Veteran’s Day 2015

* image found online through google search

Veteran’s Day in America, Armistice or Remembrance Day for many others, is a day to remember those who served to protect the freedom of their friends, families, and those they have never and will never meet. Today is a day to show your gratitude and appreciation of the sacrifices made by every person who defends their country, and protects those within her arms. I hope those who read this have or will thank a veteran in person or through prayer. Remember that they put their lives on the line to protect our great Republic.

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I am reminded of the passage in Alma Chapter 46 when those who follow the Lord are in danger. Captain Moroni stands to lead the righteous and Title of Liberty is flow high, proud, and for all to see.

And it came to pass that as many as would not hearken to the words of Helaman and his brethren were gathered together against their brethren.

 And now behold, they were exceedingly wroth, insomuch that they were determined to slay them.

 Now the leader of those who were wroth against their brethren was a large and a strong man; and his name wasAmalickiah.

 And Amalickiah was desirous to be a king; and those people who were wroth were also desirous that he should be their king; and they were the greater part of them the lower judges of the land, and they were seeking for power.

 And they had been led by the flatteries of Amalickiah, that if they would support him and establish him to be their king that he would make them rulers over the people.

 Thus they were led away by Amalickiah to dissensions, notwithstanding the preaching of Helaman and his brethren, yea, notwithstanding their exceedingly great care over the church, for they were high priests over the church.

 And there were many in the church who believed in theflattering words of Amalickiah, therefore they dissentedeven from the church; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi exceedingly precarious and dangerous, notwithstanding their great victory which they had had over the Lamanites, and their great rejoicings which they had had because of their deliverance by the hand of the Lord.

 Thus we see how quick the children of men do forgetthe Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.

 Yea, and we also see the great wickedness one very wicked man can cause to take place among the children of men.

 10 Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake.

 11 And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.

 12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

 13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and hebowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christiansremain to possess the land—

 14 For thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the church of God, called by those who did not belong to the church.

 15 And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took uponthem, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.

 16 And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.

 17 And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on thenorth and on the south—A chosen land, and the land ofliberty.

 18 And he said: Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions.

 19 And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying:

 20 Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, andenter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.

 21 And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running togetherwith their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God; or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments.

 22 Now this was the covenant which they made, and theycast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying: Wecovenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression.

 23 Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed ofJoseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain.

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September 11, 2015

14 years ago today the United States of America was devastated. Planes had been commandeered and New York City had seen two of the greatest trade centers demolished. Emotions were ripped apart as thousands of innocent people  felt the impact of what happened. After the destruction on September 11, 2001, the American people rallied together to rebuild and to defend their country. It didn’t matter what a person looked like, how he sounded, what sum of money was in his bank account- what mattered was whether or not he was willing to work and put in his share to help rebuild a nation that was traumatized.

I had a realization today. I realized that even though I have not walked long on this earth, there are those who have walked a shorter time. And they don’t remember what happened- they can’t remember what happened. What they know about the country during that time is what we show them. As the same can be said to me about other times of abundance and times of trial. The level of reverence that those who come after us have for history is the responsibility of those who lived through it to pass on the truth. How can a child know of the lives that were given in the name of their freedom if there is no voice to teach of that gift? How can a teenager be expected to respect his nation’s flag if there is not an instilled sense of respect for what that flag represents? How can God be relied upon for strength if one knows not that He exists?

Many say remember September 11, 2001- remember the lives that were lost. I say remember September 11, 2001- remember the lives that were gained- the fires that burned for freedom in the hearts of men. Remember September 11, 2001 for those who stood to defend the God-given-unalienable right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Remember the spirit of kindness and generosity and compassion that was exhibited. But don’t just remember the memory; live the memory. There is no memorial to the amount of money that was lost in the rubble. The memorial is to the lives of those who were in the wreckage.

When lives were about to end, lawyers and accountants weren’t the ones receiving final financial instructions. When lives were about to end, friends, and family were receiving calls and texts filled with “i love yous” and apologies. People were making right past mistakes and saying good bye to those they cared about. That is how our lives should be lived. Fighting and anger causes nothing but pain.  Every moment should be about making sure those around us know how much we care. The message we should remember from September 11, 2001 is that now is all we have and that our freedom and our loved ones are worth protecting.

My prayer is that whoever reads this may remember that all we really have in this life is the moment we live in and that all we take with us is who we knew and what we learned. So remember September 11. Remember what happened that day. But also remember that how we react to life is also a choice. We can either cower and fall or rally and stand strong. Strength comes from Him and He tells us to love one another.

May you find strength, hope, and peace today. Tell your loved ones you love them and live your moments to their fullest.

And may God bless the USA.

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A Light Dust of Snow| Poetry

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A light dust of snow, far from last late frost.

Soft bright rays beam down, fairylight not lost.

Shine upon my maid, Youth is yet her friend.

Sleeps she ‘neath branches, sweet dreams yet to send.

To laugh and still dream, through hardship and strife,

’tis but her choice course, through trials of life.

Just as the blossom comes after the rain,

so does the smile just after the pain.

Such is the pathway through darkness to bright,

bring oh thou sunshine, bring joy and bring light!

Bring spirit and spark, bring lilac’s clean scent.

Revitalize Hope, her dear chorus rent;

Troll bells of mercy, forgiveness its due.

Do always remember, to ever press through.

 Fear not, my maiden, there is yet a plan.

For now just delight, and day dream ’til then.

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He Is Risen!

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Stock-Image-Separator-GraphicsFairy21“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.  And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communedtogether and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart tobelieve all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, heexpounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burnwithin us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself:handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them hishands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus itbehoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should bepreached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye beendued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”

~Luke 24 KJV

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My prayer is that you had a wonderful Easter celebration. Our Lord is RISEN! He has paid the price and all we need do is accept His love, guidance, and ever loving present gift of atonement.

May you be blessed and find your strength in Him who overcame all.

Quick and Easy | Strawberry |Shortcake

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Stock-Image-Separator-GraphicsFairy21Strawberry Shortcakes is one of those iconic desserts that make a person dream of a beautiful shining day. Images of endearing garden parties, and lazy summer afternoons, family barbecues, and cute little girls with heads of curls are procured when the words “Strawberry Shortcake” comes to mind. However, there is an ideal for the romantic ideal of this scrumptious treat that is hard to reach and often intimidates those lovely dreamers who yearn for their most perfect summer time delicacy.

The recipe I have to share with you today, is simple and satisfies the desires of one so enthralled with the romance of this sweet but tart cake. But purists be forewarned. This recipe is not for those who believe a boxed cake mix is the end of quality times and that a certain brand of vegetable shortening starting with a “C” and ending with a “-risco” is a sure fire way to illness. This treat is definitely on the side of boxed mixes and commercial shortenings. However, it is just as wonderfully delicious (and in all honesty much healthier) than a store bought cake. There really is something to a good homemade cake and some splendid fresh fruit that just isn’t in cake that comes in a package.

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy recipe!

Quick and Easy Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 box yellow cake mix and the ingredients listed on the back to make the cake

Frosting:

I used the butter cream frosting recipe as in my lemon-berry cupcakes post minus the fruit juice flavoring

1/2 c LIGHTLY salted butter

1/2 c vegetable shortening of your choice (I prefer the one in the blue packaging with a giant “C” in the name)

4 c confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:

1/2 lb of fresh strawberries sliced thin

Instructions:

Make the cake per instructions on the back of the box mix.

Following the baking directions for the 9×13″ pan

While the cake is baking…

Cream together the shortening, butter, and vanilla.

Add 1c of powdered sugar at a time until it is all thoroughly mixed in

Mix until desired consistency and chill until ready to frost

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ONCE the cake is cooled frost and layer the strawberries evenly on top.

Serve fresh or cover in the refrigerator and let is sit overnight.

I like it better served chilled overnight but fresh is just as scrumptious!

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“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?” 

– Samwise Gamgee, The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkein

 

Purim

This last Thursday was Purim.

Although I have never traditionally celebrated the holiday, as I am not Jewish, it is amazing to think we still know the date of when Esther freed her people.

I hope this video helps you better understand what happened on that day so many years ago.

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“To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves ad for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.”

Esther 9:31 KJV

Sunshine and Sundays

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Such a beautiful Sunday here at Mt Hope.

It’s wonderful to have these days of warm days of sunshine to break through the rain and fog.

“You can make the pathway bright,

Fill the soul with heaven’ts light,

If there’s sunshine in your heart;

Turning darkness into day,

As the shadows fly away,

If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

If there’s sunshine in your heart,

You can send a shining ray

That will tun the night to day;

If there’s sunshine in your heart today.”

You Can Make the Pathway Bright, LDS Hymnal #228

Sweet Sisters & Pumpkin Pie

Today was another beautiful Sunday. During women’s group today, I was asked to take 10 min from my time in the Children’s Sunday School to sit in for the announcements. The sisters had chosen me as the spotlight for February and one of the sisters, who coordinate the monthly spotlight, made me a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts and she wanted to bring me a pie. It was such a sweet act and the pie tasted phenomenal!

One of the most amazing things to me is when I see people serve with pure intent. They have such a light about them that brings true joy. We need to be like that. Maybe you don’t bring someone a pie or give them special attention during a meeting, but sometimes all a person needs is a kind word or a smile. There are so many opportunities in our lives to share a little sweetness and make someone’s day good. A minute of your time could be the turning point in someone else’s. You never know who you will touch by just being friendly.

Make that change in your life today. Take a minute to help another. It doesn’t take much to make a difference.

Always remember that true service starts with a smile.

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“And faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.”

Doctrine and Covenants 4:6

 

Care for Yourself First

In our world, there are many evils. There are many in need, and there are many who believe following Christ means always putting those in need before themselves. These people end up giving so much of themselves that they forget to take care of the most important thing that allows them to do their service: their own body.

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My next challenge for those who read this blog is to work on your personal life. Work on improving your health, building your strength, reading the Word, and spending personal time with the Lord. Once you are on track with your own self, everything else will start to fall into place.

I will help you along the way by starting a new series of ideas that I have personally found effective in improving my physical as well as my spiritual health. A great place to start is to follow my
Natural Pampering Board on Pinterest. I found some great recipes and ideas to help you feel better without using anti-depressants. You’d be surprised what citrus, strawberries, and sunshine does for your mood!
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Many people have heard the cliche, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing”. And if you haven’t, heard this, you can most likely understand the intent. When one is in poor health, there is little they can do that does not take its toll on their stamina, and eventually their spirit. Think about when you have the flu. Are you physically able to bring help to those in need? Maybe you can write a sweet letter, or call someone in need of support. But if you have a high fever, or a cough, or sneezing fits, it is unlikely that you are wanting to get a family sick by bringing them a meal or working in their yard.
The Lord asks us to be servant minded. He wants us to be ever sharing our blessings and talents with others. But we can not give all of what the Lord asks of us if we are not caring for ourselves.
I have learned this the hard way. When I was in high school, I was so focused on what others were doing or what they needed that I forgot to take care of myself. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I wasn’t necessarily eating badly but it wasn’t great, and I was trying to balance too much. I was over burdened and under prepared. Now, I was able to touch many lives, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. But the one regret I have is that I wasn’t good about maintaining my own health and I reaped what I had sewn. I had headaches and I tended towards being more susceptible to illness.
Currently, my desire to change my bad habits has truly started to make a difference. I have a while to go before I’m back to where I am as strong as I was, but they are improving. I have found that when I am feeling better, not only am I better prepared to live my life for the Lord, but I am better able to follow the Spirit and truly notice and enjoy the blessings the Lord gives me.
I hope that through this, I can help at least one person start to feel better and feel closer to the Lord.
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“And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones;”
Doctrine and Covenants 89:18