Friday, September 27, 2013

Ever ready to embrace each one of us

I did not hear the words you said; instead, I heard the love.

“We must constantly remind ourselves that He is God and we are not.”
Jeffrey R. Holland
“Both modern and ancient scripture are full of reminders of Heavenly Father’s eternal love for His children. I am confident that our Heavenly Father’s arms are constantly extended, ever ready to embrace each one of us and say to each one with that quiet, piercing voice, ‘I love you.’”
Paul E. Koelliker
“Now is the time for each of us to work toward our personal conversion,
toward becoming what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.”
Dallin H. Oaks
If we all were a little more like angels, Earth would be a little more like heaven.
“Never make the same mistake once.”
The best time to do something worthwhile is between yesterday and tomorrow.
If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two mouths and one ear.
Mark Twain
We do not remember days; we remember moments.
How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!
A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbour.  Within a few days the whole community knew the story.  The person it concerned was deeply hurt and offended.  Later, the woman responsible for spreading the rumour learned that it was completely untrue.  She was very sorry and went to a wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage.
"Go to the marketplace," he said, "and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck it's feathers and drop them one by one along the road."  Although she was surprised by this advice, the woman did as she was told.
The next day she went to the wise man and told him that she had done as directed.  He said, "Now, go and collect all those feathers you dropped yesterday and bring them to me."
The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay the wind had blown all the feathers away.  After searching for hours, she returned with only three. "You see", said the old sage, "it's easy to drop them, but it is impossible to get them back.  So it is with gossip.  It doesn't take much to spread a rumour, but once you do, you can never completely undo the wrong."
Author Unknown

“Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.”
Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need,  or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate.  But really, true charity is much, much more.    Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself.  And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again.  It makes the thought of being a basher repulsive.  Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefits of the doubt or remain quiet.  Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped.  Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us.  Charity is expecting the best of each other.  None of us need one more person bashing or pointing out where we have failed or fallen short.  Most of us are already well aware of the areas in which we are weak.  "What each of us does need is family, friends, employers, and brothers and sisters who support us, who have the patience to teach us, who believe in us, and who believe we're trying to do the best we can, in spite of our weaknesses.
Be one who nurtures and who builds. Be one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them. Be fair with your competitors, whether in business, athletics, or elsewhere. Don’t get drawn into some of the parlance of our day and try to “win” by intimidation or by undermining someone’s character. Lend a hand to those who are frightened, lonely, or burdened.
If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.
May God help us individually and collectively to know and teach that bashing should be replaced with charity today and always, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Marvin J Ashton

Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Loaf

Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Loaf

16 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed
2 medium size Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Cut rolls in half. Combine apples, sugar, nuts and cinnamon. Flatten each roll half into a 2-3-inch circle. Place 1 teaspoon apple mixture in center of each dough circle. Pinch edges together to seal, forming a ball. Place filled balls in a sprayed 9x5-inch loaf pan. Spoon remaining apple mixture evenly over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 45-50 minutes. Cover with foil last 10 minutes of baking to prevent over browning. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool. Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over loaf.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The promise of tomorrow begins with the endeavors of today.

"Living Today"
Bonnie L. Mohr 
Today is a gift. 
Embrace it with joy and anticipation…realize the possibilities.
It beckons you towards your destination in life.
Be at peace - you are exactly where you are meant to be at this moment.
God has carefully chosen the people, events, joys and challenges on your path today.
The things you will encounter are stepping stones of what is to come. 
 Make the most of today. Focus on "the present"
you will see and appreciate things you might otherwise miss.
Follow your heart - search to find your purpose in life and you will find meaning and happiness.
Use your talents, do your best, contribute.  Make a difference, because you can.
Be passionate about your journey - sing, dance, laugh, and love as you go.
Give praise and allow time for prayer. The promise of tomorrow begins with the endeavors of today. 
 Do not let the fast-forward pace of the world deprive you from savoring "the now". 
 Seek things that fill you with love and bring you joy. Have faith, it fosters hope - it makes the
difference.  Believe, with God all things are possible. Live well - live today, for it is a gift.


If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance and care.
 Marvin J Ashton
By Allison Ruth
I have a special place in my heart for muffins.  It sounds silly, but for me, muffins make all the difference.

When my husband left me three years ago, I was scared and heartbroken and ashamed.  I didn't know how I was going to get out of bed in the morning, let alone raise three young children all by myself.  
I couldn't see good things anywhere on my horizon.

As my world crumbled to pieces around me, I realized what it means to be a mother.  I was hurt and broken and lost, yet I had three little ones that depended on me.   My problems felt huge,
but as I prayed I realized the answer I was seeking was simple:

Make breakfast.

I didn't know how to parent on my own.  I didn't know how I was going to pay the mortgage.  I didn't know how to heal a broken heart.  I did know how to make breakfast.  Muffins were my miracle.

Today, I can still see the wisdom in the guidance I received that day.  When we are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, the best thing to do is the most simple thing we are capable of doing.  For me, that was making breakfast.  It was a small step forward and it made all the difference.

I cooked a meal for my kids, and though it was a small thing, it was a moment in which I was looking for what was right instead of seeing everything that was wrong.  Three years and many meals later, I have found hope, happiness, and joy in being a mother.  Life is good.  

This wasn't the path I intended to take six years ago when I became a parent, but finding good things around any corner is as simple as a dozen hot muffins just out of the oven.  I still worry about my kids' well being, I wonder about God's plan for me, and I'm still figuring out how to pay the mortgage, but I know that even when I have more questions than answers,  I can feed my kids a home cooked meal and feel good about something.

If you are in need of a good thing right now, here's a recipe for twelve really good things! These Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Streusel are a favorite at our house, and our friends' and neighbors' houses too.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Streusel

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
2 eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
Streusel Ingredients
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons chopped almonds
4 tablespoons all purpose flour


Spray each individual cup of a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick spray, set aside.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  

In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients.  Work mixture with fingers until well combined.  Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.

In a medium bowl sift together dry muffin ingredients.   In a separate medium bowl, combine wet muffin ingredients and whisk well.  Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour wet mix into flour mixture.  Stir only until just combined.  Gently fold in half of the streusel mix.

Spoon batter into muffin pan, filling each cup 2/3 full.  Top with remaining streusel mix.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The blessings of life......if we open the door, He will enter

“Most of us experience some measure of what the scriptures call ‘the furnace of affliction’. Some are submerged in service to a disadvantaged family member. Others suffer the death of a loved one or the loss or postponement of a righteous goal like marriage or childbearing. Still others struggle with personal impairments or with feelings of rejection, inadequacy, or depression. Through the justice and mercy of a loving Father in Heaven, the refinement and sanctification possible through such experiences can help us achieve what God desires us to become.”
Dallin H. Oaks
“In our hearts do we feel a sense of gratitude and devotion to the Father? Are we of one heart with Him to whom we owe everything? The test of our devotion to the Lord seems to be the way we serve Him.”
L. Tom Perry
“All good things require effort. That which is worth having will cost part of your physical being, your intellectual power, and your soul power ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’. But you have to seek, you have to knock. On the other hand, sin thrusts itself upon you. It walks beside you, it tempts you, it entices, it allures. You do not have to put forth effort. … Evil seeks you, and it requires effort and fortitude to combat it.
But truth and wisdom are gained only by seeking, by prayer, and by effort.”
David O. McKay
“The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”
Joseph F. Smith
“In the quiet hours, in the heat of battle, and through the hazards of the day; in times of temptation, of sorrow, of peace and of blessing, let us pray always, both alone, and with our families gathered around us, with gratitude for the blessings of life, for understanding of its problems, and for strength to endure to the end.”
Heber J. Grant
“In speaking of the story of the 10 lepers, Elder Howard W. Hunter also stressed our need to thank our Heavenly Father for all the blessings that He gives to us: ‘Of the ten men who were healed, only one returned to express appreciation. This must have been a disappointment to the Master, but there are many who receive blessings, many who are endowed with good things in life, yet never take the time or go to the effort to show gratitude to the benefactor or express appreciation to God. Happiness and joy from blessings are never complete until there is a deep feeling of gratitude within oneself which moves an expression of appreciation’
“My constant and earnest prayer … is that my mind may never become darkened, that I may never depart from the path of rectitude and right, but that as I grow in years I may increase in understanding, that the light and inspiration of the Spirit of God may burn in my heart and enlighten my understanding and keep me firm and faithful in serving my Heavenly Father.”
Heber J. Grant
“Every soul that walks the earth, you and I, all of us-whether rich or poor, whether good or bad, young or old-every one of us is going to be tested and tried by storms of adversity, winds that we must defend ourselves against. And the only ones who won’t fail will be those whose houses have been built upon the rock. And what’s the rock? It’s the rock of obedience to the principles and teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the Master taught.”
Harold B. Lee
“Let us listen for the sound of His sandaled feet. Let us reach out for the Carpenter’s hand.”
Thomas S. Monson
“When we strive to be Christlike, He is ‘formed’ in us; if we open the door, He will enter; if we seek His counsel, He will counsel us. For Christ to be ‘formed’ in us, we must have a belief in Him and in His Atonement. Such a belief in Christ and the keeping of His commandments are not restraints upon us. By these, men are set free. This Prince of Peace waits to give peace of mind, which may make each of us a channel of that peace.”
Howard W. Hunter

Banana Bread in a Jar

Banana Bread in a Jar
Bakerette recipes
Serves: 1 dozen half-pint jars
cup shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas (approx. 4 medium-sized bananas)
cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
cup pecans, crushed
12 half pint (8 ounce jars) mason jars
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare the mason jars by greasing the insides of the jars with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer until well incorporated. Beat in the eggs, bananas, and water until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves and pour into the banana mixture a little at a time mixing well with each addition. Fold in pecans.
4. Spoon batter into mason jars filling ½ way full. Wipe off any spills on the jars before baking. Do not add the lids.
5. Tip:
6. You can also pour the batter in a gallon-size bag with a hole cut in the corner and pipe the batter into the jars.
7. Line the jars on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes of until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Note:
9. You can also line the jars up in the oven without the baking sheet. Some people have mentioned they cook more evenly that way. You might want to experiment. I've 10. Meanwhile, sterilize the lids and rings in boiling water.
11. Remove the jars from the oven and screw on the lids and rings to the jars while the bread is cooling. The jars will seal as the bread cools down. You will hear a light "ping" when the jar seals itself. If you don't, press down on the lid to see if it is firm. If it doesn't "give", it is sealed. Also, if the bread bakes above the rim of the jar, no worries. Just gently press the top of the bread down with the lid and seal.
12. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or eat when cooled!
You can forgo making this bread in the jars and bake it in two 9 x 5-inch bread pans for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.