Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

I grabbed this from a site online, but can't now remember where. Oops. SO, just so you know, I didn't write it. I did change the songs a bit. To make it work with my family :)

As WE COMMEMORATE the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth…

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world…

His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”

“I know that My Redeemer Lives” - p. 136


And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; …

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is min Only Begotten.

And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.

And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me.

“He Sent His Son" – p.34

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on the wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy

Ghost. Then Joseph her husband being a just man and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people form their sins.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.

“Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” – p. 202

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed…. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David :) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

“Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”- p. 208

And so it was that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered,

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

“Once Within A Lowly Stable” – p. 41

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them. Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

“Hark the Harold Angels Sing” – p. 209

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

“Silent Night” – p. 204

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he hat is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where they young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

“I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day”

Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation—The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men…. Full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Period Email

This is an actual letter from an Austin , TX woman sent to American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award-winning letter.

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and
secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer's monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'.. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women.

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you f------ kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong',

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.


Wendi Aarons
Austin , TX

Friday, August 28, 2009

Captain America's Talk

Maintaining Our Faith Through Trials

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

  • Sign going into the locker room at high school. Also in our weight room.
  • Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once told of farmers in the hot desert of northwest Mexico who “grow varieties of corn and beans that are unusually hardy and drought resistant. These varieties survive and flourish in a harsh climate where other plants would wither and die. One of these plants is the white tepary bean. Its seed will sprout and the plant will grow even when very little rain falls. It sends its roots as deep as six feet into the rocky, sandy earth to find the moisture it needs. It can flower and fruit in the 115-degree (Fahrenheit) desert temperatures with only one yearly rainfall. Its foliage remains remarkably green, with little irrigation, even in the heat of mid-July.”
  • Elder Wirthlin suggested: “Perhaps members of the Church could emulate the example of these hardy, sturdy plants. We should send our roots deep into the soil of the gospel. We should grow, flourish, flower, and bear good fruit in abundance despite the evil, temptation, or criticism we might encounter. We should learn to thrive in the heat of adversity” (Apr. 1989)
  • Pres. Woodruff serving in 1835 in the southern States and getting lost at night in a raging storm story.
    • We crossed streams nearly twenty times… But the Lord was merciful unto us in the midst of our troubles, for while we were groping in the dark, running the risk of killing both ourselves and [our] animals, by riding off precipitous bluffs, a bright light suddenly shone round about us, and revealed our perilous situation, as we were upon the edge of a deep gulf. The light continued with us until we found a house, and learned the right road.”
    • Commenting on this experience, President Woodruff said, “We then went on our way rejoicing, though the darkness returned and the rain continued.”
  • That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Trials Will Occur In Our Lives – How Will We React?

  • E + R + O
  • Experiences in life + our Response = Outcome
  • The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, … knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty”
  • Elder Richard G. Scott said: “When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?”
  • “While we sometimes feel and have felt in days that are past and gone, to complain because we meet with oppression, persecution, and affliction, yet I wish to say to my brethren and sisters that these things are the heritage of the Saints of God. … I have never read of the people of God in any dispensation passing through life, as the sectarian world would say, on flowery beds of ease, without opposition of any kind. … We have been called to pass through trials many times, and I do not think we should complain, because if we had no trials we should hardly feel at home in the other world in the company of the Prophets and Apostles who were sawn asunder, crucified, etc., for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ.
  • In the dispensations and providences of God to man it seems that we are born to suffer pain, affliction, sorrows and trials; this is what God has decreed that the human family shall pass through; and if we make a right use of this probation, the experience it brings will eventually prove a great blessing to us, and when we receive immortality and eternal life, exaltation, kingdoms, thrones, principalities and powers with all the blessings of the fulness of the gospel of Christ, we shall understand and comprehend why we were called to pass through a continual warfare during the few years we spent in the flesh.
  • “What is anything we can do or suffer, to be compared with the multiplicity of kingdoms, thrones, and principalities that God has revealed to us?” Pres. Wilford Woodruff

If We Do Our Duty – We Are Safe

  • Robert E. Lee - career soldier, a servant of the Nation and his home state of VA
  • Graduated the USMA without receiving a single demerit in 4 years.
  • Spoke of secession as ‘anarchy’
  • Mentor was the great General Winfield Scott
  • Was considered the top choice to lead the Federal armies at the start of hostilities once SC seceded.
  • “I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is to be dissolved and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people, and save in defense will draw my sword on none.”
  • “Duty, then is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.” Robert E. Lee
    • Sublime means noble
    • History has clearly shown that R. E. Lee executed what he felt with all his might to be his duty.

“We are safe as long as we do our duty,” taught President Wilford Woodruff. “No matter what trials or tribulations we may be called to go through, the hand of God will be with us and sustain us.” In teaching this principle, President Woodruff spoke from experience. He endured religious and political persecution, mob violence, opposition to missionary work, illness, deaths of family members and friends, and the everyday trials of life. But he responded to such adversity with faith rather than despair, trusting the Lord’s promises and finding strength in his own testimony of the gospel.

“Calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth, and there is a meaning to these things. Remember this, and reflect upon these matters. If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we’ll have protection, and shall pass through the afflictions in peace and in safety. “

“It takes independence of mind, honesty of heart, faith in God and firmness of character to live the life of a Latter-day Saint, in the face of a frowning world, and in the midst of trials and troubles and persecution.”

  • Daniel was prepared to enter the den of lions;
  • the three Hebrew children [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego] were not afraid of the fate that awaited them
  • the Apostles were valiant for the truth and shrank not from death for its sake,
  • How?
  • “Because, in the first place, they had the truth and they knew it for themselves; and in the second place, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, sustained them as that power alone can in all the trying scenes through which the people of God are called to pass. And this is so today.” Pres. Woodruff

President Spencer W. Kimball said:

“If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.

“… Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?

“If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith”

  • Serve in the Kingdom!!!


  • Enduring adversity will make us stronger
  • How will we react to our trials?
  • Do our duty in life, and God will guide us through

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tom's Talk

Thomas’ Talk

Each person's success and happiness, both now and in the eternities, depend largely on his or her responses to the trials of life.

There's a story in the June 1984 Friends called, "The Trials of Billy Fischer" that talks about one of Billys' trials, and how he overcame it.

Billy and his family lived many, many years ago. Billy was the only member of the church in his tiny school. He felt that the schoolmaster was even stricter on him than the rest of the kids. He asked his mom if it was because he was a Mormon. His mom replied:

“Now, Billy,” she had started, with a gentle wisdom that the boy often stood in awe of, “the Lord doesn’t backhand a good person, but He just might bless him with a little trial and tribulation every now and again to keep him meek and humble. Like the bumps on the road between our place and town, there’s just enough of them to keep a body watchful.”

“I do believe,” she had continued, “that if the righteous could stack all their hard times under them, they could rise almost to heaven. I suspect a rose without a thorn is only half a rose, honey. And if the rain can make the flowers grow, why not the rest of us too?”

One day, Billy's mom sent him on an errand to the store. It was a 5 mile walk, and he hooked up a little wagon harness to his dog to carry the supplies home. When he was about 1/2 way home, a bully from school named Silas stopped him and started being mean. He cut the straps on the dogs harness, and threatened to beat up Billy if he didn't give him the answers to the test tomorrow at school.

Billy didn't know what to do. He didn't want to be beat up. But he also knew that cheating was wrong.

The next day in school, Silas slipped Billy a note during class. It said to write the answers on the paper, then pass it back. Billy wrote this on the paper:

“I won’t give you any answers. It’s just not right. I’ll meet you out back after school. I know what you are going to do to me. I can’t stop you. But I won’t let you do it without fighting back." and passed it back to Silas

Billy was afraid, but knew that he had done the right thing. When school was over, and everyone was leaving, Billys teacher held him after class. He had found the note in the trash, and commended Billy for his choices. He said he was proud of Billy, especially since he knew what was waiting for him after school.

Billy left school, and was met by Silas. Silas was confused that Billy hadn't given him what he had wanted. Everyone else always did.

"Aren't you afraid?" asked Silas

"My ma says that the time comes when a body has to face up to his fears. So here I am", said Billy.

Silas decided not to beat up Billy, and instead asked if they could walk home from school together, since they both lived in the same direction. Billy had made a friend instead of an enemy.

Mosiah 23:21-22 says:

Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.

Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

When we have trials or hard times, we can learn many things from them. We grow stronger. We grow smarter. We grow closer to Heavenly Father when we lean on him.

Our response to adversity and trials should always be constant, — trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The prophet Alma taught in Alma 36:3

"Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day"

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

Jacob's Talk

Jacob’s Talk

President Henry B Eyring said the following at the April 2009 Conference:

With all the differences in our lives, we have at least one challenge in common. We all must deal with adversity. There may be periods, sometimes long ones, when our lives seem to flow with little difficulty. But it is in the nature of our being human that comfort gives way to distress, periods of good health come to an end, and misfortunes arrive.

My purpose today is to assure you that our Heavenly Father and the Savior live and that They love all humanity. The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of Their infinite love. God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life. Then our spirits will be changed. We will become able to want what God wants, to think as He thinks, and thus be prepared for the trust of an endless posterity to teach and to lead through tests to be raised up to qualify to live forever in eternal life.

It is clear that for us to have that gift and to be given that trust, we must be transformed through making righteous choices where that is hard to do. We are prepared for so great a trust by passing through trying and testing experiences in mortality. That education can come only as we are subject to trials while serving God and others for Him.
President Eyring is telling us that when we have adversity, it gives us the opportunity to grow. To lean. To be better. We can’t do that without adversity.

2 Nephi 2:11 talks about the need for adversity. It says:

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.

When some people face adversity, they complain and become bitter. They ask questions like "Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to deserve this?"

But these questions have the power to dominate their thoughts. Such questions can overtake their vision, absorb their energy, and deprive them of the experiences the Lord wants them to receive.

Rather than responding in this way, people should consider asking questions such as, "What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?"

The way we approach our trials often determines how well we will come through them. We need to remember what the purpose of trials and adversity are. That we are to use them to learn and to grow from, to make us better people.

The following is a story from the New Era in May of 1991.

It had been a tiring day at school. I was ready to call it quits after getting a C on an exam for which I had studied for weeks, having a fight with my best friend, and scraping my knee during gym.

“Hey,” I told myself, “you’ll be okay. Remember, endure to the end!” So I tried to put forth extra effort to have a good attitude.

The following day seemed worse. It all started with soggy cereal. Next, I couldn’t find my shoe and nearly missed the bus. When I came home, I realized that I had left my homework at school. I kept telling myself, “Hang in there; you’ll make it!”

Later that afternoon, my grandmother called to tell me that my great-grandmother had passed away. I could hardly believe it. I was devastated. I found myself crying nonstop. All I could think about was Great-grandma and her happy, smiling face. She cared about everyone, and I never heard her speak an unkind word. Everybody loved her. Some of my fondest memories are of her telling me Bible and Book of Mormon stories during trips.

Now she was gone.

The next day was difficult for me, and school was discouraging. We had a pop quiz that lowered my overall grade, and my eighth-grade band teacher got upset at us for no apparent reason. I tried praying for comfort, but it didn’t seem to help. I think it was because I was feeling sorry for myself.

When I came home from a Mutual activity that evening, I went into my room and locked the door. Then the tears came full force. Suddenly, I realized that if I wanted comfort, I needed to help myself a little. I opened my jewelry box and pulled out a piece of paper on which I had written three scriptures that could give comfort. The paper had been part of a Sunday School lesson a year earlier. I chose to read Doctrine and Covenants 50:5:

“But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.”

I couldn’t have felt better or more calm. I decided that I would endure and have faith. That verse had a great impact on me. So now whenever I have troubles that seem to go on and never stop, my Doctrine and Covenants is the first thing I go to. I have read that verse over and over. Then I pray about it, and pretty soon things start to get better.

When she remembered the purpose of trials and adversity, it made it easier to live through. She knew why bad things were happening, and remembered to look for the life lesson behind it.

We all have trials in our lives. Bad things happen to good people all the time. But how we react to our trials and adversity is the important part. We must turn to Heavenly Father, and rely on him. That is how we get through the hard times, and come out a better person for it.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

Eme's Talk

Emeline’s Talk

Sister Bates loved music; she played the piano and the organ. She also enjoyed reading. But she became blind in both eyes.

Sister Bates decided she couldn’t give up reading, so she learned to read Braille. She kept practicing the piano and learned to play by touch. She also came up with a way to teach beginning piano students even though she was blind.

Sister Bates didn’t let her trials stop her. She could have stopped doing the things that she loved, but instead, she found a way to work with her trial, instead of against it.

Heavenly Father’s plan for us was to be tested and tried as part of our time on earth. When we learn from our trials, we become more like Heavenly Father. We grow strong, and become better people.

Here are a few things we can do to help us when we have trials:

First, we can pray for strength. Heavenly Father loves us, and wants to help us. He will give us strength if we ask for it.

Second, we should not feel sorry for ourselves. That doesn’t help us. That just makes us feel worse.

Third, we should look at our trials as a test to make us better. We should look for the things we can learn from our trials, and look for ways to make ourselves better.

Forth, we should remember our blessings, and think about what we do have. Heavenly Father has blessed us with many things, and we need to remember them, and be thankful for them every day.

And last, we should do everything we can to fix our problems. We will have to work and do our part to make things right. Working through our trials isn’t easy, but we will be better people because of it.

When we take our trials and learn from them, it will help us when we have more trials in the future. We should remember how we overcame them, and remember the lessons we learned from them.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us, and gives us trials to learn from, and to grow from.

I say these things in the name of Jesus christ, AMEN.

Bethany's Talk - Aug 2009

Hi! My name is Bethany Harty, and we moved into the Ward at Easter time. The last 3 wards that I’ve lived in, I’ve somehow escaped talking when we moved in. From August to January we lived in my home ward with my parents while Captain America was in Basic Training and school, and I didn’t even have to talk. He came home for 2 Sundays for Christmas, and they got him to talk. But, here we are. We’re really glad to be in this ward, and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s taken us in and made us feel at home. Especially when Captain America went off to trainings. We moved into the ward while he was gone. Thanks so much to all of the sisters who took care of us while he was gone. It helped a lot.

Rather than tell you a little bio about myself, I’m gonna intersperse it into my talk.

Neal A Maxwell in the April 1997 Ensign said:

Rather than simply passing through trials, we must allow trials to pass through us in ways that sanctify us.

Trying to comprehend the trials and meaning of this life without understanding Heavenly Father’s marvelously encompassing plan of salvation is like trying to understand a three-act play while seeing only the second act. Fortunately, our knowledge of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement helps us to endure our trials and to see purpose in suffering and to trust God for what we cannot comprehend.

With that in mind, my life has had a lot of learning opportunities. I was born and raised in Florence, Oregon, a little town on the central coast. When I was 8, my family was tracked out by the missionaries, and we joined the church. I have a younger brother who is 29 and a younger sister who is 23. We’re all 5 years apart.

After high school, I went off to BYU, and while at home for a week during my Freshman/Sophomore year, I met Captain America. He was the missionary serving in my home ward. My dad was the ward mission leader at the time, so we fed them one time while I was there. I didn’t think anything of it, and went back off to BYU.

A few weeks after school started, my mom hinted that I should write to Elder Harty because he never got any mail. I wrote him a letter, and on the day he got it, he and his companion were at the lighthouse on P-day. They decided to park above the real parking lot to avoid having to pay for parking. Well, on the way down the trail, Captain America lost his footing, and tumbled. He did a football roll to recover, but felt a little off when he stood.

A few hours later, he knew there was something wrong. He’d busted his spleen. They did an emergency spleenectomy, but he had a hard time recovering. He always jokes that my letter jinxed him, but I counter that my letter saved his life. It’s all a matter of perspective.

He tried until December to heal, but it was a slow process. Finally, a week or so before Christmas, he was sent home with a medical release from his mission. It was a hard thing to understand at the time. He’d waited to go on his mission until he was 23. He was trying to serve the Lord. Yet his mission was over. He was sick. This was one of those trials that the Lord sends to strengthen us.

President Maxwell went on to say the following:

Revealed truths reassure us that we are enclosed in divine empathy. As Enoch witnessed, we worship a God who wept over needless human misery and wickedness (see Moses 7:28–29, 33, 37). Jesus’ perfect empathy was ensured when, along with His Atonement for our sins, He took upon Himself our sicknesses, sorrows, grief’s, and infirmities and came to know these “according to the flesh” (Alma 7:11–12). He did this in order that He might be filled with perfect, personal mercy and empathy and thereby know how to succor us in our infirmities. He thus fully comprehends human suffering. Truly Christ “descended below all things, in that He comprehended all things” (D&C 88:6).

Without the gospel fullness, many understandably have equivocal views not only about human suffering but also about Jesus Christ and the Resurrection. Without freshening and reinforcing modern prophets, the ancient prophets can easily become less read and less revered and can seem less relevant to daily life. Similarly, without the confirming and freshening of additional, attesting scriptures, the Bible is less read, less believed, and less convincing for some. Mankind desperately needs doctrinal nourishment!

Even daily life’s repetitiveness actually occurs for a reason. President Brigham Young reflectively observed:

“Sometimes I think it quite strange that the children of men are so constituted as to need to be taught one lesson all the time, and again it is not so marvelous to me, when I reflect upon … the designed effect … of this state of probation. Men are organized to be independent in their sphere, … yet they have, as soldiers term it, to run the gauntlet all the time. They are organized to be just as independent as any being in eternity, but that independency … must be proved and tried while in this state of existence, must be operated upon by the good and the evil” (in Journal of Discourses, 3:316).

Captain America returned home, and served a 3 month stake mission. He later told me that as he was preparing to leave the mission field, he was praying about it. He got a definite answer that yes, his mission was over, and that his next step should be to pursue me as his wife. Wow! We continued to write the whole time, and after he was released from his mission, we talked on the phone when able. After his 3 month stake mission, he flew to Oregon to live with my family until my semester at BYU was competed.

I returned home the last week in April, and we were married in the Portland Oregon temple on June 14th. Quick, I know. But 5 children and 13 years later, I still know that it was the right decision. Had Captain America not gone on his mission late, or had he not gotten hurt, we wouldn’t be where we are today. What seemed like a horrible thing at the time turned into a great blessing for us.

After we married, we lived in Utah for a short time, then moved to the St. Louis area to be near his family, and for Captain America to finish up school. We lived in 4 different rentals while we were there. We were there for about a year an a half, and had our first child, Jacob.

When Jake was 1, we moved to Oregon. Captain America had just graduated from college with his bachelors in Art Studio, and we were looking for a job. Guess what? An art studio degree won’t get you very far.

He had a few odd jobs, and we struggled financially for a while there. It was hard to understand why he couldn’t find a good job. We’d put in the time to go to school, and did what we felt was right. Why wasn’t Heavenly Father letting us get a job that would provide for our needs?

So often in life a deserved blessing is quickly followed by a needed stretching. Spiritual exhilaration may be quickly followed by a vexation or temptation. Were it otherwise, extended spiritual reveries or immunities from adversity might induce in us a regrettable forgetfulness of others in deep need. The sharp, side-by-side contrast of the sweet and the bitter is essential until the very end of this brief, mortal experience. Meanwhile, even routine, daily life provides sufficient sandpaper to smooth our crustiness and polish our rough edges, if we are meek.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh wisely cautioned: “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable” (“Lindbergh Nightmare,” Time, 5 Feb. 1973, 35).

We did the best we could, and keep our chin up, and kept looking for a real job. Finally, about a year after graduation, Captain America was hired with the Boy Scouts of America. 2 weeks after we signed a lease on a townhouse, we were transferred to a town on the coast 2 ½ hours away. Again, trial after trial.

We lived there for 3 years, in 2 different rentals, and enjoyed our time. We had 2 more children (Thomas and Emeline), and 2 miscarriages during that time. That was a trying time for me. I was sad, yet knew that I’d get through it. I knew that Heavenly Father was making me strong. Later, I realized that with my experiences, I was able to help a friend when she went through the same experience. Because I had gone through it already, I was able to help her through the sad process.

We were transferred back to Eugene, where we lived when Captain America first got on with the Boy Scouts. After 2 years, Captain America couldn’t wait to move on to something else. We had our 4th child, Joseph, there. We prayed a lot that we could move on to an area where Captain America would be able to work with people who respected him, and who he respected. We were excited to get the call that Chicago Area Council wanted him.

We moved to Chicago, and knew it was where the Lord wanted us to go. But after 6 months, we realized that we wouldn’t be able to financially afford it. Chicago was way over our budget. We bought the very cheapest house to fit our family, on the rough side of our town. We weren’t trying to live above our means. We were just barely hanging on. We had our last child, Jim, while in Chicago.

Captain America was called to be the Elders Quorum president, and I was in the primary presidency. We were serving at church. We were trying to do everything we could to help ourselves. Yet we still struggled.

Elder Maxwell went on to quote Moroni.

Moroni said that only “after the trial of [our] faith” do we receive certain assurances and blessings (Ether 12:6). Taking Jesus’ yoke upon us really does help us learn of Him as we personally experience His special love for us (see Matt. 11:29). We also come to appreciate more His meekness and lowliness.

Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us and do so in ways which sanctify these experiences for our good (see D&C 122:7). Thereby, our empathy, too, is enriched and everlasting.

Thus life is carefully designed to produce for us, if we are willing, a harvest of relevant and portable experience. But there is such a short growing season! The fields must be worked intensively amid droughts, late springs, and early frosts. For the disobedient and despairing who refuse to plant, plow, or harvest, theirs is not simply a “winter of discontent” but a despair for all seasons. The indifferent and lackluster who work only on the surface of life will harvest little. Only for the perspiring and “anxiously engaged” faithful will the harvest be manyfold (see Matt. 19:29).

We were definitely being humbled. We had to go and ask the bishop for help many times over those 3 years. While it was not a pleasant experience, it taught us many things. It taught us compassion for others, and to withhold judgment. It humbled us, and took our pride away.

Finally after 3 long years in Chicago, we were able to move. We moved to a tiny town in Southern Rural Ohio. It was a massive change from the massive city of Chicago. It was a much needed change. It seemed like the perfect spot and answer to our prayers.

We lived at Boy Scout camp when we first arrived in Ohio. Our house was on the market back in Chicago, but wasn’t moving. We stayed in a 600 square foot cabin in the woods for 3 or 4 months. The kids had to get up at 6 in the morning for me to drive them 15 minutes to catch a bus to school. It took them an hour to get there. They didn’t get home until after 4pm each day, then had to go to bed at 7pm. I hardly ever saw them. Also, 1 week after being in the ward, Captain America was called into the Bishopric.

I remember when the Stake President came and talk to us while extending the calling to Captain America, he promised us that Heavenly Father wanted Captain America in this position, and that if he served faithfully, everything would work out. And eventually it did. But it got worse before it got better.

We were able to move into a small rental from a member of the ward that had 3 bedrooms. It was double the size of the Boy Scout cabin, so it felt roomy at the time. We decided to home school the kids for a year to make up for the long, hard 3 months previous.

We were in Ohio for about a year. Captain America’s job seemed better at first, but quickly went downhill. He didn’t like the working environment. He didn’t like the way he was being treated by his supervisors. It was a rough year. Our house still hadn’t sold, and we were drowning in debt. Again, we had to humble ourselves and ask for help.

President Maxwell went on to say this in his talk:

There is another very powerful inducement for us to endure well. President Young said of Jesus, “Why should we imagine for one moment that we can be prepared to enter into the kingdom of rest with him and the Father, without passing through similar ordeals?” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 346). The Apostle Paul noted how this sacred process produces an exclusive cadre—those who have known the “fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings” (Philip. 3:10). These are they who will have the greatest capacity for endless service, joy, and happiness.

President Young observed that real faith requires faith in the Savior’s character, in His Atonement, and in the plan of salvation (in Journal of Discourses, 13:56). The Savior’s character necessarily underwrote His remarkable Atonement. Without His sublime character there could have been no sublime Atonement! His character is such that He went forth “suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” (Alma 7:11), yet He gave temptations “no heed” (D&C 20:22).

C. S. Lewis has said that only those who resist temptation really understand the power of temptation. Because Jesus resisted it perfectly, He understood temptation perfectly; hence He can help us. (See Mere Christianity [1952], 124–25.) The fact that He was dismissive of temptation and gave it “no heed” reveals His marvelous character, which we are to emulate (see 3 Ne. 12:48; 3 Ne. 27:27).

Jesus Christ, who by far suffered the most, has the most compassion—for all of us who suffer so much less. Moreover, He who suffered the most has no self-pity! Even as He endured the enormous suffering associated with the Atonement, He reached out to others in their much lesser suffering. Consider how, in Gethsemane, Jesus, who had just bled at every pore, nevertheless restored an assailant’s severed ear which, given Jesus’ own agony, He might not have noticed! (see Luke 22:50–51).

We were going through our own personal refinement. And we would come through it stronger. While in Illinois checking on our house, we met with our realtor, who was also the High Priest Group leader in our old ward. He mentioned that Captain America should join the army. We’d never considered that as a possibility. We thought he was too old. And too overweight. He’d need to cut 50 lbs to join up.

It looked like the best possible option, though. This was on April 21st, Captain America‘s birthday. By July 28th, Captain America had cut the weight, processed through the MEPS center and was headed off to Ft. Knox for basic training. The kids and I loaded up all we could fit in our suburban and homemade trailer, picked up my mom at the airport, and drove cross country to Oregon. We stayed there with her for Captain America’s trainings.

We were trying to work with the bank about our house, and with the debtors about our debt, but were meet with a brick wall. It seemed hopeless. We did our best, though. It was a hard time to be separated as a family. All 3 of the little kids slept in one bed in my sisters old room. My 2 older boys slept in tents in the backyard until the rainy season it. Then they moved to cots in the garage. I slept on a cot behind the couch. It was less than ideal. We struggled, and again had to ask for help. But I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that once we were able to go and be stationed with Captain America, all would be better. Being together as a family was what we wanted.

In January, Captain America graduated from Officer Candidate school, and was sent here. We requested that the army station him here after all his trainings, so that they’d let him bring his family with him. So, we all got to come and they paid for it. That was nice.

The kids and I loaded up the trailer and suburban again, and I drove from Oregon to El Paso. It was a long trip by myself, but I made it. I didn’t have many nerves left when I got here, but I made it.

We wanted to live on post, but there wasn’t anything open. We got on a waiting list, and signed a lease off post. I was called into the Primary presidency the 2nd week in the Hondo Pass Ward, and Captain America was quickly called in as Scoutmaster. In April, Captain America needed to go back to Ft. Benning for another training.

Right before he left, we looked into our financial options. We were drowning in money issues. The army legal team referred us to a lawyer off post, and we were able to set our finances in order. It was a very hard choice, but the best one for our family. Financially, we’d hit our rock bottom. The same day this happened, we found out that there was a house on post that opened up, and that we could have. We found out that because of our legal issues, we could get out of our lease.

Captain America left for trainings, and I orchestrated the move. This was at Easter time.

I could see the hand of the Lord in it. There’s no way it could have worked out that well on our own. He was blessing us. Through something so hard and messy, he led us out the other side, held our hand, and showered us with blessings. We were able to move into your ward. We were able to serve again. We were able to have a house on post. We were able to make friends. We were finally able to get our finances in order. It was everything we’d been trying for for the last 13 years.

In the May, 1998 Ensign, Elder Robert D. Hales said the following:

May we be able to say as Paul said to Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept [my] faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

“Behold, we count them happy which endure” (James 5:11).

There is nothing that we are enduring that Jesus does not understand, and He waits for us to go to our Heavenly Father in prayer. I testify that if we will be obedient and if we are diligent, our prayers will be answered, our problems will diminish, our fears will dissipate, light will come upon us, the darkness of despair will be dispersed, and we will be close to the Lord and feel of His love and of the comfort of the Holy Ghost.

I want each of you to know that through all of our trials, we’ve seen the hand of the Lord. At times, it seemed like our life couldn’t get any worse. It seemed like we wouldn’t survive. But looking back, I can see how the Lord was testing and preparing us. He brought us to the point where we are now. I know that the Lord tries us to teach us. To strengthen us. To prepare us for eternal life. I know that each of us has our own trials that we struggle with. I hope that we can look at them for what they are - learning experiences. I know that when we do, we will truly be blessed.

I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wanna Be Skinny, Just Like Me?

Me at 220-240 ish. My All time heaviest. I think I was pregnant at the time, but not THAT far along - LMBO (or I needed to, at least - hehehe). I'm the one with the kid, not the Winnie the Pooh character - hehehe. I only weight 186 when I started the diet, so this pic isn't really a true BEFORE picture, but you get the idea.

Me after the diet - I weight 140 lbs!!!! Those are a size 6 jeans - Who would have though???

Below is a compilation of emails over the months about my diet. It just keeps growing and growing as more people respond with more question. But, here it is, in all its glory - LMBO! Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll try and help :)

Let me see if I can answer some questions.

What do we eat:

The first 12 weeks, it's VERY regimented. No deviations whatsoever. If you can wrap your head around that, and stick to the diet, you'll have GREAT success. You can do anything for 12 weeks, right?!!!

There's a list of approved foods to pick from each day. There's a list of approved meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and such. Then, they tell you for each meal how much of each to eat. I really liked how regimented it was. I didn't have to worry about what to eat. Or when to eat. I just ate what was on my paper. No thinking about food, or worrying about what to eat. I used to care so much about food. I'd think about it all the time. I'd even dream about it (I know, pathetic, right?!!).

Here's some examples of the types of foods that we eat.


any lean beef
chicken (white only)
turkey (white only)
tuna (in can or fresh)
several types of fish
game (buffalo, deer, etc.)

(1 time a day) cheese - mozzarella or cream cheese (fat free only) - (feta one time a week)
yogurt is an option at one meal also (6 oz of fat free, plain)


green peppers (no red, yellow, or orange)
califlour (no broccoli)
onions (35 grams per meal)
tomatoes (no cherry) (35 grams per meal)

OPtional food (yeah, of COURSE I'm gonna take te optional food - LMBO!)
Fruits: (3 per day)
oranges - 200 grams
apples - 200 grams
um, more, but those are the ones that I actually ate on this plan.
saltine crackers - 12 (but you can't eat any more than 4 at a time - so 4, 3x a day)

after you do your blood work, they send you your packet, that shows what foods you can eat (apparently, they may be different for each person, but my hubby Captain America's and mine were the same foods). The also include at portions list. Captain Americas and mine were different, but only by a few grams.

For example, it would give you 3 meals a day, with 3-4 different options for each of the meals. You can put meal 1 as bkfast, lunch or dinner. Same with meal 2 and 3. But you can't have meal 2, 2 times that day. make sense? You need to have a meal 1, 2, and 3.

You have to eat your main meals 5 hours apart. I eat at 7, 12, and 5. I find that works well for me. My body EXPECTS food at those times, and if I am late, my tummy lets me know :)

Ok, lets take meal one, for example. my meal one says choose ONE of the following options: ( i can't remember the exact numbers, but these are close)

40 grams of cheese w/ 100 g of vegetables
1 egg w/ 100 g. of vegetables
80 g fish w/ 100 g of vegetables
6 oz plain non fat yogurt.

I pick the yogurt. I add splenda (artifical sweetener). I dice up 200 grams of apple, and add that in.

OR for lunch:

70 g cheese w/ 100 g veggies
105 g. chicken w/ 115 g veggies
100 g beef w/ 110 g veggies
110 g fish w/ 115 g veggies

you just pick one. I like to eat 70 grams of mozzarella cheese with 100 g of sliced cucumbers. Salads are also good. I just REALLY like cheese.

Dinner is very similar.

I eat my first (optional) fruit at b-fast, then another one at 3:00, and one at 7:00pm. I eat my crackers at 10am, 2pm, and dinner.

For dinner, I like to make stir fries. I LOVE the beef option. I use onions, green peppers, mushrooms, sometimes cabbage, tomatoes. Dice them all up, and saute. I LOVE to sautee in Diet Sprite, or Diet Coke. Yummy! You can add natural spices, just no spice blends with things like salt or starches in it. So basic spices are good (curry is AWESOME as long as it doesn't have starch).

Vinegars are good too, for salads or cooking. Basic ones (balsamic, apple, red wine, etc). About 2 tbsp per day.

Also, if it isn't on the list, don't eat it :) Period.

You can have 3 sodas a day. Diet Sprite and Diet Coke/ Pepsi are approved. those are the ones that they tested on the diet, and they don't cause problems.

I know that after my hubby started the diet, he no longer had cronic heart burn. My back aches went totally away. I used to have leg cramps, and they totally went away. My headaches are even better. It clears up a TON of medical problems. My DH always thought that he had asthma. He went on the diet, and lost weight, and no more asthma problems. Amazing! We wasted TONS of money over the years. All he needed to do was lose weight, and get healthy.

Oh yea, you can have sugar free gum, too. I think like 4 sticks a day. That helps a lot too. And you're supposed to drink TONS of water. the more you drink, the better.

It says not to exercise until after the inital diet. I started exercising when I started re-feed. I wanted to know how much I could eat while jogging as my exercise. I plan on continuing with the jogging long term, so it worked well for me. But, I would recomment NOT exercising while on the inital 12 week part. You'll put yourself into a TOO big of calorie defecet.

Hmmmm, did my grocery bill go up? I think that I spent less money, actually. The meat is probably the most expensive part. Well, the apples too. It's 3 big apples a day. But, if you take the meat, and cut it up into your portion sizes, and freeze it, you can buy big packages, and store it for later. Also, it's Thanksgiving time, so buy a GIANT turkey, and carve it up before you cook it. Measure out a TON of baggies of turkey, and you'll have WEEKS of meals.

Oh yea, I should mention that you need to buy a REALLY good scale for the food. We bought one at Wal-Mart for about $30. OK, so it's not REALLY good, but it's not one of those cheap $5 ones either - LOL! It's REALLY important to measure everything you eat. You need to know EXACTLY how much you eat. the more exact you are, the faster/better you'll loose weight.

I know for me, paying ALL that money for the program helped me stick to it. I knew that if I was gonna pay that much, I sure wasn't gonna let it go to waste.

It SO helps to have a partner that is willing to do it with you. Just don't tell anyone I did it - heheh. Sometimes it's hard to stick to the plan if people around you aren't. But, I'm proud to say, thta I didn't cheat ONCE during the WHOLE process. Woohoo for me!!!

Hmmmm, what else. I think I've written a small novel - hehehe. Seeing the results definitely helped with staying dedicated to the program.

Oh yeah, the best course would be not to eat out. But, sometimes that's a necessity. My DH had to eat out all the time on the plan. He went to subway, and got a chicken salad. The portion of chicken they use is comparable to the diet. Not exact, but close. Then, just get the veggies from the diet plan. After you eat a few salads at home, you can estimate how much that would be at subway. I told him that he should just go to subway one day, and order a salad, using his best guess. Then, he should bring it home, and weigh it out. Then, he'd know for sure next time what it should look like. But, he didn't. Oh well, it was a good plan anyway - hehehe.

All the major fast food places have salads. Even ordering a side salad, and a plain chicken breast would work. My McDonlads here in Florence will let you do that. Some will, and some won't. Just be sure to pick out anything that you're not supposed to eat (like the carrots and cherry tomatoes in McDonalds side salads.) Remember, exactness!

OK, i think that's all for now. If you have any other questions, just let me know. I've pointed TONS of people to this diet, but as of yet, no one has done it. Maybe you will be my first recruit. It's SO awesome that I think that EVERYONE should do it - hehehe.

take care

bethany :)

ADDED on 1/16/09

Yeah, we really enjoyed this diet, and I'm SO glad that I found it. Lets see if I can answer your questions:

When did you start the diet: May 2008 - Starting Weight 186 lbs. Started Re-feed on October 10th, weighing 143 lbs, finished 2 weeks later at 140.

Current weight : 149, after eating practically everything I wanted for a month. I'm working on getting back on my diet. I feel nasty from the extra 9 lbs, and know that it will come off VERY fast when I do the original diet again, but the stress of the move is almost more than I can handle - lol. When Captain America and I get established in our home again, we're both doing the original diet till we reach our target goal again, then re-doing the re-feed.

The good thing is, I KNOW that this program works. All I need to do is follow it. I've done it in the past.

Did you lose all of your 100 lbs on this diet? No, I'd done slim-fast in the past, and various other diets. at one point, I got down to 160, for about 2 years. But I went back up to 190's again.

How hard is it to keep the weight off since I've reached my goal? Well, I started to answer this above, but I'll continue it here. I really liked the foods on the diet. Maybe not at first, but I really do like them. I can eat apples and yogurt EVERY day for breakfast, and not get bored. And the re-feed was great too. You have a lot of choices as to what to eat, but here are some of my favorites. Cheese and cucumbers and a piece of fruit, and some carrots was the PERFECT lunch for me. The snacks were great (a piece of bread and a banana), and even dinner was great (more meet, more veggies than on the original diet, plus a small starch). I think my biggest problem was living at my parents house. They have food that's not on the diet, and I'm not in charge of the food choices. When we get back on our own, I'll control what foods come into the house, so I won't have to worry about wanting to grab something that I shouldn't have. KWIM?

So, while I may be up 9 or 10 lbs from my low goal, I KNOW that I can get it off easily. With my other diets, I'd be SO upset if I gained this much weight over Christmas, and be at a loss as to what to do next. I still have all my original tools to help me.

As for eating out and desserts and such, I'm doing too much right now. But again, in my NORMAL life (not living at my parents house), we don't eat out that often. Maybe once a week or less. And I think eating THAT way would be fine on the re-feed. And the re-feed actually had you eat a small cookie on one day. So theoretically, you could eat a small cookie everyday and be fine. Granted, it was a plain cookie, but you get the idea.

I guess my thought is that I'm not a naturally thin person. I'll always struggle with my weight. Like an alcoholic. they're never curred. And I've come to accept that I'll always struggle with my weight. I always need to gurad against it. As long as I realize this, I can manage my weight. I can do the steps it takes to lose the weight, and keep it off.

I'd encourage you to do it. I LOVED the program. I'm not gonna say that it's easy at first. It was REALLY hard. But I had my hubby helping me. And I really wanted it for myself. It was frustrating at times, because he lost the weight SO much faster than I did. Men - sigh - LMBO! But I did have steady weight loss. Get a calendar, and chart your progress. I know they said on the diet plan, only weigh yourself once a month, but we did it daily, and wrote the lbs in on the calendar, which hung on the bathroom wall. It was a motivation for me.

Anyway, let me know if you have any questions, and keep me posted on your diet.

Take care :)