liquids from evaporating.)


"Faith and fear cannot coexist." (Elder Kevin W. Pearson, "Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ," Ensign, May 2009, 40)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Deal with the Matter Directly

Can I just tell you. . . I love the gospel? Today was wonderful. Our Teachings for Our Times lesson was based on the address: "Turn to the Lord," by Donald Hallstrom from April, 2010 conference. It was awesome. He talked a lot about not becoming offended by others or discouraged when hard times come your way. Here is the quote that stood out to me. (Actually, it was more like a charge from a lightning bolt.)

"If you feel you have been wronged--by anyone. . . or by anything (the death of a loved one, health problems, a financial reversal, abuse, addictions) deal with the matter directly and with all the strength you have. "Hold on thy way" (D&C 122:9); giving up is not an option. And, without delay, turn to the Lord. Exercise all the faith you have in Him. Let Him share your burden. Allow His grace to lighten your load. We are promised that we will suffer "no manner of afflictions save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ" (Alma 31:38). Never let an earthly matter disable you spiritually."

I LOVE THAT! 1. Handle problems directly and with all our strength. 2. Never give up. 3. Without hesitation, involve the Lord in the matter, having faith that He can and WILL lighten the load. And that last line: "NEVER let an earthly matter diasable you spiritually."

At one point in her lesson, the teacher asked what we can do to "turn to the Lord." One sweet lady, Ruth, my 81-year-old adopted grandmother, said that each time she is faced with adversity, she simply says a prayer asking the Lord to, in His own time, allow the trial to become a blessing. She noted that WITHOUT exception, every trial she has faced in her life has blessed her in some way. I was moved to tears by her simple, but mighty faith.

I hope that I will never allow a rude comment (such as the one that upset me the other day), an unkind glance, a judgement passed, or any other outside, earthly event rob me of the ability to live my life with grace and dignity, knowing that I am the Lord's and that He loves me. I hope that as challenges arise, I will consistently think of the Lord as my first helper and as my lifeline. I am full of love for Him and His promised assistance and watchful care.

Friday, October 22, 2010


PUMPKIN-CREAM CHEESE SPREAD (from http://www.bhg.com/)

Serves: 24
Points: 0.5

1 (8-oz.) package of light cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve with graham crackers, fruit, bagels, pretzels, or whatever (additional points).


". . . I testify you are individually loved of God, you are central to the meaning of this work, and you are cherished and prayed for by the presiding officers of His church. The personal value, the sacred splendor of every one of you, is the very reason there is a plan for salvation and exaltation. Contrary to the parlance of the day, this is about you. No, don't turn and look at your neighbor. I am talking to you!" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Because of Your Faith," General Confernce, October 2010)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Loved and Guided, In Need of Prayers

I'm ba-ack! Needless to say, it's been a little hectic in my world this month. I have been keeping insanely busy with my family, work, my new mega-sized calling, and the peak of photography season. Sadly enough, I have slipped a little on my goals, both spiritual and for my health. Sigh.

I'm not gonna lie. Today was hard. I had a cruel comment made to my face about my weight, saw a shocking picture of myself, and I'm back to that point where health-wise, I just feel YUCKY. Also, my husband and I have gone through some craziness with our jobs lately, in the form of getting hours cut back, etc. (And believe me, the ETC. was BIG). But, here's the thing. . . I have had discouraging days (such as today), but overall, I still feel loved and guided. My kiddos and I have upped the ante (spelling?) with our prayers that Tyler will be able to find a higher-paying job soon and that we will receive the guidance necessary to get us through all this. It's been a neat experience to hear our kiddos pray FOR us. It is touching to know that their tiny little prayers are added to our pleas. And humbling. They are such wonderful examples of faith.

I am almost embarrassed to ask, but if any of you could offer a quick little prayer for our family at this time, I would appreciate it so much. And I would love the opportunity to pray for any of you who are struggling with anything. It's always so comforting to know that prayers are going up. Thank you all for your patience and love. I love you right back!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


DELIGHTFULLY BAKED APPLES (from http://www.skinnytaste.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 3

2 large apples, cut in half
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. flour
4 T. quick oats
pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Cut apples in half and remove core and seeds with a small pairing knife or spoon.In a small bowl combine butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. Spoon on top of the apple halves and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm with fat free whipped cream or low fat ice cream (additonal points).


“Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil. And I have learned to conclude all my prayers with ‘Thy will be done’ (Matthew 6:10; see also Luke 11:2; 3 Nephi 13:10).” (Boyd K. Packer, “Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 46 )


This week has been...interesting. I hurt my back badly on Tuesday. It was feeling better by Thursday, but then one small mis-move, threw it out again. This time, I could hardly even move, and when I was moving, the pain was EXCRUCIATING. My sweet daughter tucked all the kids in bed (and the dog), then helped me get settled in my own bed. She soon fell asleep and so did I. My husband was working a grave shift and had no idea I had hurt my back again. I woke at about 12:30 in the morning with the most pain I have felt since giving birth, with no epidural, to my nine-pound baby boy. At this point, I could not move one inch. The phone was only an arm's length away, but I couldn't get to it. I wanted to call my husband so badly, but I couldn't. I wanted to call my dad to come and give me another blessing of comfort, but again, it was impossible. I wished my mom, a retired nurse, was there to help alleviate the symptoms, but she was across town, sleeping soundly. I also thought of my brothers, one of which is a physical therapist. Surely he would have some great exercise I could do, or could help me maneuver myself off the bed and into a less painful position. Or maybe my other brother, Mark, could help, as he has had bad back problems for years. But I couldn't reach any of them, and my poor, exhausted children couldn't hear my calls for help. So I laid there, helpless and alone.

As the pain came in waves of agony, it occurred to me that I really wasn't alone. I called out (literally) to my Father in Heaven to deliver me from the pain, or bring me help. Then, I thought of another medical "expert" --my Savior. He had already felt this pain in my behalf. He understood what I was feeling and how to alleviate it. I knew that although the phone was out of reach, my voice could still be heard, through prayer. I prayed and prayed, and though the pain didn't subside right away, it lessened enough that I could bear it until Tyler got home several hours later. Then my sweet, sweet husband, helped me out of bed (OUCH!) and into the living room, where I was able to feel a little better.

It was a humbling experience. I feel so blessed to have had this reminder of my need for the Savior. I am never alone.

Update: Yes, I am feeling much, much better today. :)