Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Cooking Club this Wednesday at April Lewis' house! She will be showing all how to make some luscious chocolates.

Please come!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Of Primary Importance: Sacrament Mtg Presentation

Sisters, After many good intentions, I'm finally getting around to using this wonderful communication tool.... Ike disrupted our lives in so many ways, not the least of which by cancelling our Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation in September.
In case you haven't heard, this special program has been re-scheduled for Sunday, October 26.
This coming Sunday, October 19, we'll be doing a straight run-through practice. Please help your child(ren) prepare by reviewing their speaking part and the songs. If they've been assigned a "talk", please make sure it's complete and ready to be presented.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact me.
Aletha Bradley

Food for Thought: California Proposition 8

Most of us know that the Church has spoken out about Proposition 8 in California and has promoted active campaigning by the membership there. For those of you who really want to know what it is all about, and if you tend to doubt the 'scare tactics' promoted by its proponents, below is an article from the San Francisco Gate, a publication which caters to the gay/lesbian demographic, which demonstrates the future in California if Prop 8 fails to pass.

To quote from a parent whose child attended this wedding and found no reason for concern: "How many days in school are they going to remember?" asked parent Marc Lipsett. "This is a day they'll definitely remember." What they learn from that experience will affect them their entire lives.

Read article here

To learn more about the issue and how you can help, even if you don't live in California, visit http://www.protectmarriage.com/.

Protect Marriage

Please, share this with all your family and friends who live in California. Encourage them to educate themselves on the issue and then get out and VOTE!

To learn what Mormons believe about the eternal nature of families, see The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Link of the Week: Flight Aware

Here's an extremely useful link for travelers, and friends and family of travelers, and rather appropriate for me to post as I sit here drumming my fingers waiting for it to be time to go to the airport. Flight Aware, a free service, allows the user to track any flight anywhere in the United States and Canada. It offers up-to-the-second information.

Simply visit http://flightaware.com, and in the fields provided on the far left column (gray areas), enter in the required information. The site offers two different modes of tracking a flight: by the airplane number and the flight number, or by the airline and the flight number. All of this information is found on your ticket, e-ticket and/or itinerary.

For instance. Elder Freeman is traveling SkyWest on flight 1000A, in jet #DL 4006 from SLC to IAH. He is currently at 35,000 feet flying at 477 knots, has traveled 371 miles, with 827 miles to go. And, his flight is riding the wind and will arrive a few minutes early. Better alert the dad so we can be sure to be there when the son disembarks.

It also offers real-time Doppler satellite imagery so the user can see if the traveler will hit rough weather which may cause a delay, or worse still, a redirection. The bottom left gray field allows the user to review airport information such as weather, delays, alerts, security issues, etc.

This site was especially useful to us last Christmas when Dallas and Lynda got into bad weather, got redirected, and had to spend the night in Phoenix, Arizona. Keeping track of their many difficulties on Flight Aware was a lot easier than hoping that they'd eventually get where their cell phones would work and hopefully remember to call us.

So here it is. I hope it is found of use. Especially if you're pacing for someone in your family to come home after a two-year absence, you'll find this page a great stress reliever.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Preach My Gospel: Go Ye Therefore

Dear Sisters,

In her Conference address on Saturday, October 4, 2008, Sister Sylvia H. Allred, first counselor of the General Relief Society Presidency, spoke on missionary work and the great impact it can have in all of our lives. She offers us all a much needed nudge to improve in our own efforts. As so many of us realize, the dedication of one or two people can affect the futures and even the eternities of hundreds of people.

Sister Allred states:

Missionary work is the lifeblood of the Church. There is no greater work, no more important work. It blesses the lives of all those who participate in it. It will continue blessing future generations.

You might be asking yourself: How can I assist in missionary work? In what ways can I participate? There are two fundamental truths to keep in mind as you embark on the work. First, have a clear understanding that God loves all His children and desires their salvation. In Doctrine and Covenants 18:13 we read, “And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth.” Second, our message of Christ and His restored gospel is the most important gift you have to give.

As outlined in Preach My Gospel, missionary work is a four-fold endeavor: finding investigators, teaching and baptizing, fellowshipping new members, and fellowshipping and teaching less-active members.7 Every member of the Church—children, youth, and adults—can assist in any or all of these efforts.

Begin by being a good neighbor and a good friend. Set a example of righteousness and kindness. Let your smile radiate love, peace, and happiness. Live a gospel-centered life.

Then, be more specific in your missionary efforts. Let me suggest some ideas. You might find two or three that work for you:

  • If you have children at home, help prepare them for missionary service.
  • Prepare yourself for missionary service.
  • Invite family and friends to listen to the missionaries or to attend our Church meetings and activities.
  • Accompany the missionaries to investigators’ homes, or invite the missionaries to teach nonmembers in your home.
  • Invite people to a family home evening in your home.
  • Invite people to a family history center, or help them do family history research.
  • Give referrals to the missionaries. Members can be the greatest and best source of referrals.
  • Share your beliefs and testimony with nonmember friends and family.
  • Seek for opportunities to reach out to others.
  • Extend friendship to investigators and new converts.
  • Give your best efforts to finding those who are seeking the truth.
  • If you have family members or friends on missions, send them letters of love and encouragement, and pray for them.

You will experience joy in the fruits of your labor. A greater enthusiasm for missionary work will strengthen your entire ward or branch. The whole Church will feel the effects of your labor.

Follow the link to read the full article, or visit byu.tv to watch the Conference broadcast, then consider how you might enlarge upon the opportunities the Lord has given you for more missionary experiences.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Link of the Week: BYU.tv

Once again, General Conference has been edifying, uplifting, and a pleasure in which to participate. On BYU.tv, you can experience it again and again. Simply go to the site, select "LDS Church Broadcasts" in the row of tabs below the view screen, then choose the program you wish to view.

BYU.tv offers many programming options, including their live broadcast, the same programming available to those subscribed to Dish Network. The added advantage on the Internet is the ability to choose previous programs to watch at your leisure, not only General Conference.

Music and the Spoken Word is always enjoyable, but the program on Sunday, September 28, 2008, is particularly outstanding. The Orchestra on Temple Square performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as two different excellent soloists. Both the message and the music are uplifting, their performance as professional as any could wish.

Take a half hour to treat yourself to this soul-soothing performance. Your family will be glad you did.

The Olde Oaks Country Fair

From Sister April Lewis:

We are hoping to call all the sisters, but I thought I would email, too. So please pass this info on to any Visiting Teachees, Visiting Teachers, friends, and/or neighbors just in case we don't get to call everyone.

Our postponed Enrichment meeting, "The Olde Oaks Country Fair", is this Thursday at 7 pm @ the Hafer road building (16331 Hafer Rd, HOUSTON,TEXAS ). We will be starting with a lesson in the Relief Society Room attached to the kitchen, then move into the Gym/Cultural hall for Dinner (baked Potatoes, salad, and toppings) and our "talent/stuff about you" tables and karaoke. If you feel so inclined, wear something suitable for an old time Country fair. We will have a lot of fun, and it will be more fun with you! Yes, you!

We will have homemade treats for those of you who make the effort to be on time. We will also have a children's class in the nursery, so please bring them if no one is available to watch them.

PLEASE BRING something that tells your sisters about you. I know you are all extremely talented and interesting women, so let us know some details about who you are and what you like to do by bringing something to show off (e.g. a book you love, your favorite shoes, a DVD/CD favorite, something you have sewn/cut/glued/hammered/scrapbooked/created in any way, and if none of those strike your fancy then -as President Uchtdorf suggested-, come and see how many smiles you can create!)

I apologize for any of you getting this twice as I am sending it to all of you in my address book, as well as the Olde Oaks Group.

Have a great day (and to help you on the way to that here is a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf's talk at Women's Conference last week)!

"Today I would like to speak to those who have ever felt inadequate, discouraged, or weary—in short, I would like to speak to all of us.

I also pray that the Holy Ghost will amplify my words and bestow upon them additional meaning, insight, and inspiration.

We know that sometimes it can be difficult to keep our heads above water. In fact, in our world of change, challenges, and checklists, sometimes it can seem nearly impossible to avoid feeling overwhelmed by emotions of suffering and sorrow.

I am not suggesting that we can simply flip a switch and stop the negative feelings that distress us. This isn’t a pep talk or an attempt to encourage those sinking in quicksand to imagine instead they are relaxing on a beach. I recognize that in all of our lives there are real concerns. I know there are hearts here today that harbor deep sorrows. Others wrestle with fears that trouble the soul. For some, loneliness is their secret trial.

These things are not insignificant.

However, I would like to speak about two principles that may help you find a path to peace, hope, and joy—even during times of trial and distress. I want to speak about God’s happiness and how each one of us can taste of it in spite of the burdens that beset us.

Let me first pose a question: What do you suppose is the greatest kind of happiness possible? For me, the answer to this question is, God’s happiness.

This leads to another question: What is our Heavenly Father’s happiness?

This may be impossible to answer because His ways are not our ways. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [God’s] ways higher than [our] ways, and [His] thoughts [higher] than [our] thoughts.”1

Though we cannot understand “the meaning of all things,” we do “know that [God] loveth his children”2 because He has said, “Behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”3

Heavenly Father is able to accomplish these two great goals—the immortality and eternal life of man—because He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate."

I love this talk; if you were unfortunate enough to miss it, please watch it or read it online ASAP. Nothing beats Pres. Uchtdorf's delivery of it, but reading it brings new insights and inspiration also.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Link of the Week: LDSChurchTemples.com

This is a really cool Church site (you'll recognize the LDS.org look) where you can reference information about the various temples around the world, "featuring news, schedules, photographs, and interesting facts of the temples of the LDS Church."

The funnest page is that for the free downloads, which feature:
  • Mapping files in PDF (Adobe Reader), KML (Google Earth), and GPS coordinates (really cool if you have Garmand or other GPS devices in your vehicle). My favorite is the Google Earth feature which allows you to virtually tour the world and see the temples dot the face of the earth.
  • Temples Around the World slide show and screen saver. This feature includes all the operating temples and offers the options of playing the screen saver, downloading the screen saver software for your computer's offline use, and downloading the screen saver as a video which is suitable for presentations.
  • Individual screen savers featuring the Bountiful and Salt Lake Temples, with 'Inspiring Spires' and 'Temples at Twilight' coming soon.
  • Temple wallpaper galleries and slide show. Each individual temple is featured with anywhere from one to 129 photographs (Salt Lake, of course). The Houston Texas Temple has 20.
What a great resource and fun way to display images of the House of the Lord in our homes!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Preach My Gospel: True Ward Family

Dear Sisters,

I really appreciate all your open hearts and open hands in helping Elder Courtright get outfitted for his mission. Your generosity knows no bounds, and I am especially grateful to you for putting aside your own concerns with the whole Ike experience to help Matt get everything he requires on that endless less. I know how deeply he appreciates it, as he expressed to me on numerous occasions. He was totally stunned that we would consider him worth the effort.

If you would like to further support him, Elder Courtright's address for the next three weeks will be:

Elder Matthew Courtright
Denver Colorado North Mission
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604

Come November, his address will be:

Elder Matthew Courtright
Denver North Colorado Mission
11172 N Huron Ste 21
Northglenn, CO 80234

Again, thanks to all for your love and support.


Food for Thought: Behind the Scenes at the Relief Society Broadcast

Dear Sisters,

The following narrative came to me, as so many things do, forwarded through so many email in-boxes that the it is unattributable. However, that does not lessen the sincerity or testimony borne in its lines. I hope the sister who wrote them does not object to me sharing them more broadly, for "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."


Behind the Scenes at Relief Society Broadcast

I received this email today from my friend whose daughter was in the choir for the Relief Society Broadcast. In light of the day I thought this was very uplifting.

Hello Family and Friends -

Well, I broke down and decided to send a quick email to let you know that the choir for the General Women's Broadcast tomorrow night was selected from my area and I am in it. I just had to share some things I have learned and felt during the last 7 weeks at rehearsals.

First, you will see that we are wearing white blouses. Some people have commented to me their surprise at the color choice (or lack thereof) but I have to tell you the story behind this. Sis. Beck, the General R.S. Pres., stopped into our practice one night as a surprise and she spoke for a few minutes. First, I cannot describe the feeling she brought with her, the power of the Holy Ghost as testified to us of the Lord's hand in this conference and her humble pleading for help in her talk. She said that as she has traveled the world, she has felt such a powerful need to communicate to the women worldwide, regardless or race, economics, etc. that we are sisters and ALL members of the LORD'S church - together. She said that she felt inspired to request that we wear white because everywhere she has gone, the women always show up in a white clean shirt somehow. She said she didn't know how it was possible in some areas to have anything clean let alone white - but they always come somehow in white, even if it is a tee-shirt, cleaned and turned inside out so the writing on it doesn't show. So, she wanted them to see the choir and know that they could be part of it regardless of money or situation. They also asked us to not wear jewelry (or very minimal) so that women who are not sure where the next meal is coming from don't feel such an economic division between Utah and them.

They have worked to prepare us spiritually as much as musically. From the first night, they have said, the music is secondary. The testimony of Jesus Christ is primary. It is only about Him and the sisters out there. From the second we started rehearsing, the Spirit has been tangible and present. Every time, I leave feeling changed inside. At our first rehearsal, they said that there wouldn't be any new or original special songs. They told us that the conference is translated into the various languages, except the music. The music is always in English. There are many versions of Hymnals in the world, but they don't have every song in them. In fact, there are only about 15-20 songs (if I remember correctly) common among them all. So, to unify the sisters again, they chose 4 of the songs that are in every hymnal, so even if they don't understand our language, they will know the song and feel it is their hymns and their Church.

The theme of the music is rejoicing and hope in the Savior. In light of world events of the recent days, I can't tell you the power and peace I feel when I practice these songs. I invite you to listen closely to the words of the songs. They have come to me with force I have rarely felt in music ~ for example: "His kingdom cannot fail. He rules over earth and heaven." When it seems that everyday something else is failing, His kingdom cannot fail. Or, "I would learn the Healer's art", "Find in Thee my strength my beacon", or just the simple phrase "Lift up your hearts! Lift up your voice! Rejoice again I say rejoice." I have felt things during this preparation time that I never dreamed of feeling or learning. So, I felt the spirit say as I was practicing tonight " 'Lift up your voice' and send some thoughts to those you love." So, here are my thoughts and my love for whomever of you needs them.

My testimony has never been stronger of Jesus Christ and his love for us. My favorite name for him is "Savior." I feel it in every fiber of my being. He will not fail us if we cleave to Him. It is a marvelous time to be on the earth and great things are happening in this Church! It is his kingdom we are a part of. It is a privilege to bear His name and to try to be like Him. It is worth fighting for and holding our standards high. When we had our dress rehearsal in the Conference Center, and the organ started playing HUGE, and sound pouring out of the pipes over us, and singing with all the feeling of our souls, my heart felt like it would explode! I never considered how intimately the Savior watches over the preparations of conference, but I testify He is in every detail, every plan, every element of it. It is His conference, His church, His world, His people, His Love, and I am so grateful for the chance to sing my testimony to you tomorrow night! I will have you in my mind and heart!

Blog of the Week: Hungry? A Place to Gather for Food


Here is another great recipe blog lots of great recipes and lots of other information useful in the kitchen. My niece, Kami Allen, is one of a number of participants, so the spectrum of recipes is broad and comprehensive, with an emphasis on eating healthy.

Here is a sample of one of the recipes she has posted:

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad

A basic balsamic vinegar and olive oil combination does triple duty here, seasoning grilled vegetables, wilting baby spinach leaves and dressing this colorful warm-weather salad. Feel free to replace the asparagus with zucchini or yellow squash (just slice them in half before grilling) or to add a bell pepper or two to the mix. On the off chance that you have leftovers, they taste great in a veggie sandwich or tofu scramble the next day.

Ingredient List
Serves 4
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
6 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
2 medium-size portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch rings (about 2 cups)
6 cups baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried

1. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, parsley, basil and garlic in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss sauce with asparagus, mushrooms and onion in shallow baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
2. Coat grill or grill pan with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Preheat to medium-high heat.
3. Place spinach in large serving bowl; set aside.
4. Drain asparagus mixture, reserving marinade. Grill vegetables 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally, or until tender and lightly charred. Transfer to cutting board. Cool 2 minutes, and cut into bite-size pieces.
5. Add grilled vegetables to spinach. Transfer reserved marinade to small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Pour over salad mixture. Toss salad with hot marinade, using tongs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories: 285, Protein: 5g, Total fat: 15g, Carbs: 21g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 203mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 8g

Source: Vegetarian Times

Weekly Update: Passing the Baton

It's been so long since I've done anything with this blog, one would think I've abandoned it, but I haven't. With the new RS presidency and my release from my calling as secretary, we've been trying to see where everything fits, and the transition process is still ongoing. I look forward to the time when others catch the vision of what I would like this blog to be: another means of enriching the lives of the sisters of the Olde Oak Ward, fostering communication and interaction, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with any and all who may stumble upon it.

However, I am still the owner of the blog and I love the sisters of the Olde Oaks Ward, past and present. This has been my pet project from start, so although the only official content I post will be regarding my particular calling as dry pack specialist, I'm hoping to help keep it interesting enough for you to feel it worth your time.

Again, if you have any contributions to share or ideas on how we can make this site more pertinent to your lives, please let us know. Comment on the posts or email me or any of the Relief Society Presidency specifically. The more diversified our means of communicating, the more sisters we reach, the stronger the ties which bind us, and the greater opportunity for growth both personally and as a Relief Society are available to us.

But most of all, we preach of Christ, we testify of Christ, we rejoice in Christ and hope to share the good news that through Him salvation comes with all those who find their way here.