Sunday, November 27, 2016

Video: Do Trials Make You Bitter or Better?

Why do some people go through a trial and come out amazing from it, and others come out mad at God and wanting to give up? 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Barefoot walking today

How do you nourish your body and soul? 

I did something surprising for this time of year. 

I did my walking workout in a nearby park barefoot! I loved spending an hour in nature, letting my body soak up the nourishing energy from the earth and sunshine that God made so good for our bodies. I also spent the time listening to Book of Mormon, an audio book, doing some Kundalini yoga and breathing, and felt like a million bucks when I came home!

What are your routines that nourish your body and soul? 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

An easy way to shift from grumpy to happy in only a few minutes. The power of gratitude.

I've been more and more convinced of the power of gratitude.

This is a five minute gratitude challenge that I was inspired to do recently. I wanted to post it today in honor of Thanksgiving. There are few things that can lift me out of a bad mood faster than intense gratitude like this. 

Try it alone or with your family sometime this weekend and see!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sweet Potato Souffle - Best Thanksgiving Dish Ever

This recipe is so delicious I haven't been allowed to bring anything else to the Johnston Thanksgiving family reunion since 2002. 

That's fine with me. I make it once a year and we LOVE it! Even people who never liked yams before get giddy when they see me walk in the door holding a pan of this. I normally prepare whole foods almost all the time, but this is a once-a-year exception that's well worth it! 

This is a picture of the sweet potato souffle just before cooking.
Sweet potato souffle just before cooking. 

The topping carmelizes into this amazing crunchy, sweet, dessert. People think this is a side dish... they're fooling you. It's dessert. 

Can you tell how loved this recipe card is?  The red column is our half-pan gluten-free recipe.  

Sweet Potato Souffle Recipe 

6 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed*
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons real vanilla 
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 eggs 
1 cup evaporated milk 


1 1/2 cups brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans 
1/2 cup flour 
1/2 cup shredded coconut 
3/4 cup melted butter 

1. Bake five large yams at 350 degrees for two hours on a cookie sheet until soft when poked with a fork. Peel. Mash and measure. 

2. Combine ingredients in the first list and mix with electric mixer until fluffy. Spread in 9x13" pan. 

3. Mix topping ingredients. Use fingers to sprinkle topping over yam mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until you find the same done fluffy texture in the middle as the edges when a bit is pulled up with a fork. 

*Note: Six cups sweet potatoes is approximately five large yams. We use the ones that are dark orange inside with with pointed ends. 

There's quite the controversy about the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. A quick Google search will give you a variety of opinions. So I'm posting a picture to help you know which sweet potatoes I use. 

A few pictures of our early Johnston Thanksgiving family reunion last weekend. 

Here is my family, reunited after our son Adam's two-year mission to Paris, France, at our extended family Thanksgiving dinner on the weekend before Thanksgiving. We're only missing our teen daughter who was speaking at a Lionheart event, and our son-in-law who was working. I'm grateful for my family! 

My daughter Malia and I didn't plan it, but we dressed alike! She is expecting baby girl number three in early January, and we can hardly wait to meet that little bundle of joy!

My favorite Aunt Jani in the whole wide world. She and I both wore polka dots too! 

Grand babies make Thanksgiving even sweeter. Just look at that cutie pie. 

Our other granddaughter loving on her uncle, after asking, "Gramma, can I take a quick lil' ride in your 'Burban?" How can a gramma say no to that! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Video: Slide and Hide, or Show Up and Clean Up

Nobody is perfect at keeping their word. But is there a way to always honor your word even when you can't or don't keep your word? 

This is such a cool concept. It's tempting to hide and slide, but you can show up and clean up, and maintain your integrity, which is priceless. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Don't crush my chips! Four-step FHE on the power of words.

This past year my mind has really expanded about the power of our words. Here is a family home evening lesson to help teach this concept to your family. We used it last night. Our children are ages 14 and older, so if your children are all younger, you may want to skip or paraphrase Elder Holland's counsel into words that fit their ages.

Step One: Crushing chips activity. 

For this activity you need two bags of chips, either in original bags or in zip-top bags.

Sit in a circle and pass the first bag of chips. When each person has the chips, that person says a put down to the bag of chips as if it were a person, and squeezes the bag at the same time, before passing it onto the next person. Invite everyone to pay attention to how they feel hearing a couple rounds of negative put downs. 

Then pass the second bag of chips, except this time treat it gently like it was a person very special to you, and say a compliment. Invite people to pay attention to how they feel hearing a couple rounds of positive compliments. 

And then ask what did people learn from the chip activity. Here are a few questions you may ask: 

  • How powerful are words that we speak to each other? To ourselves?
  • Did anyone feel a difference between the negative and positive comments? 
  • What if people said, "I was just kidding," would the put downs still crush the chips? 
  • Can you tell from the outside if your comment crushes their chips inside? 
  • Do you think it's possible that your comment, good or bad, might make a big difference to a person considering committing suicide? 

Step Two: Watch two short videos and ask family members to share their thoughts afterward. 

This video is Hillary Weeks sharing an experiment she did showing the power of words with two jars of rice. 

This video is a famous experiment done by Japanese scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto about the power of words on water crystals. 

Step Three: Share what Elder Jefferey R. Holland said about the power of words, and ask for family member's thoughts.

"...Words are sacred, and must be spoken with care...
"...Some things we say can be destructive, even venomous—and that is a chilling indictment for a Latter-day Saint! The voice that bears profound testimony, utters fervent prayer, and sings the hymns of Zion can be the same voice that berates and criticizes, embarrasses and demeans, inflicts pain and destroys the spirit of oneself and of others in the process. “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing,” James grieves. “My brethren [and sisters], these things ought not so to be.”
"...negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking, including negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak—or at least think—critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hope or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable.
"Speak hopefully. Speak encouragingly, including about yourself. Try not to complain and moan incessantly. As someone once said, “Even in the golden age of civilization someone undoubtedly grumbled that everything looked too yellow.”
"I have often thought that Nephi’s being bound with cords and beaten by rods must have been more tolerable to him than listening to Laman and Lemuel’s constant murmuring.8 Surely he must have said at least once, “Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.” Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse."  (The Tongue of Angels, Ensign, May 2007)
Step Four: Bear your testimony about the power of words, and ask what each person is committed to do from what they just learned. 
Better yet, give each person an index card to write their commitment and place it in a handy place like a bathroom mirror. For an upgrade to the lesson, bring up the subject several times over the next week at the dinner table, to keep the lesson fresh in everyone's minds. 
Click here for two tools that work to change your negative thoughts into positive ones. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Why did my family start the Book of Mormon over today, and how we get more from it

My family started the Book of Mormon over today. In this video is why, and how we get more out of it.

Also, here is the quote I shared in the video: 

"Whatever level of spirituality we now enjoy in our lives; whatever degree of faith in Jesus Christ we now have; whatever strength of commitment and consecration, whatever degree of obedience or hope or charity is ours; whatever level of professional skill and ability we may have obtained, it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead.

"Brothers and sisters, you and I need to be much better than we are now. The scriptures teach us that the world is now and will be in commotion. Wickedness and darkness will increase. Yet in that darkening world there will be increased divine light. The Lord Jesus Christ has a great work for us to do with the rising generation. It is a greater work than we have ever done before. The Lord is working in power to strengthen teaching and learning in His true and living Church. He is hastening His work, and He is preparing the earth and His kingdom and us for His return."

-- Elder Kim B. Clark, "Encircled About with Fire," Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2015 

Click here for more tools to help you get more from your scripture study! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Video: Turning 46 is awesome because...

I know women who hate their birthdays, and detest getting a year older. Here's my take on that. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Video: Women! Stand up, speak up, and follow what you feel called to do.

Women! Stand up, speak up, and follow what you feel called to do. Your Influence in the last days is unprecedented. 

And when God says your mission is to focus exclusively on your family, then do it, even if it's hard and feels monotonous or the world mocks your choice. When I was about to give birth to my second baby my heart was set on getting a master's degree at BYU while my husband did law school there. It seemed like a great plan to me. But when I prayed about it the Lord told me no. I was devastated at the time, but I have looked back and seen tremendous layers of wisdom in that decision. You will never regret giving  attention to your family. Whatever God calls you to do in this stage of your life, do it, and you're influence will be magnified!

Here is a great quote by Harold B. Lee: “The most important of the Lord’s work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home" (Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living (1973), 248–49).

CLICK HERE for Russell M. Nelson's talk I refer to in the video. 

CLICK HERE for President Kimball's quote below. 
"To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times."  ("Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters," President Spencer W. Kimball, Oct. 1978 General Conference)