He will carry us

Have you ever tried to carry a child while hiking up or down a mountain?

I have. And in this picture, I look like I’m doing fine right? But actually, I had just fallen down…note the dirt all over. Because I was carrying this sleeping child, I wasn’t able to see the ground and stepped in some loose dirt and fell…hard…but I kept her safe…she didn’t even wake up!

In this picture, I am smiling, but what I felt like doing was crying. The pain was pretty intense in my knee…and 8 months later…I still have a bump from that fall. It was hard to carry my child. I wanted to be strong and carry her all the way back down the mountain without any help. But I needed help.

When we need help, Christ will carry us. And He doesn’t get tired. He doesn’t slip and fall and drop us. He is steady. He is safe. He brings peace to our souls.

I know that many times in my life I have been strong enough to walk next to the Savior on this journey of life…but I know that many, many times, He has carried me. And He kept carrying me until I could stand on my own again.

I hope today that if you are feeling worn down, lost, worried, or overwhelmed…that you will let the Savior carry you.

Pause and look around to see how He already is.

Today there is a reason to hope.

Be With Me

Are you a Star Wars fan? Well, in my family, we love Star Wars, we’re not crazy fans, but we do watch every movie at some point. We just recently watched Rise of Skywalker. I know it’s not for everyone, but one part of this movie really touched me. Rey just had most of her life sucked out of her by the Sith Emperor Palpatine. {forgive me if I spell every name incorrectly…like I said, I love the movies, but am not knowledgeable fan}. She was laying on her back, watching her friends being destroyed up in the sky. And as she was laying there unable to move, she whispered, “Be with me” over and over. She was speaking to all the past Jedi’s. She was pleading for their help. She was pleading for strength to carry on and complete her unique mission. A mission only she could perform.

Have you had a moment like that? Maybe during this pandemic you have felt a moment like that. A moment where life was overwhelming. A moment where you felt like you couldn’t move. And you found yourself pleading for help. Asking for strength to make it through this day or even that moment.

Yesterday was a hard morning for me. Overall, during this pandemic, I have been really positive, ready to roll with whatever came. But for some reason, I was overcome with frustration yesterday. That mood hung and clung to me like our lovely Riverton clay mud. I couldn’t seem to shake it. My family was driving me crazy. They were driving each other crazy too. Maybe the Easter Bunny didn’t quite get things right, maybe we all should have gone to bed hours before we did. But at any rate…yesterday morning was hard. And I wanted the mood to go away so that we could focus on Jesus and the amazing gift He gave us.

I finally sought refuge in my bathroom. Please I prayed, “be with me”. I need help today to overcome these depressive feelings. After a nice long, hot shower, and a little more quiet time, that spirit of depression left.

In the movie, after Rey repeats those words, she hears the voices of all the Jedi’s who have gone before her. She is given strength beyond her own. And, “spoiler alert”, she finishes her mission.

How can we like Rey rise from the ground when we have lost all strength?

Let me suggest three things.

  1. Seek strength from those who have gone on before us. I am constantly amazed at stories in the scriptures that apparently I have read before, but stand out to me in new ways. Maybe it’s just because I am older that I can relate better to those pleading parents, those who are fighting battles, those who are yearning for answered prayers. Search those stories. There are answers there.
  2. Let the Grace of the Savior lift you. I am reading the book, Grace Where You Are, by Emily Belle Freeman {it’s on sale right now too!!}. I love this quote from her… “God knows who we are, as tiny and insignificant as we might feel. We are precious to Him. Our value in His eyes is beyond our ability to comprehend. Where we see imperfections, He sees possibility. What we view as inadequate, He can turn into abundance. What we determine to be a failure, He knows is a proving ground for faith. How is it done? Through His grace. ‘Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field…shall he not much more clothe you?’ In those moments when we are faced with what we cannot do, we must remember that the Lord can enable us to do so much more than we could ever do on our own. Next time you don’t have any more to give, when you feel inadequate or find yourself wondering if you will ever measure up, maybe you could remember this: Ours is the God of more, much more.
  3. Let people help you. Because when we let people help us, what that really means is we are letting God help us. It seems that is something that I need to continually learn. Just last week, out of the blue, a meal was dropped off to our home. I have no idea who gave us this meal. But it lifted my tired mama heart that evening. I generally love cooking. But sometimes, I just need a break. And so when our elder’s quorum president called that someone wanted to anonymously give us dinner…well, I jumped for joy!

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.”

He continues…

“Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.”

For the month of April, I will be sharing stories on Instagram all about blessings seen in the midst of this world-wide pandemic. I know that when we focus on the little blessings instead of the hard things, our hearts are lifted. I know in my life, when I let my focus settle on the challenges, I just become saddened and depressed. When I keep my focus on seeking the daily blessings God provides, my whole household benefits. I have invited several women to share blessings they have seen in their families. I hope you will join me this month. If you aren’t on Instagram, you can see my photos here on this blog. And I will also do a follow-up blog at the end of the month.

Together we are stronger. And together with Christ, we can always rise up, for He is always with us individually. Just like each tulip is unique, so too are we and the missions we each must fulfill.

Today there is a reason to hope.

Goat Cheese Dip

I have never tried goat cheese…at least that I am aware of…until today. My sweet neighbor gave us some. So, I thought I would find a recipe to try. I found a dip recipe…tweaked it a little to my liking…and oh.my.goodness! It was so delicious! I served this with tortilla chips, but it would also be delicious on a baguette.

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz goat cheese, room temperature
  • 3 oz light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP chives, dried
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

  • Stir together goat cheese and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add Parmesan cheese, garlic, chives, sea salt, and pepper. Stir until all combined.
  • Using a spatula, spoon into a small “creme brulee” sized ceramic bowl.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Take out and sprinkle lightly just a little more Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Then put it back into the oven to Broil on low for 1-3 minutes.
  • Best served warm.

Family time…good food…great memories.

Today there is a reason to hope.

PS The first weekend in April, my family surrounds our TV to watch General Conference and eat good food. It is an uplifting, spiritual feast! You can find out more about it by clicking below.

Light Descending
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/broadcasts?lang=eng

Carmelita’s

For some reason, I just love to blog about food when I’m here at home…maybe because I find myself baking and cooking more than before. So, maybe you need a new recipe.

I actually have shared this recipe on my old blog, but now it’s here too.:)

This dessert is so rich and delicious.  It is a hit at every party!  It’s hard to find a dessert that doesn’t need eggs, but this dessert fits the bill.  My friend also makes these gluten free!  Just substitute a good flour such as Better Batter and gluten free oats.

Ingredients for Caramel sauce:

  • 1 C butter
  • 1 C light corn syrup
  • 2 C brown sugar
  • 1 can sweetened and condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions for Caramel Sauce:

  • In a medium sauce pan, melt butter until mostly melted. Add brown sugar and stir until combined.
  • Then add light corn syrup.
  • Continue stirring until it comes to a boil. Boil 30 seconds- 1 minute.
  • Add sweetened and condensed milk. Return to a boil and boil 1-2 minutes.
  • Removed pan from heat and add vanilla.
  • Voila! The BEST caramel sauce ever
  • Use this for carmelita’s, caramel popcorn, dipping apples, or for ice cream!

Ingredients for crust:

  • 1 1/4 C homemade caramel sauce
  • 1 1/4 C butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 2 C unbleached flour
  • 2 C quick oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 8-10 oz guittard milk chocolate chips {seriously friends, these are the ONLY kind I use}

Directions for Crust:

  • Make Caramel sauce according to directions above.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, and baking soda.
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  • In a large bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar.
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  • Add flour/b. soda/oats combo and stir until well combined. Divide dough in 2/3:1/3 ratio approximately.
  • Press 2/3 portion into a 9×13 casserole dish that has been lightly greased on the sides(this prevents the caramel from sticking to badly)
  • Bake pressed crust in a preheated oven at 350º for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and pour the caramel sauce gently on top {the crust is only half cooked so it will come apart if you aren’t gentle}.  Smooth evenly very carefully with a spatula.
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  • Then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel.
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  • Top with remaining dough evenly over the top.
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  • Return to oven and bake for an additional 15-17 minutes.
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  • It is done when browned around the edges-the center will still look somewhat under cooked.  But have no fear, it will set up wonderfully as it cools.  Let cool completely before cutting and serving. 
  • This is one of those desserts that just won’t cut up nice until it is cooled all the way.  The homemade caramel needs time to set back up, and because of the butter content of the crust it needs that time too.  One tip I do is when it’s cooled about 30 minutes, take a sharp knife and cute around the edges like in the picture above.  The caramel touching the glass on the sides tends to caramelize just a bit too much and sticks to the sides.:)

So because these are so rich, I recommend, doing one chore, then eating a little piece, then another chore and another piece.  Ha-Ha!  This is how I bribe myself to clean my kitchen!

Chocolate and caramel…now that is a reason to have hope!

Today there is a reason to hope.

Here’s a pdf format of this recipe if you want to download it.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

What’s for dinner you ask?

Soup my friends!

This is my husbands new FAVORITE soup! Seriously guys, this soup is SO GOOD! You are going to want to try it! And even with our current Covid-19 pandemic, you can probably find these ingredients on shelves…I haven’t seen anyone with a cart-full of zucchini, green peppers, and cilantro.

But seriously, this soup is very tasty AND healthy! Now as a mom, you can’t beat that! I hope that you’ll give this a try and send me some feedback about how it goes! This is just my little way of sharing goodness when we are all staying home. I love to cook. I love to make good food. So this is me sending my love to you via this yummy recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 C bell pepper, I usually use green
  • 1/2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2-3 oz green chilies, canned
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, I like sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 15 oz red enchilada sauce
  • 3 14.5 oz cans chicken broth {or equivalent homemade stock}
  • 1 can black beans
  • 4 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2-3 C shredded chicken
  • 1 C shredded cheese {I used Cheddar, or a mix blend of Cheddar/Monterey Jack, both work great!}
  • 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3/4 C sour cream

Directions:

  • In a large stock pot over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini, green chilies, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir together, and let saute for 5-7 minutes or until veggies are softened.
  • Add garlic and stir 20-30 seconds.
  • Add enchilada sauce, chicken broth/stock, and black beans. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in cream cheese and return to a boil. {The cream cheese will not completely blend}
  • Add chopped cilantro OR just throw in a handful like I did.
  • Blend soup. If using an immersion blender, follow directions{ I don’t have one or I would give specifics}. If using a regular blender, blend in small batches–don’t fill more than 1/3 full!! This soup is really hot! It flows up when you turn on your blender, so you will need a rag to hold over the hole in the top of your blender. Once a batch is blended, pour into a large bowl, and repeat. Then once all the soup is blended, return to pot.
  • Stir in chicken, cheese, lime juice, and sour cream over medium heat.
  • The soup should still be fairly hot, but you might need to heat it up just for a few minutes.

Enjoy with fresh bread and tortilla chips. I also think this would be amazing with extra cilantro and guacamole…but my picky eaters prefer their veggies blended up.:)

Download these recipes

And as always…

Today there is a reason to hope.

God Does Provide

What an amazing month March has been! Our world is experiencing something that hasn’t happened before in the way it is happening now. All of us moms are learning how to home school our children, some of us are experiencing financial stress like never before, and we are separated from family and friends.

For me, this experience hasn’t actually been all that hard so far. I like being home. I like having my kids around all the time. My kids teachers have been amazing and made school at home super do-able. The company my husband works for is tiny, so they have been able to continue working. We are all healthy. Our extended family is safe.

BUT, I know there are many, many people suffering and going through some of the hardest days of their lives.

I have been feeling like I should share the experience of having to depend on the generosity of the church I belong to, to feed my family. I pray this will help someone.

About 2 1/2 years ago, my husband walked through the kitchen door early one Friday afternoon. I was doing dishes with a screaming 7 week old snuggled into my wrap(she had SEVERE colic and reflux–she cried all day and night). I turned to my husband and said, Did you get fired?– half joking, but also worried because his boss was acting weird lately. He said, yes, he was fired. He was being replaced with someone cheaper.

So there we stood in the kitchen, holding each other and crying. This was a few days before Halloween in 2017. We let this news sink in. We now had six kids…Christmas was around the corner…now we would have no insurance…had we prepared enough?

We knew we wanted to be calm for our kids. So later we sat down and figured out our money-thanks to the inspiration 1 1/2 years earlier to get on a strict budget- we were able to quickly see what bills we had, what we could eliminate from the budget, and if we could afford Christmas. With the help of many surprises on our doorstep…Christmas did come!

Christmas did come!

One way we were going to make our cash stretch-because who knew how long it would take to get another job– was to depend on our church to help feed our family.

I still very strongly remember that in order to get help from my church, I would need to meet with my Relief Society president. I was actually terrified! What was she going to ask? Was she going to look at my food storage and tell me how much food I could have? What food was there even at the Bishop’s storehouse {a church grocery store for those in need}? Would my kids even eat it? Would I be wasting the Lord’s money? Did we really deserve this help?

So many thoughts.

But she came to my home, my baby was of course crying, but it was a beautiful experience. She made me feel totally at peace. She didn’t inspect my food storage, but instead, she asked me how I was doing– was I ok spiritually, mentally, emotionally? She asked how she could help. Then she guided me in how to get food for my family. She helped me know how much meat, veggies, etc that a family my size would expect to need in a two week period. Then she offered to come with me my first time to the Bishop’s storehouse. Oh how I was so grateful for that! This experience opened my eyes to some of the heavy burden a relief society president carries.

Going to the storehouse was an ordeal. Going in the car was difficult for my baby, she constantly choked and spit up because the car seat leans her back. She often would cry the entire 20 minute drive to the storehouse and back. So, I was already emotional when I got there because of my crying baby, being worried about how long we would go through this, and wondering about being judged by how I looked. After all, when I arrived in the parking lot, my suburban, although not new by any means, definitely looked nicer than most of the cars. I looked at my clothes, I certainly didn’t look like I needed any help. Would the volunteers look at me like I didn’t deserve this help?

Once again…so many thoughts.

But as my relief society president met me, we walked in together. And then, I saw that one of my daughter’s friend’s moms was a volunteer. My first instinct was embarrassment. What would she think of me? But that quickly went away, as she and a couple of cute elderly volunteers showed nothing but love and kindness. They oohed and awed over my tiny baby. They showed no sign of judgement at all. Only love. This storehouse also had beautiful pictures of Christ serving, which made me feel peace.

As I went around looking at all the beautiful produce, meat, milk {even CHOCOLATE milk}, cheese, BYU ICE CREAM, canned fruits and veggies…It was hard not to be overcome to tears. As I loaded the groceries in my car, I was just in awe of how God provides.

God had put into place a way that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could easily donate tithes and offerings. That money literally fed my family. That money literally made the difference in my family making it until my husband got a new job seven months later. That money, turned into food, provided the peace I needed. As a mother, I can’t think of anything worse than saying to my kids, I’m sorry there is no food today.

But mothers all around this world do have to say that to their kids.

We have the ability to help people. We can all pay our tithes and offerings. We can support local food pantry’s. We can do a lot of good and still stay home. For those of us who are able, I hope that we can look for ways to help lift hearts that hang down and are weary, worried, and scared.

God does provide. But he also needs helpers. And as we become His helpers, our hearts are changed–Changed into hearts like our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today there is a reason to hope.

Let’s share that hope.

Trusting God Daily

As I was pondering what to share today, I was checking my email. There was an email from BYU speeches with the link to not only a speech, but this amazing video from Elder D. Todd Christofferson sharing a personal challenge, and animated by a student at BYU, Erin M. Ladd. It made me cry. It was meant just for me. And maybe…it was meant just for you.

You see, for the past two years, we have barely been surviving…feeding, clothing, taking care of medical needs, developing talents of six kids, sending a kid to college, paying for two teen drivers–you know the drill– unfortunately takes money. And not knowing until sometimes the day before pay day if there will be a pay day is a bit stressful. I do NOT want to seem ungrateful…we have been able to provide a great life for our kids these past two years, and I know that we are blessed beyond many people in this world’s imaginations. But it has been HARD. I like to plan. I like to have a budget down to the penny…thank you Dave Ramsey! So not being able to plan ahead for birthdays, holidays, vacations, whether you can buy any groceries the next day has taken a toll.

In this video, Elder Christofferson, pretty much shares what we have been going through. I felt so uplifted as I watched. I felt connected to someone who I don’t “know”, but yet I feel like we could be great friends. And I felt strengthened as he shared how his faith in Heavenly Father and prayer were strengthened.

I hope you will enjoy this video. I hope that you will know you are not alone in your challenges. Learning what God wants us to learn can be HARD, but we can climb those mountains.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/inspiration/latter-day-saints-channel/blog/post/i-can-do-hard-things?lang=eng

Today there is a reason to hope.

Egg Free Banana Bread

With all the crazy of being home-bound, I thought it might be helpful to share my favorite banana bread recipe! And the bonus is that you don’t need eggs! Flaxseed is a wonderful egg substitute in this recipe. In fact, we prefer the texture the flaxseed brings instead of the egg. My kids love this recipe, and not to brag, but it gets rave reviews by anyone who tries them.

Ingredients:

1 C sugar
1 C Brown sugar
2/3 C butter, softened
2 TBSP ground flaxseed + 5 TBSP water (mix & let stand 3-4 minutes) OR 2 eggs
4 large ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 tsp vanilla
6 TBSP sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 C flour

sugar for sprinkling on the tops

I like to use the disposable aluminum mini loaf pans when I’m making loaves.  I find my loaves always turn out just the way I want them (I just wash the pans and reuse them). Grease the pans with butter and then flour them lightly. But my favorite way to make this recipe is to make muffins. They are portable, and don’t take as long to bake.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream both sugars and butter with cookie dough paddle in Bosch or with a hand mixer.

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Then add flaxseed/water combo {OR eggs}, bananas, sour cream, and vanilla.  Mix until incorporated, but do not over-mix.

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Next add salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour.  Mix again being careful not to over-mix (this causes tunneling in the bread).

Pour batter into prepared pans, about 2/3 full or cupcake liners using a large pampered chef scoop(or any large scoop).  Sprinkle tops lightly with sugar.

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I don’t have a picture of filling cupcakes, but I fill them using a pampered chef large scoop. It’s just the right amount.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-37 minutes for mini loaf pans.  If using eggs, add about 5 minutes to cook time.

Cook time for muffin liners is around 20 minutes. Just watch for lightly browned. Don’t over-bake or the bottoms might become too browned.

Remove loafs or muffins immediately from pans and let cool on a wire cooling rack.

This yields about 6-7 mini loaf’s.  Or about 2- 2 1/2 dozen muffins

This recipe gives a good crunchy top.  I love banana bread that’s crunchy on the top and perfectly soft and moist on the inside.  It’s SO good!  Happy Baking!

And as always…Today there is a reason to hope.

PS This is the flaxseed I like…and I bet it’s still on the shelf.;)

I usually buy it at Costco

PSS As with baking any product, elevation and humidity affect your baking. I am located in Utah, so I have a higher elevation and low humidity.

6 Lessons I Learned From My Father’s Birth

Today, as I continue my theme for this month, Love of God, I want to share the story of my father’s birth. I shared this initially almost two years ago on my previous blog. But this is a story worth re-sharing. The strength of my grandmother amazes me every time I read this story. My father is one of my hero’s. He shows the Love of God abundantly as he serves his family, in church, and in his community. He’s taught me to never give up, and to trust God with all my struggles.

My father’s birth is amazing and a miracle.  He was born in the winter of 1951.  He was born six weeks early.  At that time in our country, there wasn’t much knowledge yet about how to help these tiny little babies survive.  According to A CDC study on infant mortality at that time for a male baby with my father’s gestational period and birth weight, the infant mortality rate was around 92.7.  Not good odds.

I hope you will enjoy reading about my father’s birth in his own words.


“I would like to relate the circumstances surrounding my birth.  My mother has related this to me a number of times throughout my life and even though I do not remember my birth, because the miracle of it, it has brought to me a deep feeling that my Father in Heaven did watch over me, preserved my life and the life of my mother.

I should have died at birth but I did not, and only though the faith and prayers of my mother, my father, my brothers and sister, and by the power of the priesthood am I alive today.  I was born November 20, 1951 in Ogden, Utah in the Dee Memorial Hospital located on 24th street and Harrison Blvd.  I was born six weeks premature.

My mother relates that she was home doing things around the house.  My father was a salesman at the time and he was out of town.  My mother bent down and lifted something and all of a sudden she started to hemorrhage.  My mother did not have a car to drive.  She called a taxi.  She prayed that the taxi driver would be a woman driver.  In those days there were not very many women that worked and usually they were the taxi drivers.  The taxi pulled up to the house in the driveway.  The driver of the taxi got out and it was a woman.  She told the taxi driver what was wrong, and told her to take her to the hospital.  My mother told the taxi driver that she only had ten cents but that her husband would pay her later.  My mother lived only a few blocks from the hospital.  My mother was self-conscious, so she told the taxi driver to go around to the back of the hospital to let her out instead of going to the emergency room entrance.

As my mother was walking into the hospital several nurses were coming out.  They recognized what was going on and took her immediately to the elevator and up to the operating room.  My mother said they started taking off her clothes as she was riding up in the elevator.  The hospital called my mother’s doctors.  In order to save the life of my mother and my own life, the doctors had to take the baby by c-section.  My mother asked the doctor to give her a blessing since my father was not there and could not be contacted at the time.

The doctors delivered me and stopped the bleeding of my mother.  I had a very difficult time breathing.  I weighed 4 lbs 11 oz.  My entire chest cavity would collapse when I breathed.  I was put in an iron lung machine to help me breathe.  In those days, they did not have all the advances in medicine we have today to help small children that had problems at birth.  I was in critical condition.  The doctors told my mother and my father that I would not live.  They told my father to give me a name and blessing in the hospital because the doctors did not think I would survive.  My father refused to do so.  He and my mother felt I would live.

I remained in the hospital for about 11 days while my mother went home without me.  She told me that it was very difficult for her to leave the hospital without me since a year previous, she had a stillborn birth and that was the most difficult experience she had gone through.

I finally was able to come home.  My father and grandmother brought me home from the hospital.  I was still fragile and could not eat much at a time.  My mother and father and my mother’s mother came and helped take care of me around the clock.  I had to be fed baby’s formula with a duck’s bill nipple that worked similarly like an eyedropper every two hours.  The feeding took about one hour or more each time.  I cannot imagine how exhausting this was for my mother, my father and my grandmother.

Over time I did regain my strength.  My mother told me that my brothers and sister would keel down in prayer and pray that I would live.  My mother told me she would never forget the prayers of her little children praying for their brother to live.”


Oh how I wish I would have talked to my grandmother about this experience!  It is amazing to me that my father lived.  He grew to be 5’11” from his tiny birth weight.

Let me share the 6 lessons I learned from this story.

  • Trust the inspiration you receive from God- even if that inspiration is “against the odds of success”
  • God is a God of miracles-yesterday, today, and tomorrow
  • The power of the priesthood provides blessings in our time of need. And you never know as a priesthood holder when that power from God will be called upon.
  • Miracles can take A LOT OF WORK, but that work is always worth it in the end
  • The prayers of children are some of the most powerful, honest, and faith-filled prayers ever spoken
  • One reason Heavenly Father gave us families is perfectly illustrated in this story–there are times when we will desperately need people to help us. The power and strength of families united will be what carries us through our hardest trials.

My dad is the rock in our family.  He has the most tremendous faith just like his parents.  He shows though his example that being faithful to the commandments of Heavenly Father will bring blessings seen and unseen. My mother and father are just about to head off to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful to them for teaching me to believe in miracles. I am also grateful for my grandparents. They exuded strength and Love of God through everything they did. I will forever be grateful Heavenly Father allowed the miracle of my father’s birth to be, and that He blessed me with an amazing family.

My parents had the trip of a life-time last year as the visited Italy where my dad served a mission in his youth. They also got to participate in the temple open house of the Rome Italy temple. This picture was taken at the Ferrari factory.

If your family is struggling right now with unity, I encourage you to seek ways through prayer and pondering that you might be able to bring healing to your family in order to have the strength of a united family. In my own little family, I have seen when I make small changes, relationships have been strengthened. I have learned that it starts with me. I am the one who can love more, be more patient, be more understanding. There is power in family.

Today there is a reason to hope.


If you want to read an awesome article from Penn Nursing about the history of helping preemie’s in the US, check out this link:

The Care of Premature Infants

I also found this particular paragraph interesting as it talks about the time period when my father was born.

"During the 1950’s, as smaller and more premature babies were saved with increasingly technological treatments and the intensive care of these infants expanded across the country, several problems surfaced. Oxygen, the miracle cure for the respiratory distress associated with prematurity, did save many lives. However, its unregulated use in higher doses and for prolonged periods appeared to be detrimental to some babies. In 1942, the American Journal of Ophthalmology published an article about an apparently new condition, retrolental fibroplasia, or RLF.[26]  By 1950, this disorder of the retinal vasculature became the leading cause of blindness among children in the U.S. By 1956, it became the first acknowledged complication of the treatment of prematurity. Physicians and scientists worked zealously throughout the 1940’s and early 1950’s trying to identify a cause for RLF, ruling out geography, heredity, lack of prenatal care, and early exposure to light. They examined the medical and nursing care of the infants for any discrepancies or omissions that might have triggered RLF. They focused on newer treatments including vitamin therapy, blood transfusions, and various medicines and hormonal supplements. Physicians and others did not seriously consider oxygen in the search for a cause of RLF until the early 1950s. A large scale, multi-hospital study of the effects of oxygen began in 1952 and culminated in 1956 with solid evidence pointing to it as the culprit.[27] Oxygen use was immediately curtailed throughout the world, and rates of RLF dropped dramatically. Unfortunately, without oxygen treatment, deaths due to respiratory failure increased by 1960 even as the incidence of RLF began to rise again. Known now as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), it continues to affect preemies today.[28] Physicians now believe ROP has many causes. Standard screening procedures identify infants at risk early, and doctors plan treatment accordingly. Clinical studies continue to sort out the best way to prevent the disease and to treat it once it develops. Oxygen, once seen as a panacea for all preemies, remains a major component of respiratory support, however it is carefully controlled and regulated according to individual needs."

Homemade Chicken Stock

Yesterday on my IG stories, I shared a little bit about my homemade chicken stock or bone broth. This is one simple change I made to my family’s diet a few years ago when my son, Taylor, was diagnosed with his allergies/sensitivities {He’s since grown out of them-Yay!}.  This is a simple way to add extra nutrition to your food, and I think it makes your homemade soups and sauces taste so much richer!

I make mine in the crock pot-I know that you can do it in the IP too, but I still prefer my crock-pot/slow cooker.  I save up scraps my freezer of onion, carrots, and celery as I’m making other meals and put them in a freezer zip baggie.  Then when I need to make broth, I dump what I have in my crock pot, add extra veggies if needed, put my organic chicken on top, add a few seasonings, water, and WA-LA!  You’re good to go!

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This photo was taken when I didn’t have any scraps…but I use all parts of the onion, carrots, and celery when I have scraps, especially the onion peel. The peel gives an extra deep color to the broth. I often don’t peel the carrots either-just wash and chop.

Recipe:

2-3 C of onion, carrots, and celery, chopped- use all parts of veggies I typically use 2-3 onions, 4-5 carrots, 2-3 celery stalks

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 TBSP black pepercorns

1 TBSP dried parsley-I MUCH prefer to use fresh- it makes a HUGE difference in taste, but alas, I don’t always have it.  So if you do have fresh parsley, grab a handful and throw that in!

1 6-8 lbs ORGANIC chicken-  It also makes a HUGE difference in the gelatinous of the stock if you use organic.  You want your stock to be thick kind of similar to a jelly when after it’s refrigerated. But if you don’t have access to organic, or it’s too expensive, or wal-mart substitutes your organic chicken…it will be OK!:)

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Then add water until it is 1″ from the top of your crock pot and cook on High for 6-7 hours.  I start my broth around 10 am usually, then I have meat to use in a meal for dinner that day.

Remove chicken carefully after the 6-7 hour time-it will be extremely tender.  Let the meat rest covered loosely with foil for for 10 minutes. Then separate the bones, meat and fat.  Put the bones back in the crockpot, save the meat for a meal, and discard the fat.  Continue cooking on low overnight. Why throw the bones back in?  That is where you get the gelatinous part of the stock.  All the rich minerals cook out of the bones into the broth.

The next day, turn off your crockpot, and strain the stock with a fine mesh strainer into a glass bowl.  Discard veggies/bones.  Let the stock cool for 30-45 minutes on the counter.  Then cover the bowl with a lid and put it into the refrigerator until the next morning.  When you pull it out all the fat will be solidified on the top.  And that gives you an almost totally fat free homemade stock!

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Scrape the fat off and then pour into plastic freezer containers. You can find them in the canning section of a grocery store.

I keep the stock in my fridge for up to a week, or I keep them in the freezer for several months- I use mine faster than this, so I assume it will keep for several months.:)

This may seem like a lot when you read through it, but after your first time, you’ll see how easy it is to make your own chicken stock.

When trying to improve your diet, start with small things. Add one thing each month that you want to try to add into your diet. This was something easy and pretty hands free- the crock-pot does all the work.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and can find ways to look for the hope that exists all around us.

Today there is a reason to hope.