Month: June 2011

Lesson on Second Coming

So I’ve been working on my lesson for Sunday and I am very happy with how it has turned out.  It is on a very challenging topic- signs of the second coming.  It is probably my least favorite gospel topic.   Here are my notes for the lesson.  If anyone has any insight into the topic let me know.  JS Matt is the Joseph Smith translation of Matthew 24.  They are similar so if you have any thoughts on Matt 24 that would be great.  Hopefully everything will turn out well on Sunday.  Somehow Heavenly Father always helps me out if I make a good effort.

Second Coming- JS Matthew 1 or Matthew 24

Today we are going to talk about a tough topic- the second coming.

JS Matt 1:4- What questions did the disciples ask

  1.  When will Jerusalem be destroyed
  2. What are the signs of His coming?

For this lesson we are going to dive into this chapter.  Tricky chapter because it changes focuses between the 2 questions

JS Matt 1:6, 9, 22- Many saying “I am Christ”.  False prophets. 

  1. How do we see false prophets in our society?

JS  Matt 1:7- Hated of all nations,

  1. How are the faithful hated? Prop 8.  We are accused of hate.

JS Matt 1:8- Many shall be offended

  1. What does that mean that many shall be offended by the gospel?

JS Matt 1:10- Love of many shall wax cold. 

  1. The word “wax” means to “become.”
  2.  How are people becoming cold?  There are so many things that people used to be horrified by that don’t phase people.   I’m even surprised by the number of shows about murderers like Snapped.
    1. Elder Oaks Preparation for Second Coming

Evil that used to be localized and covered like a boil is now legalized and paraded like a banner. The most fundamental roots and bulwarks of civilization are questioned or attacked. Nations disavow their religious heritage. Marriage and family responsibilities are discarded as impediments to personal indulgence. The movies and magazines and television that shape our attitudes are filled with stories or images that portray the children of God as predatory beasts or, at best, as trivial creations pursuing little more than personal pleasure. And too many of us accept this as entertainment.

The men and women who made epic sacrifices to combat evil regimes in the past were shaped by values that are disappearing from our public teaching. The good, the true, and the beautiful are being replaced by the no-good, the “whatever,” and the valueless fodder of personal whim. Not surprisingly, many of our youth and adults are caught up in pornography, pagan piercing of body parts, self-serving pleasure pursuits, dishonest behavior, revealing attire, foul language, and degrading sexual indulgence.

JS Matt 1:11- He who remaineth steadfast shall be saved.

  1.  Elder Oaks Preparation for Second Coming

Are we following the Lord’s command, “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly”? (D&C 87:8). What are those “holy places”? Surely they include the temple and its covenants faithfully kept. Surely they include a home where children are treasured and parents are respected. Surely the holy places include our posts of duty assigned by priesthood authority, including missions and callings faithfully fulfilled in branches, wards, and stakes.

As the Savior taught in His prophecy of the Second Coming, blessed is the “faithful and wise servant” who is attending to his duty when the Lord comes (see Matt. 24:45–46). As the prophet Nephi taught of that day, “The righteous need not fear” (1 Ne. 22:17; see also 1 Ne. 14:14; D&C 133:44). And modern revelation promises that “the Lord shall have power over his saints”

JS  Matt 1:12-17, 34- Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem

the Lord’s prophecies were fulfilled in A.D. 70. Believing that the Messiah would come and help them in battle, the Jews revolted against the Romans in A.D. 66. Four years later the Romans had destroyed the entire city.

JS Matt 1:18-19– Trials of Jews. What ways has this been fulfilled? Persecution of jews?

JS Matt 1:23- Wars and rumors of wars.  What is a rumor of war?

JS Matt 1:26- 2nd coming like light from East

JS  Matt 1:29- Famines, pestilence, earth quakes .

            2010 Natural Disasters

182 flood

83 storms

29 extreme temperature events

25 landslides

14 droughts

7 wildfires

6 volcanic eruptions

23 earthquakes including tsunamis

4 avalanches

208 million were affected

222 billion costs

296,800 deaths (Haiti was a  huge portion of this)

JS Matt 1:31- Gospel preached to all nations

  1.  Why is missionary work so important to the 2nd coming?
  2. Helps explain why missionary work is so hard.

JS Matt 1:33- Sun will be darkened

  1. 1.      Shall the sun be darkened-

The images used here are not to be taken literally. They are often employed by the sacred writers to denote “any great calamities.” As the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars, would be an inexpressible calamity, so any great catastrophe – any overturning of kingdoms or cities, or dethroning of kings and princes is represented by the darkening of the sun and moon, and by some terrible convulsion in the elements.

JS  Matt 1:34- This generation shall not pass until signs foretold

  1. This discusses the destruction of Jerusalem

JS Matt 1:36- Heavens shake, tribes morn

  1.  By the tribes he means the children of Israel or covenant people- How will we mourn last days?

JS Matt 1:37- Whoso treasureth up word will not be deceived

JS Matt 1:38-39- Allegory of fig tree.  What do you think he means by this allegory?

Elder Oaks Prepartion for the 2nd coming

  1. 1.      The Savior taught this in the parable of the fig tree whose tender new branches give a sign of the coming of summer. “So likewise,” when the elect shall see the signs of His coming “they shall know that he is near, even at the doors”

JS Matt 1:40- Day and Hour No Man Knoweth.  I kept thinking this with the recent predictions. 

  1. 1.      How can we be ready if we don’t know when it will happen?

JS Matt 1:41-43- End will be like days of Noah

JS Matt 1:44-45- 2 in field/ 1 taken, 1 left (10 virgins)

JS Matt 1:46- Watch Therefore

  1. Elder Oaks Preparation for Second Coming- While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us.

JS  Matt 1:47-48, 50- If man knows thief coming won’t he be ready?

  1. 1.      At first it seems like a contradiction to have a thief in the night and yet we have to be prepared for the thief.  Nevertheless, that is what is asked of us.

JS Matt 1:51-54- Man who gives up waiting on the Lord to Sins will be Punished-

  1. 1.      Elder Eyrring has a talk about the increasing law of returns.  Meaning the more we sacrifice the more we are blessed.  With the world it is the decreasing law of returns- longer you keep something the lower it is valued.  Often we give up too soon.

Waiting for a harvest takes more judgment in life than it does in gardening. In your garden, you can tell if the seed sprouts. And even an amateur can tell when the corn or carrots are ready. But I remember a story told to me long ago, far from here, by a sad voice. I remember it not because it was unique but because I have heard the same story told, again and again, about waiting or failing to wait. The details vary, but not the feeling of drama.

She said it happened on a summer Saturday afternoon. She was tired. Tired of being single. Tired of trying to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Not so much tired of being kind and virtuous as tired of nothing good seeming to come of it. She’d not had a date in months.

She saw no prospect of even becoming friends with, let alone marrying, a man who shared her faith and ideals. In frustration she found herself deciding something. She decided that afternoon, consciously, that years of good works and restraint had produced too little and promised no more. She said to herself almost aloud, “Oh, what’s the use?”

The phone rang. It was a man’s voice, a man she knew. He lived in the same apartment building. He’d asked her out before. She’d refused because she was sure he’d expect her to compromise her standards she’d preserved at great effort. But, almost as if directed by a scriptwriter, he called at that instant.

She didn’t say, “Yes.” She said, “I’ll think about it.” She thought about it. He called again. And finally, she repeated to herself, “Oh, what’s the use?” She went. She found she had been right about his intentions. And in a choice about time and about waiting or not waiting, her life changed. So, she will never know what might have been ahead on the path she decided wasn’t worth the price; she knew quickly the other one was uphill, and a hard climb.

All of us make decisions every day, almost every hour, about whether it’s worth it to wait. The hardest ones are where the waiting includes working. Does it make sense to keep working, to keep sacrificing, when nothing seems to be coming from the effort?”

Teaching Low GI

Today I had a fun experience.  I was asked by my ward to do an activity explaining all I’ve learned about low glycemic cooking.  It is something I was excited to do because I have learned so much in recent months that I have wanted to share with others.  Teaching all of you on this blog is fun but it is nice to gab on with others in person also.  Part of it is I wish others had shared the information with me much sooner- hopefully I can enlighten someone else much sooner than me.

To help with the lesson I prepared a packet of information explaining how the cell membrane works, what insulin is, and how the glycemic index was developed.

Here are links to the packet info I used.  I hope you find them helpful:

Aside from explaining the biology of the glycemic index, I also focused on making little choices that have a big impact on our sugars  For example, you can use agave instead of sugar or alternative flours (brown rice, quinoa, or other flour)  instead of regular refined flour.  I showed them many of the different flours and sugars I have and gave examples of healthier choices:

1.  I showed ketchup, steak and bbq sauce and asked which one had the most sugar?  If you don’t know, its bbq sauce (6 gr per tbsp), then ketchup (4 gr per tbsp), finally steak sauce (2 gr per tbsp).  So, by choosing the steak sauce over the bbq saue we are significantly cutting our sugar on that item.   By making a thousand little choices like that we become healthier.  (of course no sauce would be even better but I love a little sauce!)

2. I showed two cans of soup- Chicken and Stars vs.  Split Pea and Ham.  While both have a lot of sodium, if I want a can of soup the split pea is a much better choice with 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber compared to chicken and stars with 3 and 1 respectively.  I then explained that by reading labels we can make better choices.

3. I introduced them to quinoa.  One of the problems I noticed as I went low glycemic is my need to have a starch with my meals.  It didn’t seem enough to have a piece of chicken or steak on its own.  I needed rice or potatoes or some kind of starchy side.  This is something I have had to ween myself off  of but I have found that brown rice and quinoa are good alternatives.  Particularly quinoa because it is a complete protein.   Most of the girls had never experienced quinoa so it was fun to see their reaction!

4.  Finally I did some cooking!  (You will have to excuse the bad photos.  I still haven’t learned to take good food photos.  I’d love to learn if someone wants to teach me!).

We made individual flavored lemonades with fresh squeezed juice, agave and either ginger or mint (the more flavoring you put in things the less sweetener is required).

flavored lemonades

Then I made homemade cheeze-its!  This is a recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  They were very easy and delicious. Here is a link to the recipe:

Serving with it I had ranch spinach dip made with greek yogurt.  The point of this item was to show how snacking can actually be healthy (crackers and yogurt have protein, spinach is loaded with goodness).

gluten free cheese crackers with spinach ranch yogurt dip. It was super good!

Finally for desert we had strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Elana’s Gluten Free Cupcake Cookbook.  I think these were mostly a success.  They are made with coconut flour and agave for the sweetener.  They were a little dry so next time I might try cooking them less and I would puree the strawberries because I find their texture when heated to be odd.  Still the frosting is to die for!  It is cream cheese whipped, folded into whip cream sweetened with agave.  Holy cow is it good!

strawberry cupcake with cream cheese frosting

Any treat should be eaten in moderation but it is so fun to find ways to make things healthier.   If I have learned anything in the last year is that being a healthy person involves a thousand little decisions that cumulatively add up to good health.  I’ve also learned to take ownership of my body.  Only I know how my body reacts to certain foods or medicines and only I can feed it correctly.   With the counsel of my doctor (but mostly my own research) I have learned what it means to truly feed my soul and help make me feel good.  What a blessing that is, and how fun to share it with those around me.

I hope that all of you have fun trying these recipes and enjoy looking at the handouts (if you are close by I can give you one- I have extras).  If you want to learn more call me- I love talking about this stuff!  I would also love to cook with any of you as I am dying to try out more recipes (particularly from Elana’s cookbooks and blog.  They are such good recipes).

Say No to Drugs

Today I want to make an announcement- I have given up my narcotics habit.  Let me explain.  For the past six months I have allowed my physicians to keep piling on the prescriptions to help with my hormone problems, sugar regulations, insomnia and other problems.  It kind of happened without me realizing, one prescription here, another there, until as of yesterday I was taking around 10 pills a day and an injection.

For little spurts I felt improvement from the various treatments but never the large-scale change which was promised.  I seem to have a weak stomach which is upset rather easily (even the anesthesia from the eye surgery made me sick).   As I reported in one of my posts a medicine called victoza made me particularly sick a couple of weeks ago.  I literally couldn’t eat for days and was vomiting non-stop.  It was awful.

With a optimisitic attitude I tried it again and felt good for a couple of weeks but when I stopped taking all my meds for my eye surgery ,and then started them all again, the negative symptoms returned.  From last Thursday to Sunday I could not keep any food down and had terrible nausea, vomiting and other GI problems.  I almost went to the hospital Sunday because I had not eaten in 4 days.  In the end, I went to Instacare and got some anti-nausea meds and an antibiotic for a UTI.

I am sure all of that is an over-share but I wanted to explain how I came to my realization.  On Sunday I had a moment of clarity that said ‘nothing is worth feeling like this.  Nothing’.  At that moment I decided that if it takes me 5 years of grueling diet and exercise  as opposed to the more rapid help from the drugs that’s what I will have to do.  I will have to regulate my sugars and hormones the old-fashioned way.

Armed with this decision, I met with my doctor, and he was very supportive.  We decided to stop the victoza and metformin along with several other meds.  This reduces my meds to about 3 1/2 pills a day.  Pretty good, right?  The doctor is changing me to a different blood sugar med called onglyza that I only have to take 1/2 a pill a day and is better than either the victoza or metformin on the stomach.  I have bcp, lunesta for sleeping and one for my hormones called finasteride.

We may add or take away items as we go, but I feel good about this change.  I am not saying it is the right change for everyone, just for me.  I have felt very connected to the spirit during this whole process (finding my doctors, getting through treatment, trusting the diagnosis etc) and I think this is what it is telling me to do, for my body, at this moment.

The most important thing I have learned from the last 6-12 months is to take ownership of my body.  Only I know how I feel, and as brilliant as my doctors are they can only guide ME to make the decisions which affect ME.   My advice is to be open to try new things and treatments but in the end be brave enough to say ‘enough is enough.  I’m moving on.’

Thank you to all my friends and family for supporting me (and listening to me whine) while trying to figure all of this out.  Some day I hope to make it up to you but until then consider yourself forcibly electronically HUGGED.  I love you all so much!

Update on Book Club

I haven’t mentioned my book club on this blog for some time.  I thought it’d be nice to give you an update.   Its been just over a year since I started the book club and at first it was difficult to find recruits.  Even now, each month there are 2 or 3 new people who test out the club, with a few of them sticking around.  I don’t think we’ve had the same formation of girls repeat a month in the entire year.  While this can be a bit of a problem in promotion and making sure everyone knows the club details, (especially those that do not check facebook or join the facebook group!), I’ve learned to appreciate the organic nature of the club and the different perspectives we continually have.

This month we even had our first member join via skype!  Emily was injured with a hurt back and didn’t feel she could take the drive (she drives the longest to get to my house), so we set her up on skype.  It wasn’t quite the same as having her there but a close second.  I was glad to get her perspective.   At least we know the method works for future ill or away members.

Over the course of this year we have read:

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

My Life in France by Julia Child

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

The River Between Us by Richard Peck

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons

Marriage and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverely Campbell

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Hunger Games vol. 1 by Suzanne Collins

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle  by Avi

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (that is this month’s choice).

Not a bad list if I don’t say so myself!  I think there is a good variety with everything from spiritual non-fiction, to young adult, to the classics.   I’ve enjoyed reading every book (except for one- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- but you can’t have a home run each time at bat!).  However, as fun as the reading has been its the camaraderie and discussion which I’ve truly enjoyed.

Is there anything better than bonding over books?  I believe in talking about a book, whether in favor of it or not, you share a part of your soul- what moves and intrigues you, what inspires you to be better.  Over the course of these 14 books I have learned much more from my fellow club-mates than I could have ever grasped from the book alone.   Along the way I have come to realize new things about myself and my personality (as I have chronicled in several posts like this one)

More than anything else, I’ve had a lot of fun.  This year has proven to be one of the hardest of my life and what a comfort and joy it has been to know at the first of the month is book club- one evening when I can step away from my problems and just talk books (although, I still talk about my health more than I should).  It is nice to have a break and something to look forward to each month.  A time to socialize and share.  Its a small thing but I’m really grateful to have had it in my life.  So, thanks girls for coming!  I am so fortunate to have such great friends.

I have to stop writing because everything is spinning.  That still happens when I look at something for a long time.  Recovery is going as expected but it still feels slow.  No driving yet.  😦    Thanks everyone for the rides.

Also, we are continually on the hunt for new members so if you’d like to join let me know!