• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, March 30, 2013


In Ether 3:9 an interesting question is recorded. 

Jesus asked the brother of Jared (after he saw the Lord’s finger), “Sawest thou more than this?” Since we know that Christ knows all things, we know he already knows the answer to that question.

I wonder if the reason he asked was to facilitate the agency of the brother of Jared, who answers “Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me (Ether 3:10).”

 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak? (Ether 3:11)” Again we know that the Lord knows the answer and again the brother of Jared is given the chance to exercise his agency. He is being asked how much he believes and trusts: how much faith he has. Does he believe what he does not know, that has not even occurred yet? How much does he trust Jesus Christ?

Moroni teaches, "faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith (Ether 12:6).”

 And the Lord [asks me]: 
Believest thou the words which I shall speak? (Ether 3:11)”

“Do I believe the words of Jesus Christ?
Even words we may not have heard him speak yet? 
Do I believe the words of prophets?
Do I believe things that I do not know?  
Do I trust that the Lord is omnipotent? 
Do I recognize his love for me? 
Do I accept it? 
Do I believe?

And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie (Ether 3:12).”

Monday, March 25, 2013


Church is always a fun place to watch children.
And their parents, not to mention grandparents.
I often learn significant lessons thus.

Sunday it was 2 little girls.
They were seated directly in front of me. 
They were quietly reverent.

The younger one (about 5ish), seated between grandma and sister quietly begged to pass insisted on passing the tray of broken bread to her sister. Grandma wisely let her. She held the tray level, carefully waited for her sister to partake, then handed the tray back to a very nervous, hovering grandma. 

I was interested to see what might happen next.

Sometimes I am not as attentive to the sacrament as perhaps I should be - I should have my mind focused on the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ, not family interactions etc.

I then learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life from the older sister, age 8. She was recently baptized. Her mother is not a member of the church. Her great grandparents were, and her grandmother joined the church as an adult.  She leaned near her sister and very quietly whispered, "thanks". 

It still makes me tear up to even think about it.
Such a simple thing: a grateful heart. 

Sure it would be disruptive and detract from the purpose of the sacrament and the focus of the ordinance if all of us said thank you to the person passing the sacrament to us. I am not in anyways suggesting that. 

I merely observe that gratitude is fundamental.
It is one of the basic principles of happiness.

Noticing the multitude of things others do for us almost constantly, and being grateful for those things, helps us feel greater love for them AND for our Lord. It helps us remember him who always remembers us.

Who can I say thank you to?
Right now, today, what can I notice?

Thank you child. 
Thank you for your example.
I am so grateful I was blessed to see it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


A week ago, after SS while on my way to the library to return things used in class, I joined a young girl, about age 13, strolling slowly in the hall. She was headed the same way (and away from YW). Since I may be her SS teacher next year I thought I might be able to establish the beginning of a relationship by walking with her for a few minutes. I will call her Cera.

Cera had a small ball in her hand. It was just a bit larger than a golf ball. She bounced it a couple of times and I ignored that - we were in an empty hall. There was no one else around to hit with it and nothing for it to hit or break. It did not make a loud noise either. She is old enough to know what she should or should not do; I wouldn't boss around an adult friend so why would I boss around a teen?

After she bounced it a couple more times, she asked me, "Do you think I should bounce this ball in the church?" I laughed. I asked her if she thought she should. She said, "I want to."

I laughed again. I told her we all want to do lots of things and must rely on the Holy Ghost to help us know if they are right or not. "You have been baptized, right? and received the gift of the Holy Ghost?" I asked rhetorically. Then as I resumed my quicker pace to hurry to RS, I asked her, "If you need to ask if it is right or not, do you think you are being prompted about something?"

At that precise moment her father came in sight at the other end of the hall. She continued to bounce the ball. As soon as he was in earshot he began to shake his finger at her and scold. I increased my pace exponentially - I did not want to be party to what followed.

Our fathers love us and want to teach and help us. It is hard to know what is best for each child. Some fathers may be unkind,or misguided but I believe they mostly love their children. Some may have never known a kind father or had a role model of gentleness. They must do the best they can at a daunting task. They may have never been taught and do not know where to find answers or how to teach implement what is learned or known.

It is even harder to feel responsible for the eternal welfare and happiness of a child. Papa has often expressed his concern that he teach and train our family so that he can face his maker and say he did his best. As a SS teacher I can leave daily discipline to parents.

I have thought on that repeatedly since then. It helps me realize what a kind and gentle father I have. I asked myself what my father might have done in a like circumstance. I was a deliberately rebellious daughter.

I asked Papa what his father might have done. He replied that he wouldn't have been bouncing a ball! He wouldn't have dared. He has mentioned in the past that he got a 'whipping' almost every single Sunday. He tells a story about that. When he got home each Sunday, he had been 'whipped' for some behavior at church for several weeks in a row apparently to no avail. His father often went to meetings in the morning long before church. One morning he gave Papa a whipping before he left for church to remind him to behave that day. Papa felt like he had a free pass - he already had endured his whipping so he could do anything he wanted to do. He got another whipping after he got home! He still feels that was terribly unfair - he understood being punished for what he was doing and accepted that was what was done but to be punished for the same thing twice he just could not understand.

My father would had come near enough to touch me or catch the ball. He would likely not have said a word, except perhaps my name in a disappointed voice. If I had dared to bounce the ball while he was in arms reach he likely would have caught it and pocketed it.

If I ever wanted my ball back I would have to ask him for it. To get it I would have needed to explain to him appropriate use and purposes of balls and when and how they should be thus employed. If my understanding was lacking he would add to it. Some people call such interactions with their parents 'lectures'. His explanations were seldom lectures. They were just a very loving father making sure I knew what was right and should or should not be done. He expected me to choose to do what I knew when I understood. The harshest and most difficult punishment he ever inflicted was the expression of disappointment.

My father whipped me once when I was 15 ish. I provoked him. After a face to face, head on show down of wills he took off his belt and strapped me with it 2 or 3 times. I fell to the floor. I could not stand. (The stripes took quite some time to heal.) He threw his belt down as he left the house.  I went to my room and cried. I also spent quite some time laying on my bed face down.Some of my siblings witnessed that event. One of them came to try to comfort and help me. I think she wondered if I were going to die. She had never seen or heard of anything so terrible. She brought me some ointment,  Mentholatum, and helped me put it on where I could not reach. 

In the years since that time my father has told me that I was the only child of 11 that he ever gave a whipping like that. I was the 5th child and first girl in our family of 7 boys and 4 girls. He said he had never done it before that and vowed to never do it to anybody again. He has apologized several times and said it made him sick at himself. I tell him I too am sorry. I am sorry I was so disrespectful to a loving and kind father. I tell him I don't know what he might have ever done differently. I was extremely willful and deliberately disobedient. I don't know how my parents endured having a kid like me.

We have talked about this a few times when he has brought it up. As we age we sometimes look with hindsight on our past and wish we had done things differently. There is no going back. It often begins as the littlest of things, a bouncing ball or a misunderstanding. I had wanted to finish a report I was working on for homework. He expected my chore of sweeping the floor to be done immediately. I had fully intended to sweep the floor ... soon ... but ordering immediate compliance was not successful in any way.

I have had to learn more humility. I have had to learn to bend my will to the will of a loving Heavenly Father without needing a harsh punishment. I have learned to try to be obedient to the commandments of God because he loves me and has good reasons to give them. He wants me to be happy. He wants me to be safe. He wants to bless me, and everyone around me, with more of every good thing. I KNOW he does. His commandments explain how to be happy. His commandments are given so that all his children can have joy - forever and always.

Can I try to understand?

Can we try to understand?
Can we trust an omniscient Father?
Can we accept the words of the prophets?
Can we obey?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Mom Ames made a delicious whole wheat casserole she called 'California Wheat Casserole'. (I didn't know until sometime later, when I asked why it was called 'California' wheat casserole, that the frozen vegetables are called by that name. They are a mixture of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. ) She told me you can put anything that 'seems' good in too.

A few of you have asked for her recipe. 
I will do my best.
Please read all the way through first. 
Remember she seldom used an actual recipe.
The bulgar was always done at least the day before.
It may be kept in the frig for a day or two or frozen.

Wheat Bulgar   prepared in advance
   Stove top method: I do NOT use this method.
   It seems to never completely soften and 'pop'.
   [Maybe because my wheat is often ancient.]

Wash 1 cup dry wheat, add 6-8 cups water, boil 2 minutes. Decrease heat to simmer and cook 1 hour or until the wheat has softened but is not mushy, and 'pops' (slightly splits). Drain well. Chill for use in salads, casseroles  meat loaf etc.  

   Oven method: I DO use this method.
   Also the lazy easy 'no attention needed' method.

Cover 1 cup dry whole wheat with cold water and soak a minimum of 8 hours (usually overnight or all day) - rinsing as needed to prevent souring - more often in warm weather but every 3 or 4 hours (once before bed by the late birds and once upon arising by the early birds usually does nicely). I was told if it appears to sprout, that this will actually increase vitamin content. 

Rinse thoroughly.

[AND why limit yourself to this process for only 1 cup? I usually used my roaster and do prep like this about once a month. I would make enough to measure and package into freezer bags (about 1 cup each) and place in the freezer ready for future use. ]

Place in oven proof dish, cover with at least 1/2 inch of water, and bake overnight at 200 degrees F or until wheat is softened but not mushy, and 'pops' (slightly splits). Drain well. Chill for use in salads, casseroles  meat loaf etc. [Of freeze in small packages if making larger amounts.] Adjust cooking times and temperatures to suit your time constraints - more heat = shorter cooking time with more water. DO NOT let it dry out or it will not cook and soften properly. 


Next time we make it we will take some pictures.
Ingredients:  ground meat (abt 1 pound - keep fat or use oil) 
                   onions chopped (1 medium)
                   celery chopped (several stalks)
                   wheat bulgar (about 2 times the meat)
                   1 can cream soup* 
                   California frozen vegetables (abt 1 lb - small pkg)
                   cheese - grated (abt 3/4 cup - usually mozzarella)

* I usually use cream of celery when I use celery, cream of chicken when I use chicken, and cream of mushroom when I add mushrooms.

Brown ground meat and remove meat to large casserole dish. Add seasoning to meat mixture if you desire (ie garlic salt etc). [Sometimes I use chopped leftover meat instead because I don't have to cook it and  turkey, ham or roast beef - or canned is fast and easy. Just match up flavors of things you like.] 

Saute onion and celery (may also add garlic, mushrooms or green peppers - any pleasing combination of flavors) 

Add 1 can of cream soup with 1 can of water and heat just until blended. 

Add bulgar (1 - 2 cups depending on taste preferences and tolerance) and  frozen vegetables to the meat and stir just enough to distribute.

Pour soup and sauteed vegetable mixture over meat / vegetable mixture and stir just enough to cover of coat mix. Bake until hot and bubbly. 

Top with shredded cheese the last few minutes of baking or just before serving. 


Caution:  go easy on the wheat until you become accustomed to the roughage. It tastes so good that it can be a problem if the body is not accustomed to it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

100th PART

100th – only 1 in 100! – just one penny of every dollar?

I was somewhat surprised as I read in 3 Nephi 26:6 that, “… there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;” but that the plates of Nephi contain, “…  the more part … (v.7).”

Is that the lost manuscript?

Verse 8-10 (3 Nephi 26) teach us that this part, that Mormon is recording in 3 Nephi, is the ‘lesser part’  to be given to us first to see if we will believe the teachings of Jesus. If we accept and believe this part, THEN the ‘greater things’ will be given, but if we do not ‘believe’ the lesser part the greater things will be withheld.

Jesus commands us, “Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things (3 Nephi 23:5).” I remember when President Benson pled with us constantly to remember to read our scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, and carefully taught about the blessings of obedience, and condemnation of failure to obey (Oct 1984, April 1986, 1987, 1988 etc).

President Benson often quoted from D&C 84:54-61 (and other scripture) and said we rest under the condemnation of unbelief spoken of there. We also read about this same condemnation in 2 Nephi 27:8; 32:7, here in 3 Nephi, and - as we continue to read the Book of Mormon - will again hear about our ‘sin’ and negligence in Ether 4: 8, 14-16. The prophets then and now beg us to read, accept and do these things as Jesus taught and set an example of.

DO - ah - there is the important kernel - no?

Jesus explains (for several prior chapters) and then commands, and immediately repeats his command to us in 3 Nephi 27:21. He explains, expounds scripture, and demonstrates his expectations to us, and then 2 times reiterates, “… ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do ….”

Do I love and believe his words, searching them diligently, obeying them and following his example?

NOT ENOUGH, not enough!! (3 Nephi 10:14; 20:11; 23:1;
1 Nephi 5:10,21; Mormon 8:23; Alma 14:1; 17:2; 33:2,
Jacob 4:6;7:23; Mosiah 1:7; Moroni 7:19, etc)

Saturday, March 9, 2013


On the farm, when I was a child, I spent a lot of free time 'investigating' the yards and fields outside. Mostly these were fenced with 3 or 4 strands of barbed wire. I was a small child. I could easily crawl underneath, or slide through, the wires. My father taught me not too and some of the sweetest moments of my life were spent standing quietly by a fence observing nature. I have seen wonders: a new colt wobble to its feet and suckle its mother, an ant negotiate the maze of grass stems to a berry, a chicken scratch and peck for its food, young calves frolic in the sun, a shimmering blue green fly buzz from place to place, and a ewe birth a lamb.

On the other side of the wires were cattle and horses. Both were much larger than, and a significant danger to, a pre-school child. Dad pointed out that to me. He was convincing but not threatening.

Dad helped me understand that animals do not think or reason like people do. The animals might not mean to hurt me but they would not know that I would not hurt them. They might be afraid of me. That astonished me. As my father reasoned with me, I could understand why. I had seen our small terrier chase the animals, nip at their heels and bark ferociously at them. I had seen them try to kick or bite it. I had even seen an old bossy cow, with a new calf, charge a meandering cat that came too close.

I had seen cattle tromple things. When they moved as a herd they could even ignore a fence and just flow over it like it did not exist. If the lead cattle stopped the others just kept pushing and if one fell it might be unable to regain its feet as the herd surged forward over it.

A horse stepped on my foot once. My father often mounted his horse and then bending down, grasped a child under the arm, and swung the child into the saddle in front of him or behind him. As he leaned forward to pick me up, the horse shifted her weight slightly and when she put her hoof down again my foot was underneath it. She almost immediately moved again as Dad continued his fluid motion and pulled me up, but I knew horses were so big that they didn't really notice me or necessarily recognize me as a person. I was very wary of horses.

My father taught me the animals needed the sharp pointy barbs on the wire fences to help them remember to stay away from the wires and be safe. I knew to not go on the roads where cars might run over me but horses and cows, and other big animals like deer (quite common in our area) often wandered onto roads and were injured or killed by cars or trucks.They needed fences (and deer were so silly because they just bounded over the fences and got killed all the time)!

Dad explained to me that I could choose to go in the pastures with the big animals but why would I? I had a brain. I could think and I could choose to be safe. My father is a persuasive and inspired person. If you let him think for a moment, he can explain almost anything. His most common discipline was reason - he would take time to carefully explain and demonstrate, to his children or workers (and anyone that might need to know something), what ever we needed to understand for safety, well being morally and physically, and for productivity.

I don't need fences with sharp barbs.
I have a brain.

I also have a heart.
My Father in Heaven teaches much like my dad.
He warns, and prompts my heart and mind.

And then they let me choose.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


What a privilege it has been to sit at the Savior's feet this week.

I am humbled and amazed as I read 3 Nephi ( for the BYU-I Book of Mormon class I am taking) about the things Christ said and did in 3 Nephi when he visited the people.

Last week, in Chapter 17, Jesus noticed that the people were weak and could not understand all he was teaching. He asked them to go home and ponder and pray and prepare for him to teach them the next day. I began to wonder what I would do if I were commanded to go pray and prepare for a meeting with Jesus.

When the multitude gather again and he returns (3 Nephi 19:16), after administering the sacrament miraculously (3 Nephi 20:6), Jesus begins to expound the scriptures to them and teach about the prophecies and covenants that are fulfilled by his birth and death, and those yet to be fulfilled - particularly the gathering of Israel and the words of Isaiah. 

I love Isaiah. It is the greatest testimony of Jesus Christ, and the plan our loving Father. What a tremendous composite of Isaiah's teachings 3 Nephi 20 is, as the Savior himself quotes them. Nephi tried to teach from Isaiah (1st and 2nd Nephi) but now we hear Isaiah's teachings from the mouth of Jesus Christ. And then Jesus quotes an entire chapter of Isaiah almost verbatim (see 3 Nephi 22, compare Isaiah 54) and commands us, as did Nephi, to "... search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah." 

But I digress, in my enthusiasm I am getting ahead of myself. THAT starts next week's reading where the Savior continues to expound the scriptures for several more chapters. Maybe I need to 'go home', ponder and prepare for another in depth meeting with the Savior. Maybe it will bless my understanding if I read some of the words of Isaiah (and other prophets he quotes). 

My heart and mind are full of astonishment at how much I do not know. I have never before realized this simple thing - that Jesus taught from the prophecies of Isaiah and expounded them at great length.

 How could I, someone that loves Isaiah not notice that before? How could I, someone that worships Jesus Christ never realize there are whole chapters in the Book of Mormon where he expounds the scriptures (3 Nephi 20-28) and plainly teaches what to expect in the future?

How could I miss all that when I have read all these scriptures so many times? I want to do better. I want to hear the prophets and follow their instructions. I want to meet with the Savior. 

He promises I can.
He promises we all can. 

1 Let not your heart be troubled:
   ye believe in God, believe also in me.
 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions:
    if it were not so, I would have told you.
    I go to prepare a place for you.
 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you,
    I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
    that where I am, there ye may be also.
 4 And whither I go ye know,
     and the way ye know.