During April 2017 I will be blogging about my Courtship Memories from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Music

Music has always been an important part of the Christmas Season for me.   Growing up, our parents provided all of us children with the opportunity to take both piano lessons and to learn an another instrument as a member of the school band.   We weren't always the best at putting in our required practice time every single day, but hardly a day went by without music of some sort filling our little house.  In addition to practicing our instruments, the house was filled with record albums and radios.  My mother were usually have the radio on when we woke in the morning and would do her morning chores to the music of the radio.

At Christmas time we of course had Christmas Music on most of the time.  We would sing together every Monday evening as a part of our Family Home Evening.  On Christmas Eve Daddy would gather us all up into the car along with plates of cookies and fruit cake and we would travel around to the homes of various widows and widowers who he knew would be home alone.  We would sing them a few carols, visit for a few minutes, and leave them with some Christmas Eve goodies.  Reading the Christmas story from the New Testament and singing a few more carols before hanging our stockings was always a tradition too.

During Junior High School and the first few years of High School I was always involved with the High School Christmas Concert, first playing flute with the beginning band and later singing Alto with the Chorus.  Unfortunately during my Junior and senior years I elected to not take any music classes in school in order to fit in more business classes along with all of the Math and science that I could fit into my schedule.   I'm not sure that I would have chosen differently if I were to go back, but I often wish that I had continued with my music.

Since DH and I have been married, we have usually been involved with some sort of musical group and have attended Christmas Concerts of one form or another almost every year.  Most years one or the other or both of us have participated with the Ward Choir at Church.  For several years we had season tickets to the Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed our dates to those concerts.   Once our children became involved with music in school, most years we have had multiple concerts to attend each Christmas Season.  For several years DH sang with a local community Choir and the whole family would attend one or more of their Christmas Concerts each year.   We play Christmas music often during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas and enjoy listening to Christmas music while commuting and traveling in the car.



One Christmas we were living in Cincinnati, and while shopping for Christmas we came across these fun books published by The Willis Music Company.  We bought all five copies that the store had in stock and have used them every December for our own Family Home Evenings and Christmas Eve sing alongs.

We no longer have children in school participating in musical groups, so have not attended any school Christmas Concerts for a few years, but in recent years DH and I have been blessed to attend wonderful Christmas Concerts presented by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Manheim Steamroller, and the Piano Guys.  Saturday night I was blessed to return to my home town and escort my dear father to the local Community Christmas Concert that was coordinated by my dear brother, who also sang with the community choir  The concert was presented free of charge in a brand new venue in my hometown, the Dejoria Center at the High Star Ranch.  Yes, it was a small town, local production, and yes, my photo taking skills are definitely lacking, but the venue was lovely, the performers were talented and the music was beautiful and uplifting,




I'm grateful for Christmas Music. How haave you been enjoying music this holiday season?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Day and More Thankfuls

The Thanksgiving holiday is over and the kids have all gone back home.  Things are a bit quieter now, but we have some good memories and have been enjoying lots of leftovers!   We had some good times, some good food, some fun games, and some great company for our Thanksgiving Day, and we also took a few moments to share some of our "Thankfuls"  with one another.  

 
Everyone at the table was given the opportunity to write the things that they were grateful for on different colored leaves that DD1 had cut out for us.  We then taped the leaves to our "Thankful Tree"  that was drawn by DS1.  This idea has been around ever since our Joy School days when our kids were in pre-school, but we haven't made a Thankful Tree recently.  It was a good activity.
 
The weekend also included a visit with my dear Daddy and a nice drive and shopping trip with DD4 when I took her back to college, a wonderful day enjoying the wedding of a dear niece and the company of more family, the opportunity of speaking in church on Sunday, good help with Christmas lights and a new bathroom upgrades from visiting DS1 and DD3, all topped off with a fun visit with DD2, DD4, DS2, DD in law, and DGS via Google Hang-out on Sunday evening.  I am feeling very grateful. 
 
 
 
Here is a summary of my end of November Thankfuls as posted on my Facebook page:
 
Gratitude Day 23: I'm grateful for reliable transportation!   Two years ago we were limping along with a driveway full of barely functioning vehicles.   Various members of the family ended up stranded in various places at various times, and we were often calling upon friends, neighbors and family members for help with said vehicles.   We now have three good, reliable cars in the driveway and are feeling very very blessed!
 
Gratitude Day 24: I'm grateful for Books!  I haven't done nearly as much reading in the past year or two, but I still enjoy a good book and a warm blanket.   We've done a bit of rearranging of the bookshelves recently, and I must say they are looking pretty fine.   What have you enjoyed reading lately??   Six Science Backed Reasons to Go Read a Book Right Now
 
Gratitude Day 25: I'm grateful for Pie! Pumpkin, Mincemeat, Key Lime, Apple Crumb, Chocolate Chip, . . . .and any others !!  I always say I'm going to cut back on the pies every year.   Then I start making the pies (always pumpkin, of course, and this year mincemeat for DH and a lowfat key lime for me), and then each of the children asks . . . well, what about such and such?  Everyone should have their favorite pie on Thanksgiving Day, right??  Especially since I usually only bake pie three or four times during the year  (Pi Day in March, Cherry Pie in July when the cherries are ripe, and then Thanksgiving, and usually for Christmas too.)  So . . . I make a huge batch of pie crust dough and keep on baking until the dough runs out.   This year I also bought a frozen Razzleberry Pie (it was a good deal and had a free can of whipped cream thrown in), dear Mother-in-Law brought banana cream pie, and DS1's friend brought strawberry rhubarb.   Dear sister-in-law also brought yummy homemade caramels and DH had baked date nut bread, so we were surrounded by goodies this Thanksgiving Day.
 
Gratitude Day 26: I'm grateful to have the world's best Mother -In-Law!. She comes for dinner, brings food, helps in the kitchen, does the dishes, gives everyone wonderful loving hugs, always has a cheerful smile and positive attitude, gifted us her car when she gave up driving, and always always is looking for other ways to help us out.
I'm also grateful for all of the dedicated health care workers, policemen, and others who sacrifice holidays and family time to provide necessary care and services for us all.

Marcy Wagstaff Howes's photo.
 
Gratitude Day 27: I'm grateful for Google!  Many years ago when the internet was still very young, my DH posted a comment in a public chat room about what a great search engine the new and upcoming company called Google provided.   Someone from Google saw the comment and sent my DH a Google T-Shirt.  Both DH and I have proudly worn that T-shirt on many occasions.  A little over a year ago DS1 became an employee of Google on one coast, and a month ago DS2 became an employee of Google on the other coast.  Google has been good to our family.

On Friday I grabbed an old T-shirt out of our downstairs closet for DD4 to use, and guess what shirt I found?   That old beloved Google T-Shirt!   Needless to say, DD4 was given a different old T-shirt to use, and the Google T-Shirt was moved back to  a place of honor in the master bedroom closet. 
 
Gratitude Day 28: I'm grateful for temples and forever families.  There is nothing better than gathering together in the House of the Lord with your family to witness and/or participate in sacred Temple Ordinances that bind families together in love for the eternities. 
 
Gratitude Day 29: I'm grateful for a day of rest, Sacrament Meetings (even when I'm asked to speak with only two days notice), and chocolate!  (The chocolate chip pie and the fudge stripe cookie and reeces peanut butter cup pilgrim hats were both big hits at our Thanksgiving dinner.)
 
Gratitude Day 30: I'm grateful for Christmas lights and dear daughters who put them up and take them down! I'm grateful for Skype and Google Hangouts!

It's been a wonderful month full of blessings, and a few challenges to help us grow too.   I hope it has been a good one for all of you!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gratitude This Week


Those of you who are also my friends on Facebook  may have already seen these posts there.  Yes,  I am still grateful for my daily blessings, and am truly trying to recognize some significant blessing in my life each day.  However, this past week I have not taken the time to transfer these gratitude posts here to the blog.  So, here in one fell swoop are the remainder of my "gratefuls"  for this past week:

Gratitude Day 17:  I'm grateful for appliances large and small that help to make life easier and more enjoyable!

Gratitude Day 18:  I'm grateful for my sewing machine and for friends who encourage me to be creative and use it!

Gratitude Day 19:  I'm grateful to have fresh fruit readily available:  Apples, oranges, bananas, pineapple, melon, grapes, etc.

Gratitude Day 20:  I'm grateful for a loving, intelligent, kind, fun,  dedicated husband who shares his life and all he has with me.
 
Gratitude Day 21:  I'm grateful for grocers, food wholesalers, food producers, farmers and all who help to make our food procurement and preparation easier.  I'm grateful to not have to grow, hunt or gather it all on my own!

Gratitude Day 22:  I'm grateful for scriptures:  our "letters from home!"

May we all continue to find things to be grateful for!

Ponderize: November 22nd


 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands . . . Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise:  be thankful unto him, and bless his name . . . For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 100:1, 4, 5

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gratitude Day 16: How Did the Garden Grow?

I'm grateful for my garden and the fresh veggies, berries and flowers it has provided us with through the years. I always miss it so much during the winter months!
 
 

So, how did my garden grow this year?   Well, as you can see from the photo above, the garden is becoming quite the hodge podge . . . tomatoes, strawberries, mint, grass and weeds all intermingling with a few other veggies that have braved the mess, and the heat of the summer.  
 
We always plant lots of tomatoes of course . . .  .
 



 
 
 
 
 
This is the collection of tomatoes, onions, and peppers that became this last month:
 
Four pints of delicious Chili Sauce.


Perhaps my best crop of sweet peppers ever . . . still most were not very large, but still a nice reward.
 
 


A few nice little cucumbers every week or two towards the end of the summer.
 


We had some nice little zucchini plants and some crookneck squash too.  The crookneck always seem to get tough skinned before they get very large.   Any suggestions?

And of course, we can't do without a few sunflowers . . . .


We had a few grapes this year too, but not as many as last.   I didn't get to them in time, so the birds enjoyed most of them this time. 

 
Our Big Max Pumpkin plant grew up into the tree this year, and then onto the fence.  In August I decided that this pumpkin needed a bit of extra support.
 

 Here is the smaller pumpkin where it was growing on the fence just before the October frost.


And here is the lower one sitting on it's pot, now all nice and orange.
 
The frosts have now come, and most of the garden is gone, except for the grass and the weeds and the berry plants.    On Saturday I finally dug the carrots, and this is what is left tonight . . . .about a third of the crop.   Not as pretty as they were on Saturday, but I forgot to snap a photo then.
 
 
So that's it for this fall.   It's been better, it's been worse, but I'm grateful.
 
So how did your garden grow?
 
 
 


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gratitude Day 15: Parents


 
I'm grateful for my wonderful parents. I'm grateful for the beautiful Mother who gave me life, cared for me and taught me so many things, and sacrificed so much for each of her children. We love and miss her. I'm also grateful for my kind and wise Father who continues to nurture his family any way he can. I always feel uplifted after a visit with my Daddy.


 
 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gratitude Day 14: Land of the Free

Gratitude Day 14: I am blessed to live in a country where I have never had to personally experience war, famine, or poverty. I'm grateful for the many blessings of freedom and of living in this beautiful country. May we all be able to do or share something to help others in need.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gratitude Day 12: Good friends and neighbors

I'm grateful for good friends and neighbors who watch out for one another and do what they can to make the world and our community a better place.

 I have some wonderful neighbors who have both"anonymously" and publicly mowed lawns, shoveled driveways and sidewalks, helped to remove unwanted trees, given many rides, treats and meals.   There are many in our community who spend countless hours serving in school, civic, church, and community organizations such as PTA, Scouting programs, food pantries, tutoring programs, community councils, and even city, county and state government positions.   Yes, there are some people who are often looking only for what they can get, but I believe that there are many more who are constantly looking for ways that they can serve. 

Thank You to all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gratitude Day 11: Servicemen and Veterans

Gratitude Day 11: I'm so grateful to all who have served to protect our country and freedoms, and to the families who have sacrificed and supported them in their service.  Hug a serviceman or Veteran today.  We love you!!






Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gratitude Day 10: Employment

Today I am most grateful for gainful employment and wonderful co-workers.   Everyone should be so blessed.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Gratitude Day 9: Technology

Gratitude Day 10: I'm grateful for computers, cell phones, the internet, and other modern technology that keeps me connected with family, friends, and information from all over the world.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Gratitude Day 8: Children

Gratitude Day 8: I'm grateful for children, my own children, my grandson, and the many other children who have been and are now a part of my life.  The most precious and fulfilling days of my life have been they days spent caring for and teaching my own wonderful children.   I have also been blessed to spend many years as a Primary teacher in our church's children's organization, getting to know many wonderful children of friends and neighbors.  Children are and have been a big part of my life.

I'm so grateful for primary children and their sweet, strong faith.   Today our church congregation has been blessed to listen to "our"  children share what they have been learning in primary this past year.  The theme for the lessons and songs during the hour long sharing time portion of primary this past year has been "I Know My Savior Lives"    I have been blessed to teach the majority of the children who were involved  in today's program at some time in the past 6 years, as the regular teacher for all but the youngest 2 classes, and I have gotten to know most of them with opportunities to substitute teach them in their nursery classes.    These are wonderful children with strong faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.   I pray that they will continue to be strong and courageous in their testimonies throughout their lives.

Ponderize: Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
...
Colossians 3:16,17


 

“We need to make more use of our hymns to put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord, to unify us, and to help us teach and learn our doctrine. We need to make better use of our hymns in missionary teaching, in gospel classes, in quorum meetings, in home evenings, and in home teaching visits. Music is an effective way to worship our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We should use hymns when we need spiritual strength and inspiration”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks ,:in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 13; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 12.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Gratitude Day 7: Music

Gratitude Day 7: I'm grateful for music that soothes the soul.  I'm grateful for classical music radio stations, hymns, and other good music that uplifts.    Here is one such piece of music that I discovered recently. 


Have a splendid day!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gratitude Day 6

On this day when the temperatures are steadily creeping down, I'm very grateful for good sources of heat at home, work, and in the car.   Seat warmers are especially nice!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Gratitude Day 5: Color


I'm grateful for color; for the interest and beauty it adds to life and the world.   We have had a very warm fall this year, and the trees and shrubs in the nearby canyons and foothills have lost their leaves without showing much color.  The past few days have been cooler in these parts and we finally had our first hard frosts of the season.   Trees are finally showing some color, and this beautiful scene has greeted me each morning this week as I enter the campus where I work. 



Have you enjoyed fall colors this year?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gratitude Day 4: Words

source 
 
I'm grateful for words.   I love to read words.  I sometimes even like to write them. Words are Magic. 
 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gratitude Day 3: The Wonderous Human Body


Gratitude Day 3: I'm grateful for the wonders of the human body; all it can do and all we can accomplish with it.   I'm grateful that I can walk and run, see and hear, think and touch, work and play, think and listen, feel pleasure and pain.  My favorite part of my college bio-chem class was learning how all of the atoms and molecules work together to support life.   It is wonderous!

 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:27

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gratitue Day 1 and Ponderize

Jesus the Christ, by Del Parson
 
I'm grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ.
 
Rejoice, oh my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever, yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
2 Nephi 4:30


What is "ponderize"?  The word was introduced to the vast audience of the 185th semi annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this past Sunday afternoon.  Devin G. Durrant, the newly sustained 1st counselor in the General Sunday School presidency of the church introduced the word to us in this way:

"I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.  There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day. Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.  Imagine the uplifting results of doing this weekly for six months, a year, 10 years, or more."

The above verse is now posted on my refrigerator and on sticky notes on both my work and my home computers where I can refer to it periodically throughout the day, no matter what my day may bring.  So are you up to the challenge?   What scripture verse will you be "ponderizing" this week?  Does it have special meaning to you?
 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ponderize: October 25

 
 
"Woe to them that are at ease in Zion"
Amos 6:1
 
What is "ponderize"?  The word was introduced to the vast audience of the 185th semi annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this past Sunday afternoon.  Devin G. Durrant, the newly sustained 1st counselor in the General Sunday School presidency of the church introduced the word to us in this way:

"I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.  There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day. Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.  Imagine the uplifting results of doing this weekly for six months, a year, 10 years, or more."

The above verse is now posted on my refrigerator and on sticky notes on both my work and my home computers where I can refer to it periodically throughout the day, no matter what my day may bring.  So are you up to the challenge?   What scripture verse will you be "ponderizing" this week?  Does it have special meaning to you?
 
 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ponderize

 
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

D&C 109:8

What is "ponderize"?  The word was introduced to the vast audience of the 185th semi annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this past Sunday afternoon.  Devin G. Durrant, the newly sustained 1st counselor in the General Sunday School presidency of the church introduced the word to us in this way:

"I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.  There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day. Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.  Imagine the uplifting results of doing this weekly for six months, a year, 10 years, or more."

The above verse is now posted on my refrigerator and on sticky notes on both my work and my home computers where I can refer to it periodically throughout the day, no matter what my day may bring.  So are you up to the challenge?   What scripture verse will you be "ponderizing" this week?  Does it have special meaning to you?
 
 
 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Grandma's Chili Sauce

 
Today I spent the morning making a batch of my Grandmother's chili sauce recipe.  I know that most people use their fresh tomatoes for making Mexican type salsa, and I have made several batches of fresh salsa this summer, but DH and I love this chili sauce even better.  It's sweeter and is spiced with cloves and ginger and nutmeg rather than hot peppers.  It's wonderful with meatloaf or roast beef, and I have a favorite meatball recipe that combines the chili sauce with grape or cherry jelly for a wonderful sauce to serve over rice.   It's also great just spooned into your favorite dish of chili, canned or homemade.  I took a jar up to my Dear Dad tonight and he told me that he and his sisters used to take roast beef and chili sauce sandwiches to school for their lunch.  (This is made from his mother's recipe.)
 
 

We've been blessed with a fairly good crop of tomatoes this year, not overly abundant, but enough to keep us supplied for salads and sandwiches, a few batches of fresh salsa, and even a few to share with family members who aren't able to grow many tomatoes in their mountain valley climate.  The Roma tomatoes pictured above are perfect for making sauces and salsas as they are more meaty and take less time to cook down and have less juice for a less runny salsa.  They are also smaller than other tomatoes, so I used at least twice as many as the recipe below calls for.  Our Romas have taken longer to ripen, and this is the first large bunch that I have picked this year.   We also had a few small onions and one small green bell pepper ready, so I added them to the bunch.  I did buy three other bell peppers earlier this week when they were on sale, so I had plenty for the recipe.  Also, because it uses plenty of vinegar, I feel comfortable canning it with the hot water bath canning process.*   If you still have some tomatoes that need to be used up, you just may want to try it out:

GRANDMA'S CHILI SAUCE
 
12 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large bell peppers, chopped fine
1 large onion chopped fine (or several small onions like mine)
2 cups white vinegar (you could probably use cider vinegar)
1 Tbs salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
 
To easily peel tomatoes, blanch in very hot (almost boiling) water, then quickly cool in a bowl of cold water.  Slip off skins and chop. I'm sure that my grandmother chopped everything by hand, but I am blessed to have and use a food processor.  If you use the food processor, pulse the tomatoes for only a few seconds at a time.   You want to have some nice tomato chunks in the sauce.  Combine the tomatoes, vinegar, and spices in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil while chopping the onions and peppers.  These can be chopped finer than the tomatoes.  Add onions and peppers to the tomato mixture.  Once it reaches a boil reduce heat and boil until thick, stirring often to avoid sticking and burning of the sauce.  Makes three to four pints of sauce, depending on your desired consistency.   Ladle into clean, hot pint canning jars and process for 45 minutes in hot water bath canner. 
 
*  Please refer to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, guide 3,  for more information on canning of tomatoes and tomato products. 

 


Monday, October 12, 2015

Ponderize Week 2



Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.

D&C 88:124


What is "ponderize"?  The word was introduced to the vast audience of the 185th semi annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this past Sunday afternoon.  Devin G. Durrant, the newly sustained 1st counselor in the General Sunday School presidency of the church introduced the word to us in this way:

"I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.  There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day. Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.  Imagine the uplifting results of doing this weekly for six months, a year, 10 years, or more."

The above verse is now posted on my refrigerator and on sticky notes on both my work and my home computers where I can refer to it periodically throughout the day, no matter what my day may bring.  So are you up to the challenge?   What scripture verse will you be "ponderizing" this week?  Does it have special meaning to you?
 
 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ponderize

You may not be aware, but this past weekend a new word was added to the vocabulary of many.  What is the word?  "ponderize"

The word was introduced to the vast audience of the 185th semi annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints this past Sunday afternoon.  Devin G. Durrant, the newly sustained 1st counselor in the General Sunday School presidency of the church introduced the word to us in this way:

"I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.  There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day. Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.  Imagine the uplifting results of doing this weekly for six months, a year, 10 years, or more."

This seems like a worthwhile challenge, so, yesterday after work I took a few minutes to search out and find the scripture verse that I would like to "ponderize"  this week.   I have chosen the following verse from the book of Alma found in The Book of Mormon

"Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning."

--Alma 18:32

This verse is now posted on my refrigerator and on sticky notes on both my work and my home computers where I can refer to it periodically throughout the day, no matter what my day may bring.  So are you up to the challenge?   What scripture verse will you be "ponderizing" this week?  Does it have special meaning to you?
 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekend Recap


So the weekend is winding down, one of my favorite weekends of the year.  It has lived up to expectations.   It has been good.  A gentle kind of good.

Saturday was a bit hectic as all Saturdays usually are, but I did not set huge expectations for myself, so was able to enjoy what I felt impressed to do.  There was a bit of laundry to finish up and a quick trip to the store, but most of the usual Saturday chores were given a waiver this weekend.   I was able to sit in my own living room with my DH and DD1  and listen to the first session of the October 2015 Semi Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Of course I had my yellow legal pad to take notes of what was sung and what was said, and to note in the margins the thoughts and impressions that came to me of what I need to do in the next six months.  After the morning session DD1 and I drove up to visit my Dear Dad, leaving DH  home to deal with some pressing paperwork and a headache.   We did a bit more cleaning and visiting, and watched the 2nd session of the conference with Dad, then left him to review the session once again on a different television station while we headed down the mountain to meet up with Dear Mother in Law, Sister in Law and nieces for a traditional ladies night out at Café Zupa, returning home to watch and listen to the end of the Priesthood session with DH, followed by a TV show or two. 

Today, Sunday was even more laid back.  After showering and finding some oatmeal for breakfast, I settled in on the couch for another day of inspiration.  From 9:30 am to 4:30 pm we sat and listened to inspired counsel and beautiful music, interspersed with uplifting documentary, only getting up to stretch and grab a sandwich. This just may have been the longest single time period of my entire life that I have been stationed in front of the TV,   So by 4:30 I was ready for a nice little walk around the neighborhood, enjoying the cool air and the sunshine and visiting with a few neighbors who were also out walking, riding bikes with children, or sitting on the front porch enjoying the afternoon.   It has been a lovely day. 

So, what has most impressed me from all of the wonderful messages that I have heard?   The light of Christ is available for each of us.  He loves  us and knows our divine potential.   We are all sons and daughters of God who loves us and wants us to return to him:



 
Of course the reassurances from Elder Holland were heartwarming too:
 
 
President Henry B Eyring's words were directed specifically to me:

 Even though I have tried to follow this counsel throughout my life, I feel that I need to do this more sincerely, especially every week during sacrament meeting and every morning and evening in my personal prayers.
 

And who cannot feel the love and assurance from the counsel of our beloved prophet, President Thomas S Monson:


As far as specific direct counsel that will benefit us all, who could not agree that the advice from Elder Durrant is relevant to our time and our lives:

 
Elder Durrant specifically challenged us to do two small things each and every week, that are promised to bless our lives:

1.  Save an amount of money every week
2. " Ponderize" a verse of scripture each week

What does it mean to "Ponderize" scripture?  According to Elder Durrant it means 80% pondering and 20% memorizing.  Select a verse of scripture and post it where you will see it several times a day every single day and ponderize and treasure up the words of Christ to your memory and share the verse with family and friends. 

So, that is what I will try to do. 
Pray to know God's will for me. 
Save an amount of money every week.  
Ponderize a verse of scripture each week.    


Were you able to listen to October General Conference this weekend?   If you were, what counsel impressed itself upon your soul?   What changes were you prompted to make in your life?  What talks and messages would you like to review and listen to again?

Watch or Listen to your favorite talks

Sourced of memes

Friday, October 2, 2015

Favorite Weekends



This is one of my favorite weekends of the year!!   Twice a year, on the first weekend of April and again on the first weekend of October we gather together as a family to listen to the Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.    I will be missing many of my family members who now live  far away from us and are not here to sit with us as we hunker down at home to listen and eat and visit, but hopefully they will all be able to all have a relaxing and uplifting weekend as they make new traditions in their new homes.

Some times our family gathers with extended family members to watch or listen to the General Conference.  Sometimes we will meet with family on Saturday evening after the main sessions and go out to eat together.   Several times we have been fortunate enough to secure tickets to attend one or more conference sessions in person.  Some years in the past I have had fun cooking and baking while listening, preparing favorite fall foods like Cinnamon Rolls or Apple Crisp.  Sometimes we gather to play board games after listening to the sessions.  It's all good.

For me the most important part of the weekend has always been spending time with my family, and listening to the men that God has called as prophets for this particular time.  Prophets that live and speak here on the earth today.  Do you have any particular questions or concerns or problems that you are facing right now?   I know that I do, and that most people living in this crazy beautiful world right now do too.    

I  encourage you to take some time this weekend to think about a few of the things going on in your life that you might be concerned about.  Pray about your questions and concerns, and then take the time to tune in and listen to what the prophet and the other speakers during conference have to say about your particular concerns and topics.   Hunker down, listen, and feed your spirit.  I promise you won't be sorry that you did.

Click here to find out where and how to watch and listen to General Conference.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Have I Been Missing?



Most days I try to take a walk around the campus where I work during my lunch break, and I generally walk in pretty much the same area.  So, yesterday when I noticed these pale lavender and white flowers for the very first time in my remembrance, it made me stop and wonder, what have I been missing?   I know I have walked past this very planter many times in the past few months, and it is obvious by the size of the plant that the flowers have been there all season.  So why have I not noticed them before?


(source: Star in the Sky wallpaper, unfortunately not my own photo)
 
Several evenings ago I spent an hour or so after work digging grass out of my backyard vegetable garden (a regular on-going battle).   As the last bit of light was fading from the sky, I lay back on the lawn and watched the first stars of the evening gradually appear in the darkening sky above me.  It was a beautiful, calming sight, and I realized that this was the first time all summer that I had taken the time to lay on the lawn and look at the stars.  Why don't I do that more often? 
 
Work, family, church and community obligations.  Household chores and yard work.  Errands, shopping, and entertainment.   TV and the Internet.  There are so many things to capture our attention every day and every week.   How often do I take a few minutes to just enjoy what is around me?  To stop and smell the roses in my very own yard?  To relax on the grass and enjoy the night sky?   What have I been missing?