Friday, November 30, 2012

Let us see this thing which is come to pass

"We all enjoy given and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts.
The true gifts may be part of ourselves giving of the riches of the heart and mind and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store."
James E. Faust
"This is a glorious time of the year, simple in origin, deep in meaning, beautiful in tradition and custom, rich in memories, and charitable in spirit. It has an attraction to which our hearts are readily drawn. This joyful season brings to each of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree in which we have turned our mind, feelings, and actions to the spirit of Christmas."
Thomas S. Monson
"William George Jordan once said, 'Man has two creators, his God and himself. The first creator furnishes him the raw materials of his life the laws and conformity with which he can make that life what he will. The second creator himself has powers he rarely realizes. It is what a man makes of himself that counts.'"
Marvin J. Ashton
We do not worship Mary, but we do regard her very highly. She is among the most worthy and noble of women the most privileged of all mothers. And while Mary is not typical, she is an example to all mothers.
If we listen we can still hear the echo of the angel's words: "Hail, thou that art highly favoured, … blessed art thou among women." And likewise we hear Mary's own exclamation: "… My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
"For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. … from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."
Robert J. Matthews
I wonder how many in Bethlehem knew that right there, close to them, the Savior had been born? The Son of God, the long-awaited and promised Messiah He was in their midst!
Do you remember what the angel told the shepherds?
"Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." And they said to themselves,
"Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass"
Like the shepherds of old, we need to say in our hearts, "Let us see this thing which is come to pass." We need to desire it in our hearts. Let us see the Holy One of Israel in the manger, in the temple, on the mount, and on the cross. Like the shepherds, let us glorify and praise God for these tidings of great joy!
Sometimes the most difficult things to see are those that have been right in front of us all along. Like the grandfather who failed to see the stars on the ceiling, we sometimes cannot see that which is in plain sight.
We who have heard the glorious message of the coming of the Son of God, we who have taken upon us His name and have covenanted to walk in His path as His disciples we must not fail to open our hearts and minds and truly see Him.
The Christmas season is wonderful in many ways. It is a season of charitable acts of kindness and brotherly love. It is a season of being more reflective about our own lives and about the many blessings that are ours. It is a season of forgiving and being forgiven. It is a season to enjoy the music and lights, parties and presents. But the glitter of the season should never dim our sight and prevent us from truly seeing the Prince of Peace in His majesty.
Let us all make this year's Christmas season a time of rejoicing and celebration, a time when we acknowledge the miracle that our Almighty God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world!
Dieter F. Uchtcord

Baked Potato Soup : )


Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup Ingredients:
  • 5 pounds russet potatoes, washed but NOT peeled. Diced into 1/2 inch(ish) cubes
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, diced
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 64 ounces (8 cups) chicken stock or broth
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened  
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • optional garnishes: crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, green onions

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup Directions:
Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning, and chicken stock to slow cooker.
Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
Add the softened cream cheese and puree soup with an immersion blender until the cheese is incorporated and about half the soup is blended. (Alternately you could remove half the soup and the cream cheese to an upright blender, then re-incorporate).
Stir well, top with your choice of garnishes & enjoy!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Piece of My Heart

A Piece of My Heart
One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said “Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.” The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly, but it was full of scars. It had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing.
The people stared — how can he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought? The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed. “You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine. Mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love — I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.”
“Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges — giving love, is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?”
The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges. The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.
… Author Unknown
"Christmas means 'giving,' and the gift without the giver is bare. Give of yourselves; give of your substance; give of your heart and mind. "Christmas means 'compassion and love' and, most of all 'forgiveness' How poor indeed would be our lives without the influence of His teachings and His matchless example. "He whose birth we commemorate this season is more than the symbol of a holiday. He is the Son of God, the Redeemer of mankind, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace."
Gordon B. Hinckley

Recipe for Happiness: Prepare it one day at a time

Recipe For Happiness
Take twelve whole months.
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness,
hate, and jealousy.
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.
Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or thirty-one different parts,
but don't make up the whole batch at once.

Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients.
Mix well into each day one part of faith,
one part of patience, one part of courage,
and one part of work.
Add to each day one part of hope,
faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part daily prayer,
and one good deed.
 Season the whole with a dash of good spirits,
a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play,
Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy,
garnish with a smile,
and serve with quietness, unselfishness,
and cheerfulness.
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lights the way to eternity

The Gospel Tree
There once was a shining Christmas tree
Standing out where all could see.
Its brilliance captured every eye
And seemed to cheer each passer by.
"The lights are so bright," they would say
And hesitate to walk away.
The tree stood proud ablaze with light
For every light was burning bright.
Then some bulb was heard to say
"I'm tired of burning night and day;
I think I'll just go out and take a rest
For I'm too tired to do my best;
Besides I am so very small
I doubt if I'd be missed at all."
Then a child lovingly touched the light,
"Look, mother, this one shines so very bright.
I think of all the lights upon the tree
This one looks the best to me."
"Oh my goodness," said the light
"I almost dimmed right out of sight.
I thought perhaps no one would care
If I failed to shine my share."
With that a glorious brilliance came
For every light had felt the same.
Our Gospel, like this Christmas tree,
With little lights which are you and me,
We each have a space that we must fill
With love, and lessons and good will.
Let's keep our tree ablaze with light,
With testimonies burning bright.
For our Gospel is a living tree
That lights the way to eternity.
~Author Unknown

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bliss

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bliss
from The Redheaded Hostess
1 cup shortening
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Cream together till light and fluffy
Add to the mixture
2 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix In a separate bowl, sift together:
4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
Add a cup at a time to the mixture Add your chocolate chips
Refrigerate till chilled Roll into balls
Heat oven to 375
Bake 8-12 minutes or until they start to brown

The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable

“The purity and openness of little children in their relationship
with the Lord points the way for all of us.”
Marion D. Hanks
“If we are to have the very best Christmas ever,
we must listen for the sound of sandaled feet”
Thomas S. Monson
“The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable.”
Spencer W. Kimball
Testing 101
When you are going through something hard and wonder where
God is remember the teacher is always quiet during a test.
Trust in the Lord
….individual worth... how each individual piece is beautiful on its own.
But what a masterpiece you get when you put them all together!
Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely.
Though we are imperfect God loves us perfectly.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“A babe born in a stable of the village of Bethlehem,
“A boy reared as a carpenter of Nazareth,
“A citizen of a conquered and subdued nation,
“A man whose mortal footsteps never went beyond a radius of 150 miles, who never received a school degree, who never spoke from a great pulpit, who never owned a home, who traveled afoot and without purse….
“Truly, his coming, ministry, and place in our eyes is as foretold by the ancient prophet Isaiah: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace
Gordon B. Hinckley
“Seeking implies so much more than merely looking. Seek means energy, direction, passion, purpose. To seek requires all our ‘heart, might, mind and strength’ ….How do we seek with our minds? With our intellect we can ponder, we can analyze our circumstances, we can sort and sift information, weigh our options; we can store ideas, we can draw conclusions from our experiences, find answers to our problems; we can treasure thoughts and receive revelation. Isn’t that what the Lord meant when he said, ‘You must study it out in your mind’ and then ask me if these things are not true?
Elaine L. Jack
“…We have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it.”
Jeffrey R. Holland

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cake Bars

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cake Bars
1 Devils Food Cake Mix
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
14 Oreo Cookies, broken into bite size pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a 9×13 inch baking pan
2. Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl, mixing to combine. Use your hands, it works much quicker Press into prepared baking pan. Top with broken pieces of cookies.
3. Pour sweetened condensed milk over cookies and top with chocolate chips. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven.
4.  After 5 minutes of cooling, run a plastic knife around edges to loosen, this makes it much easier to remove from foil.  Let cool completely, remove foil from pan, then cut into squares. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Endeavor to believe

by Emily Freemman
Behold and hearken, O ye…
whose prayers I have heard,
and whose hearts I know,
and whose desires have come up before me.
Ye endeavored to believe the blessing which was offered unto you;
but behold, verily I say unto you
there were fears in your hearts…
D&C 67:1 & 3
I know this fear.
There are moments when it has found a place in my heart and held fast there with a cold, icy grip.  Clinging with an intensity that seems to freeze my ability to look past the worry.
My mind can get lost in that place.
In those moments there is no room for belief, or for hope, or for faith.
Fear has a way of crowding out all of those things.
I learned a lesson on fear this past week.
The lesson began as I read the first words of an email from my missionary son,
“I guess I should probably tell you I got hit by a car this week.”
Immediately my mind went to worst case scenario because my heart filled right up with fear.
It was in that moment when my heart was all filled up with fear that he began writing about the miracle.
The miracle that happened after the accident when the firetruck had returned to the station and the ambulance pulled away.  After he and his companion had returned home to their apartment early on that fall morning.
For just a minute think what you would have done after just being hit by a car…with a sore knee and a sore stomach.
He writes, “We had gone back to the apartment so I could change my clothes and such and I knew that the only way to help my new companion would be to go out and work hard. So my knee was hurting a little bit but I said let’s go back out and I was just praying the whole time that the Lord would take care of my knee so I could keep working and help him out. It was way cool, because as soon as we got around the corner from our apartment, my knee and stomach stopped hurting, and that was a miracle of the Lord. Then I remembered in my setting apart blessing how President Lew said that I would be able to work every day on my mission and I knew that the Lord would take care of me and I would be able to keep going and keep working.”
There was no fear in that heart of his…just belief.
I couldn’t help but notice that it was after he committed to press forward, after he got around the corner, that the miracle came.  He set aside what might have held him back and believed in the power of the Lord.
His belief, and his willingness to act upon that belief,
allowed the blessing that had been offered in his behalf to come to fruition.
Because he endeavored to believe.
 “doubt not, fear not…” D&C 6:36
Endeavor to believe
“Let not your minds turn back…” D&C 67:14
My goal for the next few weeks is to act upon what I believe.  
To actively move toward the blessings that have been offered.
To lay aside fear, and cast away doubt.
To believe.
“And then you may return to bear record, yea, even altogether,
or two by two, as seemeth you good, it mattereth not unto me…” D&C 62:5
O Thou who has given us so much,
mercifully grant us one thing more
a grateful heart.
George Herbert