Friday, October 31, 2008

How We Met - part eight

Flashback Friday - The Big Surprise

Background information: I’ll admit I was a sheltered, naïve teenager. (Wayne says I'm still sheltered and naive.) I would attend “standards night” every year and leave with more questions than answers, yet I was too shy to ask anyone for clarification. Since I wanted to be sure to not go “too far,” I decided that I would never even kiss someone until I was engaged. Contrary to popular belief, I had plenty of opportunities to test that commitment, but I kept it.

So, we went to the fireside together and had a nice time. Wayne did most of the talking but right before he left I gathered the courage to explain why I wouldn’t kiss him, and he said he respected that which made me feel a lot better. He also mentioned that once in high school he told a girl he was dating that he loved her, and then she spurned him badly, so that he made the commitment never to say “I love you” until he was ready to be engaged. (Remember this – it’s important.)

That week was an emotional roller coaster for me. I had recently received a disturbing letter from the missionary I was not waiting for (although he was still hoping I’d change my mind). I was stressed over schoolwork and I wasn’t sleeping very well. Sunday Wayne and I made plans for a study date on Tuesday. Monday he came over to say he’d have a surprise for me then. I had just awoken from a nap and looked terrible, which of course made me feel even worse. My roommates were positive the “surprise” was a diamond ring which didn’t make sense since I had only known Wayne even existed for a week.

We spent a few hours at the library on Tuesday. The surprise was an invitation to the Valentine’s Dance that Saturday. We went to the library again on Wednesday and on Friday we went to a recital. (Part of my “homework” required attending 14 recitals a semester – very good inexpensive dates even if you aren’t a music major.) When we weren’t together we were talking on the phone. Once during this week I mentioned that he was taking a lot of my time and his response was “That’s what happens when you like someone a lot.” We definitely liked each other a lot and were both really looking forward to the Valentine’s Dance. In fact, the occasion even called for a new dress, so my roommate and I went to the mall Saturday morning.

It was a busy week!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Day to Halloween!

Halloween Activity: Costume Parades
Isn't it fun to get together with your friends and school or church and march around for your parents before playing games and eating treats?

Halloween Treat: Soup in a Pumpkin
Here's the recipe I've used before.


1 medium Pumpkin
1/4 cup Onion -- chopped
1 1/2 lb Ground beef
2 T Soy sauce
2 T Brown Sugar
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups cooked rice

Clean stringy pulp and seeds from pumpkin. Saute onion and ground beef. Add soup, soy sauce and brown sugar. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add cooked rice. Put meat-rice mixture into pumpkin. Replace lid. Place the pumpkin in a 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 for 60 min to 90 minutes until pumpkin is tender. Slice in quarters to serve.

I liked it, but none of the kids did. Or maybe they were just too interested in going trick-or-treating. (That's why we resorted to pizza.) So next time I'll probably try this recipe. It looks pretty good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two Days to Halloween!

Halloween Activity: Tootsie Pop Ghosts
This is a simple, quick and fun last minute idea. Just wrap a facial tissue around a Tootsie Pop and tie in place with yarn.. This year they're stuck in a painted foam cone, but often we hang them from the kitchen light.

Halloween Treat: Pretzel Candies
This is one of our newest traditions, and you can't get much simpler or quicker. Unwrap Rolo candies, place them on a square pretzel, pop in a 300° oven for about four minutes, then gently press an M&M (or candy corn) on top. Chill til the caramel sets up.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Three Days to Halloween!

Halloween Activity: Paper Plate Skeleton
This is another craft I read about as a teenager (which means it was probably a Dian Thomas idea) and finally tried with our little kids. Basically just cut the shapes out of paper plates and tie them together with yarn. We usually tape it to the front door. (If you want more directions, scroll half way down this page.)

Halloween Treat: Sugar Cookies
You can't have Halloween without filling up on cookie pumpkins and ghosts! Here's the recipe we like:
Our Favorite Sugar Cookie (aka Santa Claus Cookies)
4 cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter until smooth. Gradually add and beat in the sugar and continue beating until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Sift and add the dry ingredients in fourths and stir after each addition to blend well. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

Set the oven to 350°. Grease the cookie sheets lightly. Roll out the dough, a little at a time, on a lightly floured pastry cloth or board, to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut with a floured cookie cutter. Carefully transfer cut-outs to the cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove and cool, then decorate with frosting. About 4 dozen.

(Since this is also an important Christmas tradition, I often make enough cookie dough now to freeze some for the busy December days.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Four Days to Halloween!

Memorable Monday Moments

Halloween Activity: Carving Pumpkins
Every Monday before Halloween, our family night is spent carving jack-o-lanterns. That means Dad gets involved in the process! It can be quite messy, but isn't that part of the fun?
Halloween Treat: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
This is also part of the tradition - eating roasted pumpkin seeds for the rest of the week (except for the years when I burn them or otherwise make them unedible). To make them, toss 1 1/2 cups seeds with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Season to taste with garlic powder, cayenne pepper and seasoning salt. Then spread on cookie sheet and bake at 300° for 30 to 45 minutes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scripture Study Insights - week twelve

Mosiah 23
Pure love precludes/prevents contention. Go back to Mosiah 5:15 – we learn to love by serving one another. Cross reference verse 18 to Ephesian 6:4 (nourish with righteousness) and 1 Timothy 4:6 (bring people back to the church by teaching them true doctrine). Don’t be afraid of the enemy. Put trust in God and he will deliver – on his timetable.

Mosiah 24
Even the righteous have trials.
"But the test a loving God has set before us is not to see if we can endure difficulty. It is to see if we can endure it well. We pass the test by showing that we remembered Him and the commandments He gave us." (Henry B. Eyring)
"The great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage." (Henry B. Eyring)
God knows our thoughts and the prayers of our heart. Submit to his will cheerfully and with patience. Deliverance from trials can be miraculous. Be sure to give thanks.

Mosiah 25
We can have conflicting emotions over the same events: joy, sorrow, gratitude, pain, anguish. We need opposition. Our attitude is our choice. David learned this lesson last week.
Mosiah 26
The rising generation didn’t believe because they would not pray. They had hard hearts so they couldn’t understand the prophets and scriptures. This shows the importance of teaching even very young children how to prayer. Alma didn’t know what to do about the problem so he prayed. He wanted to do God’s will. He received inspiration because it was a new circumstance, previous revelation wouldn’t have covered the situation. Write down the answer!

Mosiah 27
Sin hinders prosperity. Our prayers for others can be answered because of our faith, not theirs. The Lord’s mercy comes after the suffering of repentance, but then we become new creatures. Part of the repentance process is “zealously striving to repair all the injuries” we cause.

Mosiah 28
Children ask for father’s advice – parents “inquire of the Lord.” Keep written records and pass them down.
Mosiah 29
A very timely chapter due to the upcoming elections. “Let us be wise . . . and do that which will make for the peace of this people” (v. 10). A wicked king brings misery to his people. “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law – to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you” (v 26-27). We should do all things in the fear of the Lord, and each person needs to be willing to answer for his own sins – don’t blame others!

Five Days to Halloween!

Halloween Activity: Gingerbread House
We only did this once, but it was a lot of fun, and some year we'll do it again.

Halloween Treat: Gross Foods Dinner
In 1999, Halloween was on a Sunday so we didn't go trick-or-treating. Instead we invited the missionaries over for dinner and had fun with the menu.

Orange Ooze (fancy orange punch)
Ghost Biscuits (regular biscuits cut into ghost shapes)
Liver and Onions (the real thing, which was plenty horrific)
Brains and Blood Sauce (macaroni molded in a round bowl served with spaghetti sauce)
Worms (thinly sliced hot dogs)
Carrot Coins (really just plain cooked carrots)
Pumpkin Bars (regular cookies)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Six Days to Halloween!

Halloween Activity: Visiting the Pumpkin Patch
Let's have some fun choosing a pumpkin!
Halloween Treat: Pizza Mummies
English muffin pizzas are a super-easy, kid-friendly dinner that we've had often on Halloween night or the busy week before. You can also make jack-o-lantern faces with your olives!

Friday, October 24, 2008

How We Met - part seven

Flashback Friday - The First Date

As mentioned before, we had plans to meet at the Marriott Center for the fireside the next Sunday. Apparently that was my idea, and it didn’t sit well with Wayne, because he wanted to be the one to do the asking for the first date - at least that’s my perception. So on Friday he called to ask me out for dinner on Saturday. My roommates were pretty excited. (I must not have been having many dates that semester!) Wayne picked me up, and we had dinner at the Brick Oven Restaurant, also known as Heaps Pizza.

Back in 1956 a little corner cafe was converted into one of Provo's first pizza parlors. A local contest determined the name to be "Heaps of Pizza". The cozy atmosphere and delicious pizza pie made us an immediate hit with both Utah County locals and BYU students. Word spread about the great food and business began to boom.
Over the years we grew up. What was once a corner pizza parlor became the popular Brick Oven Restaurant. These changes stemmed from a growing community and increased popularity. In keeping with our commitment to fresh baked products, we changed our name to Brick Oven Restaurant. We serve the same delicious hearth baked pizza pie, homemade root beer and deep dish lasagna; but now we also have Chicago style deep pan pizza pie, Italian pasta dinners, our famous Market Room Buffet, hearty sandwiches, fresh baked breads and desserts.

Afterwards, we came back to my hall lounge and played cards while watching some inane television show. Just like on the phone call, we had a great time talking and getting to know each other throughout the whole evening. The date ended a little awkwardly, however, because I wasn’t expecting a good-night kiss on the first date. But since Wayne had to wait until the second date to get the explanation for why I wouldn’t kiss him, you’ll have to wait for it as well!

Seven Days to Halloween!

Halloween Activity - Hanging Ghost
Remember we like easy? Just take a kitchen wastebasket liner bag and stuff the corner with a balloon, empty 2-liter bottle, or crumpled newspaper. Then draw on a ghost face and hang it wherever you want!

Halloween Treat: Marshmallow Cats

Sorry the picture isn't more clear, but we had a lot fun making these. Dip two marshmallows in melted chocolate and stack on each other. Use candy corn for the ears, little candies for the eyes and nose, and string licorice for the tail. Then you can eat them!! (Because Google is so helpful, I found some instructions here!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eight Days to Halloween!

Halloween Activity: Cheese Cloth Ghosts
If you look carefully at the ghost cake picture, you can see our version, but here are some directions.

Halloween Treat: Caramel Apple Jack-o-lanterns
Did you know that adding chocolate chips to caramel apples makes them jack-o-lanterns? And they're delicious too.

P.S. To make caramel apples, unwrap one package (14 ounce) worth of caramels and melt with 2 tablespoons of milk. Then stick a popsicle stick in 6 apples and dip them in the melted caramel. Place on waxed paper and decorate with the candy if desired, then put in the fridge until they set up.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nine Days to Halloween!

(Definitely fits with the Wacky Wednesday idea)

Halloween Activity: Costumes
A huge part of Halloween is coming up with a costume idea! Simple and easy is my favorite type - for the first few years, everyone was a clown.

But as the kids got older and had their own ideas, we expanded. (Basing the costume on sweats added to their winter pajama wardrobe.) Little boys like capes! Throwing everything that wasn't wrecked into a storage box helped when the next year came around. One year we actually did put in some more time, money and effort - but once is enough! The same year that Steven was the dinosaur
Jeff was an astronaut
and Brad was a knight. (I couldn't find the original instructions on-line, but that's bubble wrap that we spray painted silver and cut a hole for the head in. The hat is a paper bucket of some sort.)
But when you get old enough, just a hat (and maybe writing on a t-shirt) can be considered an acceptable costume! (In 2004, Brad was Homestar Runner, Jeff a cowboy, Steven Mario, and Michelle a magician.)

Halloween Treat: Witch's Brew (Trail Mix)

Combine equal amounts (about one cup) of the following:

blood drops (red hots)
owl eyes (peanuts)
vulture toenails (candy corn)
colored flies (M&Ms)
cat's claws (sunflower seeds)
dead ants (raisins)
chicken gizzards (potato sticks)
bat bones (straight pretzels)
ghost guts (mini marshmallows)
dragon eyes (starlight mints)
slithering snakes (gummy worms)

Package and serve with the following poem:

Chicken gizzards, colored flies,
Vulture toenails, big owl eyes,
Lots of dead ants, ghost guts galore,
Cat claws, bat bones, one thing more,
Drops of vampire blood, bright red.
Mix it well and eat til you're dead

I first learned of this treat at Weston's kindergarten party, where the teacher played this song while the kids took turns adding ingredients to the cauldron and stirring.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ten Days to Halloween!

October sure is a fun month when you have little kids around! In honor of the upcoming holiday, I decided to do some countdown posts with just some of the activities we've done over the years. We haven't done everything every year, of course, but the memories survive forever.

Halloween Activity: "You've been BOO-ed"

Kids (and grown-ups!) love finding a surprise on the doorstep. If you're not familiar with this, just google it, but here's the poem that was left for us years ago:

Since this is the time for goblins and bats
Halloween sports and ghosts and cats
Weird happenings and witches brew
These are the things I wish for you
May the only goblin that comes your
Be the neighborhood phantom you'll want to give away!

Then there were directions to hang the picture, copy the poem, and pass it along to some other neighbor. Before checking my file drawer, I looked on the internet. You can find anything you want there! If you're interested, there's a great discussion on this activity here and prepared graphics here.

Halloween Treat: Flaming-eye Ghost Cake
Do you remember the flaming-eye ghost cake in the Betty Crocker Kid's Cookbook years and years ago? I'd always wanted to try that, and one year we did. This year I saw the same idea using Oreo cookies (with one side removed) for the eyes, which is probably more practical since sugar cubes and lemon extract are no longer staple cupboard items. Basically you bake a 9x13 cake, round the tops corners to make a ghost shape, frost it with white icing, and use 2 egg-shell halves with a lemon-extract soaked sugar cube inside. Light the sugar cubes when you're ready to serve for the flaming eyes. Here are some directions I found.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Best Buddies or Worst Enemies

Memorable Monday Moments

or Best Buddies or Worst Enemies
That’s what you get when you have more than one child. I’ve particularly noticed it with our two youngest (who are 15 months apart). As I started reading Mosiah once again this month, I was reminded of a scripture that we’ve used over and over as we've tried to teach our children.

“And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, . . . But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.” (Mosiah 4:14-15)

A couple of summers ago, when the bickering and noise level was getting unbearable, it finally dawned on me that the key to not fighting was to develop love, and that comes through service. So, once again it was time for a family night lesson on the subject. We had each child come up with five ways in which they would like to be served – things like make my bed, clean my room, do another chore, scratch my back, play a game with me, fix me a snack, let me choose the tv show, etc. Then, whenever I caught them arguing or teasing, they had to do something to serve the other person. It worked really well! In fact, I think I only had to call them on it about three times.

This week I was reminded once again of the correlation between loving one another and no contention: “Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.” (Mosiah 23:15) We love family night, because it gives us a chance to focus on developing love between our family members by sharing and practicing the teachings of the gospel.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why I'm NeverBored

Quick recipe: Oreo Balls
Steven and Michelle's request for Sunday afternoon family activity and treat last week.
Combine one package (about 16 oz) Oreos, crushed, with one package (8 oz.) softened cream cheese. Form into balls and chill. Then dip in melted white almond bark (or chocolate chips). Drizzle with melted dark chocolate if desired. Chill again.

Scripture Study Insights - week eleven

Mosiah 15
Abinadi finally answers the priests’ question from Mosiah 12:20 – prophets publish peace and good tidings, which makes their feet beautiful upon the mountains. And not only the prophets, the Prince of Peace himself brings the good tidings that he has redeemed mankind.

Peace and comfort come to those who listen to the words of the prophets, and hearken to and obey them. (Steven would say those are redundant verbs.) This is “good news” and should bring us great joy. Those who willfully rebel against God and his commandments will have no such peace. Christ will not redeem them. They will have to pay the price of their sins on their own. Don’t be rebellious!

Mosiah 16
Continues thoughts from chapter 15. Because of Christ there is a resurrection – the grave has no victory. We’ll end up where our desires take us – either “endless life and happiness” (for those who accept the Savior’s merciful atonement) or “endless damnation” (for those who rebel against the need for repentance).

Mosiah 17
Alma was young when he believed Abinadi. The younger you start, the easier it is to make changes and accept new beliefs. So, “learn good habits in your youth.” However, the miracle of the gospel is that you don’t have to be young to change (repent). The first thing Alma did after escaping from Noah was to write down the words of Abinadi. Then he started teaching others. We need the scriptures.

Mosiah 18
It’s interesting to note the teachings emphasized by Alma: faith, repentance, unity, keep the Sabbath day holy, give thanks to God daily, work for your living.

Mosiah 19
We can love those around us and desire their happiness, while still understanding that their choices to sin may preclude that. What prophets prophesy comes to pass.

Mosiah 20
Communication solves problems. We don’t always understand why other people do things, yet when we take the time to discuss differences, we can usually discover that there was a good, although misguided, reason.

Mosiah 21
When we are humble, the Lord can ease the weight of our burdens, even if they are not removed.

Mosiah 22
Good leaders consult with the people and listen to their ideas before making decisions.

Backyard Drama

The big day arrived! Even better than Tinker Toys and Legos, Wayne has a shed kit! I thought the whole purpose of building a shed was to make more room in the garage. I guess I thought wrong, because the cars had to be moved out. After reorganizing, one car is back in, but maybe the incentive to get the other one under cover will help this project move along. As it is, there's a beautiful platform in the backyard right now. Any good ideas for a play performance?

Friday, October 17, 2008

How We Met - part six

Flashback Friday or The Phone Call

January of 1982 saw Wayne back at BYU, all ready to move forward with life after his mission. During Sunday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, he asked them if they knew of any girls he could date. They laughed and said everyone they knew would be too old. Yet, as he was leaving, Grandma remembered that she did have names for three young ladies attending school, and she gave Wayne their telephone numbers. Without delay, Wayne called the first girl on the list. He asked her out, they went on the date and had a nice time. However, she was taller than he was, so that was that.

Next he called the second girl on the list. I’m amazed that I was home to take the call, because I ALWAYS went to ward prayer. But, for some reason, I decided that it was more important for me to go to bed early that night. Well, that didn’t happen either. Here’s my journal entry, dated 11:10 PM, Sunday, January 31, 1981:

“I can’t believe what I just spent the last two hours doing. This guy, Wayne Whitaker, called me up and we talked for two whole hours. He’s Judge Whitaker’s grandson, and Sister Whitaker (who I visited before Christmas) gave him my telephone number and he called me. He sounded like a really neat guy and I’m still amazed that we talked so long.”

(Do you get the sense that talking on the phone to a stranger for two hours was unusual behavior for me?)

“Anyway, next Sunday we’re going to the fireside together so I’ll get to meet him. We talked about everything and he seems like a really fun person to be around. What I know about him is that he’s lived all over the world, presently in Bellevue, Washington and considers himself a Californian because that’s where he went to high school, he returned from a mission in Chile about four months ago, he’s in Business Administration and is going to become a millionaire with his own international company, and he loves to exercise. He really sounds like an interesting person.”

Wayne never made it to the third name. Months later, Grandma Whitaker took that girl out for lunch to apologize for the order in which she wrote the phone numbers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Evolution of a Dinosaur

Wacky Wednesday
or How long can a shoe box and a paper bag last?

For Halloween in 1996, Steven was a dinosaur. We made the costume following instructions from a Parents magazine. This picture doesn't do it justice, but it's hard to get a 3 year old to sit still!
Four years later, we repainted the box and sack so Steven could be Charizard (a Pokemón character).
Four more years go by, and Jeff decides that it's the perfect "no-work" costume for a teenager at the ward Trunk or Treat.
Charizard is no longer relegated to Halloween. Now he's making appearances on "Character Day" for Homecoming Spirit Week at the high school. (Jeff last year, Michelle this year - the poor sack needed a retaping job after Jeff put it on over his huge muscles!)
What's next? Will it survive for another four years? Should we save it for the grandchildren? Who knows?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Watch Yourselves!

Memorable Monday Moments:
David came home from his mission all excited about a concept he had learned from his mission president, which he shared with us at that first family night.

He started out by drawing the above diagram as a review of the plan of salvation. Then we read Mosiah 4:30 and noticed we're supposed to watch four things: our selves, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. The question is, why four things? In the past we've often talked about thoughts coming before words and deeds, but what does "watch yourselves" mean? We had a great discussion, and came up with several things:
As I remember it, our conclusion was that things like our attitude and desires determine what our thoughts will be, and so if we want to avoid sin, we start before actions, words, and thoughts. We start with our individual will and determination to be Christ-like.

One of my more memorable "AHA" moments occured one day when I was feeling overwhelmed and picked on. I had been praying that I would be happy and even that wasn't working. Then all of a sudden the thought came that I was enjoying feeling miserable and sorry for myself. I wanted those around me to know I was miserable. Maybe then they would try harder to help or even just be nicer. Once I "watched myself" and changed my prayer for the desire to be happy, the happiness came.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scripture Study Insights - week ten

Mosiah 9
Don’t be overzealous. Put your trust in God, not in man or even yourself.

Mosiah 10
We must guard ourselves from wickedness - send out spies and develop armor. Wicked men are angry, blame others, think they’ve been wronged, and don’t take responsibility.

Mosiah 11
One wicked person brings great suffering to all.

Mosiah 12
Abinadi is a good example of standing up for truth and righteousness; he “answered them boldly.” We need to apply our hearts to understanding; that's how we become wise. (See Jacob 6:12.)

Mosiah 13
Testify of the Savior and preach faith, repentance, and obedience to his commands. It’s that simple.

Mosiah 14
The Savor has already “bourne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Will we let him help us with our burdens? One of my favorite articles is "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robison. It's too long to put the whole thing here, and even this section of it is long, but it has helped me over and over for the last 15+ years. Maybe it will help someone else too.

Sometimes the demand for perfection drives us to despair. More than a decade ago, my wife and I were living in Pennsylvania. Things seemed to be going well. I’d been promoted in my work and was also serving in the bishopric. Janet had given birth to our fourth child, had graduated from college, had passed the CPA exam, and had been called to serve as Relief Society president. We were busy but happy, and I thought we were doing the right things.

Then my wife began to feel an overpowering sense of discouragement. She asked to be released from her callings, and try as I might, I could not get her to tell me what was wrong.

One night, after two weeks of being prodded by a sometimes insensitive but worried husband, she finally said, “All right. You want to know what’s wrong? I can’t do it anymore. I can’t get up at 5:30 in the morning to bake bread and help my kids with their homework and do my own homework. I can’t do my Relief Society stuff and get my genealogy done and sew and go to the PTA meetings and write the missionaries. …”

She added, “I don’t have the talent that Sister Morrell has. I can’t do what Sister Childs does. I try not to yell at the kids, but I do. I’m not perfect, and I’m never going to be perfect. I’m afraid I’m not going to make it to the celestial kingdom.”

I said, “Janet, I know you have a testimony. …”

“Of course I do! That’s what’s so terrible. I know the gospel’s true. I just can’t do it. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I can’t do it all, all of the time.”

It was a long night. At last we came to understand what was wrong. We realized, after talking together, that Janet was trying to save herself. She knew that Jesus is an adviser and a teacher. She knew that he is an example, the head of the Church, our Elder Brother, and even God. She knew all that, but she did not understand His role as the Savior.

We all fail at living the full celestial level. That’s why we need a Savior. The Lord says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6.) We frequently misinterpret that verse. We think it means “Blessed are the righteous.” It does not. When are you hungry? When are you thirsty? When you don’t have the object of your desire. It is those who don’t have the righteousness that God has—but who hunger and thirst after it—who are blessed, for if that is the desire of their hearts, the Lord will help them achieve it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How We Met - part five

During my second year at BYU I made plans to drive home for Christmas with a friend. We ran into a problem when she wasn’t going to be able to leave until the day after I had to vacate my dorm. Auntie came to the rescue! By this time she had moved to Provo to be closer to her daughter, and she invited me to spend that couple of days with her.

(my roommates the fall of 1981)
In the meantime, Louise Whitaker had been keeping in contact through the yearly Christmas card with her bishop in San Jose, who happened to be my dad. As my mom opened the card that December, she realized that the Whitakers lived next door to Aunt Mabel. I was given the assignment to go over in person to wish them a Merry Christmas.

(the Whitaker's house in Provo)

I spent the morning helping Auntie clean house, all the while dreading the prospect of talking to strangers, yet knowing if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to face my parents. Finally, I got the courage to go next door and ring the doorbell. Sister Whitaker was so gracious! I was invited in to sit on the pink velvet couch (in my dirty jeans) and offered candy. After a short visit, I left, but not before my name and phone number were added to their address book – “because we like to keep track of our friends’ kids at BYU.”

So I went home for the holiday with a clear conscience, after once again learning the lesson that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

(Technically the family picture was taken the Christmas before, but I didn't remember that until I looked at the date on the back - 31 December 1980. Even if it's not quite accurate, this is how I remember my family that year anyway.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hodgepodge of Events

We don't want the brothers to feel left out of all the activities of home, so here are some of the things we've done in the past few weeks:

It's "Spirit of Elijah" week for our stake. A couple of weeks ago we went on the ward family baptism trip. It was really neat to see fathers baptizing their own children for their own ancestors. Tomorrow the kids will have to ride the bus home from school and eat frozen pizza for dinner (what a sacrifice!!) so Wayne and I can spend the whole day in Orlando. The week concludes with a ward sealing session on Saturday. And just this week I discovered the connection that takes one line back another generation, so the work continues.

Last week for Mutual we had a Court of Honor which was a lot of fun, complete with games and skits in addition to the merit badge and rank advancement awards. The young women were great cheerleaders! Steven's making progress on his final three merit badges and is open for suggestions for an Eagle project. He's spent a couple of recent Saturday mornings helping with other service projects so he'll be able to ask for support for his when he's ready.

Several weeks ago the sprinkler system was zapped by lightning. After replacing a couple of controls, it's working again. Oh, and the shed has been ordered and paid for and will be delivered in a couple of weeks. If your dad doesn't have enough free Saturdays to assemble it, guess what you get to do over Christmas break!

As if English projects and math league practice and dentist appointments and memorizing the table of elements and learning all about the Chinese dynasties while still waking up for seminary weren't enough, I asked Steven and Michelle to help me with menu planning. We're tried some good recipes in the past few weeks. Here's one Steven picked out from the Kraft Foods magazine:
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Candy Dessert

Finally, we've enjoyed relaxing Saturday afternoons watching college football on tv, wishing we could join Jeff and his cousins at a BYU game in person.