Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Known only to God

 International Picture of the Year.
Here are three very touching photos honored this year. 

First Place
Todd Heisler, The Rocky Mountain News

When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: 'See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home,' he said. 'They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should.'

Second Place
Todd Heisler, The Rocky Mountain News

The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept.
 'I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,' she said.
'I think that's what he would have wanted'. 

Third Place 
 "Son, a grateful Nation...." 

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:

1. Jesus Christ
2. The American G. I.

One died for our soul, the other for our freedom.
“I deeply appreciate those who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of human liberty. I hate war, with all its mocking panoply. It is a grim and living testimony that Satan, the father of lies, the enemy of God, lives. War is earth’s greatest cause of human misery. It is the destroyer of life, the promoter of hate, the waster of treasure. It is man’s costliest folly, his most tragic misadventure. “American statesman Charles Sumner, commenting on the cost of war, once said: ‘Give me the money that has been spent on war, and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens would be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship, consecrated to the gospel of peace.’ “But since the day that Cain slew Abel, there has been contention among men. There always have been-and until the Prince of Peace comes to reign, there always will be-tyrants and bullies, empire builders, slave seekers, and despots who would destroy every shred of human liberty if they were not opposed by force of arms. Their names too often read as the names of heroes. Their conquests might more truly be told in the terrible suffering they have imposed as they have marched with their legions to enslave the weak. ……
Can anyone in a free land be less than grateful for those who have given their lives that liberty might flourish? “I have stood at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, where are remembered those who have died for the freedom of the United States. I have stood by the Cenotaph at Whitehall in London, where are remembered the dead of Britain. I have seen the flame that always burns beneath the Arch of Triumph in Paris, in remembrance of the men of France who died in the cause of freedom. At each of these sacred places I have felt a deep and moving sense of gratitude to those there remembered. I have stood beside my own brother’s grave in the U.S. military cemetery in Suresnes, France, and thanked the Lord for the liberty preserved by the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in the cause of human liberty. I have walked reverently on that quiet ground known as the Punch Bowl in Hawaii, where lie the remains of thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice. “When we opened the work of the Church in the Philippines, we had no place to meet for our sacred services, so we asked the American embassy for the privilege of meeting in the cemetery at Fort McKinley, on the outskirts of Manila. To me, that quiet, green, and beautiful ground is hallowed. There, row on row in perfect symmetry, stand more than fifteen thousand marble crosses and many of the Stars of David, each marking the final resting place of a man who gave his life. Encircling that sacred ground are two marble colonnades, extending from either side of a beautiful chapel. These stone colonnades are inscribed with the names of thirty-five thousand men who died in the battles of the Pacific but whose remains were never found: ‘Comrades in arms whose resting place is known only to God.’… “I know many of our brethren who are in the service of their country today, and I have been with them in many lands. I have heard their expressions of faith. I have wept with them as they have stood and borne testimony of their knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are no better Latter-day Saints anywhere on earth than many of those in uniform, and there are faithful representatives of this church in the armed forces of many nations. .
“May the Lord bless our brethren in the service, wherever they may be, for their faithfulness. May the Lord remind us of the debt of gratitude we owe them, and may he awaken within us a resolution to live worthy of their sacrifice.”
Gordon B. Hinckley
“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, God will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character to do so. He is an unchangeable being; the same yesterday, the same today, and He will be the same throughout the eternal ages to come….”
George Q. Cannon

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Vanilla Nutmeg Cupcakes:
1 box white cake mix
1½ tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs
C. oil
¾ C. milk
¾ C. sour cream
1 T. vanilla extract
Maple Buttercream:
1 C. butter, softened
1 T. milk
4–5 C. powdered sugar
1–2 tsp. maple flavoring
8–10 slices cooked bacon for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix and nutmeg into a bowl; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
4. Add cake mix and nutmeg mixture; stir until smooth.
5. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 17–22 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
6. For Maple Buttercream: Beat butter for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and stir in 1 T. milk. Slowly add powdered sugar until buttercream is the desired consistency. Add maple flavoring; adjust for flavor depending on the brand of flavoring you use.
7. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes; top with crumbled bacon to give cupcakes a salty and crunchy taste.
Makes 24 cupcakes.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thank you for teaching me

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful.
Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving
"Thank you for correcting me, Sister!" I didn't know what to make of it at first,
but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.
One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice-teacher's mistake. I looked at him and said, "If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!" It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking again." I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it. I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning.
I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing he winked at me. That did it! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were,
"Thank you for correcting me, Sister."
At the end of the year I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. He had to listen carefully to my instructions in the "new math," so he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in the third.
One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves -- and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.
It took the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the students left the room,
each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled.
Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend."
That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper,
and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual.
On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much!"
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose.
The students were happy with themselves and one another again.
That group of students moved on. Several years later I received word that Mark was killed in Vietnam,
I attended Marks funeral.
I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.
The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water.
I was the last one to bless the coffin.

As I stood there, one of the soldiers who had acted as pallbearer came up to me. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark talked about you a lot," he said.
After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chucks farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me.
"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it." Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times.
I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him. "Thank you so much for doing that" Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."
Mark's classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put this in our wedding album." "I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash.
"I think we all saved our lists."
That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

Sister Helen P. Mrosia

Chili and Corn Bread

• 2 pounds hamburger, precooked
• 1 cup onion, chopped
• 2 cups medium salsa
• 2 14.5-ounce cans corn, drained
• 6 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
• 4 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, in juice
• 2 beef bouillon cubes (optional)
• 1 teaspoon garlic salt
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
Precook extra lean hamburger at home using 1 clove fresh garlic and ½ cup chopped onion per pound of ground beef. Salt and pepper generously. Drain fat.
Dump all ingredients together in a large pot. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Makes 18 cups of chili

• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1¼ cups cornmeal (or cornmeal flour)
• 2¾ cups flour (can substitute ½ whole wheat flour)
• 1½ teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ cup melted margarine or butter
• 2 cups buttermilk
• 4 eggs
Mix together ingredients. Pour into greased 9×13 pan; bake at 375 F for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

We must realize that we have a personal Savior

My dear, sweet angel, stop those tears. For I am here to calm your fears. I'll hold you close and kiss your face. My arm's will be your safest place. As you grow, our love will too. I'll be here always, just for you. Never doubt, my faith is strong. We'll be together, it won't be long. I send this out with all of my love.
To my unborn child, in heaven above.
He does not lead me year by year, nor even day by day,
But step by step my path unfolds. He directs my way.
"In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won,
even if that ground is limited."
Jeffrey R. Holland
When you are God's child, He not only knows your name...He knows you.
“In the process of living we will face struggles, many of which will cause us to suffer and to experience pain. Many people will suffer in personal struggles, while others will suffer as they watch their loved ones in pain. To gain strength in our struggles, we must have a positive perspective of the principles in the plan of salvation. 
We must realize that we have a personal Savior
 whom we can trust and turn to in our times of need.
L. Lionel Kendrick
“By definition, trials will be trying. There may be anguish, confusion, sleepless nights, and pillows wet with tears. But our trials need not be spiritually fatal.
They need not take us from our covenants or from the household of God.”
Neil L. Andersen
“Do we frequently reject the Lord’s love that He pours out upon us in much more abundance than we are willing to receive? Do we think we have to be perfect in order to deserve His love? When we allow ourselves to feel encircled about eternally in the arms of his love,’ we feel safe, and we realize that we don’t need to be immediately perfect. We must acknowledge that perfection is a process. This is a gospel of eternal progress, and we must remember to appreciate the journey. Eternal means ‘without beginning or end,’ so the encircling of His love is there for us every day. Remember, it’s constant-even when we don’t recognize it.”
  Bonnie D. Parkin

Cookie Dough Cake

Cookie Dough Cake
Chocolate Chip Cake
1 box white cake mix
3 eggs
½ cup melted butter, cooled
¾ cup buttermilk or milk
¾ cup sour cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Cookie Dough Frosting
2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
5–6 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips, for filling
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips 
8 chocolate chip cookies
1/3 cup crushed chocolate chip cookies 
1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease three 8-inch pans. (You can make this cake with only two layers; see baking time below.) I like to line the bottoms of my pans with foil or parchment for easy removal.
2.   Sift cake mix into a small bowl; set aside.
3.   In a large bowl, use a whisk to combine eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
4.   Stir in cake mix and 1 cup mini chocolate chips.
5.   Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and use a spatula to spread the batter evenly. Bake for 17–22 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. (If you are making only two layers, bake for 20–25 minutes.)
6.   Let cake cool completely.
7.   Cookie Dough Frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar for 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract, flour, and salt; beat again. Gradually add powdered sugar until frosting reaches the desired consistency.
8.   Remove about 2 cups of frosting to use between cake layers; stir the cup mini chocolate chips into the 2 cups frosting.
9.   To assemble the cake, stack layers, frosting between each with the frosting/chocolate chip mixture. Top with the final layer of cake and cover the cake with the rest of the frosting. (Save a little frosting to pipe decorations on top of the finished cake, if desired.)
10.  Use mini chocolate chips to cover the sides of the cake; decorate the top with piped frosting, cookies, and crushed cookies.