Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Put your shoulder to the Wheel....Move along:)"

Serving in a Young Single Adult Ward for this past year has been a wonderful growing experience.  We would stroll in at 1:30 p.m. to this lovely building, sit in padded pews, sit in padded chairs in classrooms, and enjoy Relief Society in a beautiful Relief Society room.  Without realizing it, we had been enjoying the spirit in a beautiful house of God complete with many comforts.

Well, President N Eldon Tanner coined the phrase "Constancy amid Change".  As of late, our little Young Single Adult Ward has had the opportunity to put those words to test.  Instead of entering our lovely Chapel each week....we essentially have had a transfer to meet in a new location for this school year.

This is now the location of our ward each Sunday.... which meets at 9:00 a.m. at Talmage building on the campus of Brigham Young University.  This is a building full of auditoriums and classrooms that bustles during weekdays with inquisitive students.  On the weekend, this building has been transformed into our 'ward building'.  When you enter the building, you aren't greeted with a large picture of the Savior, instead you immediately are greeted with...

Kung-fu Panda!.  Believe it or not, I didn't even see him last week (which was our first Sunday in the building).  This week, with the addition of about 100 new members joining our ward since last Sunday, Kung-fu Panda had many admirers.  

I apologize for the 'yellow' tint to this photo, but I didn't feel comfortable using a flash.  This auditorium puts on a new face...that of a Chapel.  Note on the left the hymn numbers posted.  On the right, the Elders are preparing the Sacrament Table for the sacred ordinance of the Sacrament before our meeting began.  By the time Sacrament Meeting began, there were few empty chairs left.  We are learning how to handle Hymn books in an Auditorium.  You cannot lay them on the pews as before. Instead, there is a balancing act to keep them from falling loudly on the floor if they get knocked off the armrests:).

This classroom transforms into a Sunday School Class and later the Relief Society Room.  I definitely need to go on that!

The Tithing slips are placed in a box with a handwritten note identifying which ward they are for, lay on a bench outside of our Auditorium/Chapel.  Yes, we do need to designate which Ward they are for, because there are other Wards meeting in this same building.  They meet on a different floor. You can hear them use the elevators and the stairs if the doors are not closed.

You may think this change would be the source of complaint or less of a spiritual experience.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Our first week (which was last week) in our new location, I felt the sweet spirit that I recall from years ago....when as a 10-year-old our Branch met in the basement of a local Bank.  I was in a Sunday School class that ranged in ages from 10-18, and we met in the lounge of the Women's room.....which was one door away from the ladies bathroom.  I remember the sweet spirit of Fast and Testimony meeting in those unique surroundings to this day.  

I am reminded that the Lord's presence is anywhere that his saints gather in his name.  The Gospel is true, no matter where you are....even if you are in the shadow of a Giant Panda.

I am looking forward to growing and problem-solving with our YSA as we transition and worship in our new surrounding.  This is a change I am very grateful for.....what a blessing to us all.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Being Forgive

Image courtesy of KSL
I recall listening to the news a number of years ago and hearing a very tragic of tremendous loss for both parties involved.  I recall crying as I was getting ready for work because of the circumstances and the lives that would be forever changed by a moment in time. 

When I heard about the Father's choice to forgive in this was stunning because it occurred so quickly in my view.  It was a lesson that was not lost on me.  I challenge you to listen to this interview and consider reading this book.  It is a life changing story....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My 'efficient' way to spoil my missionary...

Yes, that actually is a logo from Amazon.  I actually have an Amazon Prime account....which is dangerous to me on a daily basis.  With an Amazon Prime account, there are no shipping shipping charges and the order is scheduled to arrive in 2 days.

I see lots of sites with really clever packaging for missionaries.  I believe most of these creative people have either more time, or more brain cells for cute packaging that I do sometimes.

When I had an missionary abroad, I sent things in Pringles Cans to protect them. I learned how to put little things in letters etc and I even sent Debbie Cakes with a musical Candle for my then 21 year old Irish missionary.

Our oldest served in Utah, but we sent him from South Carolina.  However, halfway through his mission we relocated to Utah....but did not live in his mission.  Alas, I did work in his mission.  I would go shopping, drop off his favorites at the mission home and then he would have them in about 2 hours.

Enter our latest missionary.  Again, I can be creative and do want to show my missionary that I love and miss him.  But, the creative thoughts come at 2:00 in the morning....and then they disappear during normal hours.  So, I have been doing the following......using Amazon.  (Just know if you are using the 'one-click' ordering....things will show up at your house versus at the door of your Missionary)

Why would I do this?  Well, when my missionary son (who is serving state-side) writes that he needs something.....I just pop on to Amazon, click on the needed item or items, and have the order delivered right to his door.  He loves it.

You may ask what I have sent?  Cases of Beef Jerky, Trail Mix, Granola Bars, Candy, shelf-stable foods and some of the following:

Now, just in case you are wondering.....I did send a really nice sewing kit and he did receive sewing instructions for buttons, seams, and hemming pants.  However, he says he doesn't have time for it...and maybe he doesn't.  So, he seems happy with these.

My cute missionary is serving in a very, very hot area of Texas.  I traveled to Texas in late June, and nearly melted in the heat and humidity.  I purchased this little fan at a big box store and wore it nearly the entire time I was visiting the great state of Texas.  (Just in case you were wondering.....I was three hours away from my son's mission.....I was good).  When I returned home, I ordered 2 of these along with a big pack of batteries and sent them to my son and his companion.  

So, although I might not get the award for cute and clever packaging as of late (I do that type of stuff for Christmas and Birthday's though), I get lots of thanks from my missionary.  In this really is the thought that counts!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's a crowd...on a hot summer day!

I have mentioned before the Rooster Sr and I serve in Young Single Ward.  As such, we get to share our time with tremendous Young Single Adults (YSA) in Sunday services as well as during other activities during the week.  Yesterday was one such activity.  We went Rappelling in American Fork Canyon.  Many of these young adults had never been Rappelling before and so it was a lesson in faith, and trust.  It was also about fellowship and having fun.

Well, lets just say that Rooster Sr and I took care of the food....all by ourselves. It is not beneath us to do it, it's just that Rooster Sr. planned the steak part....but didn't think about the rest of it.  So, I took him shopping with me....and we got everything that we deemed necessary.  This is not the point of this post...but I just had to say it...  Many wives really get this point.  We love our guys, but they often get lost in the details...and we help them navigate through it all. 

It was a not day yesterday, in the 90's.  When the initial group of YSA's arrived at our home preparing to go set up the site, I asked them what type of cookie they wanted to eat.  I gave them several options, but they unanimously chose Chocolate Chip.  Did I mention it was a hot day?  So, after they left, I began to bake and got to use a new tool I recently purchased.  It is called 
Hamilton Beach 11 x 17 Silicone Baking Mat.  I purchased 2 on a recent trip to visit my sister.  I finally decided to use it.  

It is bright red!  There is no mistaking what it is.  It has measurement markings along the sides of the mat if you need them. 

I placed my cookies on the sheet and baked them.  They baked up just fine.  One thing to note, the mat expanded in the pan when it was in the oven and I had a slight 'wave' when I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven. No worries, it did not negatively impact the delicious cookies.

Here are 2 cookies. One with a view of the bottom (slightly browned) and another from the top.  All of the cookies had this slight browning on the bottom.  I don't believe it was from cooking to long as the cookies were soft and moist.

Now, on to the challenge with the hot temperature....and chocolate. Here is a method that worked very well.

I took sheets of waxed paper and put one on the bottom.  I placed my first layer of cookies on it and then repeated the pattern to fill up the container.

Here you can see several layers in the container.  By the way, this is a plastic shoe container.  It held about 60 cookies.

I then put the container into my freezer until I left.  They were nice and cold.  I put the container into the cooler when I got to the site.  They were nice and cool.....until some of the YSA's discovered them and well......let's just say Dessert started even before dinner did.

Where was I during this cookie theft?  I was Belaying at the bottom...essentially trying to ensure that no one fell!   

Take home message:
  • The Silicone Mat was around $6.99 where I purchased it. To order a similar (and very good product-Silpat), it will cost you about $13.00 for the same size.  
  • Nothing stuck to it, and I just threw it in the dishwasher to wash off the melted chocolate afterwards.
  • The Chocolate in the cookies was just right having been placed on the waxed paper and also having been chilled first.
Consider it when you have folks who are wanting chocolate on a hot day:)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Natural Leavening....

Natural Leavening....what is that?  Well, I have been attending classes to learn more about it.  Initially, as I learned about this, I was reminded of "sourdough". However, it's not.....there is no yeast.  That's right, no yeast.  You may wonder how it works.  Well, I will try to give you a simple answer as I have learned about it.  Grains have bacteria on them, and; by essentially fermenting the whole grain flour, you too can have Natural Leavening.  There is more to it than that, and I will give you links and information to you later in the post.  

The above photo shows the starter that has been 'working' on my counter for about 12 hours.  See the bubbles in my 'starter'?   

Here is a 'lovely' view from the top of the jar.  I really like symmetry and 'clean' photos, but I figure you need to see it for what it is....just bubbly.  It smells pretty sweet with a tinge of sour.  I decided to make pancakes for dinner.  I used a recipe from Natural LeaveningHere is the recipe from the Natural Leavening Website...

Initially, you put a measure of leavening in your bowl.

Add some sweetener (I chose to use Xagave).  See the starter in the bowl?

Add some Oil,

Add salt,

Add Baking Soda,

Next, add the egg.  I chose to use my "ReddiEgg".  This is not required, just what I chose to use.

Spray your griddle or pan.

Look at how pretty the bubble-up and cook. Really fluffy.

Now this is the best part....the tasting.  

Now think....what did you 'not' see me add?  What is traditional?  Okay....let me help you.....I didn't add flour.  That's flour.  I used the starter that is feeding on freshly ground whole wheat.  I fed these pancakes to Rooster Sr.  He said they were really good....which is high praise for a guy who really doesn't go for pancakes!

Now, here is the rest of the story....

I have 2 different jars with starter in them....from the same source but just prepared differently.  The jar on the left was created from dried starter which was fermented for 3 days before feeding it.  The jar on the right was made from a fresh-wet start that I received from my class last night.  I fed it this morning and let it sit on my counter all day.  The levels are the same.  Please note the residual amounts on the sides of the jar.  This shows how high the starter can get.

Know that if you don't have time to use the starter after you get it all nice and worries!  Just put it into your refrigerator.  It seems to stop the process. When you are ready to use it, just pull it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on your counter for about an hour before you use it. It has to warm.  

These courses I am attending are taught by Dr. Matt and Amy McClean.  He is a Chiropractor and she is a Registered Dietician.  Here is a quote directly from their site:

"During the 1800s and before, grain was usually fermented using a natural leavening process.  Natural leavening is several strains of yeast and several strains of beneficial bacteria that grow harmoniously together in an acidic environment.  Around the early 1900’s most of society began baking bread using isolated yeast strains.  This yeast isolation was ideal for the bread industry to reduce leavening time and improve reproducibility.  However, the absence of the bacterial portion of the leaven has been detrimental to our health.  Yeast works very well to create a tall airy loaf of bread, but beneficial bacteria in the natural leaven neutralize phytic acid to release minerals.  The bacteria also break down enzyme inhibitors, gluten and difficult to digest substances.  Amino acids are altered to produce flavor and aroma; and B vitamins are produced.  Many of the nutrients released are found in high quantities from whole grains when naturally leavened.

Although our ancestors ate whole grains in abundance, it is important to note that they usually soaked or fermented grain before making breads, porridge, or cakes.   Avoid the harmful effects of grain by using natural leavening in your whole grains."

The McCleans have a book that reportedly coming out in the Fall.  Please go to "Natural Leavening" site to learn more and to see their products.  You can purchase dried starter made from a variety of grains.  The McCleans also teach that this process if very beneficial for a number of Gastro-Intestinal issues.  

I plan to finish the series of classes and also let you know about my experience with this product. Just so you know, I work a bigillion hours a week...and have found time to do this.  Don't let time be your barrier.

Please go here:  Natural Leavening link 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Bright Little Light.....

I have been in the "gadget getting mode" lately and have a number of posts least in my head.  This is one of those.  These are nothing beautiful to look at...or are they?

You may be asking what they are. They are called "Tooblite glowstick" and really quite nice.  I purchased these for our 72 hour kits because:

  • They give off light...and don't require batteries
  • They are reusable.  Simply leave them in the sunlight for a few minutes, use an LED flashlight to charge for a few seconds, or hold them in front of your car's headlights.
  • You can hang them up (they come with a chain) in a tent, or mark a spot on a trail
  • They are really light weight.
So, I put them in my window and then at night, I took this picture...

It's pretty hard to get my camera to take a night-time picture....and keep the flash off.  Actually, they were amazing bright.  The light lasted for hours.

They cost just under $7.00 each. What is also amazing is that this is a family business and they they make other products that glow at night like a necklace and Nightlights.  If you are a Scuba diver, they also have "Scooblite" with a lanyard.

I felt that this was worth the investment. It takes little time to charge, and are reusable.  I don't have to be concerned with having a supply of batteries for light in my 72 hour kit...or when I am just enjoying the outdoors at night.

Here is there website:

Consider it!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Powerless Potty?

Okay, I know this is a bit "irreverent", but I thought it might set the tone for this post:)  One of the issues that I have been concerned with in learning and making emergency preparations is in the area of hygiene.  In particular...what do you do with human waste?  Well, I have learned a great deal and have different options depending upon where we happen to be. 

Let me just say that there is a family recreation property....that is very popular.  It is a rare week when someone is not there.  Knowing that, the issue of "the potty" is a significant one.  

What a view huh?  Yes, it is the little out-house.

What lies behind that door?  Let's find out!

This is the Excel Composting Toilet by Sun-Mar.  If you have never been exposed to this before, let me show you how it works.

Certainly, you have a toilet seat. See large opening?  It is part of a drum.  The opening is where.....everything goes.

This container holds Peat Moss with a 1 cup measuring cup.  If you only go "#1", you address it, clean yourself with toilet paper (and we toss the paper into a trash container).  However, if you go "#2", this is what needs to happen.  

Get a cup of Peat Moss and poor it in.

Then, just under the toilet set you pull a handle out and rotate the drum until you see the opening again.  Replace the handle back into the unit.

It may interest you to know that a ventilation pipe runs from the top of the device to the ceiling....

And up through the roof.  Now, you may ask what the 'aroma' is like. Usually, there isn't a big issue, which was a surprise to me.  However, if it gets very hot, you can have an order issue....and some flies.  That is why there is a door and additional windows (with screens)  inside to help with ventilation.

Take home points:

  • This unit can cost between $1,600 and $1,900 depending upon where you order it from.  Several sites state that they charge a $75.00 or more shipping fee.  Then you have the cost of installation.  
  • It requires no electricity for the composting, however there is an option for power for a fan...which is a significant consideration.
  • I read that the "contents" can freeze in the winter time, but I personally have not had the experience.  It could occur if the temperature gets below 55 degrees.
  • Reportedly, you need to install a 'liquid drain' for obvious reasons.
  • has to clean out the contents from time to time.  .  (I personally leave that for the menfolk).
  • I read that some folks have these in their home in one bathroom, which is something I would have not considered.  
And....the first photo on this post is of a picture that actually hangs in our little 'privy'.  It keeps things 'light' when you are doing your business.  It is certainly something to take into consideration.  It may be worth saving your pennies for!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It only took 40 minutes.....

It only took 40 minutes at the Drive-thru to get 9:00 p.m.  It was wonderful to see so many people supporting Free Speech, the Traditional Family.....and I finally learned how to spell "Chick-fil-A"!

If you didn't have a chance to show your support, please consider doing it soon. Perhaps voting with the Almighty dollar in this situation will bring positive attention to the issue.
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