Sunday, September 28, 2008

Relief Society General Broadcast




Last night, I went to the stake center to watch the broadcast. I sat with some of the sisters from my Spanish-speaking ward. I love the RS general presidency and like to hear them speak. I couldn't believe it when Sister Allred said that members from 5 countries got together for the first organized temple trip in Costa Rica and the area and they had to travel all the way to Mesa, Arizona. An amazing example of sacrifice! The spirit was very strong in our stake building when we sang Rejoice, The Lord is King. It was beautiful.

My favorite talk last night was by Elder Uchtdorf. He compared his cooking to his wife's and how his wife cooks very well, but always apologizes for something that isn't perfect to her. On the other hand, he can only cook fried eggs and toasted French bread (I'm not going to try to spell the real name), but he feels "heroic" when he cooks, even if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned. He said that is an example of a difference between many men and women. Men are more often satisfied with their efforts, while women see only the flaws. (Anybody else notice that before? He he) He talked about the 2 principles to find a path to peace: 1) Creating (lives, art, food...) 2) Being compassionate. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from his talk.

"To me, it appears that our spendid sisters sometimes undervalue their abilities. They focus on what is lacking or imperfect rather than that which has been accomplished and who they really are."

"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create."

"In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance."

Isn't he great? I can't wait to hear him talk in general conference next week!

If you didn't get to see it, you can go to http://byu.tv/ and click on LDS Church Broadcasts and you can view it there.
After the broadcast, our stake had homemade pies, but I didn't have any. Some sisters from the ward had already planned to go out to eat dinner together. We went to a Chinese restaurant. I took my camera to the meeting so I could get a photo at the restaurant, but we all went in someone else's van so I didn' t have my camera...so no photo. We each ordered something different and then all shared. I didn't have 2 of the dishes since they have shrimp and I am allergic, but the ones I had were good. It was a fun, uplifting night.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Funny Kids and Strange Traditions II

Funny Kids:
Sabrina was listening to Playhouse Disney and This Old Man, he played one... came on. She thought they were singing "Disco Man". Now we always sing "Disco man" instead. If you listen to it, it kind of sounds like that.

Elisa wasn't feeling well, but decided she would go to the store with me. She was sitting in the van with Sabrina before we left the driveway. Sabrina dropped something and it rolled too far away for her to reach so I asked Elisa to get it. She had to unbuckle and get it. Then we started leaving and she said, "I always have to do things when I'm sick." But she quickly said, "Oh, you have to do everything when you are sick, Mom. It's not that bad for me." (I guess that's more of a sweet thing, than a funny one.)

Sabrina asked me when we were going to the potato thingy in Salt Lake. I have a rule that we aren't supposed to use the word "thing" if we don't know what we want to say. They have to describe it. So she said, "You know the roads where there are lots of roads and some are up high." It took me a few seconds to figure it out, but then I said, "You mean the spaghetti bowl?" Yep, that was it. She knew it was food related.

I don't have any funny things about Alex right now because of my bad memory, so I'll say something good. I went to his midterm parent-teacher conferences yesterday and he is doing really well in all of his classes. His highest is a 105.05% in English and his lowest is 93.96% in pre-algebra. His band teacher said he is doing great with the trombone and he even asked if he could play the Darth Vader theme song (or something like that) for the class after he figured out how to play it on his own at home. His pre-algebra teacher said that maybe he should be in algebra instead, but usually only 8th and 9th graders take it. He always tells me the class is too easy. I wish I had that talent! His English teacher said that Alex should take honors English next year and that he scored second highest in the school on the reading level test. All my children love to read--at least for now. I won't brag about what every teacher said, but it was so nice to hear how great he is doing. Last year was a bit of a struggle for some reason.


Strange traditions:

Every night after Alex, Elisa and Sabrina say their prayers, I always sing a song to the tune of Frère Jacques. The words are: "Buenas noches. Buenas noches. Te amo. Te amo. Besos y abrazos. Besos y abrazos." And then kissing sounds instead of the bell sounds. I made it up when Alex and Elisa were little and still do it every night. Then I ask them to tell me the best and worst things about their day. They don't like to go to bed until we do both of them.

This is one the kids don't do as often now as they used to. When we used to be stopped at a red light they would chant, "Verde, verde", which means "green, green". Then if we were coming up to a light that we couldn't see yet they would chant, "Stay green if you are" over and over.

In order to encourage us to show love to each other and serve each other, I started a tradition a few years ago. I have a stuffed bear holding a box that has a lid. If you have the bear, you do something nice for someone in the family, write them a nice note and put it in the box with the bear. Then you put the bear on the person's bed. It is fun to see them do things for each other and to be so happy when they get to read the letter to them and fun for me too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

David Lindsley

Occasionally I take my children to the Springville Art Museum for their Community and Family Night that they have once a month. Months ago we went and David Lindsley was the guest artist. I didn't know who he was at the time. He is the artist who painted the picture of Joseph Smith that is on the Relief Society/Priesthood manual this year. If you'd like to see a full version, you can follow this link. http://www.lds-art.com/brother-joseph-by-david-lindsley.html The most interesting thing about it to me is that he was given a copy of the real death mask they made of the prophet Joseph Smith so that he could use it when painting him. David Lindsley brought it and we got to see it. That was the best part for me-to see it myself and for my children to see it.

Besides that painting, he brought several of his other works with him. He is very talented and his pieces are beautiful. He illustrated for the book Daughter of a King by Rachel Ann Nunes. My favorite painting he took to the museum was Little Tender. I did find out his website and went onto it later that week. He only had a few prints available for sale there, but not the ones I wanted.

Then a couple of months ago, I was driving in Mapleton and saw a sign that said ART SALE. I thought I'd stop to see what was there since I've been looking for pictures for my walls. It was David Lindsley selling some of his prints. I bought a beautiful one called Safely in His Arms. I also bought a larger one of Jesus with the Nephites. He said that he painted it for a temple in Arizona. I can't remember which one he said it is in.

Check out his website: http://davidlindsley.com/ He not only has his paintings and prints, but he has his new project. http://www.bearubs.com/ They are kids books and coloring books that are really cute. There are also games and activities for kids on that site. Sabrina has fun on there.

Safely in His Arms http://davidlindsley.com/notecard.asp?ID=3
Little Tender http://davidlindsley.com/images/tender2.jpg

Monday, September 22, 2008

An easy way to give...How awesome is this?



Have you heard of these sites? I've checked them out on Snopes.com and they are legitimate. You really can help others from your home spending time on your computer. It's really that easy.


*http://www.thehungersite.com/
I started going there years ago when I first heard about it and went every day. Then somewhere along the way, I forgot about it, but recently found it again. All you have to do is click on a button on the website and the sponsors pay for 1.1 cups of food to be given to the needy. There are also links there to click and help with literacy, breast cancer, child health, the rainforest and animal rescue.

I just found out about this one. It's a game, a learning opportunity and a way to give all rolled into one. It's a vocabulary game that rewards you with grains of rice for each correct answer. The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program. Some school teachers are even giving extra credit to students for using the site. You can change the subjects of the questions also (Spanish, art...).


You know you sometimes waste time on the computer anyway, so why not use a little of that time to help others. (I took the photos in Ecuador, but the food goes all over the world.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This Week's Recipes


Irresistible Low-Fat Chocolate Brownies
This recipe is very easy and I don't feel as guilty eating them as other brownies. (So I can eat half a pan, right?) I have used fat-free sweetened condensed milk too. When I took the photo, I made the brownies and then used a cookie cutter to cut out circles. Then I stacked 3 per person and put each person's initials on their own tower. It's just sitting in pureed strawberries.
1 (14-oz) can low-fat sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. cocoa
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
4 Egg whites
1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In 2-qt microwaveable bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa and chips. Cook in microwave on 100% power for 2 minutes or until chips melt, stirring after each minute. Stir in remaining ingredients. Turn into prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until center is set. Cool. Store tightly covered at room temperature (if there are any leftovers).

Shishlik (Israeli Skewers)
This marinade makes the meat sooo tender and full of flavor. I grilled it outside and we all loved it.
1½ c. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
2 T. salt
½ t. pepper
½ t. dried thyme
2 lbs. beef steak, cubed

Make the marinade by combining all ingredients except the meat in a bowl and mix well. Add the meat to the marinade; mix and coat well. Marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator; drain liquid and skewer the meat. Broil skewers in a preheated broiler for about 7 minutes on each side or until cooked OR cook on grill. Brush with olive oil before serving. Yield: 6 servings
Raspberry Cream
We love drinking our fruit...everyone except Sabrina.
1 c. orange juice
1 c. raspberry yogurt
1 c. vanilla frozen yogurt
½ banana chunks, frozen
1 ½ c. frozen raspberries

Pour all liquid ingredients into the blender. Add all frozen ingredients. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Yield: 3 to 5 servings

Funny Kids and Strange Traditions



My kids are always making me laugh or think. I wish I would have written things down when they were younger so I could remember what they did. Here are just a few things I do remember. It's easier for me to remember Sabrina's moments since she is the youngest, it's not that I love her more. :) Hopefully I will think of more. I also put some traditions we have in our family in case my senility gets worse so I can be reminded of them.
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When Alexander was about 6 years old, we had him make a bank to save money for his mission. We told him it was for his mission fund. He decorated it and wrote on it "Missin fun". I hope that's not how he feels when he's on his mission (even if it's true).


Elisa and I were in the car when she was 4 years old. I could hear her counting in the backseat. She'd count "1" and then a pause. "2" and another pause. When she was up to 30-something, she asked me if I knew what she was counting. I said I didn't so she told me that she was counting things she was grateful for. I asked her, "What are you grateful for?" She answered, "Forks so we don't have to eat with our hands. The garbage men and the garbage truck for getting our trash so it's not in our house."

The other day, Sabrina stuck her lips out far and said, "Look at me. My lips were made for kissing!"

Sabrina adores dogs. She asked me recently, "When dogs die, do they get to be Gods with their own world too?" When I told her that only people do, she said, "Too bad. That would be a fun world."
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When we are in an elevator with no one else, the kids and I walk around in a circle over and over until the door opens. Then the person who is closest to the door when it opens is the winner.

Before Christmas, we each buy a pair of "silly socks". They can be stripped or have pictures on them or anything. Then on Christmas morning, we put them on before going downstairs to see what Santa brought and we keep them on all day. The kids have lots of fun finding a different pair every year.

One April Fool's day when Alex was in kindergarten or first grade, I put a couple of drops of food coloring at the bottom of 2 glasses. Then when Alex and Elisa were ready for breakfast, I poured the milk in the glasses in front of them, but not where they could see the bottom of the glasses. The milk looked like the white milk was turning green as it was being poured into the glass. I told them it was magic milk. They wanted to see it again. I tried to be sneaky again, but Alex got too close and saw the food coloring after the second time. Even though they know the trick, they want me to do it every April Fool's.


I sang the song Beautiful Dreamer to all my chilren when they were babies and Sabrina still wants me to sing it to her every night. If Robin is home when the kids go to bed, he sings her his version of Duérmete, Mi Niño.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Really?


Do you remember the post just a few weeks ago where I was about to cry and even ask to be released from my calling as Sunday school for the 12- and 13-year olds? Well, I do! Friday we had an Enrichment meeting and it was nice. It was just a dinner and game night. During the dinner, a sister came up to me and handed me a note, saying that she wrote it a while ago, but didn't get around to sending it. I opened it and read it. She was thanking me for making her son feel welcome in the Sunday school class and that he's really enjoyed going. She has been so grateful since he was reluctant to attend our ward, but has learned a lot in class.

I hope it doesn't sound like I am bragging. I know I still have a LOT to improve on and learn, but it is so nice to hear positive things. I just hope it is true that I have done something to help this young man feel welcome and am grateful to the mother for taking the time to write the note. It's the first time in the 3 years that I've been doing this that I got a thank you note.

I've been trying to find ways to help my students participate. They don't like to do most activities that I try to get them to do, like skits or presenting information to each other. Even when they read a scripture, usually the one reading will read it fast and it will be hard to understand even if you are listening, but the others don't listen. That includes when I give them a question ahead of time to find the answer to in the scripture. So, I came up with just a few things I'll be trying. I bought a spiral notebook for each student and let the decorate them with stickers today. Every week we'll have an assignment to do in the notebook. Sometimes it will be having them write their own thoughts on a certain subject or with a specific question and sometimes it will be other things. I also handed a calendar of the new Spiritual Thought assignments. Each week one of them will get a turn to give a spiritual thought on a topic of their choice. I told them it could be a scripture, a quote, a personal story, a poem, or a summary of something they read in the New Era or somewhere else.
I have been focusing on one or two important topics to talk about and have activities on instead of trying to get through the whole subject matter for the lesson. The manual we use is the same one that the adults use and the needs are not the same. I try to remember this quote when planning my lesson:
“Your highest priority is not to get through all the material if that means that it cannot be properly absorbed. Do what you are able to do with understanding. . . . If a key principle is understood, internalized, and made part of the students’ guidebooks for life, then the most important objective has been accomplished.”

Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Understand and Live Truth,” 2–3.

It is easy for me to just tell them step by step what happened in the chapters we are studying, but it is boring for them and for me and the students don't really learn that way. I know they need to discover the truths and the Spirit in the scriptures for themselves and I only have them for less than an hour once a week to help them discover such an important thing.

“An answer we discover or obtain through the exercise of faith, typically, is retained for a lifetime. The most important learnings of life are caught—not taught.”

David A. Bednar, “Seek Learning by Faith,” Church Educational System broadcast, February 3, 2006, 5; emphasis added.

It's easy to plan the lessons based on those truths, but it's not always so easy for me while I am teaching and no one is listening to me or the Spirit. I will just keep praying and continue to know that if I do my part, I will be blessed.

For any gospel teachers reading this (which does include mothers and MANY other roles), here are a couple of wonderful treasures to read.

Gospel Teaching by Elder Dallin H. Oaks


The Power of Student Discovery and Sharing by John Hilton III

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ask & you shall receive

Ever had that happen to you? In the last blog I asked, "How can I have more perfect faith? How will I know if I do?" Today I finished listening to the book on CD Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by Gene R. Cook, an emeritus general authority. It is a good, easy book. He uses experiences from his life as a husband and from his callings to teach about faith. At the end, he asked the same question I did. How will you know if you have enough faith? He said that you should check your reaction when you do not get what you want and pray for. It is easy to say you were faithful once your prayer was answered in the way you wanted, but it demonstrates how strong your faith is when Heavenly Father's will is not yours.

So, I thought back on my reactions. Unfortunately, I seem to often have a will of my own. I would love to know and immediately accept the Lord's will, but sometimes I have a desire that seems righteous and I pray and fast, but it isn't what Heavenly Father has planned for me. It goes back to the quote below. Do I have faith to know that he knows what is best for me? That he is in control and can change things or take away problems IF that is what would help me progress and grow? That whatever he wants me to do is absolutely what I should do without doubt or questioning? Sometimes I have felt great peace and love when things don't go as I planned. I have been faithful. Other times, I have been more rebellious and questioned what else I could have done to change the situation instead of accepting that Heavenly Father sees the end. He sees why what we go through is necessary. I don't. I am glad to have this blog to write down these thoughts so I can remind myself the next time something doesn't seem to go the way I hoped.

I was also excited to see that Gene R. Cook wrote several books in Spanish. He served as a mission president and other callings in Latin America so he knows Spanish. I love listening to books on CD or reading them (when I can), but so often I can't share the best of them with the people in my ward who don't know English. There are not very many LDS books in Spanish, especially considering how many members speak Spanish. I hope that some of the wonderful, special members who do speak Spanish can start writing some so that those members can feel uplifted and educated the way that I can.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Faith that He sees me

"To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love."
Richard G. Scott, “Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 16

Faith is my middle name and I love it. It is a nice reminder to me of what is important. I have been thinking about faith often lately. How can I have more perfect faith? How will I know if I do? I love the quote above. Faith is not only believing that Heavenly Father exists and that Jesus really did suffer and die for each of us, it is knowing that our loving Heavenly Father knows us and sees us always. He is always aware of our heartaches and our joys, our weaknesses and our efforts to progress. The more I learn and grow in the gospel, the more I can see His hand in my life. I am planning a Family Home Evening lesson for 2 Mondays from now that is on accepting the will of the Lord and prayer. It may not seem connected, but it really is. They both have a lot to do with faith also. I will post my lesson on here to share the quotes and ideas I find.

Off topic---Thankfully, the Sunday after my last post, my Sunday School class went much better. I decided to do several activities (even though they often don't want to participate). First, I broke them up and had them build towers with Sabrina's blocks. I was afraid they'd think it was too juvenile, but they seemed to enjoy it. We talked about how important a good foundation is to build on, like Christ being our foundation. Then later as we read in Helaman about Nephi and Lehi being named for the prophets so they could always remember to be like them. I found the meanings for the names of the students in my class and printed them out. I gave them to each of them and asked them if they thought their name was appropriate. They all wanted to know what each other's names meant. I didn't know they'd enjoy that part so much. I have a few new things planned to introduce for next week, but I'll write about that another time...maybe once I see if it works or not.

Blueberry Cheesecake Crumb Cake

Bursting blueberries in every bite! I made this coffee cake that I found on  Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts  (even though it's not a ...