Thursday, October 31, 2013

They went back



by Joelle Moen

We frequently hear of the faith and determination of the members of the Martin and Willie Handcart companies more than 1000 poor immigrants who fought all sorts of hardships to make it to the Salt Lake Valley in fall 1856. As most of you remember, they were caught in early snowstorms, and having a horrible time crossing the plains. After hearing of their plight, President Brigham Young stood up in October general conference and told the members there “Go and bring in those people now on the plains.” He didn’t stop to ask, as we often do: Have they worked hard enough? Do they really need my help?
And the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley heeded the call to help. Right there in general conference, people volunteered to go get the immigrants stuck on the plains. Within three days, sixteen wagon teams had set out and within three weeks, there were 250 wagons. Here’s the thing to remember. The people in the Salt Lake Valley weren’t having an easy time. The harvests of 1854 and 1855 had been horrible, followed by an even worse winter. One historian put it this way: “The famine of 1855-56 had impoverished Utah Territory in its agricultural resources; the handcart emigration had brought to the country several thousand poor people, destitute, after their terrible journey, of even the barest clothing.”Remember, that same year three handcart companies full of the poorest saints had already arrived to the Salt Lake Valley, needing help. And there wasn’t a lot to go around. Heber C. Kimball wrote to his son that they were rationing food in early 1856. By fall, things weren’t much better. By early October, when the call came to help those stuck on the plains, some people didn’t even have their own harvests in because winter had lasted so long into the spring. And yet when hearing that there were saints in trouble somewhere on the trail between Utah and Nebraska they didn’t even know where they just went.
And what supplies did they take? Their own. Their own food, their own clothes, their own blankets, their own wagons and teams. They took things from their own kids to give them to people they’d never even met. They left their families to get someone in trouble someone they didn’t even know. And those who went traveled from the Salt Lake Valley for Eastern Wyoming. They went back 350 miles. In fact, from Winter Quarters, Nebraska to Salt Lake is 1000 miles. The members of the rescue party made that 1000 mile journey for their families. And then they 700 more miles 350 there and 350 back, in an early winter, to go get people they didn’t even know.
When I think of the story of the handcart companies, I think about the people who went back. They risked their own lives and really the lives of the own families to help others. Can you imagine doing that?
Let me give you a modern example. When I was in graduate school at Washington State University, at the end of winter semester I had just moved into a new apartment with my previous roommate, Amy. Ellen, our new roommate, was going home for the summer because she had a great internship lined up. Ellen’s home was Juneau, Alaska. So just as I was moving in, she was taking off for the summer. Ellen had packed up everything she owned in her little pickup, planning to store her stuff at her sister’s house, across the state, 6 hours away, in Olympia, Washington. The next day, she was supposed to catch her flight from Seattle to Juneau so she could start her internship the following day. She was on a tight schedule. Of course, disaster struck. In the middle of nowhere, Ellen’s pickup broke down. This is in the 1990s before everyone had cell phones. Ellen found someone nice who drove her to the closest town and she was at a service station, waiting for the tow-truck driver. In despair, Ellen called us. My roommate Amy answered the phone. The next thing I knew, Amy was grabbing her coat and keys. She was going to get Ellen. Now, I don’t remember what Amy had planned for that weekend, but it certainly wasn’t a 700-mile 12-hour round trip across Washington State 350 miles there and 350 miles back. I felt ashamed. My first thought hadn’t been to go get Ellen. But, I rationalized that Amy and Ellen were practically family. Ellen had been roommates with Amy’s two older sisters and had even spent holidays with their family. So then I didn’t feel quite so bad.
But there’s more to this story. Amy wasn’t the only angel that day. Again, since this was in the days before cell phones, I was supposed to be the message relay at our apartment. Ellen would call to tell me where she was with the tow truck, and Amy was supposed to call to find out Ellen’s location. In the midst of my waiting, my parents called to see how my new apartment was I had just moved in. I explained what had happened with Ellen’s pickup and told them I had to get off the phone. Then my stepdad said something I’ll never forget. He said, “Wait, she’s in trouble. Where is she? I’ll go get her.” He was ready to drive across the state, six hours each way, to help a girl he had never even met. He probably would have driven her to Alaska. After I convinced him that Ellen would be okay with Amy’s help, he let me hang up the phone, but only after I promised him updates about whether Ellen made it safely to her sister’s house in Olympia. Later, I asked my stepdad why he was willing to help my brand new roommate a girl he’d never met and he stated plainly “she needed help. I’d want someone to help you.”
How often do we answer the call or even volunteer to go get those in need?
How often do we grab our keys and go? Or say “I’ll go get her.”
Can you imagine if Brigham Young and the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley had said that of the Martin and Willie Handcart companies? Eh It’s their own problem. They brought this upon themselves. It’s their  own fault. Fortunately, they didn’t.
succor those that stand in need of your succor…..
God is near you, Watching o'er you day and night, And delights to own and bless you, If you strive to do what's right. He will bless you, He will bless you, If you put your trust in him.


Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together the margarine, shortening, sugars, pumpkin, and egg, beat well. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix until well-blended.
Chill dough for about 30 minutes (or cheat like me and throw it in the freezer for about 10 minutes). Roll into balls the size of small walnuts.
In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ground ginger (more or less depending on how you like it). Roll dough balls in sugar mixture until completely covered.
Place dough balls about 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 7-9 minutes until lightly browned, but still soft.
Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Never hesitate to get on your knees

Prayer It's hard to stumble, when you're on your knees.
Ever wonder about the abbreviation A.S.A.P.? Generally we think of it in terms of even more hurry and stress in our lives. Maybe if we think of this abbreviation in a different manner, we will begin to find a new way to deal with those rough days along the way.

There's work to do, deadlines to meet;
You've got no time to spare,
But as you hurry and scurry-

In the midst of family chaos,
"Quality time" is rare.
Do your best; let God do the rest-

It may seem like your worries
Are more than you can bear.
Slow down and take a breather-

God knows how stressful life is;
He wants to ease our cares,
And He'll respond to all your needs
God provides for those he loves even while they sleep.
In my life I have learned that sometimes
I do not receive an answer to a prayer because the Lord knows I am not ready.
When He does answer, it is often "here a little and there a little"
because that is all that I can hear or all I am willing to do.
Robert D. Hales
God is the Head of this House the unseen Guest at every meal, the silent Listener to every conversation.
“This is my prayer for all of us 'Lord, increase our faith.' Increase our faith to bridge the chasms of uncertainty and doubt. . . . Grant us faith to look beyond the problems of the moment to the miracles of the future. . . . Give us faith to do what is right and let the consequence follow.”
Gordon B. Hinckley
"If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended."
Jeffrey R. Holland
"If the bitter cup does not pass, drink and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead."
Jeffery R. Holland
"God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season. He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him."
 Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“Never assume that you can make it alone. You need the help of the Lord. Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him. What a marvelous and wonderful thing is prayer. Think of it. We can actually speak with our Father in Heaven. He will hear and respond, but we need to listen to that response. Nothing is too serious and nothing too unimportant to share with Him
Gordon B. Hinckley


at the very door of Eternity

A B C   1 2 3
Bruce D. Porter
Some years ago I heard a story about a little boy in Primary class who was asked to say the opening prayer.
“Heavenly Father,” said the boy, “I thank thee for the letter A.
I thank thee for the letter B. I thank thee for the letter C.”
The teacher realized this could be a very long prayer, but she restrained herself from stopping him.
He went on to give thanks for every letter of the alphabet through Z. Then he said, “And Heavenly Father, I thank thee for the number one. I thank thee for the number two.” And so on he went.
His teacher nearly panicked. She didn’t know how high the boy could count. She felt she had to stop him, but again something seemed to restrain her. The boy kept on praying until he reached the number twenty. And then he said, “And Heavenly Father, I thank thee for my Primary teacher,
who is the only grown-up that ever let me finish my prayer.”
I am deeply thankful for the gift of prayer, which is surely among the greatest of gifts given by our Father in Heaven to His children on earth. Prayer is the ordained means by which men and women, and even little children, come to know God. It is our channel of communication with heaven. It is a priceless privilege.
My mother grew up in the small town of Liberty, Utah. When she was young, in the 1930s, her ward had an organist who could play only one hymn. The congregation sang other hymns a cappella, but at least once every Sunday they would sing, “Ere you left your room this morning, Did you think to pray?”
I especially love the third verse of the hymn:
When sore trials came upon you,
Did you think to pray?
When your soul was full of sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?
I think of “the gates of day” as the opening to a realm of eternal daylight gates of prayer that connect us with our heavenly home and the realm of glory where God and Christ dwell.
When we pray, we borrow strength, love, and light at the very door of eternity.
Yet all too easily our prayers can become repetitive and perfunctory, a mere check on a checklist of duties and tasks in a given day. But prayer was never meant to be ordinary:
it can be among the most exalted of privileges we enjoy in this mortal sphere.
Several years ago our oldest son shared with me a lesson he had learned about prayer. He was a very busy student at BYU. One evening he sat down to eat a quick dinner and, out of pure habit, said, “Please bless this food to nourish and strengthen my body.” He opened his eyes and looked at his food: a Twinkie and a can of soda. He realized there was no way that food was going to nourish and strengthen his body.
He later explained to me that the experience taught him the meaning of the phrase “vain repetitions.” When we repeat the same stock phrases over and over in prayer, but not with real intent when our heart and mind are not in the prayer then we are only engaging in vain repetition.
The Lord’s promise “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you” captures the essence of heartfelt prayer. Heartfelt prayer is not just a list of things to give thanks for and things to ask for. It entails coming to know God. It means seeking understanding of divine truths, seeking to better understand the purposes of one’s life and how to best please God; it means talking with the Lord about things that matter most, “the things of our soul” Such experiences in prayer are sacred and will be cherished throughout our lives.
When we truly pray from the heart, we open our innermost feelings to our Father in Heaven: we tell Him of our challenges, our feelings of inadequacy and weakness; we share our emotions and feelings about decisions that face us or trials and adversity we experience; we freely express our sorrows and joys. Now, God knows our innermost thoughts and feelings even better than we do, but as we learn to share them with Him, we make it possible for His Spirit to enter our souls and teach us more about our own selves and about the nature of God. By making ourselves totally honest, open, and submissive before God, our hearts become more receptive to His counsel and His will.
Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and
the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.
Prayer should never be a matter of trying to change God’s mind, to persuade Him of the rightness of our request, or to counsel Him as to what is best. God’s will is perfect. He knows all things and sees the end from the beginning. He knows better than we do what is best for us. Sometimes we fervently plead for the Lord to give us certain things that He knows are not ultimately in our best interest or in that of a loved one: for example, to receive a certain job offer in a specific city or to prolong the life of a terminally ill or aged family member.
The first order of prayer should be to learn the will of God and be given the strength to accept it.
“Thy will be done” ought to grace all prayers, as it does the Lord’s Prayer.
“When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast a devil out as they had just witnessed the Savior do, Jesus answered, ‘If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove’. I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith, I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes,
I have seen mountains removed.”
Richard C. Edgley
“We live so far below the level of our divine possibilities.”
Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We will be made holy

By Emily Freeman
I had the privilege of attending Time Out For Women in Denver this weekend.
I love those events because of what I feel when I am there, and also because of what I learn.
This weekend I learned a lesson I hope I always remember.  It was from Brad Wilcox.  He was speaking about the power of the Atonement.  He asked how many of us had heard someone mess up when they are saying the prayer over the Sacrament.
Every hand in the audience went up.
Then he asked if we had heard someone mess up twice, or even three times.
Each of us could picture a time like that.
Then he asked the question I won’t forget, “What happens after they mess up?”
“Does a trap door open up beneath them and they are swallowed up forever?”
“Does someone escort them from the stand?”
“Are they asked to never say a Sacrament prayer again?”
They look to the Bishop and then they try again.
And again.
And if they need to, again.
The prayer over the Sacrament is a sacred ordinance.  And yet the Lord allows people who make mistakes to help perform that ordinance.  
Through the help of the Bishop they perform the ordinance until it is right.
Made Holy.
Is the same true of our lives?
I believe in a God of second chances…and even third chances.  
A God who gives us every chance.
No matter how many mistakes we make.
He knows we will get it right.
Even if it takes us more than one try.
And through the process we will be made holy.

Always believe in yourself

"Except in the case of his only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work."

Jeffrey R. Holland
We need to be patient and tolerant of others. All of us are imperfect and fall short of our own expectations. Hearts are strengthened and encouraged with love, not criticism.

When you release expectations, you are free to enjoy things for what they are

instead of what you think they should be.


Sometimes the strongest people are the ones who Love Beyond all Faults,
cry behind closed doors and fight battles that nobody knows about.


What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Japanese Proverb


"The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway."

Mother Teresa


Don’t let people pull you into their storm.  

Pull them into your Peace.


Explain your Anger, don’t express it & you will immediately open the door to Solutions instead of arguments.

Find a favorite little something in every day.

A single lie discovered is enough to create

contagious doubt over every other truth expressed.

A Bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking,

because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings.  Always believe in yourself.

A little step may be the beginning of a great Journey.

“All of us carry excess baggage around from time to time, and often the things we carry are petty, even stupid. The wisest ones among us don’t carry it for very long. They get rid of it. If you are still upset after all these years because someone did or didn’t do something or other, forget it.

If you brood constantly over some past mistake, settle it look ahead.”

Boyd K. Packer

God is never too busy to listen. Don’t be too busy to talk to Him.

Monday, October 21, 2013

We depend upon Love to guide us

Where Love Goes
A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long gray beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize any of them, so she said "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat."
"Is your family home?", they asked.
"No", she said. "They are all out." "Then we cannot come in", they replied.
In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.
"Well ...” he said, "go tell them I am home and invite them in now." The woman went out again to invite the men in. But one of them replied.
"We don't necessarily go into a house together".
"Why is that?" she wanted to know. One of the old men explained:
"His name is 'Wealth'...", he said, pointing to one of his companions... and pointing to the other one, he said "he is 'Success'... and I am 'Love'."
Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home." The woman went in and told her husband what was said. He was overjoyed. "How nice!" he said.
"Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth let him come and fill our home with wealth."
But his wife disagreed..."My dear, why don't we invite Success…with success we can always expect wealth to come along later."
Their daughter, who had been listening from another room had another suggestion.
"Would it not be better to invite our home will be filled with love?"
"Good point,” the husband conceded. "Well then, go out and invite Love to be our guest."
The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest." Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success:

"I only invited Love...why are you coming in?"

The old men replied together:

"We are blind. Therefore, we depend upon Love to guide us. If you had invited Wealth or Success, one would still have to depend upon Love, and the other would have become lost trying to follow you. So, in order to survive, wherever Love goes, Wealth and Success will follow."
Author Unknown


Isn't MY bag heavy enough?

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Ephesians 4:32
"When filled with God's love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quiet fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us."
John H. Groberg
One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes. For every person we'd refuse to forgive in our life, we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of our bags, as you can imagine, were quite heavy.
We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for one week, putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to our desk at work.
The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight we were carrying spiritually, and how we had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget, and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.
Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity!
Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and while that's true, it clearly is also a gift for ourselves!
So the next time you decide you can't forgive someone, ask yourself...
Isn't MY bag heavy enough?


Lemon Blueberry Bread

Lemon Blueberry Bread


for the bread
1-1/2 cups + 1 tbsp all purpose flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

for the lemon syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

for the lemon glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5" loaf pan, dust with flour, and tap out excess.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and oil.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. In a separate bowl mix the blueberries with the 1 tbsp of flour and then gently fold them into the mixed batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake 50-55 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the loaf is cooling, combine the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until sugar is dissolved, and then continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf and brush with the lemon syrup. Continue to brush the loaf until all of the syrup is added.
To make the lemon glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice and pour over the top of the loaf. Let the lemon glaze harden before serving.