Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our Healthy Father's Day Menu and Recipes

The menu

Crock pot French dip sandwiches
Cabbage apple salad
Strawberry lemonade with stevia

We doubled the recipes below because we have a big family and we like leftovers!

Happy Father's Day to Mike (far right) and Austin (third from left)!

Crock pot French Dip Sandwiches

One 3-4 pound roast
3 cups water
3 Tablespoons onion powder 
3 Tablespoons beef bouillon (I buy the bouillon below at Costco)
Rolls, cut in half (of course whole grain rolls would be even healthier)

Place everything except rolls into crock pot. Cook 5 hours on high. Before serving, slightly shred or cut the beef so it's easy to fit onto the rolls. Serve with rolls. Serve the juice in small bowls as au juice. Taste it first to see if it needs more onion powder or bouillon or salt. 

Cabbage Apple Salad 

1/4 head green cabbage
1/4 head purple cabbage 
2 apples, diced  
1/2 cup diced celery 
2/3 cup raisins 
1/2 cup healthy mayonnaise (we use Veganaise)
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
1 Tablespoon honey 
1 teaspoon salt 

First soak the raisins in a dish of hot water to make them plump and juicy. Chop the veggies and apples. In a small bowl mix the dressing ingredients together. Drain the raisins. Combine all ingredients with dressing in a large bowl. This salad is even better the next day. The purple cabbage turns the dressing a bright pink color!


Here's a fun way to cut a watermelon into cubes. My brother Ted taught me this on our summer vacation. He happens to be running a big race in Alaska this week. Thanks Ted!

1. Cut a watermelon into quarters lengthwise. 
2. Cut slices lengthwise into each quarter from one side, and then from the other side. 

3. Cut slices width-wise down to the rind.

4. Now you're ready to pour the cubes of melon into a serving bowl! 

Strawberry Lemonade with Stevia

Inspired by Cafe Rio! This is the yummiest, healthiest drink you'll ever find at a restaurant. I'm not gonna tell you how many refills I had while my dear friend, Jonell from Oregon, and I visited on the patio of Cafe Rio recently, all afternoon. Not gonna tell. I found the recipe here.

2 cups fresh strawberries (we picked ours from the garden and mixed in a few raspberries and blackberries) 
2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons, be sure to remove seeds)
1 1/2 cups Stevia in the Raw (I'm sure you could use plain liquid or powdered stevia instead...experiment to see how much) 
12 cups water

Clean and stem the berries. In a blender pour in strawberries, stevia, and lemon juice. Pulse if you want the drink with little chunks of berries. (Or if you don't like chunks, blend until smooth and then strain out the seeds.) Me, I like pulp and little chunks of berry...yummo! Serve over ice. 

One thing I love is leftovers! 

Because I don't have to cook the next day.  And if I'm extra lucky, I have ingredients ready to quickly make even one more meal. Like this one. 

Easy Beef Stew  

This recipe is doubled as listed and makes a big pot of stew.  

3 (12 oz.) cans beef from Costco, including broth (or chop up leftover roast) 
10 cups water 
10 medium potatoes, cubed 
10 carrots, sliced
1/3 cup onion powder (or if you'd rather saute some fresh ones, use about 3)
1/3 cup beef bouillon (use the kind above)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour mixed with 1/2 cup cold water into a paste (or brown rice flour if you're eating gluten-free)
3 cups frozen peas (I used beans this time) 
salt and pepper to taste 

Start the water heating up to a boil while you wash and cut the potatoes and carrots. Add everything to the water except flour mixture and peas. When you add the canned beef, shred it with your fingers. Once the soup is boiling, slowly stir in the flour mixture. After a few minutes it will thicken the stew. Cook about 15 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Then add peas and cook about 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mmmm... comfort food. 

Sliced veggies in the fridge make it easy to eat healthy. 

When I slice veggies for a recipe I like to cut up the rest of the cabbage or celery or carrots or cauliflower, because tomorrow when family members are hungry, this is fast food at its healthiest! Often I place a plate of veggies on the table or counter while I'm cooking dinner for the kids to munch on. They're really hungry before dinner so they eat their veggies right up! You could also make several salads for lunch the next few days.

Why I think charity is the best spiritual gift

Charity Quotes from Elder Worthlin in “The Great Commandment” (Ensign, Nov. 2007)

  • “Charity is the one trait that, if developed, will most improve our lives.”
  • Charity “is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  • Charity “is our focus as followers of the living Christ.”
  • Charity “is our signature as a people.” 
  • Charity “is the central object of our existence.” 
  • “The greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy.”
  • “In the end, the development of such love is the true measure of success in life.” 
  • “The most cherished and sacred moments of our lives are those filled with the spirit of love.” 
  • “The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation...The means of this refinement is our Christlike love. There is no pain it cannot soften, no bitterness it cannot remove, no hatred it cannot alter.” 
  • Charity is the means of experiencing “a mighty change in...our hearts.”
  • “ increase harmony, spirituality, and build up the kingdom of God...teach others to love the Lord and their fellowman.” 
  • “Without charity–or the pure love of Christ–whatever else we accomplish matters little.”
  • “With [charity], all else becomes vibrant and alive.”  
  • “When we love the Lord  obedience ceases to be a burden.  Obedience becomes a delight.” 
  • “When we love the Lord, we seek less for things that benefit us and turn our hearts toward things that will bless and uplift others.” 
  • Charity (loving one another as Jesus loves us) is “the grand key to happiness in this life and glory in the next.” 
  • “The measure of our love is the measure of the greatness of our souls.” 
  • "Charity (loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves) is the quality that “defines us best as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” 
  • “Nothing you do makes much of a difference if you do not have charity.” 
  • “Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the pathway of discipleship.”
  • Charity “comforts, counsels, cures, and consoles.” 
  • “True love lasts forever.”
  • “‘Love is one of the chief characteristics of Diety...’” (Worthlin quoting Joseph Smith).
  • “‘If any man love God, the same is known of him’” (Worthlin quoting 1 Cor. 8:3).
  • Of the 600+ commandments the Pharisees had identified in the law, Jesus identified the greatest of them all - to love God with all our hearts.  The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. 
  • When Joseph Smith was “asked why he gained so many followers and retained them,” his answer was, ‘It is because I possess the principle of love.’”
  • “Often, the greatest manifestations of love are the simple acts of kindness and caring we extend to those we meet along the path of life.” 
  • “When we reach out to assist the least of Heavenly Father’s children, we do it unto Him.” 

Charity Quotes from President Monson in “Charity Never Faileth” (General Relief Society Meeting, Ensign, Nov. 2010)

  • I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.
  • I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.
  • There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. 
  • True charity is love in action. 
  • The need for charity is everywhere.
  • Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited. 
  • The American educator and politician Horace Mann once said, “To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is godlike.” 
  • Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.
  • Charity, that pure love of Christ, is manifest when a group of young women from a singles ward travels hundreds of miles to attend the funeral services for the mother of one of their Relief Society sisters. Charity is shown when devoted visiting teachers return month after month, year after year to the same uninterested, somewhat critical sister. It is evident when an elderly widow is remembered and taken to ward functions and to Relief Society activities. It is felt when the sister sitting alone in Relief Society receives the invitation, “Come—sit by us.”
  • In a hundred small ways, all of you (Relief Society sisters) wear the mantle of charity.
  • Life is perfect for none of us.  Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.

Charity Quotes from President Uchtdorf, "The Love of God" (Ensign, Nov. 2009)

  • Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk. 
  • When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden. 
  • Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ. 
  • God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn't care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. 
  • He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked. What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. 
  • Since “God is love,”  the closer we approach Him, the more profoundly we experience love.
  • If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ.
  • Heavenly Father’s love for His children is the core message of the plan of happiness, which plan is made active through the Atonement of Jesus Christ—the greatest expression of love the world has ever known. How clearly the Savior spoke when He said that every other commandment hangs upon the principle of love. If we do not neglect the great laws—if we truly learn to love our Heavenly Father and our fellowman with all our heart, soul, and mind—all else will fall into place..
  • Divine love is the factor that transforms reluctant compliance with God’s commandments into blessed dedication and consecration.
  • Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship. Love is the way of the disciple.
  • ...What attribute should define us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  Let us be known as a people who love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and who love our neighbor as ourselves.     

Charity Quotes from Sheri Dew   

  • Sheri Dew spoke of her life changing lesson that how we treat others is the most accurate  measure of our discipleship.
  • “Charity is not an emotion or an action. It is not something we feel or do. Charity is who the Savior is. It is His most defining and dominant attribute. It is what enabled Him to endure the Garden and the cross for you and me. It is one of the things that makes Him God. Thus, when we plead for the gift of charity, we aren't asking for lovely feelings toward someone who bugs us or someone who has injured or wounded us. We are actually pleading for our very natures to be changed, for our character and disposition to become more and more like the Savior's, so that we literally feel as He would feel and thus do what He would do.” (“If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn’t Be Hard, And Other Reassuring Truths” p. 57).

Scriptures about Charity

  • Charity is the pure love of Christ (Moroni 7:47).
  • Charity is the love God has for his children (Ether 12:34). 
  • Cleave unto charity, which is te greatest of all (Moroni 7:46)
  • Charity never faileth (Moroni 7:46). 
  • The fruit of the tree of life (in Lehi’s dream) is most precious, most desirable, and “the greatest of all the gifts of God (1 Nephi 15:36).  
  • The fruit is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things...and the most joyous to the soul (1 Nephi 11:22-23)
  • Except men have charity they are nothing (2 Nephi 26:30 and Moroni 7:44, 46).
  • When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was the greatest in the law, which the Pharisees had identified more than 600 laws, Jesus told them, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:40).  The greatest is “Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart...soul...mind.” The second is to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt 22:36-39). 
  • Except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God (Moroni 10:21).
  • Charity is defined as “the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love” (Bible Dictionary, “Charity”). 

God Invites us to Ask for Charity 

  • Seek earnestly the best gifts (DC 46:8).
  • Covet earnestly the best gifts (1 Cor 12:31). 
  • Desire spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14:1).  
  • Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with [charity]...that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure (Moroni 7:48). It changes us to love, see, and be like God.
  • “If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. …No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them” (George Q. Cannon, Millennial Star, Apr. 23, 1894, 260). 

Click here for quotes about other spiritual gifts. 

My favorite quotes about Spiritual Gifts

God commanded us to seek spiritual gifts. 

  • D&C 46:8 – “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts.”
  • 1 Cor 12:31 – “Covet earnestly the best gifts.”
  • 1 Cor 14:1 – “Desire spiritual gifts.”
  • Moroni 7:48 - Pray with all energy of heart to be filled with charity.
President George Q. Cannon – “If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. … No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them” (Millennial Star, Apr. 23, 1894, 260). 

There is an infinite number of spiritual gifts. 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie – “Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 371).

There are many less conspicuous spiritual gifts.

Elder Robert D. Hales – “Other gifts [are]...the gift to ponder, looking to God for direction, the gift to hear and respond to the still, small voice, the gift to be calm, which includes the ability to curb anger and to be temperate rather than contentious, the gift to study and to listen, and, perhaps the greatest gift of all, to have charity” (“Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb 2002, 12).

Elder Marvin J. Ashton –  “Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost” (Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).  

The gift of revelation or prophecy is one we've all been told to seek. 

Julie B. Beck - "The ability qualify for,receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life" (Ensign, May, 2010).

Elder Robert D. Hales – “One [gift of the Spirit] that I believe has impact on each of our lives is the gift of prophecy or revelation. This gift is different from the priesthood office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus”  (“Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb 2002, 12).

President Joseph Fielding Smith –  “All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:201).

The gift of discerning spirits is another that everyone should seek.

George Q. Cannon has called the gift of discerning of spirits “a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter-day Saint. … No Latter-day Saint should be without this gift, because there is such a variety of spirits in the world which seek to deceive and lead astray” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. in 1 [1987], 156–57).

The scriptures contain several lists of spiritual gifts.      

D&C 46:8-29 – Know that Jesus is the Son of God, Believe in their words, Know differences of administration (administering & leading the church*), know diversities of operations (discern whether a teaching or influence is from God or another source*), word of wisdom (gift of wisdom - the ability to use knowledge in righteous ways*), word of knowledge – teach to be wise and to have knowledge, faith to be healed, faith to heal, work miracles, prophesy (John taught “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” – Rev 19:10*), discerning spirits, speak with tongues (speak in different languages, or tongues*), interpretation of tongues 

Moroni 10:8-21 – teach the word of wisdom by the Spirit (teach by the power of the Holy Ghost*), teach the word of knowledge by the Spirit (teach by the power of the Holy Ghost*), exceedingly great faith, gifts of healing, work mighty miracles, prophesy, beholding angels and ministering spirits, all kinds of tongues, interpretation of languages

1 Corinthians 12:7-10  – word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophesy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues

Moroni 7:43-48, 1 Corinthians 13 – faith, hope, charity.  Pray with all energy of heart to be filled with charity, the greatest gift of all, the pure love of Christ, if you don’t have it you’re nothing, cleave unto it...

*Explanation of gifts from under Index of Topics: “Spiritual Gifts”

Have you asked Heavenly Father which gifts He has given you and wants you to develop? Have you asked Him which gifts He wants you to ask for? 

Click here to see why I think charity is the best spiritual gift. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

"A Classroom of Faith, Hope, and Charity" by Elder Neil L. Anderson

Elder Anderson addressed the seminary and institute teachers of the whole world on February 28, 2014. These are principles that apply to teaching in any setting -- church classes, the home, or elsewhere. 

Click here to listen to or watch the whole talk. 

Here are my notes from his talk. 

The youth of today are amazing. 

Those who sit in your classrooms are some of the most spiritually sensitive sons and daughters of God that have ever entered mortality. Wow. How am I doing, as a teacher and a mother, to help young people listen to the Spirit and develop that sensitivity? 

Young people today are like young trees growing up in a very windy environment. The wind stimulates two compensating strengths: 
  • The roots are stimulated to grow faster and spread further
  • The trunk and branches become thicker and more flexible
Inspired teachers are part of what stimulates deeper spiritual roots and stronger resolve to resist temptation. How well are we strengthening this rising generation by bringing them to Christ? 

How to teach more like the Savior taught.

Faith is a big deal. 

As a teacher, you encourage faith, explain faith, show the fruits of faith, and bear testimony of your own faith.

Participation is better than lecture. 

"Spiritual understanding rarely comes from a lecture. It comes in classrooms where questions are welcome, where doubts and fears can be expressed, and where honest opinions are never dismissed. It comes from obedience, private study, and prayer. Spiritually, the classroom of faith becomes less like a lecture hall and more like a fitness center. Students do not get stronger by watching someone else do the exercises. They learn and then participate. As their spiritual strength increases, they gain confidence and apply themselves all the more."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, "Do not be afraid of repetitious teaching. Ask inspired questions. Typically, but not always, two-way dialogue is better than one-way monologue." 

"Use the scriptures; share simple stories, parables, and real-life examples; ask questions; invite students to teach and to share their feelings; encourage them to act in faith and to report on what they are learning."

The Savior is our best example of teaching. 

"He loved them, prayed for them, and continually served them. He found opportunities to be with them and to express His love. He knew their interests, hopes, and desires and what was happening in their lives. He knew who they were and who they could become. He found unique ways to help them learn and grow -- ways meant just for them. When they struggled, He did not give up on them but continued to love them and minister to them" (Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way (2012), 4).

How well are we doing teaching with this kind of love and care? 

If you are not sure what to teach, teach about Christ. Teach the doctrine of Christ, the gospel of Christ, His life, His death, His Resurrection, and His Atonement. 

As darkness increases, here comes more light.

As the Gospel spreads, Satan's influence is growing stronger, but God compensates by giving us more light and blessings. 

  • Brigham Young said, "...In proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise." 
  • Here's the flip side of that coin. Elder Anderson said, "As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power of revelation and spiritual gifts given to the righteous. The Lord gives us added power as we are willing to remain righteous in a wicked world." 


Some of these direct "compensatory blessings" Elder Anderson mentioned include: 

  • The 143 temples dotting the earth, and 27 more in process
  • The modern technology that makes it super user-friendly for us to find our ancestors and do their temple work
  • How easily and instantly we can hear from our modern prophets and apostles. 
"As the world grows darker, the light of the truth shines brighter. As the hearts of men become colder, the warmth of the Savior's peace burns stronger. As the noise of tempting voices shout louder, the still, small voice of the Spirit comes with even greater clarity. As evil increases in the world, the Lord sends the power of revelation and spiritual gifts for the righteous." 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Are Mormons really Christians? Three resources to help answer that.

Are Mormons really Christians?  

I say yes. Many say no. Here are three of my favorite resources to help you answer that question. 

Of course it goes without saying that the best way to discover what a church believes is to go to the Church itself for answers. is an LDS site created to answer these questions. The best way to know what the Book of Mormon teaches is to read it for yourself, and ask God if it's true. 

Here are three other sources to help answer tough questions people ask about Mormons

1)  My new favorite LDS blogger, Greg Trimble

Here is a recent post I liked. He knows a lot about a lot of religions. He offers a great combination of logical points for the LDS Church while remaining friendly and respectful, always reaching out to other religions to make friends. In fact, one of his companies sells t-shirts like these. 

2) Mormons: An Open Book, by Anthony Sweat. 

I read this book to my family a couple years ago when we were doing some missionary work and wanted to better understand how to answer challenging questions about our religion. It's easy to understand with a nice format and illustrations. 

3) The Greatest Quest by Blaine and Brenton Yorgason. 

It's a novel based on a true story of three college friends who spent years looking for Christ's true church, based on evidences they gathered from the Bible. The appendix has a list of 42 evidences of the true church of Jesus Christ, along with Bible verses for each evidence. 

I spent some delicious time looking up and marking these verses, and typing them into a chart that I glued into my scriptures. Here you can see verses that relate to four of the points that I marked in pink.

A day in the life of Me and Grace

Grace and I started the day with a free ballroom dance lesson. Our 15-year-old friend is offering these weekly lessons all summer for a Personal Progress project. Several of our homeschool friends are on ballroom teams that win national competitions, and they take turns teaching the group. Grace is in the middle of the group in pink, helping demonstrate the Swing dance. Fun! 

Guess who locked her keys in the church? Yep, it was me. So we waited around a while until someone came back with the keys. These teens will never complain about having extra time to hang out together.

Then Grace had a belated birthday-painting-her-room party. And a painting each other party. 

Grace's homeschool group took on a summer service project of helping with a community garden that feeds homeless people. Today was a weeding day. 

Then Grace decided to accompany me to an evening speaking engagement. She's never come with me before, and it was fun to have her along. I speak to groups about getting organized, de-cluttering, setting up routines and systems, getting family involved in housework, and using media and technology appropriately. 

When Grace and I got home, the junk drawer I brought to show my class dropped. Oh boy. The nice thing is, it didn't take long to have everything back in place. Thanks for your help Grace!

It was a good day. :) 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The 3-Day Big Lunch Salad

Don't you feel better when you eat more fresh, raw foods? I sure do. 

My two favorite ways of upping my ratio of raw foods is a smoothie for breakfast and a big salad for lunch. 

Here's how to save time while eating clean. And eating yummy too! 

Southwest Chicken Salad -- for three big lunch salads 

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce (or whatever greens you want)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cucumber or bell pepper 
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, all natural, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 can chicken, all natural, drained (we get ours from Sams Club)
  • avocado and tomato (these need to be saved and chopped the day of)

1. Chop and prep away. 

2. Divide the ingredients into three food containers. 
My favorites are glass or BPA-free plastic. 
3. Avocado and tomato won't store well so I chopped enough for today's salad. 

4. I top my salad with salsa and my homemade ranch. I love flavor so I usually sprinkle on some extra onion and garlic powder, chili powder and cumin. Recipe for dressing below. 

5. Eat one today, and sleep well tonight knowing you have two more fresh, yummy lunches ready and waiting! 

Healthy Ranch Dressing

2 cups Veganaise brand mayonnaise 
(This is my favorite mayo. My favorite version is made from grapeseed oil. Find these in the dairy case at the health food store.)
1/2 cup water 
2 Tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar 
2 Tablespoons parsley flakes 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon garlic powder 

Place all ingredients in a quart jar and shake until well blended. Or use a hand immersion blender. Yum! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mike's notes from YSA Stake Pres. Ferrell's fireside last night

YSA President Robert Ferrell and his beautiful and delightful wife Lori Ann.

Notes from a talk aren't word for word, rather mostly paraphrasing. But we thought this may be helpful for those who want a quick run-down of President Ferrell's talk, or those find the echo makes it hard to hear the talk. I hope you'll still listen to the whole talk, as it's so powerful. You'll find the recording and a few of my own notes here.

President Robert Ferrell started by... 

...sharing a good recounting of the Iwo Jima invasion, then proceeded to discuss his experience as a YSA Bishop and Stake President.  He has sent off over 500 missionaries and interviewed over 6,000 young adults in the last 7 years. He's in the trenches and sees Satan's most powerful weapons causing casualties today. He then quoted Elder Holland, challenging us to "come join the ranks" to fight this battle for The Lord.  

He invited us all to read Elder Holland's talk: The Bitter Cup and Bloody Baptism. He quoted President Packer, saying that we don't walk by the great and spacious building, we are walking through it.  He then tied in the Iwo Jima analogy, by saying that he feels like a medic, running from one wounded YSA to another. He estimates that only about 25% of our YSAs are active in the Church. (Sad!)

What can we do, to use the gospel of Jesus Christ, to overcome the devastation that is coming, and that is already here?  President Packer: Casualness creates casualties!

Do we know who we are fighting against?  Do you know how entrenched they are?  Do you know how to fight them?

1. Training in Technology

The media is incredibly powerful, but not all of it is bad.  But media wastes our time, and prevents us from doing the important things in our lives.  It is also powerful in how it manipulates our emotions.  He played music from Narnia, and made the point of how it brought images to our minds.  Media and technology is powerful.  And the faster it goes, the sicker we get, in our failure to turn to God.  The more we use technology, the less dependent we are on God.  

What are we doing in our homes to train our kids (and ourselves) to properly use technology?  The #1 problem he sees is with young people who have had smart phones for a long time, with no oversight.  They struggle!  92% of LDS high school kids have seen an R rated movie in the last year.  90% of video games reward violence.  The volume of info out there is immense!  2 out of 3 families have the TV on while they are eating dinner. Young people spend more time in a day using technology and media than any other thing like school or sleeping. This shows the problem we have with how we are spending our time in the media!

Pornography: What percentage of church members have a problem of with porn?  100% of us have a problem with it!  It is all around us - on the freeway billboards, grocery store checkout line, previews of good movies, ads during football games.  Thus, we all have a problem with it!  Our first mistake is not knowing we have a problem!  We need to acknowledge there is a problem, and we need to fight the problem!  This is a family battle, and we need to fight it as such! He gave a few specific ways his family fights this: 

  • His family never watches live TV. The little TV they watch is recorded so they avoid inappropriate ads.
  • They avoid movie previews. Their family stands in the hallway and walk in when the previews are over. 
  • Protecting every electronic device in the home with filters, blocks, rules, etc. 
  • And making sure we use the Gospel of Jesus Christ to strengthen our youth

2. Follow Promptings

You either listen to it and obey it, or you rebel against it, and quell the prompting.  You do that by justifying yourself in not following the prompting.  He said it's impossible to ignore a prompting from God -- a person has to kill it with justification. Are we training ourselves and our families how to follow promptings, and how we mess‐up and kill the promptings? He shared the cool story of a YSA who was in Iraq, and followed the prompting of the Holy Ghost, and saved the lives of many innocent children and women.

He shared a story of a young man getting ready for a mission who felt prompted he should break up with his girlfriend. The last four prophets have said no steady girlfriends before missions. A study of American teenagers: how many rules of dating do you have in your family, and then their willingness to break the law of chastity.  They found that the families with no rules, the YM or YW was 75% willing to do so.  The number of rules reduced it, the more rules, the more it dropped. And there are 12 rules in For the Strength of Youth. (This study is found in the book I posted below.)

3.  False Doctrine

Be aware of Satan's weapons, and know how to defend against them. He thinks Satan's greatest weapon is false doctrine.  Satan is doing all he can to change the doctrine and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to understand that, identify the ones we are struggling with, and get the Spirit's clarity with them, so we can fight them!  We need to know the one‐sentence definitions of each true doctrinal principal, like worthiness, faith, hope, with scriptures to support them. He quoted President Packer about 'the study of true doctrine changes behavior better than the study of behavior changes behavior.' Then we need to watch‐out for the false doctrinal concepts we run into!  

What does it mean to be worthy?  D&C 10:63 ‐ The Lord reveals Satan's purpose and goal. Satan stirs up the hearts of the people to contention upon the points of Christ's doctrine. And contention separates us from the love of God.  And when we go there, we open ourselves to Satan's temptations to sin, depression, discouragement, etc.  So focus on the false doctrines in our lives, and quell them with true doctrines!  D&C 10:67 ‐ Definition of what it means to be worthy.  If we repent and come to Jesus, we are His!  Anyone who teaches more or less than this is against the Savior (v. 68).  

When a person believes false doctrine that he is no good and unworthy, this separates him from the love of God, and it's easy for Satan to lead him to sin. When a person sins, Satan tempts him to focus on his sin. Instead the person should focus on discovering and abolishing the false doctrine that made the person vulnerable to sin. This is his experience with helping young adults overcome pornography addiction. 

4. Find four people to help carry you to Christ

Here is the pattern he often uses to help young adults recognize and rid themselves of false doctrine. He invites the young person to go home and read one particular miracle of Jesus Christ, and answer three questions:  

1. How would you feel if Jesus put His hands on your head, and healed you?  
2. Tell  the rest of the story, after the miracle‐how would your life change, if you had that experience?  
3. What is the personal application of the miracle.

He shared the example of a Gothic young woman who read the story of the man carried the palsied man to Jesus.  The story and those questions changed her.  None of us can do it alone, we need four people to help us make it to Christ. We have to be listen to their advice.  

5. Divine help

D&C 84:88 ‐ Angels are with you, if engaged in missionary work.  D&C 109 ‐ Angels when you are engaged if you do Temple work.  This is what it means to hasten the work!  When a baptism for the dead is done, that spirit has the gate unlocked from Spirit Prison into Paradise!  Don't you think they would minister to you, for doing that for them?

What remains to be seen is how tall we will stand on the side we have chosen‐the Lord's side!  The Lord's power will save us from Satan's onslaught, if we empower ourselves with it!  

He shared the story of Peter walking on the water.  Jesus taught the people on the day he got the news of John the Baptist's beheading. Teaching seems to bring clarity and perspective. He then sends his disciples off on the boat, and went to the mountain (often symbolic of the Temple).  He could see the disciples were out in the sea, struggling.  He waited until the 4th Watch, which is between 3 am and 6 am.  Jesus will come into our lives when we need it the most.  And it won't necessarily be when we think we need it.  Peter was doing it, but he panicked, and started to sink.  He cried out for Jesus Christ, and He saved Peter immediately.  

He believes Jesus' remark to Peter, "Oh ye of little faith" means we need to have faith in ourselves in doing the hard things the Savior has asked us to do.  If we do, miracles will occur!  The world is crying out for heroes‐hence the movies about superheroes!  Our youth need to rise up and be the heroes of our day, as they've been prepared to be since the councils in heaven!  He bore a powerful testimony of the restoration, and of Jesus Christ.

Our Stake President Dale Cook's Closing Remarks

He feels that we need to address prevention as individuals and families, rather than on focusing on fixing problems after they happen.  He challenged all of us to go home and have a family meeting to discuss and create a plan of action for our family. 

King Benjamin taught that we need to receive the Atoning blood of Jesus Christ, repent, come unto Christ, and receive His power in our lives!  We need to focus ourselves on that each and every day.  

Two powerful effects of the Atonement: 
1. it helps us overcome sins; and 
2. it strengthens us, and gives us the power to do what we need to do!

He bore testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  He challenged us to focus our efforts on preventing problems, using the teachings we received  tonight, and the power of Christ's Atonement.  He told us he sees the Atonement work every day.  When we go to the temple, we are endowed with power from on High!  Let us find ourselves there!

Want more? Randal Wright is a speaker and author who teaches many of these points. 

To the Parents of Teenagers: Avoiding Five Oft-made Mistakes
(BYU Education Week, 2006)

 Power Parenting in the LDS Home: Avoid the 25 Most Common MistakesMy favorite parenting book ever. This makes a great addition to family scripture study or family home evening. We let the kids take turns choosing which topic to read and discuss. Randal Wright keeps it entertaining with funny stories.