Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Faith and Good Works

I have been thinking a lot about how what we believe translates into everyday life.

I believe that eating my daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables is something I should be doing.  I believe that exercising will keep me healthy and strong.  And I even believe that if my children do something I disagree with that I should love them into doing the thing that is right.

So why is it so easy to eat chocolate when I am hungry, get distracted with life at home instead of going for a walk and yell when we're late and that certain child will.not.get.her.shoes.on. ?

I suppose it is because living what we believe is not always easy.

I think it is easy to question our beliefs when we give into temptations.  Speaking spiritually, when we do something that we know isn't in tune with what our Heavenly Father would have us do we may find ourselves begin to question what we know is true.  Or perhaps worse: we may become complacent.

I have never questioned my faith in God.  That has been a great blessing in my life.  And yet, if I'm not careful I find myself in some state of complacency far too often.  Yeah, yeah, I know I should eat a healthy lunch before I pop chocolate chips into my mouth.  I'll just hurry and do it before anyone sees, because I know I'll eat my veggies.  If the kids ate chocolate chips before lunch they wouldn't eat theirs, but I'm an adult and I... blah, blah, heard that one before.

I think the key to most of life's conundrums is diligence and consistency.  Reading scriptures every day really isn't such a difficult thing if we have made it a priority in our lives and have made time for it.  It's easy to think that we'll get to it after we check our e-mail, but unless we do those little things that matter most first we are treating vital things lightly.

After He is resurrected, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him.  (John 21) This is Peter the rock we are speaking about!  An apostle who had gone through all manner of trials and tribulations in the name of the Lord.  Of course Peter loved his Savior.  What Jesus was asking Peter to do was to act on his love.  To "feed my sheep."  It wasn't enough just to feel something, to know something.  Peter had denied Jesus thrice prior to his Crucifixion, denied although he did know and love his Savior.  Believing isn't enough to change.  Believing won't bring us salvation.  We have to live what we believe.  That is what Peter did from that moment on.  He lived his religion and translated those beliefs into acts.  That is how he became the rock.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 says, "If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments."

So how do I use this knowledge to keep those resolutions I made at the beginning of the year?

First I have to change.  I have to believe that I can accomplish those things.  I suppose before that I have to actually want to change.  Not just wish it.  I have to want to be healthier more than I want chocolate.  Then, I make a specific plan as to how I am going to accomplish my goal.  (I.e. stop buying chocolate, and when it shows up, have only one serving after I've had a healthy meal).  I must be diligent and consistent from day to day.

Thankfully there's repentance, but if I really want these things out of life- to become more like Jesus Christ- then I have to translate these goals into daily living.

So here's a kick start from President Thomas S. Monson.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A thought of thankfulness

I haven't written much since our big move.

I suppose I'm written out.  I started a family newsletter that I try and send 3 to 4 times a month, and it just saps any creative energy I've got.

So I thought a post on gratitude would be in order.  How better to do that than sharing some scriptures?  This is from Psalms 107:

‎21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.

28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

It's so easy to take things for granted.  How grateful I am for a reminder to thank the Lord for His marvelous 

works in my life.

Monday, September 5, 2011

listening to train horns

I guess I'm in a contemplative mood tonight.

Sometimes drastic life changes are beyond our control, and after the whirlwind lifts we wonder "what in the world just happened?" 

A week or two ago I was taking out the garbage at night.  I looked around me and thought, "Now how did I get here again?"  Although my surroundings felt so very foreign at the time I felt peaceful and knew that everything was how it should be. 

After all, we're here and we're going to make the best of it.

The most difficult, instant home-sick inducing thing is thinking of how so very far away I am from (seemingly) everything that helped to define my sense of 'me'.  My ancestors walked over two thousand miles in all to get to Zion, and most of the family has been there ever since right down to me.  And then I up and move off to the foreign reaches of the continent. 

I was missing my family very much the other night, so I got onto google maps and took a tour of my childhood neighborhood.  I felt strangely better dragging the mouse down that lane. 

And those stars above me are the same that shine over my mountain valley hometown and all those people that I love.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Manly ratcheting roof straps

We pulled into our new life last Friday amid tremendous claps of thunder and a leaky car roof.  After fighting for survival on the freeway through the torrents and crazy semi-drivers, and plugging the water spouts in the car with diapers, we zipped right to our eldest daughter's new school to register her for class... which we thought started Monday.  We soon came to find out it started last Wednesday. 

It seems like a sort of dream waking up in some strange place, doesn't it. 

Today the clouds finally parted and I was able to get a look around.  I had prayed for mountains, and we have been blessed with more rolling hills than mountains.  (I think there should be a federally mandated definition of 'mountains' so as not to confuse those from true mountain ranges).

It's hard not to calculate 'home' right back into the equation, but I'm trying to envision life here for the long term. It is nice to know we're not being held against our will, though!

In a few ways, it reminds me of Japan here. Rain. Humidity. Green. It is exciting to be in a new place.  And, I've already been able to use my Japanese!  (In Wal*Mart during a mad-crazy back-to-school buying frenzy).

The people here are very friendly and extremely courteous. We feel really blessed to be members of the LDS church.  Anywhere in the world we may roam, we find loving and caring friends at church.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

So, um, what now?!

Big, LIFE ALTERING changes to come.  Freaking out.  Almost.  Anyone have any advice for moving across the country site unseen?!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A short testimony

So we are in a transitory phase in our lives.  We've had some sudden potential opportunities come up.   It almost feels like I am just watching someone else's life at the moment.  I'm not sure why it is, at times, so difficult for me to internalize sudden changes, but I'm trying to remind myself that pretty soon life may become drastically different.  Or not.  And that may be just as tricky!

I suppose I'm in a contemplative mood.  This is dangerous while blogging because I am given to stream of conscious-esque writing, which I end up deleting anyway.  Recently there has been a string of tragic events in the lives of many of those around me that I love.  It's almost shocking how many different people I know that have had something really devastating happen just this last week.  I've found myself wishing that I could wave a magic wand and somehow make everything all right again.  I've also found myself on my knees in prayer.

It is at times like these that I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I believe that we are all children of our Father in Heaven, and that He knows and loves us each individually.  I have felt His Spirit bear witness to me that this is true.  I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can be healed from whatever tries our soul, from whatever torment or pain we experience in this life.  I believe that if we turn to our Father in Heaven, come what may, that all these things shall give us experience, and shall be for our good

Mosiah 16:9

9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

Mosiah 3:17

17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Slithery Encounter

Today we went walking with our friends, the Yahnies*. Initially we went so we could find a letterbox at Parley's Nature Park, but the gate was locked due to the torrential river which was threatening life and limb.  At times it is best to take precautions.  Besides, I am partial to our lives and limbs.     
So instead we decided to stroll along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and hike to the bridges that span the highways.   We started down the lovely, paved path when Ls made a beeline right for a large stick.  A stick that kind of looked like a... SNAKE! 

After I shrieked a quick warning to absolutely not go near the stick snake, we all froze to make sure it wasn't really a snake after all.  And then the stick slithered its tongue.  EEEE!  This thing was at least 3 1/2 feet long.  And it was golden with black checkery marks.  And it was slithery.  And it was a snake.

After some research upon returning home, I discovered that there are 31 different species of snakes living here in our state.  7 of which are venomous.  Of course I didn't know that at the time, and venomous or not I prefer not to share my immediate vicinity with them.  Or any vicinity, actually.  Besides, a one in 4ish chance it could be venomous is WAY too high for me.   

Moving on with the story, we were, well, waiting for the snake to move on.  Ls and the Yahnies' little gal tried to go inspect our slithery friend, but we moms said "No way."  We gave the thing PLENTY of room.  It didn't look like a pit viper to me, but I took a picture anyway just in case. 

After our glorious bridges crossing experience, we came home quite exhausted but ready to find out what kind of snake it was.  And thanks to the DNR we found out it was a gophersnake.  Thank heaven it wasn't that Egyptian Cobra escapee from the Bronx Zoo out on the town again.

And, just in case you're curious, here's a quick and handy guide for what to do if you're bitten by a snake and how to tell venomous snakes from non-venomous ones.  Not that you'll ever catch me close enough to one to find out.

*In order to protect the innocent, I purposely mis-spelled this name.

"I'm not about to go out and buy a snake for a pet. I mean, I may have faced a few fears but I'm not insane." -Kristin Davis

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fooshy Elevator Music

Back in college our phone had "technical difficulties".  Some may think "issues" would be a more fitting term.

This was in the days before widespread cell phone use.  Back then cell phones plugged into car cigarette lighters and had their own battery cases attached.  Those were corded, too.  A former boss of mine told me she used to work with a crisis hotline and had to carry around a cell phone the size of a large brick and hold it with 2 hands back in the day.  But I digress...

This was a land line.  It plugged into the wall and had a long, knotted, twisty cord that tethered you in the kitchen.  And it was beige.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, there was some kind of radio interference and somehow it picked up the local soft rock station.  So whenever we used the phone we would suddenly hear fooshy elevator music.  Alas, the person on the other end of the line couldn't hear it.  (I always thought it was some kind of conspiracy to up the station's listener count).

One day one of my best friends, Jessica, called me with wonderful news.  She was getting married!  She started giving details and was so exciting to tell me everything that I couldn't break in to tell her how hard I was trying not to laugh.  Not that getting engaged is funny.  No, I was very happy to hear that, of course, but there was this sappy love music  playing over the phone the entire time.  I have never had to bite my knuckles so hard to keep from breaking up.  If only she could have heard that lovey music and known how elegantly it accentuated her news.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A recipe for health. Sort of. And a few secrets...

Quite often when the sickies come to stay at our house, I make a big pot of soup.  We've been sick so often this season that if I had done that, we'd have eaten nothing but!  This time around it's strep throat, AGAIN, mixed most probably with the common cold.  Somehow I have escaped the strep and hope to stay that way.


Undeniably the worst part of soup for me is handling raw meat.  (A side effect that never went away with my first pregnancy).  Thankfully, today an epiphany came to me.  And so, I give you this home made recipe:

Momma K's Quick Soup
1 large onion
4 carrots
3 stalks celery
1/2+ c. rice (I used par boiled today, but any kind will do)
8 - 10 cups of your favorite broth (I used chicken)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme (I mashed mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tsp. minced garlic
Garlic powder, to taste
Thick sliced luncheon meat.  I used Costco's roasted turkey lunch meat.  Thick and yummy.

I think that this is all I used.  I rarely use a recipe, I just throw things in as I go. 

First, slice up the onion into very small square-lets.  I suppose this would be called mincing them. 
Saute in oil.
Throw in the rice.
Cut carrots, throw in, cut celery (including leaves), throw in. 
Add broth, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, to taste. 

When the rice is nearly done (check cooking times on the package.  Different types cook for different amounts of time) chop up as much lunch meat as you want and throw it in.


I added lime juice to ours, and I served with lime wedges and tortilla chips.

Another soup secret, if it's too hot, just sprinkle with a frozen vegetable such as peas or corn.  This works well with chili, too.

And one more secret.  We wash out glass containers (such as jelly, etc) with screw on lids and use them to put leftovers, such as soup, in.  They are also handy when we make soup for others.  No worrying about having to return anything!

And, for desert we had fruit salad.  I just chopped up strawberries, bananas and apples, squeezed lime juice over it, and sprinkled with sugar.  Stir and serve.  (You can add any fruit you want, of course).

My wonderful vising teachers dropped off a sickness survival bag with all kinds of wonderful things, including Emergen-C.  So, hopefully we'll be all recovered in no time! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Musings on One of the Best Days of the Year - April Fools!

So, today is one of the best holidays ever.  I have always loved April Fools' Day.

I can't describe the joy we had each year that Mom fell for the elastic-band-on-the-sprayer trick.  (She would just stand there screaming and doing a little quick step and getting sprayed on until someone finally quit laughing long enough to turn off the faucet).  She even admitted to me this morning how disappointed she was that she hadn't been sprayed yet today.  Maybe one of my siblings that live closer will fulfill her secret wish.


Thank heavens for me Family Fun always has fun ideas to keep my unsuspecting loved ones on their toes.  Like, for instance, this little gem:

"Easy to Grow - Fun to Eat"

Last year I made their faux-berry pie (shepherd's pie died with beat juice made to look like cream pie).  I also had drinks that looked deceptively refreshing that were actually cups of jello with straws.  

Alas.  I didn't photo-document it. 

This year I made up a fake parking ticket and stuck it on Mr. A.H.'s car.  (I also got the idea from Family Fun, here, but made up my own to look similar to our local tickets.  Not that I would know what they look like).  He totally didn't even notice.  But my sister did.  She and her husband thought they had been cited.  Until they noticed me filming them from the porch and snickering. 


Those were sis's exact words.  :-) 

And now.  Some friendly guidelines for enjoying this most merry of occassions revenge free.  (Hopefully!)

1.  Don't do anything mean.  Remember that golden rule!

2.  Don't lie.  In the words of Gram (roughly):
"If you've replaced the salt in the shaker with sugar, don't say, 'Would you like some salt?'  Say, 'Would you like some of this?'"  Jewels of wisdom.

3.  Pre-planning pays.  Don't be the one stuck running to the Dollar Store at midnight for fishing line and confetti.  Save those last minute trips for Christmas Eve.

4.  Don't break the law! Or else, you know. You're a law breaker. And we don't want that to spoil the fun.

5.  If all else fails, you can always hide patiently behind the door for an unsuspecting victim. 

So now if you'll excuse me, I'm totally going to go sign up for Chore Camp.
Doughnut Seeds look and taste strikingly similar to Honey Nut Cheerios.