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Monday, June 27, 2011


Yesterday was wonderfully weird. I had the opportunity to visit a ward in my stake for their ward conference. Since I had no children with me, I was able to focus deeply on the messages taught in class and in sacrament meeting. The spirit was strong, even overwhelming. I was holding back tears the entire block. These tears, not atypical for me at all, were hard to understand. They weren't necessarily tears of gratitude OR tears of despair. I'm not sure why I was so moved. Was I exhausted? Was I feeling hopeful? Was I confused? Anyway, sometimes it is good to feel touched, even if I can't explain the emotion behind it. Sometimes it is good to not be able to express myself in words; then, I find myself in the position to listen.

I came home from church with a headache. My family was still at church so the house was quiet. It was the perfect opportunity for me to take a nap. Instead, I laid in bed, my thoughts racing. I said an inward prayer that the Lord would halt my thoughts and allow me to simply "be still and know that He is God." I didn't sleep, but rested physically and emotionally for some time.

After I got up, I felt renewed, rejuvenated, and ready to face another day. I was blessed with clarity and a new resolve to choose faith. I was thinking that that is one of the wonderful things about faith and hope; they are regenerative in nature. You can be just about spent ... at your wit's end one day, then wake up full of faith and hope the next. I am thankful that my faith is a renewable resource!

Today I was reading about hope in an address by Russell M. Nelson . Here are some of the fabulous one-liners from the article:

"Passing tests of obedience requires faith and hope---constantly."

"A correlation exists between hope and gratitude."

"Counting blessings is better than recounting problems."

"Hope emanates from the Lord, and it transcends the bounds of this mortal sphere."

"A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish."

"Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force stronger than 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 tide of despair. If we cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever."

"Insufficient hope often means insufficient repentance."

"Happiness comes when scriptures are used in shaping our lives."

"If our hopes were narrowly confined only to moments in mortality, we should surely be disappointed. Our ultimate hope must be anchored to the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ."

"God sent us here to be happy and successful. Meanwhile, he also needs us."

I hope that I can, as President Howard W. Hunter exhorts, "hope a little more and despair a little less." And until I become 100% happy and 100% successful, I hope I can be available to serve the Lord. I hope I can posses faith, hope, and charity CONSTANTLY and choose faith over fear at all times.


"Not surprisingly, 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 and His commandments. Therefore, in our quest for faith, hope, and charity, we must beware of doubt, despair, or disdain for the divine." --Russell M. Nelson

Friday, June 24, 2011


PULLED PORK (adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/)

Serves: 6

Points+: 8 (without bun)

3 tsp. vegetable oil, divided

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

kosher salt and black pepper

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 c. ketchup

1/3 c. plus apple cider vinegar

2 T. molasses

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb., cut into 4 pieces

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tsp. of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened and lightly browned (5 minutes). Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook until toasted (one minute more). Stir in the broth, ketchup, 1/3 c. vinegar, and molasses. Bring to a simmer and add the pork. Simmer, covered until the pork is just cooked and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Increase the heat on the remaining sauce in the pot to medium-high heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Shred the pork with two forks into large chunks. Toss back into pan and combine with remaining sauce to absorb juices. Let stand 10 minutes, then serve on whole wheat sandwich buns with yummy coleslaw and corn on the cob! (Additional points)


"Testimony is to know and feel. Conversion is to do and become." --Elder Dallin H. Oaks


Well, life is still crazy, but it feels mostly crazy good, not crazy bad. Tyler is back in school with two new semesters under his belt. I am so proud of him. He is getting wonderful grades and works full time too. What a wonderful husband and father he is! Unfortunately, his paraprofessional teaching position at Dale Young Community High School has now been eliminated due to budget cuts. Which means, by necessity, I have gone back to work again. I am doing some telemarketing for the same insurance agent I used to work for, which is a little frustrating, since the pay is so little, considering that I am a licensed insurance producer. I am also working for Blomquist Hale Consulting, a counseling office here in Brigham. I am the fill-in receptionist, so I only work a few days each month, but the hourly wage here is great, the job is very easy, and I LOVE the nature of the work. I feel very blessed to be where I am.

The frustrating thing is, I STILL do not know where we will ever find stability in our careers. It seems like every time we find a resting place: jobs that pay the bills, schedules that work for our family, etc., then is the time when we are again pushed into the dark. The other day, another Farmers agent from Roy called me out of the blue and talked to me about filling in for his receptionist while she is out on maternity leave and also doing some telemarketing for them. At his office, I would make MUCH more money. The only problem is that it is quite a commute for a mommy who is not even sure she's supposed to be working at all. And I'm scared. I have a part of me that is so timid, so very frightened of discomfort. I'm a homebody by nature and all this putting myself out there professionally becomes exhausting. I am tired. But, it's nice to have options and to know that we have a future when so many are not employed at all during these hard times. I'm sorry if this post is disjointed and unorganized. If so, it would accurately represent the jumble of thoughts and feelings in my mind and heart.

Thank goodness for the Spirit. I love knowing that I can have moments of peace and clarity whenever I choose to slow down and take the time to pray, read my scriptures, and meditate. I have been combining my scripture study and my workout sessions on the elliptical machine. I now look forward to these times. After a long, stressful day, it is so nice to go downstairs and jump on my elliptical and read the words of the prophets. It has been so good for me.

This is sure to be a lengthy post, since I haven't even gotten to my main point yet. Even with all the uncertainty swirling around my family, I feel peaceful most of the time. I know that I will be led in the dark if I live righteously, which I am desperately trying to do. I know that the Lord is mindful of our situation and that He knows why we are facing these trials, and what our faith can help us accomplish eventually. I am able to look back on the tremendous growth we have both experienced in the last twenty one months since Ty lost his job. We have learned to have more faith, to trust in our loving Heavenly Father and each other. Our family is close. Our blessings are appreciated, and rarely taken for granted. Our perspective is better. Our spiritual capacities have expanded. Our testimony of tithing is absolutely undeniable. I feel honored to have been "blessed" with this trial.

Anyway, I was going to share a great little story with you from Elder Allen F. Packer. He was playing in an important football game when he was on his high school team. He had prepared well for the game, showing up each day for practice, running his drills, working out his body to develop strength, and listening diligently to the counsel of his wise coach who dedicated himself to teaching his team the basics of football. He kept practicing until his skills became natural and automatic. In the most critical, chaotic moment of the game, amid the deafening noise, he was able to hear his coach's voice above the crowd, "Packer! Tackle him!"

He went on: "I have wondered how I heard the voice above all the other noise. I had become acquainted with the voice of the coach during the practices, and I had learned to trust it. I knew that what he taught worked. We need to be acquanited with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and we need to practice and apply gospel teachings until they become natural and automatic. These promptings become the foundation of our testimonies." (Elder Allen F. Packer, "Finding Strength in Challenging Times," General Conference, April 2009)

I am so grateful to have the ability to hear the Spirit's promptings over the roar and chaos of the word and all its cares. I am so very blessed to have this direction. Each time I choose to obey, each time I chose faith over fear, I become more practiced in living the gospel and living righteously becomes a little easier, more natural and automatic. I have felt my testimony grow through my obedience. I hope that I can continue in faith and trust. I pray that I will always be able to hear the voice of the Lord in the midst of challenges and chaos.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Almost 35 pounds lost! I am so happy to finally have enough confidence for FAMILY PICTURES!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Serves: 8
Points +: 4
  • 6.5 oz of chocolate wafer cookies
  • 3 tbsp reduced fat butter ( I used Brummel and Brown Spread)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • 3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. To prepare crust: Process cookies, confectioners' sugar, milk and butter in a food processor until finely ground. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan, creating an even, dense crust. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour, pressing any puffed parts of the crust back into the pan.

To prepare filling: Meanwhile, puree raspberries, vanilla extract, lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract the juice; discard seeds. Bring 1 inch of water to a slow simmer in a large saucepan. Combine egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar in a 3-quart stainless-steel bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy.

Set the bowl over the simmering water and continue to beat on medium speed, moving the mixer around, until the mixture is glossy and thick, about 3 1/2 minutes. Increase the speed to high, and continue beating over the simmering water until very stiff and glossy, about 3 1/2 minutes more (the eggs will be at a safe temperature, 160°F, at this point).

Remove from the heat and continue beating on medium speed until room temperature, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold the raspberry puree into the meringue until combined. Pour the raspberry filling into the pie crust. Place the pie on a level surface in your freezer and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.

To serve, let the pie stand at room temperature until softened slightly, about 10 minutes, before slicing. Slice into 8 equally sized pieces.


"Let failure be your teacher, not your undertaker." --Zig Ziglar

"Today I could desire with all my heart. . . . that all. . . . would thank God for one more day! For what? For the opportunity to take care of some unfinished business. To repent; to right some wrongs; to influence for good. . . . ; to reach out to someone who cries for help--in short, to thanks God for one more day to prepare to meet God." --Harold B. Lee


As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been reviewing some of my old Sunday School manuals. I love to read the inspired words of the prophets and see how well they carry over as times and seasons change. I am currently reading from the Harold B. Lee manual. It has been great to learn "at his feet", since he is one of the prophets I know the least about. One thing: he is a fabulous speaker! In Chapter One, he tells a parable using the story of the near tragedy of Apollo 13:

"Some months ago, millions of watchers and listeners over the world waited breathlessly and anxiously the precarious flight of Apollo 13. The whole world, it seemed, prayed for one significant result: the safe return to earth of the three brave men.

When one of them with restrained anxiety announced the startling information, 'We have had an explosion!' the mission control in Houston immediately mobilized all the technically trained scientists who had, over the years, planned every conceivable detailed pertaining to the flight.

The safety of those three now depended on two vital qualifications: on the reliability of the skills and the knowledge of the technicians in the mission control center at Houston, and upon the implicit obedience of the men in the Aquarius to every instruction from the technicians, tho, because of their understanding of the problems of the astronauts, were better qualified to find the essential solutions. The decisions of the technicians had to be perfect or the Aquarius could have missed the earth by thousands of miles.

This dramatic event is somewhat analogous to these [troubled] times in which we live. . . . Many are frightened when they see and hear of unbelievable happenings the world over--political intrigues, wars and contention everywhere, frustrations of parents endeavoring to cope with social problems that threaten to break down the sanctity of the home, the frustrations of children and youth as they face challenges to their faith and their morals.

Only if you are willing to listen to and obey, as did the astronauts on the Aquarius, can you and all your household be guided to ultimate safety in the Lord's own way" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, p. 1-2).

I love this analogy. We must trust our Heavenly Father and our Savior (the technicians), knowing that they see the whole picture, and know how to bring us back to safety. And we must do, with exactness and precise and prompt obedience, what they ask us. They are the experts and without their help, guidance, and wisdom, we will not make it back. And as much of a tragedy the loss of the men of Apollo 13 would have been, the loss of souls due to apathy, disobedience, or half-hearted obedience, would prove even more devastating. Another interesting parallel is that the astronauts, before receiving help, needed to make the distress call: "Houston, we have a problem. . . " Otherwise, mission control would never have known that they were in danger. Help for us, in our time of need, is just a prayer away. "Dear Father, I have a problem!" Exactness. Promptness. Trust. Faith. Obedience. Good stuff!