Saturday, July 26, 2008

Food for Thought: In the Eye of the Hurricane

Along Came Dolly:

When Hurricane Dolly hit Brownsville, Texas, last week, I didn't pay any more attention that to track the storm on the internet and hope we'd get a bit of rain out of the deal. Especially because the storm couldn't make up its mind whether to be a tropical depression or a tropical storm or an out-and-out hurricane, I am afraid poor Dolly did not get much respect from me. I smiled when my Utah family would ask me how we were surviving the storm. Didn't they know that was like asking them how was the weather in Las Vegas? Besides that, Dolly scarcely deserved the notice. Katrina and Rita, now those were hurricanes.

Then, my son's mother-in-law sent me this log about their vacation down to San Padre Island, and I was reminded once again how important it is for us all to be prepared, even for such a seemingly inconsequential thing as a tropical depression. Dolly charged up to a Category 2 right before landfall, and the damage she wrecked on south Texas racked up into the billions. Even with the lessons one would hope we here in southeast Texas learned during Hurricane Rita, it seemed another round of the same.

When I asked her permission to post this, Deana responded:
It really was a good lesson in preparedness. We had food with us, but had to run out before the storm and get food that didn't have to be cooked (we did lose power early in the storm). Even then, it didn't last long. The store was running out of things quickly, but we did manage to get some essentials and, luckily, two lanterns for light. Thankfully, we had enough gas in our cars to get out of the storm area---it was at least 100 miles to the nearest available gasoline.

Here's Deana's description their experience with Hurricane Dolly:

A vacation down to South Padre Texas became an adventure we won't soon forget. After a couple of beautiful days on the Texas coast, warnings were sent that a Cat 1 hurricane was on its way from the Gulf. We tried to monitor the storm. The last report we heard from the local news was the storm has weakened to a tropical storm and that is would blow over in a day or so. We decided to stay in a day or so enjoy the beaches once again. Soon after, we lost power and with it all communication and information. As it was, the storm strengthened to a Cat 2 hurricane. We hunkered down in our condo.

South Padre island took a direct hit from the eye of the storm. The wind velocity reached 115 mph! Water flooded the condo – we were on the first floor and so we spent the day Wednesday sandbagging inside the condo and constantly mopping up the water that came in under the walls and from the ceiling above. Luckily we made some friends from Pennsylvania in an adjoining condo which also decided to stay. They provide us a dry place to rest from the water and wind.

When the storm subsided 24 hours later the billions of dollars of damage had been done to the small resort town. Shingles littered the ground everywhere. Almost 50% of the roofs of dwellings had been damaged. Fences – wooden were destroyed and steel gates were ripped from their hinges and tossed across the road. Many store fronts had their glass shattered and their store interiors blown to confusion. We saw at least a dozen telephone poles that had been snapped in two and are sure there were many more. Metal street light poles were bent and blown over and many of the street light fixtures lay in the streets shattered. Traffic lights were ripped from their wires and thrown in the streets. Signs were all obliterated. Fuel pumps were stripped of their casings and the many fueling canopies were torn apart and thrown into their parking lots. The damage was amazing to see.

On our drive home we saw that Port Isabel – just across the Launga Madre also experienced a direct hit and was also very badly damaged. Port Isabel, Brownsville, and other low lying cities were completely flooded. A small city just north of Port Isabel was completely under several feet of water.

I have included just a few pictures of the damage – even after seeing the results of Katrina and Rita it still is amazing to us what a storm can do.

We are all safe and enjoyed our time on vacation and our adventure and thank you all for your prayers on our behalf.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blog of the Week: Prepare Today Newsletter

Another Perspective:

This is a collection of information to assist others in their preparedness efforts and to help them be ready for the challenges which are coming.
The Prepare Today Newsletter is a blog authored by a ward preparedness specialist from California. It provides a slightly different view of emergency preparedness, particularly since Californians face an entirely different set of hazards from their environment. They have fires and earthquakes, we have hurricanes and ice storms, etc. Added to the other resources available to us, this blog adds its bit of harmony to the same tune we know so well.

Here is a snippet of one article, a bit of commentary entitled "Musings of a Ward Preparedness Chairman":

Why is it so many saints are unenthusiastic about getting their food storage and emergency supplies?

For some it's a matter of money – both too little money and, curiously enough, too much money. The challenge for those with limited funds is more understandable than those who have what can only be termed "abundance". We live in an area with large numbers of prosperous members who don't have their food storage – why?

This is something I've wondered about a lot and recently gained additional insight from reading the observations of an online forum moderator named NeatBrian.
Read the complete article.

Things to know:

Author: A Californian ward preparedness specialist; otherwise anonymous
Emphasis: Emergency Preparedness
Rating: 4/5

Link of the Week: Home Storage Online

LDS Home Storage Helps Online
  • If you need a simple and easy way to get started or augment your home storage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes it quite convenient. The prices are extremely competitive but higher than they are at the individual Home Storage Centers where customers assist in the packaging process. Via online catalog the following products are offered:
    • #10 cans of:
      • hard red winter wheat
      • pinto beans
      • white rice
      • quick oats
    • Home Storage Starter Kit, in addition to provident living pamphlets and teaching aids, containing:
      • 2 #10 cans of hard red winter wheat
      • 2 #10 cans of white rice
      • 1 #10 can of pinto beans
      • 1 #10 can of quick oat
  • A much wider range of products are available at the Home Storage Centers. To expedite your visit and assist in planning ahead, the Church has made available online an order form to be completed in advance, valid at HSC's in the United States and Canada. Its use is simple.
    • Access the form. You will require the software, Adobe Reader, available for download free of charge.
    • Fill in your pertinent personal information at the top of the form.
    • Select each product (rows), the quantity desired of each size available (columns of #10 cans, pouches and bulk). Of note, the HSC's often have difficulty keeping up with the sharply increase in demand in recent weeks. It's a good idea to call ahead or contact your ward preparedness specialist to determine the products immediately available.
    • The total cost of your purchase is recalculated as you move from field to field. However, the cost of any individual product is not calculated until you exit that field.
    • Save, Print, or Reset the form when you have completed your selections. Save individual configurations of purchases on multiple forms for future use.
    • Complete your purchase when you go to the HSC with the printed form in hand
Things to Know: Online purchase URL: Home Storage Center Order Form links: Sponsor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Emphasis: Home Storage, Preparedness

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Steadfast Faith in Christ: Change, Change, Change

Smooth as Silk?

We seem to take for granted the coming and going of the missionaries in our ward, and look at each new transferee as an opportunity for a new subject of conversation at the dinner table. "How long have you been out?" "What area were you in before you came here?" "Where are you from? Oh, really! My second cousin one removed is from there."

But, have you ever wondered how that all comes about? It seems smooth enough to us from the outside, simply because the next time we see 'our' elders, it has been out with the old and in with the new. But, it's not always that simple for the missionaries themselves, especially when one factors in the leadership positions which may require filling and changing with each new transfer. (Never mind what has to happen in the mission office!)

This week, Elder Freeman gives us a blow-by-blow of a particularly complicated transfer which came just as he was starting to see some progress in the people he was teaching in his new area. But, he was destined for just six weeks in that ward and is now off to new horizons and more demanding climes. However, he manages to survive it all and end up with his characteristic upbeat attitude.

Here's a quote from the end of his letter:
Nevertheless, we've got a lot to look forward to. Last night we met a guy named Ryan Freeman, of Irish decent, no relation though. He looked like he could use our help and he invited us back. We weren't sure how sober he was but we hope to go back before next week. Then, last night we called an investigator they'd been working with and got an appointment for tonight.

So, we're being taken care of and it's not quite as hard as I feared, yet. We've got good roommates and a real nice apartment. I'll keep you updated.
Of note, in missionary-speak, 'whitewash' means to transfer both missionaries at the same time, which makes coming into a new area a challenge. Neither missionary knows the area, the ward, their contacts, etc., having only the records of the previous missionaries to go by. I believe this is the first double whitewash Elder Freeman has experienced.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Super Easy Tomato, Garlic & Basil Pizza

From Debbie Tingey:

  • Your favorite Pizza crust (I use the Boboli Brand that you can buy at the store.....the pre-made stuff. Sometimes I make it home made, and that is good to. It is just easier to use Boboli if you can)
  • 2-3 tomatoes (depending on the size)
  • 1 clove garlic or substitute ~1 Tbls to taste
  • 1/4 C fresh chopped basil or 2-3 Tbls dried basil to taste
  • 3 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 1/2 C Mozzarella cheese
  1. Press the clove of garlic into the olive oil and set aside.
  2. Slice the tomatoes, chop the basil and grate the cheese.
  3. Brush the olive oil and garlic over the pizza crust
  4. Add remaining ingredients.
If you use the Boboli crust: Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. (Watch for the cheese to turn golden.) If you make the pizza crust, bake it according you your recipe.

Cool, and enjoy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Preach My Gospel: Mormons in Texas

The Church Seeks to Address Confusion over Texas Polygamy Groups

Perhaps you may have noticed among your non-LDS friends, that some confusion has arisen between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the FLDS, a small polygamist sect with property in western Texas. The Church has taken several steps to dispel the misconceptions, and to that end has posted this page in the public affairs section of The videos below can also be found on YouTube. These interviews with Texas Mormons (primarily of the greater Beaumont area), as well as Gifford Nielsen and other notables shine a bit of light on who we are and what we believe, and could prove very useful as you discuss the FLDS situation with your interested friends.

Following is an excerpt from a study cited on the site which demonstrates some of the confusion among the public regarding the Mormon Church.

The effort to more clearly distinguish Mormons from the Texas polygamist group follows a survey commissioned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that found a high level of public awareness of stories about the polygamous compound near San Angelo, Texas. Allegations of child abuse led to a raid by the state's Child Protective Services earlier this year. Some 91 percent of respondents had heard or read stories surrounding the religious compound.

However, the survey also found that:

  • More than a third of those surveyed (36 percent) erroneously thought that the Texas compound was part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or "Mormon Church" based in Salt Lake City
  • 6 percent said the two groups were partly related.
  • 29 percent correctly said the two groups were not connected at all
  • 29 percent were not sure.

In addition, when asked specifically which religious organization members of the polygamous group belonged to:

  • 30 percent said "Mormon," "LDS" or "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"
  • 14 percent said "FLDS"
  • 6 percent said "Mormon fundamentalists"
  • Nearly half (44 percent) were unsure

RS Weekly Update: Monday, July 21st through Sunday, July 27th

This Week:
  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 12pm: Sister Michelle Wolf (the future Sister Brad Erickson) is taking out her endowments tomorrow, Tuesday, in the 12:00 pm session.  We are making this our Relief Society temple day, so please come and share this very special day with Michelle and her family.
  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 7pm:  Also tomorrow, Sister Tami Erickson and Sister Barbara Pont wish to invite all to the bridal shower for Michelle they are hostessing.  7pm, at the home of Sister Jan Ingram, 1607 Corral Drive, Houston, Texas 77090
  • Friday, July 25th, 9am:  BGDC:  Children's Museum field trip.  Meet at the Hafer Road building at 9:00 am to drive down together.  Bring along a lunch for you and the kids to picnic in Hermann Park, or, a cafe is on the premises.  For more information, contact Sister Jeanette Schadler. 
Sunday's Lesson:

Teachings for Our Times:  Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: Concern for the One  (Whom, who has seen Elder Wirthlin's address can forget the incredible lessons delivered during this discourse?)

Upcoming Ward Events:
  • Monday, August 25th:  School starts for both Klein and Spring ISD's.
Visiting Teaching:

BE AWARE of Tropical Storm Dolly, now brewing in the Gulf.  She is projected to make landfall somewhere around Brownsville, but be advised.  Here are some tracking links:

ABC KTRK Hurricane Central
Hurricane Central
Hurricane Toolbox
The Houston Chronicle
Hurricane Central

  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 12pm session: Relief Society Temple Day (note change)
  • Thursday, July 24th, 7pm session:  Ward Temple Day.
  • Friday, July 25th, 10am:  BGDC:  Field trip to the Children's Museum of Houston.
  • Tuesday, August 29th, 7 pm:  Cooking Club:  Chinese Cooking with Mandy Davies.
  • Friday, August 1st, 8:30 pm: SUGGESTED FAMILY ACTIVITY:  Shakespearean Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater.
Our intent is to edify rather than harry the sisters of the Olde Oaks Ward.  Enrichment activities are developed to foster socialization and address the needs of specific interest groups.  No one should feel obligated to attend.  If you have ideas for low- or no-cost activities, if you would like to learn a skill we have not addressed, or if you have a talent you would like to share, please, let us know.  Enrichment Committee:  Jeanette Schadler, Claudia Del Papa, Marilyn Bullock.

Recurring Events:
  • 2nd Thursday of every month:  Gardening Club
  • 3rd Tuesday of every month:  Relief Society Temple Day
  • 3rd Thursday of every month:  Temple Recommend Interviews
  • 4th Tuesday of every month:  Cooking Club
  • 4th Thursday of every month:  Ward Temple Day

Meet at the church at 9am to travel down together.  Children's: admission $5/person, under two free, bring a lunch for you and the kids, or you can eat at the cafe in the museum; for more information, contact Jeanette Schadler.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blog of the Week: Lucy's Frugal Living

"Free Advice 5 cents"

If you don't know our own dear Lucy Stern very well, her blog is a great place to start. Lucy never wearies in well-doing, and extends her exertions onto the Internet . Her recipe for blog success:
  • Mix together equal parts:
    • Homemaking skills
    • Emergency preparedness
    • Food storage
    • Frugal living
  • Season with:
    • A dash of politics
    • A pinch of homily
    • A healthy dollop of hard-won wisdom
  • Mix well, then top with
    • A generous layer of wide-ranging recipes.
  • Enjoy!
Things to know:

Author: Lucy Stern
Emphasis: homemaking skills, emergency preparedness, food storage & frugal living
Rating: 5/5
Comment: With a two o'clock Sunday meeting time, her crockpot collection is a must!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Link of the Week: Waterford Press

Free Games, Activities and More
  • Waterford Press is a small company which specializes in pocket-size books for travelers and naturalists. Their traveling line includes Speakeasy, City, Eco-Traveler for various destinations. Their naturalist line includes national, regional, and state guides.
  • On the website, they provide games, activities, and quizzes which are free to download in PDF format. Files can then be printed and saved for repeated use. All foster interest and stimulate learning about the earth sciences.
    • Their Games Category is quite comprehensive, and, as demonstrated in the Maze links below, the range of material includes all Primary-age skill levels. Subcategories include:
  • Room for improvement:
    • Downloading is only available one page at a time which feels lumbrous. It would be much more convenient were one able to download a subcategory at a time, or at the very least, all the pages of one particular game, activity, or quiz.
    • Some pages could use better formating, with compression and multiple activities per page.
    • The website formatting feels clunky, and the webmaster should demonstrate enough familiarity with HTML to prevent column overlap which is dependent upon individual browser settings. This is a simple thing to correct and one wonders why they do not, especially since they know about the problem.
  • Summary: The uneven production values for both the site and the material itself hampers an overall positive impression, and reflects poorly upon the company's retail material. However, this free site offers fun and interesting games and activities for children ages pre-K to 5th- or 6th-grade skill levels, which foster parental involvement. It is a good resource for Cub Scouts, Activity Days, FHE, quiet time, and road trips; could also be used as lesson enhancers for home study.
Things to know:
Sponsor: Waterford Press
Emphasis: Primary Earth-studies Education
Rating: 3/5 Not as professional as one would wish but with good educational intentions

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Steadfast Faith in Christ: Trouble

Elder Freeman's latest offering:
"Everything is going great. It really has been a fun week. We work with so many people and they're all very different. It's like a kaleidoscope that keeps changing. There are plenty of friendly, open-minded people who recognize [as false]much of the misrepresentations of what we believe. Richard is one of these fine individuals whose mother or grandmother converted to the Church in her old age, and he seems frustrated when he hears ministers of other religions slinging mud. He said he wants to hear our side and he's great to talk to. (more)"

Recipe of the Week: Chocolate-covered Helping Hands Cake

Scott's Dutch Oven Delight

This looked like such a fabulous recipe, I determined as soon as I read it to post it as the next Recipe of the Week. Unfortunately, I forgot all about it in my customary addlepation. Be that as it may, this looks like such a fabulous recipe and a ready-made Family Home Evening or Family Day activity, that I just had to post it despite my earlier offering.

The provenance proceeds as follows: the dutch oven competition at our recent annual BFO (Big Family Outing), a camp-out at Fish Lake, became the topic of conversation on my family list. The consensus was that my sister-in-law won the competition hands-down in the particulars of scrumptiousness, participation, entertainment, and finger-licking goodness. More to the point, no other dish included the unbeatable combination of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. It was, ultimately, my brother's recipe, and he posted to the list as follows:

  • 2 chocolate fudge cake mixes
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans cherry pie filling
  • 2 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese
  • 6 eggs (just those required by the boxed mixes)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 Tabs sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Dump the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and 1 egg in a large zip lock bag, seal it, and invite every little kid in camp to help squish the contents together by hand. Watch closely, and stop as soon as somebody squeezes one time too many and a hole appears. Licking the mixture off their fingers is their bonus.
  2. In another zip lock mix up the cake mixes, the rest of the eggs, oil, and water. Repeat the cooperative squishing/mixing process. Have a grownup make sure of the corners, as dry pockets can happen.
  3. Pam a 14” pot.
  4. Cut the corner of the bag of delicious brown chocolate go and squeeze it into the pot. More bonus finger licking ensues.
  5. Spoon in glop’s of cherry pie filling.
  6. Squeeze in randomly-placed golf-ball-sized glop’s of cream cheese. More finger licking.
  7. 10 briquettes on the bottom and 16 on the top for 1 hour, or until a knife poked to the bottom comes out clean.
  8. Serve warm with whipped cream.
As a variation, a dutch-oven non-devotee could perhaps use a 10x13" pan, reducing the ingredients by half, then bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes. However, I haven't yet had the opportunity to try this, so you may be required be fluid in your settings the first go-round.

Mormon belief: Mormons believe God speaks

Please read, rate, view, embed this video and share and email it to your friends and family. Answer the questions proffered by friends of other faiths. Help keep this and other positive messages about the Church at the forefront of the debate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Sloppy Jose's

From Carrie Pearce

This recipe comes from my sister, is as easy as it is good, and is a welcome break from the same old Joe.

Sloppy Jose’s (or Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes)

1 lb ground meat (I like to use good ground turkey to cut down on fats)

1c. salsa (use whatever you like best. Mango/peach is really yummy)

1 c. shredded cheese (I use whatever I have on hand, can use low fat or non fat cheese)

Brown and drain hamburger or turkey burger. There is no need to add extra seasonings to meat. Salsa adds plenty.

Add salsa and heat for five or ten minutes.
Stir in cheese last and remove from heat.

Serve on hamburger buns.**

** I bet it makes a good nacho grande topper as well


RS Weekly Update: Monday, July 14th-Sunday, July 20th

This Week:
  • Remember, the temple is closed for maintenance this week and will reopen to its usual schedule on Tuesday, July 22, 2008. 
  • Stake & Ward Temple Recommend Interviews:  7-8pm @ Hafer Road.
  • BGDC:  Jewelry Making:  Friday, July 18th, 10:00 am @ Hafer Road; taught by Sister Melissa Bowcutt.  Contact her for specifics.
Sunday's Lesson:

Teachings of Joseph Smith, Lesson 13Obedience: "When the Lord Commands, Do It"

Upcoming Ward Events:
  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 10am session: Relief Society Temple Day THIS MONTH ONLY.
  • Thursday, July 24th, 7pm session:  Ward Temple Day.
  • Monday, August 25th:  School starts for both Klein and Spring ISD's.
Visiting Teaching:

Blog:  Lucy's Frugal Living

I fear Lucy has been holding out on us (or me, at any rate).  Not until this past Sunday did she tell me of her blog, Lucy's Frugal Living, which she has maintained for quite some time--years in fact.  (This is not the blog specific to home storage blog she anticipates creating with Sister Cheryl Driggs.  But that is another matter.  Check out Lucy's blog.  It's full of great money-saving and bargain-hunting ideas, great recipes, and lost of Lucy commentary.  You'll be glad you did.

  • Thursday, July 18th, 10 am @ Hafer:  BGDC:  Jewelry making with Sister Melissa Bowcutt.
  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 10am session: Relief Society Temple Day,
  • Thursday, July 24th, 7pm session:  Ward Temple Day.
  • Friday, July 25th, 10am:  BGDC:  Field trip to the Children's Museum of Houston.
  • Tuesday, August 29th, 7 pm:  Cooking Club:  Chinese Cooking with Mandy Davies.
  • Friday, August 1st, 8:30 pm: SUGGESTED FAMILY ACTIVITY:  Shakespearean Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater.
Our intent is to edify rather than harry the sisters of the Olde Oaks Ward.  Enrichment activities are developed to foster socialization and address the needs of specific interest groups.  No one should feel obligated to attend.  If you have ideas for low- or no-cost activities, if you would like to learn a skill we have not addressed, or if you have a talent you would like to share, please, let us know.  Enrichment Committee:  Jeanette Schadler, Claudia Del Papa, Marilyn Bullock.

Recurring Events:
  • 2nd Thursday of every month:  Gardening Club
  • 3rd Tuesday of every month:  Relief Society Temple Day (note change)
  • 3rd Thursday of every month:  Temple Recommend Interviews
  • 4th Tuesday of every month:  Cooking Club (note change)
  • 4th Thursday of every month:  Ward Temple Day

Monday, July 14, 2008

Food for Thought: Are We Obedient....Our lives may depend on it!


This comes to us from Sister Lucy Stern and is a timely article for all to consider. However, I would vary from Darla Isackson's opinion in one point. With the wasting away of our economy and gas prices threatening to choke it off completely, the endless war in Iraq, disasters of epoch proportion worldwide, and, much closer to home, so many of us having experienced firsthand the catastrophes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and their far-reaching effects, I cannot imagine that any one of us believe that it can't happen here.

As Lucy requested, to disseminate this as thoroughly as possible, I am sending this email, as well as posting it on our Weekly Update blog. Please feel free to share it with your family and friends. This article originally appeared in Meridian Magazine.


Are We an Obedient People? Our Lives May Depend on It!
By Darla Isackson

On his website, Roger K. Young, author of As A Thief in the Night, recently posted an interesting collection of quotes, and later an article by David W. Schultz. I draw extensively from those two sources in the following article.

The Perils of Disobedience

Throughout the history of the world, those who disregarded the counsel of the prophets have suffered greatly, and many died. For instance, those who disregarded Noah's warning, those in Jerusalem who disregarded Lehi's warning, and those in Haun's Mill who disregarded Joseph's Smith's counsel to come into the main settlement and Far West.

Have any of us considered the possibility that disobedience to the counsel of the prophets to store at least one year's supply of necessities could result in just as dire consequences?

President Benson said, "Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church--and the need for that cleansing seems to be increasing--a famine in this land of one year's duration could wipe out a large percentage of slothful members, including some ward and stake officers. Yet we cannot say we have not been warned. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.265, 266) (full article)

Tribulation Is Certain

From David Schultz's article,"Plea for Preparedness," we find 1) evidence that the tribulation we will face will demand all of our efforts and strength to be ready for and endure—physically, spiritually, and mentally—as they will be of a magnitude, intensity and scale that has not existed before in the history of the world, 2) evidence that we are in the opening days of that period, and 3) motivation to action—now. The time left to prepare is quickly diminishing and our efforts must be increased substantially.

Brother Schultz says, "When I contemplate what is about to befall this nation and the world, I am saddened beyond words to know that there are many who, with a knowledge of these things, will yet refuse to prepare. Consequently, they will witness the untold suffering of those who are dependent upon them for their welfare. Can you imagine yourself watching your little children starve to death? Can you comprehend the anguish of soul in that situation, knowing that you could have prevented it? With that knowledge, the guilt and grief will be excruciating. Are you willing to face such? I am not! Why should we expect the Lord to save us from our folly when He has warned us repeatedly to prepare and promised His aid in our efforts? Our expectation of such would be contrary to the laws of Heaven."

In the October 1980 General Conference, Ezra Taft Benson (at that time an apostle, so I'll refer to him as Elder Benson) addressed the issue of preparedness. His words were powerful, direct, and explicit. He warned: "For over forty years, in a spirit of love, members of the Church have been counseled to be thrifty and self-reliant; to avoid debt; pay tithes and a generous fast offering; be industrious; and have sufficient food, clothing, and fuel on hand to last at least [AT LEAST!] one year."

On the Provident Living link listed on the official website, the Church now gives specific recommendations for a minimum supply of the essentials that would keep you alive These quantities are minimums for survival—not comfort. If our situation allows storing more, we should.

Elder Benson continues, "Have you ever paused to realize what would happen to your community or nation if transportation were paralyzed or if we had a war or depression? How would you and your neighbors obtain food? How long would the corner grocery store—or supermarket— sustain the needs of the community?" [Self-sufficiency does not mean having a car filled with gas so you can drive to the store, and money to buy when you get there. It means not needing the store! If there were no stores open anywhere, the only source for food would be your stores. ]

President Brigham Young said, 'If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast, and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives?' (Journal of Discourses, 8:68.)

Elder Benson makes a strong conclusion, "From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord's counsel, wheat should have high priority. 'There is more salvation and security in wheat,' said Orson Hyde years ago, 'than in all the political schemes of the world' (Journal of Discourses, 2:207). Water, of course, is essential. Other basics could include honey or sugar, legumes, milk products or substitutes, and salt or its equivalent. The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.

"I speak with a feeling of great urgency. I have seen what the days of tribulation can do to people. I have seen hunger stalk the streets of Europe. I have witnessed the appalling, emaciated shadows of human figures. I have seen women and children scavenge army garbage dumps for scraps of food. Those scenes and nameless faces cannot be erased from my memory . . .

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. (Ezra Taft Benson, "Prepare for the Days of Tribulation," Ensign, November, 1980)

The Rain Hasn't Fallen on Me Yet, So Why Worry?

So many of us become complacent when year after year, the counsel to prepare is given, but no big crisis forces us to test the level of our preparation.

In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.2, under the heading EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS we read, "For more than a hundred years, Church leaders have taught the members to store grain and other essentials that would sustain life in times of drought or famine (Essentials of Home Production and Storage, p. 17). The current guidelines for home storage are intended to apply internationally. They include having a supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, the fuel necessary to sustain life for one year (Benson, p. 33)."

Elder Benson spoke "with a feeling of great urgency" 25 years ago and he told us he was repeating counsel given by the prophets for over 40 years. David Schultz said, "Some would dismiss this counsel since, obviously, no major catastrophe has befallen us. Yet it was given to us by the Lord's chosen prophets, speaking in their capacity as such. How long will we ignore such wisdom? So, nothing major has happened. I ask: what does that have to do with anything? The Lord gives His warning well in advance, and whether the need is realized in 1 year or 100 is irrelevant. It is incumbent upon us all to give immediate heed to it. . . When disaster strikes, it is too late. The day will come—is upon us now, I believe—when the Lord's servants will cease their warning, and the Lord Himself will preach the sermon. . ."

Can This Wicked Nation Long Endure?

Brother Schultz continues, "A careful study of history and the scriptures will reveal that no nation can long endure when wickedness becomes the accepted norm. This land of America is a choice land, and has upon it both a blessing and a cursing.

"Prophets have warned us that if this people do not worship the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ, we will be swept off. At least two great civilizations before us failed to do so and suffered that very fate. The evidence of that condition—of this nation's refusal to worship Jesus Christ—is now everywhere present. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the old world have long been the standard in determining how wicked a people must be before they are 'swept off.' Are we as wicked as they?

"President Thomas S. Monson, in a recent devotional address given to the students at BYU, witnessed: "Today we have a rebirth of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah." ("I Will Serve the Lord," BYU Devotional Address, January 20, 2004) In October 2001 General Conference, President Hinckley, referring to our present conditions, said: "All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society" ("Living in the Fullness of Times," Ensign, November, 2001);and later, "I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah (Address given at the General Priesthood Leadership Training Meeting, February, 2004). President Boyd K. Packer was more explicit. In an address to a group of LDS lawyers, he declared: "Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds the wickedness and depravity which surrounds us now." (Boyd K. Packer, J. Reuben Clark Law Society Devotional, February 28, 2004). Again, the Lord's prophets have spoken. Their words ring with unmistakable clarity. Has our society, like Sodom and Gomorrah, become "ripened in iniquity?" Has our nation become as wicked as theirs was? The evidence is all around us. The answer to that seems to be a resounding "Yes!" Are we even now living on borrowed time?

What Are the Brethren Saying Right Now?

In April 2004 General Conference Elder Dallin H. Oaks delivered the following clear message to the members of the Church: "We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth,' (D&C 1:35) when 'all things shall be in commotion,' and 'men's hearts shall fail them.' (D&C 88:91) These signs of the Second coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity."

President Packer declared: "The calamities the Lord foresaw [referring to D&C 1:17] now come upon an unrepentant world." (Boyd K. Packer, "The Least of These," Ensign, May, 2004. In the scriptural context, does the word "calamity" (or "calamities") have general application to any and all disasters? No. Brother Schultz said it "has specific meaning and reference to those events of the Last Days just prior to the Savior's return. In this setting, President Packer's words carry tremendous weight: he is explicitly proclaiming that the destructions of the Last Days—the period of 'tribulation' prophesied by the Lord's Holy Prophets—have begun.

Elder Eyring said "You remember the words from the Doctrine and Covenants which now seems so accurate: 'And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people. For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men's hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.' (Henry B. Eyring, "Raise the Bar," BYU Devotional Address, January 25, 2005) In addition to natural disasters of every kind, wars, pestilence, famine, and plagues are promised. These things are now upon us and will continue to increase in their frequency, intensity, magnitude, and scope until the Lord returns in His glory.

Illusion: "The Church Will Take Care of Me"

Some members labor under the illusion that the Church is storing sufficient food that all their needs would be taken care of even if they don't have much food storage.

President Benson put to rest that idea when he said, "Our bishops storehouses are not intended to stock enough commodities to care for all the members of the Church. Storehouses are only established to care for the poor and the needy. For this reason, members of the Church have been instructed to personally store a year's supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.267)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie in General Conference, April, 1979: "We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands. . . And so we raise the warning voice and say: Take heed; prepare; watch and be ready. There is no security in any course except the course of obedience and conformity and righteousness." ("Stand Independent Above All Other Creatures," Ensign, May, 1979)

Are We Listening?

The Lord keeps us informed, if we will listen. In 1948 President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., gave a classic message even more needed now; "What we need today is not more prophets. We have the prophets. But what we need is more people with listening ears. That is the great need of our generation" (Conference Report, October 1948, p. 82).

In April 2005 General Conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson quoted from Henry Van Dyke's poem "The Sun-Dial at Wells College" (from The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, 1911) to illustrate his theme: "Now is the time to prepare":

The shadow by my finger cast
Divides the future from the past:
Before it, sleeps the unborn hour,
In darkness, and beyond thy power:
Behind its unreturning line,
The vanished hour, no longer thine:
One hour alone is in thy hands--
The NOW on which the shadow stands.

We need to prepare NOW. The focus of Elder Nelson's talk was spiritual preparedness. I would like to pose this question. Are we spiritually prepared if we have disregarded the repeated counsel to prepare for emergency situations as best we can with a basic storage of food, water, etc.? Obedience is the first law of heaven. Can our spiritual lamps be full of oil if we are disobeying the repeated counsel of the Brethren about preparedness? If we have taken the Holy Spirit as our guide, will that Spirit not prompt us to be obedient? Are we an obedient people? Our very lives may depend on it!

This article appeared in Meridian Magazine.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Preach My Gospel: Faith, Family, Facts and Fruits

The Ensign, November 2007

I find it simple to slip my thoughts and feelings into the vast stream of the Internet and allow the current to carry them where it may, particularly regarding my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, chatting person-t0-person often leaves me tongue-tied, struggling as I do with a tendency to stammer while I fish for the thoughts in my head. Painfully aware of this weakness, I listened with great interest when Elder M. Russell Ballard delivered this address in the October, 2007, semi-annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In it, he suggests that we use a list of 'talking points', if you will, as a personal resource as we share with our interested friends a little about the Church---the operative word being 'little', as Elder Ballard observes.
  • Facts: share a few facts regarding the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, what people mean by 'Mormons', and whom we consider 'saints'.
  • Faith: emphasize Jesus Christ is the foundation of our belief, and the great commonality we share with all Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the savior of all mankind.
  • Family: share our focus on the family, our programs to strengthen and enrich family life, and that our highest ordinances and covenants are family-related.
  • Fruits: share some of the programs of the Church and the consequent results, including humanitarian relief, personal and community service, and improvement in quality of life.
I in no way can paraphrase to any effect what Elder Ballard shares in this sermon. However, as we consider the three-fold mission of the Church, to preach the gospel, perfect the saints, and redeem the dead, and our role in that mandate, this article is an excellent source of guidance and inspiration.

Things to Know:
Path:>Gospel Library>Ensign>2007>November>Faith, Family, and Fruits
Author: Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Food for Thought: A Mormon Family Journal

Personal Revelation and the Power of Forgiveness

The link is to a blog, A Mormal Family Journal, to which members of my family contribute as a companion to our missionary blog, Steadfast Faith in Christ: a Missionary Journal. The most recent post is one written by my nephew to his brother who is currently serving a mission in the north-central United States. I am truly blessed in the strength and testimonies of so many generations of my family, and am grateful for the format which enables me to share them with so many.
". . . Dinner was great, and then family home evening began. For our friend (J-- K-- is her name), it was the first time she had ever experienced an in-home church service (aka Family Home Evening), and she shared with Julia and I that it was like being in "heaven on earth". During the story I shared with the children of my missing wallet, J-- listened transfixed and amazed--and I remembered that of all of the gospel principles that attracted her to Christianity, personal revelation topped her charts, and this story was evidence of the reality of personal revelation! As I bore my testimony that God loves us, and that he is very aware of our personal situations, and that he will help us in the time of our need if we ask him too, I received the knowledge that the timing of my wallet's disappearance & recovery was tied directly to J--'s needs. As a result, I felt both humbled and excited to be a tool in the Lord's hand to bring evidence of his existence to light. (more)"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blog of the Week: Between Loads of Laundry

Between Loads of Laundry
  • This is a blog written by a Christian stay-at-home mom with two small sons, whose three passions seem to be her family, her faith in God, and her cooking. I bookmarked this blog in passing as a source of quick and convenient yet interesting recipes. However, her thoughts and stories, of equal content, are worth reading in and of themselves.
  • Here is a sampling of the broad spectrum of recipes she shares: black bean salad, avocado delight, spicy peanut chicken, graham wafer quickies, and blueberry muffins.
  • She also includes some interesting related links which you may find worth investigating.
Things to Know:
Author: Mikki Roo
Emphasis: Home and Family
Rating: 3/5, but it's really too soon to tell

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Link of the Week: Pandora: Radio from the Music Genome Project
  • is truly one of my favorite internet sites. When I listen to music, I listen to Pandora. No matter what mood I'm in, Pandora has the music I want without commercial interruption. Their advertising is visual and nonintrusive. Best of all, their library is comprehensive so my CD or MP3 collection doesn't have to be, and the play list never has to be reset.
  • is a cost-free internet radio service which allows you, the listener, to listen to only the type of music you like. You create your own stations, approve or disapprove of artists they suggest, mark favorite artists, skip songs you don't want to hear, and even put songs on hold if they grow wearisome.
  • The premise of the Music Genome Project is to categorize music not by genre labels, but by elements of music: instrumentation, vocalization, even lyrics. Thus, the net effects produce play-lists that can truly surprise you. The beauty of this is, listening to Pandora introduces you to music and artists that you never knew you liked or even heard of previously.
  • Pandora offers a comprehensive library of music, where obscure music receives the same treatment as that of well-known artists. My personal 'stations' (playlists based on roots of certain artists or songs) include The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jack Johnson, Soft Jazz, The Beatles, Gospel, Rock Ballads, Christmas, and the Best of Broadway. Pandora also offers genre stations of their own creation, including chamber baroque, classical orchestration, and just about anything else you can conceive.
  • Because you create a user for yourself (everything kept confidential, of course), you can share your stations with other listeners. For instance, if while listening to my computer, Ariane hears a station which she likes, she can go home, look up my user, and listen to the station in question (if I choose to share). If she wants to add or subtract from it, Pandora creates her own station based on the input I have already provided.
Things to Know
  • URL:
  • Requirements: streaming audio capability, i.e., high-speed internet, computer speakers
  • Dues or fees: none
  • My Rating: 5/5

An Example of Pure Charity

Editor’s note: The following is a talk given by Dan Pearce, delivered at the funeral of his sister, Carissa (above left), on April 20, 2008, who died at the age of 22 of pneumonia, a rare fungal infection of the lungs, and complications of Down’s syndrome.

Carissa – A Pure Heart

by Dan Pearce

Carissa’s shining life and example really cannot be expressed over a pulpit. It had to be felt, experienced, and witnessed, as you all know.

Carissa understood love probably more than I or most of us will ever be able. She could feel inside a person’s soul and somehow, could even feel the pains of a person’s heart. If that person’s heart was hurting more than usual, she could sense it, and she would do what she did best, which was to help start the healing. It usually started with a question of concern, then a big smile, then one of her big Carissa Bear Hugs. Then, the verbal praises would start and not let up until she sensed that your heart was at peace again, even if it took weeks or months. She would laugh, and tell you repeatedly over the course of days, “You’re my favorite.” “I love you this much.” “Hello my beautiful.” “Hello my handsome.” And other wonderful things. Then, when you would leave, she’d get out a notebook and her big bag of colorful pens, and write you a letter or two, telling you how much she loved you, how much she loved her brother Jesus Christ, how much she loved God, and how much They both loved you. You see, Carissa understood God’s love for us, and she never hesitated to share it.

Carissa loved to make people smile. In fact, she loved to make whole congregations smile. Anyone who’s ever been to any ward that Carissa was in on Fast Sunday, has heard her bear her testimony. She was always first to head to the front, and she never missed an opportunity to tell the world of her love for the Savior or the Gospel. Her testimony was simple, and was worded something like this, “I’d love to bear my testimony, I love my mommy. I love my daddy.” And then she’d start looking around, and whoever she made eye contact with, “I love my brother Danny. I love my sister Amy so much. I love Jesus Christ. And I love the scriptures. And I love Joseph Smith. And I love President S. Monson. And I love my daddy.” (Dad always seemed to be mentioned two or three times). And sometimes she’d throw out a plug for the family business or let a few of her frustrations out between those statements of love, “And I love my brother Andy on his mission. And Amy stole the fish crackers and took them to her apartment. And I love Jesus Christ, my brother. And I love Mr. Pool.” Then, after closing, and effectively bringing the spirit strongly into the meeting, she would shake hands or hug each member of the bishopric, as well as anyone else on the stand. As she made her way to her seat, she would shake hands with members of the ward all the way down, waving to people, smiling, and feeling on top of the world. There are a lot of people who are going to miss that.

Carissa was not bound by pride, ego, time, or selfishness, a few of the struggles that many of us so naturally have. She was never too busy to visit or care for the sick. She never received a church calling that she didn’t complete with 100% vigor. She never thought herself better than another human being, ever. Think about that. She never thought herself better than another human being. How many of us can say that? She never hid her talents from the world. She never withheld her praise from anyone. She never compromised her values. She never believed that there was a reason to not show her love to others, and certainly never believed there was a reason for others not to love her. The scriptures repeatedly tell us that since the fall, man by nature became carnal, sensual, and devilish. Perhaps because Satan could have no hold on Carissa’s heart, she was never any of these things, and this is the reason she has so many people who loved her as is evidenced here today.

Carissa had a pure heart, purer than any person I’ve ever met. I am brought to ponder, reminiscing on her perfect testimony and unworldly love for the Savior if Christ’s words weren’t fulfilled while she was still here on the earth, “And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Whether then or now, I am confident that Carissa has seen her Maker and that He has welcomed her back with open arms.

Lastly, I want to talk about Carissa the missionary. I believe with all my heart that Carissa was put into this family, into this community, into this world, to bring souls to Christ and to lighten people’s lives. Jesus taught that the handicap are here for this very purpose. When his apostles saw a disabled man and asked the savior if that handicap was because of his sins or the sins of his parents, Jesus responded, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Carissa was given an extra chromosome so that the works of God could be made manifest in her.

One week before Carissa died, my parents were out of town, and I was summoned to the hospital (where Carissa had just been admitted) to give her a blessing. As I laid my hands on her head, the spiritual pathways between God and man opened and I could not deny that the words coming from my mouth were not my own. It was a very interesting blessing for me. During the blessing, I saw Carissa on the edge of death, hooked to tubes and monitors, surrounded by doctors and family. At that point, none of us had any reason to believe she would ever get to this point, and as I saw this happening, the words of her blessing that came were something like this:
“Carissa, we bless you that your sickness will be a means of bringing many souls to their knees and ultimately to our savior Jesus Christ, for God’s work and glory is the immortality and eternal life of man, and sometimes He uses people like you to carry forth his purposes. Christ will carry you through the hardships you are about to face, so don’t be afraid. Only after those souls have turned to Christ, will things get better for you.”

Then, in her final hours, when her body had given up on her, and we knew that death was upon her, I stood alone in that room holding her hand and pleading with God to please make things better like he had promised in the blessing; it was time to heal her. She had reached the point of her blessing that I knew would arrive, and now it was time for God to do his part as promised. Then, while in my deepest pleadings, the spirit rushed into my soul and my eyes were opened for a few moments. I can’t describe what I saw or felt, I only can tell you that a true look at what Carissa had accomplished on this earth was shown to me, and I also knew right then that her work was done and that things would indeed get better for her, just not here. I stood in tears, stroking her face, and whispered over and over, “I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to be like you.”

I encourage all of you to spend the rest of your lives trying to be more like Carissa. Promptly forgive those who have wronged you. Sing with all of your heart, even when you can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Stop caring so much what you look like. Stop caring so much what people will think of what you say and do. Fulfill your religious duties with excitement and vigor. Love attending church. Love sharing your testimony and be one of the first ones to the front. Serve your neighbor and buoy those who are down. Stop worrying about what others will think! Worry about what God will think and act in such a way. Forget about your job for awhile. Forget about your sports games and time-wasting habits. Look around you and find someone who could use a “Carissa Bear Hug” or maybe just a warm plate of cookies. Don’t judge others. Smile and introduce yourself to strangers. Express your love for all in all times and all places. For truly, these are lessons that Carissa taught all of us.

Carissa was my hero and role model, and I have a testimony that her time here was done, and that her mission has been fulfilled. Just before her death, as Carissa was completely sedated, unable to hear or respond, I found myself alone with her once again, pleading with God for comfort as I held Carissa’s flaccid hand. Christ said, “Blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” I leaned over and whispered through choked back tears, “Carissa, are you okay to go? It’s okay if you need to go.” Suddenly her hand squeezed mine with the same love and strength of one of her famous Carissa Bear Hugs and a warm comfort rushed over my entire body. Even in her final moments she made sure to comfort someone else. I know that many others had similar experiences that day.

Brothers and Sisters, Carissa was okay to go. She had no regrets and no reason to fear. She left this world as perfect as when she came into it. She was okay to go.

Let’s all consider our lives and live in a way that will make it okay for us to go when the time comes. Let’s all try to be a little more like Carissa.

I say these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Steadfast Faith in Christ: A Sure Foundation

Things are going great. Although, it seems as if the opposition is heating up. Two days ago we had a challenging encounter. My companion and I resolved to tract a certain street. As soon as we stepped out of the car we met a gentleman who was getting ready to change his oil filter. He immediately asked if he was on our "list". We reassured him our meeting was simple coincidental and ask if he had visited with missionaries before. He said they visited him but . . (more)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Recipe of the Week

Jenn’s Amazing Smoothie Recipe
from Jennifer Hatch

This is so amazing you will be smiling all day! My daughter Alyssa and I drink this for breakfast all the time.

In a blender, combine:
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 and ½ cups of frozen strawberries (I let them thaw about 20 min so they are easier to blend but don’t over thaw because the frozen-ness makes it taste better).
  • 1 ripe banana cut into pieces
  • 1 capful of vanilla (about a teaspoon)
  • 2 squirts of honey (or your preference depending on your sweetness desire)
  • ½ of cup of non-fat dry milk
  • You can also add any vitamin powders that you like. There is a Flaxeed one I like a lot that has no taste. It is called Omega 3 Brain Booster.”
Blend. Enjoy!

Monday, July 07, 2008

RS Weekly Update: Monday, July 7th through Sunday, July 13th

First and Foremost:
Thanks to Kelly Lyon, Natalie Rucker, Arlena Puffer, Marsha Johnson, and everyone else who helped make the 4th of July pancake breakfast such a success. Pictures from the event can be found here.

Important Notice:
  • SCHEDULE CHANGE: In reviewing this week, we realized that we have over-scheduled Enrichment activities due to poor communication and non-availability of instructors. Therefore, there will be no Cooking Club this week. Rather, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, July 29th at 7:00 pm. Mandy Davies will be teaching Chinese Cooking. Starting in August, the Cooking Club will occupy its permanent time slot as the third Tuesday of every month, 7:00 pm.
This Week:
  • Remember, the temple will be closed for maintenance both this week and next, and will reopen to its usual schedule on Tuesday, July 22, 2008. Consider volunteering to help fulfill our ward's cleaning shift assignments. Contact Brother Roger Lyon for more information.
  • Homemaking 101: Easy Curtains & Valences: Thursday, July 10th, 7pm @ Hafer Road. Contact Sister Ginger Paruszewski for material requirements, etc.
  • BGDC: Compassionate Crocheting: Friday, July 11th, 10:00 am @ Hafer Road. Come learn to crochet (or come ready to coach), as we crochet afghans for sisters in the ward. Each sister is asked to bring a skein of yarn. Sister Claudia Del Papa for the specifics.
  • Garden Club: Fall Features Field Trip: Friday, July 10:30am @ Heiden's Feed Store (map it). Come for special instruction regarding what plants make the best fall gardens, and how to successfully grow fruit trees in southeast Texas.
Sunday's Lesson:

Teachings of Joseph Smith, Lesson 12: Proclaim Glad Tidings to All the World, by Maralyn Reid

Upcoming Ward Events:
  • Thursday, July 17, 7pm Stake and Ward Temple Recommend Interviews at Hafer Road.
  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 10am session: Relief Society Temple Day,
  • Thursday, July 24th, 7pm session: Ward Temple Day.
  • Monday, August 25th: School starts for both Klein and Spring ISD's.
Visiting Teaching:

New from Sister Cheryl Driggs this week are two offerings, guidelines for both long-term and short-term storage. Visit to log in. Then follow the link in the index. They can also be downloaded by visiting the "files" page.

  • Homemaking 101, BGDC crocheting, and Garden Club field trip this week (see above).
  • Thursday, July 18th, 10 am @ Hafer: BGDC: Jewelry making with Sister Melissa Bowcutt.
  • Tuesday, July 22nd, 10am session: Relief Society Temple Day,
  • Thursday, July 24th, 7pm session: Ward Temple Day.
  • Friday, July 25th, 10am: BGDC: Field trip to the Children's Museum of Houston.
  • Tuesday, August 29th, 7 pm: Cooking Club: Chinese Cooking with Mandy Davies.
  • Friday, August 1st, 8:30 pm: SUGGESTED FAMILY ACTIVITY: Shakespearean Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater.
Our intent is to edify rather than harry the sisters of the Olde Oaks Ward. Enrichment activities are developed to foster socialization and address the needs of specific interest groups. No one should feel obligated to attend. If you have ideas for low- or no-cost activities, if you would like to learn a skill we have not addressed, or if you have a talent you would like to share, please, let us know. Enrichment Committee: Jeanette Schadler, Claudia Del Papa, Marilyn Bullock.

Recurring Events:
  • 2nd Thursday of every month: Gardening Club
  • 3rd Tuesday of every month: Cooking Club
  • 3rd Thursday of every month: Temple Recommend Interviews
  • 4th Tuesday of every month: Relief Society Temple Day
  • 4th Thursday of every month: Ward Temple Day

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Preach My Gospel: "My Testimony" by Sharon Hansen

Dear Sisters, I asked Sister Hansen to write this up for me for our August newsletter, but it's too great not to pass on. It's plain to see, Sister Hansen will be a fabulous addition to our Relief Society. Penny Freeman

From: Sharon Hansen
Date: Sun, Jul 6, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Dear Sisters: Sister Freeman has invited me to take a minute and share my testimony with you, thank you for this opportunity Sister Freeman.

What a wonderful opportunity it has been for my husband and I to accept a call to serve in the Houston Texas Mission. We love everything about Texas including ya'll, howdy & fixin to, blue bonnets, Blue Bell ice cream and Texas BBQ, the members of the Olde Oaks Ward, the temple and our dear Missionaries. We love the Lord and have great gratitude for his precious resurrection and atonement for us all.

I think of the magnificient scene on the day Jesus was baptized as referenced in Matt. 3:16, where we have a witness of God the Father, his son Jesus Christ and that great testifier, the Holy Ghost. You might remember that when the Savior arose from the waters of baptism the heavens opened and the spirit of God descended like a dove, witnessing the Holy Ghost. Then followed, "Behold this is my beloved son...", verifying the presence of the Father, as the Savior stood before those who were present. What a sacred event.

I testify of the reality of these three. They live! They extend tender mercies upon us daily, as we are tutored through lifes experiences learning good from evil. I love the words in 2 Ne. 25: 26 "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins".

I look forward to meeting each one of you and pray to walk arm in arm with you as disciples these next three year. With love and in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Blog of the Week: I Love Pretty Paper

I Love Pretty Paper

  • In the interest of full disclosure, I should state here that the author of this blog, Tomi Ann Hill, is my niece -- one of my favorite, in point of fact. However, the dipping into my gene pool hasn't prevented her from becoming a fabulously talented and creative person. I have very carefully avoided catching pretty paper preoccupation, but I know some of you have it bad, so here it is.
  • If you are into scrap-booking or card-making, this is truly a great site. Not only does Tomi share tons of photos of her charming ideas, but she also gives step-by-step instructions on how to make them. She reviews her wide assortment of tools, introduces new papers and other materials, and shares tips and secrets on how she works her magic.
  • Finally, her list of links to other paper-craft sites and blogs is extensive, many of which are absolutely fabulous. If you are inclined to venture into the wonderland which is the world of paper craft, Tomi's site is the perfect rabbit hole in which to fall.