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.