New Calling

On December 3rd, I was called and sustained as the Primary secretary for our ward. I have never served in the Primary before, but I am really enjoying my new calling. There are a lot of things I need to do each week. It's been great to have a calling that keeps me busy. I've enjoyed getting to know the sisters in the Primary presidency.

I am still serving as the Enrichment leader for Relief Society. We had a fabulous Spa Night in December. I hope to get some fun activities planned for 2007.

Sadly, with the new calling in the Primary, I have been released from the Activities Committee. It was fun to serve in that capacity, but 3 callings would have been overload.

I am happy to serve in the Primary and Relief Society.


Yum Yum!!

For Thanksgiving, I made a pumpkin cheesecake. It turned out picture perfect, so I had to post a pic online.
My sister, Treva, is the pie maker in our family, and she makes some delicious pies. I think this past Thanksgiving she brought 6 or 8 pies to Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, I was in MN and was unable to partake. I probably should have tried my hand at making a pie in her honor, but I chose to make a pumpkin cheesecake instead. It certainly was delicious. Maybe next year, I'll make a pie, too. :-)


early Thanksgiving 2006

We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early this year (the Saturday before), because Nathan came for a visit. I made the whole spread--9 lb turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce and applesauce and pumpkin cake for dessert.

It was fun to do, but I was a little pressed for time. Dinner was supposed to start at 5 p.m. (We'd invited the Elders over as well, and they had a baptism at 7 p.m., so timing was essential), but the turkey didn't cook quite as quickly as I'd calculated. We ended up eating around 5:45. :-( Everything tasted good, so I think I'd do it again--without any morning plans. (I'd spent the morning at a PartyLite regional meeting, and hadn't gotten home until 1:45 p.m.)

Here is a pic of our Thanksgiving dinner table. We even used the good dishes.

I would have liked to have gotten a few more pictures from the evening--with the missionaries, Nathan, Jeff and I, but we were too short on time, and I wanted the Elders to be able to eat.

I saved the turkey carcass after dinner to try my hand at making some homemade turkey soup. Here's a pic:

The soup turned out pretty good, but it could have definitely used more salt and more substance. I put in celery, carrots, turkey (of course), potatoes and orzo pasta. Next time, I'll definitely add more of everything and no orzo pasta. I thought that would be good, but it got too mushy and was a weird slimy texture. Next time, I'll think I'll use spirals. With only 3 of us at home, we'll be eating soup for quite awhile! :-)

I also made some baking soda biscuits--from scratch--to accompany the soup. I'd never made them before. They tasted pretty yummy, but they didn't rise all that much. Maybe that's the way they're supposed to be...


Brilliant Rainbows

Yesterday, driving home from the grocery store, I got to behold one of the most brilliant rainbows! After several days of one downpour after another, there was a break in the rains yesterday afternoon. It was so beautiful, I longed to have a camera as part of my phone--or a camera of some sort. Of course a digital pic probably wouldn't have done it the justice it deserved.

Since moved out to the rainy Pacific Northwest, I have seen several rainbows. I guess that is one of the perks of living in an area that rains 8 months out of the year! Growing up in MN, its not like I've never seen a rainbow before, but they're different out here. I can pick out every single color in the ROY G BIV spectrum. They are big and brilliant--and frequent!

Unfortunately, I usually see them while I'm driving. This could cause a problem because I am so drawn to them that I'm not paying as close attention to the road. :-(


Halloweens past

I got a little carried away when looking for old Halloween photos. These are the ones I found--spanning my entire life (practically).

2 yrs old (1979) Raggedy Ann
I don't have any kids yet, so I'm forced to show off pics of me as a little girl.
6th grade (1988) Gypsy
At one point in our lives, my mom, my older sister and I all wore this outfit.
8th Grade (1990) Banshee
I went trick or treating this year, and nearly lost an eye to a tree branch because I refused to wear my glasses (it would've ruined the effect of the make-up). I was only a few inches from the branch before it came into focus.

1999 Trinity (from the Matrix)
This is probably my favorite Halloween costume, so I put up a few pics from that year.

2000 Vampire

Halloween 2006

Being newly called to serve on the Activities Committee, Jeff and I were obligated to help out with the ward Halloween party.

Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays! In grade school, and junior and senior high, I would usually dress up in some fashion. Often putting a bit of time and effort into my costumes. As an adult, I rarely got into it as much, but a few years I did have some pretty memorable costumes. Maybe I'll scan in some of those pics as well.

This year, at the last possible moment, I decided to dress as a witch. Here are a couple of pics.


I went to Costco the other day all by myself. It really made me feel like an adult. I've been to Sam's lots of times with my parents, but something about buying in bulk made me feel like I'd ventured into a new realm of adulthood. :-)

I was really surprised at how that store can suck you in. I was only going to make a quick stop to check it out--see what was available. The 15 min trip ended up lasting 45 and costing me $100. Guess I'll be needing to limit my stops there. Thankfully, it's over 30 min away, so the temptation won't be too strong to swing on by.



This is a talk I gave in Sacrament meeting today, October 22, 2006.

The other day I was reading in the Book of Mormon the story of when Nephi took his family and fled from his brethren the Lamanites. This was the first physical division between the Nephites and the Lamanites.

Reading from the 5th chapter in 2nd Nephi:

Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Same, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me…And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.

And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses. And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.

And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords…And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple…And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.

And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.[1]

It really impressed me how Nephi and his followers took everything with them that they could. Upon finding a place to dwell, they began planting seeds and raising animals. They built swords to defend themselves. They built buildings and a temple. They were industrious and labored with their hands. Above all this they kept the commandments of the Lord. And all this brought them happiness.

I was asked to speak today on a scripture found in Doctrine & Covenants 88 verse 119:

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

Isn’t this what the Nephites were doing? They organized themselves. They prepared for the future. They established a house…or rather many houses.

We have a responsibility to do this today…in our own homes.

In General Conference in Oct 1980, Victor L Brown gave a talk on preparedness. I would like to share a few excerpts from his address.
May I … share some individual examples which are indicative of a growing problem?
A few months ago a young couple decided to cancel their health insurance. They felt they just could not afford it. The high cost of graduate school, in a time of rampant inflation, led them to disregard the counsel of the Brethren. Then came a baby—premature, with serious complications resulting in incredibly expensive care. Heartsick and frightened, they turned first to their families, who responded with substantial help. That not being nearly enough, they then turned to their bishop, who, from the fast offerings, supplied additional help. They would have been almost self-sustaining had they retained their insurance.
A young man decided that trade school was too demanding and too expensive. He dropped out of school, got married, and took a low-paying job in a grocery store. When a baby came, he found that his income was not adequate even for the family’s basic needs. Too embarrassed to approach his parents, he turned to his bishop for help.
Another family chose Monday night sports on television in preference to family home evening. For weeks and months there was no family prayer, no gospel discussions, no reading of the scriptures, no other meaningful family activities. Now a teenage daughter has run away from home, and the parents have turned to the bishop for help.
In each of these examples, the central problem could probably have been avoided if the members had applied the principles of personal and family preparedness.[2]

In Matthew Chapter 24, we read:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars…For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.[3]

Do we see these things happening in the world today?

Are we prepared for when these things might affect us personally? The Lord has said, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”

Someone has said it was not raining when Noah built the ark. But he built it, and the rains came.

Now is the time to prepare.

Elder Brown quotes a talk given by Brigham Young in July 1868. President Young is talking to the saints of the Mill Creek Ward during the grasshopper infestation. It is a bit of a chastisement, but I think that a lot of the principles apply to us today.

Quoting President Young:

I believe the Latter-day Saints are the best people on the earth of whom we have any knowledge. Still, I believe that we are, in many things, very negligent, slothful and slow to obey the words of the Lord. Many seem to act upon the faith that God will sustain us instead of our trying to sustain ourselves.

I remember saying in the School of the Prophets, that I would rather the people would exercise a little more sense and save means to provide for themselves, instead of squandering it away and asking the Lord to feed them.

Some may say, ‘I have faith the Lord will turn them [the grasshoppers] away.’ What ground have we to hope this? Have I any good reason to say to my Father in heaven, ‘Fight my battles,’ when He has given me the sword to wield, the arm and the brain that I can fight for myself? Can I ask Him to fight my battles and sit quietly down waiting for Him to do so? I cannot. I can pray the people to hearken to wisdom, to listen to counsel; but to ask God to do for me that which I can do for myself is preposterous to my mind.

Look at the Latter-day Saints. They are in want and in trouble, and they are perplexed. They do not know what to do. They have been told what to do, but they did not hearken to this counsel.[4]

This reminds me of Lehi pleading with his sons to live righteously, to awake and shake off the chains of sin. He reminds them of the Lord’s promise, “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.”[5]

What a wonderful reminder. We need to do our part. The Lord will continually bless us (more than we can ever repay), but we must keep his commandments to ensure future blessings. He is always watching over us. He wants us to be happy and have joy. Keeping the commandments will help us to see the joy in our everyday lives.

Elder Brown follows President Young quotation by saying, “I do not want to leave the impression that nothing has been done. There are those faithful Saints who have their year’s supply and are taking care of themselves. They know of that peace which comes from being obedient and being prepared.”[6]

1 Nephi 20:18 reads, “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.”

I love the phrase “thy peace…as a river.” When I think of a river, I think of continually flowing waters. What a wonderful promise if we keep the commandments. We can often get bogged down with the everyday craziness of life. Sometimes we forget to pause and reflect on the peace the gospel can bring into our lives.

Let me read again the commandment in the Doctrine & Covenants 88: 119.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

Keeping an organized home and preparing every needful thing will help us in many ways. We will be blessed because we are keeping the commandments, but it is more specific than that. If everything is chaotic around us, it is so much more difficult to live righteously and focus on the good. Whereas if things are in order, we are not worried about the chaos and we can focus more on serving the Lord.

In April 1993, Elder Joseph B Wirthlin gave a talk outlining this particular scripture. I would like to share some excerpts from his talk.
To make our homes become houses of prayer and fasting, our families should gather for family prayer morning and night. In addition, we should offer our own individual prayers for our personal needs.
We can make each home a house of faith by believing in the goodness of God and believing that we can live gospel principles and live in peace and security. We need to have the faith to be obedient, to keep trying, and to keep a positive outlook.

The ideal way to transform your home into a house of learning is to hold family home evening faithfully.

Home can literally become a house of glory.

To instill order in our homes, parents should be in charge and exercise parental authority in righteous dominion and establish acceptable standards of behavior for their children, setting limits and adhering to them consistently. They are to teach and guide their children “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness … reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love.”

If you will make your home a house of prayer and fasting, faith, learning and glory, and order, it can become a house of God. If you build your homes on the foundation rock of our Redeemer and the gospel, they can be sanctuaries where your families can be sheltered from the raging storms of life.”[7]

President Hinckley in a conference talk in October 2005, said:
We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. We in this Church have evidence enough of the penalties of disobedience in the examples of both the Jaredite and the Nephite nations. Each went from glory to utter destruction because of wickedness.[8]
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a sales training. One of the presenters gave an analogy that I really liked. It went something like this…

Imagine that you’re at the grocery store loading up your cart. You grab the essentials—fresh milk and eggs, warm bread from the bakery. Maybe you add some ice cream for a treat. You double check your list and make sure that you’ve grabbed everything that you need. You take your cart up to the registers, leave it there and walk out the exit to your car.

Now would you ever really do this? I don’t think so! What would happen to that cart of food? Wouldn’t the milk curdle and the ice-cream melt, the bread get hard and crusty?

The sales trainer then likened this experience to having all the tools to be successful at our disposal, but not using them.

I would extend this to every member of the church. Don’t we have every tool necessary to living a happy and fulfilled life? Do we sometimes forget to apply the things we’ve learned in the scriptures and from the modern day prophets to our everyday lives?

In Ephesians chapter 6, we are told to put on the whole armor of God.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.[9]

Wearing the whole armor of God and keeping our shopping carts full, isn’t that the same as organizing ourselves, preparing every needful thing, and establishing a house—even a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, order, glory, and God?

To reference Aesop’s fable of the Grasshopper and the Ants, I’d like to read a poem that I found on the Internet.

A grasshopper lazed in the summer sun,Watching the ants as, one by one,They stored away seeds, leaves and grass,And grasshopper laughed: "Dear me, alas!"How foolish are these ants to toil,When the summer sun is on the boil,Why don't they enjoy the heat with me?"And he kicked up his heels so carelessly.But when the summer sun had gone,And grasshopper shivered upon a stone,He cried aloud: "Oh, dearie me!I'm frozen stiff and so hungry!"Oh, ants, dear ants, pray let me in,My nose is blue, and I'm so thin,It's cold out here, please let me in do,"But an ant peeped out and shouted: "Shoo!"Silly grasshopper, you sang and hoppedTill summer's warmth and heat were stopped,You should have thought of winter's chill,No food, and the wind blows fit to kill."So grasshopper crept into a hole,Which he shared all winter with a mole.Spring came; he said: "I must remember,To make proper plans for next December."[10]

I’ll put this before you…are we, as Latter Day Saints, going to take the role of the grasshopper or the ants?

The work that must be done is not always easy. Sometimes it is very difficult to keep things organized and in order. It takes time and a lot of effort. But we will be blessed if we strive to live this commandment as best we can. We are all human and we will all make mistakes, but it is important to keep trying.

In 2 Nephi 25:23, Nephi says, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

Striving for perfection, and doing all that we can, is our best hope for exaltation in the worlds to come, and it is my testimony that striving to keep our lives organized and in order will help us to focus on serving the Lord. By serving the Lord, we will come to know Him better and love Him more. It is my prayer that we will be able to go forth and “Organize ourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house.”[11]

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] 2 Nephi 5: 6-7, 10-11, 14-17, 27
[2] Brown, Victor L, “Prepare Every Needful Thing,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 79
[3] Matthew 24: 3-4, 6-7, 10
[4] Brown
[5] 2 Nephi 1:20
[6] Brown
[7] Wirthlin, Joseph B, “Spiritually Strong Homes and Families,” Ensign, May 1993, 68
[8] Hinckley, Gordon B, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 60
[9] Ephesians 6:13-18
[10] http://www.4to40.com/poems/index.asp?article=poems_thegrasshopperandtheants
[11] Doctrine & Covenants 88:119


Rule Breaker??

Nope. Not this chica.

In fact, it's so bad that I don't even break unwritten, unexpressed rules.

Have you ever been in a school (or any building, but I've only ever seen it in a school) where they have tape down the middle of the hallways and stairwells? I imagine this is to help facilitate the flow of traffic by suggesting that you stay to the right of the tape marks.

Well, I've had a couple of sub jobs in one such school in McMinnville, OR (Duniway Middle School), and without anyone suggesting to me this "rule," I inherently obeyed--even when no one else was around. Nearly everyone else that I passed was not following this rule, and yet I felt some bizarre need to stay to the right.

Guess that says something about me, huh?


Canning Applesauce

The Apples, Apples, and More Apples post didn't give me enough apples to satisfy my apple curiosity.
(I made apple cobbler, German apple pancakes, sliced 3 quarts to freeze, and made one batch (1 qt) of applesauce to freeze.)

So I went and picked up another bagful of apples.

I made an apple crisp.

Today I made and canned 6 pints of applesauce! (I decided to can instead of freeze because our freezer is full!!) It was my first time canning since helping my mom when I was a little girl. I was going to can yesterday, but I didn't have any canning tongs. And it's out of season at Wal-mart for canning supplies.

I called a sister in my ward to see if I could borrow hers. She gave me her canning pot, too. I was very grateful for her helpful advice and for letting me borrow her supplies. Unfortunately, I did not use her pot. It was too big for our stove (in my opinion), and it was too intimidating for me. Everything I'd read said the bottles needed to be submerged with 1 inch of water covering the jars. I didn't see how it was possible to do that with the pot she gave me, so I just used my own deep pot.

I did lots of research on the Internet about canning before starting this venture (that's how I knew about the 1 inch of water cover). I kept looking for advice on how to can without a canning pot (with rack for the jars). I'd read that the jars should not touch the bottom of the pot, so I searched and searched for a way to get around this without purchasing a specific tool. Finally I found something that would help me! They said to put a towel in the bottom of the pot in prevent the jars from touching the bottom and breaking (from the heat?). So...this is what I did today. I also only did two pint jars at a time. It took me 2 1/2 hours to complete the process.

I still have quite a few apples remaining, so I may make more applesauce on Friday. We'll see...

The Lake House

Starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves

I saw the end of this movie before I saw the beginning. Jeff watched it while I was doing something in the kitchen...I can't remember exactly what. Anyway, I finished up in the kitchen with about 15-20 minutes left of the movie. Even without seeing the beginning first, I still welled up a bit at the end.

This afternoon, I finally had the opportunity (after making and canning applesauce) to sit down and watch the movie from the beginning. I'd heard others say how good it was and Jeff enjoyed it, but still I was really surprised at how impressed I was with this movie. The storyline was quite intriguing! If it hadn't been done quite so well, it could've been quite confusing. Thankfully, the script was very well written and film was shot beautifully.

When I sat down to watch this movie, I did not really intend on writing a blog entry on it. This is unfortunate, because I can't remember any particular scene that impressed me the most. I'll need to start watching movies with a pad and pen nearby--just in case. :-)

Let's just suffice it to say...if you haven't seen this movie yet--Push it to the top of your list. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Take note of the beautiful shots; relish in the chemistry of two people who haven't even met.



Egg-less pancakes...Oops!

Yesterday morning, I thought it would be nice to make some pancakes for breakfast for our little visitor. Nathan was visiting us for the weekend. Nathan is my stepson; he is 7 years old.

Unfortunately, I kept getting distracted by him and by Jeff that I accidentally forgot to crack those eggs into the batter before having Nathan mix it all together. When I was putting them on the griddle, the batter seemed a little thick. I just added some water to help the consistency.

I didn't really think too much about it until an hour or two later. I don't know why I was thinking about the pancakes again, but I just couldn't visualize cracking the eggs. That's when it occurred to me that I had forgotten them. Oops!!

Turns out...maybe the pancakes didn't really NEED the eggs! They tasted just normal to me. In fact...they were delicious.

Still, next time I'll try to remember to add 'em.


Apples, Apples, and More Apples!!

A sister in my ward had a lot of extra apples, so I thought, "Why not? Free apples are tastier than those from the store."

I'll probably freeze most of them to use for pies and baking during the winter.

Of course, I've been using some right away!

Last night I made a delicious Apple Cobbler.


Homemade Cream Filled Individual Sponge Cakes

We had a ward dessert social tonight. It was potluck, so I found this recipe for homemade Twinkies (R). I changed the recipe to make them more like homemade Suzy Q's (R). I was surprised to find only one remaining when the clean-up began!

I was so excited to try out this recipe. Just ask Jeff. He said I was giddy like a school girl! I have to admit I was pretty silly. I thought the procedure of making these would be challenging, but it was surprisingly easy.

Below is the recipe...

Homemade Cream Filled Individual Sponge Cakes
Submitted by: TNthree Rated: 4 out of 5 by 9 members
Prep Time: 45 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 15 Minutes Yields: 24 servings
"Yellow cake bars are frosted with a shortening and evaporated milk filling in this homage to the famous snack cakes."

1 (18.25 ounce) package
yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Bake cake according to package directions in a 9x13 inch pan. Cool and cut into bars. Cut each bar in half lengthwise to make two layers.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in shortening, a little at a time, until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Combine evaporated milk and vanilla and beat into filling, scraping the bowl, until fluffy.
3. Sandwich the bars with the fluffy filling.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2005 Allrecipes.com
Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/10/2006

New running partner

I have been diligently running 3x every week since we arrived in Dayton, OR. I even have a cute, little running partner. It's actually kind of fun to run with little Skipper--except when he jets out in front of me to bark at another dog. He's nearly brought me down a few times!

This is a picture of us after one of our runs.

Usually we run in the mornings when it is still cool out; however, one time I didn't have a chance to run until around 1 p.m. It had gotten quite warm, and it really wore Skipper out. He just laid on the dining room floor and panted and panted and panted some more!!

We have been easing into our running. Next week will be our first week running more than 2 miles without any walking. I think it will be tough for both of us.

I have a running log online. You're welcome to check out my progress. Here is a link:
I update this log after each run. It's a great tool for me.



This is a talk I gave in Sacrament meeting today, July 23, 2006.

Last August, Jeff and I had the opportunity to attend church with his family. There were so many of us, that we were unable to all sit together in one pew. At one point during one of the talks, I looked over at Jeff’s brother’s family. His four kids were being very quiet; however, I was especially impressed with the 5-year old, Ian. He was not only quiet as a church mouse, but he was paying attention. He was on the edge of the seat, eyes focused on the speaker. As I watched him, I was gently reminded that reverence is more than just being quiet.

To quote Elder L Tom Perry, “It is not enough to behave reverently; we must feel in our hearts reverence for our Heavenly Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Reverence flows from our admiration and respect for Deity.” [1]

Later on in this same conference address, he shares an experience,

Several years ago, I had the opportunity of traveling with the President of the Church to attend a series of area conferences. I will never forget the contrast between two conferences that were held just a few days apart. The first area conference was held in a large arena, and as we sat on the stand, we noticed continuous movement by the people. We saw individuals throughout the arena leaning over and whispering to family members and friends seated next to them. Giving the members the benefit of the doubt, we attributed the general lack of reverence to the nature of the facility.
A few days later, we were in another country attending another area conference in an arena much like the first. When we entered the arena, however, an immediate hush came over the congregation. As we sat through the two-hour general session, there was very little movement among the people. Everyone listened intently. Great attention and respect was shown all the speakers, and when the prophet spoke, you could hear a pin drop.
After the meeting was over, I asked the priesthood leaders about what they had done to prepare the people for the conference. They told me their preparation had been simple. They had asked priesthood holders to explain to the members of their families, and also the families they home taught, that at an area conference they would have the privilege of hearing the words of the prophet and the Apostles. The priesthood leaders explained that the reverence their people felt for God and His servants was the basis for their reverent behavior at the conference.[2]

In the book, True to the Faith, reverence is defined as "profound respect and love. When you have a reverent attitude toward God, you honor Him, express your gratitude to Him, and obey His commandments. You should be reverent in your behavior as well as your attitude. Reverent behavior includes prayer, scripture study, fasting, and payment of tithes and offerings. It includes wearing modest clothing and using clean, wholesome language. The depth of your reverence is evident in your choice of music and other entertainment, in the way you speak of sacred subjects, and in the way you dress and act when you attend church and the temple. You show your reverence for the Lord when you serve other people and treat them with kindness and respect." [3]

There is a lot of good stuff in those two short paragraphs. Reverence goes beyond being quiet on Sundays at church. It is something very personal. I would suggest that it is something that we need to prepare for each day.

Let me repeat one line, “Reverent behavior includes prayer, scripture study, fasting and payment of tithes and offerings.”[4] I would like to touch on each of these briefly.

Reverent behavior includes prayer.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught us how to pray. In Matthew 6:9, He says, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.” Do we remember this part of the instruction on prayer in our own personal prayers or do we quickly move on to our requests? Howard W Hunter, in a General Conference talk, in October 1977, said, “Jesus was careful to place the petition “Hallowed be thy name” at the very forefront of his prayer. Unless that reverent, prayerful, honorable attitude toward God is uppermost in our hearts, we are not fully prepared to pray. If our first thought is of ourselves and not of God, we are not praying as Jesus taught.”[5]

In Doctrine & Covenants 63:61-62, it reads, “Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips— For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority.”

In our prayers, we can also show reverence by using appropriate language. We are cautioned not to overuse His name; we should address our Heavenly Father humbly and respectfully using the words Thou, Thee, Thy and Thine.

Reverent behavior includes scripture study.

In the scriptures, we learn of God and His plan for us. We learn of the creation. We learn of heaven. We learn of our Savior. Next to the Holy Ghost, the scriptures are the greatest gift that we have received from our Father in Heaven. What do we do with this wonderful gift? Do we idly read our scriptures, or do we take the time to seriously ponder and study them out in our hearts and minds? Do we pray for greater understanding? If we truly have a reverent attitude toward God, we will express our love and respect for Him by not only studying our scriptures, but by also taking good care of them and carrying them with us to our meetings.

Reverent behavior includes fasting.

Fasting allows us to truly put our trust in the Lord. Going without food and water can be quite challenging. Fasting gives us the opportunity to truly “feast upon the word.” In fasting, we will be spiritually fed. One Sunday each month is set aside as fast Sunday. In True to the Faith, it says, “Proper observance of fast Sunday includes going without food and drink for two consecutive meals, attending fast and testimony meeting, and giving a fast offering to help care for those in need,”[6] which brings us to the last behavior that I’d like to talk about.

Reverent behavior includes payment of tithes and offerings.

If having a reverent attitude means showing gratitude to the Lord, then we must realize the importance of paying our tithing and fast offerings. Every increase that we receive, we owe to Him. It is for this purpose that we offer up tithes and offerings unto Him.

Let me read once more the first paragraph on reverence in True to the Faith.

Reverence is profound respect and love. When you have a reverent attitude toward God, you honor Him, express your gratitude to Him, and obey His commandments.[7]

We show reverence by being obedient—not just in the things that I have mentioned today, but in striving to keep all of the commandments.

So far, I have been discussing reverence to God, but there is also a degree of reverence that we ought to show at home and at church.

Reverence begins at home. As I mentioned earlier, reverence is very personal; it is something that we develop and strengthen at home.

Referring once again to Elder L Tom Perry’s conference address, he says,

The home is the key to reverent attitudes, as it is to every other godlike virtue. It is during personal and family prayer that the little ones learn how to bow their heads, fold their arms, and close their eyes while our Father in Heaven is being addressed. It is a mother taking time to be certain that during each day there is a quiet period where the hustle and bustle of daily activities are divorced from the house, where just parents and children have time together in quiet solitude for reflection and teaching, to set the example of having reverence in the home. It is during family home evenings, which are a part of our home life, where children are taught that there are special times, not only in church but also at home, when we learn of our Heavenly Father and when everyone needs to be on his best behavior. Behavior learned at home determines behavior in church meetings. A child who has learned to pray at home understands that he must be quiet and still during prayers in worship services.[8]

In the Proclamation to the Family, we are counseled that “parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.”[9] Teaching our children all of these things, will ultimately, teach them reverence.

Because our homes are the place of sacred learning, it is a good idea to also show respect and reverence. We can do this by inviting the spirit into our homes with appropriate music and entertainment. We can do this by displaying pictures of the temples and the prophets. We can do this by keeping our homes clean and orderly.

In D&C 88:119, it says, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;"

This house refers both to our homes and to our meetinghouses.

Each Sunday, we attend church to renew our covenants and to worship the Lord; however, for our worship to be genuine and meaningful, we must do it with a reverent attitude.

Leviticus 26:2 says, “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD."

When I was in the singles ward in Minneapolis, when the 2nd counselor was conducting, he would often say, “And now we move on to the 10 most important minutes of our week, the sacrament.” Do we have that same attitude? Is the sacrament the most important part of our week, something for us to look forward to?

I’d like to read an experience that Elder Keith L Smith had in his youth:

I remember with a smile an incident from my youth when my father demonstrated his belief [that priesthood holders who participate in this sacred ordinance should be especially mindful of the need to be reverent]. I was a priest at the sacrament table, and my brother Marvin, a deacon, was sitting on the front row directly in front of me. As the bishop began the meeting by sharing the announcements, Marvin and another deacon continued to carry on an intense conversation. Suddenly, my father rose from his bench in the middle of the chapel, made his way to the aisle, and strode toward the front of the chapel. Poor Bishop Powell stopped speaking as my father walked to the front row and firmly took hold of my brother’s arm, stood him up, and escorted him back to the bench where our family was sitting. The bishop then continued with the announcements. I remember a very quiet congregation after that—particularly the row of deacons in front of me. From that time forth, my brother sat quietly in sacrament meeting and was especially reverent when performing his sacramental responsibilities.[10]

Of course, being reverent at church should continue throughout all our meetings and extend beyond the chapel. Howard W Hunter said, “Occasionally we visit too loudly, enter and leave meetings too disrespectfully in what should be an hour of prayer and purifying worship. Reverence is the atmosphere of heaven. Prayer is the utterance of the soul to God the Father. We do well to become more like our Father by looking up to him, by remembering him always, and by caring greatly about his world and his work.”[11]

President David O McKay said, “When you enter a church building, you are coming into the presence of our Father in heaven; and that thought should be sufficient incentive for you to prepare your hearts, your minds, and even your attire, that you might appropriately and properly sit in his presence.”[12]

In closing, I’d like to share one last story from Elder L Tom Perry.

One Sunday, my granddaughter Diana, who is four years old, was sitting next to her father at church. Diana sat reverently, enjoying the comfort of her father’s arm holding her close to him. However, when the bishop stood up and announced the sacrament hymn, Diana gently lifted her father’s arm from off her shoulder and placed it in his lap. Then she sat up straight and folded her arms. She looked over at her father and encouraged him to do the same. Diana’s message to her father was perfectly clear. She was telling him to turn his complete and total attention to the Savior. This is the message a reverent attitude always conveys, and when reverent attitudes abound, reverent behavior will always flourish. I pray that, like Diana, we may all strive to develop reverent attitudes so that we may serve God reverently and with godly fear.[13]

Reverence begins with us. It is a personal attitude that we develop at home and cultivate at church. It is not only a personal feeling, it is a personal responsibility. We have a responsibility to pray, study our scriptures, fast and pay our tithing…these behaviors will help us develop more strongly our reverent attitudes. We must be good examples to our children and all those around us by always exuding a reverent attitude.

In the words of David O McKay, “If there were more reverence in human hearts, there would be less room for sin and sorrow and more increased capacity for joy and gladness. To make more cherished, more adaptable, more attractive, this gem among brilliant virtues is a project worthy of the most united and prayerful efforts of every officer, every parent, and every member of the church.”[14]

Remember, reverence is profound respect and love. It is my prayer that we will do all that we can to create in ourselves a reverent attitude and that our attitude will show forth in our actions.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] L. Tom Perry, “Serve God Acceptably with Reverence and Godly Fear,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 70
[2] L. Tom Perry, “Serve God Acceptably with Reverence and Godly Fear,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 70
[3] 36863, True to the Faith, Reverence, 145
[4] 36863, True to the Faith, Reverence, 145
[5] Howard W. Hunter, “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 52
[6] 36863, True to the Faith, Fasting and Fast Offerings, 66
[7] 36863, True to the Faith, Reverence, 145
[8] L. Tom Perry, “Serve God Acceptably with Reverence and Godly Fear,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 70
[9] “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102
[10] Keith L. Smith, “Reverence,” Ensign, July 2003, 60
[11] Howard W. Hunter, “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 52
[12] 36492, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 4: Elements of Worship, Introduction, 29
[13] L. Tom Perry, “Serve God Acceptably with Reverence and Godly Fear,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 70
[14] 36492, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 4: Elements of Worship, Introduction, 29

More Hardy!

Friday was my last day as the manager of the Augsburg Fortress bookstore at Union Theological Seminary. It was also my last day to see Hardy! I'm certainly going to miss this little boy. He is so smart and so cute!

His dad was telling us how he had helped make pancakes that morning. He was listing off items that Hardy got for the recipe: flour, sugar, eggs. Then Hardy said, "Baking soda." It's amazing the vocabulary that he already has.

Since it was my last day, I let the new manager run things, and I took a few minutes to play with this little guy; we read a couple of little books.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I had some bananas in our freezer that I needed to use before our move. Individual snacks move much more quickly in our home, so I found this recipe for banana oatmeal cookies. These turned out wonderfully; although, I did need to decrease the cooking time to around 9-10 min. If you have overripe bananas, this is an excellent recipe!

Banana Oatmeal Cookies III

Submitted by: JoAnn Bork Rated: 4 out of 5 by 12 members
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes Yields: 36 servings

"These are delicious moist cookies which freeze very well and a great way to use those overripe bananas."

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in shortening until almost no lumps remain. Stir in the egg and bananas; mix well. Finally, stir in the oats and walnuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are browned. Remove from pans immediately to cool on wire racks.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2005 Allrecipes.com
Printed from Allrecipes.com 7/23/2006


Chocolate cake...Yummy!!

If you know me, you know I love to cook/bake for gatherings. Jeff and I had dinner with some friends the other night, and I offered to make dessert.

I wanted something cool and summery and found this recipe on All Recipes. It turned out delicious.

The recipe is below. It yields a 9x13 cake, but I didn't need one that large. I divided the cake batter into a round cake, and 12 cupcakes. Also, I used strawberry gelatin. I needed to modify the frosting a bit because my grocery store didn't have the whipped topping mix. Instead, I used frozen whipped topping i.e. Cool Whip (R). I mixed it with the chocolate pudding and added some milk to help with the consistency.

Chocolate Cake IV
Submitted by: REB Rated: 4 out of 5 by 2 members
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 55 Minutes Yields: 12 servings
"Use any flavor of gelatin to compliment this refreshing chocolate version of the poke cake. Serve it straight from the freezer."
1 (18.25 ounce) package
chocolate cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package fruit
flavored gelatin mix
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water

2 (3.9 ounce) packages instant
chocolate pudding mix
2 (1.3 ounce) envelopes
whipped topping mix
3 cups cold milk
Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for a 9x13 inch pan. Poke holes in cake while still hot with a fork. Make gelatin with 1 cup of boiling water, then stir in cold water. Slowly pour liquid gelatin over hot cake. Cool cake completely in the freezer before frosting.
To make the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat together the instant pudding, whipped topping and milk until thickened. Pour over completely cooled cake. Keep cake in freezer until ready to serve.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2005 Allrecipes.com
Printed from Allrecipes.com 7/10/2006



When I think back on my time at Union managing the bookstore, I will always fondly remember my little pal, Hardy. He is quite an icon of the seminary. He has his rounds each day where he goes and says hello. He always stops in the bookstore—pointing to the sign, “O…open” (or “C…closed” during those sad times when he comes before the store is open or after it has closed).

He enjoys doing Google searches on the computer for pictures of his favorite animals. Usually he just comes to me and says, “Crinda…horseys.” I don’t really get the fascination, since every day Google finds the same old boring pictures, but he is entranced. Anyway, it’s fun to have him climb on my lap and look at the computer. Makes me even feel a little motherly. Someday, I’m sure I’ll have my own kids wanting to look at the same old boring things (pictures, stories, etc).

This kid is full of energy and very talkative. It’s always a joy when he pops in for a visit. He will be 2 in August and already has quite the vocabulary!


Book Review: Lick Creek

Very enjoyable book! Lick Creek by Brad Kessler takes place is the small coal mining community of (surprise, surprise) Lick Creek, WV, during the late 1920s.

It tells the story of young girl (teenage), Emily Jenkins, who lives on a family farm. Her father, brother, and first love die is a coal mine explosion. Her mother goes into severe depression dealing with such a loss and at times doesn't even bother to get dressed. Emily is forced to become quite resourceful in order to provide for her and her mother. She takes to gathering berries, mushrooms and making goat cheese, and then traveling to the city of White Sulfur to sell these items to the fancy hotel.

During this time period, electricity is booming. Many electric lines are being installed--some right near Lick Creek. One of the lineman falls from a pole during a thunderstorm, and his crew brings him to the Jenkins home. Having this injured man in the house, breathes life back into Ada Jenkins, Emily's mother. She nurses him back to health. During his time at the Jenkins, he develops a strong relationship with Emily.

One of the things that really intrigued me about this book was how different things were back then. Would any of us know what to do if a man came to our homes with a dislocated shoulder, a broken leg, a gash to the head and a concussion? There were no phones (or at least the Jenkins didn't have one), and the nearest doctor was far enough away that he wouldn't be able to come until at least the next day. I was impressed that Ada knew just what to do! First aid was just second nature to her.

Just a warning...there are a few bad words in this book. Also, Emily does fall in love a few times, so there are a few scenes that are descriptive of this. I'd say it was nothing too explicit and it is very tastefully written, but just a warning that it is there.


Book Review: Neighbors

The next book I read was Neighbors by Thomas Berger. If you can avoid this book, I definitely would not read it again! Maybe the cover should've been a clue to me. The entire time I was reading this book, I kept thinking that the ending would redeem it for me...make it worth my time.

Unfortunately, this was not the case.

The story is about a family who lives on a dead end street. New neighbors move into the only other house on the street, and all sorts of trouble ensues. The husband and wife want to have the new couple over for dinner, but before they can even extend the invitation, the new couple, Harry and Ramona, stops by and sort of invites themselves. The entire book chronicles the rest of the evening and the next day. It is full of misunderstandings and complete and total misbehavior on the part of the new neighbors.

I felt that I didn't really understand the motivation of any of the characters. The situations that the characters got into were difficult for me to read--not because they were crude or inappropriate, but simply because they made me uncomfortable.

I kept thinking (hoping) that it would end with the main character, Earl, awaking from a dream. These situations were just too absurd for me to believe that they would be a reality. Instead the book ends (here's the spoiler), with Earl having a heartache and dying. It turns out that it was all real and that the stress of the entire situation kills him.

It was such a disappointment!


Book Review: Devil in the White City

I've decided that I need to read more. I thought it would be fun to write up reviews of books that I read. I have a goal to read at least 1 book each week. Check back often to read reviews of the recent books I've read.

The first book is Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it! Click on the title's link to find it on Amazon, where you can search the book plus read excerpts and reviews

This is not my usual choice of a book, but it was recommended by a friend. It is a non-fiction book. I usually only stick to fiction; however, this book really reads like fiction. Maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much.

This book takes place in the late-1890s during the planning and construction of Chicago's World's Fair. The story revolves around two men--an architect and a serial killer. These two men most likely never met, but their stories are both linked to the World's fair.

I thought that this was very cleverly written. Larson, chapter by chapter, describes the events surrounding both of these men alternating one with the other. This helps to create a lot of suspense and desire to continue reading. You will be very intrigued by the happenings of one man, and then suddenly, you will begin a new chapter about the other man, become very intrigued only to be shifted back to the first again. At times this was a little frustrating, but I thought it really did add to the enjoyment of the book.

I also enjoyed this book, because I never really knew just how influential the World's Fair in Chicago was. Many of the products and appliances that we rely on today find their roots at this fair. It is fascinating. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a work of non-fiction. There are pages and pages of notes in the back of the book. Most of Larson's sources were from newspapers of the day. It amazes me just how much research he must have put into this book. I can't help but wonder just how long the research took him.

If you're looking for something to read this summer, I'd definitely recommend adding this book to your list.


Chop, chop, chop

It has been SO hot here lately!!!

My hair was so hot and heavy on my neck that I decided I'd had enough. I was tired of having to putting it up in a ponytail each and every day. I thought, hey, we'll be moving soon...why not go for something a little more drastic? So, I decided I'd cut my hair.

Friday night, I did a little research online, looked through a few hair style photos, grabbed a mirror and some scissors and went off to the bathroom.

Snip, snip, snip...

And voila...a cute little bob.

Here are some before and after shots.



This was the 2nd time that I cut my own hair. Both experiences turned out to be quite satisfying! :-)


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