Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blended Salad

Okay, I made this stuff today and it is so good - especially with flax crackers :)

Also, I have been learning about the importance of breaking down greens at the cellular level. Greens are so so good for you! I am loving the book "Green for Life" by Victoria Boutenko.

Blend together:
1/2-3/4 bunch of spinach (about 4 cups)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/3 tomato
1 lemon (peeled)
1 avacado
1 T salsa
1 c water
1/3 small jalapeno pepper (more if you like spice)
salt to taste
(optional, I blended mine with some leftover salad dressing I made last night. the recipe for that is: 1 lg yellow pepper, 1/4-1/2 c sunflower seeds 1 T miso 1/2 clove garlic basil or italian seasoning to taste 1/2 avacado water to blend. blend together)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Fourth Watch God/Bread or Stones

Dearest Elder Brown,

I am excited to tell you about this weekend we had with the family at home.

You would have died laughing! At the end of our movie when the credits started playing, Milah would belly dance by moving her belly and bum back and forth and side to side. It was hilarious! We all watched her and laughed for like 20 minutes!

Savannah is going to be the best little mother in the world. Though Milah was clingy to me (she’s just beginning that phase) Milah would stay with Savannah and be happy for a long time. Then she would get this funny questioning look on her face and I could tell she was trying to figure out if Savannah or I was her mother J

Milah is a little angel and just smiles at everyone all the time. She has started bouncing up and down to beats just like McKay used to do. Also, sometimes she refuses to sit down by locking her legs; she just wants us to keep letting her stand up!

Other than that, we played games, ice skated, did a work out video in the middle room – all the things that are fun and you wish you could be doing but doing the Lord’s work is so much greater!

Today I talked with Dad about teaching us kids morals and how he thought they did that so well. When you have your own children, you think about that a lot. How am I going to make sure they don’t rebel against me when I say “here is what the prophets teach” and also not be too lax and hope they are my friends? Dad’s answer was basically that they didn’t have a special “plan” to teach us morals, but that they spent a ton of time with us.

I have learned in this last week that simplifying your life is a key to having a meaningful relationship with our Father in heaven. I hope to be able to do this better. I want to manage my time by prioritizing with the Lord’s help so that I accomplish the most important things first. I have learned that teaching my children the gospel and morals is the most important things we can do as parents because that is how our children will return with us to Heavenly Father.

Dan and I have learned how God is a fourth watch God. He rescues us in the fourth watch  (3-6 am) not the first watch when we want him to come. Do you remember that talk? I read it in high school. The principle is that God doesn’t always rescue us and save us from trials but all the while He is watching us struggle through and He will do what is best for us. This sometimes means letting us struggle until the last moment when He then comes to us. This has been like Dan’s offers with jobs. We thought they would be decided almost a month ago but Dan is the last person left on the waiting list for Bain (his favorite company) and one other guy has to get back to Bain. If the other kid takes the offer, Dan doesn’t get an offer. If the other kid doesn’t take the offer, Dan does get an offer. Crazy, huh? So we are still waiting after everyone including the people at Bain thought SURELY the waiting would be over. But then if we don’t get that job (the one that seems the best to us right now) even after the 4th watch is over, then comes a letter “Bread or Stones.” If we ask God for bread, does he give us a stone? No! Then the job with the company Cornerstone would just be the best for us. That would be the bread He gives us.

I think this talk is SO applicable to you. I can’t help but include it in my letter. I’ll add it at the end. 

I have been praying for you and for your investigators. 

I love you,

God bless you for continuing on faithfully,

Your loving sister,

S. Michael Wilcox devotional: Bread or stones: understanding the God we pray to
Lisa Fehoko | University Relations | 3 April 2009
The scriptures are our Father in Heaven's letters, and there are times in our lives when we need to open the letters, communicate with Him, and understand what He is like and His concern for us, taught S. Michael Wilcox, CES Institute of Religion Instructor at the University of Utah and author, in his BYU-Hawaii devotional address, titled "Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray to," on March 31. Wilcox's devotional speech was the first of three BYU-Hawaii Joseph Smith Lecture Series presentations he delivered throughout the week.
When his daughter was a student at BYU, she had the opportunity to teach English in Russia, the former Soviet Union. Because communication with her would have been difficult at best, he wrote her a series of letters based on situations she might encounter and gave it to her at the airport prior to her departure.
This experience prompted him to think of how our relationship with God is in some ways the same—a father counseling his child through letters, so he based his speech on four important 'letters' that he has received from Heavenly Father through the scriptures: The Fourth Watch, Tight like a Dish, Bread or Stones, and Holding Places of the Heart.
In the first letter, The Fourth Watch, Wilcox taught from the book of Mark, stating that God is a fourth-watch God. He taught that the name fourth-watch was culled from the division of the Hebrew nights into four watches; the significance of the fourth watch is found in the yawning hours before dawn, when God is ever aware of our hardships, our trials.
After a day of ministering, the Savior sent his apostles away and went off to pray. When He later approached his apostles at about "the fourth watch of the night, ... walking upon the sea" He saw that they had toiled in rowing against the wind (Mark 6:46-48).
Sometimes we find ourselves in the same predicament when we toil against the wind, when forces flail against us, or when an elusive blessing we desire or trial we want over doesn't seem to make headway against the storms of life. "When the trials aren't over and the blessings don't come, don't assume that He is not there, or He is not listening, or He doesn't care, or you're not worthy. Always assume you have not yet reached the fourth watch," noted Wilcox.
To assume otherwise meant that the second letter, Tight like a Dish, was needed.
‘Tight like a dish' was an expression that described the Jaredite barges. As an English major Wilcox found the redundancy of the phrase ‘Tight like a dish' (in Ether 2:17) taxing, and he even went as far as telling to the Lord, "I could fix this verse for you if you would like me to."
Beyond the stylistic divergences he had with the Lord over verse phrasal, Wilcox noted that the airtight vessel raised two main problems for the long sea voyage: one problem, of no air, was easily solved by the Lord with His suggestion of air stoppers on the top and bottom of the vessel; but the other problem, of no light, required the Brother of Jared's own resolution.
Wilcox had his own ideas about resolving the issue of Spartan-travel: "If I were the brother of Jared, I would have said, 'Lord, we don't need these 'Tight like a dish' ships at all. Since waves are the problem, and waves are caused by wind, and wind comes out of your mouth—blow softly. Breeze us to the Promised Land. We'll sit on deck, we'll fish, we'll get tanned, we'll play shuffleboard'."
His admitted first-watch tendencies coupled with an aversion to mountain waves helped him to realize that the Lord would rather prepare us for the storms, rather than still the storms: "If you are past your fourth watch and He has not come, don't assume that He is not there, that He doesn't care, He doesn't listen, or that you are not worthy. Assume your ship is tight like a dish."
But in case the Lord's answers were not readily accepted, the third letter, Bread or Stones, taught the hard lesson of coming to terms with a gift from God.
In the book of Luke the Savior taught that if we asked, we would receive. Wilcox expounded on this scripture, noting that all good things come from God, but a misplaced desire that veered from what was needed would turn the given bread into stone. God—Wilcox noted—only gave bread, never stones; only fish, never serpents; only eggs, never scorpions.
To illustrate, he told of the desire he had always had to serve a mission in Denmark. Since his family was of Danish decent, the majority of them served in Denmark—but since he grew up in an area that taught French in high school, he inherently knew that he was destined to serve in France. In fervent prayers, he asked God to send him anywhere but France, even to French Polynesia—just as long as it was not to France.
He was at work when his mission called arrived, and he dreaded the return home. He stalled, lingered at work, and then drove home slowly with high hopes for red lights. In a final act of defiance against what he knew was the inevitable mission call to France, he pulled off to the side of the road near his home and gave a desperate prayer: "Father in Heaven, I know my mission call is at home, and I know it says France. Thou art all powerful; thou art merciful and loving. Please—thou canst do all things—please change it in the envelope."
When he finally opened his call, it said France. "Of course it said France. Actually, I think it originally said Denmark," stated Wilcox.
Post-mission, he found that he had French ancestors and that he had served in some of the cities that they had lived in. He loved his mission and learned that God did not give useless or harmful things—only what was needed.
But when a great need went unanswered despite continuous pleas throughout his life, the Lord taught him the importance of a timed answer through the fourth and final letter—Holding Places of the Heart.
Wilcox's father had left his family when he was one year old. Interaction with his father was minimal—a trip once a year to Lagoon in Utah. For over thirty years, he prayed and asked God for peace and comfort about what his father had done—and never received an answer.
One day, while preparing for a talk on parenting, he felt impressed to speak about his father. He was seated on the living room couch, across from his two boys that stood near him; they were six and two years of age at the time. The Lord jogged his memory and he recalled life experiences he had with his sons. Then the Lord pressed him: "Mike, life has carved a holding place in your heart, and I will give you the answer. Now that you are a father, now that you know a father's joys and love, would you be the son who lost his father? Or the father who lost his son?"
He finally understood that God always had an answer, but God could only answer his question when he "had shared enough life with those boys to comprehend" what was given.
To these experiences he summed, "May you search God's letters when you need them; may your fourth watches come quickly; may your ship be tight like a dish; may God, as He does, always give you bread, and may you recognize that it always is bread, [and] may life carve the holding places in your heart."
—Photo by Monique Saenz

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Sure Way to Eliminate the Influence of Satan!

Okay, so I have been reading Elder Scott's conference talk. I can't believe the power of our ancestors on the other side. When we do their work I know they look over us ("Help is given in both directions"). I have felt the fulfillment of the promise of "a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in [my] life." For me it is bad dreams which plague me -- things I have never known, seen, or experienced that haunt me. I know those whose names I have indexed have helped me have the spirit with me this week; it is a noticeable difference.
I think it is so interesting that he communicated with Jeanine who helped him decide what to talk about "The JOY of Redeeming the Dead." I think she is watching from the other side and understands the importance of connecting our ancestors. Do we realize that the blessings we have today are because of our ancestors who have gone before? What blessings that you have are because of your ancestors?
Then he asks us personally "But what about you? Have you prayed about your own ancestors' work? Set aside those things in your life that don't really matter. Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences."It seems that I have not yet embraced this opportunity to find joy. He promises "It will make you feel wonderful" and "... any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received. "
He leaves us with the promise "Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful." If you do not feel wonderful today, please try indexing. It makes you feel great because you have some quick measurable progress -- last week I set a goal to do 50 names and ran into some easy ones so I did 112! This gives a great feeling achievement when the rest of the day you do things that will have to be re-done, cooking, cleaning etc. But it is so much more than the numbers -- those names are real people! They are waiting for their work to be done so they can be personally saved and reunited with their families again. How eternally grateful they will be to you that you took the first step. If you do not feel important index someone's name. You are saving souls. I testify they will be with you, you will have the Holy Ghost with you. "You will feel wonderful!"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From the Trenches to the Top! Dan Got TWO JOB Offers!

Okay, So this is written as a letter to my brother who is on an LDS Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

I put this picture first because it makes me laugh! 

Elder Brown, 

I have to tell you first things first. The Lord answered Dan's faithful prayer for two offers by the end of the month and gave us two job offers! We know pretty easily which one we would take. It is in Palo Alto, California starting next summer. That is near San Francisco and Stanford University. There is lots of open space to go hiking/walking in the area; its not all developed. We are so excited! We would be really close to Monterey Bay (less than 2 hours) where Dan's family beach house is. So we could stay there. Dan would like the work. It is a really prestigious firm so it would put him in a good place to get into a top 5 MBA school.
No more snow for this little one!!!

You would have loved seeing Eden this week performing with Women's Chorous! She just shines. I love to see her beautiful face and her expressions as she sings with all her heart and soul poured into the music. I especially loved the song by the Beatles "Here comes the sun" that they sang. She played the ukelele on stage for it! 
In her concert the men's chorous also sang. I think you would love being in Men's Chorous. They had a whip on stage for their western songs and the guys were cracking the whip for the "yippie-i-a, yippie-i-o ghost riders in the sky." They also did the famous Jungle Book songs with drums and an accompanying band and lots of hand motions and a big Baloo bear coming out in a grass hula-skirt. It was really entertaining. And thankfully Eden watched Milah for us so we could see the concert. 

Mom sent this quote about Satan. 
“Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life,” said Elder Scott ( Gen Conf Oct 2012).
I found this quote to be profound! Elder Scott promises a "sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life." That is such strong language.  Amazing!! Prayerfully ponder how you can qualify for this great blessing. We all need Satan's influence eliminated - nightmares, uncleanness, bad choices, depression and more. . . eliminated! 

I thought about what Mom had sent and realized that for me I could start indexing in my spare time instead of spending silly time on things that don't matter as much (e.g. facebook). I have felt an immense power come into my life as I am indexing. I am sure these ancestors (right now I am working on names from Ghanian people) are watching me and so grateful that I am taking the very first step so that they can be saved and accept the gospel of Christ. Of course, Dan and I also go to the temple most every week (or at least every other) and that also brings the spirit. 

GOD SAVED OUR CAR (i.e. the importance of following the spirit)
God saved our car Friday night. Dan decided to pull in both cars onto our driveway (we often leave one int he street). I felt foolish because I told him "aw, its okay if you just want to leave it in the street" but luckily he followed the spirit and pulled it out of the street. That night about 12:30 it sounded like a loud firecracker went off with one "bang" and then a bunch of things showering down like a firecracker has. Well the next morning we went outside to see the snow and right across the street there was a HUGE branch that had fallen off the tree right above where our car had been parked. The branch would have surely done tons of damage to our car! The ward came by and cut up the branches with a chainsaw and it made a pile 15 feet long and 5 feet tall! I am so glad Dan followed the spirit. 

Milah started making consonant noises yesterday for the first time (e.g. adding "m" "b" "d" to her words). She also makes cute little squealing noises that don't hurt your ears but are cute. Well in Sunday School today there was a little boy who came up to her and started making louder growling noises and her cute little squeals became louder squeals and then shrieks. They kept making noises back and forth until she made an ear piercing scream. I think she just won against a boy who is like 8 months older than her! Atta girl Milah :)
She is so good! She missed both her naps yesterday (which is tragic for babies) but she was so sweet and fell asleep on my shoulder yesterday afternoon when we were shopping. Everyone remarks how incredibly happy she is and they all want to make faces at her. Then she makes the "bunny" face back at them where she crinkles her nose. They get such a kick out of it! 

Dan and I have been reading his mission journal daily lately. I have realized a lot more of what you are going through and how you must be growing leaps and bounds. Even if it doesn't feel like it, you are learning about yourself and your relationship with God. 

I loved this verse I read tonight "And now if you have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles. But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are." 
Mormon 9: 10-11. 
I believe that you will see miracles in your mission this week if you look for them. This last week Heavenly Father inspired Dan who followed a prompting and saved our car. I know you too can follow promptings to be led to those who will have soft hearts and hear the gospel. But even more importantly, you will be led to those who might reject you but who will know about the gospel because of you. They will be more open to the gospel of Jesus Christ and even search for it as they think about their lives and realize they should not have rejected you because you were trying to share the truth. 

I love you! 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Tropical Green Smoothie

2 leaves kale
1/3 green apple
2 spears pineapple (frozen)
4 inches cucumber
2 small spoonfuls orange juice concentrate
6 oz almond milk
4 ice cubes
6 or 7 green grapes
BLEND. Its delicious!