Tag: twitterstake

My Bubble

Ok.  After my little rant in the last post let me use up some more of my insomnia time with slightly more happy thoughts.  Today I want to say thank you for my bubble. People often say in a derogatory way ‘you are living life in a bubble’.  This usually implies that a person is closed minded or a simpleton in his or her views.

I disagree.  I am aware of those views which are different than mine and often ponder issues from their perspective, each time returning back to what I believe and think.  A constancy in one’s opinion does not necessarily prove thoughtlessness on the part of the thinker.  In fact, those that are easily swayed on important issues probably haven’t pondered them much in the first place.

Anyway, I digress.  I am grateful that I can surround myself with support in so many ways.  There is of course my home with a roommate and tenants who are good people and that happen to support my life choices.  This creates a home where the spirit can be and where I can feel peace.

Then there is my family and extended family which I felt this week.  I am so grateful for my cousins, aunts, uncles and other loved one’s who pray for me and sincerely want me to be happy.  It is my family bubble.

Next I have my facebook bubble.  This includes old friends I have kept in touch with from high school, college and my mission.  I am so grateful for those relationships.  It may seem silly but there was a time last year when I felt my world was falling apart and my facebook bubble saved me. I will always be grateful for good friends who reached out to me when I felt panicked and sad.

Next I have twitterstake.  This is perhaps my favorite bubble of all.  It is the group of LDS twitterers (is that a word) who uplift me throughout the day.  I would say 2/3rds of who  I follow are either conservative voices or Mormons and I love it!  I love being able to send a prayer to someone in struggling and I don’t even know where she lives or who she is.  I love that I was inspired today by 2 different members whose Christlike responses to attacks humbled me and made me want to do better.

I love that we can all learn about General Conference together and support each other when things get hard.  I love that I can laugh with a LDS member from China or cry with a fellow Mormon in Vancouver.  It is amazing!  I love the twitterstake bubble.

Lastly I have this blog and its bubble.  It is my spot to say how I feel whether it is about food, movies, politics, sports, swimming,whatever.  It is mine and I get to run it the way I see fit.  My little bubble.  I grow each time someone comments and I learn while writing each entry.  I am so grateful for it.  It is truly a reflection of me.

My greatest desire is to be obedient to God’s law and His gospel and all of my bubbles help me make that happen.  I would be hard pressed to do it alone.  Life is too hard.  I need those bubbles of love, acceptance, support, shared obedience, and freedom of expression.

So I embrace bubble living.  Whether it be on twitter, facebook, friends or my home,  I am happiest when surrounded by support and love.  Call me crazy, but it’s true!

images

Also, I think we all chose our bubbles.  For instance, my brother lives in Portland- surrounded by a predominant culture that supports his way of life.  It is his Portland bubble.  He’s got one.  So do I!

Hoosier Meal

Yesterday I had a fun trip down memory lane thanks to the young men and women.  The youth in my ward were doing a missionary activity where they went to people’s homes and ate a meal from that person’s mission.  They could then ask questions and learn more about what a mission is like.  I signed up and luckily my voice lessons were cancelled so it all worked out.

It’s interesting because I have never really tried to make the food from my mission.  This is partly because it’s not all that good for you (chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes, double starch oh my!) and because I never learned how to do it since I was so busy being a missionary. I haven’t cooked for a large group in a long while and it was exhausting!  I cooked for 8 people and realized while I was doing it that it is the size of my family! Gave me a new respect for my Mother!

I’ll just post the photos because I am behind on work and don’t have time to write much.  The meal was pork tenderloin sandwiches (an Indiana favorite inspired by Mug N’ Bun in Speedway, Indiana

Here are the youth and the youth leader.  It was fun to talk to them about my mission and answer questions
Here are the youth and the youth leader. It was fun to talk to them about my mission and answer questions
Pork tenderloin sandwich an indiana favorite.  They are sometimes called Hoosier Sandwiches
Pork tenderloin sandwich an indiana favorite. They are sometimes called a Hoosier Sandwich
My inspiration.  Mug n Bun pork tenderloin.  Mine looks pretty close
My inspiration. Mug n Bun pork tenderloin. Mine looks pretty close
Hoosier pies or also called sugar cream pies.  Kind of like coconut cream pies without the coconut.
Hoosier pies or also called sugar cream pies. Kind of like coconut cream pies without the coconut.
Hoosier pie with berries on top (not traditional with the berries but the pie is so rich it needed it)
Hoosier pie with berries on top (not traditional with the berries but the pie is so rich it needed it)
The spread
The spread
dinner hoosier sandwiches, corn chips, guac, and cesear salad
dinner hoosier sandwiches, corn chips, guac, and Cesar salad

It was a lot of work!  I was exhausted afterwards but it was a lot of fun too.    Sometimes I think doing regular things like cleaning and cooking make more achy than working out.

By the way, this is in no ways a low calorie meal.  It’s that midwest stick to your ribs kind of cooking but it sure tasted good!  I was proud of the sandwiches because I don’t have a ton of experience deep frying (probably better that way) and they turned out very yummy.  My roommate agreed they were a success.  The teens loved them!

Here are the 2 recipes I used

Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

( I had the butcher pound out the pork so I skipped the first part of the recipe)

2 pounds center-cut boneless pork loin
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 sleeves saltines (about 80 crackers)
2 cups instant flour (such as Wondra)
Peanut oil, for frying
4 soft hamburger buns, split
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 half-sour dill pickles, thinly slicedDirectionsCut the pork crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Put each piece flat on a cutting board and slice horizontally almost in half (stop about 1 inch from the other side). Open like a book. Sprinkle each piece with water, place between 2 pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thick with a mallet or heavy skillet.Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, garlic, 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper, and the cayenne in a shallow bowl. Add the pork, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.Pulse the crackers into coarse crumbs in a food processor, then transfer to a shallow dish. Put the flour in another dish. Remove each piece of pork from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Dredge both sides in the flour, dip in the buttermilk marinade again, then coat with the cracker crumbs.

Heat 1/4 to 1/2 inch peanut oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360. Fry the pork in batches until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Spread both halves of each bun with mayonnaise and mustard. Layer the lettuce, tomatoes and onion on the bottom halves. Add a piece of pork and a few pickle slices. Cover with the bun tops.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/hoosier-pork-tenderloin-sandwich-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie

(I used store bought crust- Marie Calendars is my favorite)

For the Crust:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes; 4 tablespoons chilled, 3 tablespoons frozen for 15 minutes
For the Filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dustingDirections

Prepare the crust: Combine the vinegar with 1/2 cup ice water in a small bowl.

Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the 4 tablespoons chilled butter and pulse until the butter is in pea-sized clumps and the mixture is sandy. Add the 3 tablespoons frozen butter; pulse until the frozen butter is also in pea-sized clumps. Add 5 tablespoons of the vinegar mixture; pulse 2 or 3 more times. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers. If it does not stay together easily, add 1 more tablespoon of the vinegar mixture and pulse 3 or 4 more times. (Do not let the dough come together.) Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and gather into a lumpy ball; flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle, about -inch thick. Fit into an 8-inch pie plate and trim the extra dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang; reserve trimmings. Fold the edges under the rim and crimp. Refrigerate the crust until firm, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line the chilled crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake until the edges are golden, 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights; continue baking until the center of the crust is dry and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Cover any cracks in the crust with the dough trimmings before filling.

Prepare the filling: Whisk the sugars and the flour in a medium bowl, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar. Combine the heavy cream and vanilla in a separate bowl and slowly whisk into the sugar mixture until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared crust; bake until the pie begins to set around the edge but is still slightly wobbly in the middle, 40 minutes. (Tent loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes if the crust gets too dark.) Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before slicing.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/hoosier-sugar-cream-pie-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Sacrament Meeting Talk: Developing a Relationship with God

images

So tomorrow I am giving a talk in church for the first time since 2010.  (My last talk was on patriotism https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/patriotism-my-sacrament-meeting-talk/).  The topic was ‘The Power of Testimony”.  The more I thought about it the more I kept coming back to my relationship with my Heavenly Father and how essential that relationship is to my testimony.  It’s not just a set of facts or experiences but a lifetime of being nurtured by the Lord.

It is a missionary farewell so I tried to relate it to my mission in a way that felt natural and on topic.  So this is what I came up with , with a few modifications for the blog.

I’d be curious to know what you all think.

————————————————————

When I was a little girl I was bullied for 2 years.  After trying the normal school channels, my parents took me out of the situation and then we moved across the country.  It proved to be a fresh start for me and a chance to figure out how to make friends which I was able to do.   However, I always knew that despite my best efforts the world could reject me.  I could not rely on them for my self-confidence and happiness.  So what was I supposed to do?  I looked at the people I loved and none of them relied on other people for their self-worth.  They had an inner fire that come from something higher.

I realized I needed to not only pray to God each night but that I needed something that could build a life around.  Something that could protect me in the lonely times.  It was then that I first started building my relationship with God.  Some may call this a testimony but I prefer to think of it as a relationship that but is a work in progress.

Speaking to the women of the church Elder Russel M.  Nelson described this type of relationship with God

“Her self-esteem cannot be based on physical features, possession or lack of a particular talent, or comparative quantities of anything. Her self-esteem is earned by individual righteousness and a close relationship with God. Her outward glow is generated by goodness within. And her patience is much more apparent than any imperfection.”

So to God I went and the first step in building this relationship was learning that He was there and that He loved me.  As a middle schooler , I first asked these questions and have asked them again and again with each time getting the sweet confirmation that ‘Yes, Rachel.  I love you.  You are special’.

How could the bullies hurt me again with that in my pocket?  I had the God of the Universe tell me I was special.

As I grew the relationship grew.  I learned repeatedly about repentance, forgiveness, family, trials, rejection, patience and hard work and all of these experiences made the relationship better and stronger.  It was work, but it was a sweet work.   There were seasons where I forgot to trust him where my anxieties felt almost overwhelming but in the end I always knew He was there rooting for me if I just took the leap of faith.

Elder Wirthlin said,

“I have been impressed recently with the thought that this life is made up of little things—little things that count a great deal. I believe that the little things are of great importance in our relationship with ourselves, in our relationship with others, and in our relationship with God.

The Lord has said, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).

Now I don’t know if I’ve done many great things but I know the Lord is happy with my efforts.  I know this because of the relationship I started way back as a bullied youth.

Elder Oaks described this type of relationship with God:

Of course, we have leaders, and of course, we are subject to their decisions and directions in the operation of the Church and in the performance of needed priesthood ordinances. But when it comes to learning and knowing the truth of the gospel—our personal testimonies—we each have a direct relationship with God, our Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the powerful witness of the Holy Ghost.

So what can we do to develop such a relationship with God?

President Uchtdorf tells us how:

We improve our relationship with our Heavenly Father by learning of Him, by communing with Him, by repenting of our sins, and by actively following Jesus Christ, for “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Christ].”10To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some meaningful time alone with Him. Quietly focusing on daily personal prayer and scripture study, always aiming to be worthy of a current temple recommend—these will be some wise investments of our time and efforts to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Let us heed the invitation in Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God

Doesn’t sound too hard right? A little quiet time, personal prayer and scripture study?  I’m sure all you Mom’s are wondering how you can get such time and if it really exists?  My only thought on that topic is to think of the quiet times I’ve had in my life where I was surrounded by people and yet alone.  The mind can ponder while the body is busily engaged.

Regardless, Heavenly Father knows when we are trying.  He loves us.  He wants to bless us.  He will bless us with time, patience, enhanced spirituality or the ability to persevere through seeming droughts of spiritual knowledge.  We must trust in Him.

President Uchtdorf continues on:

Our relationship with God is most sacred and vital. We are His spirit children. He is our Father. He desires our happiness. As we seek Him, as we learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, as we open our hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, our lives become more stable and secure. We experience greater peace, joy, and fulfillment as we give our best to live according to God’s eternal plan and keep His commandments.

I have a friend who went to the MTC and felt sad that her testimony wasn’t as seemingly strong as the other members of her district.  Such comparisons miss the point of a relationship with God.  Just as strong marriages come in many forms and styles a strong relationship with God can manifest itself with different strengths and weaknesses.

A testimony when seen as a relationship is not thrown off by questions in theology or seeming offenses of church members because a relationship ebbs and flows. It leaves room for questions and it can always be better.  A relationship is never finished.

Now I have a long way to go in my quest for perfection and my relationship with God can be much stronger than it is today.  So how do I do that? How do I make it stronger?

Since this is Elder Lampings last talk before going into the MTC, I thought I would answer this question with a little missionary advice.  Because I think how to be a good missionary is the same as how to develop a relationship with God:

  1. Be obedient-  You will meet people, even companions, who want to shrug off some rules.  Many will say ‘I’m living the spirit of the law’.  You will not know the spirit of the law unless you are living as close to the letter of the law as you can.  Be obedient.
  2. Pray for Love- pray for love of yourself, your companion, your investigators and all the people you serve, even those that reject you.
  3. Study as Hard as You Can-  Use your study time well.  Yes, you will have mornings where you fall asleep into your scriptures but try your best to think about the needs of your investigators and how you, using your skillset can help them.
  4. Be happy- Find something to be happy about each day.
  5. Serve with No Regrets-  Leave each area, each companionship knowing that you did all you could do, spiritually, emotionally, physically all you can do.

When I was flying home from my mission I had a distinct impression from the spirit that ‘We had done it’.  That the Savior and me as His representative had found everyone we needed to find, we had helped everyone we needed to help and that the work was done.  I promise it was the best feeling of my life.  I left my mission with no regrets.  I wasn’t perfect but I had no regrets.  I honestly thought that all missionaries had a similar experience but in speaking with some of my fellow sisters none of them seemed satisfied with the breadth of their efforts.  They had not received this same assurance

Now the reconciliation of their missionary labors is between them and the Lord but shouldn’t a life with no regrets be our goal no matter if we are missionaries or members.  It’s certainly my goal.  I want to be able to have a similar feeling that I had on that plane when I’m in the spirit world ready to move on.  It should be a feeling of ‘we did it’.  Because of our relationship, Jesus Christ and I did it together.

Our goals should be to say like Elder McConkie before his death

“And now as pertaining to this perfect Atonement, I testify that it took place at Gethsemane and at Golgotha. And as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God who was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person… And in the coming day I will feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s almighty Son and he is our Savior and Redeemer and that Salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.”

May we all strive to be obedient and to develop this relationship with God

Name of Jesus Christ,Amen.

Jesus hugging a man