My photo
I have been married to Ryan for 7 years and I love being married to my wonderful husband. I am a religious Christian and I love God. I live in the United States and have lived in China. I love being free and those who sacrifice(d) for my freedoms (not just servicemen and women, but all who work to preserve and teach freedom.) My hobbies include photography, music, ceramics, time with Ryan, and trying new things. I believe in the family and marriage. I love spending time with my family.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What is Temple Square? Why does it matter?

A while ago, my in-laws and I went to a place called Temple Square.  It's in Utah. The significance of Temple Square is huge.  When the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) pioneers were driven out of their lands in what we now call the Midwestern United States, they traveled West.  They went out of what was then the boundaries of the United States and created a flourishing city in the middle of a desert - a piece of land no one wanted

The significance of Temple Square is that it stands of a witness of God, of his love for his children here on earth (as well as those who have passed on), that his gospel and church has been restored in fullness, and it is a witness of the pioneers who came over, giving everything they had for their God and their families.  They left their property, social status, wealth, home, family members, some even gave their lives becuase the gospel is so important.  Temple Square is where they built a temple to the Lord God.  It is where these saints settled finally in peace, being able to live and raise their children in truth and worship God (including living their testimonies of him and his glorious work) in their every day lives.

Temple Square means that because of the incredible sacrifices made by those who came before, we are able to come learn of Christ and have eternal families.  (Temple Square is not the only place with a temple for the purpose of sealing families together for eternity but it is the place of the last beginning.  The place from which place things could expand.  Because the Early Saints came out of every other place they had settled and made the exodus (many on foot and in harsh winter weather) because they made the exodus from Nauvoo to Salt Lake we are able to have a way to true happiness in this upside-down world.

Wait.  What?  People can't have true happiness without Temple Square?  That is not exactly what I am saying.   But, it is sort of what I am saying.  This is why:

When the Saints came westward, they had built temples to God, so they could learn and receive inheritance blessings from God.  They had to leave those temples which they had given so much to be able to build.  Now, why would I say that because they left Nauvoo (and all their other settlements), came to Salt Lake,  and built Temple Square that the world can have happiness?

I don't know about you, but I never, ever, ever want to lose my family.  They mean the world to me.  I also never want to leave/abandon/rebel against/lose God.  He has blessed me more ways than I can say.  Because we have LDS temples, we can be sealed for eternity with our loved ones - our families.  We can be sealed in God's eternal family.  We have to obey God and follow his gospel in order to have these eternal blessings and when we follow Christ who shows us the way back to God, we are happy.  Our lives are so much easier!

I look at people who neglect their relationship with, turn away from, or rebel against God and it is obvious to see their happiness... turns in to misery.  Every single time. It also brings sorrow and heartache to their families.  On the other hand, as people come unto Christ, as they follow and let him lead them back to God - no matter what they have done wrong! - they always find comfort and peace and happiness in life.  The temple, living up to the covenants we make in the temple, following God's doctrine/laws is how we secure this happiness into our hearts for the eternities after we die.

Temple Square matters because it is where the saints were finally able to build a Temple of God - just like in biblical times but no longer practicing the law of Moses - and they were not driven out of their city!  Instead of being driven away from their temple, they were able to take advantage of attending the temple, teaching their children what the Gospel of Jesus Christ means and their children and their children's children were able to take to the rest of the world the message of Christ, The Plan of Salvation/Happiness, the truthfulness of the restored gospel including the fact that families can be together for ever and ever and ever when they are sealed with God's authority in His holy house!  And now the work of God continues to go forward and bring individuals and families the happiness of the gospel.

I love the temple.  Families can be together for eternity.  We can find happiness in this life and in our families and for eternity.

God bless you. ,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

God's Hand in the Building of America Lecture & Slideshow

I went to a lecture by a lady named, Laura Dixon.  She was marvelous!  She taught us about the building of America.  God's hand was in the building of this nation.  It was in the works for such a long, long time before the revolution even started.

This lecture starts with Joan of Arc.  (Well, really, it started with the definitions of freedom and liberty, but I didn't even think to record the lecture until after she had started on Joan of Arc.)  I didn't realize her history and Christopher Columbus overlapped.  (Okay, I didn't really know anything about Joan of Arc before this lecture.  I know, I'm late to the game.  ;)  Maybe some of you are, too, and that's okay.  We'll learn together!)  Anyway, it is an awesome lecture.  I wish you had been there!  So, come, now, and journey with us as we re-discover America and what made it so great!

I really hope you enjoy this lecture on the building of America.  It is beautiful, tasteful and accurately said.


Happy Independence Day!  (In less than 2 weeks!!!  Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!)


Monday, June 13, 2016

A Mormon Mom’s To Do List.

List of things to do today: (not in specific order)

Things I actually do today:

Read Scriptures and pray
Try to sleep while your baby is bouncing around in your bed, trying to fall off and pull the lamp over.
Send letters & pictures to (name withheld)
Realize this isn’t working and he is hungry.  Get him a bottle to drink so you can sleep. 
Email/share music to brother
Check email and fb.  There was a shooting while you were out of town.  Ask cousin about it since he’s the one who posted.  No response.  It’s too early!  *oops
Water plants
Get up and find some yoga clothes
Make dinner (crockpot?)
Do yoga.  Change baby’s diaper
Clean house
Water Plants and keep baby from throwing some pots off the balcony.  Keep baby from bringing plants in the house while you refill the water pitcher for the other plants.
Call cousins to say happy birthday
Do yoga.  Go to the bathroom and play the game where you try to get your baby to shut the door and leave you alone while you are in the bathroom. 
Research foster care
Do yoga.  Help baby put away the SOS pads he got out while you were in the bathroom.
Write in journal
Realize the front door was unlocked and he could have walked out at any time.  Thank Heavenly Father he didn’t do that
Calendar Natalie’s Baptism
Do yoga.  Eat breakfast
Practice music
Finally start yoga.  Put the heavy box in front of the tv so baby doesn’t keep trying to get the electronics and to keep him from turning off the tv b/c you are doing the at home yoga and your coach is on the tv.  You are new to yoga and you need the tv on for it.  The phone screen is way too small.
Do yoga
Do yoga.  Try to do yoga while you keep your baby from hitting you with a stick, pulling the plugs behind the tv, pulling your clothes up or down, climbing on you, hitting you with the yogurt maker lid, and pulling your hair.  Make sure you are interacting with him in a positive way so he feels loved and not neglected.
Find nutritionists in the area
Enough with the hairpulling – put baby in bed for the last few minutes of yoga.  Ahh.  Lay on the floor and relax.  Baby is calling you.  You call back to baby that you’ll be there in a moment.
Love and play with baby
Wake up and realize your baby was stinky when you put him in bed for the 3 minutes that have turned into a nice, long nap for both of you.  At least you think he slept.  He acts like he slept. 
Give baby outside time
Change baby’s diaper.  Get him dressed.  Give him a bottleFind his bottle.  Nevermind, here is another one.  The other one will turn up eventually.  (Hopefully sooner than later.) 
Check for audition and send in audition if possible.  (This can technically happen tomorrow when you will be just as busy.)
Have lunch.  Bagels and honey butter it is.  Melt the butter too much.  Put the bowl of honey butter on ice while stirring so that it will harden enough to be spreadable.  Enjoy lunch with baby. 
Make Dr.’s appointment
Calendar Natalie’s baptism.  Email husband picture he asks for.  (That’s easy, it doesn’t really count on the “to do list,” but you feel better putting it on.)
Find least expensive service for the thing that needs to be fixed
Tell your brother the plan for Family Home Evening since his family is coming over for it. 
Figure out Family Home Evening agenda/schedule
Calendar another event you just got invited to.  RSVPing even though that’s a busy day and you may not make it…  Yeah, you’ll probably make it.  Well, unless that’s the day you are celebrating your anniversary

Readjust your to-do list.  It’s already 1:00!  

New to-do list
Actual to-do list  (The things that really happen.)
Clean the house – at least the front rooms where the company will be tonight
Show your baby it’s raining
Wash and cook potatoes
Interact with him a little bit while keeping his cute fingers off of the computer while you type this silly list so that you can show your husband your accomplishments today. 
Figure out what to have with the potatoes and if it’s meat, make sure there is enough time to defrost and cook it
Play with baby and then do the stuff on your lists.
Find the music for tonight

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Yummy Lentil Stew / meat sauce

So, folks, it's been a while.  It's been a while.
I am here today to tell you the secret to some Yummy, EASY, husband-pleasing lentils!  "Is that even possible?? you may ask?  Well, Yes.  Yes, it is.  And I'm going to tell you the secret.  (Unless your husband does not like tomatoes.  In that case, you will need to start looking for a new recipe, my dear!)

I have been trying to (and succeeding in:)) eating healthier!  I have not consumed sugar for over 2 weeks!  (Unless the pickled beets that I ate had sugar in them... But let's not count that.  I really don't know.  Let's stay positive here!  ...I'm positive there is a chance I did have sugar.  :P  rats.  Moving on!)  It has been a lot easier than I thought it would be.  (Really, I'm doing the Fast Metabolism Diet by Haley Pomroy.)  And, I can eat a lot of food.  It's great!

Okay, I started this diet the Monday before Easter - good thinking, not!  But on the other hand, I didn't eat any Easter candy!  That's good.  On the other hand, I did save a rice crispy treat for myself.  I stuck it in my freezer with some m&m's.  Rice Crispy Treats are my FAVORITE!  (sometimes tying with popcorn.)  And the candies were just there and everyone was getting some, so I couldn't be left out!  Come on, people!  So, yeah.  On that other hand, it was a bad idea to start before Easter, after all.
Of course, it's never a good time to start a diet.  There will always be something or someone who wants to feed you whatever it is you are not eating.  So, let's just get it over with!  Really.

The real reason I'm writing this post is to say that this lentil sauce/stew is AMAZING.  A-maz-ing.  Who knew?  I said to my co-worker the other day, "It is so hard to eat healthy in America!  We don't even know how to eat healthy!"  (Something to that effect.)

I am trying lentils.  And I've been trying lentils.  And trying!
I finally succeeded.  And didn't take a picture.  So, pretend this:
Meatless Meatsauce Zucchini Pasta -8

is without zuchinni and more soup-y.  Does it seem like it might be good?  If not,  you are not trying hard enough.  Or you just don't even know.  Let me tell you 'bout it.  (Thanks for the pic, Lemons & Basil!)

This diet is SO eye-opening.  For a couple days per week I have to have a very high in protein and veggies intake.  It's nuts.  I have to have protein with every meal and for every snack.  It is seriously hard.  Because none of it can be plant protein.  It's all meat.  (Unless you are a vegetarian, vegan, or have religious ...what's the word??  laws you go by.  Mine is the religious one.)  I don't eat (or am not supposed to eat) meat often.  I mean, It's fine to have meat, but 5 times a day!  That's A LOT.  You want to know the real wording?  What this law actually says?  It's called the Word of Wisdom.    Just FYI, it says this about eating meat.
Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

SO, this is why I'm opting for the "vegetarian option" so to speak.  And MAN!  Is it good!  It's so good.  I think I just ate 2 cups of the stuff.  Seriously.  I FOUND A YUMMY, YUMMY LENTIL RECIPE!   Okay, the one I did is altered.  But it is so good.  And I think the original which you can find here is also really yummy b/c mostly all you do differently is add tomato paste.  And measure...


(Now, remember, everything in this recipe is approximate.  I don't know how much I put in of anything except for the tomatoes.)

a lot of lentils  Like 4 cups
6 cups water
2 cans of tomatoes.  (diced winco brand is dandy if you don't care about or, like myself, you don't have the energy or income to go all organic non-gmo blah blah blah.)
dried onions
garlic powder
crushed red pepper flakes (just a tiny, tiny bit.)
(Italian seasoning which has...marjoram maybe, rosemary, thyme, and the above mentioned herbs)

1.  Boil your lentils in 6 cups of water and 1/4 tsp salt for about 30 minutes.  This used up ALL my water, so don't let it go too long.  You will need to keep an eye on this baby!  (If you have canned lentils, just skip this step.)

2. add the rest of the ingredients.

3. warm it all up together and let the flavors become your new best friend.

4. scoop it up, let it cool a bit and enjoy!

Seriously.  SO EASY.  And Delicious.
My hubby said, "Mm.  That smells good."  And when I told him to try some he said he was going to have another bite!  (He already had dinner)  And he's happy to eat it for lunch tomorrow.
I have to go.  Bye.
Peace and lentils and happiness.

Monday, December 21, 2015

20 Stress-free Christmas Celebrations for your family

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Christmas... without all the stress
I sometimes wonder how I can make a Christmas holiday focus more on Jesus Christ and less on Santa and getting presents.  Although I like the tradition of Santa Clause, I don't want my children to grow up thinking that Santa bringing them presents is what Christmas really means.
I thought about some ways to celebrate Christ's birth that would not be stressful or complicated and that anyone could do, no matter their budget.

Focus on Christ - what Christmas really is and why we have the holiday.

  1. - Read the Nativity Story - The most popular reading of this beautiful, beautiful story is in Luke 2, however, it can also be found in Matthew 1 (and the wise men come in the next chapter!) Meanwhile on the American continent Samuel prophesies of Christ's birth and gives the people signs of his coming. (Helaman 14.)  Later, in 3 Nephi 1 Is their account of the birth of our savior.  It is So beautiful.
  2. A little historical note I found at a museum
  3. -Read stories of Christ - Whether it is his birth, life, ministry or resurrection, the Biblical and Book of Mormon accounts of Christ and his teachings are amazing.  If you read with a heart open to the Holy Ghost, you will learn and you will be edified every time!  This is one reason why I love the scriptures.
  4. -Act out the Nativity - One of my favorite traditions from my husband's side is that on Christmas Eve, Father reads the nativity from the Bible and the children dress up as the characters and act it out as he reads it.  A fun way to do this is to use scarves or scraps of cloth or bathrobes so everyone gets to dress up for the part.  Adding props is fun - gifts from under the tree or a jewelry box or bag become gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Use other household props or keep it simple and enjoy the purity of the account that way.  Sometimes the actors like to play their roles silently and sometimes they like to read their lines.  Do what works for your family!  
    A young girl in a biblical costume bends over a wicker basket to put a plastic baby doll inside during a reenactment of the Nativity.

  5. -Color the nativity - Make the best picture you can or print a free nativity!  (Or carefully trace it.  Like really carefully so you don't hurt your compy.)
    A black-and-white illustration of the first Christmas with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a shepherd, and a few animals in the hay.
    Free coloring page from

  6. -Talk about what you would do if you were supposed to go to the Christ child on that holy night.  Or, who you would have liked to have been on that holy night.  If you are not the kind of person you want to be, or would want to have been then, what are some ways that you can start working on or toward your own spiritual progress?  Make a goal or 2 and have someone to be positively accountable to.
  7. -Watch nativity videos - The Nativity Story is a full length video made in 2006 about the coming of Christ's birth.  It is beautifully done.  I definitely recommend it.  Other shorter clips that helps us think of Christ or learn of his birth can be found here.  I love these little clips.  They are so touching.  I think you will enjoy this free little library of inspiring short videos.  This is truly a wonderful resource. You can also find some more at at
  8. -Find a way to give to someone in need. Serving someone at a soup kitchen, singing to or visiting with a lonely neighbor or family member, taking a meal or treat to someone, etc... Any way you can let someone know they are loved and remembered will be a good service.  Whoever you visit is just like you; a child of God.  How To Give Gifts To Christ (For Youth)
  9. -Use an art medium to create a nativity scene. - Traditional or nontraditional mediums.  Just get your creative juices flowing and add beauty to your home with whatever you imagine.  Need ideas: pinterest and google.  There isn't really much I need to say on this one, is there?  BUT I will say that truly beautiful art will add much to any place.
  10. -Gift box for Christ - Make a gift box, jar, or other item that can hold slips of paper and that you will not mind sitting in a prominent or highly visual place in your house.  Everyone in your family writes (or draws) what they will give Christ this year.  Throughout the year, review your progress and update your goals as needed.
  11. -Let your baby type on the computer.  Like this:  l.
(That was a joke...)

Connect with your Family  -Past-Present-Future

  1. -Read or tell Christmas stories or experiences from your life, your parents, grandparents, or anyone in your family tree
  2. -Read inspirational Christmas stories - Growing up we loved to hear about my great grandmother's Christmas.  I could almost quote the whole thing just from hearing it every Christmas.  Amelia's Christmas by my Aunt Mary.  She wrote it in elementary school, I think.  "The closer it got to Christmas, the more secrets there were..."
  3. -Watch a Christmas movie together - Frosty the Snowman, Miracle on 34th Street, The Nativity Story, Cricket on the Hearth, Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, etc... There are so many I can't name them all here and still keep the purpose of this post.  You know what to do.
  4. -Read/tell the stories of the original Santa Clause - I went to a museum and saw a Christmas display.  1/3 Santa 2/3 Nativity.  It was so fun to go see all the nativities!!  (I'm sidetracking) The only thing about Santa Clause that really caught my attention were these little stories of how we got the Santa Clause tradition in the first place.

    Oh, yeah, and there was a gingerbread room.  That was kinda fun - to see all the gingerbread houses.  My favorite was a replica of a church from (Switzerland?) that the artist's grandfather had attended.
  5. -Sing Christmas songs - Around a tree, outside, around your table, in your living room, wherever.  It doesn't matter where.  It will lift your spirit.  Music is powerful.  One of my favorite activities with my family is singing.  At Christmas time we love to sit around the tree and sing Christmas carols together.
  6. -Make a fun meal together.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  Pancakes - add red OR green food coloring and suddenly they are Christmasy!  Try drizzling the pancake batter in Christmas shapes.   Look on google or pinterest for fun, easy, festive food ideas.
  7. -Make Christmas or winter crafts - google this if you don't have any ideas.  There are a billion and one things to do out there!
  8. -Play with your children - the gift of time and attention is so valuable.  Your children may or may not remember the exact experience, but they will value the relationship you build with them and that is more important to remember.  Your children/teenagers may not act like it is cool, but they will know you love them.
  9. -Go do something together - go to the movies, go sledding, build a pillow and blanket fort, carol at a nursing home, play in the snow, do a snow dance if you don't have snow but want it, anything!  Just go do something with your family.  Let your family members know you love them and love to spend time with them.
  10. -Sit and talk together - about anything.  Make up stories, tell why you love each other, talk about school, work, play, home, build plans together, talk about your dreams and wishes, etc... Listen, too.  Part of having a good conversation is being an engaged listener.
  11. -Make a new Christmas treat together - Peppermint bark is really easy and delicious! All it takes is white chocolate and candy canes.  Melt the chocolate, crush the canes and mix.  Let it dry and voila!  yum.  (It's not an exact science, but 1/2 pound bark to 12 candy canes is a good starting ratio.)  Caramel or candy popcorn, fudge, whatever tickles your fancy!
  12. Christmas Pin Art - If your child is old enough to do this on his own, great.  If he needs a little help, great.  Sketch/draw a Christmas (or not Christmas) picture on a paper.  Put it on the carpet or other soft place.  Using a pin, paperclip, pen, or pencil... poke holes through your outlines.  When you are finished, hold it up in front of a light or lamp and see the picture shine!  (Really, all you need is outlines.  If you feel really inadequate drawing, print or trace a picture on white paper and put your dark paper underneath before you make the holes.)