Blessings of the Temple

The other day I made a post about how easy it is to take things for granted when we are exposed to them every day.  And today I was reminded of that once again.

I have the opportunity and blessing to be an Ordinance worker in the LDS Jordan River Temple.  Though I only work one day a week right now, I’m able to be a part of the ordinances performed there in the work for the dead.  For those of you that don’t understand that, we believe  that everyone deserves the chance to be offered the blessings of the Temple.  If they weren’t able to participate in them in this life, we do the ‘work’ for them as proxies and give them a chance to accept or reject those blessings in the spirit world.

As I was participating in those ordinances today….. I stopped for a few minutes to pay attention to the verbiage of the blessings that are pronounced on the heads of the proxies for the dead.  Because I repeat those words all the time…. I sometimes forget to really pay attention to the beautiful promises that are being given.  Promises that I pray all my family members will one day be able to have for their own.

It’s amazing what beautiful blessings the Lord has in store for us when we keep the commandments He’s asked us to keep.  Commandments, that by living them, our lives are continually blessed.  Some people would argue that keeping the commandments and living the gospel is too restrictive.  But I don’t agree.  I believe that living them brings so many blessings and joy that there’s nothing I feel like I’m missing out on by doing so.

I’m grateful I have the blessing of working in the temple and being reminded of His wonderful promises to us.  I’m grateful that those blessings are promised to me and to all who chose to do what is necessary to participate in them.  My life is richly blessed.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

 

Advertisements

Does She….. or Doesn’t She?

Yes….. she does.  I’m not going to lie.  And I’m very grateful that I do!  I would look horribly older than I am if I didn’t!  (Now for those of you whose mind went another direction….. I’m referring to coloring my hair!!)

I started getting gray hairs in my 30’s…. so it wasn’t long after that that I started coloring my hair.  However…. that was the first that I did it!  Nowadays…. even girls in Jr. High and High school color their hair.  I can honestly say that I never did that.  It was a rare thing to do when I was in high school.  At least to my knowledge.  I don’t think girls did it back then, at least not very openly if they did do it.  After all….. what’s the tag line of the old Clairol commercial?  “Does she…. or doesn’t she? …. Only her hairdresser (and now you….) knows for sure!”

The whole point with that was to make people not know that you colored your hair.  It was suppose to look natural.  It’s a very different world now.  Coloring and highlighting is the norm and we usually don’t care if people know it.  (Obviously…. I’m telling you!)  In fact…. the bright colored streaks and fun feathers are all very popular right now.  Those are pretty hard to hide!

I’m a little old fashioned, or perhaps just not daring…. but I pretty much stick to the one color that comes out of the box.  Though I’ve changed shades here and there, it’s never been really dramatic.  I’m still what you’d consider a brunette.  And I’m OK with that. I love my reddish highlights with my current shade…. but I’m still a brunette.

I’m grateful that I’ve learned how to color my hair myself.  It saves me a lot of money and time.  I find myself needing to do it every 5 or 6 weeks.  My hair grows really fast and needs to be touched up that often…. and since that growth is primarily gray…. it needs to be done often!  I like looking younger!

I’m grateful the products nowadays are easy to use…. I don’t use the grocery store brands, however,  but rather a professional brand from Sally’s.  With a few cosmetologists in the family…. they insist that I at least use a good product!  But they are easy to use.

So, today started the next few weeks of a fresh batch of color…. it should get me through the Holidays!  Perhaps people will wonder…. “Does she….  or Doesn’t she?”

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

 

This one made me laugh…. it goes way back!  But it will let you know where the tag line “Does she or doesn’t she” comes from!

A Good Quality Iron

Does anyone really iron anymore?  I mean….. there are always a few things that need to be pressed, or freshened up…. but for the most part…. I really don’t iron much.

I don’t know about you….. but I remember a day when you had to iron everything!  My Mom would spend hours ironing!  We even had one of those fancy manglers was we called them.  They were big service ironing boards that had a large heated surface that came down over the piece you were ironing and pressed it all at once.  Think of it as a very large panni maker without the ridges.  More like a George Foreman grill I guess….   We even ironed our sheets and pillow cases!  And boy, talk about crisp creases!

Having a mangler was no a common thing.  I think we were probably one of the few on our block that had one.  I actually enjoyed using them.  At least for a few minutes… and then it made the house hot and it wasn’t much fun after that!  But I do remember having to iron most of my things.  Actually everyone’s when it was my turn to iron.

Thank heavens for permanent press fabrics!  It makes life much easier!  I really don’t do much ironing, as I already mentioned.  But, when I do…. it’s so nice to have a good iron.

My children will attest to you that I haven’t had a very good iron until recently.  Working at Cheesecake Factory, like two of my kids were doing for a while, it meant a constant washing of white clothes and aprons. (Why they require them to wear all white is beyond me!  Pretty impossible to keep looking clean while you’re working!)  They always needed to be neatly pressed too.  They couldn’t just wash and wear.  They were constantly complaining about how my iron was…. well, we’ll just say, not very good.

I’ve always wanted a Rowenta iron.  I’ve wanted one for years.  As a seamstress, (which I don’t do very often anymore…) I always wanted a good iron because it makes a huge difference in how your projects turn out.  Rowenta is one of the best and highly recommended by seamstresses everywhere.  We finally broke down and bought one several months ago.  Since then, my son has not complained about the iron.

I haven’t had many reasons to use the iron since I got it.  The other day, as I was getting my table set for Thanksgiving, I realized my nice napkins had never been pressed after they were washed the last time.  I remember trying to press them last year for Thanksgiving….  It seemed it took forever to make them look halfway decent.

Well…. this year…. with my new Rowenta iron, they were pressed in no time and looked better than they ever had!  It literally only took a few minutes to have all 10 napkins neatly pressed.  It was wonderful!  I’m so grateful to finally have a good quality iron!  It almost makes me want to do a sewing project just so I can use it to neatly press open those seams!  The operative word there is ‘almost’.  I’m sure when I have grandkids around, I may want to sew a little more than I do now.

I’m thankful for permanent press fabrics that don’t require a lot of pressing…. but when I do need to iron…. I’m grateful to have a good quality iron!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

I’m Not Homeless!

In these economic times, I have to reiterate how grateful I am that I have a home to live in and the all things I need and more.  I just saw a segment on 60 minutes tonight that talked about how many homeless families there are that are forced to live in their cars or trucks because they have no where else to go.

It made me so grateful for what I have.  Not just having a house to live in, but the fact that my husband was blessed to have had a career that he worked for 31 years and was able to retire with benefits.  That’s an usual thing today.  Most people need to plan for their own retirement because they won’t be getting a pension plan from their employer.

Luckily, my husband was a school teacher and had those benefits and was able to retire. Thankfully, over the years we have always had a lovely home to live in and continue to live in a very blessed situation.

I know I’ve mentioned having a home as something to be grateful for before….. but the segment on 60 minutes tonight just really brought it back to light in my mind.  I do have to say how impressed I was with the people they interviewed that were living in those conditions.  One family in particular.  They interviewed the children, a boy and a girl around the ages of 13 and 15.  I was impressed with how they try very hard to make a ‘normal’ life for themselves, even under the circumstances.  I was amazed at their attitude about the situation.    I’ve posted a link to the trailer for the segment posted on Youtube.  It’s not the entire segment…. but you’ll get the idea of how these people are dealing with their circumstances.  Listen to what this young lady says at around 2:15.  The actual link to the article below has a link within it for the entire segment.

I’m grateful I’m not in that position.  I’m grateful I have a wonderful home…… but I’m also grateful and encouraged by the courage of this young family and the optimism they have for a better future!  It’s inspiring to me and hopefully to others who may be in the same situation.  I guess the real question remains….. what can we do to help?  Perhaps that’s a good focus for our service to others this time of year.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Karaoke Tracks

No…. I’m not a Karaoke person…. not in the traditional way anyway!  I don’t go to Karaoke clubs and sing.  I’m not really into that.  I did sing for the Karaoke contest on the cruise we went on a few years ago…. but I don’t do Karaoke clubs.  Not that I might not enjoy it…. I’ve just never tried, and most of the places that do that are not the kind of atmosphere I want to be around all night.  But I am very grateful for Karaoke tracks!

I’m a performer.  Have been a good portion of my life.  I’ve been blessed to be able to perform with some college friends for the last…..  (ahem)…. 30 or so years.  I remember when Karaoke tracks started being made available to the public.  They were first referred to as minus one tracks, or minus tracks, meaning the track was without or minus the lead vocal.  That was before the oriental name Karaoke started to stick.  They weren’t very available in the USA for a while.  Luckily…. I was on a DOD tour (similar to a USO tour, just sponsored by a different department) when Karaoke tracks started to become popular, so we bought a few over seas.  I guess that’s the first time I even knew they were available.

Prior to Karaoke tracks, most of my performing days have been with live music…. which is really fun… I actually prefer it!  But that can’t always happen.  So when Karaoke tracks started to become more popular, my friends and I started doing  a few ‘gigs’ without the band because we didn’t have to charge as much.  Though we still love to perform with live music…. we are still doing shows with minus tracks.

Thankfully those tracks allow us to perform as often as we can.  Which, actually as of late, has not been as much as we would like!  There are so many performing groups out there that you really have to advertise today to make yourself known.  One of these days I will talk my friends into stopping long enough to get a head shot photo of us taken so we can at least start a Facebook fan page!

Thanks to Karaoke tracks, I made a Christmas album a few years ago.  It was just for fun and I did it for my parents.  However… it has become popular with many of my friends and family.  It’s not available on iTunes because I’ve never cleared the rights to use the tracks.  Someday I will do that.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy performing to Karaoke tracks with my friends and even occasionally by myself!  I’m grateful for those opportunities to do so!  My friends and I have two shows coming up in the next 10 days!  I’m excited to sing with them and to get into the Christmas spirit by doing so!!

Do you love singing to Karaoke tracks?

I am Grateful!  How are You?

(Come back to this post in a day or so and I will have posted a youtube video of one of my Christmas songs….. I just need to make it first!)

In the meantime….. I guess I can post this one I did this summer for a….. contest!!!

The Versatile Sweet Potato

I know what you are thinking…..  “Is this a food blog or a Gratitude blog?”.  I understand!  I’ve had several posts lately about food, but after yesterday’s successful Sweet Potato recipe…. I just have to share and say how grateful I am for yummy Sweet potatoes.

I don’t remember growing up liking sweet potatoes much.  I was never a fan of the gooey sweet ‘yam’s’ that were served at Thanksgiving.  Even though my Dad was a farmer as a hobby, he never grew sweet potatoes that I remember, so I think the only time I had tasted them was at Thanksgiving.

Then… I grew up…. and so did my tastebuds.  There are many foods I could put on the list of things I didn’t like much as a kid, but as I grew older I learned to like them.   Today my focus is on Sweet Potatoes.

I guess I started eating them a few years ago when we would go to a steak house that served a baked sweet potato with your entree.  I started enjoying them at that time, sometimes with a little cinnamon sugar, but mostly with just butter salt and pepper.

Then some restaurants started serving Sweet Potato french fries.  That’s when I really started liking them.  I liked the savory or salty taste better than adding more sweet to an already sweet potato.  Then I discovered my favorite Sweet Potato fries EVER at Smashburger.  They are flavored with Olive Oil and Rosemary…. so delish!

As I was making plans for what to serve for our Thanksgiving dinner, I discovered a Sweet Potato Soufflé recipe in my recent issue of Clean Eating magazine.  Since it had Rosemary in it as a spice…. I had a feeling that it would be delicious….. and oh my goodness was it!!  It reminded me very much of the flavor of the Smashburger Sweet Potato fries.  (Which by the way….. I blogged about early this year…..)

This recipe from Clean Eating is so good we are planning to use the rest of the sweet potatoes we have to make more.  And…. it was a hit with my company yesterday!  We had very little leftover!  I think that must say something!  Perhaps more people would eat Sweet potatoes more with a little savory flavor instead of the extra sweet!

So, here is the recipe from the 2011 November/December issue of Clean Eating.  (A GREAT Food magazine by the way!)

Souffléd Sweet Potatoes (with Garlic and Rosemary)

(from Clean Eating Magazine)

4 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed well

1 head garlic, cloves separated and unpeeled

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt

fresh ground black pepper, to taste

4 large egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Using a fork, prick each potato 2 or 3 times.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet, transfer to oven and bake for 45 min to 1 hour or until softened.  Meanwhile, loosely wrap garlic in foil, sealing tightly.  Place on a separate baking sheet, transfer to oven and bake for 30 to 35 min, until softened by not browned.

Remove potatoes and garlic from oven, and let cool.  When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes, and place in a large bowl.  Squeeze garlic cloves from their skins an add to bowl.  Add broth and use a potato masher to mash until smooth; stir in rosemary, salt and pepper.

In a separate large bowl, combine egg whites and cream of tartar.  Using a electrice mixer, beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 min  With a rubber spatula, gently fold half of egg white mixture into potato mixture until just a few white streaks are visible. Fold in remaining egg white mixture, allowing a few small white streaks to remain visible.

Coat a 9×13 inch baking dish with a cooking spray.  Add potato mixture, using a spatula to smooth the top.  Transfer to oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until top is lightly browned.  Serve hot.

Serves 10

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as much as I do!  I’m so grateful to be discovering the things that can be done with the sweet potato!  Do you have a favorite recipe using Sweet Potatoes?

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Thanksgiving

It wouldn’t be very smart for me to make a post on Thanksgiving day and not say I’m thankful for Thanksgiving!

I love holidays…. particularly this time of year.  And no, it’s not because of the food!  It’s because of the people that we surround ourselves with!  I love family gatherings and ones that include friends too.

Today we were blessed to have  company beyond our immediate family.  Our oldest son and his girlfriend came over early this morning and had breakfast with us and stayed till about 1pm.  Then they headed up to Park City to spend the rest of the day with Ali’s family.  Our daughter is living in Arizona right now and was spending the day with her boyfriend and his family.  Really missed having her around this year!  Our youngest son was here to spend the entire day with us.

Because it was just the 3 of us, we decided to invite my sister and her new husband and her one son who would have been alone other wise to join us.  Then we ended up inviting John’s parents.  At the last minute yesterday we invited our neighbors who had  had their family dinner on Tuesday and all their children were going other places today.  So we had 10 in total, and not all from the same side of the family.  It was a nice mix.

Though we didn’t take the time I would have liked to express our gratitude to each other today…. I was still very grateful for the time we got to spend together.  I had a great idea for taking time to do that …. but the hustle of trying to get the meal ready and all on the table while it was still hot made that go by the wayside!

There is so much to be grateful for at this time of year as there is everyday.  It seems we take the time to notice or think about it a little more at Thanksgiving.  Of course, we would all be better off if we took the time to be grateful everyday.  It’s been such a blessing to me to start this blog because it has made me more aware of gratitude every day.

Though somedays I have felt like it was a little harder to come up with a topic, I wonder if it’s because I have allowed so many things that I’m grateful for to become passé to me.  I saw an enlightening video today that made me realize that perhaps that’s why someday’s I think I don’t have anything to blog about.  When you think about it….. I shouldn’t have any trouble at all coming up with a topic!

I wanted to share this video with you as food for thought.  What do you take for granted? …. what do you see so much that you forget it’s a real blessing in your life?  Stop and think about it…. I think you’ll be amazed  at what you can come up with.  Here’s the video:

I’m grateful for Thanksgiving and the opportunity it allows for family to get together.  I’m grateful for the things my friends have said they are grateful for.  Facebook has been a wonderful source of reminders of the many blessing I have as others have expressed their gratitude there.  They’ve mentioned things that I hadn’t thought of!  I’m grateful for reminders to not allow things around me to become ‘invisible’  ….  a reminder to stop and pay attention more.

This is my favorite Thanksgiving decoration I have! Gather together in Gratitude!

I hope you will all try to live in Thanksgiving daily and open your eyes to the blessing around you.  Thank you for being my readers. Many of you are regular and loyal and I thank you.

I leave you with a reminder of daily gratitude by quoting the lyrics of the Christian hymn, Count Your Blessings!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Count Your Blessings


When upon life’s billows
You are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged,
Thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one
And it will suprise you
What the Lord has done.

####Chorus:
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your blessings,
See what God has done
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

Are you ever burdened
With a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy
You are called to bear?
Count your many blessings,
Ev’ry doubt will fly
And you will be singing
As the days go by.

####

When you look at others
With their lands and gold
Think that Christ has promised
You His wealth untold
Count your many blessings,
Money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven,
Nor your home on high.

####

So, amid the conflict,
Whether great or small
Do not be discouraged,
Godis over all
Count your many blessings,
Angels will attend
Help and comfort give you
To your journey’s end.
####

Learning Lessons the Hard Way

Ah…. it’s always fun when you learn life’s lessons the hard way!  This one is kind of funny though.

Let’s just start off by telling you what a wonderful salad I made for my husband and I today for lunch!  After a long morning at the temple, we came home tired and hungry.  Since we didn’t have any bread defrosted to make a nice sandwich…. the next best thing we had stuff for was a salad.  It’s actually a lot more work making a salad than a sandwich since I have to chop up all the vegetables and such…. but make it I did!

We had some nice fresh wonderfully crisp romaine lettuce that we got last Saturday from Bountiful Baskets.  That was a good start.  Then I added spinach, cut up some radishes and tomatoes.  I had some leftover cooked quinoa that I added, some sliced almonds and cheese and then I remembered that I had a cucumber in the fridge, so I cut that up and put that on too.  Topped it off with some nice Ranch Dressing and brought it over to my hubby so we could eat.

As I took a bite of the salad, I said to my husband, “Ooh… this cucumber tastes weird.  It takes like soap or something!”  He agreed that it wasn’t very good so I started moving the cucumbers off my salad.  As I continued to eat my salad…. which wasn’t tasting very good….. my husband said… “Actually, the whole thing tastes a little soapy.”

Then….. he said to me…. “Did you use the cutting board that I cleaned those glass Roosters on?”  OH-MY-GOSH!   What did he just say??????

I usually try and rinse off cutting boards when I’m through with them, but they don’t always get washed because I’m not very good about getting my dishes done everyday.  So often, I will grab the cutting board and use it again (unless of course it was meat…. then it gets washed!) to cut vegetables.  I also use plastic cutting boards, not wood.

So here’s what happened.  Last night we were doing a little cleaning in the kitchen getting ready for company tomorrow.  I decided that my Rooster figurines were looking pretty greasy, so we got them down to wash.  Since the big one had a big piece of felt on the bottom, we didn’t want to get the whole thing wet.  So the next thing to washing them in the sink was to spray it with some cleaner and then wipe it clean.

I have 4 really small rooster figurines as well as the large one.  Apparently, my husband set them on the cutting board I had just used to cut the bread up for our dressing for the turkey.  He was spraying and cleaning them while they were sitting on the cutting board.  Obviously…. I wasn’t paying attention at ALL to the fact that he was cleaning those over the cutting board.

OK…. I admit it…. I didn’t get the dishes done last night, so the cutting board was still sitting on the counter this afternoon.  Well…. it looked clean!  <grin>  and it was just bread crumbs after all … right?  So why wouldn’t I just use it to cut the vegetables?

Well…. you’ve probably figured out the reason why our salads tasted like cleaning soap today!  Needless to say….. they ended up down the garbage disposal!  I wasn’t in the mood to start over with a new salad.  Consequently….. our lunch wasn’t much.  I think I remember eating a banana and sharing the rest of the cucumber that I didn’t cut on the cutting board.  Not much of a lunch.

So… I learned a lesson the hard way today…. at the expense of throwing out all the makings for a salad and then not having much to eat afterwards!

I’m grateful for the lesson.  I will be much more conscious of making sure I am using a clean cutting board from now on.  And by clean, I mean….. the cleaner is rinsed off!!!   Oh….. I made sure of that already today!   As I was starting my prep for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I decided to use a clean cutting board out of the cupboard instead on the one with cleaner on it that still hadn’t been washed!

Great lessons learned….but not so great consequences!  I guess that’s what it takes sometimes to make us more aware of the things we are doing!!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Stay At Home Mom

The other day I was thinking about my life…. and I suddenly realized how lucky I was that I had always been able to be a stay at home Mom!  What a blessing for me, my children and my husband.

I wonder how much my kids would consider me a stay at home Mom since there was a 6 year period during their teen years that I actually had a business with a friend teaching young kids in a performing group called Spotlight Sensations.  Though they were all involved in one or more of the classes of that business, it still meant that I was gone a few hours after school a few nights a week.  I guess during those times they had to fend for themselves for dinner…. though I know my husband was always willing to fix them something.  But, I think I always had a lot of those quick ‘throw it in the microwave’ type convenient foods around.  That’s the one bad thing about it being during their teen years….. my youngest son doesn’t remember me cooking much…. but I sure did when they were little!

In spite of that 6 year period…. I was still what I consider a stay at home Mom.  When they were little, I was always available if they needed something at school.  And during those young years before they were old enough for public school, I was there to take care of them.  I even participated in teaching in a parent co-op nursery school in those preschool years.  I was available to support them in some of their extra curricular activities.  I think that pretty much qualifies as being a stay at home Mom!

My business never really brought in any extra money…. it just paid expenses and we were rewarded emotionally by working with those kids.  It was a great experience.  We didn’t start the business because we felt like we needed more money…. it was just something my friend and I wanted to do, plus it gave us a place for our own children to learn the skills that we were teaching.  (Though some of our own kids fought us tooth and nail about being a part of it back then…. I think they might actually admit that they are grateful now…. and even had fun!)

Unfortunately…. there are so many people that are forced to have both parents work in order to get by.  I was so lucky that we were able to live on my husband’s income.  We didn’t live in the ‘richest’ part of town, but we certainly weren’t in the poorest  part either.  We were blessed with a lovely home and great neighbors and friends for our kids.  (Of course, by the standards of poor countries…… we were and are rich!!)  Our kids had all of their ‘needs’ met. They may not have received all their ‘wants’….. but they were never without what they needed!

I’m so grateful that I was blessed to find a husband that had a good job and owned a home when we got married.  I realize not everyone is that lucky when they are newlyweds.  I consider myself very blessed.  I’m grateful I was there for my kids pretty much when they needed me.  I’m grateful that we learned to live on what we had and never had to go without and that I was able to be home with them!  And…. in case my kids forgot…. they were doubly blessed in the Summer because both Mom and Dad were home!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

 

As a side note…. while I was looking for a picture to post with this…. I suddenly remember what a busy Mom I was!  Amazing how you can kind of forget that thing after you get through it!

She’s Mentoring Again!

Today I had the chance to sit at the feet of a pro and watch her at work.  Someone I’ve come to respect in so many ways.

I did a post on BJ Jackson a while back, but sitting in the same room with her today while she went over the details with a client on listing his house was inspiring to me.  She was so thorough in explaining the contract and answering questions he had.  She almost made me want to get back into Real Estate full time!

Besides getting to watch her at work, I got to spend sometime with her today chatting about some things that I’ve been feeling I need to pursue lately.  She is so good at making you feel good about yourself and making you feel like you can do it, which, ironically is the exact type of thing I feel I’m suppose to be doing!

I so appreciated her insights and encouragement today.  It’s amazing how talking about your dreams with someone else can help you realize that maybe you have stumbled upon the right path for yourself.

Though I know I have a lot of work ahead of me in order to pursue this next thing….  at least the encouragement from friends can give you the courage you need to ‘just do it!’

Thanks, BJ….  thanks for inspiring me, coaching and mentoring me ….. and I hope that your wish to be a part of this next pursuit of mine will be a reality for you, because you would be an important piece of the puzzle for me!  Once again…. thanks for your friendship!

I am Grateful!  How are You?