Friday, November 27, 2015

FFF #35 2015--"When you are in the service of others....

You are only in the service of God."  King Benjamin

Sunday, Spike will give his primary talk on that subject.  As I have been pondering on the topic to help direct Spike in his preparations, I was trying to figure out where he acts in those doctrines.

Here is our story:
We have a lovely widow neighbor who lives across the street from us.  She is amazing and super sweet.  Her heart is good!  For whatever reasons, she adores Spike.  I think part of it is that she hears him yell and scream at us when we leave the house without a kiss and a hug.  He screams until we turn around and come back to give him one.  Then he tells us that we forgot the rules, "Never leave without a hug and a kiss from Spike!"  Anyway, our neighbor Susie loves Spike.

A few weeks ago, Susie brought us some dollar store plastic silverware to put into our flower garden to keep the cats from using it as a litter box.  She gave the silverware to Spike.  He thought it was his own, so he was extremely disappointed and angry when we used it the way Susie intended for us to.  I promised him that I would get him some more.  But I rarely go to the dollar store.
This week, Susie came over because she wanted some help making her cranberry relish for Thanksgiving.  I told her I would be happy to do it for her.  She makes this awesome and amazing fresh cranberry relish and has a special tool that hooks into the kitchen aid mixer, which I do not have.  So I usually borrow her attachment and make her recipe for our family.  But this year she asked if I would do hers for her.  No big deal.  I was going to make some anyway, I would just do hers also.

When she was over, Spike told her how disappointed he was that we had used the silverware she purchased for him to put into the flower garden.  And he asked her to get him more plastic dishes.  Susie readily agreed.
Later that day, she brought him two packages of silverware, a fun bowl, paper plates, paper bowls, and some napkins.  Spike was ecstatic!!  So much so, that not long after she left, he made her two thank you notes, without any prompting.  Remember Spike is four, so his note looked like this:

When it was about time, Susie asked me again, when I was coming over to make the relish, this time.  That is when I realized, Oh, she wants some company.  Super awesome!  I will come over and we will make it together.  I got myself organized and went over.  I spent two hours over there as we worked and she fed me lunch and cleaned out several of her cupboards to give things to me.  Then she told me some of her sorrows, how sad she has been this holiday, how much she misses her husband, how difficult it is with some of the things her daughter wants and is trying to change, and how much our periodic hugs and hellos across the street mean to her.  We have done nothing extraordinary---just living our lives and being personal with our neighbors.  But our 'normal' behavior, has been a source of light for Susie.
Now, this story would seem to be how much Susie helps us out, because she really does!  But I think it is important, as Spike shares his talk in primary, to realize that Spike really hasn't done much more than be a four-year-old boy, who lives across the street.  But because he is unafraid and he talks to Susie, as a person, it brings Susie joy and happiness just to watch her loud little neighbor boy across the street!!

She loved his card so much, that she told me she was going to put it up on the wall.

We just need to recognize once in a while, that sometimes, just being ourselves brings light to others.  We don't even need to go out of our way, even though sometimes we should, to share the light we have in our lives from the gospel of Jesus Christ!!

I really love our Susie neighbor!

Take a few moments today and thank those who bring that light to you, just by being themselves!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Like you do, we have a few favorite recipes that make Thanksgiving Thanksgiving around here.  The first is a corn bread stuffing.  I have loved my mother's stuffing since I was a little girl.  I have never liked any others.  A few years ago, like 20, my mother came to Thanksgiving at our house.  I asked her to make her stuffing.  While she was doing it, I said, "Really Mom?  Aren't you doing it wrong?"

"No, this is how I always do it."

Little did I know that in my efforts to duplicate my mother's stuffing, I changed the recipe and I like it better!  Shhhh.....don't tell.  So here it is:

Corn bread stuffing:

Make corn bread the night before.  I have done it from scratch, or you can just use the Jiffy Corn Bread mixes you can get at the store.  (We use three boxes, or double the recipe from scratch.)

Corn bread (already doubled):  2 C corn meal, 2 C flour, 1 C sugar, 2 TBLS baking powder, 1 tsp salt, mix up dry ingredients.  Make a well. Add 4 eggs, 1 and 2/3 C milk (almond or soy), 3/4 C oil.  Mix all ingredients well.  Pour into a greased 11x14 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

Saute 4 celery sticks, chopped and one onion, diced in 2 TBL oil.  Crumble corn bread into a bowl.  Put in sauteed veggies, 2 raw eggs, and 1 Cup of chicken bullion (flavored with a little extra bullion).  Mix into the corn bread and wet it to your liking.  Add more broth if necessary, or less if you like it drier.  Cook it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  (If you do not cover it, it will be drier and crunchier, or to keep moist, cover it with foil).

Serve with turkey gravy...delicious!  (If you are allergic to corn, like some at my house are, you can use cream of wheat for the corn meal.  I have done that.  It is alright and works, but I like the corn meal better, obviously.)

Grandma's Salad:

1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 medium avocado, cut into squares, peeled and pitted
1 can of sliced olives
Italian dressing

Mix ingredients and toss dressing into the salad.  Drew's grandmother makes hers with romaine lettuce and adds sunflower seeds.  (Drew doesn't like that part so we don't use it, and he insists on iceberg lettuce.)
add olives to this and get rid of the onions

Apple Pie:
(This is seriously the best apple pie I have ever had---and I don't like apple pie....but I love this one!)

Crust:  1/2 C Brown sugar, 1/2 C oatmeal, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 C melted butter, 2 C all purpose flour.  Combine all ingredients and pull one cup of crust mixture out for the toppings.  Press the rest into the pie plate.

Pie filling:  4-8 or more peeled, sliced apples--granny smith works best, 1 C. water, 1 C. sugar, 3 TBLS corn starch (I use 6 TBL of flour because of our allergies), 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, a few dashes of cinnamon.

Peel and core apples and arrange half of them on top of crust.  Combine water, and sugar.  Bring to a boil in a sauce pan.  Dissolve cornstarch in a small amount of water until smooth--add salt.  Pour into boiling mixture, stirring constantly as mixture will thicken quickly--about 10-20 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and cinnamon to your liking.  Pour over half of the apples. Add remaining apples and remaining sauce.  Work over a cookie sheet so as you lose ingredients they fall onto the cookie sheet.  Add reserved topping from the crust.  Bake 55 minutes at 350 degrees.
Recipe Courtesy of Apple Hill Farms, Northern CA

These are our must haves for Thanksgiving and what I will be spending my time doing while that glorious turkey is cooking!!

Have a beautiful day tomorrow and remember to give your Thanks to the great Creator of all the Earth and for the bounties we enjoy!!

Happy Turkey day!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

FFF #34 For Katie

I know you will read this eventually, so I will just post it here.....

Oh my gosh!  I miss you!!  I knew I would, I knew I was sad that you were moving, but good grief, I did not realize that I would mourn so deeply.

I have been eating my sadness since you left.  I realized it yesterday.  I knew I was having a difficult time.  Because it was all about the food, I was pretty sure I was sad, but I didn't have any idea why.  I told Drew.  He told me that it didn't have to be sadness.  It could be something else.  I felt invalidated.  He was not trying to invalidate me even though that is how I interpreted it.  He was wrong.  I am sad.

I woke up last night in the middle of the night (1 a.m), went to the bathroom and decided to step on the scale because it has been so long since I have.  I have gained five pounds.  I could see it in the mirror.  Great!  So I went back to bed and tried to fall asleep, but my mind kept turning and turning around my weight gain.  Not because I gained weight but because I knew that meant there was something emotionally going on.  As I lay there thinking and going over in my life what was happening, I recognized that I needed to look back to see when I started having trouble controlling my eating.  It has been a month--an entire month!  Right about the time you left.  I cried the day that I left you on the curb after we cleaned your kitchen for the last time.  But not since.  Then the sadness hit me and I just started sobbing.

I climbed out of bed and went downstairs so I could do that whole big UGLY cry (thanks for that term Linzy!!--I miss you too!) --and loud cry---without waking up Drew.  I cried and wrote down my feelings for another hour or so.  Then I wrapped up in a quilt and went to sleep on the couch.  I woke up when Speedy started moving things around in the laundry room to get ready for seminary.

As I thought about what it was I missed about you so much, I realized it was the deep sisterhood and love we shared.  You nurture me, emotionally.  We connect through our faith and our doctrinal experiences and understanding.  Even though we didn't spend a lot of time together, the time we did spend together was such nurturing time--whether I was venting and you were laughing at my crazy thoughts and my attitude, or whether you needed to unload something and get counsel.  I loved serving as your counselor by the way.  I enjoyed our meetings each week as we spent time trying to organize primary.  I loved going to exercise class, because you were there to talk to and the same thing about play group.  Since you are gone, there is no exercise class and no play group.
Today is quilting class, and I will think about you all day---not just because I am sad about you moving, but because quilting class is another of those things that we shared--another space where our lives touched.  Thank you for coming here!  Thank you for living in my ward!  Have a great time in New Mexico!!  I hope it is good for you and your family!  (And I LOVE your hair in your new profile photo!  Love it!)

But you know how some people come into your life for a moment, some for a season, and some for a life time?  We may not be in the same physical space, but I hope we can remain friends for a lifetime!  Now that I know  how sad I am that you have left, I hope I will allow myself to cry for at least a week--maybe until at least Thanksgiving.  And then I can think about all of the things I am grateful for instead of being sad that they couldn't last forever!
So now that you are reading this, you can do the UGLY cry too!  And then we can thank our Father in Heaven for our friendship and for our time together, even though we would both have wanted more!  When I am really sad, I am going to think about our temple trips and the fun we had on them!  And remind myself what your Brad told me--that if we got any more tickets on our trips, he was going to have to pull the plug on our outings!  Then I will laugh!  Hug your babies for me!!

I love you Katie!  And miss you even more!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christmas Napkins

In my quilting class we learned how to make these cool napkins!  I know I will only use them at Christmas, but I thought they were so cute and so easy!!
Just start with two pieces of coordinating material and cut a half circle...the little stem of the tree I added later.  I tried cutting it out with the material, but I never could make it look right and I liked the look of the opposite fabric.

 Then sew the circles together, right sides together.  Leave a hole to turn.  Clip the curves.  Turn it inside out and press.  I just leave the hole where I want to put in the stem of the tree.  The you just fold it and iron the folds.  Super easy, super cute!

See?  Super cute, super easy!  Now I just have to figure out if I am going to make a matching table cloth!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Spike's allergic reaction

Remember when I told you that my kids are really allergic?  Well, now I have proof!  Late afternoon on Saturday, Spike asked me to help him in the bathroom.  When I pulled down his little pants to sit him on the toilet, I noticed the hives all up and down his torso.  I stripped his clothing off and realized they were all over his front and back, down his arms, and creeping down his legs and up his neck.  I sent for the Benadryl and found the Caladryl lotion.  We lotioned up his little body, which he screamed through, not because it hurt but because it was cold and wet and he didn't like any of that and he was having a major reaction!  We calmed him down and got the Benadryl in him.  Then the only thing to do was to wait and see if that was enough to calm down the reaction.  Half an hour later, I wasn't sure it was enough.  An hour later and the hives were much worse than they were when I gave him the medicine.  Here are the photos an hour after the Benadryl.

As we were frantically going over everything he had eaten or been exposed to we couldn't think of anything that might have set him off.  Then Smiley sheepishly said, "I kind of forgot that Spike was allergic to peanut butter and I might have eaten a sandwich right next to him and then put my arm around him."  Seriously?  You didn't kiss him with your peanut butter lips or drink out of his glass or share your sandwich with him?  You breathed on him and maybe had some oil on your hands?  That is what caused this??!!  Good grief!

Poor little guy!!  I started to worry that maybe we hadn't taken care of the reaction.  Then I remembered that I had the cell number of my dear friend Sister ER nurse.  Oh Yes!!!  So I sent her a text and a photo.  She asked me a few follow-up questions about breathing, wheezing, swelling eyes, tongue, airways, difficulty breathing, medicine dosages and his weight.  Then she said, I could give him more Benadryl if I needed to.  I decided to watch and wait but at least I didn't need to go the emergency room.  Yea!  Poor guy!

It was another hour before the hives started to go down.  Then I gave him more Benadryl just before he went to bed.

But because our allergies are so severe, we have these:
An epi-pen

These babies are crucial in allergies such as ours.  They deliver one dose of epinipherine, just enough to keep you from totally tanking while you get yourself to the hospital.  This is the pediatric dose, but I have grown-up ones too.  Because, well, we have Slim, who eats before he asks what is in something.  That boy has been to the hospital more times than I want to count because of his peanut allergy.   And trying to convince him that he really needs to not only have epi-pens but also needs to keep them close to him is ridiculous!  

Anyway, all is well now and we didn't have to make a trip to the ER!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mixed Emotions

Today I am struggling with very mixed emotions.  On the one hand, it is officially the Thanksgiving Holiday!!!  I love thinking about the things I am grateful for in our lives.  We are so very, very blessed!!  The Lord has been very good to us and though we have trials and difficulties, our blessings far outweigh the bad stuff!
Yesterday was the anniversary of my husband's proposal of marriage to me.  He officially asked me on the 1st of November 1989!  I can always remember because our original wedding date was to be January 11, 1990.  But our sealer was out of town that day, so the week before the wedding, he asked if we could move our wedding to the 10th--which we did.  It was a beautiful day!  Even though it was a dark and gloomy and an overcast, frozen Utah afternoon, our hearts were aglow with love and hope!  It was suppose to be a white wedding (all the guests in white too) but our sealer was coming in on his lunch hour and didn't have time to change, so everyone was dressed in white, except the sealer.  It was a unique experience and memorable.

But yesterday is the anniversary of Drew and three of his buddies singing "Yes, Sir, that's my Baby!" in front of about 1000 people in my American Heritage class at BYU.  It was a crazy day!  I hadn't planned on going to class that day.  I don't remember why.  But I was in my dorm room, in my sweat pants, unshowered, hanging out in my room.  My best friend Robyn, came and knocked on the door.  We had a deal since both of us had a tendency to slack off sometimes.  I would periodically ride Robyn about attending class and doing homework and she would periodically ride me.  She was definitely doing her job that day.  I was not going to class.  I fought her the entire way.  She packed up my back pack, put it on me and basically kicked me out of the dorms.  She watched me too so I wouldn't turn around and go back to bed.

When I arrived at class, there were people crowding around the doorways and I could hardly get in.  Then, inside the auditorium, there were people sitting in the aisles.  It was never that crowded and there were almost always seats available.  But not that day.  As I reached the row where I usually sat (a few rows from the front in the middle), I heard the professor calling my name and asking for me to come to the front of the class.  Great!  In my sweats and a pony tail.  I looked lovely.  Drew and the guys came out onto the stage from the curtain and sang their song, barbershop quartet style.  They did a fabulous job and the audience loved it!  Then Drew took the microphone from the professor, jumped off the stage, knelt on one knee in front of me and asked me in front of all of those people if I would marry him.  It was crazy!  I hemmed and hawed a bit, the audience yelled, "Say yes!!"  "Say no!!"  Then I agreed and the audience roared.

It is a fun day to remember.

The mixed emotions part is because yesterday, the son of one of our friends, was killed here where we live in a shoot-out with the police.  I think he was 21.  We got the call because Drew is the Bishop and they thought he was a member of our ward.  His family had been.  They moved about a year ago.  Drew had been their home teacher and Bishop.  Another member of our ward called and told us about it.  Then there was a bit of a scramble as we tried to verify the story and his identity.  We were also trying to help the coroner contact his family.  Now we are just mourning with our friends.

For a while there was also a bit of a scare because an officer was shot and we were concerned he was our friend also--because the photos in the paper looked like our officer friend.  But our friend wasn't on duty.  His wife texted me and said that he was safe and the officer who was shot was expected to recover.  That was a relief.

Anyway, today in seminary we were discussing the reunion of Joseph (sold into Egypt) and his father Jacob.  They had been separated for 20 years.  Jacob had thought this entire time that Joseph was dead.  Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers at 17.  He was wrongfully accused of rape, after withstanding her advances day after day after day, and spent 7 years in prison.  Those are plenty of reasons to be bitter and angry at God.  Instead, Joseph become leader in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh and saved Egypt and the house of Israel from seven years of famine!  God used all of the bad things the people did to Joseph to put him into a potion where Joseph could fulfill the desires and plans of the Lord and save two nations!  And Joseph wasn't bitter or angry!  He recognized God's hand in his life, and forgave his brothers for the part they played in it all!  He was an amazing man and prophet!

The seminary manual states this about Joseph:

“The spiritual greatness of Joseph is a remarkable thing. How many people have become bitter over some real or imagined slight, or blamed the Lord for some personal tragedy? In the very midst of being faithful and holding true to that which is right, Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison. How easy it would have been for him to give up, to say, ‘What’s the use of trying to serve God? All He does is punish me.’ But there was not a trace of bitterness, no blaming the Lord. Joseph just continued being righteous and faithful. Unselfishly he offered to interpret the dreams of his two fellow prisoners, telling them that the knowledge came from God (see Genesis 40:8). He still trusted in the Lord, although he must have felt doomed to spend his life in prison. If any person had cause for discouragement and bitterness, it was Joseph, but he never faltered in his faith. Truly, Joseph is a model to be emulated” (Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 95).

And this quote:

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught how the Lord used the evil designs of Joseph’s brothers to give Joseph amazing opportunities:

“You must trust the Lord; if you are righteous, his purposes will be served. Joseph in Egypt did just that, having many opportunities to become bitter over the way he was mistreated. He not only rose above his difficulties, but lifted others, feeding millions of starving people. Even though his brothers had intended to do evil to Joseph, the Lord used those evil designs to give Joseph opportunities far beyond his boyhood dreams!” (“I Am But a Lad,” New Era, May 1981, 5).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught about not getting discouraged when facing difficulties. He once counseled his cousin George A. Smith:

“Never be discouraged. … If I were sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top” (in John Henry Evans, Joseph Smith: An American Prophet [1933], 9).

I was just thinking about the differences between Joseph's responses and circumstances and what happened to our friend's son.  One made choices which allowed him to save two nations, literally he saved the lives of millions of people (including their decedents).   The other, our friend, made choices that have cut his life short and now he has no opportunities---to save himself or any of his posterity.  Tragic.

I hope and pray that his family will be able to find peace and forgiveness for their feelings toward their son and brother and for the officer who performed his duties and took the life of their son.

Here is the story of an amazing man, who was able to do just that.  Enjoy the video!
I think there is a new movie out about Chris and his story--"Just Let Go"

Watch the movie.  Apply the principles!  Remember this season what you are thankful for and then tell God why!