Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year With New Possibilities!

2015 has been a year of many comings and goings, leavings and beginnings, renewals and goodbyes. Thankful for the knowledge of eternity, versus this life, I am ever grateful for each day to learn and grow. We wish you all a Happy New Year filled with dreams made a reality, love overflowing, and peace. May God bless all of you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Easy Creamy Broccoli Soup - Leftover Magic

Sometimes keeping all courses on track at the same time is a bit of a challenge. Last night I overcooked the broccoli just a tad, so it wasn't that lovely bright green any more. It still tasted good but I knew reheating it would only turn it to mush, so sometime in the middle of the night I decided to turn it into soup. It's easy, and yes, there are cans of food involved. That's okay, as a meal doesn't always have to be 100% from scratch.

Easy Creamy Broccoli Soup

1 c. cooked broccoli
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 4 oz can mushrooms
1 can full of milk
1/2 cup each pepper jack cheese and sharp cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan or pot combine the broccoli, soup, and milk. Mash the broccoli to get rid of the big chunks. Place on burner set to medium low and heat. Add mushrooms, liquid and all, and then add the cheeses. Melt cheeses, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, serve sprinkled with green onion. 4 servings

Monday, December 28, 2015

Angels Among Us - Caring In the Midst of Pain

Sometimes we forget that this life is so short, and those we love will not be around forever. When they go, our pain, especially when it's due to a tragedy, is overwhelming. I know of two dear ladies who have lost a loved one in the same tragic way over the past year, one within the last few months. Having been there myself I marvel at their strength.
It would be easy for either one of these sweet women to sit around wallowing in their misery. Instead they go about their days taking people to doctor appointments, bringing meals in, going shopping for them, and visiting those who can't get out on their own.
We hear so much about how conservative people just don't care, are selfish, and don't help the poor and needy. My experience is the opposite. Even in the midst of overwhelming grief and pain, they serve quietly, giving of their time, their substance, their hearts, to be there for others. They don't expect the government or anyone else to do what they can do themselves, to make life a little easier for someone else. These ladies are two very conservative, but true angels among us, who are an example of Christlike love and service. I'm in awe of their ability to do what needs to be done, not complaining, not thinking of themselves, just doing, and doing it with love.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Angels Among Us - So Shines a Good Deed In a Weary World

In case you haven't seen this story, it's one of incredible courage, faith, and kindness in the face of death. I am humbled by the bravery of these Muslim women who stood up to the terrorists who attacked their bus. If you think all people of one belief or non-belief are the same, take some time to really read from their own words, what they stand for. Or, better yet, be observant, be willing to look beyond what the mainstream right or left leaning news sources share to find the good news. There is much out there to give us all hope. Here is the story from CNN : Their M.O. is a tried and terrifying one: Launch a raid, single out Christians, and then spray them with bullets.
But when Al-Shabaab militants ambushed a bus Monday, things didn't go according to plan.
A group of Kenyan Muslims shielded the Christian passengers and told the attackers they were prepared to die together.
The Muslim passengers, who were mostly women, told the Islamic militants to kill them all or leave them alone, witnesses said.
The bus was headed to the city of Mandera, near the border with Somalia and Ethiopia.
The journey is such a security risk that most buses travel with a police escort.
In this case, however, the police car broke down and the bus continued on its journey, Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya's interior cabinet secretary, said.
A few hours later, the militants attacked. 
In the Monday attack, the gunmen ordered Muslim passengers to come out of the bus and separate themselves from the Christians.
There were more than 100 passengers on board.
The Muslim passengers refused.
They gave the Christian women their hijabs and helped others hide behind bags in the bus, passenger Abdiqafar Teno told CNN.
"They told them, 'If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here," he said.
A Christian man who tried to run away was captured and shot dead, Teno said. The driver of a truck, which was trailing the bus, was also killed.
The gunmen left, but warned they would return.
Nkaissery, the interior cabinet secretary, told reporters security forces were in "hot pursuit of the criminals."
Then he commended the actions of the Muslim passengers.
"We are all Kenyans, we are not separated by religion," he said. "We are one people as a nation. And this is a very good message from my brothers and sisters from the Muslim community."

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Angels Among Us - Without Recognition

The other day I had the opportunity to help shop for, put together, and deliver Christmas baskets. Most of the folks we visited were widows or single elderly. One particular woman lives in a very humble abode, sparsely furnished and decorated, but very clean and neat. She's at an age where health keeps her from doing much physically, so she spends her days crocheting hats and scarves and such for others. She was so happy to see us, and thrilled to receive the food and treats we brought, but what was interesting was that she had to tell us of her good fortune. Someone, two different folks, had left for or mailed her money anonymously. This probably made Christmas for her so she could do something for family. Her children are all grown, and do help her a lot, but sometimes folks just don't tell you what they really need, so some observant someone sent her a gift of love, not needing recognition in return. She was so tickled, I wish I could share a snapshot of the look on her face as she told us what happened. To whomever that angel was, THANK YOU, for bringing a little bit of joy into this woman's life. 
The more I dive into looking at the people I'm so very blessed to know, the more excited I get to share with you. I hope you enjoy these little snippets I'm sharing of the angels among us.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Angels Among Us - Called to Serve, Going the Second Mile

This post isn't about Santa Claus, but in essence about the many giving men out there in the world today, men of faith, who do what they do without monetary compensation, because they've been called of God, to serve their congregations as bishops or in other leadership positions. Most importantly, they do what they do because they carry the light of Christ in their hearts.

One such man was my in-law's neighbor. He has been bishop several times over the years, most recently of a young single adult congregation. At the time he still had a full time job, yet he was also in charge of a a group of young adults of probably around 300 members. He and his two counselors not only saw to the spiritual needs of the congregation, but their physical and emotional needs as well. Our church has a unique leadership organization in that there are never just one person taking care of a group of people. Each leader typically has two counselors, and each organization whether over the women, priesthood, children or youth, have designated positions to help the bishop in his role as "father" of each ward, or branch, our terms for each congregation.

While this particular man was tending to his "flock" and working full time, caring for a wife who suffers from a debilitating illness, he still took the time to do things such as install guard rails for my in-laws after dad took a tumble. He would clear their driveway after each snowstorm, along with their sidewalks and the neighbors around him. Any time mom and dad needed something, he was there, and you can be assured that he kept his eyes open to their needs as they didn't ask for help unless it was an absolute emergency. What a blessing for us as we lived over 100 miles away at the time and couldn't be there all the time to help.

He is one example of the many men I've known, and known of throughout the years who don't get paid to serve their church, yet there they are, whether they live in Australia, or Iceland, Malaysia or Africa, sacrificing their time, their talents, their means to lift others. They are men, rich and poor, who will see a need and fill it, not caring about race, or religion or economic background. They work their full time jobs, they tend to their families, they serve in their communities, and they serve their congregations. They go beyond what is asked of them, because they care. They truly go the second mile.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Angels Among Us - Part 1

I would like to share a little something about the people I'm so fortunate to know. There are so many in my life that are good, honest and decent people. People of faith, love and true willingness to give their time and means to lift and edify others.
One such person, well actually her whole family is amazing, but she in particular is incredible due to her willingness to lead us as our choir director. Some may say, "big deal!", and yes for her it actually is because she wears hearing aids. She's a young mom of 4, who, along with her husband just purchased a local motel. They are busy trying to be a part of the community, such as opening up their conference room to anyone who didn't have a place to go for Thanksgiving, or couldn't get out of town to be with family. They couldn't go back to their home state, so they made the best of it. I hear everyone who attended had a nice time, and there was plenty of food, provided via potluck.
I didn't realize this sweet young mom had a hearing issue as she sat behind me in church one Sunday and her voice was clear and sweet and she hit all the notes perfectly. After that Sunday we were gone for a bit traveling and when we got back that next Sunday the choir did a number during sacrament meeting which was so lovely. It was only after I joined the choir did I happen to notice her hearing aids, and that she sometimes needed a measure repeated so she could "hear" the music to better lead us. She has picked out the perfect piece for us to do for Christmas, a lovely version of The First Noel/Pachelbel Canon. We are very lucky to have her, and by the way, no one gets paid for what they do to in our church, so her sacrifice is a great gift to us.
Just one of the many angels among us I'm grateful to know.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hot Buttered Cider Batter

A blast from the past for me, this recipe is easy and so delicious it's hard to not indulge all the time. When we lived on Adak Island, 1400 miles off the coast of Alaska, our dear sisters at church were all sorts of creative geniuses with food and home decorating ideas. I was introduced to this recipe through them, yet didn't take it with me when we left as I was calorie conscious and a bit silly, really. As we get older though we think back on fond memories and times with good people, so this tasty treat surfaced from that back corner of my little brain. Where does one go to find anything these days but Pinterest, so of course I found my way this recipe there, hurray!
I did a test run on my dear hubby and daughter the other night, which was a hit, so I'm back at blogging and sharing with you. I hope you give it a try, it's a wonderful way to warm your holiday nights, or days.


1 Stick of real butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. each cinnamon and nutmeg
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

Sweetened whipped cream

In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the spices and and blend, then add the ice cream and mix. The butter, sugar mixture might stick to the bowl so be sure and scrape it down as you mix in the ice cream. Spoon into a freezer container and keep frozen until ready to use. Add two heaping tablespoons to each hot cup of cider and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg. 16-20 serving portions.  Enjoy!