Today is Christmas Day. I've loved Christmas since I was a little girl. I love the lights and the baking and the time spent with family and the giving and the receiving. I love the laughter and the joy. I love to decorate for Christmas and look forward to the day after Thanksgiving each year when the Christmas season officially begins (in my mind).
Today, I awoke to several more inches of fallen snow.Wet, heavy, thick snow. It's beautiful, but it makes holiday travel difficult.
Jeff and I spent the morning opening our gifts together, eating a late breakfast, drinking hot cocoa. It was a beautiful way to spend Christmas together.
Because of the aforementioned snow, we are unable to drive anywhere. If we were able to get out of our garage, our car still wouldn't make it through the alley, and, of course, the alley has been plowed shut.
While biding my time until someone could come and pick us up, so we can enjoy Christmas with my family, I stumbled upon a Christmas video.
This really touched me and brought tears to my eyes.
I spent the next few minutes watching a few other Mormon Messages videos before I decided that it wouldn't be good to arrive at my parent's home with eyes bloodshot from crying.
Merry Christmas to all!!
It's no secret that both Jeff and I LOVE waterfalls, as described here and here.
For me, it's almost even stronger than love. Is that possible? Is anything stronger than love? It is what binds us, after all.
For me, it's almost like a drug. If I'm out for a walk or in a park, and I hear the sound of rushing water, I can't help but go. chase. that. waterfall!! I keep listening and walking...and listening and walking...until I finally find it!
This past summer, I even convinced Jeff to make a pitstop on our road trip to check out the waterfalls in Sioux Falls, SD. You can read about that here.
A few weeks back, I took Sallie for a walk. I heard the unmistakably, wonderful sound of a waterfall, but I couldn't find it. anywhere.
Today, we went out again but this time hiked even closer to the river.
There it was again. An ever-so-slight, but deliciously exhilarating, sound of rushing water. It didn't take me too long to gasp at the beauty as I turned my head.
There it was!! Complete with icicles. Wow.
Now I didn't happen to have my camera with me - just my phone.
Down. Down. Down.
Finally I could get a shot from the front.
Sallie, does not get my fascination with waterfalls. She was trying her darnedest to get back up the hill. Guess it reminds her too much of getting a bath. Something she does. not. enjoy.
Back at the top of the hill, I tried to capture one last shot of some icicles. Gorgeous!
If you want to see all the posts I just imported in, simply click on PHOTOGRAPHY in the menu bar at the top.
- Finishing all my Geog lessons before my midterm and getting my midterm requested. Now, I just need to study and prepare for the midterm so I'll be ready when it arrives at the testing center.
- For my sister who helped me (via phone) with my cherry pie.
- Frozen pizza for dinner. Yeah!
- Friendly, cooperative customer service agent at Comcast. I woke up to find my Internet had been canceled. I'd made the last two payments to an old account. Oops!
- My cute little two-tone, leaf cookies.
- Family, food, fun!
- My husband. He is absolutely my rock. I love him SO much!
- Taking a brief (it got so cold) Gratitude Walk with my guy and my girl. We talked about all the things we're grateful for.
- The knowledge of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness and my part in it.
- That this gratitude challenge is over! :-)
Today I'm thankful for...
- My electronic piano. My skills are very rusty, but I'm enjoying playing again. Yes, even forcing myself to practice.
- Hulu. I can watch almost anything I want, whenever I want, without having to remember to set something to record.
- All the fun blogs I've found. Here's one in particular that I recently found. I can't wait to try this hairstyle, designed for a 5-year old, on Thursday.
- Aldi. Such good value for just about everything I need.
- The opportunity to be in school right now. I finished another Geog lesson today. One more to go before the midterm. :-)
I recently became a follower of Sweet Jeanette, helping her reach 100 followers. Someday I'd love to have that many myself, but I've got a ways to go with my 3.
In honor of reaching 100 followers, she is hosting an awesome giveway.
Visit her blog for more pictures of this gorgeous quilt and tote. Who doesn't love a great tote...especially when it's FREE?!?
There are lots of ways to enter this give-away...so get on over to Sweet Jeanette...before 10pm (not sure which time zone) on Black Friday.
Here's my grateful list from Monday...
- For being both motivated and productive today.
- For finishing my part of my research class and next lesson for my Geography class.
- To have finally finished organizing my closet
- We finally send out our invitations for our holiday party on Dec 12th.
- TO BE ALIVE!!
- All the Sacrament talks on service - especially Sister Puga's.
- The opportunity to live in the last days, and particular in this century.
- Indoor plumbing.
- My family.
- The reminder to use my time more wisely.
Saturday brought with it some things for which I am grateful.
- After working on it for over 4 months, I finally submitted my Geog paper!
- I get to work with my husband. How great is that!
- We sold our old Samsung Instinct phones. Whoo hoo! We'd been hanging on to them for 8 months or so since we stopped using them earlier this year.
- Receiving an email from my sister with Thanksgiving assignments - mine are fruit salad and cherry pie.
- Shopping at Kohl's with my husband. He so rarely goes shopping with me. It was fun!
- A lovingly, patient husband who stayed up until 3am helping me proofread my Geography paper I began back in July.
- Yummy chocolate truffles that I helped make at a Relief Society meeting.
- The relative ease in exchanging my Motorola Cliq with a MyTouch 3G at Best Buy.
- Pizza from Scooters for dinner.
- My sister, who is so good about making sure Thanksgiving gets planned.
- I am SO grateful for the gospel and Jesus Christ.
- I LOVE visiting teaching and am grateful I was able to go visiting with some awesome Relief Society sisters tonight.
- I'm grateful Sallie is learning to shake. So cute!
- I'm grateful to have had a productive day - 4 loads of laundry, washed dishes twice, baked cookies, vacuumed the rugs, practiced the piano (no homework. blah.)
- I'm grateful for my physical safety and relative good health.
I need to...
- Get some work done for my Educational Research class.
- Finish my Human Geography paper and submit it.
- Do laundry.
- Clean the house. (Home teachers are coming over tonight.)
- Bake cookies.
- Go visiting teaching.
- I actually got some homework done this afternoon.
- All three of our active YW came to mutual tonight for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner for those over 50 in our ward.
- I finished another book on my Kindle (book review to come shortly)
- For my cozy, comfortable, reliable car...whose squeak has finally been fixed!
- I might just get to bed tonight at a reasonable hour!
- Blue skies and warm sunshine. It was so beautiful yesterday.
- To walk with Jeff to class and then take the long way home with Sallie, walking along the river.
- Actually making dinner in the crock pot before leaving for class.
- Our group proposal is coming along nicely. We're almost finished. Yeah!
- To help Jeff with his homework by reading Macbeth out loud to him. An easy modern day English version. :-)
Didn't sleep well. Overslept. Rushed the car to the dealer for maintenance. Read for pleasure (not school). Napped. Watched TV.
Needless to say it was a very unproductive and unfulfilling day. TOMORROW needs to be better, as I have to prepare for class.
Despite the dumps of the day...there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
- The shuttle from the car dealership back home, so I didn't have to wait the whole day at the shop.
- The Crain sisters, Lara and K. I have such great memories of them from girls' camp and youth conferences. Now that we are all grown up, they are still so kind and thoughtful. They inspire me to be a better woman and blogger. :-)
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yum!
- The opportunity I have to be in school right now.
- My relative good health.
Things I'm grateful for...
- 1:00 church
- The opportunity to partake of the Sacrament
- The knowledge that I am a daughter of God
- Sunday dinners at my parents house - even when it's only my parents, my husband, me and the three dogs
- Long conversations with my very logical husband.
- The courage of two Relief Society sisters who knocked on my door six and half year ago, inviting me to return to church. It was the helping hand I needed. One of these sisters became one of my greatest friends. I will cherish our friendship and her courage forever.
- My small apartments - makes sprucing up for guests so much easier!
- My calling as YW President
- Warm clothes for cold weather!
- Old friends. I love hearing from them. Definitely brightens my day.
- Food in my cupboards - even copious amounts of ramen.
- Homemade cookies.
- An evening alone to catch up on blogging, Facebook, and my TV shows.
- Comments on my blog. Thanks, K!
Here goes for today.
- My little sister, Jen.
- Technology (and facebook and blogs) that allow me to keep in touch with my family and friends - even if they don't know.
- To live in MN, where I get to experience all four seasons!
- My husband, of course. He should probably be number 1...
- My little girl, Sallie. She is so fun to play with. It was especially funny to watch her chasing a blowing leaf today. Wish I'd had my camera...
I've started yet another new blog! This one is inspired by my friend's blog RecipeShoebox. I wanted to have a blog devoted to my successes (and probably some failures) in the kitchen. My little sister thought it would be fun, too, so together we've created a blog to swap recipes and share kitchen stories.
I'm so excited!
Please check out Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens. If you like what you see (remember, it's just getting started), go ahead and leave us a comment. We love comments. Almost as much as we love followers. Why not do both?
As my companion and I were visiting with one of our sisters, we had a great discussion about nurturing the rising generation. Neither my companion nor I nor the sister we were visiting have any children, so in the beginning this was kind of a tough lesson for me to share.
We began by talking about how serving in our callings can be very instrumental in nurturing Primary children and the youth. Right now, I am the only one of the three of us who have such a calling, so we discussed how we didn't need a calling to befriend a child or a teenager. We can still have an impact. We may never know what kind of an influence we might have, so it's important for us to continue to be friendly and kind.
Then our conversation went to defining the rising generation. This is where the true inspiration came for our lesson. I remembered being told I was a part of this rising generation when I was a youth. We speculated that the rising generation probably began with the restoration of the church...and had continued with each generation.
What does this mean? Well, we came to the conclusion that every sister in Relief Society is also a part of this select generation. Every sister in Relief Society was chosen to come forth in these last days! As a sisterhood, we ARE the rising generation, too!
As childless sisters who do not hold callings in Primary or Young Women, it became much clearer for us on how we can nurture the rising generation. We can nurture each other! We can take an active role in caring for each other. We can make a concerted effort to make each sister who enters the church building feel welcomed and wanted and appreciated! By being kind and sincere to our sisters, we ARE nurturing the rising generation. Even the simplest actions can bless their lives and the lives of their families.
This past weekend, I came to an epiphany that maybe this isn't the best thing in the world.
I have way too much studying and other things to do in a day that I rarely accomplish all of my goals. This does not lead to positive feelings of self-worth.
This week, I decide to try out something new. My dog, Sallie, generally wakes me up several times throughout the night. I can't give in to her all the time, so I choose to ignore her until after 6am - breakfast time. I used to barely open my eyes, turn on as few lights as possible, quickly put her food in her dish, and crawl back into bed. This week, I decided I'd try staying up after I feed her. Today's my first day; I stayed up WAY too late Sunday night in order to start this new habit Monday morning. :-)
Right now, my eyes are feeling quite heavy, but I'm hopeful of my day. After doing a little blogging, I plan to get my exercising out of the way before Jeff wakes up. That should wake me up and give me the boost to do what I need to do today, right?!
This isn't a very artistic photo, but it does provide a little glimpse into our new home...music and books. :-)
Today's photo features my cutie-pie, Sallie Sue, sporting her new fall coat. We mostly bought it to help her keep dry when it's raining or snowing outside.
This morning it was snowing! It's actually the 2nd snow of the season already; we woke up to snow this past Saturday as well.
Most will say that it's too early for snow, but I think it's beautiful!!
It was my dad's birthday, and we decided to take our annual pilgrimage to the Great MN Get Together. We are all day fair-goers. We arrived at the fair around 7am and left around 10pm.
It was non-stop walking all. day. long.
There were a few pauses here and there as we ate, decided what to do/where to go next, and there was quite a bit of standing.
What there wasn't much of was sitting.
It was still great fun! I LOVE the fair!!
Truth be told, I haven't been very going about walking either.
The week after my last walking log entry, my family took a trip to a lake up near Ely, MN. It was great fun! I went canoeing, and hiking, and swimming! There were also quite a few moments of relaxation enjoing the beauty of the outdoors.
Here's a few stats:
August 10th (my 32nd birthday)
I was hoping to go for a hike on my birthday, but the sky looked a little ominous. Jeff and I took out a canoe instead. The battery in my Garmin died a little less than half way, but here is what the canoe trip was like before that.
Canoe Time: 1:10:30
Canoe Distance: 3.06mi
Avg Pace: 23:01/mi
Well, actually Jeff did most of the work; I'm not the greatest canoeist.
This was the first hike of the trip. I was accompanied by my sister and 3 nieces. We hiked the Bass Lake trail to the Dry Falls. It was very hilly! A great workout! It was quite a busy trail, and when we got to the end, there were quite a few people playing in the falls and swimming in the lake. Not quite what I was hoping for at the end of our hike. It was still great fun to spend time outside with the girls.
Run Time: 1:27:12
Run Distance: 3.01mi
Avg Pace: 43.26/mi
This was the second hike of our trip. It was the same people with the addition of my dad. This time we hiked the trip to Big Moose Lake. It was so much fun! The trail was riddled with wild blueberry plants. There was no one else on the trail, and the lake at the end was absolutely gorgeous! So clear and still. We paused for a while at the lake--eating some snacks and dipping our feet in the lake. It was wonderful.
Run Time: 2:23:15
Run Distance: 4.40mi
Avg Pace: 32:32/mi
P.S. Once you join the Drop a Jeans Size challenge, don't forget to add me as a buddy so we can keep track of each other's progress!
Then, I was having a pretty terrible day on Monday, so I emailed a friend to see if she would be free for a walk today. She works about a mile from where I live, but this is the first time that we've actually got together for a walk.
She had to get back to work, so it was neither a very long or vigorous walk, but it was fun to chat as we walked.
Run Time: 37:03
Run Distance: 1.88mi
Avg Pace: 19:42/mi
I was a leader with the 4th year girls, so I went on their hike with them.
Here are our stats:
Run Time: 1:39:20
Run Distance: 3.1mi
Avg Pace: 32:01/mi
Did you see that pace? Definitely wasn't a vigorous hike! BUT the girls did pick up 136.5 lbs of trash along their hike, so that counts for something, right?!
However, I can share my stats. Thank goodness my Garmin has good history record-keeping abilities.
Today's Stats (from 7/23):
Run Time: 35:45
Run Distance: 2.11mi
Avg Pace: 16:55/mi
I wanted to try to prevent any major shin pain, so I stopped to stretch at each mile.
Run Time: 50:15
Run Distance: 3.06mi
Avg Pace: 16:26/mi
I also did some Wii Fit Yoga and Strength training today.
Today, I decided to really push myself with my pace and not go as far of a distance. Normally I have the pace alert set on my Garmin at the walk setting, which is 20:00/mi, but today I set it at the speed walk setting, which is 16:00/mi. I could really feel the difference.
I decided I would only go for 2 miles today. It was tough! After the 1st mile, I had terrible shin pain (this is what keeps me from running), PLUS I was so hot and sweaty (and it's not even that hot this morning). I decided to stop and stretch a little before heading back home. This worked immensely. The shin pain was barely noticeable by the time I returned. I did have a little ankle pain, but no big deal!
Run Time: 29:21
Run Distance: 1.95mi
Avg Pace: 15:01/mi
Run Time: 52:15
Run Distance: 3.05mi
Avg Pace: 17:08/mi
Run Time: 1:08:14
Run Distance: 3.85mi
Avg Pace: 17:45/mi
Best Pace: 11:35/mi
Run Time: 4:45:37
Run Distance: 16.3
It was still a tough workout for me! I know the benefits will be great in the long run--if I can stick to it. :-)
Run Time: 34:42
Run Dist: 2.02mi
Avg Pace: 17:10/mi
Best Pace: 10:37/mi
I wanted to walk somewhere different than yesterday. We live close to Lake Crosby, and Jeff and I walked to the lake and around the park a little back in April. That walk had ended with us scaling a wall. This time I wanted to walk from one end of the park to the other.
Here is a map of the park. I entered at the end opposite of where the marker is, and I wanted to come out where the A was.
View Larger Map
It seemed to be taking a LONG time, and I was getting a little frustrated. I hadn't intended on walking nearly 5 miles today! BUT, if you're lost in a park, you have no option but to keep on trekking.
When I finally got to what I thought was the end, I asked someone if I was at Shepherd Rd. He confirmed it, but as we talked, I was informed, that I was back at the point where I'd entered the park.
Somehow going straight (or what I'd supposed was straight) had brought me full circle!
I have now found a map online that shows the trails in this park. I'll need to study it before I attempt tackling this park again!
Run Time: 1:15:09
Run Dist: 4.88mi
Avg Pace: 15:24/mi
Best Pace: 8:51/mi
I was surprised at how many wild rhubarb plants I saw in the park. It's out of season now, but do you think they'd mind if I helped myself next year? :-)
Part of the trail was in a marsh, so it wasn't paved but a boardwalk had been constructed. There were snakes everywhere! I tried to find out what kind they were, but it was too creepy for me to look through photos online to find one that looked that the ones in the park. Also, whenever I caught a glimpse of one, I usually averted my eyes as quickly as possible. I never really knew how icky I thought snakes were. At least I was relatively calm and didn't shriek or anything!
Yesterday morning, I decided I really needed to become more active. There are some pounds I'd definitely like to shed. Since I can't run (stupid shins!), I decided that I would begin taking Sallie for a nice long walk every morning.
Day 1 was yesterday. I didn't have any batteries for my Garmin, so I don't have any stats for yesterday's walk. I do know that my walk was nearly exactly 60 min.
Today, Day 2, my Garmin was all set. I went the exact same route, so I'd know how far I went yesterday.
Run Time: 47:32
Run Distance: 2.75mi
Avg Pace: 17:15/mi
Best Pace: 12:19/mi
Selena wanted her picture taken with the cake. When she was posing, she said, "I want you to make my wedding cake." I was honored! I figure I have at least 6 years to perfect my cake decorating!
I’d say I’m a moderately good cook, but I generally consider myself more of a baker. When my family gathers on Sundays, I’m usually the one to bring dessert.
I do cook dinner for me and my husband. I love to try new recipes. They don’t always turn out, but it’s fun to give it a try.
My husband’s favorite thing for me to make is grilled chicken (on our Griddler®). It’s so easy and simple; it’s probably our most frequent dinner. I usually serve it with potatoes and corn or green beans. So easy, so simple, so delicious!Click here for a link to all the recipes that I've tried (and blogged about).
I scoured the Internet for a delicious way to use up the egg yolks. Most of the recipes I found were for sponge cake or something that would be baked in the same type of pan as the angel food cake. Now, that wouldn't work for me because, well, I had an angel food cake in that pan!
I was delighted for find this recipe for Krusczyki on Allrecipes.com (posted by SHARONA669). I'd never heard of it before, and there was no picture to go along with the recipe, but I thought I'd take a gamble.
Here's the recipe:
14 egg yolks
1 pint sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shortening
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration
- In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except shortening and confectioners' sugar. Stir into a ball, then turn dough out onto a floured surface . Knead dough for 1/2 hour. If you have a mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix for about 15 minutes.
- Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into strips that are 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. In the center of each strip, cut a 1 inch slit, lengthwise.
Pull one end of the strip through the slit to form a bow.
(This is my interpretation of making a "bow". They kind of look like little bow ties, right?)
In a frying pan or an electric skillet, melt shortening and heat to about 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). in a frying pan this would be on medium high heat.
Place cookies in hot oil. Cook on both sides until lightly browned then remove to a paper towel.
I brought these over for Mother's Day brunch. Everyone loved them!! They are not a real sweet cookie but are more like a little doughnut. I was surprised at how well they were received.
She was probably my best friend in 7th grade. We had so much fun together. I remember when we got going, we would just laugh and laugh and laugh.
We were on the softball team together in junior high.
One time, we went on a field trip in 7th grade to the cities to see a concert and go to the Science Museum. We were on the same bus on the way home, and we were just silly.
A month or so after that, she spent the night one Friday night at my house. I remember how much fun we had together.
I also vaguely remember camping in her backyard.
There was singing, I definitely remember that. We would get a song in our head and just belt it out. Two songs that we would frequently sing were “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips and “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette.
For the most part, I remember really enjoying school although I didn’t particularly have a favorite subject. Now that I really think back on it, I think I usually enjoy Math and Social Studies over other subject. I really did not like English class—especially if literature was involved. This might seem odd, since I loved to read (and still do!) growing up. I disliked having to be told what to read and when to read it. When I remember this, it seems almost laughable that I first thought I wanted to be an English teacher.
Seeing that one of my favorite teachers was my Social Studies makes me very pleased with my decision to switch over to a Social Studies licensure. I actually really do love learning about history and the world we live in (geography).
Since I mostly really enjoyed school, it was usually specific teachers that I disliked—not the subject. Recently, I’ve read over a few of my journals/papers I’d written in junior and senior high. It would seem like I enjoyed teachers who were more structured and tough; I didn’t like teachers who were too lenient.
Here are a few that were can't miss shows for me. There were many more shows that I watched!
Journal Topic: Are there any family heirlooms in your possession? Tell about them and how you came to acquire them.
1. a family possession handed down from generation to generation.
For those who may not know, I am the YW president in our ward. I was asked to speak today on Building Zion, Home by Home.
So, what is Zion?
Elder Bruce R McConkie wrote that “Zion is people; Zion is the Saints of God; Zion is those who have been baptized; Zion is those who received the Holy Ghost; Zion is those who keep the commandments; Zion is the righteous.” 
We are Zion.
Again quoting Bruce R Mc Conkie, “The Lord has called us out of darkness into the marvelous light of Christ. He has commanded us to build up Zion anew. He has commanded us to overcome the world. He has commanded us to forsake every evil thing. He has made us his agents and representatives.” 
Each one of us here today has chosen to follow this commandment, to be a part of Zion, to build Zion.
So, how do we do that? How do we build Zion? The first thing we need to do is come to Zion, individually, in our own hearts.
In the Doctrine & Covenants 97:21, we read that Zion is the pure in heart. In the words of Bruce R McConkie, “Each one of us can build up Zion in our own lives by being pure in heart.” 
Elder D Todd Christofferson declared “we are to hunger and thirst after righteousness. To come to Zion, it is not enough for you or me to be somewhat less wicked than others. We are to become not only good but holy men and women.” 
In Moses 7:18, we read that the Lord calls his people Zion when they are of one heart and one mind and dwell in righteousness. Continuing from Elder D Todd Christofferson’s remarks, “We will become of one heart and one mind as we individually place the Savior at the center of our lives and follow those He has commissioned to lead us.” 
This means putting Christ first in all that we do. This reminds me of one of my favorite scripture verses.
2 Nephi 25:26
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
As we strive to make Christ a part of every aspect of our lives, our testimonies will overflow.
The theme of our conference today is Building Zion, home by home.
This is where it all starts…at home.
Joseph Smith taught, “Anyplace where the saints gather is Zion.” 
We gather as a worldwide church twice a year. We gather in our stakes at least twice a year. We gather in our ward buildings at least once a week. But we gather in our homes every single day. No matter what our home situation is like, we wake up in the morning and lie down at night in our homes. This is why it is essential to build Zion in our homes.
Wherever the saints gather, there is Zion. Our homes are our most frequent gathering place. We need to strengthen them from the inside. Our homes should be a refuge against the storms of life. Our homes should be filled, not with contention and strife, but with love.
When we enter our homes, we should feel of the spirit; we should feel safe and loved. If you do not think that this describes your home, change it. In Doctrine & Covenants 115:5-6, the Lord tells us, “verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations; And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.”
It is our responsibility to arise and shine forth. The mutual theme this year reminds the youth to be “an example of the believers.” In every action we take, in every word we speak, we can be examples of the believers.
Primary children, remind your families about family prayer and family home evening. Parents, listen to your child’s simple prayers and testimonies. Children and teenagers, obey your parents. We are all in this together, and life is so much more enjoyable when we work and serve together, when we make Christ a priority, when we love one another.
Building Zion is the most important thing we can do. We can build Zion by striving to become pure in heart by coming to know our Savior and following his example. We can build Zion in our homes by being an example to our families and helping the Spirit to dwell there.
If we build Zion, home by home, we must start by building Zion in our own hearts, and then making our homes a refuge. Zion will grow as we then invite friends and families into our homes to feel of the spirit, to share in the safety that the gospel affords.
I know that we can build Zion. I know that as we keep the commandments, Zion will become a very real part of our lives. I know the spirit will abide in our homes. I know my Savior lives and He loves me and He loves each of you.
In his sacred name, Jesus Christ. Amen.
 Bruce R. McConkie, “Building Zion,” Tambuli, Sep 1977, 12
 D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign, Nov 2008
 Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Ch 15
Broadway was the main street. There were lots of fun shops on this street. It wasn’t that often that I would walk along the street, unless I was specifically shopping for something. Here are a couple of memories from a couple of the stores. I have no idea if any of these shops are even still around.
From the Heart—this was a cute little gift shop. They sold all kinds of little trinkets. One year for my birthday, I received a little pail of fudge from my brother Corey that he had purchased there. It was signed, “With fudge, Corey.” I thought that was pretty neat! This store was fun to walk around and just look at all the little gift items.
Braun’s Bakery—I could be wrong about the name of this bakery, but it was on the corner of 5th & Broadway (I’m pretty sure). I loved when we could stop in for doughnuts! My favorite was a custard-filled Bismarck. One funny story:
Clarinda (about to eat Long John doughnut): I wonder if this doughnut has feeling.Old Broadway—this was one of the fanciest restaurants in town (or at least on Broadway). When I was in high school, my friends and I would sometimes go out to eat here. I remember we would order fun drinks, like virgin strawberry daiquiris. It made us feel special to have dinner at such a fancy place.
Mom: I think you mean filling. I doubt your doughnut has feelings.
Clarinda(biting into said doughnut): Ouch! See it does have feeling.
Taco John’s—nothing too special about this fast food chain, but it was one of my favorites. I remember many a stop by Taco John’s. I think it’s far superior to Taco Bell! I know for sure that this Taco John’s is not in the same location as I remember. It’s about twice the size as before and moved several blocks down the street.
That’s about it for specific places I remember. An overall description would be a fairly typical, small town main street with storefronts lining both sides of the street.
Oh, I almost forgot about Ben Franklin, a little 5&Dime store. Behind it (not on Broadway) was the library, and kitty corner to that was the junior high. I remember many, many a stop by Ben Franklin after school for some Now & Laters or Laffy Taffy or Jolly Ranchers or any number of other little candies that we could buy by the piece. There were also lots of craft supplies. It was a great store to get lost in.
Of course, I can’t leave out Big Ole! He stands at one end of Broadway.
We both loved the church! I remember when I was 10 (almost 11), I went visiting teaching with my mom. She was the Relief Society President at the time (I think), and I was her special helper. I took this very seriously and wouldn’t even go play with the other kids, because I was a visiting teacher that day! I think that we both had testimonies of the gospel and took our callings very seriously. Although I was quite young then, I believe that experience has helped shape me throughout my adult life and with the various callings I’ve held. It helps that it was recorded in my journal—keeps those memories fresh.
We both loved to make others feel special. My mom would often go out of her way to show her appreciation for others. I remember “chocolating” a sister’s home. Her husband would let us in when no one else was around, and we would leave little chocolate bars and candy all over her house. Several different years, we would do the 12 Days of Christmas to someone in the ward. We would drop off a little gift each day that represented that particular verse of the song. The trick, of course, would be to do this and not. get. caught. We had so much fun!
My mom was very good at sewing and doing other crafts. I enjoyed doing these things with her, too. She taught me some basics of sewing. She also attempted to teach me to crotchet, but I never really mastered that or develop a great interest in it.
We both also really enjoyed reading. We would often read the same books, usually mysteries. One of our favorite authors back then was Mary Higgins Clark. Not necessarily together, but I know that we had each been guilty of staying up all night (or to the wee hours of the morning) finishing a book that was just too good to put down!
Although definitely lacking in musical abilities, we both loved to sing! We especially enjoyed singing silly songs when we would go on road trips to visit family in Nauvoo or Missouri.
My mom really was a lot of fun, and I miss her dearly!
I have a couple of pictures from my 2nd birthday. I do not remember this party at all, but it looks like I had a Big Bird cake and was surrounded by family. I have one picture with Grampy (my great-grandpa); another with my sister, Treva, and my cousins, Tara and Katie; and another picture with my cousins, Katie and Ryan.
I also found some pictures that are dated 1992, but I have a feeling that they are actually from 1991 when I celebrated my birthday in Alexandria with my mom. I was big into collecting porcelain dolls back then—especially if they had August somewhere on them. I still have some of the dolls I received that year. I think the year might be wrong because in my journal for 1992, I only mention going shopping with my mom for my birthday. It seems odd that I wouldn’t have mentioned the gifts, but I did mention a party, so perhaps the date is correct.
From reading through my journal and looking at old photos, I gather that I loved receiving clothes for my birthday—especially if I got to go shopping to pick them out, and that we usually celebrated with pizza. Today, I still love getting new clothes, but my tastes have gotten more expenseive, usually we go out for steak for dinner.
The second time my mom got married was in 1986; I was 8 years old. Her dress was very lacey. I had contemplated wearing it for my wedding, but it was a little too much lace for me. I believe it had lace sleeves and a high lace collar. I haven’t seen it in over 4 years now, so my recollection of it is quite fuzzy.
This wedding was on March 8, 1986 and was held at the Anoka Stake center in MN, back when the stake center was still in Anoka. It was a very large wedding party—all of us kids were in the wedding. There were 10 kids in total. For some reason, I think that my aunt Judy was my mom’s matron of honor. I want to say the colors were purple; I’m pretty sure I remember wearing a purple dress. I think I also remember all of us girls wearing big hats, too. The wedding was in the chapel, and then there was a reception in the cultural hall. I must have been a little opposed to the wedding, because in all of the wedding pictures, I don’t think that I smiled even once. It is something that we would joke about years after the wedding, but I know that it broke my mom’s heart a little that none of the pictures reflected my smiling face.
I did have fun at school, though. That’s where my friends were. I actually really enjoyed high school and have some great memories. I certainly wasn’t popular in high school or a social butterfly, but I did have a great group of friends that I loved socializing with. I remember walking to class with my friends and talking a mile-a-minute. I guess when you have short (3 min) passing periods, you feel like you must get as much conversation in as possible!
Journal Topic: Describe your yard as a child - did you help with the yard work? What are your memories?
There are two backyards that I remember from my childhood—one in Brooklyn Park (until I was 9) and one in Alexandria (from age 9-17).
The one in Brooklyn Park was on a farm. It was very expansive. The yard butted right up against the fields—corn, soybean, strawberry. There were lots of trees. I don’t ever remember helping with yard work here. Perhaps I was too little...? My cousins lived just down the street; they were our closest neighbors. In fact, we had a little dirt road, running through the cornfield, which connected our two houses. Anyway, my favorite memory of this backyard was when we would play baseball. We never had enough people to play, so when we would get a hit and run to a base, which were the trees, we would have to leave an imaginary runner on, say 2nd base (if that’s how far we’d gotten), and go back and hit again. Sometimes, it would just be my cousin and I playing; sometimes my brothers and another cousin would join us.
The backyard in Alexandria was also quite expansive and also on a farm. This farm only had cows—no crops. While there were other neighbors around, this backyard did have a small trail, from constant walking, connecting our house to grandma’s house. The yard wasn’t exactly flat, and yard work was definitely a chore. I do remember having family yard work days when the whole family would spend the day outside, picking up sticks, mowing, gardening, etc. I think that I generally saw yard work as boy’s work, so I tended to try to stay inside—not that I was necessarily doing housework while inside!
I first saw this video at the General YW broadcast in March. I remember how much it touched me then, and I was so glad to see it posted to the MormonMessages channel on YouTube.
I know that as we choose virtue, we will be blessed enormously!
From this memory, I’d say we both share an interest in grocery shopping. Even today, I enjoy grocery shopping. On occasion, Jeff and I have discussed shopping for groceries online and having them delivered. We’ve always decided against it, and after going to the grocery store, I remember why. I don’t know what it is about walking up and down aisles of food, but it is the one type of shopping that I actually do enjoy.
Another interest I’d say we have is organization. We both like to make lists (especially in the case of grocery shopping) and we like to have order in our homes. There is a place for everything, and everything should be in its place.
I guess Sallie isn’t really a someone, so when I was writing about her, I realized that I have stuck up for my sister-in-law on occasion. I recall one instance I even convinced my whole family to pitch in to send her some flowers to help brighten her day. I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but I believe something had happened on the previous Sunday that had upset her. It may have simply been a comment that was made. My family, unfortunately, is not always the most supportive and accepting. Anyway, I know that she had left that night feeling very upset and unloved, so I stuck up for her by having the family send her flowers.
Jeff and I were so blessed to find a fantastic apartment when we moved to NYC. Before describing the actual apartment, I must briefly describe how we came to find it. We had decided that we wanted to move to NYC. We had both dreamed of living there one day, and we decided that since we didn’t have kids yet, the time to move was now. When I told my employer at the time that we were moving out there and we had no jobs, didn’t know anyone, and didn’t have a place to live, they offered me a position managing a bookstore on the Upper Westside. We were so blessed that I was able to move out there with a job, which helped greatly with the moving costs!
We began looking for apartments right away. We really wanted to stay in Manhattan, preferably close to where I would be working. We could find NOTHING! Nearly every lead Jeff pursued was shot down when the landlord found out we were married. No one would rent a studio or 1-bedroom apartment (the only sizes in our budget) to a married couple. We were shocked. We had been staying in a hotel, but our time was quickly come to an end there, so we needed to find something…fast! Much to our dismay, we decided we needed to look outside of Manhattan.
At 6am one morning, we began looking in the other boroughs. Jeff started with Brooklyn. He found something on Craig’slist that seemed perfect. He called on it. The landlord, again, seemed hesitant—thinking it would be much too small for a married couple. Jeff went out to look at it. It was perfect! I went back with him the next day. I loved it, too! We got it because we were the first ones to respond to the ad, come see the prop, fill out an application, and pay a deposit. Renting an apartment in NYC is unique—competition is fierce, you must come cash-in-hand.
Turns out the Lord really wanted us there, in that neighborhood (or at least in that branch’s boundaries), because shortly after we moved, Jeff was called to be the branch Clerk, and I was called to be the branch Relief Society president. What blessings we received from those callings.
But I digress…now to the description of the apartment. It was a brand new brownstone in the Bedford- Stuyvesant neighborhood, I think. It was on the border of several neighborhoods. Anyway, some would say it was scary neighborhood, but we always felt very comfortable there—even when we had to occasionally walk at night. Around the corner was a deli/bodega whose owner/manager really took care of us. Once we went in late at night for some sandwiches. He walked us out and then stood at the door, watching us until we went around the corner. That may seem creepy to some, but it was actually very comforting to know that someone was watching our backs.
Our new brownstone was in the midst of a long line of brand new developments. On the other side of the street were older, somewhat run-down brownstones, but these new ones really cleaned up the neighborhood.
Our apartment was a second floor walk-up. The door into our apartment opened into a hallway. If you went to the left, the bathroom was at the end of the hall. If you went to the right, there was a small entryway that led into the kitchen. The kitchen wasn’t exactly big, but it was open. No one had ever lived in this apartment before us, so everything was shiny and new. There was actually a good deal of cupboard space. The countertops were marble (or looked marble anyway).
The kitchen opened up into the living room. At the other end, there were pop-out bay windows overlooking the street. The living room had hardwood floors and was nearly as big as our tiny 1-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis! We filled this room with a small dining room table set, computer desk, and 2 click-clack sofas. It was the perfect size!
Off the side of the living room was the bedroom. The bedroom was carpeted and bigger than a standard room. It could have easily fit a queen-size bed (possibly king-size), dresser, oversized chair, small desk. We didn’t really do much with this room when we lived there—just an air mattress where the bed would’ve gone. J I don’t really remember, but I think the closet must have been a walk-in. I can’t visualize where else we would have unpacked our clothes.
I wanted to post some fun pictures of the apartment to complement this post, but they were lost when our hard drive crashed a year or so ago. We lost practically everything from our time in NYC. I just remembered that I had some pictures of our apartment in Brooklyn on another blog. Click here for a quick glimpse.
Journal Topic #2: Describe the perfect day. Put in as many details as you can. Make it a possible day, not a "dream" day.
Wait scratch that…
Instead I would pack a picnic lunch and my husband, Sallie, and I would take a drive up north to a state park where we could romp and play. We could hike and take in the beauty of nature. We would find whatever waterfalls might be in the park, because we love waterfalls…at least I do! The rush of the water is so powerful. After waterfalls, my favorite thing is flowers. We, of course, would have the camera, so we would take some great shots of our day. We would walk hand in hand together around the park, soaking in the warm sunshine. We would make plans about our future—where we will live, how we will raise our children. We would share our testimonies and discuss the gospel and how it has blessed our lives.
We would eat our simple picnic lunch—turkey sandwiches with Muenster cheese. Carrot and celery sticks, perhaps some radishes, on the side with water to drink. After lunch, we would return home, drop Sallie off in her crate and grab our temple bags. We would attend a session of the temple together and reflect on our day as we pondered the mysteries of God.
Our day would be capped off with dinner at our favorite restaurant, where we would enjoy a juicy, perfectly cooked steak, a steaming baked potato, and glorious green beans. Ooh, and some cheesecake for dessert. We would look into each other eyes and be filled with love for each other and for our Father in Heaven who made it all possible.
Tune in tomorrow for, hopefully, something a little more exciting.
I've decided to attempt to be a better journal keeper. In doing so, I thought it would be fun to find a list of journal questions and randomly answer them. As I was doing this first one (as you read above), I thought it would be fun to do these entries on my blog. If you're looking for ideas to add to your blog, go ahead and join me. It would be fun to read your answers as well. If you join, please post a comment, so I can visit your blog and read what you have to say.