Sunday, April 27, 2014

Because of Him

This is a beautiful short movie that I wanted to share. It is WELL worth the 2 1/2 minutes of your time!
I know that He lives and because of my Savior I can live more fully to be a better person, mother, wife, friend, neighbor. Because of Him I have greater hope, happiness, love, purpose, peace, patience, endurance, and joy. Because of Him I can be forgiven over and over again, overcome any obstacle, and live with those I love forever. Because of Him I have everything that I need and can become the person that I ever hope to be.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Playing the Piano and the Atonement

Ether 12:27 - And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
I love this talk by Brad Wilcox. Through a simple analogy he helps me understand the atonement and how to use that priceless gift each day to become better.

"Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.
If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with Mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.
In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19); “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask, maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.
But don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?
There should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13).
 Happy Easter! I am so grateful for Christ's atonement so that I can improve, repent, and have hope in becoming who I am meant to be.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Orange Strawberry Almond Salad

This is my new favorite salad and salad dressing. It is so great for a light Spring/Summer meal and is really good with grilled chicken. I am making this for a yummy side to our Easter dinner along with some Bunny Buns....YUM!

Orange Strawberry Almond Salad
  • 1 package spring mix salad
  • 1 head Romain lettuce chopped
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
  • 1 pint strawberries sliced
  • 1 cup sliced candied almonds
 To make candied almonds, put almonds and 2 Tbsp sugar in pan. Heat on high constantly stirring until sugar liquifies and almonds get toasty. Spread out on wax paper to cool.

  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 package dry Italian dressing mix
Combine and pour over salad just before serving.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

This recipe is turning into a family favorite at our home. In a pinch you can simplify it and use instant potatoes and canned beef - I have used both and it turns out great!

Shepherd's Pie
  • Mashed potatoes (I use about 10 medium potatoes peeled and cubed. Once soft, I mash them with milk, 2 Tbsp of sour cream, salt and pepper....or use instant)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, shredded beef, or canned beef
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (or just pees and carrots) - cooked
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • shredded cheddar
 Make mashed potatoes. While the potatoes are boiling, brown ground beef. In a separate pan, make a gravy by melting the butter on medium heat, whisk in flour to make a paste and slowly whisk in beef broth and Worcestershire. Stir until smooth. Add veggies and beef to the gravy and stir. In a 9x13 pan, put meat and veggie mixture on bottom. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Sprinkle potatoes with paprika and cheese on the very top. Bake at 350 of 20 minutes then broil for about 3-5 minutes until cheese is nice and crispy.