Sunday, February 22, 2015

Great Grandmother Betty Banks

Our primary asked the children to share gospel principles along with stories of their ancestors in their talks this year.  Lucy said she wanted to do a story on the grandma who made the knit coat she wore.  We went on familysearch.org and found some info Aunt Laurie wrote and photos she uploaded.  This is what she and I came up with.  It was very touching for me to listen to her share this.  She was a wonderful women and she helped mold me when I was growing up.

President Uchtdorf told a story during the 2010 May conference.  During the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged.  When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned, because it had been a symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives. 

Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been broken so badly that they could not be fixed.  The people added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words:
“You are my hands.”

When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched, reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love.  He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation.

My Great Grandmother Betty Banks was like the Savior in using her hands to bless, heal, and love.  She was a registered nurse and was able to heal others.  She put a great deal of effort into her home and children.  She was an avid supporter of little league, cub scouts, girls scouts, school sports, the PTA, and whatever else her children were involved in.  She worked off and on as a nurse in various settings, but stayed home as much as possible with her kids.

She had many interests including: gardening, cooking, knitting, sewing, decorating, baking, and everything she did, she did so well.  “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” was her motto.  She created extraordinary things with her hands, like this knit coat she made for my mom.  It is now an heirloom.  I wore this coat and someday my daughter will wear this coat made be Great Grandmother Betty.  She also had a tradition of giving her grandkids a Christmas ornament each year.  My Grandma Banks now does this same tradition for me, and my mom said she will continue the tradition and give my kids ornaments too!

She had a special way of making each family member feel loved and cherished.  As a child, my Great Aunt Laurie recalls her mother using sterling silver for everyday use and it wasn’t until she was older that she became aware that most people used sterling silver for special occasions.  When she asked her mother why she used it every day, Betty’s reply was, “There’s no one more special to me than my family.”

Although Great Grandmother Betty was not a member of Jesus Christ’s church while on the earth, she was a light and inspiration to others.  She felt a positive attitude was the key to making positive things happen.  And she highly valued “a cheerful disposition.”  It was difficult to hold any healthy family arguments in front of her because she would quickly change the subject to something more agreeable.

Just like Great Grandmother Betty, this is what the Savior would be doing if they were living among us today.  It is what we should be doing as His disciples and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us.  Our own spirits grown stronger.  We become happier, more peaceful, and more open to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.  Let’s become the Savior’s hands so others will feel His love just like Great Grandmother Betty. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pics of Randomness

These random photos are from play dates with friends, older photos on Dustin's blackberry, and photos off our new phones.  We have joined the rest of the world...we got smart phones.
Last year, Jarin's first ice fishing trip!
This past fall 2014 we got tickets to a BYU football game.
Lucy had a blast!
Movie at Fisher's.
Lucy and Courtney spa night.
Jarin and Jack snowshoeing.
Fish Lake with Dad last Friday!
  Russ is being potty trained and is a super star going #1, but he's had lots of trouble going #2 which he didn't have a problem with before, but it will come...patience, patience, and more patience.  He got this firetruck for going #2 on the potty for the first time (after 3 weeks of potty training).

Friday, January 30, 2015

Feed my Spirit

The Atonement is an Individual Experience

I will be the first to admit how very little I know about the Atonement, not because I don't try to understand, learn, or use it in my daily life, but just for the sheer fact that it is complex, far reaching, and heavenly that I know my mortal mind has a long way to go.

I read this quote the other day about the Atonement and I loved how personal it is...how real, how raw.  Rather than focusing on the far reaching effects of the Atonement it went deeply into the individuality of the Atonement.  I felt the Holy Ghost confirm to me that Jesus Christ does love me and He loves each of us distinctively.  He loves me perfectly because He perfectly understands me and how I feel and what I've been through.

Chieko N. Okazaki said, "Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt.  We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane.  It's our faith that he experienced everything - absolutely everything.  Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief.  We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family.  But we don't experience pain in generalities.  We experience it individually.  That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer - how it was for your mother, how it still is for you.  He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election.  He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid.  He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia.  He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau.  He experienced Napalm in Vietnam.  He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.

Let me go further.  There is nothing you have experienced as a women that he does not also know and recognize.  On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy.  He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy.  He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause.  He understands about rape and infertility and abortion.  His last recorded words to his disciples were, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20)  He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome.  He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old.  He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years.  He knows all that.  He's been there.  He's been lower than all that.  He's not waiting for us to be perfect.  Perfect people don't need a Savior.  He came to save his people in their imperfections.  He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes.  He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked.  He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief. 

You know that people who live above a certain latitude and experience very long winter nights can become depressed and even suicidal, because something in our bodies requires whole spectrum light for a certain number of hours a day.  Our spiritual requirement for light is just as desperate and as deep as our physical need for light.  Jesus is the light of the world.  We know that this world is a dark place sometimes, but we need not walk in darkness.  The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and the people who walk in darkness can have a bright companion.  We need Him, and He is ready to come to us, if we'll open the door and let Him."

Source: (Chieko N. Okazaki, Lighten Up, Preface, p. 174)

Feed my Body

Herb Crusted Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce
This was heavenly.  No need to go to Olive Garden for indulgent pasta, you can make it easily and inexpensively at home.

Serves: 2 (we fed 4 & 1/2, just used more chicken)
Prep Time: 15 mins (30 mins)
Cook Time: 15 mins (30 mins)
496/cal per serving (if feeding two with only 2 chicken  breasts)

Ingredients:
 - 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded thin (I used 4 and did not pound, but used thinner more uniform pieces)
 - 1/4 c. milk (seemed to be extra)
 - 1/2 c. Garlic & Herb Bread Crumbs ( I used closer to 1 c.)
 - 2 tsp. 'Perfect Pinch' Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning(splurge since I had to go out and buy it, but I thought it was worth it)
 - 1 tsp. freeze dried chives (I omitted, thought of dicing up a little
green onion, but I was out)
 - 3 Tbl. butter
 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
 - 1/2 c. Chicken broth (I just used 1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon with 1/2 c. water)
 - 1/4 can of Italian diced tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (I used 1/2 pint of my canned tomatoes and added 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. oregano, and 1/4 tsp. basil)
 - 1 c. heavy whipping cream
 - 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese blend
 - 2 Tbl. freeze dried (or fresh) basil (I used what I had: 1 Tbl. dried basil leaves)
 - dash of fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:

  Place bread crumbs, Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning and freeze dried chives in a shallow bowl; mix thoroughly.  Place milk in a separate shallow bowl.  In a skillet, heat butter on medium heat.  Meanwhile, pound chicken flat and thin for even cooking (if desired).

  Dip chicken in milk and then coat in bread crumb mixture.  Cook chicken in butter until browned and cooked through (about ten minutes).  Remove and keep warm.  In the same skillet, add garlic and saute for approx. 1 minute.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally to loosen browned part from the pan.

  If serving with pasta (we did instant mashed potatoes), start those now.  Stir in cream and tomatoes; bring to a boil and stir for one minute.  Reduce heat to low; add Parmesan cheese, basil, and a dash of pepper, stir sauce and cook until heated through and thickened. (about five minutes)  Enjoy!

(As you will see above and in future recipes: I modify, substitute, omit, sometimes try to make things healthier, or just try to save myself a little money...thus the comments beside items in the ingredient list.  When I describe how something tastes, it was tasted with my changes.  I will only post recipes I think are amazing!  Oh, and I never take pictures of my food so I will always source the photo as well.)

Recipe Source: hopeandjohnbasher.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 8, 2015

20 Random Facts about ME

1.  I love rain storms, thunder, lightning, and fireworks.  I really don't care for snow, not even on Christmas.  Although, I think the intricacy of snowflakes are AMAZING.
2.  I need to run.  It releases stress, anxiety, worries, fears, frustration, confusion...I feel closer to God when I run.  I know He is always listening to my daily conversations with Him, but it feels SO CLEAR when I'm outside running.
3.  I want to go on a hot air balloon ride and go to New York City.
4.  When I get a little random ache or pain Dustin calls it a 'Betsy-ism'.  They usually don't last long.  I don't mind, as long as they go away.
5.  I know my love language is, Words Of Affirmation.  I need good, clear communication.  And, of course, this isn't Dustin's strong suit.
6. My favorite body part is my feet.  A couple years ago I fell down a gravel path and gave myself a good scar.  One of my first thoughts was, 'Oh no, not my feet, they're my favorite!'  But no worries, I still like them!
7.  My mind remembers the motto at my first job.  "Taco Time believes in the ultimate fast food dining experience.  We promise to serve quality food by caring people who go out of there way to exceed expectations."
8.  I can moon walk.
9.  I could easily make the term, 'Beach Bum' a reality.  I love, Love, LOVE the beach.  If I could live at the beach one of my WILDEST dreams would come true.
10.  My favorite animals are random: The orangutan at our local zoo, sand dollars, and beavers.
11.  I have a thing for finding money outside.  I once found a ten and a one dollar bill floating in the air!  And when I'm running I usually find at least one coin.  Heads or tails doesn't matter, ANY coin found is good luck!
12.  I love organizing things...Give me a drawer and let me sort it out...HEAVEN!!!
13.  I am not up to speed with technologically.  I don't text, tweet, instagram, google+, tumblr, etc.  It's OK people...I'm fine.
14.  I am an EXTREME softy when it comes to movies and books.  Only happy endings for me people.  I thought Frozen was sad - too many villains and struggles and a severe lack of communication!  I once watched a Hallmark Christmas movie in July and....I liked it!
15.  If I had extra time and money, I'd take piano lessons, tennis lessons, become a head standing yogi, and try to have my very own dance crew.
16.  When I get really excited I rub my hands on my face in a rapid motion and squeal.  I have seen Lucy doing this and I don't think I've done it around her.  It must be genetic.
17.  I have a small obsession with Babushka's and Nativities.  My husband would classify my nativity collection as a LARGE obsession.  I only have twelve, I think.  And I have a Christmas tree with strictly nativity ornaments or ornaments about Jesus Christ.  It's lovely.
18.  My favorite candy is NECCOS, and I absolutely adore sprouts on sandwiches...They're the best!
19.  If gift giving where a hobby, it would be tops on my list.  I was thinking if I had a free day all to myself, what would I do?  My husband replied shopping with a smirk, but I thought about it...shopping for myself can get frustrating, but shopping for other people, now that is where the fun is at!
20.  I'm going to start something new on my blog.  I've been thinking about it for awhile, I was worried to commit, but I'll just do the best I can.  Each month I will have one post entitled, FEED MY BODY or FEED MY SPIRIT.  Feed my Body will be a recipe that I love.  Now for me to love a recipe it has to be extremely easy and super delicious (at least to my taste buds).  Feed my Spirit will also be a bite sized treat of something my Spirit has learned or I've been thinking about.  One small thought recorded here for all the world to hear. ;)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

California Christmas

First day was of course, a beach day.
Russ giving treasures to Grandpa Huler.
Russ found an even bigger treasure!
Do you want to build a sand snowman?
Dancing Russ.
Jarin's boat waterway creation!
Jarin the crab.
Lucy the mermaid.
Dustin and Lucy play this game every time they are at the beach!
Day two, the girls go see a play!  The boys get shark tooth necklaces and eat at McDonald's!
Day three, Christmas Eve we sang Christmas songs at a nursery home and gave out poinsettias!
Grandma Huler got a gingerbread house for the kids to build and eat!
That evening we all acted out the nativity story!  Here's Mary.
Here's our shepherd.
Here's Joseph.
Here's our angel, Grandma!
Here's one of the three wise men (and narrator) with Dustin and Grandpa Huler.
I love Joseph's face here as an angel appears to him and tells him Mary is pregnant with the Son of God.
The shepherd said in his sweet Russ voice, 'Go to Bethlehem' and he went to see the baby. 
Look at how angelic Mary's face is.
This is one of the songs we practiced and sang at the nursing home earlier.
Day four, Christmas.  Santa gave Jarin lots of Legos!
Russ got a three wheeler and trike in one from Santa!
Santa gave Lucy doll accessories: craft book, hair book, mini backpack books, earrings, sunglasses, matching outfits, and a salon chair.
Christmas morning family photo...thanks Grandpa Huler!
Lucy and Gabby...matchy, matchy.
The kids got an air-hockey table from Grandma and Grandpa Huler!
Caught Lucy mid sentence saying,'We got a Wii from Aunt Laurie!'  They are ecstatic and play it once most everyday!
Christmas afternoon and evening Uncle Merrill came and it was fun to see him and spend time with him.
Day Five, we went to a different beach.  It was a little cooler, but always a blast!  Dustin, Lucy, and Jarin collected sea glass on the beach, a whole jar's worth!
We've hit the cheesy grin stage with Russ, oh goody!
Playground at the beach.  What more could you ask for?
They built a lost ancient city.
Russ says to me, 'Look mom, I buried my leg!'
He remembers the big kids doing it the other day.  He was just as excited to free himself as he was to bury his leg!
We saw dolphins on our first beach day and a seal on the second beach day.  Not too shabby.
Three kids looking at me...a Christmas miracle!
Day six, we played tennis, walked Solvang, and Dustin and I went on a dinner date with Rob and Crystal.  We also brought our badminton set, played cards, ate lots of yummy food, and had loads of fun!  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Huler!