First, an apology for the last cartoon I posted. I guess I am a little naive. It has been replaced with a more appropriate one. If you missed it, don't worry--it's probably better that way. (Thanks to the good friend who filled me in!)
Sore throat today, but 5 classes to teach. I am not sure how that will work. I may be dead by bedtime tonight.
Some friends of ours lost their daughter in a bike-car accident last night and we are in shock over her loss. I cannot even imagine the pain of losing a child.
On a lighter note, Kitty has learned to do a back handspring on the trampoline. She has been working hard at tumbling lessons to learn this. Now I need to get some pics of her.
I had fun going out to lunch for VTing yesterday. My partner and I have the two best ladies to teach! Mary is one of the most positive people I know and always willing to help. Kathya is fun, energetic, and a wonderful mom. I am learning so much from each of them.
Our dishwasher stopped working two days ago. I have been trying to find a spare minute to go buy a new washer-dryer set, but maybe it will have to be three appliances now. At least having a broken dishwasher gives me good reason to get take-out for dinner each night!
I guess that's it for now. I have to get ready for work. Hope your day is going well!
This recipe (found in the current issue of BYU Magazine) sounds so delicious. The only problem I can see with it is the 1/2 cup of butter used for the thickening roux. I may have to play around with this to see if I can reduce the amount of butter and make it healthier. If I can find a spare minute...
2 (14 oz) cans of diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup finely diced onion
1/2 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
In a large slow cooker, combine the first 8 ingredients listed above. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
About an hour before serving prepare a roux: Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour; stir constantly with a whisk for 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup of hot soup from the slow cooker. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Pour all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, and salt and pepper. Cover and cook for another hour until ready to serve.
Although I applaud your strong personality and individuality, may I offer a small suggestion? While talking to others, it may be a good idea to refrain from moving your lower lip piercings around from the inside with your tongue. It is rather distracting for whomever you may be speaking to at the time (at least it was for me) to see the studs shifting in and out through your skin. Just a thought.
Yesterday in church I got a nice surprise. The bishopric counselor called the Primary presidency up in front of the Primary children and read a letter the bishop had received last week. This past summer we had followed Elder Andersen's counsel to read the Book of John. Then, a month ago we had sent to Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles a package full of pictures the primary kids had drawn of their favorite stories of Jesus from the Book of John. The letter the bishop received was in response to our package. This is the text of the letter:
September 30, 2010
Dear Harris 2nd Ward Primary,
Thank you so much for the wonderful letter you sent. How impressive that you accepted the challenge to read the Book fo John. I especially loved looking at all of the beautiful pictures you drew of your favorite stories of Jesus. Your pictures reminded me of how many wonderful stories of Jesus are found in the scriptures. Thank you so very much!
May the Lord bless you as you continue to learn and grow closer to Him.
Kindest personal regards,
Neil L. Andersen
We made copies of the letter for all the kids to take home, but I have the original letter and will save it.
Tonight we went to Serranos for dinner to celebrate Patch's birthday (pictures of that to come). Anyway, while there I asked the waiter if they could bring me some carrot sticks to eat so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the chips. Sitting there trying not to eat chips and salsa is SO hard. The waiter told me they don't serve carrots--not even in their salads. I was disappointed and resigned myself to using as much willpower as possible.
In the meantime we waited for my parents and Steve's mom to show up for the meal. I colored a picture with Emily, sipped my water, took a few pictures, and (I confess) ate three chips. I also noticed that two elderly women in the booth opposite us paid their bill and left.
My parents showed up a few minutes later and we were talking about Patch's birthday when one of the elderly women from the booth opposite us came back in the restaurant and came up to my table with a bag of baby carrots she had bought at the neighboring grocery store. She handed them to me and said, "I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to support you in your effort to make healthy choices."
I was really touched by this small, but very considerate, gesture and thanked her for her thoughtfulness. I don't recall a stranger ever being so kind to me before. My mom was embarrassed for me, but I truly did not mind. I simply opened the bag of carrots and munched happily away.
Recently the Keepapitchin' blog (a fabulous Church history blog) republished these darling paperdolls, which originally ran in a 1969 Friend Magazine. They came in handy for me because I had been asked to speak to the Activity Day girls about getting an education to help prepare for the future. So, I had the girls color some of the dolls while I spoke. Oh, and I made sure the girls knew they were not limited to being only a ballerina, nurse, artist, or teacher. In fact, I asked them what they would like to be and then showed them how to make clothes for that profession. Click the link above to get more paper dolls--some for boys even.
L. Tom Perry, of the Quorum of the Twelve
Twenty-five years ago in General Conference, Elder Perry recalls speaking about four lessons from the story of Daniel; he did so with his 12-year-old grandson, Terry, by his side. Recently, Terry's son just turned 12 and received the priesthood. Elder Perry relates the story of the restoration of the priesthood in latter days. The Aaronic priesthood has the power of the keys of ministering angels and outward ordinances (story of a YM advisor in a ward fast and testimony meeting telling of walking to church and seeing the deacons collect the fast offerings). Ezra Taft Benson said, "Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned the Duty to God Award and is an Eagle Scout. Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a young man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life." Prepare to advance in the Aaronic priesthood and to receive the Melchizedek priesthood.
Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve
Elder Bednar spoke about the phrase, "Receive the Holy Ghost." In 1839, while Joseph Smith was in Washington DC speaking with the President, he explained that the belief in and understanding of the role of the Holy Ghost is a major difference between the church's beliefs and those of other religions. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead; He is a personage of spirit. Revelation is conveyed throught the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost bears witness of the Savior. The power of the Holy Ghost can come upon anyone--this is how people gain a testimony of gospel principles. The Gift of the Holy Ghost, though, comes only after baptism and only through those worthy to bestow it. Baptism by immersion is the introductory ordinance and baptism by fire follows. Although the confirmation ordinance is simple, it is profound and should not be overlooked. The Holy Ghost does not become operative just because of the ordinance; rather, we must live and act worthy of it:
1. We must sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost.
2. We must appropriatly invite the Holy Ghost into our lives.
3. We must faithfully obey God's commandments.
President Larry R. Lawrence, of the Seventy
Elder Lawrence speaks to parents of teenagers. The current YM/YW theme is "Be strong and of a good courage." Now is a time when courageous parenting is needed. Challenges and temptations are coming at our teens at the speed of a train. If your daughter was on the tracks and a train was coming, would you not warn her? Alma the Younger, in counselling his son Corianton, said, "Command thy children to do good..." Alma taught his sons and let them know when they were doing wrong. In contrast, Eli's sons went unrestained and caused many problems. Parents should not be intimidated by their children; it is not a popularity contest. If parents do not feel good about something, have the courage to say 'no.' Prevent heartache by disallowing teens to pair off too early--speak up and intervene beforehand. This is vital. Sleepovers are not good. Five fundamental ways to fortify our kids are family prayer, scripture study, FHE, family dinner, and 1-on-1 interviews.
President Per G. Malm, of the Seventy
In downtown Stockholm, Sweeden there is a tree-lined boulevard. One tree was very hollow and full of waste. A steel belt and wire anchored the tree to buildings and helped it to remain standing. As we grow step by step in the gospel we are able to stand tall and strong. There is an invitation for all to come unto Him. We can find rest by tearning after and following Jesus Christ. This gives us a firm hope that is an anchor to our souls. If we turn away from the Lord then a hollow feeling will come and our thoughts and actions will turn to waste. We need to lift our thoughts daily. "Wickedness never was happiness." President Malm tells the story of his grandmother who sent a child to buy eggs. The hollow tree eventually burned down and was destroyed. Beware of things that can destroy us from the inside out.
President Jairo Mazzagardi, of the Seventy
President Mazzagardi's granddaughter asked him, "What is sin?" Sin is intentional disobedience to God's commandments. President Mazzagardi tells a parable of a fence post and a tree. Sin can sneak into our lives if we let it (D&C 88:144). We should go to bed early and rise early. Forms of sin are everywhere, including on the computer and cell phone. Pornography is destructive. We need to confess and forsake sins. In 1 Nephi 10 - 12 there is another tree, but this tree can bring us great blessings. If we partake of this tree's fruit we will have great blessings.
President Mervyn B. Arnold, of the Seventy
We take upon us the name of Christ when we partake of the sacrament. What have you done with His name? President Arnol's parents died leaving very little earthly goods behind; but they had given their children something greater than silver or gold. They had taught their children the gospel, to give service, and to live well. Helaman named his sons after Lehi and Nephi to help them to remember. How will our names be remembered? In For the Strength of Youth it talks of freedom of choice and that this comes with consequences. President Arnold tells a story about when his wife, at age 15, was to take care of a herd of cows. Fences are there to help protect us. Protect your good name for future years. The grass is never greener and "Wickedness never was happiness." Before you act, picture the Savior standing by your side. For surely He is there.
M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
In fall, all nature is in a state of transition. Fall is a good time for fly fishing because the trout are extra hungry. Fly fishermen make lures by hand to try and trick the trout. Lucifer does the same to ensnare us. He knows our hunger and weaknesses. He will not voluntarily let go because he wants us to be miserable. He is clever and cunning. He uses addiction to steal away our agency. In addiction, the brain's pleasure center is activated and overpowers judgment and morality. Trying to break free is hard. Too many people are becoming addicted to and abusing prescription medications (story of addicted woman who lost family). Stay away from any substance that may entrap you. Follow dosages carefully and keep them away from kids. Gaming and cell phone texting are also addictive. To escape addiction one must start with fervent, sincere prayer and speak to priesthood leaders. The church offers additional resources to help.
President Thomas S. Monson
Take time to read the conference talks in the Ensign. Serve selflessly and effectively. We live in a troubled world, but will endure and overcome if we nourish our testimonies. Show increased kindness to one another.
It is nearly 10 pm and I am just coming home from substituting two classes on Red Mountain CC campus. I am teaching two evening classes for a professor who is having knee surgery. One of the classes is a killer 7:10 pm to 9:50 pm session. Typically, such a class goes for 50 minutes and then takes a 10 minute break, repeat, and then finish up. Well, I just taught straight through with the intention of ending at 9:30 instead. By 9:15 the students started complaining that their regular professor has never kept them so late (never later than 8:30 pm, they say).
Boy, did I feel like a dork. Next week I won't kill myself trying to fill the time.
PS, I have my remaining conference notes almost ready to post. They will definitely be up tomorrow sometime. Sorry for the dely. As you can tell, today was crazy.
President Henry B. Eyring, 1st Counselor in the First Presidency
President Eyring prayed about what to speak about and received an answer: trust in the Lord. God sends messengers and messages to His children to build trust in them so they will obey. In the premortal life, those who chose not to come to earth lacked trust in God. Jonah, Peter, and Nephi are scriptural examples of men who showed trust in the Lord. Trust can build families (personal story of paying off their mortgage after hearing the counsel of the prophet) and trust can bless communities (story of Norwegian woman in Great Depression placing clothes on her porch). The Lord places people in positions who will help. We show trust when we listen with real intent and then go and do.
Elder Boyd K. Packer, of the Quorum of the Twelve
The youth live in a time of great confusion. It has been 15 years since the Family Proclamation was given and things have disintegrated more. But God still intends for us to be happy. We have our agency, which Satan cannot forcefully take from us. The power of procreation is important and should be shared only between a husband and wife. Satan seeks to degrade us and pornography is like a plague. Some say unnatural behavior is okay, or that we can vote to alter what is right. But we cannot change God's moral standards. D&C 81: 10. Repentance and forgiveness are stronger than Satan; angels will coach you as you try to forgo sin.
Elder Jay E. Jensen, of the Seventy
Elder Jensen prayed for his own testimony while on his mission. The Holy Ghost helped him know God and Christ are real. The roles of the Holy Ghost include teach and testify, identifies what's good, and leads one to do good. While on a mission in Argentina his grandson died and he was comforted by the Holy Ghost. They wanted to be with family, but couldn't. President Hinckley taught that the Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, Book of Mormon, and the restoration are the four cornerstones of our faith. He compares Joseph Smith to Lehi.
Mary N. Cook, 1st Counselor in the Young Women Presidency
Sister Cook has a new granddaughter named Ruby. Her mother is starting today to teach her to be righteous. She is doing this by: first, being an example in faith (story of Lucy Mack Smith setting faithful example, which Joseph Smith followed) and second, being an example in purity (For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet teaches what we need to know, especially in relation to media and technology and dress). Sister Cook tells of the example of her Aunt Carma Cutler.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks,of the Quorum of the Twelve
We have two lines of communication with God:
1. Personal prayer: no mortal intermediary is required; it is through the Holy Spirit and is an essential part of God's plan because it allows each of us to gain a personal witness. Prayer is dependent on our personal worthiness and is important for personal and family guidance. Two warnings regarding prayer include:
a) In its fullness prayer is not independent of the priesthood line of communication. The Gift of the Holy Ghost and the sacrament both require priesthood.
b) One cannot communicate reliably through prayer if s/he is disobedient or out of harmony with the priesthood line.
2. Priesthood: is principally there to guide the Church and has additional intermediaries of Jesus Christ, the Church, and leaders. the restored priesthood is at the heart of the priesthood line, which is the same line spoken to us today. Living prophets hold the keys to the priesthood. Do not underestimate the importance of the Church or its blessings. Organized religion is essential for the perfecting of the saints. Two warnings regarding priesthood include:
a) Priesthood doesn't supersede prayer; do not rely on others in the priesthood line for your testimony.
b) One can't function fully or properly in the priesthood if not worthy or obedient.
Both prayer and priesthood are essential to God's plan (Moses 1:39). Jethro taught Moses to teach the people to use both lines of communication.
President Thomas S. Monson
President Monson's thoughts have turned to Christ and service. In Luke 17 is the story of the 10 lepers. Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Gratitude helps us recognize our blessings. We should walk with the spirit of thanksgiving. President Monson tells the story of the feeding of 4,000; this miracle occurred after Christ gave thanks for the little food they did have. We should focus on our blessing instead of what we lack. Gratitude is a divine principle taught in the scriptures. We can lift ourselves by cultivating an attitude of gratitude. It is the greatest of all virtues and the parent of other virtues. A prayerful life is the key to developing gratitude. Do not take for granted those things that money cannot buy, especially people and loved ones. Frequently express love and gratitude to family. President Monson tells the story of Gordon Green and how the family took inventory of their farm on Thanksgiving. To live with gratitude in the heart is to touch heaven.
Note: The choir for this session was called a "family choir" from two different cities in Utah.
Elder Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency
Sustaining of Church Officers
Elder Robert D. Hales, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Hales spoke on agency. The LDS view of the word 'agency' is unusual; it means the ability to choose to act with responsibility for our actions. Agency is a key component in the Plan of Salvation. Satan wanted to take away our agency, but his plan was turned down. One-third of the host of heaven chose to follow Satan. Because we chose to follow Christ we came to earth and still must exercise our agency, continue to choose to follow Christ. Our opportunities diminish when we don't choose the right. Christ chose to atone for our sins. Story about varnishing the floor and ending up stuck in the corner. The world teaches many falsehoods about agency, much like the story of Saul in the scriptures.
Elder Quentin L. Cook,of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Cook tells of being named after a British radio announcer during the WWII bombing days in Britain. They cities had to black out the light to make it safer. "By the light of Christ all mankind are saved." Our primary effort is to seek out the light and to black out those things (i.e., pornography) that assualt morality. If we do not blackout such things, do not be surprised if our peace in the home is shattered. Live the gospel in the home; you will be protected if you do so. Be a source of light in your community. There has always been an ongoing battle between church-goers and secular people. No one's voice should be eliminated. All have the light of Christ to some degree. We should behave with honesty (story of person whose bishop sent reimbursement for office supplies stolen) and treat others as our brothers and sisters (story of Wilbur Force and "Amazing Grace"). Preserve light, hope, and morality in our society.
Bishop Richard C. Edgely, 1stCounselor in the Presiding Bishopric
We can choose how we react to challenges/attacks; choose faith. Faith is a choice because it requires effort. In Alma 32 there are many action words used to describe how to grow faith. Bishop Edgely bears testimony of the atonement and says that he bridges what he doesn't know with his faith. At that point we can have the "perfect faith," which Alma mentions. Let us choose faith. If our testimony is weak, do not throw out the seed. There will always be a trial of faith. Bishop Edgely has never seen a mountian moved because of faith, but he has seen a mountain of doubt removed, a mountain of sin removed, and a mountain of pain removed because of faith.
Elder Kevin R. Duncan, of the Seventy
The winter after the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake valley was very challenging and many did not want to stay. Gold had been discovered in California and some did not feel the desert climate would be good for growing crops. But Brigham Young said, "Here we will stay." Some had faith while others were skeptical. Protection in this life comes from following the living prophet. We would do well to investigate what the Lord tells us through the prophets (Amos 3:7). Our very salvation hangs in the balance in doing so. Elder Duncan repeats the same 14 principles by Ezra Taft Benson as quoted by Elder Costa in the Saturday morning session.
Gerrit W. Gong, of the Seventy
Elder Gong tells his family history of becoming members of the Church. His parents were married three times: once in a traditional Chinese ceremony for family; once in a civil ceremony for friends; and once in the temple. The temple mirrors remind us of eternity and our divine nature and destiny. Forever families can be seen in temple mirrors. The eternity of family relationships is depicted there. The power is in Christ to save us.
Elder Neil L. Andersen,of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
No one is left immune from the influences of the world. In the scriptures there is an account of some who left off following the Savior; then he asked his disciples, "Will ye also go away?" The road to discipleship is not for the faint of heart. Refining experiences will deepen our testimony. Two warning words we should watch for are 'offended' and 'ashamed.' Hundreds of things could offend us at church. Do not let your injured spirit protect your personal ego (story of Frederick G. Williams). In Lehi's vision of the tree of life there were those who partook of the fruit and were then ashamed. We can all love Christ (even without obeying); but Christ taught, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Choose not to be offended or ashamed.
Richard G. Scott,of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Our faith can have far-reaching effects if it is centered on Jesus Christ. Faith is the building block used to create galaxies, as well as quarks. We need to have faith in the future--that we can overcome. Faith builds character. The more your character is fortified, the better you can exercise your faith. Character and faith go hand-in-hand. A righteous character is a most valuable object to own. Five principles of faith include:
1. Trust in God
2. Obedience to His commandments
3. Sensitivity to promptings of the Holy Ghost
4. Implementation of these promptings
President Thomas S. Monson
President Monson spoke briefly to start the conference and announced the rededication of the Laie, Hawaii temple next month. He also announced five new temples to be built (Lisbon, Indianapolis, Hartford, Tijuana, and an additional one in the Philippines). After this announcement, President Monson encouraged members of the church to do missionary work. He reiterated the idea that all worthy young men should serve a mission and should keep themselves pure, clean, worthy, and healthy to do so. The church also needs "many, many more" senior couples.
President Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the 12
President Holland spoke on gratitude for faithful members of the Church. The Church draws strength from the faith and devotion of its members. He specifically thanks YW and YM leaders, and selfless parents. President Holland tells the story of his parents sacrificing to pay for his expensive mission; his mother took a job and his father worked extra hours. His parents never told him while he was serving that they were not using his mission funds to pay for the mission. They sacrificed for his welfare. President Holland pledges to be better, more charitable and true.
Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President
Sister Wixom started her talk relaying the story of Joseph Smith needing bone surgery as a child. He was brave and simply asked for his father to hold him during the ordeal. As members of the church we need to reach out to the children so we can help them through their challenges and help anchor them to the gospel. It is our opportunity to teach them the Plan of Salvation. Reading the scriptures daily with the children is a big part of this; she relates the story of a young family reading the Book of Mormon together, three verses a day to begin with. The world will teach our children if we do not teach them. Prayer is another important principle to teach the children. A story of a mother having her children pray while driving in a snow storm illustrates this point.
Claudio R. M. Costa, of the Seventy
President Costa is a convert and testifies of the importance of having a living prophet on the earth (Amos 3:7). He tells of hearing President Ezra Taft Benson speak to students at BYU about prophets and repeats President Benson's 14 points:
1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything. 2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
4. The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
6. The prophet does not have to say "Thus saith the Lord" to give us scripture.
7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
8. The prophet is not limited by men's reasoning.
9. The prophet can receive revelation on any matter--temporal or spiritual.
10. The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly. 13. The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency--the highest quorum in the Church.
14. The prophet and the presidency--the living prophet and the first presidency--follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.
President David M. McConkie, 1st Couns. Sunday School
A teacher's attitude is what matters in the teaching process. A Teacher's attitude and spirit are more important than their experience. President McConkie tells a story about a Danish immigrant teaching 15 year old boys; the language barrier was a challenge, but he changed their lives nonetheless. A good teacher:
1. Immerses students in the scriptures
2. Applies lessons to real life
3. Seeks heaven's help
4. Acts according to promptings of the spirit
Elder D. Todd Christofferson,of the Quorum of the 12
Elder Christofferson talks about living a consecrated life and names five elements of doing so:
1. Consecrated living requires purity. We need to submit to all that God may require of us.
2. A consecrated life is one of labor. Wholesome recreation is the companion of work.
3. Consecrated living respects the physical body. We should not desecrate our bodies with tattoos, drugs, sexual impurity, etc.
4. Consecrated living requires service. We should cultivate a listening ear to give service (story about his grandfather shearing sheep and then serving a mission).
5. A cultivated life is a life of integrity. We are accountable to God.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, of the First Presidency
In times of challenge we need to slow down and focus on the essentials. It is easy to get too busy. Over scheduling your day is a vice that turns ambition into an albatross around your neck. "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" (DaVinci). Ball point pens do not work in outer space story (use pencil instead). Become great by mastering the fundamentals, which include:
1. Our relationship with God. Spend time alone with Him; repent.
2. Relationships with family members. Love for family is spelled T-I-M-E.
3. Relationships with fellowmen. Be sensitive to the needs of others and give service.
4. Ourselves. Learn to see yourself as God sees you.
Note: President Uchtdorf lost his voice for about a minute in the middle of his talk.
Becky is happily entrenched in motherhood, busy writing and illustrating her next book, and enjoying her work as a professor at MCC.
Author of 'Follow the Prophets' (Covenant 2013), 'Family Home Evening Adventures' (CFI 2009) and 'Adventures with the Word of God' (CFI 2008)