Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

These are some of my favorite pictures from past Halloweens. My Dad was the Bishop when these pictures were taken. The top two are my parents dressed up for a Ward Halloween party on a Saturday night. It's hard to tell in the picture, but my Dad has a mohawk. A lot of people don't know that he wears a toupee - a lot of ward members didn't know that. He took one of his old hairpieces and cut it to be a mohawk. Then he showed up at the party with his head shaved on the top with a mohawk. Everyone was shocked! So many people asked him what he was going to do for Church the next day. Of course, he then showed up for Church with a full head of hair! This was Halloween of 1987.

The bottom picture is of my Dad being The Count from Sesame Street. For years he would show up to work - as an accountant - as The Count, complete with the purple face. I guess I really learned to love dress-ups from my Dad! This picture was 1988.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Support Proposition 8

My sister recently posted a link to a really great article about Proposition 8 (Thanks, AngelFish!). "Disagree But Don't Be Unkind" is written by Orson Scott Card and he is able to express a lot of my views so eloquently. I especially like what he says about tolerance - that it isn't an absence of disagreement - that is uniformity. Tolerance is disagreeing politely and still treating each other with respect and love.

I believe that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan..." (see "The Family: A Proclamation to the World"). My Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has issued a statement in support of Proposition 8, which I fully support.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Easiest Ever Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I was cleaning my room last week (I know, my family was shocked, too) and I found a recipe my amazing cousin, Stacy, gave me during the summer. The recipe was for these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that she brought to a shower we attended. After reading the recipe, I thought that I was remembering the cookies wrong - a recipe this easy couldn't possibly produce the wonderful cookies I was remembering. I decided I had to test it. I discovered that there was nothing wrong with my memory (that was also a memory is notoriously lacking!) - these cookies are delicious!

2 spice cake mixes (just the dry mix - not the egg or oil or anything)
1 large can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling - just pumpkin)
1 bag chocolate chips
That's it. Seriously!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cake mix and pumpkin. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop spoonfulls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes (Mine actually had to bake for 16-18). Enjoy! Just as an added bonus - Stacy informed me that these cookies are only 1 point per cookie on the Weight Watchers plan. We got three dozen big cookies out of this recipe - I'm sure we could have gotten four dozen with regular size cookies.

LSOC enjoyed an evening of amazing music and delicious cookie making tonight. We decided that we needed to add a step in honor of his job at the Church Office Building - they put an orange icing on their pumpkin chocolate chip cookies - so we mixed up powdered sugar and orange juice and drizzled it over the top. I'm sure that adds another point or two to the cookie - but it tasted so good! Don't get too excited, though - the icing recipe wasn't the best - I'm sure there are better options out there - but it was good enough for us :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Time to Play the Music

Apparently I have multiple personalities! My only regret is that I'm not at all like Pepe. He's the BEST!!

You Scored as Rowlf the Dog

You are one easy-going dude! You are mellow and outgoing, and are great with little kids and animals. People love you!

Kermit the Frog


Rowlf the Dog


Sam the Eagle


Miss Piggy


The Great Gonzo


Fozzie Bear


Robin the Frog


Statler and Waldorf


The Swedish Chef




Rizzo the Rat








Beautiful Handmade Jewelry

One of my cousins designs and sells beautiful handmade jewelry. She is having a contest right now to give away something from her etsy shop (your choice!) I'm hoping to get her Thankful necklace. Head over to her site - RHBDesigns - to enter. Good Luck!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Further Proof that My Family is Insane

This is how we spent our Sunday evening.

We were playing with my Dad's new cellphone. (His old one went through the wash. We discovered that cellphones have absolutely no amphibious tendencies...)

After we tired of checking out the phone's new features...we headed downstairs to watch old home movies. Five years ago we spent the first couple of weeks of October watching old home movies and laughing our heads off while we sat in my Grandpa's hospice room waiting for his body to release him from this mortal life. It was a hard, sad time. But we were together and that's what counts most. It's nice to have some good final memories of spending time with Grandpa.

The highlights of last night included a five-year-old Tergaso receiving a shopping center toy for Christmas. As she rang up AngelFish's purchases, she made this very sage announcement in the toy's microphone: "Attention shoppers. If you don't have any money, please put it back. Thank you." We were also treated to a fantastic fashion show and dance video. Nothing says haute couture like a hot pink and black striped skirt paired with flourescent green and blue t-shirts or three pairs of socks layered - pink, black and yellow! However, the music selection was a timeless classic - "Pop! Goes the World" by Men Without Hats. We should have known then that LSOC was destined for great things - what three-year-old picks up choreography that fast?!

On a slightly more serious note (and in an effort to continue my randomness...) I have to post some pictures of RussianJoy - isn't he adorable?He is chewing on a rubber frog. He has good taste!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Peace Like a River

Have you ever noticed how life seems to get hard when you are presented with Spiritual Feasts? As a family, we've commented before on how, especially around General Conference, there seems to be more challenges to face and choices to make. For me, the last two General Conferences have been in the middle of craziness - crazy schedules, crazy things going on, and a general sense of "I'm going crazy." This General Conference was no different. Besides my own cycle of injury I'm trying to break out of, three of my friends are going through some really hard times, my Mom has been under major stress at school and has a leadership training meeting coming up (which is always high stress), and my Gorgeous Grandma got a pacemaker on Thursday. Unexpectedly.

Everything turned out okay. My Grandma's procedure went well, and she is recovering. I feel that my efforts to help two of my friends were beneficial. However, I was not able to help my third friend. I feel like I completely let her down. I just ran out of time. Some decisions are hard to make - make time for family or time for a friend in need. With this sense of failing my friend, exhaustion and just in general feeling overwhelmed, I turned to Conference. I was not left in despair. I am truly grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who opened my ears, mind and heart and assuaged my pain. I am grateful for His Spirit that has calmed my troubled heart and lifted me from the bitterness and sorrow I was experiencing. So many messages touched me, but I want to share a few that I particularly don't want to forget.

I missed the General Relief Society Meeting. I had set my VCR to record it, but forgot to rewind the tape. However, the recap of President Uchtdorf's message in the Church News touched me. It seemed to go right along with what he said in the Saturday morning session of Conference. In the Relief Society Meeting, President Uchtdorf told us that as women, "happiness is our heritage." He encouraged us to participate in two activities to invite that happiness into our lives: creating, and being compassionate. I love that he talked about creating - I have had some experiences in my recovery where I have learned the value of creating. Creating is a Godly attribute. It is one of the reasons I am so grateful to be a woman - I have the capacity (and hopefully some day, the opportunity) to create life. I was advised by a counselor once to budget my energy for time to be creative - whether it was scrapbooking or crocheting, cooking, writing or practicing music - that act of creation would help ease the depression I was suffering. I've also learned ( 2 Nephi 2:11-27) that there is opposition in all things. If creating is a Godly attribute, destruction is of the Adversary. It's given me pause over words I choose to use, and how to approach a child's temper tantrum. It's also encouraged me not to give up on a project.

In the Saturday morning session of General Conference, President Uchtdorf spoke of Hope. He said that Faith, Hope and Charity stabilize our lives despite uncertainty; that Hope is a principle of promise and a commandment. We have been commanded to overcome fear and despair and to have hope. I can't wait for the November Ensign to come so I can study this talk some more. President Uchtdorf said that we have things we hope for and things we hope in - I feel a need to study this thought more. He said that hope gives us a reason to rejoice even when all is dark around us. One of his closing thoughts made me smile - "Never give in, never surrender." If you're familiar with Galaxy Quest, you'll see the similarities. And it's true. Never Give In. Never Surrender.

Elder Holland's talk on Saturday afternoon really touched me. I don't really have much to add other than that I have a testimony of everything he said. The transcript will be available on Thursday - I'll try to remember to post it.

Elder Bednar's talk ended a beautiful day of Conference. He spoke on prayer. He said that our prayers can be more meaningful if we give thanks in all things (D&C 59:21) and if we focus on praying for others instead of ourselves (3 Nephi 17:17). But the idea that struck me most was that all things were created spiritually first; therefore, our daily prayer is the spiritual creation of our physical life. I confess that I struggle to remember my morning prayers. It seems a bathroom urgency is usually what wakes me and I forget to go back and take time to start my day with a prayer. But this idea that I need to spiritually create my day first has made a huge impact. I have noticed a difference in how I approach my prayers since.

I am so grateful that, with all the chaos in my life, I was given the opportunity to watch Conference, that the Spirit was able to break through the din of my thoughts and worries. I am grateful that the Lord has blessed us with Prophets and Apostles on the earth today to guide and teach us and bring us closer to our Savior.

Happy Birthday, Countess!!

I have been blessed with the best Mom ever! She is constantly serving others - whether it's going the extra mile for her students, putting together the best leadership meetings and activities for the Stake Primary, or picking up someone's favorite cereal at the store. I have learned the importance of keeping your commitments and doing your best, how to be a caring daughter, and great teaching and parenting techniques from my Mom. My Mom suffered through countless tantrums and arguments to keep me in piano lessons, survived smoking tv dinners when I was in charge of dinner, patiently bore my teenage angst and learned to step out of her comfort zone to help me heal from my health problems. Because of my Mom, I am now able to provide for myself by teaching piano lessons, I enjoy cooking, and have survived not only the teen years, but also serious health problems and am now on the road to recovery. My Mom is SuperMom.

Happy Birthday!