When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Poverty Is.....


"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty."   ~Mother Teresa 


Oh, I love this quote.  I think this woman, Mother Teresa, was simply amazing.  I am awed by her service and dedication to God.  I am in wonder at her willingness to help the less fortunate.  Sometimes, it seems as if I struggle just to get by, yet she was willing to give everything up to help those who needed it most.  She was willing to live and work in conditions that I have never had to be in.  She was willing to learn that what the world thought is not what mattered most. 

I have known poverty in my life.  I have lived with bugs and dirt floors.  I have lived in bad neighborhoods.  I have had holes in the walls and no air conditioning or heating.  But, I know that what Mother Teresa taught is true, To be unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty of all. 
I have been accused of being needy at times of my life.  Mostly, when I was much younger.  I have felt the poverty of being unloved and unwanted.  Of never knowing if you are noticed, of being sure that if you died, you would not be missed.  I have felt the hole that leaves, and the aching in my heart as I struggled to find someone, anyone, who needed me. 

I have learned that His love can heal all things.  When it fills our hearts we can endure pain, overcome fear, renew our strength and bless and help others around us.  The more that we love God, the more that we desire to help others.  
Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
When we are filled with God's love, we can do and see and hear things that we wouldn't normally do otherwise.  We can be a light in the lives of those around us, especially those in our own families.  We can help to lift each other out of the poverty of the world.  We can help to lift each other from the pain and fear that surrounds us as we strive to bless, forgive and help.   
I know He lives.  I know He loves us.  I know that he smiles and cares and forgives.  I know that He wants us to know Him.  I know that He is filled with gentleness, kindness, mercy, charity, and forgiveness.  We only need to cast off the poverty of the world and come to Him.   

Linking up with A Holy Experience  and Joy in this Journey, Life: Unmasked, to share today. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sabbath Day Scribblings - A Christ Centered Home


This poem by C. C. Miller titled “The Echo” illustrates the importance and impact parents have as they influence their children:
’Twas a sheep not a lamb
That strayed away in the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.
And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong:
They lead the lambs astray.
Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong,
It won’t take long till the lambs are as wrong as they.
And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when the sheep are lost
What a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.

Let us do everything within our power to establish a Christ-Centered home.  One where our children learn and know that they are Children of God.  That He loves them and they love Him.  That we show our love through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.  Let us teach them who they should follow.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Simple Moment - Want to Cheer

This Moment




A single photo 
– no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Tender

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.


We write because we want to, not because we have to. We write for fun, for joy, for discovery.

We just write without worrying if it’s just write or not.

Won’t you join us?



1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back over at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.

3. Go a little overboard encouraging the writer who linked up before you.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Tender…


START
Psalms 145:9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
So many times in my life, I have felt the quiet, comforting, tender mercies of my Heavenly Father.  I have come to realize that He is always there when I need Him. 
It doesn't matter if I do not see Him.  I know His peace in my heart. 
It does not matter if I do not hear His voice,  I know His Words through the Scriptures. 
It doesn't matter if I can't touch His hand, I feel His Love in my soul. 
In quiet moments when my heart is full, He whispers through His tender mercies that I am loved and He is here.  The Lord's tender mercies are very personalized and individualized.  They are a message to each of us that we are not alone.  That He cares for us.  That He is mindful of our needs.  
He loves each of us with all the tenderness of a perfect parent.  Not because we are perfect, but because He is.  He loves us in spite of ourselves.  He loves each of us even if we are flawed, rejected, imperfect, or broken.  Because of His tender love, there is hope for us.  No matter what has been in our past, no matter how we have lived the beginning of our stories, we can yet change our ending.   
Through His tender mercies, we can be healed and made whole. 
 
STOP
 
Now it is your turn.  Spend five minutes just writing and come link up over at The Gypsy Mama.  I promise, you are going to love it!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writer's Workshop - Healing From The Storm


This is the usual Thursday writing challenge from Mama's Losing It.  Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and go over to Mama's Losin It and add your name to the link list.

The Prompts:
1.) Return to work after baby was born or stay home? How did you make your decision?
2.) Write a poem about inspired by the word: Storm
3.) You know the stories that are retold a million times at family gatherings? I call them Life Stories that you just never live down. List your Top 10 Life Stories.
4.) Describe a time you saw someone getting picked on.
5.) Write about one of your childhood heroes.

I chose number two this week and wrote a poem inspired by the word:  Storm


Healing From The Storm

Lightening flashes
Across the blackness
Of the winter sky.
Thunder rumbles
Through the air
In a breathtaking
Display of noise.
The rain comes down
In a curtain
Of icy wetness.
It pounds
In a loud cacophony
Of drumming sound,
And beats upon
The hard ground,
Turning,
All the dusty land
Into thick,
Oozing mud.
The trees lash
In the wind
Back and forth
In a macabre dance,
Sending branches
Crashing dangerously
To the earth.
I watch the storm
Blow through
My mountain home,
In all it’s terror
And it’s glory.
Remembering,
That this too
Shall pass.
That after the storm
The rainbow
Will come,
And there will be
Peace at last.

My life is full
Of storms that come
In the darkness
Of my aching.
The thunder and lightening,
That is the world
Around me,
Rumble in my ears
Deafening
My heart
From feeling the comfort
Of my God.
Trials rain
Upon my soul
And I struggle
In the mud
Of uncertainty
And despair.
The winds
Of life’s heartaches
Lash against my spirit
And I turn away
From His peace.
Finally,
When I can bear no more,
I fall upon my knees
And turn to Him
Now, at last,
Seeking His way
I bow to His will.
He teaches me
That this struggle,
Like any earthy storm,
Shall pass away.
After the tribulation
Comes the blessing,
And the Son,
And His healing,
At last.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Attitude

I'll Be What You Need Me To Be, Dear Lord


“And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
“And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works” (Alma 7:23–24).

The scriptures bring me so much guidance and comfort.  This one is Alma is one of my all time favorites.  It reminds me of the type of person that I am supposed to be.  Not the kind that the world wants me to be, but the kind that my Heavenly Father needs me to be, and the kind of person that I need to be in Him.  The older I get, the more I find myself working toward becoming this kind of woman.
Pondering the scriptures gives me the courage to change and gives me guidance to work toward the changes that I need to make in my life.  The scriptures touch my heart and fill my life with blessings.  They remind me that my Heavenly Father loves me and is mindful of me even with all my problems and sin.
I have discovered that the scriptures can communicate different messages at different times of my life.  I can't tell you how many times I find the answer to prayer in the pages of scripture that I read every day.  I also can't even begin to describe the number of times a scripture speaks to my heart and I don't even remember reading it before.  Suddenly, it becomes like a new and valued treasure in my life.  One I study and ponder eagerly for the message.
The scriptures can chastise me, calm my soul, comfort my heart, bring me to repentance, speak peace, encourage me in my journey, or just remind me that I am not alone.   They give me a path to follow if I would be more like Him.  May you find comfort and peace within those wondrous pages.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

For days when you feel overwhelmed

Helaman 12:1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
Monday's are not my days.  They are so busy, so hectic, so unbelievable.  I have been busy from sunup to sundown.  It started right though.  We had scriptures.  We have been reading the Old Testament and the Doctrine and Covenants.  We are in Chronicles now and there are a lot of names.  It has been rough going for the girls.  The pronunciation can be rough when you are reading things you have never read before.  Nevertheless, they keep trying.  We spent 45 minutes reading this morning and everyone struggled.  But, we made it through and had a family prayer.  The girls are wonderful about it.  I don't know if I would be able to do it without them.
Today, we woke up at 5:30AM, we read scriptures, got everyone ready for work and school, took the girls to school, went to work, had way too much mail and way too little help, struggled to get everything done, took Miracle to her lessons and finally made it home about 9:30PM.  I am exhausted.  I am running on empty.  I need a couple of days sleep.  I need to slow down.  I need to find peace.   I need to breath; breath and turn to Him.
So, I pulled out my scriptures and read a little.  The above verse is the one that spoke to my heart today.  I rely too much on what I can do, and not enough of Him.  In my desire or need to do everything, I am discovering that I cannot do it all.  I need to ask for His help in my struggles.  I need to remember that these days will pass, I will not always be busy, I will not always be tired.  I will not always be overwhelmed.  Most of all, I need to remember that I am not alone.  He is here, He is with me, He wants me to do well.  He loves me.  I need to look again.  Just look again.

Linking in for Life Unmasked over at Joy in this Journey; hope to see you there. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Commitment


“Commitment is a little like diving into the water,” President Uchtdorf said. “Either you are committed or you are not. Either you are moving forward or you are standing still. There’s no halfway. We all face moments of decision that change the rest of our lives. As members of the Church, we must ask ourselves, ‘Will I dive in or just stand at the edge? Will I step forward or merely test the temperature of the water with my toes?’
“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have committed to walk in the path of discipleship. We have committed to follow the example of our Savior. Imagine how the world will be blessed and transformed for good when all members of the Lord’s Church live up to their true potential—converted in the depth of their souls and committed to building the kingdom of God.
“In some way, each of us stands at a decision point overlooking the water. It is my prayer that we will have faith, move forward, face our fears and doubts with courage, and say to ourselves, ‘I’m committed!’”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Simple Moment - Girl Time

This Moment


A single photo 
– no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.



Five Minute Friday - Vivid

On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.
For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just writewithout worrying if it’s just right or not.  Then we link up over at The Gypsy Mama and share our thoughts.  
Won’t you join us?
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back over here and invite others to join in.
    3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Vivid…




START

The origin of Vivid is the Latan word Vividus, from the word Vivere meaning to live.  How I love that.  Thinking of vivid as a way to live, as a way to be.  To live life to the fullest.  To be all that He wants and needs me to be.  To fill myself with His grace, His Love, His will.  To be vivid in understanding, in principle, in duty. To be vivid in all my choices.  
When I think of vivid, I think of strength.  The ability to stand firm.  The ability to be myself.  In living a vivid life, I think of experiences.  To have depth and reach and breath in all the most important things.  To be someone that is unique and peculiar.  
I believe Heavenly Father wants me to be vivid in life.  He wants me to stand for Him.  He wants the vividness of my faith and belief to compliment my life.  They stand out in brilliant hues against the background of myself.  He defines who I am and what I am become.  

STOP

Now it is your turn.  What does vivid mean to you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Writer's Workshop - Joy in the Journey


Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back over to Mama Kat's to add your name to the link list.   Also, try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) Last week we talked about introverts…this week share a lessons (or lessons) you learned about friendship from an extravert.
2.) List the names of five dogs from your lifetime. Write about why one sparks a stronger memory to you than the others.
3.) You stepped foot into your first apartment and thought…
4.)Describe the scene at breakfast.
5.) What brings you joy in good time (and bad)? 


I chose number five this week.  What brings me joy in the good times and the bad?



Psalms 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

For me, joy is simply found by choosing to follow my Savior.  It doesn't always surround me.  Sometimes it is hard to remember it.  But I know if I will only endure, Joy really will come in the morning. 
It is the peace that I find in the scriptures, the sweetness in my Savior's love.  It is the busyness of church, and the chaos of home.  Joy is found in hundreds of little things that are in my life.  Sometimes, I just  have to have the faith to get through the trial to the joy that waits on the other side. 
Second by second, minute by minute, day by day, we go from where ever we were to where we are right this moment.  If we are not careful, the days will pass almost without us being aware of it.  Joy waits patiently for us to learn to savor all she has to offer. 
I experience joy when I am grateful for the gifts that are all around me.  I see joy in the sunrise as well as the sunset.  I hear joy in the birdsong as well as the silence of the wind in the branches.  I feel joy in the sweet, sticky hugs of grandchildren, as well as the tender words of love spoken by those closest to my heart.  I touch joy in the soft skin of a newborn as well as in the (often) bearded face of my husband. 
Joy is all around us.  I have learned I need to look and be grateful for what I have, instead of dwelling on the sorrow for what I might be missing. 
Joy starts at any moment when I feel gratitude for my blessings.  And it fills my heart when I feel His love and peace.  
Psalms 16:11  Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. 




Monday, January 16, 2012

Jake is Dangerous


I am watching my grandsons for a few days, so my writing will be a little sparse until they go home.  I must say, that is actually because I am busy answering questions and fixing snacks.  I am enjoying it all, and don't want to miss out.  However, yesterday we had a rather interesting day which I thought I would share.
We were coming home from church and Jake said, "Grammy, when can I cut my pictures?"
He meant the coloring pages that he had done in my notebook during the church meeting.  He wanted to cut them out of the book and give them as presents.
"After we go home and get changed.  Then you can cut them."  I replied to his asking.
"Actually," He said,  "You need to do it.  I am dangerous with scissors!"
Papa looked back at him through the rear view mirror.  "That's a good thing to know."  He said.

Oh yes, I can certainly imagine that this young man could be quite dangerous!  (Especially with sharp items!)   But I also I couldn't help thinking how wise this little boy is.  He knows what areas of his life are dangerous for him.  He knows to avoid them at all cost, and to let someone else help him through them.  What a great lesson for each of us to learn.  If we will only take the time to recognize and avoid those things that are dangerous for us.  Those things that can be physically, as well as spiritually unhealthy for us.  Those things that draw us away from the love of our Heavenly Father.
May we each recognize what makes us dangerous and do what we need to do to be better!

Micah 7:8
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.

Isaiah 40:31 
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sabbath Day Scribblings - A New Heart

"We have the hands to lift others from complacency and inactivity. We have the hearts to serve faithfully in our priesthood callings and thereby inspire others to walk on higher ground and to avoid the swamps of sin which threaten to engulf so many. The worth of souls is indeed great in the sight of God. Ours is the precious privilege, armed with this knowledge, to make a difference in the lives of others. The words found in Ezekiel could well pertain to all of us who follow the Savior in this sacred work:

" 'A new heart . . . will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. . . .

" 'And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

" 'And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God' (Ezekiel 36:26–28).

"How might we merit this promise? What will qualify us to receive this blessing? Is there a guide to follow?

"May I suggest three imperatives for our consideration. They apply to the deacon as well as to the high priest. They are within our reach. A kind Heavenly Father will help us in our quest.

"First, learn what we should learn.

"Second, do what we should do.

"And third, be what we should be."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Simple Moment - Walking in the Rain

This Moment


A single photo 
– no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Awake

On Fridays, I join a group of amazing women and stop, drop, and write.
For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back over at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in. 3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Awake…



Start

It is the middle of the night and I am warm and sleeping in my bed when the girls rush into my room.  "Mom, Mom, hurry, Nora threw up".  It takes a moment for my body to respond and I get up and go into the other room.  Nora has been sleeping with the girls.  She is three and away from her mom for a couple of days with Grammy.  I quickly take in the situation and start the older girls on the bedroom clean up, while I take a sobbing child into my bathroom for a shower and a good soap.  
I am now so awake.  So is she.  She is still crying though.  She doesn't feel good.  I clean her up, dry her off, dress her in clean clothes and gather her into a big fluffy blanket to snuggle tight against me.  We rock as I put her gently back to sleep.  
I help the girls finish the room, put clean sheets on the bed and get them settled again for the night.  They go swiftly to sleep.  I hold the baby against me and remember so many times before holding her mother just like this.  I can still feel the silkiness of her mother's hair, the softness of her baby skin.  
My sweet grand-daughter reminds me that goodness comes in the service of a mother in the night.  Memories are made in the hard times, as well as the fun times.  The deepness of the night surrounds us, the quiet darkness holds us close.  We rock, and I am still awake.  I cherish this moment of time when I have this child with me.  I know how swiftly time flies and how soon they grow up.  I know that the day will come when she will no longer need my arms around her.
Soon, she won't need my rocking.  Soon, she will be big.  Soon, she will be independent.  Soon, she will be grown and this nightly awake time will be gone.  
So today, I hold on to my memories.   I hold onto this fleeting, flying moment.  I hold tightly to soft skin and wispy hair and butterfly kisses.  I hold tightly to love.  I hold fast to the awake. 
  
STOP 

Now it is your turn.  What can you write in just five minutes?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Live Like You Believe


I had the wonderful experience this past weekend with teaching a lesson in Relief Society.  This is the women's organization in my church.  I teach once a month and spend a lot of time and effort to get these lessons ready.  I must admit, that I love teaching the women.  I love having the discussions with them and hearing their ideas and their input into the lesson.  I never leave that room without learning something and without feeling fulfilled.  
This lesson was so difficult.  Not because the subject was hard, but because it is something that I am passionate about.  It is something that I believe in and appreciate.  We talked about living like you believe.  The lesson was several pages long, but we only really got through the first couple of pages.  They were the ones that totally impacted me the most.  Of all the things I read preparing for this lesson, it is the following that has really made me think.  
With all the talk about resolutions and one word changes (of which I totally love by the way), I was so touched that this man would take it one step farther.  What started as a list of resolutions, became a creed that he lived his life by.  
When he was 34 years old, George Albert Smith made a list of resolutions that he called his “personal creed”—11 ideals that he committed to live by, and he did.  His life is filled with stories and experiences of putting these ideals into action.  I wanted to share them with you today.  And leave with you a challenge to work and focus on your own creed.  What things could you do today to make you the person that you want to be tomorrow.  This is one I am thinking about.  I would adopt all eleven of his resolutions, but I feel inspired to make them my own, so that is what I am working on.  However, I believed if we all lived these things, we could totally change our world as well as the world around us.  Here is the creed of the Prophet, George Albert Smith:


  1. “I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.
  2. “I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.
  3. “I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.
  4. “I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.
  5. “I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.
  6. “I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.
  7. “I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.
  8. “I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.
  9. “I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.
  10. “I would not be an enemy to any living soul.
  11. “Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.”
I ended my lesson with the young women singing this song.  I hope you take a moment to go and view it.


Wordless Wednesday - Happy New Year's Celebration!!





Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best Dinner Ever!! (By family vote!)

In which we discover that whinning is not always necessary!

I decided to use this for Mama Kat's Writer's workshop.  I write here every week and love it.  Pick a prompt and come over and join us! 

This Week's Prompts

1.) Write a poem inspired by the last conversation you had with your child.
2.) Describe a time you felt startled.
3.) Create an "instructional" post where you show readers how to do something cool or useful or yummy.
4.) Many of us like to poke fun at some of the things that drive us crazy as parents…let’s flip the script, what are 10 things you love about motherhood?
5.) Share a lessons (or lessons) you learned about friendship from an introvert.

I chose number three, to create an instructional post.  I hope you love it!


I love a good recipe, and it just happens that I found one that sounded wonderful.  What made it unusual for me, is that it is like nothing I have made before.  It is called Meatball Soup or Homemade Albondigas Soup. 
The girls did not think that it sounded good at all.  I went ahead and made it anyway (unusual for me as I do get tired of arguing with them and having to eat leftovers for every meal when they really don't like it).  The whinning got louder when I chopped onions and than carrots (they do not like those!).  Kayla insisted that she would never eat a single bite!  (This really was not going well so I sent her to her room to leave me alone). 
I made the meat balls and started cooking them, then had to take Anya to activity days.  I came back and kept going, then had to go get Miracle and take her to flute.  Barely started again and I had to go get her.  In between all the car trips, the whinning continued non-stop as I was not making something that they liked and it was starting to maybe smell a little good, but how could they eat it when it wasn't going to taste good!
Then I decided to make spanish rice to go with it.  I wanted to make everything not heavily seasoned as the girls don't like it really hot, (even though my husband thinks that is the only way to eat).  So, I made the rice with home canned tomatoe juice and chicken broth.  Can I just say that the rice came out so perfect!  Anyway, when the rice is done and the soup is done, you put a spoonful of rice in the bowl (about 1/4 cup) and add the soup on the top and then eat. 
After all their complaining the girls each ate two big bowls and it went out the door this morning in their lunchboxes.  (I pretended no to notice).  My husband came home from work last night and had himself a couple of bowls for a late snack.  He (of course) had to add a little (or a lot) of hotsauce, but he loved it! 
We have decided that this will be dinner at least once every two weeks.  It is filling on it's own or with the rice, but I do think the rice adds to the soup in a nice way.  I hope that you like it as much as we did! 

Homemade Albondigas Soup

2 pounds ground beef
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch garlic salt
1 pinch onion powder
salt and ground black pepper to taste
8 cups chicken broth  (I used water and chicken boullion instead)
4 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces
6 potatoes, cubed


Directions

Place the ground beef, 1/2 of the cilantro, 1/2 of the chopped onion, the garlic, garlic salt, and onion powder in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and mix gently until combined. Form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray, and brown the meatballs carefully over medium-high heat; remove the meatballs and set aside (the meatballs do not need to be fully cooked; they will finish cooking in the soup). Cook and stir the remaining onion in the same skillet over medium-low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.

Pour the chicken broth into a large pot, and stir in the onion; add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are nearly tender, about 15 minutes. Add the meatballs and the remaining cilantro; simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Spanish rice

2 cups rice
21/2 cups water
2 cups tomatoe juice
1/2t salt
1/2t pepper
3 chicken boullion cubes

put in rice cooker and cook until tender.  Serve in the bowl with the soup.  If you want a little spice, you can add one can of green chili to the rice, but for the kids, I leave it without.  Also, you do not have to use tomatoe juice, you can use only chicken broth or boullion if you desire.  (Just make sure the liquid is always slightly more than double the amount of rice that you use). 
My daughter taught me how wonderful rice is when it is cooked in broth or boullion.  It makes all the difference in the flavor for dishes like this.

Healing After Abuse


My friend Stephanie, over at Diapers and Divinity, posted a talk this morning on abuse.  It is a subject that I have thought about posting often on my own blog.  So, today with her example, I am going to do it.
The talk that she cited, is titled, To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse and can be found HERE.
It was given by Elder Richard G. Scott back in 2008, but the message is wonderful to me.
Here are some of the highlights that I especially liked. 

"Some matters are so sensitive and intensely personal and can awaken such disturbing feelings that they are seldom mentioned publicly. Yet, if tenderly and compassionately treated in the light of truth, discussion of these matters can bring greater understanding, with the easing of pain, the blessing of healing, and even the avoidance of further tragedy." 
"The rising tide of this vicious, abominable sin may not have touched your life personally. Yet it is pervasive enough in the world that it may have touched someone you love. It frequently causes such profound suffering— that can be overcome—that I want to speak of how healing can be attained. It will be done reverently, for my objective is to help heal and not aggravate painful memories."
I used to volunteer for an organization known simply as CASA.  It was the Center Against Sexual Abuse.  One of the things I did was to speak to women's groups, high schools, and even the news.  The statistics for abuse are daunting.  One in three girls will be abused before she reaches adulthood, and one in five boys.  It crosses all classes, economics, cities, religions, and nationalities.  No one is exempt.  Sometimes, we just don't look around us or listen to the pain that people are feeling.  I would even venture to say that there is no "if" here.  It has touched someone you love.  Just because you don't know it or talk about it doesn't mean that it is not very real to them.  Just because you can't understand their pain, doesn't mean that they don't feel it every single day. 

"If you have been abused, Satan will strive to convince you that there is no solution. Yet he knows perfectly well that there is. Satan recognizes that healing comes through the unwavering love of Heavenly Father for each of His children. He also understands that the power of healing is inherent in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Therefore, his strategy is to do all possible to separate you from your Father and His Son. Do not let Satan convince you that you are beyond help.

Satan uses your abuse to undermine your self-confidence, destroy trust in authority, create fear, and generate feelings of despair. Abuse can damage your ability to form healthy human relationships. You must have faith that all of these negative consequences can be resolved; otherwise they will keep you from full recovery. While these outcomes have powerful influence in your life, they do not define the real you."
This is so true for me.  It took me years to heal from all the self-worth issues.  It took years to learn that only forgiveness and love would heal the pain.  Faith is so hard to come by when your heart is hurting.  One of the most difficult things to do is to learn to like yourself again.  To see that you have worth.  To know that you are good in spite of all the bad that has happened to you.  As long as you hate and feel anger, you cannot heal the pain that you feel for yourself.  Most of all, you cannot learn to love yourself.  You cannot feel the peace that Christ has for you.
"If you are currently being abused or have been in the past, find the courage to seek help. You may have been severely threatened or caused to fear so that you would not reveal the abuse. Have the courage to act now. Seek the support of someone you can trust. Your bishop or stake president can give you valuable counsel and help you with the civil authorities. Explain how you have been abused and identify who has done it. Ask for protection. Your action may help others avoid becoming innocent victims, with the consequent suffering. Get help now. Do not fear—for fear is a tool Satan will use to keep you suffering. The Lord will help you, but you must reach out for that help."
I cannot say it better than that.  The hardest thing you do will be to get help.  But I can promise you that it will also be the most rewarding.  It is a long road to healing, but with the Saviors help, the ending is so much better than the beginning. 
None of us can start over.  We can't go back and change the beginning of our lives.  Could'a, Should'a, Would'a's don't help us deal with what happened, but I promise you that ever single one of us can start today and change the ending.  We can become who we were always meant to become.  We can be better than we ever thought we could be.  All because He loves us, cares for us, and will help us through this trial.  He knows the truth, He knows your heart, and He knows your pain.  Let Him have it from you.  Let Him Heal you. Let Him hold you in the hollow of His hands.  One of the biggest problems with abuse is that much of it is kept secret.  By keeping those secrets, we effectively allow others to also be abused.  Somehow, we need to learn to talk about what has gone on and what is happening.  We need to teach our children that there are things they should never keep secret, and if someone is asking for something to be secret, they should always, always tell someone safe.  It is only when the sin is brought out into the light that the healing can start.  May you know, no matter what place you are in right now, or what place you have been in before, may you know and remember that you are a child of God.  That He loves you.  That He is mindful of you.  That He will heal your heart.

Although the world is full of suffering, 
it is also full of the overcoming of it.
Helen Keller

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sabbath Day Scribblings - Responsibility


"We all have a responsibility--a responsibility to make a difference, to be an influence, to lift someone. We are all in this together to wok out our salvation, to reach our potential, and to be our brother's keeper--to help each other."
~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Simple Moment - It's The Hat

This Moment



A single photo 
– no words –
capturing a moment from our lives.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment
I want to pause, savor and remember.

A moment
that brings a smile to my lips, 
and joy to my heart.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Roar

Today is Friday.
The first Friday of the new year.
Let’s do it. Let’s just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Let your mind and your words and your heart fly free; wild – no editing, no over thinking.
Won’t you join me?
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – don’t edit; don’t second-guess. 
    2. Link back over at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in. 
    3. Must: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Roar…


START
Definition of ROAR:

1a : to utter or emit a full loud prolonged sound   b : to sing or shout with full force
2a : to make or emit a loud confused sound (as background reverberation or rumbling)   b : to laugh loudly
3a : to be boisterous or disorderly   b : to proceed or rush with great noise or commotion

I can't think of Roar, without also thinking of the old song...
"I am woman hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore..."  So there is a part of me that thinks of a roar as something that is so loud, so big, that it is impossible to ignore it.  No matter what we are doing, or what we are thinking, or what we are busy with, whatever is roaring in our lives is something that we simply cannot ignore.  I will never forget being at the zoo with my children and actually hearing the lion roar.  Right.  Up.  Close.   Seeing that mouth open and hearing the noise that came forth.  It made my heart beat fast and the adrenaline rush throughout my body.  It was so loud that you could hear it everywhere.  It scared the little girls and made them cry and clutch at me for protection.  The roar was literally larger than the lion, and when it was finished, it was followed by a profound silence that echoed throughout the zoo.  Not a bird, not a monkey, not a single noise followed for several moments.  All was hushed, waiting. 

Joel 3:16  The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
I can't read this scripture without thinking of our experience with the lion.  How the Lord will roar.  He will proceed with a great noise, He will get our attention, but then, in the quiet that follows, He will show us what we need.   He will be our hope and our strength in the times that follow.  
I have come to believe that my trials can be the Lord's type of roaring.  I just need to be willing to wait for the silence that follows.


STOP