Sunday, January 14, 2018

Time to Grow

Do you pick a yearly word?  It took some meditation and days of reflection but I decided in 2018 what I need to do is


I spent the end of last year learning about a personality tendency of mine that questions everything, and must have a reason for each type of action.  This keeps me studying, and reflecting, and weighing pros and cons sometimes long after other people have chosen a path and progressed along it.

I would be happier at home any day, reading about life than taking risks in the messy painful living of it.  Reading, learning, changing, and forming views has its place, I just know that in order to grow more risks are what I need.  So this year I will show up.  Show up here to write, and scarier still, show up to church. 

Why is church so scary for me?  It's kind of the opposite of my safe space.  I got PTSD from community shunning as an 18 year old.  I got best friend shunning as a 38 year old when I started to face my traumas and question the all-powerfulness of the group's belief system.

I still face frustration and sorrow and fear every. single. week. as I sit in those pews and face that what *I* believe in my heart is so very far from all of the other people.  I feel like a foreigner in belief systems and vulnerable to shame and shunning at any step were my mouth to open.

This is part of why I keep going, and keep MAKING myself go (it really isn't easy).  When I pray in frustration after services on Sunday I realize what is keeping me frustrated is that I don't share.  I never answer a question in a class, I am not given a forum to ever share my weird differentness.  I just sit there stewing in my "otherness."  But then I think about what it would sound like if I did say what I believe (or don't) and I realize how vulnerable I would be to all of the traumas I've already been through.  It is difficult because sometimes I think I should let myself off that hook.  People quit churches all the time.

But for now, I grow.  I search for the way I could be more christian or be a light in someone's life and I find those things at church.  So I will TRY.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Artificial tree supplier

Museum Trees is a website that supplies really high end artificial plants.  I'm so thrilled with the one they sent me for reviewing.  It makes a great table centerpiece for our rustic handmade table.  Even my 7 year old keeps exclaiming how he thinks its real.

What I found interesting when I first heard about their site is that they also supply *outdoor* artificial plants, that don't get ruined in the weather.  They are so realistic I could see that being a smart desert landscaping solution -- water free. 

Museum Trees provided the product and they were very open about just wanting an honest review, but honestly I'm pretty impressed with their quality.

Check them out!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Return Prosperity

I'm on hold with amazon customer service right now, so what better time to write a post about the benefits of what I'm working on?

In an a fit of impulsive curiosity I went straight from watching YouTube videos on amazon 3rd party selling to opening my own account to do so.  One video is not thorough research, I need to say.  The next day I had $40 out of my bank account and enough more reading to realize this wasn't the side job I was looking for.  So I went through all the button pushing it took to close that seller account and moved on.

That was a month ago, I am still without the $40 and of course have used the account....not at all.  So after two or three attempts to still CLOSE the freaking mistake account I looked up a number I could get a human on the phone to plead my case.  I simply wanted it to close, but the lady (real person!) I spoke to offered a refund.  I am so glad I called.  It fixed the mistake with my personal information but it also rewound the financial mistake.

As mistakes in the money realm go, there are bigger ones, to be sure.  But every little bit of money back in our family's pockets gives us opportunities -- like EATING :) and healthcare, gas, etc.  And I may be preaching to the choir of my readers, here, but I hate to see anyone lose their simple daily assets over simple failure to act.

I do a lot of returning.  Well, I don't think a huge amount, but I take the time to recognize when a purchase we have won't end up getting used and going through with the transaction of relieving myself of a "thing" and restoring its place in our finances.  The simplicity of this concept is what has made me too embarrassed to write about it even though it's come to mind as a money saving hack a number of times.

I sometimes have been embarrassed to ask for a refund or complain about a problem, but the influence of friends more confident than myself, reminded me that the worst thing that can happen is they will say no.  And it's worth a few rejections to see.  Almost never do I get told no.  I don't try to return anything used or not in its package, and I obey all policies to a T.  I'm not out to get something for nothing.  So I think that helps keep the rejections low.

And to be honest, bracing myself for and handling rejection has gotten better the longer I've lived and the more jobs and church volunteer opportunities I've tried.  I just wanted to stick this reminder here, because I've seen closets and storage rooms and garages with brand new packages of things that are never getting used.  If this is you, and you feel like finances are a struggle, it's a place you can start!  Notice what you've purchased you haven't opened yet, or didn't work right.  Getting $10 or $20 back that you misspent is worth the (usually less than) hour to get yourself to the store, or get online to customer service.  It's just as noble as an hour spent working for the same amount, and a way to bless your family if misspending or overspending has been a problem.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Recipe Development

As a mom, who needs to constantly cook I kind of fell into developing recipes.  I'm always trying to tweak something to get it even tastier, or healthier, or more convenient for my family.  Maybe that is why moms and grandmas have the reputation of best cook EVAH when their adult children reminisce: years and years of practice and trial and error.

I'm currently conflicted by two worlds when it comes to what a recipe needs to be for our family.  I have tried keto style eating myself, really liked it, and slowly started making it into a dinnertime staple for the family.  I have one child with celiac disease, whom I've already been planning our dinners to accommodate and thankfully the two diets are quite in sync.  The more grains I eliminate the easier for us both.

Which brings me to today's challenge.  I had a craving for dark chocolate cupcakes.  This has been going on for three days as a result of messed up attempts to meet it with recipe development.  What I'm trying to say is that so far I have been unsuccessful in making this treat low carb as well as edible!  Today I decided to go back to a more scientific method and change just ONE thing in a tried and true recipe.

It's baking in the oven right now and I subbed almond flour for the all purpose.  I withheld the urge to also change the sweetener.  I went ahead and gave in to the impulse to throw a few sugar free chocolate chips on top in order to skip frosting and call them a muffin, rather than cake.  So I was feeling quite accomplished with restraint until I saw this:

It's the story of all creativity.  Lots of fails to achieve the crowning glory.  And obviously, yet to be achieved at our house :).

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pumpkin Blender Muffins

I figured out a new way to  make pumpkin muffins that is a little more inclusive for my family (no wheat).  Here it is:

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/3 C honey
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
1/3 C coconut oil
1/3 C heavy whipping cream
2 C rolled oats
1 t baking powder
1/2 t  baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 C chocolate chips

Blend all ingredients except choc chips in the blender.  Add chocolate chips to batter and portion between 12 muffin cups that have been greased or sprayed.  Bake at 350 for 18 minutes.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

do what you can but...Give More

When I was a relief society president in Iowa, I visited a young mom like myself on assignment from my bishop (mormon church).  I was tasked with filling out a form with her to order food for her and her child for the next couple of weeks.  I didn't know her yet, even though she was in my congregation because she hadn't attended much.  I was very rules orientated and happy to obey my bishop in this assignment.  When I went into her home and sat with her at her kitchen table we calmly filled out the sheet and she quietly expressed just a couple of groceries she really needed.  As I looked at her, with form in hand, I felt the whisper, "Give more."

I looked at her planned meals and realized a few good additions, and suggested them to her.  She agreed and on the list they went.  I then remembered some household goods I thought might be helpful, and at my suggestion she agreed.  This went on through the visit with me receiving the prompting again twice, "GIVE MORE."

This was my one and only visit with her.  I worked with several other families in their needs and all went smoothly were mostly forgettable. I learned two things from that particular experience:  someone was very aware of that woman and wanted more for her than she wanted for herself.  And that had nothing to do with her religiosity and rule following like myself.  Secondly, I learned more of the language of the spirit, and how nurturing our God is.  Despite our wants or verbalized needs he GIVES MORE.

Jesus stood up in his home synagogue in Nazareth and said these words, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and set at liberty them that are bruised."  Jesus' first and one of the foremost duties would be to bless the poor.

From the start of his ministry Jesus loved the poor and disadvantaged in a an extraordinary way.  In our day, in the first year of our church, the Lord commanded the members to "look to the poor and needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer."  Note the tone of that passage--SHALL NOT--clearly this alleviating suffering was important.

A journalist once asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her task of rescuing the desperately poor in that city.  This man said that, based on statistics she was accomplishing absolutely nothing.  She replied that her work was about love, not statistics.  Even though there was so much beyond her reach, she could serve who was within her reach with whatever she had.  She said, "What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean, but if we didn't do it, the ocean would be one drop less than it is."

Elder Holland in conference stated: I do not know all the reasons why the circumstances of birth, health, education, and economic opportunities vary so widely here in this life, but when I see the want among so many, I do know that there but for the grace of God go I.  I also know that although I may not be my brother's keeper, I am my brother's brother, and because I have been given much I too must give. I pay a personal tribute to President Monson.  I have been blesssed to work with this man for 47 years now and the image of him I will cherish until I die is of him flying home from then-economically devastated East germany in his house slippers because he had given away not only his second suit and his extra shirts but the very shoes from off his feet.  How beautiful upon the mountains and shuffling through an airline terminal are the feet of him that  bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.  More than any man I know, he has done all he could for the widow and the fatherless, the poor and the oppressed.

Presiding bishop Burton said:  This is the sacred work the savior expects from his disciples.  It is the work he loved when he walked the earth.  It is the work I know we would find Him doing were he here among us today.

The Lord's way is not to sit at the side of a stream and wait for the water to pass before we cross.  It is to come together, roll up our sleeves, go to work, and build a bridge or a boat to cross the waters of our challenges.

From Bishop Burton's family history he tells:  Many have heard of the Willie and Martin handcart companies and how these faithful pioneers suffered and died as they endured winter cold and debilitating conditions during their trek west.  Robert Taylor Burton, one of my great great grandfathers was one of those whom Brigham Young asked to ride out and rescue those dear, desperate saints.  Of this time Grandfather wrote in his journal: Snow deep and very cold that we could not move...Thermometer 11 degrees below cold people could not travel.  Life saving supplies were distributed to the stranded saints, but in spite of all the rescuers could do-- many were laid to rest by the wayside.  As the rescued saints were traversing a portion of the trail through echo canyon, several wagons pulled off to assist in the arrival of a baby girl.  Robert noticed the young mother did not have enough clothing to keep her newborn infant warm.  In spite of the freezing temperatures, he took off his own homespun shirt and gave it to the mother to wrap the baby. The child was given the name Echo--Echo Squires--as a remembrance of the place and circumstances of her birth.  In later years Robert was called to the presiding bishopric of the church where he served for more than three decades.  At age 86 he fell ill.  He gathered his family to his bedside to give them his final blessing.  Among his last words was this simple but profound counsel:  Be kind to the poor.

We want so bad a peaceful world and prosperous lives.  We pray for good societies where wickedness is gone and goodness and right are what win.  No matter how many temples we build, no matter how large the membership in our church grows, no matter how positively we are viewed by other people--should we fail in this great commandment to succor the weak and the poor, the answer to that pleading will ever be distant.

I'd like to close my talk with the words the spirit shared with me, "give more."