Saturday, November 28, 2009

It is so good to be home but . . .

I am so glad we went to Utah for Thanksgiving!! The weather was beautiful and I loved being with my two daughters who are attending school there! Michelle was particularly happy to be reunited with some of her sisters, as life at home alone with the parentals (what my kids call us) can be pretty boring at times.

Thanks giving dinner was devoured at my sister Melissa’s house in Cedar Hills, Utah. About half of my family was there, the others were either out of town or having dinner with their kids—the total being too numerous for us all to be together.

We arrived in time to help set up.

My poor nephew Brady thought he would die before getting to taste the turkey.

After everyone arrived we had a chance to go around and tell one thing we were thankful for. My dad started off and immediately got us all crying by saying he was thankful my mother was with us. After coming so close to losing her this past year, all of our feelings are rather tender on that topic.
I thought it was a bit funny that although Kathryn was invited to sit at the "adult" table (something she has wanted to do for many years) she chose to sit with the young kids. I am not sure how to take that. :-)

Dinner was oh, so yummy!! And being together with family was oh so very fun!

On Friday morning Wes took the girls to the Timpanogos Temple to do baptisms for the dead. The only time available was at 6 a.m. and we were happy to take it.
Later we faced the mall crowds, did some cool Christmas shopping and took in New Moon at the theater there. Okay, I know I am going to disappoint you New Moon fans, but I did not like it. It was okay, but I am just not a fan. Perhaps I would like it more if Bella would smile once in awhile.

On Friday night all the adults gathered at my oldest sister’s home in Lehi for more food and games. Who knew we could still eat after Thursday!! We played “What if” and “Mafia”. Both were fun and it was great to be with everyone.

We then hurried back to my parents so we could get in our four hours of sleep before having to get up at 3 a.m. to return to AZ. Michelle had a basketball game in Flagstaff at noon so we needed to get here. Other than our battery dying and needing a jump in Kanab, all went well, they won the game and we are now back at home, safe and sound.

And I am once again missing my girls.

But . . . just 21 days and they will ALL be here for Christmas—including my daughter from Colorado and her little family.

So let the countdown begin!!!

Ahh, just the thought brings so much . . . joy to my journey!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Second Graders Write What They Are Thankful For--a chuckle for your day

My daughter is doing student teaching in the Payson, Utah area and working with second graders. When asked what they are thankful for, here are a few of their responses.

"I'm thankful for food, because when I'm sick I can eat healthy food like apples, bananas, oranges, and pears, and I will not die painfully."

"The thing I'm most thankful for is the earth because it makes us not die in outer space and that would not be fun at all. It gives us gravity so we do not float away. And it lets me breathe and that's cool."

"The thing I am most thankful for is bones because if we didn't have bones in our body we would be a giant body blob. And we would look like a mud puddle."

And I am thankful for little kids who say what they think, and make me laugh when they do. Oh yeah, and hot running water!! I love that!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Munchies . . . Feasting Without the Calories!!

I found these questions on Jodi's blog Beacon of Hope. She does a weekly "Food 4 Thought Friday". Be sure to check it out to join in the fun!

And since I am a little late for Friday. . . I am going to call it . . .

"Monday Munchies"

A little feast without the calories!!!

~ This week's questions:



What is your favorite menu item you will eat at your Thanksgiving feast?
Definitely the candied yams. My husband doesn't like them so we never eat them any other time than on Thanksgiving. But for me, yams are Thanksgiving!!


What are you most grateful for at THIS moment?
That we are all alive. We almost lost my mother this past year so I am feeling very grateful that she is still with us. Also--something I am equally grateful for --In two days I get to see my two daughters who have been up at BYU. I am so excited about that. Every time I think about it I start to cry.


What will be different about this year's Thanksgiving?We are spending it with my family instead of my husbands, which is what we usually do.

Midnight Snack

Where are you spending Thanksgiving this year and what part of the menu are preparing?

We are having Thanksgiving at my sister's house in Cedar Hills, Utah and my daughter told me she signed me up to bring rolls.

Recipe of the Week (instead of your recipe for life, what is it just for this week?)
Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NEVER say NEVER, because you just NEVER know . . .

I had the wonderful pleasure this past week of going to the airport to welcome BT home from his mission. BT is not my son, but I would gladly claim him! He is a young man I worked with in seminary several years ago. And from him I learned a very valuable lesson. NEVER give up on anyone.

When he was fourteen his name showed up on our seminary rolls, but he was not attending. Not knowing anything about him or his family, I did some investigating and was told his family was not active in the church and that he would NEVER come to seminary.

Fortunately, his friend Nick, didn’t know that. And so Nick invited BT to spend the night on a school night and the next morning got him up for seminary. BT came that day and the next, and every day for the rest of the year. Two years later he served as our seminary council vice-president and did an excellent job. After graduation he attended BYU Provo before leaving to serve his mission.

During this same time his mother went through a divorce and moved out of state. A couple years later she moved back and into our stake, and in fact into my ward. She is now not only active in the church, but she is also one of my very good friends.

So . . . NEVER say NEVER because you just NEVER know . . .

After all, here is another NEVER story for you.

Although I grew up with pets, we have NEVER had them in my married home until this past summer when my son dropped off a stray puppy he found in the desert. Personally I thought Lacy was a pain, and I NEVER thought I would miss her. But this past week she spent a few days at my son’s house and surprisingly, I felt so sad!! My house seemed so quiet and lonely during the day without her constantly under my feet. Literally.

And lastly . . .

I have always said I will NEVER put up my Christmas tree in November. I think each holiday deserves its own attention and yet here I am with my tree up and decorated a week before Thanksgiving.

The reason is that my life right now is a bit crazy and pretty much out of control so I am not going to have anytime this coming weekend to put up decorations. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem but this year I am hosting a Christmas party at my house on December 1 and thought I should probably have some evidence of the holiday in my house by then. So. . . this is why my tree is up. It is also why it is gold. I have NEVER done that before either, but that is the color I wanted to use to decorate the tables for the party so . . .

NEVER say NEVER, because you just NEVER know . . . :-)

Now a couple side stories . . . After my husband put together the tree, I saw him walking downstairs carrying a tree branch. I said, "Oh, I see you have a left over part." He replied, "I have lots of them!" Hmmm. He assured me the front of the tree looked good, however. I guess he was done with that job!
Second . . . last night I was doing a google image search and ended up on a woman's blog who had posted a picture taken while eating at Carabas following Women's Conference last spring. The funny thing is that my friends and I were in the background of the picture!! It is such a small blog world!!
But the best part is all of this brings so much . . . joy to my journey!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Very, Very Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole--Even if you don't like sweet potatoes

Not the actual picture since I haven't made it yet, but as close as I could find on google.
This one has walnuts and my recipe calls for pecans.

A year ago we had dinner at the mission president's home here in Phoenix and they served a very delicious sweet potato casserole. I wanted to get that recipe all year, and last Friday I once again had dinner at their house and was finally able to get it. And proof of how good it is--there was another woman at the dinner who had been there last year who was asking for it as well!

So --here is the long awaited recipe, just in time for your Thanksgiving feast. Even those who don't like sweet potatoes will like this--as long as they do like coconut and pecans. :-)

Debra Beck's Sweet Potato Casserole

6 cups cooked and diced sweet potatoes
l Cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup butter (s0ftened)
1 cup grated coconut
1 TBS. vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter
Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, eggs, butter, coconut and vanilla
mix well and pour into baking dish. Combine topping ingredients &
sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture.

Bake 350 - 30 minutes
10-12 servings

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why I Love the Book of Mormon . . . or How Long Can You Carry A Grudge?

While reading the Book of Mormon a couple weeks ago, I was struck by the length of time the Lamanites could carry a grudge. Four hundred and thirty years after Lehi brought his family to the Promised Land, they were still angry over perceived injustices that occurred during their travels.

In Mosiah 10 we learn the Lamanites believed they were forced to leave Jerusalem due to the evil doings of Lehi, wronged in the wilderness, and wronged again while crossing the sea --all because of the iniquity of Nephi, who also unjustly stole the record of their people when he fled into the wilderness (to preserve his life). From generation to generation they taught their children to hate the Nephites. And so hate was spread from parent to child year after year, decade after decade, resulting in death and sorrow for many people.

My first thought was, "Wow! I am pretty sure I have no idea who offended any of my ancestors over 400 years ago. " I was amazed a legacy of hate could have been preserved for so many generations. But then of course, I was reminded of the problems in the middle east today as well as in other parts of the world and realized I was being a bit naive.

But what I also realized was the impact our teachings can have on our children for generations. We can teach them to hate and distrust, or we can teach love, faith and compassion. We can teach selfishness or we can teach service and charity.

My parents are great examples of teaching good qualities. My father is the most obedient and hard working person I know, and he has diligently tried to instill those qualities in his children. I remember well one Saturday morning when I was twelve and it was our stake's turn to pick cherries at the stake welfare farm. Sleeping late sounded so much better to me than getting up at 5:30 to work in an orchard. So when my father came to get me, I told him I couldn't find my shoes and therefore could not go. He suggested I wear another pair. So I told him directly, I did not want to go.

I will always remember his very unsympathetic response. He said, "Sometimes in life we have to do things we don't want to do, but we do them anyway because it is the right thing to do." That seems like such a simple and basic comment, but it and his example, have stayed with me and been the impetus behind my completing some very unsavory tasks.

I also appreciate the example of selfless service set by my mother. She has a very tender and kind heart and often reaches out to the poor and needy. While visiting my parents in Guatemala a few years ago, we were leaving to go on a sight seeing journey when I noticed my mother filling her purse with food and coins. And then as we traveled across town, she would give the food and money to the little beggar children holding out their hands at the stop lights.

So my thought these past few weeks is this, "What kind of legacy am I leaving my children?" Is it one of anger, hostility and selfishness? Or is it love, kindness and service? Am I teaching them to hold a grudge against those who might offend them, or does my example teach forgiveness?

I am sorry to say, I realized I need to do a lot better. But, that is one reason why I love the Book of Mormon . . . it helps me to see where I need to improve and improvement always brings . . . joy to my journey.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Guess Who Is Having A Birthday????!!!!

Happy Birthday to My Wonderful, Handsome, Strong, Brave, Adventurous, Smart, and Romantic, Husband!!

I love you!!

When I think of Wes I think . . .

1. Chocolate

2. Peanut M&M's

3. Someone who can visit a place once, not go back for ten years and still remember every road, building, tree etc. Amazing!

4. Die hard exerciser. Every morning at 5:20 you can see him out running his four miles.

5. Can remember where every scripture is.

6. Can't remember any one's phone number or what we are doing on Friday.

7. Amazing teacher

8. Adventurous!! If there is a mountain to climb, a river to raft, a cliff to rappel . . .

9. Romantic. Writes poetry, brings flowers . . .

10. Great foot massager.

11. Is never late, but never likes to go anywhere early either.

12. Rarely leaves an event until every chair and table have been put away and every dish washed.

13. Competitive.

14. Very competitive.

15. Smart.

16. Generous--with both his time and his resources.

17. Someone who always makes time for his kids.

18. Sports enthusiast. Can still out run, out swim, out play all of his kids in any sport. And the world was a much better place for him when the Yankees won the world series.

19. Patient. For proof you can go here and read about a time last year when I borrowed his car. The man is a saint!!

20. A wonderful husband, who is good and kind and perpetually young at heart!!

Happy Birthday

May you have many, many more!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time's A Wasting!! A Challenge.

I got this idea from Shannon . Ever since I read her post I have been thinking about it. What can you do in 15 minutes?

I consider myself a busy person and yet when I thought about it, I realized I waste a lot of time during the day. Often I will have small increments of time I think isn’t enough to do a large project, and so I fill up those few minutes with fairly meaningless activities instead.

Then I read Shannon’s post about all the things she could do in just fifteen minutes and decided I needed to rethink my day. Instead of saying, “Oh, I just have 10/15/20 minutes, I can’t do anything in that time so I will sit at the computer and catch up on Facebook, (or something similar) I decided to put my spare minutes to good use.

And this is what I discovered I could do in 15 minutes:

1. Fold laundry. I detest laundry but doing it in 15 minute increments is much more enjoyable for me—and it is better than ignoring it all week because I don’t want to do it.
2. Iron a few shirts or a couple pair of pants.
3. Pay bills
4. Clean the kitchen/do dishes
5. Touch up cleaning in a bathroom
6. Write a couple thank you notes
7. Take a power nap. (Not a waste of time when you never get more than six hours of sleep a night:-)
8. Prepare dinner menus for the week
9. Vacuum the upstairs. (I love vacuuming; I feel it covers a multitude of sins:-)
10. Walk a mile. (This is usually more helpful in the afternoon than taking the nap)
11. Read a couple Ensign articles
12. Write a few lines in my journal. I find it hard to keep a journal on top of everything else because I always think I need to write long entries, but I have started writing less, which has helped me to write more often.
13. Make a telephone call to check on a ward member. (You know the ones who aren’t at church on Sunday or you haven’t seen in a while.)
14. Catch up on emails. I need more time if I am going to respond to them all, but in 15 minutes I can usually read everything I have been sent and then prioritize my responses.

Thank you Shannon for the advice to use my time more wisely!! Now to the rest of you out there . . . what can you do in 15 minutes??

And just a side note . . . I am in party planning mode again. (Definitely NOT a 15 minute activity!:-) On December 1 we are having a Christmas dinner party at our house for about 36 people. Thankfully for this one I have two of my favorite party planners helping me—Jenny and Suzy!! I love those women!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Want to Hear a Beautiful Patriotic Song?

The music for this song was written by William Joseph, who grew up in my stake. He has an amazing gift for playing the piano and composing music. The instrumental for this piece is on his CD, but in this video Celtic Woman wrote the lyrics to his music and performed it live.

Even if you are becoming disillusioned with the way things are in our country today, I think the song will stir your patriotic heart strings. It is very beautiful.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why I Love the Book of Mormon or . . . What is Wrong With My GPS?

I have decided each weekend to post something about how the Book of Mormon applies to my life. This is not intended to be deep doctrine or even profound (as you will soon see if you continue reading :-) but it is meant to be a way to express my love for the book to my children who hopefully will read this.

So . . . This past week I was studying about wicked King Noah and how his evil doings influenced the people in his kingdom to become wicked as well. (Mosiah 11)The Lord sent the prophet Abinadi to warn the people that if they did not repent, they would end up in bondage. The people refused to change and the prophecies were fulfilled.

I found it interesting that the people were initially righteous under King Zeniff (Noah's father) but then got off the right path and started down a path that led to their captivity. They were sent a warning by a prophet to "turn around" and get back on the right path, but they ignored the warning--and in fact, killed the messenger.

That thought reminded me of a mountain biking trip I once took with my friend Lisa to Moab, Utah. Neither of us had been to Moab before, but armed with a map and a GPS system, we were confident we knew the way.

Some where along the trip, however, we got on the wrong road. Okay, I know you are wondering how that was possible with both a map and a GPS system, but now I will tell you something about myself you may not know. I am totally directionally challenged. And there was a little detour in the road that confused us. So there we were going in the wrong direction, but not knowing it.

Although our GPS system did try to warn us. In fact it kept telling us to "go forward 200 feet and make a legal U-turn." We couldn't figure out why we would have to go forward and then backward so we ignored the warning. Once Lisa did pull out the map and checked it, but the road we were on was very close to the road we wanted to be on , and our road was not marked, so we assumed we were where we wanted to be. . .

Despite, the repeated GPS warnings.

And eventually we turned off the GPS.

Then we saw smoke stacks in the distance. That is when we knew we should have listened. The smoke stacks are in Page, Arizona, which was definitely NOT the direction we should have been traveling.

After a quick lunch we made the hour trip back to the main road, continued forward a bit and then got on the path we needed and finished our journey to Moab, arriving two and a half hours later than planned.

What struck me was how Lisa and I were much like King Noah; so convinced we were doing what was right, we refused to listen to the warnings to turn around. And just like King Noah, we ended up in a place we didn't want to be. Luckily for us, we corrected our mistake and eventually arrived safely--which of course, is much better than the king who ended up being burned to death.

But my lesson for my children is this . . . as you journey through life, listen to those warning signals and make the corrections needed. It is easy to get so busy that we don't realize we have strayed from the path we want to be on. So, heed the promptings of your conscience, the Spirit and the words of the Prophets because the right path is the only safe way to travel.

And that little lesson from the life of King Noah, is one reason why I love the Book of Mormon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We have Good News and Bad News . . .

It has been a BAD news, GOOD news sort of week.

The BAD news . . . My sweet daughter Kathryn who is up at BYU has swine flu!! And I am here, oh so far away and can’t do anything to help her.

The GOOD news . . . my daughter, Kristen, who is also at BYU and job shares with Kathryn is still healthy. Kristen is in the thick of her major classes right now and can’t afford to miss any days, so we are praying her good health continues.

The GOOD news . . . Michelle (who just turned 16 and is a sophomore) made the VARSITY basketball team!!!

The BAD news . . . my life has now gone to the dogs. Or at least the dog (singular). Michelle is gone ALL day which means Lacy is my sole responsibility and being still in puppy mode, she wants to play . . . all day.

The BAD news . . . it is November and we are back up to 95 degree temperatures.
The GOOD news . . . it may be hot in AZ but we still have some of the most beautiful sunsets on the planet.

The GOOD news . . . I had a couple of my very best days in seminary this past week. On one day a student commented that she thought it was funny when the scriptures would say, “they cried out in one voice.” She did not think that was possible. I suggested that perhaps they were all just united in their desire, or it could mean exactly what it said, and the Spirit moved all the people at the same time. She did not see how that could be. Later in the same day, we came across a principle in the scriptures that was confusing to the students. As we began to discuss its meaning there came a moment when suddenly all the students understood and at the same time they all said, “Ohhhh!!! I get it.” In all my years of teaching I have never had a time when the entire class had an “Ah ha” moment at the exact same time. But then I realized not only that, but they had “all cried out in one voice.” It was so amazing to me how we were given an example the same day she asked how it could happen.

And the BAD news . . . the following day I put half my class to sleep. And this wasn’t just putting their heads on the desk and closing their eyes kind of sleep. It was shake them hard to wake them up sleep!! I promise that is a first for me as well. I wanted to do a reader’s theater but apparently it wasn’t enough to keep their interest. But . . . the good thing about seminary is you get to teach another lesson the very next day so they don’t remember a bad one for very long.:-)
I hope your week was all GOOD!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Husband Thinks I'm Pretty Cool . . . or was that Crazy?

To celebrate my friend Lisa's birthday we went with her, her husband, and another couple to
the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona!
It is about an hour and a half drive north of Phoenix, and cooler.

While there, we went on a jeep tour (guaranteed to provide an adrenalin rush) with our
guide Rocky.
We admired the foliage

And pondered the rock formations.

After the tour--which did have its adrenalin moments--we decided to take our own tour up Oak Creek Canyon to Slide Rock.
This is a natural water slide with about 36 degree water running over it.
In the summer it warms up a bit more and provides great relieve from the heat.
But in the fall it is just pretty darn cold!!
So, why did I get in it??
Especially since I don't even get in our swimming pool until the water temperature is about 85 degrees!
(By the way, that look on my face is PAIN!)

Because one of these men told me that if I got in, he would too!
(And he thought he was pretty safe saying that.)

So take that, Doctor B!!
Next time you might not want to be so quick to offer a challenge! :-)

And it was worth it!!
(Now that was an adrenalin rush!)
And although there were a couple times the cold took my breath away
and my fingers ached for about 20 minutes afterwards,
my husband kept telling me how impressed he was with me.
And that alone was worth the pain! :-)