Sep 24

Quotes about “Mists of Darkness” (Lehi’s Dream)


being deceived temptations lds quotesLehi’s vision of the Tree of Life is one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon. I love studying it! I’ve been having fun compiling quotes from different church leaders about the different parts of the dream (i.e. the iron rod, great and spacious building, etc.) I love running across talks and quotes that provide new insights about what each thing symbolizes and how it applies to our day 🙂


So here are a bunch of quotes about the “mists of darkness” I’ve gathered. Enjoy!



Quotes about the Mists of Darkness (from Lehi’s Tree of Life vision):

 mist of darkness quotes lds tree of life

“You are living in a world where mists of moral and spiritual darkness surround you and where the adversary is seeking the souls of men through all manner of iniquity.” (Sharon G. Samuelson)



Some of these mists of darkness, or temptations that Satan uses to obscure the path to eternal life, are specifically directed at women. He makes chastity and moral purity appear old-fashioned. He has made motherhood seem less important. He has been successful in confusing women about their roles in the Lord’s divine plan.” (Mary N. Cook)



“The family has an advantage in the first eight years of a child’s life. In those protected years, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Satan’s use of the mists of darkness to hide the path to return home is blocked. In those precious years the Lord helps families by calling Primary workers to help strengthen children spiritually. He also provides holders of the Aaronic Priesthood to offer the sacrament. In those sacramental prayers, the children hear the promise that they may someday receive the Holy Ghost as a guide if they are obedient to God’s commandments. As a result, they are fortified to resist temptation when it comes and then, sometime in the future, to go to the rescue of others.” (President Henry B. Eyering)



“When those mists of darkness enveloped the travelers in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, it enveloped all of the participants—the righteous as well as the unrighteous, the young along with the elderly, the new convert and seasoned member alike. In that allegory all face opposition and travail, and only the rod of iron—the declared word of God—can bring them safely through. We all need that rod. We all need that word. No one is safe without it, for in its absence any can “[fall] away into forbidden paths and [be] lost,” as the record says. (Jeffrey R. Holland)


Similar quote, but worded differently:

“In Lehi’s dream an already difficult journey gets more difficult when a mist of darkness arises, obscuring any view of the safe but narrow path his family and others are to follow. It is imperative to note that this mist of darkness descends on all the travelers—the faithful and the determined ones (the elect, we might even say) as well as the weaker and ungrounded ones. The principal point of the story is that the successful travelers resist all distractions, including the lure of forbidden paths and jeering taunts from the vain and proud who have taken those paths.” (Jeffrey R. Holland)



“Mists of darkness were a nightmare symbol to ancient Arab poets.” (John Bytheway)



“Invariably darkness is given as the main source of terror… and the culminating horror is almost always a ‘mist of darkness,’ a depressing mixture of dust, and clammy fog, which, added to the night, completes the confusion of any who wander in the waste. Quite contrary to what one would expect, these dank mists are described by travelers in all parts of Arabia, and al-Ajajj, one of the greatest of early desert poets, tells how a ‘mist of darkness’ makes it impossible for him to continue a journey to Damascus.” (Hugh Nibley)



“Lehi describes not just a mist in the darkness, but a mist of darkness.” (John Bytheway)



“A thick darkness creates a sort of ‘blindness,’ not only making it difficult to see, but isolating travelers from others on the path. The effect is loneliness, and the decision to continue or give up becomes an individual one.” (John Bytheway)



“Before the mist of darkness arose, the rod of iron was an unused benefit—with the mist, it becomes the only way to make progress.” (John Bytheway)



Since the building is up high ‘in the air,’ it is the only thing the mists of darkness allow us to see—Satan wants to hide everything else, especially the tree and the rod of iron; he wants us to see only the building and notice the mocking and scoffing.” (John Bytheway)



While the mists of darkness made it difficult to see, there is nothing in the dream which impaired the travelers’ ability to hear. The nearer they came to the tree of life, the more mocking they heard from the great and spacious building.” (John Bytheway)



“The river running closely by the path represents the depths of hell. It is ever present, waiting to claim any who are careless or rebellious. Often this river sends up mists of darkness, which are the temptations of the devil. These mists obscure our vision and make the path seem a little slippery and unsure.” (Cheryl C. Lant)



“We each will experience our own distractions and ‘mists of darkness.’ Satan knows us, and he wants us. He will do everything in his power to divert us from our goal. He wants to destroy our purpose.” (Cheryl C. Lant)



“Here is the next question I would like each of us to ask: What are my mists of darkness? Satan knows each of us well. He knows each of our strengths and he knows our weaknesses. Satan knows how to press our mortal buttons. And believe me, he is doing it at every opportunity. The way he tries to get me may be different from the way he tries to get you. But he is very good at finding our weak spots and hitting hard. What is it for you? Maybe it is discouragement or self-doubt. Maybe it is laziness. Or it could be influencing you to let a healthy curiosity lead you to doubting your own convictions. Maybe the mist is procrastination. Or it could be anger. It could be allowing Satan to gain power over you through horrible addictions to substances or pornography.”  (Cheryl C. Lant)



“I don’t know about you, but I have always envisioned the path as being on relatively flat terrain. While the scriptures tell us time and again the path is strait and narrow, it doesn’t say anything about it being level. If my experience is any indication, those who walk the path will be going down some steep inclines, up some rugged ravines, and across some raging rivers. It’s not just that the mists of darkness make it difficult to see the path—the path you are on will not always be smooth or level and your journey will not always be easy. Nevertheless, staying on the path is the only way back to our Heavenly Father.” (J. Matthew Shumway)



“In recent months a satanic attack has been launched against the young men and women of this Church. The leaders of this attack are largely apostates who seek to make people miserable like unto themselves. . . .Beware of such vipers, such faith pickpockets. They pretend to distill upon you corrective truths, when in reality they are stirring up ‘mists of darkness’ which serve only to blind eyes, harden hearts, and lead precious souls away from the true and living God.” (Carlos E. Asay)



Television, magazines, pulp novels, the Internet—these comprise a familiar litany of those media influences that thrust before us the vilest lusts and most insidious wiles of the adversary. Enticing and addicting, they cause many to lose their way—even ‘the very elect,’ as Jesus said (Matthew 24:24)—much as those seen by Lehi in his dream became lost in ‘an exceedingly great mist of darkness’ (1 Nephi 8:23). Even our very homes are no longer an automatic refuge from such things. It is as though these mists aggressively chase us, like the ancient destroying angel, seeping in through cracks in the doors and the windows, over the transom, and across the threshold. They are before us with the single touch of a remote control button or a computer keystroke. Like the ancient Israelites, our only protection is in the blood of the Lamb. But we are past the day when we can merely paint the blood of a sheep on our doorposts as protection against the onslaught of this modern destroying angel. Our devotion to the Lamb must be inscribed on the ‘fleshy tables of the heart’ (2 Corinthians 3:3)—an endeavor more easily spoken of than accomplished in today’s world.”  (Lance B. Wickman)


“It is when we are lost in the mists of darkness and cannot find our way that we most desperately need the influence of the Lord. Nowhere in all of the scriptural injunctions on prayer do we find the suggestion that we must first be perfect in order to communicate with God.” (M. Russell Ballard)


“I have often thought of the mists of darkness as a deep fog. I have been in a deep fog a few times. Basically I could not see anything except a very few feet in front of me. Driving a car or even walking in a deep fog can be extremely scary. However, sometimes I think that the mists on the path can be even darker than a fog. Have you ever been deep inside a cave? I have taken tours through several caves; inside it is completely dark. My eyes could never adjust and I could never see anything at all, even two inches in front of my eyes. I imagine that sometimes the mists of darkness are that dark. The mists represent the temptations of the devil. And when travelers are overcome by the mists and leave the strait and narrow path, they can get lost on broad roads or even fall in the river of filthy water, which represents the depths of hell.” (Glade Tew)



“Today, we need to cling with all of our might, hold fast, because the temptations of the devil, the mists of darkness are just too great. They are like a great tsunami.”  (Glade Tew)



“How strong are the mists of darkness in your life? Do you want the power to resist temptation and overcome deception? Then read the Book of Mormon. Study the Book of Mormon.” (Glade Tew)



“The great mists of darkness arise in our lives at various times and take many forms. Sometimes they are great temptations and trials, but most often they are very subtle to the point it is hardly noticeable that our grip on the iron rod has loosened.” (Kevin Miyasaki)



“It may be the mists of ingratitude or entitlement that blind you from seeing the small and simple means the Lord uses to mold you. . .Sometimes the mist of darkness is how we see our outward appearance. We may think our hair is horrible, our walk weird, our shape unsightly, or our voice undesirable. There are countless comparisons we can see in others and instantly judge ourselves as inadequate. The beauty of our spirit is blinded by the focus on the tabernacle of our body. There are the foggy times when we face disease, defects, and death in our personal lives or those we love. Or there are the mists that come from our lack of confidence. Spiritual sight impairment is evident anytime our thoughts, actions, and words are contrary to the will and mind of Christ. I invite you to pray to have the Lord reveal your spiritual blind spots. If you ask in faith, he will provide insights so your blindness can be revealed.” (Kevin Miyasaki)
“Mists of darkness are a vital part of God’s plan. Our spiritual blindness causes us to yearn to see that which is unseen to the natural eyes. We learn that things of the spirit can only be seen when relying upon the atonement and healing power of the Savior.”  (Kevin Miyasaki)



“To navigate through these mists of darkness we need the iron rod, which represents the word of God (see 1 Nephi 15:23–24). We must study and understand the truths and commandments found in the scriptures. We must listen carefully to the words of our latter-day prophets, whose teachings will give us guidance, direction, and protection. And we must hold to the standards found in For the Strength of Youth.” (Mary N. Cook)



“The enemy and his angels are trying to distract us. Their purpose is to encourage us to deviate from the covenants that we have made with the Lord, causing us to lose sight of our eternal inheritance. They know well our Heavenly Father’s plan for His children, for they were present with us in that great Council in Heaven when it was all presented. They try to take advantage of our weaknesses and frailties, deceiving us with ‘mists of darkness …, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.’ ” (Elder Ulisses Soares)

How to combat/avoid the mists of darkness:


“Light dispels darkness. When light is present, darkness is vanquished and must depart. More importantly, darkness cannot conquer light unless the light is diminished or departs. When the spiritual light of the Holy Ghost is present, the darkness of Satan departs.” (Robert D. Hales)
“I testify that we can avoid the mists of darkness that lead to personal apostasy by repenting of our sins, overcoming offense, eliminating faultfinding, and following our Church leaders. We can also avoid those mists by humbling ourselves, forgiving others, keeping our covenants, partaking of the sacrament worthily each week, and strengthening our testimonies through prayer, daily scripture study, temple attendance where possible, magnifying our Church callings, and serving our fellowmen. We need to be concerned and watchful in order to avoid the mists of darkness that can lead to personal apostasy.”  (Elder Claudio D. Zivic)


“There is no shortcut to eternal salvation. Snares, pitfalls, and mists of darkness will come into your lives. I’m sure you have experienced some already. You will run into difficulties, but if you hold very tightly to the iron rod of righteousness, you will receive blessings and protection from the Lord.” (Sharon G. Samuelson)
“When adversity comes, don’t let something you don’t fully understand unravel everything you do know. Be patient, cling to truth; understanding will come. Trials are like great mists of darkness that can blind our eyes and harden our hearts. Unless we are ‘continually holding fast’ to the word of God and living it, we will become spiritually blinded rather than spiritually minded. Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost.” (Elder Kevin W. Pearson)



Christ is your light and He will show you the way through the happy times and the mists of darkness. You never need to feel alone or forsaken.” (Sharon G. Larsen)



“You are never lost when you can see the temple. The temple will provide direction for you and your family in a world filled with chaos. It is an eternal guidepost which will help you from getting lost in the ‘mist of darkness.'” (Elder Gary E. Stevenson)



“There is a quality of faith which develops as we focus all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. It is seen and felt in the eyes of a great missionary, a valiant and virtuous young woman, and righteous mothers, fathers, and grandparents. It can be seen in the lives of individuals young and old, in every land and culture, speaking every language, in every circumstance and station in life. It is the ‘eye of faith’ spoken of by the prophet Alma (see Alma 5:15–26)—the ability to focus and be steadfast, continually holding fast to true principles, nothing wavering, even when the mist of darkness confronting us is exceedingly great. This quality of faith is exceedingly powerful.” (Elder Kevin W. Pearson)
Discernment is a light of protection and direction in a world that grows increasingly dark. You and I can press forward safely and successfully through the mist of darkness and have a clear sense of spiritual direction. Discernment is so much more than recognizing right from wrong. It helps us distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, the important from the unimportant, and the necessary from that which is merely nice. The gift of discernment opens to us vistas that stretch far beyond what can be seen with natural eyes or heard with natural ears. Discerning is seeing with spiritual eyes and feeling with the heart—seeing and feeling the falsehood of an idea or the goodness in another person. Discerning is hearing with spiritual ears and feeling with the heart—hearing and feeling the unspoken concern in a statement or the truthfulness of a testimony or doctrine.” (Elder David A. Bednar)



“The mist of darkness will cover you at times so much that you will not be able to see your way even a short distance ahead. You will not be able to see clearly. But you can feel your way. With the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way ahead through life. Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way through life (see 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8).” (Boyd K. Packer)



“I remember learning about Lehi’s vision in the Book of Mormon when I was quite young. I could picture the iron rod leading to the tree of life, and the frightening mist of darkness that swept around the path leading to the tree. I understood that if you held on to the rod, no matter how scary the darkness was, you wouldn’t get lost.” (Jeffrey R. Holland)
“There may be moments of doubt or discouragement when we feel as though we are enveloped in the mists of darkness. Do not underestimate what we each can receive from the solemn, sure testimony of the Savior borne by His special witnesses. That witness, received in a spirit of faith, will strengthen us in moments of difficulty and give us a firm footing as we move along the path toward the tree of life. Hold fast to the words of the prophets. Ponder them. Believe them. Trust them. Follow them.” (Neil L. Andersen)



“Traveling through mists of darkness is a completely normal part of God’s plan. He allows us to experience difficulties from time to time so that we can completely depend on Him and His Son. The key is to cling to the iron rod.” (Juventa Vezzanir)

lds quotes about temptations


Sep 23

The Bounce House in Orem! (Review)

bounce house inflatable slide oremfun things to do in provo orem

I found my new favorite place! We recently went to “The Bounce House” in Orem for Nephi’s birthday. We wanted to go somewhere fun like a trampoline place or somewhere with inflatables he could bounce on. We were already familiar with HangTime, Lowe’s Extreme Air Sports, Jump-On-It, and the Classic Skating Fun Center, but after discovering this new place, I’m sold.

The biggest perk is the price. You pay an entrance admission only – not an hourly fee, like most of the other places charge. And they’ll even let you come back later in the day if you want. 2 and under are free! And then it’s just $5 for kids 3-7, and $8 for 8 and up. (that’s similar to the price you’d pay PER HOUR at many of the other bounce/trampoline alternatives).


And parents can play too! With all the stuff they have, it can be just as much fun for adults as it is for the kids. In fact, I kinda wanna go there on a date with Alex sometime 🙂


Adults don’t have to pay admission if they’re just spectators. There’s a bunch of chairs where you can sit and watch your kids while they play.


What does it have?

There’s more bounce stuff than at Classic Skating (which only has 3 or 4). This place has like 10+ different inflatable attractions! Including a big blow-up slide, a bungee run, several obstacle courses, an inflatable boxing ring, a four person joust, etc. They also have a balloon cage, a balance tightrope thingamajig, a foam pit with a rock climbing wall, as well as other carnival-type games, and a bunch of small playhouses/slides/toys to keep the younger ones/toddlers entertained.


the bounce house orem fun center
foam pit bounce house oremfoam pit rock climbing wall orem


I loved the balloon cage (several fans blow the balloons all around- kids have lots of fun trying to catch them). Such a fun idea!
balloon cage bounce house fun orem


There’s virtual games upstairs (an interactive projector/game floor) that Nephi and Celeste had a blast stomping around on. Oh and there’s couches upstairs too so it’s more comfy up there 🙂


bounce projector game system bounce house orem

Other Perks:

  • There are pretty cheap snacks/concessions (25 cent string cheeses, for example), capri suns/drinks, nachos, etc. Not ridiculously expensive like at other places.
  • Little-known! I was surprised at how few people were there. We even had the whole thing to ourselves for about an hour or so. Maybe it was because it was during school hours, but more people need to know about this place!
  • The staff is super nice & easy-going/lax (at least they were when we went).


A Couple Tips:


Bring socks! They require you to wear socks & leave your shoes by the door before you enter – even if you’re just a spectator. Preferably ones that are snug & don’t fall off easily (because they have a tendency to get lost in the foam pit). They sell them for a dollar if you forget (or they let you use used ones from the “lost n found” box, but that’s a little iffy).


Also, it seems like they rent out some of their inflatables sometimes. When we were upstairs, a couple guys came and took down the inflatable jousting ring and loaded it into a truck– which was fine since we weren’t using it and there’s so many other things to do anyway– but it’s at least something to be aware of.

inflatable double slide twin slide bounce housebungee run bounce house orem

slide castle bounce house funinflatable backyard fun provo orem

Anyway, I feel like I found one of the best-kept secrets in Utah Valley and wanted to share for those of you who might be interested. I really hope they don’t go out of business!


Sep 21

50+ Tagalog Quotes & Memes for Latter-day Saints!

Here are a bunch of maganda quotes, memes, info-graphics, etc. from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – mostly magazine clippings from Tagalog issues of the Liahona 🙂

I compiled these in hopes that it would be of help to some Tagalog speakers/missionaries out there trying to locate more christian Tagalog quotes online. I was trying to make these more accessible since the Tagalog editions of the Ensign are quite hidden & extremely hard to find on the church’s website. Hope you enjoy! For anyone not familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can learn more at

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Jul 10

Little-known Stories & Things I Love & Admire About Alex

It’s my husband’s birthday today! And so I’m going to indulge & brag to the world about how utterly awesome he is. Because hey, I’m his wife and I can do that! He has no idea I’m doing this…mwahahaha 😉


Might be super gushy but I don’t care- It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so I’m gonna! Because Alex is really an amazing and inspirational person, and I honestly just think the world would be a better place if everyone had the chance to get to know him like I do.

Happy bride awesome husband

If I were to describe Alex with a few short words, they would be: Disciple, Pure-hearted, Kind, Cheerful/Optimistic, Charitable, Giving, Sincere, Selfless, Go-getter. 

 (Okay I tried doing less words, but I feel like all of these words are necessary to truly capture his amazingness)


Funny side note: I remember when we were dating, my dad joked that “if Rebecca doesn’t marry him, one of my other daughters has to!”

Okay you ready? Here we go! From the bottom of my heart:

27 Reasons Why I Love & Admire Alex!

*After  numbering all the bullet points, I realized that there were exactly 27!    (He’s turning 27 today!)   And I totally didn’t even try to do that, haha!  That makes my day.  

1. He’s the most optimistic person I’ve ever met!

I love Alex’s optimistic attitude. Alex has a gift for finding the silver lining/sliver of sunshine in every cloudy situation. He never complains- always looks for the good in every situation. In fact, I’m convinced that he’d be happy even we lived a cardboard box – and he would even get excited about all the ‘good’ things about the situation. (i.e. “Hey this is gonna be great! We could totally make a hilarious video of this and put it on our Youtube channel!” Or “Hey this is awesome – now I can relate better with people who live in cardboard boxes” (people who know Alex know it’s totally something he would say, hehe). Or “Look at these walls! Not only are they walls, but they can double up as paper to write important notes on! This is awesome!”  Haha 🙂 No but really, I love how Alex sees trials as blessings (for example, growing up he struggled with acne—but he thinks back on it as a blessing because it helped him to become more humble and less concerned about what others think). Alex can turn the grayest night into the brightest day. For him, it’s just a matter of flipping your perspective- something he’s truly mastered the art of.

2. Fun sense of humor

spontaneous fun alex

Alex is delightful. In stressful situations, he likes to make me laugh by having a sense of optimism that’s a little over-the-top and by cracking jokes to make some light-hearted fun out of the situation.

His sense of humor is super wholesome too, which is refreshing! He doesn’t belittle or put others down as a way to be funny. If anything, he’ll poke fun at himself 😉

3. Goofy 🙂

He’s super goofy too, which always makes things fun & memorable. (Like, our first date: he brought me a bunch of bananas-  random, right? And then we went to his ward talent show where he did a walking handstand while playing a recording of himself singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic on 4 parts. Haha, makes me giggle every time I think back on that!) From singing silly made-up songs while washing dishes, to dancing in a banana suit for a video shoot, or dancing on a busy corner of an intersection with a huge sign promoting his website, to having the idea to ride a unicycle while wearing a propeller cap on campus, etc. there’s never a dull moment with Alex.

He’s just a fun person to be around, to play games with, and even just to hear him talk- because of the way he is and how he likes to be silly.Alex silly missionary dog

If you need more examples to make your day:

4. Spontaneous

I love how Alex likes to be spontaneous and try new things.  “Let’s invite ___ over for dinner!” or “Let’s sleep in the tent tonight!” etc. He’s always proposing out-of-the-ordinary ideas like randomly delivering treats to a neighbor, going to talk to some random person, hiking in the rain, having lunch in an elevator, dancing on a fire hydrant in front of a restaurant, singing Disney songs in an underground tunnel, walking to Salt Lake from Provo, manually grinding 50 lbs of wheat in one day, and so on.

5. Super Sincere

Alex is not sarcastic. He’s incredibly sincere in conversations and interactions with others. (He even writes me poetry!) I love it because I know he always means what he says. He doesn’t make fun of things that he feels are sacred, especially life. He is very sweet in that he cares tremendously about my feelings and doesn’t ever brush them aside.

I remember a friend once telling me (describing Alex), “You know, I don’t say this about many guys, but, man, he’s a sweetheart!

True that.

 super sincere alex

6. People Person!

Alex is a talker – he talks to people everywhere he goes. At the park, out to eat, in the parking lot, at church, on the bus (that’s how we met). This is the very first thing I noticed about him. He was friendly and striking up conversations with random strangers while we were all waiting for the bus. Several other people at bus stop seemed to have met him already. I remember being super impressed by that.

He believes that time is best spent talking, getting to know, and learning from other people. That’s one of the reasons he loves taking public transportation so much – there’s ample opportunities to befriend and meet all sorts of people you would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. Alex loves going to networking events and social gatherings where he can talk to people (very fitting since he’s an entrepreneur).

7. He loves everyone as a friend

One thing I think is neat is that Alex wishes every single person on his Facebook friends list a happy birthday. No matter if they’re just an acquaintance, or how distant their relationship might be, he does it just as a way to show he cares because he wants everyone to feel loved and like someone cares about them. Also, he accepts everyone as a friend and he’ll often request to be Facebook friends even if he just met you once. You don’t have to qualify to be considered his friend- he just loves you as a person.

8. Delightful!

Of course, I can’t help but mention the fact that he’s charming, charismatic, cute, tall, handsome, & all of the above.  Bright eyes, sparkling smile, and he is so dang cute when he gets excited! He giggles kinda like Tigger, haha 🙂 His eyes light up and sparkle, and he sometimes jumps up and down and gets all giddy or pumped about an idea/exciting thing that happened. I just love it when he gets excited. And because his brain is so full of fun ideas, there are LOTS of things that get him excited. Oh yeah, and I love dancing with him, like, a lot.

9. Musical

Alex is an amazing singer. I love hearing him sing. (He seriously sings like Josh Groban!) I love how he enjoys singing together as a family, around the house. One thing I think is super cool is that he taught himself to play the piano. He doesn’t play a ton, but when we were dating he taught himself to play “All of Me” by Jon Schmidt- not an easy piece for a beginner!

10. Amazing Self-mastery

Alex has incredible self-discipline. Examples: He never complains or loses his temper (even when Nephi did a cannonball on his foot that put him in crutches for a few days). He’s patient in situations when it would be easy to be impatient. He never says unkind things/gossips about people behind their backs. He is always careful not to make a promise he’s not 100% sure if he can keep. He holds himself to very high moral standards (for example, he doesn’t even watch PG-13 movies! Years ago he decided to give up anything that didn’t measure up to the media guidelines in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet (even his favorite violent action-packed stuff) – and he did it all of his own accord! I know it was hard for him, but he’s never regretted it because he feels so much closer to the spirit now. Pretty awesome. I really admire him for that. He also used to waste a lot of time on video games when he was younger, but he’s completely overcome that addiction.

11. Pure intents/desires

I don’t think I’ve ever met someone with purer motives than Alex.

He never has “what’s in it for me?” as his motive, even in business-related endeavors & decisions. He is always willing to bend over backwards to freely help someone out, giving of his time, talents, expertise, etc.–things that, I think many people would only do for compensation. His primary focus is on serving others and building relationships. Even when he’s already overwhelmed with work and personal demands, he often still makes time to serve because he believes that helping others freely will lead to the greater good and is what God would want him to do. I often hear him end his conversations with, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!”

Even when it comes to business, Alex feels that he can serve a lot more people by providing resources/services for free, and still make a living (kind of like Google’s “freemium” model). And so far it’s proved to be true. Sure he could probably make a lot more money by choosing a less service-oriented model that could squeeze out as much profit as possible at the cost of others/those he is trying to serve, but he doesn’t. Because making money isn’t his focus. While many associate the words “business” and “entrepreneurship” with a focus on money and profit, Alex thinks of it simply as a medium of making a difference in the world and being enabled to serve others…making a living is simply a necessary by-product that allows him to keep doing what he’s doing.

Alex has a “Thy will not mine” mindset. He strongly believes in the concept of handing his life over to God & laying everything on the altar, so to speak. He just wants to do what Heavenly Father wants him to do- simple as that. When we pray together, he almost always asks Heavenly Father to to help us “build the kingdom” as we go about our daily endeavors that day.

he can make more out of your life than you can quoteDoing God's will quote life purpose

(Yeah, Alex is cool enough to have memes made out of quotes by him!  Ha ha 🙂 No, I didn’t make this meme , someone else did)

12. Without Guile/Genuine

Along with having super pure motives, Alex is the most “without guile” person I’ve ever met. He’s completely candid in his conversations and interactions with others. Very honest and open and transparent – he doesn’t ever try to deceive or mislead, even in situations where it might seem like the social norm to do so. And he likes to assume that other people are just as guileless as he is. I always know I can completely trust him, because he has absolutely no ulterior motives and his heart is full of goodness and righteous desires.
I love Alex

13. Achiever/Goal-setter

Alex has really mastered this. He is so inspirational when it comes to goal-setting! While some lack the faith and motivation to reach their goals, Alex does what it takes to actually achieve them. And he sets many of his goals based on prayer and revelation; if a certain goal feels right/good to him, he’ll set it, even if it seems a bit of a stretch- then come to find out later, through an unexpected turn of events, that it is indeed reachable (because he had enough faith to set that goal). It’s inspiring. For example, I remember last year he had set the goal to get 700 interviews uploaded by end of the year. But as the year was coming to a close, it seemed like it was going to be a bit out of reach. But through hard work and a few tender mercies, he was able to achieve that goal by the 31st! And lots of other examples like that.

goals small part of our potential quote Ballard

Also, here’s a little clip where he talks about goal-setting on his mission:

14. Full of ideas

I remember a friend once saying how he was amazed that there could be “so many ideas inside one little person,” haha. Seriously though, he’s the ultimate idea generator. It’s what you call the brain of an entrepreneur. He’s fun to brainstorm with.


15. Alex is a go-getter. When he catches a vision of something he wants to accomplish, he goes out there and gets it done! Doesn’t matter if no one believes in his idea or if they all think he’s crazy, he makes things happen. I’m amazed at how much he has accomplished ever since we started PreparetoServe. It’s awe-inspiring to me. (And mark my words, you aint seen nothin yet…I’m convinced that in his endeavors that lie ahead, he’s going to make some even bigger waves and really make a positive mark on the world).

Alex is pro-active. I admire how he takes the initiative! His attitude and way of handling problems reminds me of Nephi and the broken bow. When Nephi’s bow broke, he didn’t just wait around for someone to fix the situation, he took the initiative to make a new one. Likewise, when he was commanded to build a ship, he didn’t just wait around for the Lord to tell him what to do – he was proactive in asking where he should find ore to start making tools. That’s Alex. At home, in his work, in relationships, etc. he is very pro-active. He figures out what needs to happen and then makes it happen. (For example, we probably never would have even started dating had he not been so pro-active about making it happen– the reason being, we had only had one chance encounter on the bus.  We didn’t live in the same ward, have any classes together, and wouldn’t have had much opportunity to get to know each other, had one of us not been deliberate about making it happen).

people of accomplishment happen to things quotego getter do the impossible quote

16. Inspirational

Alex’s worst fear is not reaching his full potential. I don’t think I know anyone else who is as consecrated, happy, and who has made such an impact on so many people, who has reached such a high percentage of his potential as he has at such a young age. I think that Heavenly Father is grateful for a son like Alex, who has accomplished so much good and is willing to give his all to the Lord.

If someone were to ask me what Alex’s life motto might be, I’d probably say “Faith not Fear” because of how much it seems that decision has influenced some of the most important decisions of his life. I love his philosophy of putting everything on the alter, and going forward with full speed as if it’s going to work out instead of fearing it won’t. I think that attitude is so cool. That’s why I think of him when I hear the this song.

Alex is the type of person who goes out to make a difference. One thing I remember his mom saying (right before he left on his mission) was that Alex is one of those people who “has a lot of positive energy”  & how he’s going to use that energy to do a lot of good & to help a lot of people. I agree!

I remember going with him to one of his mission reunions and how several people mentioned how Alex “was a legend” on the mission. I’m proud of him. I think that’s true of him in general. With all that he’s accomplishing and all the good that he’s producing, I think he’s gonna end up leaving quite a legacy behind him.

17. Close to the spirit

I’ve always admired Alex for his sensitivity to the Holy Ghost and for his courage to follow those promptings that come to him. Even when it’s awkward – like the time when he felt prompted to go up and talk with a random stranger, who ended up helping to point him in the direction of majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Or sending a message to an acquaintance he barely knows. Or doing a random act of service for someone.

He is very conscientious of when the spirit is there and when it is not. And he strives to make any necessary corrections in order to become worthy to have the spirit operate in his life in full force.

I love how he seeks personal revelation and, when receives a prompting, he takes it seriously as something he is “called to do.” And he takes notes of his feelings/impressions from the spirit and converts them into specific goals.

18. He’s a ‘real’ man

Alex is strong, has courage, self-mastery, & is considerate and gentle at the same time. He doesn’t try to mold himself to societal trends that try to define what makes a man. He’s not afraid to open up and be vulnerable/talk about emotions, for instance. Not many guys are like that. I feel like I’m pretty lucky to have a guy who likes to talk about things. And he’s super strong. Beats everyone at arm wrestling. Yet he never uses his strength to take advantage of others or to put people down. One of the most attractive things to me about him is, even though he’s way buff, he is still gentle and loving, which shows a lot of strength of character and self-discipline. I also admire how he’s not obsessed with a lot of things that other guys seem to be obsessed with, like violence, sports, shooting, cars, hunting, etc. (Not that those are all bad things, but it’s refreshing that he’s not super obsessed with that stuff).

Most of all, I love how he has the courage to stand up for the right. I remember a story about when he made a bet with and arm-wrestled one of his coworkers, as a fun and playful way of getting him to stop using inappropriate humor at work. I think he has a gift of knowing how to handle potentially contentious situations and turning them into more positive encounters.

19. Loves the Gospel!

Alex doesn’t just live the gospel, he LOVES it! Alex treasures the scriptures and gets so excited about them. I remember that one time when we were dating and Alex came up and started talking to me excitedly about a really cool insight he had gained from reading the scriptures that morning. A few minutes into it, a random guy came over, just to tell him “You are wonderful.” The guy had overheard our conversation and was uplifted by the way Alex was beaming and talking about the scriptures/gospel with that much excitement. I love that too.

love the gospel quote

20. Always giving/serving

Alex is SO helpful around the house. I remember my grandma, when we were living with her, would always comment “Oh wow, I’ve never known a husband to be so helpful around the house!” or “You really have a wonderful husband!” It’s true – he is such a Christlike husband, always giving of himself and serving me in a million small ways throughout the day. One thing he deserves a medal for is the way he offers to change all the poopy diapers (if he’s around when it happens). I don’t know how many husbands would do that! He’s amazing. Makes me homemade chicken noodle soup when I’m sick (and always adds a funny secret ingredient that I have to guess). Let’s me sleep in/watches the kids often. Surprises me by making breakfast or dinner randomly. Helps with dishes, laundry, trash without being asked, etc. I feel super blessed.

He is always thinking of how he can serve others and never thinks of himself – even on his birthday! (He signed up to clean the church building at 8am this morning. And when I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday…instead of requesting a fun day full of activities focused on himself, he suggested going out to pick up litter as a family ’cause “it’d be so fun!” or doing some secret service for someone. That’s typical; he’s that service-minded. It’s truly what brings him the most joy.

21. Friendly and kind to all

Alex doesn’t discriminate against anyone. It doesn’t matter if they are drastically different from him, mentally challenged, socially awkward, homeless, or just downright rude- he’ll treat them kindly and with total respect. (Like this one lady we met on the Trax once who, once she found out we attended BYU, started bashing on Mormons and BYU bigtime- but I was impressed because Alex was super kind back and didn’t get defensive or take any offense). It doesn’t matter who they are or what their lifestyle is like, he treats them the same & somehow has a gift for getting along with every single one of them. (Another example- after touring a house in a very ghetto part of Ogden, he was talking to a neighbor lady and then was approached by her husband- a very rough-looking guy (who happened to be a sex-offer/drug-user/used a ton of vulgar language, etc.) but Alex totally treated him with respect and ended up getting along just great with him.

I’ve noticed that Alex has a way of softening the hearts of angry, narcissistic people for some reason. He treats them with respect and kindness even when others might not.  I love this story: So one time, when we were visiting Mount Pleasant for General Conference, Alex went with my dad to the Priesthood session over at the church. Well at the beginning of the broadcast, Alex felt a prompting to step outside for a minute, and so he did. And he found a very angry nonmember guy who was saying something like “whoever the *bleep* parked in front of my house, get your *bleepity bleep* car out of my *bleepity bleep* driveway!”  I imagine it was a little tense at first, but Alex just started up a conversation with the guy and tried to show kindness (even though it wasn’t his car that was parked in the guy’s driveway). Well he ended up acting as the guy’s sounding board for a good long while- Alex just listened non-judgmentally as the guy cursed and vented to him about all sorts of things/the Mormons, etc. After a while, the guy eventually calmed down and because of Alex’s kind-heartness, his heart seemed softened. They left on a positive note and as Alex went to go back inside, the man smiled and told him, “You just keep on doin what you’re doin.”

I love that story. It reminds me of something that President Monson would do (following unusual promptings to minister to someone in need). And I feel like shows a lot about Alex’s character and positive influence on others.

 follow the spirit quote lds

22. Kind-hearted and generous

I can say this honestly: Alex truly loves everyone and doesn’t hold grudges or feelings of resentment towards a single human being. He never talks unkindly about anyone. I’ve never known him to do that. He is the most kind-hearted guy!

And he assumes the best of everyone. Always forgiving. Gives others the benefit of the doubt. He doesn’t worry about what others think. His second-nature is to assume that others are just as charitable as he is. I don’t know anyone who has developed more charity in his/her heart than he.

charity giving others the benefit of the doubt quote lds

For example, (he’d never tell people all this, but I can!) there have been many instances when he has run across a homeless person, and gone out of his way to befriend them and to find out their needs and do what he can do to give to them. One time, he invited a homeless man to our home, even let him take a shower, and then noticed that the man’s shoes were very old and worn out and so he offered him his own shoes (in fact, the very nicest shoes that he owned.)  Another time, he saw a homeless lady outside and asked her what kinds of foods she enjoyed, and then went inside the store and put together a $50 package of delicious goodies and snacks. He also once paid for a hotel for a homeless man for a few days (and this coming from someone who’s not super well off himself).

23. Gift for Teaching/Mentoring

A few years ago we had the fun opportunity to teach the 4 year-olds together in Primary. It gave me an opportunity to see some very positive qualities that Alex has. He is very good at captivating little children’s’ attention in a positive way and finding ways to make things fun and relate-able for them. I’ve also seen this countless time in his interactions with nieces & nephews, and with our own children especially.

He has the gift of teaching. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he teaches a lot by example. And he has a great love for those he has a chance to influence. Also, one of the most important thing in teaching is the attitude of the teacher, and his enthusiasm for life and learning is contagious!


He’s a natural born mentor. He takes the time to mentor others one-on-one. Whether it’s a child, a fellow YouTuber, classmate, friend, or fellow entrepreneur, etc. he is always willing to take time out of his day to freely share his knowledge and insights. He takes time for people, one on one, to sit down with them and to help impart with them any knowledge or skills he thinks could be of benefit to them. One of the things Alex loves most is helping others reach their fullest potential. He has also reached out to others, like my younger sisters, and helped motivate them with goal ideas and inspirational pep talks about their future.

As I watch him sit down with Nephi, for instance, to help him learn the ABCs or to talk to him/help him learn and grow and develop in various ways, it’s so heart-warming! Alex is such a good daddy- he’s the best mentor I’d ever want to influence our children. They are very lucky.

nephi on daddy's shoulders


24. Values Fatherhood & Family Above All

I remember when I first met him, he had already taken several family life classes, and even read some books about preparing for his future role as a husband and father. He had pondered a lot (even before we met) about how to make a good relationship work. I thought that was super classy.

The life of an entrepreneur can be hard. There’s not always set boundaries between work and home, and it’s easy to feel pressure to put work first, since everything depends on you. But even with all the many people and things that are pulling for his time and attention, Alex always makes it a point to put family first. If things are feeling stressful at home, he puts everything else on hold to help out and take time to talk, until everything is happy and peaceful again, before thrusting himself back into his work. He truly believes that he’ll be more successful in his work if all is well at home (and vice versa). I love that.

succeed in business if all is well at home

 He always makes time to play with our children and give them some good fun daddy time. Lots of tickling, wrestling, & giggling, and playing all sorts of silly little games with them. Nephi & Celeste absolutely adore him.

Alex daddy

25. He has a grateful heart

This is one thing I noticed about Alex right from our first date. As we walked, he spoke with a spirit of gratitude for the life and his many blessings. It was an air about him that was refreshing. One of his most frequent sayings is “I’m so thankful for ___.” (And it’s not that he’s even trying to be deliberate about it– it’s just who he is). I love that Alex has a grateful heart, even when things may not be going his way. He chooses to be grateful because it’s a happier way to live. He reminds me of the scripture that encourages us to confess the Lord’s hand in all things. He has no car, no cell phone plan, and not many luxuries, yet he is constantly expressing gratitude for what he has. And the most impressive thing to me is, that in his successes-whether business or personal-he always acknowledges the hand of the Lord rather than taking personal credit for it.

I came across this quote: “Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes. A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues.” (Dieter F. Uchtcdorf) So no wonder Alex is so amazing! I guess this is the root of it all 😉

26. He’s content / not materialistic.

Alex is very much a minimalist at heart. I think he and Henry David Thoreau would’ve gotten along well 🙂 He would gladly simplify his life by owning as few personal belongings as possible, and feels liberated when he gets rid of things he doesn’t truly need. He loves living a more simplistic lifestyle, even in ways that are a bit unconventional (for instance, walking instead of driving places). He also doesn’t get attached to material things easily (doesn’t get stressed or upset when something gets misplaced or breaks) and doesn’t care much about receiving gifts.  Needless to say, he’s a very easy man to please.  He always is content with what I make for dinner, and often raves about it, even if it’s nothing special. I love that about him.

27. Meek/Not Prideful

I love how Alex doesn’t try to act “cool” and show off to try to get attention or win admiration from others.

He’s very knowledgeable but doesn’t ever try to flaunt his knowledge or skills to impress or prove himself.

He doesn’t get defensive or try to debate, even when he has every right to. If accused wrongly, rather than fight back and “defend” himself, he often just smiles and takes it. Being meek/childlike like that is seen as a weakness by some, but I think it’s totally a huge strength. It’s so easy to get defensive when someone judges you wrongfully, but Alex has amazing self-restraint and a pure heart that doesn’t judge back. He doesn’t waste energy being upset about someone else’s false assumptions, because he is not prideful and doesn’t feel the need to expend energy trying to prove someone else is wrong, just to gratify his own ego. He could care less what people think of him, because he knows that it really doesn’t matter what they think. He realizes that everyone’s imperfect and doing the best they can and that he should just love them regardless of whatever. Reminds me a lot of the quotes “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved” and “Would you rather be right? or would you rather be happy?”  That’s Alex all over.  He has taught me a lot about meekness and I think that’s how the Savior must have been.

He also reminds me of Pahoran (from the Book of Mormon) in that he forgives others, doesn’t take offense, and gives others the benefit of the doubt.

I love Alex. he's my favorite

To end off, I’ll just share this scripture that I feel like kind of sums up what Alex is all about:

And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. (Alma 7:23)


Yep, I hit gold when I married him.




Wow, after writing that all down, this ended up being a pretty long post! I guess it’s hard to fit so much amazingness into a small space 😉

I know Alex isn’t perfect (because no one’s perfect) but in my opinion I think he’s pretty dang close (at least in the ways I treasure most) and so I feel like today he deserves a nice big long tribute that raves about his many awesome qualities and gives people a glimpse into why he’s my favorite person in the world!



To learn more about this amazing fireball of awesomeness (because you know you want to), here’s a few links:

In-depth video interview about his mission:

A video interview where he shares his life story/some meaningful experiences:


Jan 07

Yummy Raspberry Jell-O Pretzel Cheesecake

Red & white pudding dessert cake


So my mom whipped this up for Christmas dinner, and oh my goodness, it’s a keeper! I knew I needed to post it here on the blog. You wouldn’t think that Pretzels & Jello would go very well together… but once you take a bite your tastebuds will prove otherwise! Delicious!


So here’s the recipe! The original recipe calls it a “salad” which I thought was really funny. I’m gonna have to say that this might even rival Heaven-in-a-pan for me. (If calling it a salad makes you feel better about eating it, you can go ahead and keep the original title, haha)  🙂


Hope you enjoy it!

Pretzel layered cheesecake with raspberries pinterest

Raspberry Jello Pretzel Cheesecake:


Yummy Pretzel Crust:

  • 2 cups of crushed Pretzels
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pretzels, butter & sugar & then press into a 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Cheesecake Layer

  • 1 (9 oz.) container of Cool Whip
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
Cream together the cream cheese & sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over cooled pretzel crust.


Raspberry Jell-O Layer

  • 2 (3 oz.) packages Raspberry Jell-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 (16 oz.) package frozen raspberries
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in frozen raspberries, chill until partially set (about 1 hour). Spread over cheesecake layer.
Chill until set and then serve!

Raspberry Cheesecake Salad with Pretzel Crust

Yummy yummy for my tummy 🙂

Jan 01

How I Learned to Recognize the Promptings of the Holy Ghost

light the way lds

I’ve been feeling an urge to write about this for a while, because I feel like it is perhaps the most important thing I have to share. And it’s been so useful and valuable in my life. But I don’t know exactly how to go about sharing something so deeply personal and sacred to me. I’ve been a little hesitant to put this out there because I’m afraid I won’t do it justice, or that it might come across the wrong way to someone. But I feel like I should, so here we go. I just really want to share what I’ve learned, in case it might help someone who may be struggling. Anyway, I hope whoever reads this will be able to understand what I’m trying to express.


I remember years ago when I was trying to figure out how to recognize and follow the spirit, it was often frustrating and confusing. I didn’t know when I was feeling a prompting from the Holy Ghost, or when it was just my own thoughts. It has taken me a long time to really learn how the spirit works, but I’ve learned SO much over the years and I have come to the point where I am able to feel the guidance of the spirit throughout the day, every day. And it’s awesome! I have an absolute assurance and conviction now that the gift of the Holy Ghost is real and can truly transform our lives.

holy ghost miracles

These are things I’ve learned from personal experience. I know that everyone is different and some may come to learn how to recognize the spirit differently than I did. But I feel that it’s worth sharing my thoughts, in case it helps anyone out there trying to ‘figure it out.’ I’d also love to hear additional insights from any of you about how you have learned to recognize the spirit in your lives. Feel free to chime in and contribute your thoughts!

 learning the language of the spirit is a proccess

It’s important to point out that I can’t pinpoint a specific event when all the sudden I became good at recognizing the whisperings of the spirit. It was a gradual process. But I do remember a time in my life when I started to recognize it more when a thought in my mind was coming from the spirit:


It was during high school. I think I was around 17.  I held a job as a waitress at a small local family restaurant. I remember I was earnestly trying to seek to recognize the spirit more at this time in my life.


I remember at work, occasionally I’d have a very subtle feeling to do something, like for instance, one time I felt impressed to “go back and check on your table.” But I just checked on them, I reasoned. They’ll think I’m weird if I go back again so soon.  

But I decided to just go with it and figured why not, it can’t hurt, and hey-what if it’s a prompting? It was really interesting because when the person at that table saw me coming back around the corner he said something like, “Oh I’m so glad you came back!” and turns out he had been hoping I’d come back because he’d forgotten to mention something, confirming to me that what I had felt to do was probably a prompting from the spirit. And lots of other little things like that. That was the beginning of when I started to realize that I might be recognizing the spirit.

Don’t Miss the Mark

It may seem silly or trivial to some, but I believe that Heavenly Father often uses trivial circumstances as a “training ground” for us to learn about the workings of the spirit, so that we can be more prepared for more important promptings down the road. He’ll prompt us in the little simple everyday matters where the consequences aren’t as huge. If you’re looking only for great and miraculous instances where you are guided in some super important thing, you may be missing the mark. At least in the beginning, when you’re just trying to get your spiritual footing.


Here’s a few other tips that, knowing what I know now, I’d share with my younger self:


Patience and quiet introspection

Never underestimate how subtle the spirit is. 

I think it’s worth noting that often the ideas and impressions I received from the spirit were very subtle. They still are. It would be hard to recognize them for what they are, unless you were in a spiritual state of mind and free from mental distractions. I think the purer you strive to live/become, the easier it is to feel the spirit. Not that the subtleness goes away, but you become much more attuned to it and so it feels more powerful.

I’ve also realized that promptings from the spirit could just be a thought or idea that seems like it is our own, but which is really from the spirit. But you’ll only be able to recognize that if you are seeking to be receptive.


My #1 advice for learning to recognize the spirit is this:
Just experiment, experiment, experiment!

Learning how the Holy Ghost works is like conducting a bunch of science experiments. Don’t spend time overly worrying about whether or not it’s the Holy Ghost or just you. If the idea pops into your head and it’s not something bad, then go ahead and just do it! Even if it doesn’t make complete sense to you. This is experimenting your faith… and over time if you keep experimenting like this and trying to be receptive, I promise that you’ll come to be able to discern when it was really the spirit, and not just you.


“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you…” (Alma 32:27)

Choose to Believe


One of the most important things I can say is: You have to first be willing to take that leap of faith to believe that what you just felt was a prompting, even if you don’t know if it is yet.


“Give place, that a [prompting] may be planted in your heart. . . Do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord.” (Alma 32:28)


Believe that the thought you had is from the spirit and go ahead and act on it as if it is. And then afterwards have the faith to look for the evidences that show if it truly was a prompting. Look for ways you might have been blessed for following that prompting.

If you don’t begin with this faith-filled mindset, then it can be too easy to just rationalize the thought away and attribute any outcomes to chance, or your own wisdom, rather than to divine intervention. But if you try to look with spiritually discerning eyes, you’ll be blessed with a greater ability to recognize promptings for what they are.  If you’re not willing to take that leap of faith (to believe it’s a prompting) before you actually know whether or not it was truly a prompting, you’ll overlook lots of promptings. This is important!


There’s something that Elder Richard G. Scott says about revelation that really rang true to me. “Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us.” And he says that writing it down makes it more likely that we will receive additional revelation. I have experienced this and can attest to this!


And here’s a treasure trove of additional tips he shares:

“There are some practical principles that enhance revelation. First, yielding to emotions such as anger or hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost. Those emotions must be eliminated, or our chance for receiving revelation is slight.

Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.

Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation.

On the other hand, spiritual communication can be enhanced by good health practices. Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation. . .It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit.”

(Read his entire talk here – it’s amazing!)



To that I would add:

  • Avoid negative media that drives away the spirit. Be very selective. Follow the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet guidelines. You really can’t play it too safe. No price is too high, no sacrifice too great, to obtain the blessings of the Holy Ghost.

  • Seek to be as pure as possible. Avoid negative thoughts, criticizing or excessive sarcasm.

  • Seek moments of quiet introspection. Avoid the temptation to be constantly distracted – whether by music or other media, excessive partying, constant/loud talking, etc. Take a break now and then from all the buzz and noise of life.

  • Have your heart constantly drawn out in prayer throughout the day. Try to have a grateful heart.


And a couple bits of advice from my sweet husband (who is someone I look up to in this regard):

  • Listen to good music. It will bring the spirit into your life. And the opposite thing is true- Bad music one of the easiest ways to distance yourself from the spirit.

  • One of the best ways to invite the spirit is to ask for opportunities to serve others. Pray for opportunities to serve others and then just keep observant and look for the opportunities you prayed for.

 how to recognize promptings

There are so many people who inspire & teach me with their examples of following the spirit. I’m not perfect at it. I’m constantly learning still but have come a long way. I’ve become acquainted with the voice of the spirit to the point that I now can usually be confident in discerning whether or not what I am feeling is from the spirit, which gives me the courage to follow the prompting, even if the immediate result doesn’t show a confirmation that it was the right thing to do…for example, I’ve been able to follow promptings with more confidence to do things (such as writing a note to someone, share something on social media, or bearing testimony boldly) even when they were not received well or I didn’t see the fruits of it.

As a result, I think Heavenly Father has been able to use me in a more powerful way. Because my testimony doesn’t depend upon those visible confirmations, if that makes sense.

There’s Nothing More Valuable!

It’s hard to know how to completely explain this to others so they’ll understand and grasp the concepts, but I have a great desire to share what I have learned about how the spirit works because I know it is one of the most valuable skills you could ever gain in this life. I firmly believe that it’s more valuable than any other marketable skill or talent you could ever possess. Becoming an expert in learning to recognize the workings of the spirit in your life will absolutely help you in every aspect of your life. It will make you a better employee. It will help you to avoid some silly mistakes, as well as major mistakes that you would later regret. It will make you more productive by saving you time and make life so much more convenient! (Ok I could go on and on about this last point.  There are seriously so many examples! Like the times when I have felt a small impression to look somewhere to find something I had lost (and I find it!) Or to bring the primary manual to church even though we’re not teaching that day. Or to bring an extra $10 with me to the store even though I’m only planning to buy lettuce and milk. And then later I find out that following those promptings saved me a whole lot of headache because of unforeseen circumstances that only Heavenly Father would have been able to predict. And the times when I’ve felt to check on one of my children in just the nick of time.  Or the time when I felt prompted to bring my apartment key with me, even though my roommates never lock the door (but I didn’t heed the prompting and as a result, got locked out. Lesson learned.) And countless times when I’ll feel prompted to bring something with me when I go out and about, so I’ll bring it even though it totally doesn’t seem needful at all. But then something will happen or it will somehow turn out to be a good thing that I brought it. Sometimes I’ll have a thought that I should go into another room to take out the trash, or switch out the laundry, and then while I’m in that room I’ll see something that reminds me of something I had completely forgotten about that I really need to do. (The Lord works in mysterious ways). Or sometimes I’ll feel a small impression to do a certain thing for my son that ends up being just what he needs. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…. 🙂


It’s incredible how the spirit works! I’m telling you, it’s real, people! It makes me so sad when I hear people say that they think the spirit is just a figment of the imagination. (Reminds me of 1 Corinthians 2:14 & Alma 30). Just going back and reading all these small accounts in my journal has been a huge testimony-builder for me). I know we can be guided in our life, even in the small seemingly insignificant matters in our life. Truly understanding and using the gift of the Holy Ghost makes life so much easier, saves you a lot of hassle, and makes life more exciting too! It’s like telling the future! 😉 You can be prompted to do things that might not make much sense now, but then find out in some future circumstance why and it will make sense. I just can’t stress it enough how important it is to make this our ultimate goal in life: To live worthy to receive and maintain this most wonderful of all gifts – the gift of the Holy Ghost – and to learn to be an “expert” in how it operates.  Everything depends on getting and keeping the spirit in our lives.

Here’s some additional AWESOME videos about learning to recognize the spirit. I highly highly recommend that you watch these. They are amazing!


Any thoughts or insights of your own that you’d like to share/pass on?

Dec 24

Why I’m Not Jumping on the Rainbow Bandwagon

Rainbow bandwagon Why I oppose Same Sex Marriage
(A little overdue. Started writing this back in July, but got distracted with being mommy/moving/a million other things, & never got around to posting it. I figure it’s about time.)


The purpose of this post is to promote understanding.  I’ve heard some express how they just can’t understand why anyone would oppose same-sex marriage. I know that there are good people on both sides of the marriage debate, so I’d just like to take a few minutes to help you understand my perspective. It’s OK if you don’t agree with it, I just invite you hear me out with an open-mind, if only for the reason to come to a greater understanding of a perspective other than your own.


I hope this will help you understand where I’m coming from.  Because truly, the only way that “love wins” is if we can all love and understand one another, despite our differences.
#LoveWins I'm not a hater
In order to understand where I am coming from you’ve got to understand a few things I sincerely believe:

1. I Believe in God

I believe that God is our literal father in Heaven and that we all lived with Him as spirits before this life. He is perfect and all-knowing. He loves us perfectly. We wanted to become like Him. He created this Earth so that we could be separated from His presence for a time in order to learn and grow, and to eventually return to live with Him and inherit His gloryif we pass the test.
purpose of life gay

2. The Purpose of Life

One of the main purposes why God sent us to earth was to gain a physical body, like God has. It would be the ideal setting to prepare and prove ourselves– We would be tempted to choose between following the wills of the flesh or following the commandments of God. Many temptations would focus on improper use of our bodies. We’re here to learn self-mastery– to put mind over body, or spirit over body, if that makes sense. So of course there are those who struggle with same sex attraction. This just happens to be their test in life. Other people may have a natural inclination towards doing something else that is against God’s commandments, like drugs, or infidelity, or selfishness, or pride. We will all have tests that tug at our heartstrings, some less visible than others. Life was never meant to be easy. That’s not what life is about. It’s about “putting off the natural man.”

God knew we would make mistakes here and there, so he provided a Savior for us – Jesus Christ – who paid the penalty for our sins so that even when we mess up, all is not lost. We can still pass the test. There is still a way. Because of Jesus Christ, when we fall short, we can repent and be forgiven – in essence, we can start over with a brand-new clean slate and try again (click here for more on this).


The purpose of life is not to find out who you are and then to insist on staying that way. The purpose of life is to find out what God would have you become, and strive to change. It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. It can be a lifelong struggle. Many who deal with same-sex attraction feel that this is truly who they are. Perhaps that specific temptation for them may indeed last throughout their entire lifetime. I can’t imagine how hard that must be, and I don’t know why some people have to go through such soul-trying experiences. One thing I do know is that God knows each of us better than we know ourselves, and someday it will all make sense. This life is the time for us to prepare to meet God. God is trying to shape us. We’ll never become perfect in this life, but if we strive to do all we can and hand and our will over to God, through His grace, He will ultimately make all things right.

Not to dismiss/minimize these earth-life trials, but I do think it’s important to realize that in the eternal scheme of things, this life is so, so short. A short moment to prove ourselves, that we are truly masters over our bodies and that we won’t misuse or abuse them contrary to God’s laws. Just because the temptation never goes away, does not mean that we have to give in and act on it. If we prove our self-mastery, then we pass the test! And Eternal Life (with a glorified perfected body, like God’s) is our reward. *

eternal perspective lds rope diagram

Doesn’t that make trials and challenges seem so much less significant? But yet it is a crucial moment where eternity hangs in the balance.

I love this quote:
“What will it matter what we have suffered here, if in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God?” (Linda S. Reeves)

We may not understand why everything is the way it is in this life, but one day we will. All of our questions and confusions and heartaches will someday be completely straightened out and everything will make perfect sense. It wouldn’t be a test if we didn’t need to exercise any faith.

(See “Your Four Minutes” – a motivational talk I highly recommend that goes right along with this concept!)

*(side note: there’s a difference between Salvation and Eternal Life – we are all “saved” in a sense-  but in order to qualify for all the blessings God has in store for us, more is required.)

3. I believe Satan is real

Satan is a spirit son of our Heavenly Father who chose not to follow God’s plan. He is a great deceiver; in the scriptures he is called “the father of lies.” He wants us to be miserable, like he is. As an enemy of God, he tempts us to turn away from God’s plan or to misunderstand it. He is exceptionally cunning because he’s been doing this for thousands of years. I’m sure he’s got it down to a science. He knows how important this life is for all of God’s children and he doesn’t want them to pass the test so they can return to God’s presence (see 2 Nephi 2:27). So he seeks to turn our hearts from the truth. He does this by trying to distort and confuse every good thing. That’s why all this talk of homosexuality has started to be seen as a “civil rights” issue and a “love” issue, rather than a moral issue. Satan wants us to see wrong as right and right as wrong and he will tell us all sorts of lies and half-truths to achieve this end. Prophets have long taught and foretold that there would come a day in the earth’s history when men would not endure sound doctrine and when evil would be called good and good would be called evil. We are living in that day now. In the scriptures, God makes it clear that the only way to avoid being deceived by Satan’s lies is by holding fast to the word of God.
children need a mom and dad

4. The Importance of Family  (the way God designed it)

Satan attacks the family because He knows how important it is to God’s plan.


God loves us more than we can comprehend, and He knows what will ultimately make us truly happy. The guidelines He gives us will lead to lasting happiness. Going against those guidelines after our own ideas may bring momentary pleasure but will never lead to lasting joy.


I believe that God has taught us through both ancient and modern prophets that marriage between a man and a woman is, and always has been, the way it is supposed to be.


 Furthermore, I believe in the Bible. And the Bible is very clear on the matter.


The Family: a Proclamation to the World (an inspired document written by Latter-day prophets & apostles) states:


“ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”


“THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”


As Elder Boyd K. Packer put it,


“The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth … is essential … and is the source of human happiness. Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness. . .Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires.”


Elder Russel M. Nelson also said, “Marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to the Lord’s doctrine and crucial to God’s eternal plan. Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s pattern for a fulness of life on earth and in heaven. God’s marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood, or misconstrued. Not if you want true joy. God’s marriage pattern protects the sacred power of procreation and the joy of true marital intimacy. . .Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed.


God doesn't change still speaks

5. I believe in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

That includes believing in prophets and in continuing revelation.


Through studying, pondering, and personal prayer I have learned for myself that there is a God and that He does reveal His will to His children here on Earth. The heavens are not silent. He answers our personal prayers. And He speaks through prophets, just as he always has throughout human history. He has provided a way for us to know Him and learn of His plan for us. There is an absolute right and wrong – it’s not just ‘do whatever is right for you’ (aka moral relativism, a mindset which is becoming more and more accepted in society). We must find out what the right thing is/what God’s law is, and then do it.


6. The Book of Mormon!


While I’m on the subject, I should probably mention that I believe many of these things, largely, because I have read the Book of Mormon.


If you’d like to more fully understand my stance/belief in God, revelation, prophets, & a devil who is trying to deceive the world, I’d highly encourage you to read The Book of Mormon. It is life-changing. You can borrow one from me! or get your own copy delivered to you for FREE. Read it, study it, pray about it, and don’t put it down until you have let its message really sink into your heart. Then ask God for yourself if the book is true. I promise that if you do your part and ask sincerely and with real intent, you’ll get an answer. I have gained my own personal witness that it is true and comes from God.
Book of Mormon Same Sex Marriage


OK, with that foundation in place, let me respond to a few of the arguments I’ve heard from those who have a difficult time understanding why anyone would oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.

I believe that the ruling does affect me.


Something I hear a lot is “it doesn’t affect you” so why the concern? But I believe it does affect me.  The SCOTUS ruling was a huge blow to religious freedom. I believe we are accountable to God to express and act on our religious beliefs at all times- at home as well as in the public square. Religious freedom is not religious freedom if you are only allowed to live according to your deeply-held beliefs in private–that’s ridiculous. There are already countless examples of how the recent ruling has affected people’s ability to live their religious beliefs in the public square. Think of wedding photographers who are fined because they feel uncomfortable participating in a gay marriage ceremony. Or a baker who just doesn’t feel right about writing “Support gay marriage” on a cake. They should not be forced to go against their beliefs.


It’s worth noting that the dissenting Supreme Court judges themselves have also expressed great concern over this.


I have no problem with the concept of “live and let live.” I believe we all should have freedom to live the way we choose. I have no problem letting those who want to live a homosexual lifestyle, do so. What I do have a problem with is changing the very definition of marriage, because I feel like 1) It’s not needful (people can still live with same-sex partners without changing the definition of marriage), and 2) I believe doing so has huge negative repercussions for society at large, and for those who still hold fast to their belief in traditional marriage.


When you sanction same-sex marriage and put it into the law, it makes it become the “new normal.”  And if I refuse to accept this new normal in the way I live my life, or if I call it wrong in the public square (consistent with my personal beliefs) – or if I don’t want it to be taught/promoted to my children at school– Or if, as a teacher, I were to refuse to teach/endorse it in a classroom setting, I could now be sharply reprimanded or even penalized in some cases, since it’s now “the law.”


When a person tries to defend traditional marriage, they are often accused of trying to impose their beliefs on others or trying to force everyone to live according to their own moral code. The irony is this: I feel like it is actually the other way around.  By redefining the definition of marriage, it creates a new culture- one that demands that I bow to this new definition and that I be politically correct about it, even if I deeply disagree with it.


Who wouldn’t be concerned about this? This could be the beginning of the eventual end of our First Amendment freedoms. I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen, but time will surely tell. It may not seem like a huge deal just yet, but I believe it will turn out to be a huge issue down the road.


But more importantly, I believe that it affects children.


Marriage has been distorted as something merely between two people – a simple contract. It’s the idea that the happiness of each person is the only reason for them to stay together. But the truth is, marriage is not just about love between two people. Nor does it affect only those two people. It is the very foundation of the family, which is the fundamental unit of society. It’s a sacred responsibility to the entire community. It’s about children and their futures. The way we view marriage in our society has changed drastically from the way it used to be viewed for thousands of years. Only since the 17th and 18th century, did the idea of “marrying for love” and one’s own personal pursuit of happiness become the central focus of why we marry.


I studied child development. Social science studies findings are becoming more and more clear that it actually does matter that parents are of different genders. No matter how you slice it, having a mother and a father leads to the most optimal outcomes for a child’s development. There are quite a few articles written by children raised by same-sex parents, and they are pretty compelling. I believe that each child has a right to a mother and a father. I also believe that given time, the observations of the scientific community will overwhelmingly confirm this.


I believe it affects all of us.

“Young people may ask, “Well, we don’t believe we should live or behave in such and such a way, but why do we have to make other people do the same? Don’t they have their free agency? Aren’t we being self-righteous and judgmental, forcing our beliefs on others, demanding that they act in a certain way?”


. . . Some principles are defended and some sins opposed wherever they are found because the issues and the laws involved are not just social or political but eternal in their consequence. And while not wishing to offend those who believe differently from us, we are even more anxious not to offend God.


It is a little like a teenager saying, “Now that I can drive, I know I am supposed to stop at a red light, but do we really have to be judgmental and try to get everyone else to stop at red lights? Does everyone have to do what we do? Don’t others have their agency? Must they behave as we do?” You then have to explain why, yes, we do hope all will stop at a red light. And you have to do this without demeaning those who transgress or who believe differently than we believe because, yes, they do have their moral agency.


There is a wide variety of beliefs in this world, and there is moral agency for all, but no one is entitled to act as if God is mute on these subjects or as if commandments matter only if there is public agreement over them.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)



Furthermore, The Family: A Proclamation to the World states:
“We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”


Hence, you can see why believers like me feel like this is a pretty big deal.

#LoveWins Rhetoric


 It’s interesting that the words we choose can greatly influence an entire society’s acceptance of something. For example. using emotionally-charged words that stir us up, like “compassion” and “tolerance” and “acceptance” etc.


For instance, the rhetoric that this whole issue is just about “love” and that if you are on the other side of the marriage debate, then you must lack love & compassion.


In contrast, anything that defends traditional marriage or that speaks out against same-sex marriage is often labeled as “discriminatory” or “hate speech”, even though the person may be simply expressing their sincerely held religious beliefs.


I think the concept of love has been distorted. Love does not mean abandoning our convictions. It does not require us to accept and embrace things against our beliefs in order not to offend people. Let’s say I have a brother who is gay. Standing up for traditional marriage is not equivalent with shunning him. If he chooses a different lifestyle I can still love and accept him with all my heart, without encouraging or condoning his behavior.  I can still treat him with respect and cherish our relationship, while still holding to my belief that marriage should be between a man & a woman. It’s not an either-or thing.


love does not mean tolerance


Tolerance is another one of those words. Tolerance and love aren’t the same thing!  Nor is tolerance is the ultimate virtue, though in the world today, it is often talked about as if it is. Tolerance demands that we also acknowledge truth.

“Tolerance for behavior is like a two-sided coin. Tolerance or respect is on one side of the coin, but truth is always on the other. We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own.” (Dallin H. Oaks)


“Now may I offer an important note of caution. An erroneous assumption could be made that if a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Not so! Overdoses of needed medication can be toxic. Boundless mercy could oppose justice. So tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness. The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers” (Matthew 21:12; see also Mark 11:15). Though He loves the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1:31). Real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.” (Russell M. Nelson)


Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.


Watch this awesome clip- Elder Holland on what true love really is:



I know that not everyone will agree with my thoughts on this. That’s okay. But I hope you can at least come to understand why I feel the way I do and that you’ll respect my right to express it. If you’ve chosen an LGBT lifestyle or if you are a firm believer in same-sex marriage, I still love you! And I respect your agency to live the way you choose. I’ve heard many of your arguments and I can understand why you may feel the way you do. But I can’t stand silent on this issue. Thanks for reading this and trying to understand why I feel the way I do. I hope we can all get along and be friends so that #LoveWins!:)







Dec 24

Quotes about “The Great & Spacious Building” (Lehi’s Dream)


I love the parable of the tree of life! (If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, read this).  I’ve been doing an in-depth study into all of the different elements of the tree of life vision, and I’ve come up with some really insightful stuff! Here are some interesting quotes by LDS church leaders that I’ve discovered & compiled that talk about aspects of the “great and spacious building.” I think they each help to provide additional perspective and to shed more light on how we can recognize the influence of the great & spacious building in our everyday lives. Hope this blesses someone’s life. Check it out!

large and spacious building lds quotesgreat and spacious building quotes

“The great and spacious building in Lehi’s vision represents those in the world who mock God’s word and who ridicule those who embrace it and who love the Savior and live the commandments.” (Thomas S. Monson)


“The current cries we hear coming from the great and spacious building tempt us to compete for ownership in the things of this world. We think we need a larger home, with a three-car garage, a recreational vehicle parked next to it. We long for designer clothes, extra TV sets, all with VCRs, the latest model computers, and the newest car. Often these items are purchased with borrowed money, without giving any thought to providing for our future needs. The result of all this instant gratification is overloaded bankruptcy courts and families that are far too preoccupied with their financial burdens.” (L. Tom Perry)


“My sincere counsel to you today is to remember the good basic principles we have been taught from the very beginning—principles of thrift, industry, and integrity that have served mankind in every period of time. Avoid the great and spacious building that is the pride of the world, for it will fall, and great will be the fall thereof.” (L. Tom Perry)


“Even though you have a testimony and want to do what is right, it is difficult not to be drawn to the great and spacious building. From all appearances, the people in the building seem to be having a great time. The music and laughter are deafening. You would say to me what my children have said, ‘They’re not really happy, huh, Dad?’ as you watch them party.

They look happy and free, but don’t mistake telestial pleasure for celestial happiness and joy. Don’t mistake lack of self-control for freedom. Complete freedom without appropriate restraint makes us slaves to our appetites. Don’t envy a lesser and lower life.” (Glenn L. Pace)


“To those of you who are inching your way closer and closer to that great and spacious building, let me make it completely clear that the people in that building have absolutely nothing to offer except instant, short-term gratification inescapably connected to long-term sorrow and suffering. The commandments you observe were not given by a dispassionate God to prevent you from having fun, but by a loving Father in Heaven who wants you to be happy while you are living on this earth as well as in the hereafter.


Compare the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom to those available to you if you choose to party with those in the great and spacious building. Compare the joy of intelligent humor and wit to drunken, silly, crude, loud laughter. Compare our faithful young women who still have a blush in their cheeks with those who, having long lost their blush, try to persuade you to join them in their loss. Compare lifting people up to putting people down. Compare the ability to receive personal revelation and direction in your life to being tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Compare holding the priesthood of God with anything you see going on in that great and spacious building.” (Glenn L. Pace)


“What adventure in that great and spacious building would you trade for the thrill and excitement of building the very kingdom the Savior will come to the earth to govern?” (Glenn L. Pace)


“Recounting his [Nephi’s] father’s dream of the tree of life. He described a strait and narrow path leading to a tree and a great and spacious building. This building was filled with people who were dressed in exceedingly fine and fashionable clothing. They were all in an attitude of mocking and pointing fingers toward those who were partaking of the fruit. They were trying to get people off the path and into the building. From all appearances, the people inside seemed to be having a great time. What an indelible image of temptation. In Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s words, ‘The laughter of the world is merely loneliness pathetically trying to reassure itself.’ ” (W. Craig Zwick)


“. . .they leave the Church, but they cannot leave the Church alone. Like the throng on the ramparts of the ‘great and spacious building,’ they are intensely and busily preoccupied, pointing fingers of scorn at the steadfast iron-rodders (1 Ne. 8:26–28, 33). Considering their ceaseless preoccupation, one wonders, Is there no diversionary activity available to them, especially in such a large building—like a bowling alley? Perhaps in their mockings and beneath the stir are repressed doubts of their doubts. In any case, given the perils of popularity, Brigham Young advised that this ‘people must be kept where the finger of scorn can be pointed at them’ ” (Neal A. Maxwell)


“We live in a time when sacrifice is definitely out of fashion, when the outside forces that taught our ancestors the need for unselfish cooperative service have diminished. Someone has called this the “me” generation—a selfish time when everyone seems to be asking, what’s in it for me? Even some who should know better seem to be straining to win the praise of those who mock and scoff from the “great and spacious building” identified in vision as the pride of the world (see 1 Nephi 8:26–28; 11:35–36).”  (Thomas S. Monson)


“Laman and Lemuel’s rejection of the prophets and the scriptures meant there could be no useful likening or rehearsals of remembrance and no freshening of personal revelation to them for their time. They simply did not understand that God’s ways are higher than man’s ways (see Isa. 55:9). They enjoyed intellectual ‘slumming’ in their portable equivalent of the prideful ‘great and spacious building’ ” (see 1 Ne. 8:26, 31).

Hence Laman and Lemuel became rebels instead of leaders, resentful instead of righteous—all because of their failure to understand either the character or the purposes of God and His dealings with His children.”  (Neal A. Maxwell)


“Many of you are trying too hard to be unique in your dress and grooming to attract what the Lord would consider the wrong kind of attention. In the Book of Mormon story of the tree of life, it was the people whose ‘manner of dress was exceedingly fine’ who mocked those who partook of the fruit of the tree. It is sobering to realize that the fashion-conscious mockers in the great and spacious building were responsible for embarrassing many, and those who were ashamed ‘fell away into forbidden paths and were lost’ (1 Nephi 8:27–28).”  (Elder L. Tom Perry)


“When we stand at the crossroads of life and must make a decision whether to go to the great and spacious building of the world’s ways or to walk the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life, we must realize that we cannot travel both roads—although sometimes we try. It is difficult to come back, but we can; and our greatest satisfaction will more than likely come from taking the lonelier road which is less traveled.” Robert D. Hales



“. . .Every day we see allurements of one kind or another that tell us what we have is not enough. Someone or something is forever telling us we need to be more handsome or more wealthy, more applauded or more admired than we see ourselves as being. We are told we haven’t collected enough possessions or gone to enough fun places. We are bombarded with the message that on the world’s scale of things we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.  Some days it is as if we have been locked in a cubicle of a great and spacious building where the only thing on the TV is a never-ending soap opera entitled Vain Imaginations.” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland)
“We surely have been warned and forewarned about our time, a period in which the compression of challenges may make a year seem like a decade. Members will be cleverly mocked and scorned by those in the “great and spacious building,” representing the pride of the world (1 Ne. 8:26; 1 Ne. 11:36). No matter, for ere long, He who was raised on the third day will raze that spacious but third-class hotel!” (Neal A. Maxwell)



“In offering whatever sacrifice God may require of us, we obtain the witness of the Spirit that our course is right and pleasing to God (see Lectures on Faith, 69–71). With that knowledge, our faith becomes unbounded, having the assurance that God will in due time turn every affliction to our gain. Some of you have been sustained by that faith as you have endured those who point fingers of scorn from the “great and spacious building” and cry, ‘Shame!’ (see 1 Nephi 8:26–27), and you have stood firm with Peter and the Apostles of old, ‘rejoicing that [you] were counted worthy to suffer shame for [Christ’s] name’ (Acts 5:41).”  (Elder D. Todd Christofferson)



“As much as we hate to admit it, many of those other paths often look appealing. Some paths veer off suddenly in exciting directions, while others curve away so subtly that for a while they appear to run parallel to the gospel path. Some are glamorously carpeted in red and echo with applause. Others appear to be paved with gold and jewels. The appeal of the great and spacious building itself is very similar. After all, some of the richest, most popular, most attractive, and most powerful people in the world live there! Who wouldn’t want to hang out with, act like, and dress like those people? They often appear to be having a much better time than the rest of us who are trying to stay on the gospel path. . . The more attention we give the residents of the great and spacious building, the more we might feel jealous or frustrated or even angry. We might think it doesn’t seem fair that they should have so many nice things while we’re trying to stay on the path to the tree of life. Satan knows that one of the best ways to get people to leave the gospel path is by tricking them into believing that it’s too hard, boring, or old-fashioned to stay on the path. He doesn’t care which of the other paths we take—any path will do—so long as it’s not the gospel path.” New Era article (
“Largely because of television, instead of looking over into that spacious building, we are, in effect, living inside of it. That is your fate in this generation. You are living in that great and spacious building.” (Boyd K. Packer)
… “Atheists and agnostics make nonbelief their religion and today organize in unprecedented ways to attack faith and belief. They are now organized, and they pursue political power. You will be hearing much about them and from them. Much of their attack is indirect in mocking the faithful, in mocking religion . . . You who are young will see many things that will try your courage and test your faith. All of the mocking does not come from outside of the Church. Let me say that again: all of the mocking does not come from outside of the Church. Be careful that you do not fall into the category of mocking.” (Boyd K. Packer)


Don’t Be Distracted and Deceived.
“To heed is to give careful attention. Heeding those who do not believe in Christ will not help you find Him. Searching #spaciousbuilding for knowledge will not lead you to truth. It’s not posted there. Only the Savior has “the words of eternal life.” Everything else is just words. The large and spacious building symbolizes the “vain imaginations and the pride” of the world—in other words, distraction and deception. It’s filled with well-dressed people who seem to have everything. But they mock the Savior and those who follow Him. They are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”10 They may be politically correct, but they are spiritually lost.” (Elder Kevin W. Pearson)



“Have we really comprehended how the devil operates? Lehi’s vision of the great and spacious building, for example, tells us graphically that the one main weapon used by the wicked is mocking and derision. . . . When you know your opponent’s play book, it’s a lot easier to plan your defense.” [Bruce Hafen, “J. Reuben Clark,” BYU Today, September 1988, p. 22]
“Historically, the drifting away from the course of life marked out by the Lord has occurred as individuals begin to make compromises with the Lord’s standard. . .As the number of drifting individuals increases, their influence becomes more powerful. It might be described as the “great and spacious building syndrome.” The drifting is the more dangerous when its adherents continue to overtly identify with and participate with the group that conforms to the Lord’s way. Values and standards that were once clear become clouded and uncertain. The norm of behavior begins to reflect this beclouding of true principles. Conduct that would once have caused revulsion and alarm now becomes somewhat commonplace.” (Dean L. Larsen)



“The great and spacious building which Lehi saw was the pride of the world where the multitude of the earth was gathered. (See 1 Ne. 11:35–36.) Those who walked the straight and narrow path and held onto the word of God and partook of the love of God were mocked and scorned by those in the building. (See 1 Ne. 8:20, 27, 33; 1 Ne. 11:25.)

“The humble followers of Christ” are few. (2 Ne. 28:14.)

Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention.” (Ezra Taft Benson)



“In this sense, the church of the devil is equivalent to that great and spacious building seen in vision by both Nephi and his father. (See 1 Ne. 8:26–28, 31, 33–34; 1 Ne. 11:35–36.) The apocalyptic description of the great and spacious building matches the characteristics of the church of the devil; the artificial structure without foundation represents the carnal world, and its values and life-style include mockery of the kingdom of God. It fights against the Apostles of Jesus Christ, and its fall will be great, for “thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (1 Ne. 11:36.)

Meanwhile, let us expect that many will regard us indifferently. Others will see us as quaint or misled. Let us bear the pointing fingers which, ironically, belong to those finally who, being bored, find the “great and spacious building” to be a stale and cramped third-class hotel (see 1 Ne. 8:31–33). Let us revile not the revilers and heed them not (see D&C 31:9). Instead, let us use our energy to hold up the shield of faith to quench the incoming fiery darts—aided perhaps by a touch of spiritual Teflon (see 1 Ne. 15:24). (Neal A. Maxwell)



“I’ve noticed that there is danger in spending all this time writing about those ‘publicans and sinners’ over there in the great and spacious building. If our spot near the tree of life becomes a Rameumptom where we congratulate each other on our chosen-ness and look down on everyone else, then we’re occupying nothing more than a branch office of the great and spacious.”  (John Bytheway)



As I watch the current world moving away from God, I think this building is growing in size. Many find themselves today wandering the halls of the great and spacious building, not realizing that they are actually becoming part of its culture. They often succumb to the temptations and the messages. We eventually find them mocking or chiming in with those who criticize or mock.” (Gregory A. Schwitzer)


“When we consider thoughtfully, why would we listen to the faceless, cynical voices of those in the great and spacious buildings of our time and ignore the pleas of those who genuinely love us? These ever-present naysayers prefer to tear down rather than elevate and to ridicule rather than uplift. Their mocking words can burrow into our lives, often through split-second bursts of electronic distortions carefully and deliberately composed to destroy our faith. Is it wise to place our eternal well-being in the hands of strangers? Is it wise to claim enlightenment from those who have no light to give or who may have private agendas hidden from us? These anonymous individuals, if presented to us honestly, would never be given a moment of our time, but because they exploit social media, hidden from scrutiny, they receive undeserved credibility.” (Vern P. Stanfill)


The temple of television is, you see
What the great and spacious building was for me.
Where my spirit was covered with worldly grime,
Where I learned to envy and squander my time.
But then a few questions came and broke the spell,
A clarion call from a liberty bell!

How was I better for the shows I had seen?
How was the spirit brighter, the mind more keen?
There was no real answer that I could give
To this simple, piercing interrogative.

In an instant I changed, new things came to view,
Living, loving, serving, so much good to do.
Instead of watching I got up and I moved!
The result of this? My performance improved!
Our glorious Savior enabled escape
From the floating realm over hell’s open gape.
Now this great, spacious building, described as “strange,”
For each and every person, its form will change.
What is it for you, what mocking do you hear?
No matter its form, the solutions are clear.

Hold fast to the rod, to mocking give no heed,
God will make you mighty in word and in deed.
Many lives you will bless, fill with charity.
Precious fruit will be yours for eternity.

(Michael G. Clark)



“What are your individually tailored temptations that emanate from this great and spacious building? What is pulling you into or keeping you there? How good is your grip on the iron rod? If you are partaking of the precious fruit how well are you dealing with the fingers of scorn that are pointed in your direction? If .. you find yourself in that great and spacious building to one degree or another, you may want to develop an escape plan. Such an escape plan must be individual; however, I would like to suggest a few common components that might be included in many of our plans. These are Sabbath observance, listening to worthy music, making wise use of technology, and feasting on the word of God.”  (Michael G. Clark)

Mar 20

Homemade Fajitas – Seasoning from Scratch!

fajita from scratch

I love fajitas. I recently learned how to make homemade fajita seasoning from scratch. Turns out it’s super simple and just as tasty as store bought! (without all the unhealthy stuff. Yay!)

Ingredients for Homemade Fajitas:

1 red bell pepper
2 Poblano peppers (can switch out for more red/green or other mild peppers that you like on fajitas)
1 green pepper
1 medium yellow onion
1 lb chicken
2 tablespoons oil
Fajita seasoning
Flour tortillas (OR you can just eat it over rice, if you prefer).
Cut up the chicken, peppers, and onion into bite-sized strips. Put in a large skillet with oil and fajita seasoning (recipe below) and fry up in a large skillet until chicken is done and peppers/onions are tender. If needed, add water throughout the cooking process to make the sauce the consistency you like. Serve with tortillas. Yummy!

How to make Homemade Fajita Seasoning:

Mix together:
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cumin

Whole wheat fajitas


Mar 12

Interesting Quotes on Temporal Preparedness & Food Storage!

Here are some interesting latter-day saint quotes on emergency preparedness and food storage I’ve compiled. Most are from general conferences. All can be found on I recently decided to research more into what the latter day prophets have taught concerning the events leading up to the second coming. I also set out to learn what specifically our leaders have said about food storage over the years, and wow- it has actually been very enlightening! Especially with regards to things that are prophesied will come to pass in the last days. It’s given me a greater understanding for why we might need to store food. After reading a lot of these talks, I feel like I’m starting to see the bigger picture – it was a good reminder of how the commandment to store food is only one small part of a larger commandment to be self-sufficient (we are also counseled to get out of debt, learn to produce our own food, grow gardens, & make many of our own non-food items, etc.). Anyway, I’m grateful for these words from our latter day prophets; they’ve helped me feel more motivated and inspired to focus more on some of these areas in my life. I hope sharing this will help inspire others the way it did me. I’m so grateful for continuing revelation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


*I’ve tried my best to keep all the quotes in context, but I still highly recommend reading some of these talks in their entirety if you haven’t yet, (even if you have! It’s a nice refresher course) so that you can see more of the full picture. I’ll try to include links at the bottom. I may bold a few words/phrases here & there to make it easier to see patterns and pick out important points.  I know that God has called prophets in our day and that they receive divine revelation to give us commandments and forewarn us. We are greatly blessed when we heed the prophets; we’re on shaky ground when we don’t.

Quotes on Food Storage:

        Today, I emphasize a most basic principle: home production and storage. Have you ever paused to realize what would happen to your community or nation if transportation were paralyzed or if we had a war or depression? How would you and your neighbors obtain food? How long would the corner grocery store—or supermarket—sustain the needs of the community?” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of food because of their foresight and ability to produce their own” (Ezra Taft Benson)
        Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others.” (All is Safely Gathered In pamphlet)
        I wish to urge again the importance of self-reliance on the part of every individual Church member and family. None of us knows when a catastrophe might strike. Sickness, injury, unemployment may affect any of us. We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
        Our bishops storehouses are not intended to stock enough commodities to care for all the members of the Church. Storehouses are only established to care for the poor and the needy. For this reason, members of the Church have been instructed to personally store a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. By following this counsel, most members will be prepared and able to care for themselves and their family members, and be able to share with others as may be needed.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)

Recent surveys of Church members have shown a serious erosion in the number of families who have a year’s supply of life’s necessities. Most members plan to do it. Too few have begun . . . It is our sacred duty to care for our families, including our extended families.” (President Thomas S. Monson- note: the italicized parts were italicized in his original talk)

        I have paid attention to the counsel that has been given me. For years past it has been sounded in my ears, year after year, to lay up grain, so that we might have an abundance in the day of want. Perhaps the Lord would bring a partial famine on us; perhaps a famine would come upon our neighbors.”  (President Brigham Young)
        Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through the home production and storage, but others as well.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        The best food storage is not in welfare grain elevators but in sealed cans and bottles in the homes of our people. What a gratifying thing it is to see cans of wheat and rice and beans under the beds or in the pantries of women who have taken welfare responsibility into their own hands. Such food may not be tasty, but it will be nourishing if it has to be used.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
        There are some countries which prohibit savings or surpluses. We do not understand it, but it is true. And we honor, obey, and sustain the laws of the country which is ours. (See A of F 1:12.) Where it is permitted, though, which is most of the world, we should listen to the counsel of the Brethren and to the Lord.” (President Spencer W. Kimball)
        We call upon priesthood bearers to store sufficient so that you and your family can weather the vicissitudes of life. Please see to it that those entrusted to your watchcare receive these two pamphlets entitled All Is Safely Gathered In. Exhort them to prepare now for rainy days ahead.” (Bishop Keith B. McMullin)


Make it a Way of Life:


        A cardinal principle of the gospel is to prepare for the day of scarcity. Work, industry, frugality are part of the royal order of life.” (Bishop Keith B. McMullin)
        Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food … and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.” (President Thomas S. Monson)
         Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. We could refer to all the components of personal and family preparedness, not in relation to holocaust or disaster, but in cultivating a life-style that is on a day-to-day basis its own reward.” (President Spencer W. Kimball)
        I fear we today are somewhat like those referred to by President Brigham Young in this quotation:
“We have seen one grasshopper war before this. Then we had two years of it. We are having two years now. Suppose we have good crops next year, the people will think less of this visitation than they do now; and still less the next year; until in four or five years it will be almost gone from their minds. We are capable of being perfectly independent of these insects. If we had thousands on thousands of bushels of wheat, rye, and barley, and corn we might have said to them, [that is, the insects] ‘you may go, we are not going to plant for you.’ Then we could have plowed up the ground, put in the manure, and let the land rest, and the grasshoppers would not have destroyed the fruits of our labors which could have been directed to the beautifying of Zion and making our habitations places of loveliness.” (Victor L. Brown)

For Those Who Have Not Yet Started:

        We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. . .I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all. . .Begin in a small way, … and gradually build toward a reasonable objective.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
        Start now to create a plan if you don’t already have one, or update your present plan. Watch for best buys that will fit into your year’s supply. We are not in a situation that requires panic buying, but we do need to be careful in purchasing and rotating the storage that we’re putting away. The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we take heed of the counsel and prepare for the future.” (L. Tom Perry)
        In Argentina, Relief Society leaders are trying to teach the importance of food storage. They wrote: “Unfortunately, most of the sisters [here] cannot afford to buy an extra kilo of sugar, or flour, or an extra liter of oil. However, they have been encouraged to save, even just a spoonful at a time.” (Elaine L. Jack)
        Decide as a family that there will be no vacation or holiday next year unless you have your year’s supply. Many Church members could buy a full year’s supply of the basics from what they would save by not taking a vacation. Take the vacation time and work on a family garden. Be together, and it can be just as much fun.” (Vaughn J. Featherston) *Intended as a suggestion. For the full context, read his talk here.
And here’s a couple short video clips that the Mormon Channel recently posted:


What Should I Store?

        Have sufficient food, clothing, and fuel on hand to last at least one year.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
       The counsel to have a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and commodities was given fifty years ago and has been repeated many times since. Every father and mother are the family’s storekeepers. They should store whatever their own family would like to have in the case of an emergency … [and] God will sustain us through our trials.” (James E. Faust)
        Most of us cannot afford to store a year’s supply of luxury items, but find it more practical to store staples that might keep us from starving in case of emergency.” (James E. Faust)
        Store a provision of food which will last for at least a year wherever it is legally permissible to do so. The Church has not told you what foods should be stored. This decision is left up to individual members. . .From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord’s counsel, wheat should have high priority. ‘There is more salvation and security in wheat,’ said Orson Hyde years ago, ‘than in all the political schemes of the world’ (in Journal of Discourses, 2:207). Water, of course, is essential. Other basics could include honey or sugar, legumes, milk products or substitutes, and salt or its equivalent.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        Wood, coal, gas, oil, kerosene, and even candles are among those items which could be reserved as fuel for warmth, cooking, and light or power. Some may be used for all of these purposes and certain ones would have to be stored and handled cautiously. It would also be well to have on hand some basic medical supplies to last for at least a year.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        Concerning clothing, we should anticipate future needs, such as extra work clothes and clothes that would supply warmth during winter months when there may be shortages or lack of heating fuel. Leather and bolts of cloth could be stored, particularly for families with younger children who will outgrow and perhaps outwear their present clothes.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.)
         Included in the year’s supply of basic foods should be life-sustaining foods that store well for a long time: grains (wheat, rice, corn, or other of the cereal grains); dried milk, dried fish or protein vegetables such as beans and peas and other fresh, canned, dried, or pickled fruit or vegetables; sugar or a sugar substitute such as honey; some form of fats; salt; and water. Fresh taro or sweet potato, and live pigs, chickens, or fish might be considered as a supply in some areas of the world where it is difficult to store food. Remember that regular use of whole grains is important in building a digestive tolerance for roughage.” (Barbara B. Smith)
        Home storage should consist of a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. After this goal is reached, emergency and expanded storage is desirable.” (Barbara B. Smith)
        [Concerning emergency storage] You may wish to consider storing, where they could be picked up at a moment’s notice, such items as water, food needing no refrigeration or cooking, medications needed by family members, a change of clothing for each family member, a first-aid booklet and first-aid supplies, an ax, shovel, and blanket. These would be used when a family or individual has only a short time to flee a disaster or needs to stay in a sheltered area within the home. It is also wisdom to have the family’s important papers and documents together where they could be picked up at a moment’s notice.” (Barbara B. Smith)
        Perhaps if we think not in terms of a year’s supply of what we ordinarily would use, and think more in terms of what it would take to keep us alive in case we didn’t have anything else to eat, that last would be very easy to put in storage for a year … just enough to keep us alive if we didn’t have anything else to eat. We wouldn’t get fat on it, but we would live; and if you think in terms of that kind of annual storage rather than a whole year’s supply of everything that you are accustomed to eat which, in most cases, is utterly impossible for the average family, I think we will come nearer to what President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., advised us way back in 1937.” (President Harold B. Lee)
        Encourage our members to regularly put into their home storage a few wholesome, basic food items and some water that is safe to drink. They should save some money, if only a few coins each week. This modest approach will soon enable them to have several months’ reserve. Over time they can expand these modest efforts into a longer-term supply by adding such essentials as grains, legumes, and other staples that will keep them alive in case they do not have anything else to eat.” (Bishop Keith B. McMullin)
        Can or bottle fruit and vegetables from your gardens and orchards. Learn how to preserve food through drying and possibly freezing. Make your storage a part of your budget. Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        Follow the prophet. He has counseled us to plant a garden and fruit trees. This year don’t just think about it—do it. Grow all the food you possibly can. Also remember to buy a year’s supply of garden seeds so that, in case of a shortage, you will have them for the following spring.” (Vaughn J. Featherstone)

Promised Blessings!

        As we do our very best, we can be confident that ‘the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail.’ We shall enjoy greater wisdom, security, peace of mind, and personal well-being. We shall be prepared, and because we are prepared, we ‘shall not fear.‘ ”  (Bishop Keith B. McMullin)
        I bear my humble witness to you that the great God of heaven will open doors and means in a way we never would have supposed to help all those who truly want to get their year’s supply.” (Vaughn J. Featherstone)
        Where food storage violates the law of your land, then abide the law. However, even in those cases we can plant gardens and fruit trees and raise rabbits or chickens. Do all you can within the laws of your community, and the Lord will bless you when the time of need comes.” (Vaughn J. Featherstone)
         Be faithful, my brothers and sisters, to this counsel and you will be blessed—yes, the most blessed people in all the earth. You are good people. I know that. But all of us need to be better than we are. Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through the home production and storage, but others as well.”  (Ezra Traft Benson)
        Surely we all hope that the hour of need will never come. Some have said, ‘We have followed this counsel in the past and have never had need to use our year’s supply, so we have difficulty keeping this in mind as a major priority.’ Perhaps following this counsel could be the reason why they have not needed to use their reserve. By continued rotation of the supply it can be kept usable with no waste.” (James E. Faust)

Don’t go to extremes:

        You do not need to go into debt, may I add, to obtain a year’s supply. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. Save a little for storage each pay-check.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        We encourage members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise, and do not go to extremes. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.” (All is Safely Gathered In)
        There is no need to be anxious about events leading up to the Second Coming. . . The formula is simple: Be faithful. Unencumber your life. Lay up in store.” (Bishop Keith B. McMullin)
        As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
        We have been taught that we should build our reserves over a period of time, that we should not go into debt to do so, that we should buy those things we use and use them on a rotation basis, that we should use common sense in preparing ourselves to be independent and self-reliant. There has never been extremism or fanaticism associated with these teachings.” (Victor L. Brown)

We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. . .Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come. . .Now what I have said should not occasion a run on the grocery store or anything of that kind. I am saying nothing that has not been said for a very long time.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

Prophetic Warnings:

        More than ever before, we need to learn and apply the principles of economic self-reliance. We do not know when the crisis involving sickness or unemployment may affect our own circumstances. We do know that the Lord has decreed global calamities for the future and has warned and forewarned us to be prepared.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        When will all these calamities strike? We do not know the exact time, but it appears it may be in the not-too-distant future. Those who are prepared now have the continuing blessings of early obedience, and they are ready. Noah built his ark before the flood came, and he and his family survived. Those who waited to act until after the flood began were too late. Let us not be dissuaded from preparing because of a seeming prosperity today, or a so-called peace.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        For the righteous the gospel provides a warning before a calamity, a program for the crises, a refuge for each disaster. …The Lord has warned us of famines, but the righteous will have listened to prophets and stored at least a year’s supply of survival food.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
        My brothers and sisters, I feel our anxieties are justified. It is the opinion of many that more difficult times lie ahead. We are deeply concerned about the welfare of our people and recognize the potential privation and suffering that will exist if each person and family does not accept the word of the Lord when he says, “Prepare every needful thing” (D&C 88:119)  (Victor L. Brown)
        There are some who feel that they are secure as long as they have funds to purchase food. Money is not food. If there is no food in the stores or in the warehouses, you cannot sustain life with money. Both President Romney and President Clark have warned us that we will yet live on what we produce. (J. Richard Clarke)
        When we really get into hard times, where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.” (J. Richard Clarke)
        Let us become efficient in our production operations, so that we don’t merely go through the motions of having welfare farms. The time will come when we will need all the products and more from our projects—even more than we do now.” (President Spencer W. Kimball)
        The day will come, when, as we have been told, we shall all see the necessity of making our own shoes and clothing and raising our own food.” (President Wilford Woodruff)

The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.” (President Ezra Taft Benson)

(While we’re on the subject, check out this AWESOME video about preparing for troubled times. It’ll give you goosebumps!)


A Call to Repentance

        As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” (Elder L. Tom Perry)
        For forty years and more members of the Church have been counseled by their leaders to prepare for uncertainty and calamity. Many have followed that counsel; some have turned a deaf ear to it. Times and circumstances cause us to repeat what the Lord said” (President Ezra Taft Benson)
      If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast, and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives?  … If you cannot provide for your natural lives, how can you expect to have wisdom to obtain eternal lives?” (President Brigham Young)
        How on the face of the earth could a man enjoy his religion, when he had been told by the Lord how to prepare for a day of famine, when, instead of doing so, he had fooled away that which would have sustained him and his family.”  (George A. Smith)
        We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; and we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where He says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says. (President Spencer W. Kimball)
         As we become more affluent and our bank accounts enlarge, there comes a feeling of security, and we feel sometimes that we do not need the supply that has been suggested by the Brethren. It lies there and deteriorates, we say. And suppose it does? We can reestablish it. We must remember that conditions could change and a year’s supply of basic commodities could be very much appreciated by us or others. So we would do well to listen to what we have been told and to follow it explicitly. (President Spencer W. Kimball)

Beyond Food Storage (& Other Interesting Tidbits)

        I have on occasion cited the need for many reservoirs in our lives to provide for our needs. I have said, “Some reservoirs are to store water. Some are to store food, as we do in our family welfare program and as Joseph did in the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty. There should also be reservoirs of knowledge to meet the future needs; reservoirs of courage to overcome the floods of fear that put uncertainty in our lives; reservoirs of physical strength to help us meet the frequent burdens of work and illness; reservoirs of goodness; reservoirs of stamina; reservoirs of faith.
“Yes, especially reservoirs of faith, so that when the world presses in upon us, we stand firm and strong; when the temptations of a decaying world about us draw on our energies, sap our spiritual vitality, and seek to pull us down, we need a storage of faith that can carry youth, and later adults, over the dull, the difficult, the terrifying moments; disappointments; disillusionments; and years of adversity, want, confusion, and frustration.
. . .Parents. .are expected to lay foundations for their children and to build the barns and tanks and bins and reservoirs.” (President Spencer W. Kimball)
        We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult–the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
        To foster the economic self-sufficiency of the Latter-day Saint families, fathers and mothers, priesthood and Relief Society leaders are encouraged first to focus upon family preparedness, an important part of which is home production—canning, gardening, sewing, making household items—and also upon home storage, on the need for Saints to have a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel.” (H. Burke Peterson)
        In the area of home production, we would hope that members would heed the admonition of the prophets and, where possible, grow a garden, sew their own clothing, make household items, and, in general, become as self-sufficient as possible to prepare against the days to come. (H. Burke Peterson)
        [The pioneers] were taught by their leaders to produce, as far as possible, all that they consumed, and to be frugal and not wasteful of their substance. This is still excellent counsel” (President Joseph Fielding Smith)
        Now regarding home production: Raise animals where means and local laws permit. Plant fruit trees, grapevines, berry bushes, and vegetables. You will provide food for your family, much of which can be eaten fresh. Other food you grow can be preserved and included as part of your home storage.” (Vaughn J. Featherstone)
        We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods.” (President Spencer W. Kimball)
        Wherever possible, produce your nonfood necessities of life. Improve your sewing skills; sew and mend clothing for your family. . .Develop handicraft skills. .and make or build needed items.” (President Spencer W. Kimball)
        We will see the day when we will live on what we produce.” (President Marion G. Romney)
        From local sources seek out reliable information on food and nonfood preservation. . .We encourage all Latter-day Saint families to become self-reliant and independent. The greatness of a people and of a nation begins in the home.  (President Spencer W. Kimball)
        …There is a need for diversification in places of storage and in types of containers. Perhaps not all storage should be concentrated in one area of the house, not all should be stored in tin or plastic containers, not all in glass containers.” (Barbara B. Smith)


Above all, be sure to check out the church’s official pages on food storage as well as provident living.  These are excellent resources!


Also, did you know that church has Home Storage Centers, run by service missionaries, where you can buy all the basics?


Here are some links to some interesting talks on food storage & family preparedness:
“Prepare Ye” by President Benson (I’ve noticed that President Benson talked a lot about tribulations that will come in the last days and always stressed the importance of being prepared. Isn’t it interesting that he happens to be the prophet we are studying this year? Must be something we need to be reminded of right now. Just a thought.)


Also, here’s an interesting seminar on food storage that I really enjoyed. She’s got some great ideas 🙂


*On a side note, if you’re storing wheat, you might want to consider also getting a wheat grinder. I personally recommend the WonderMill Junior Deluxe


Anyway, I really enjoyed gathering all these quotes and how it has invigorated me to become more prepared, both physically and spiritually. Hope you found it insightful too!

Jan 03

How to Make Homemade Hummus (Without Tahini!)

easiest hummus recipe ever

Alex loves hummus. I had never tried it before I met him, but now I love it too. Recently I decided to try and make it from scratch to see if I can make it a little healthier, since the store bought kind contains soybean oil (one of the 3 oils you should avoid because it’s so bad for you – the others being palm and corn).

Substitute for tahini:

Most recipes call for tahini (sesame seed paste), which is slightly pricey and can usually only be found in middle eastern or health foods stores. But I found a way around that! Just use sesame seeds that you toast yourself! It may not be the most authentic way to make it, but it’s super duper easy and comes out tasting just like hummus in my opinion. Alex loves it.

Here’s the recipe:

1 (15 ounce) can Garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed- optional, see note below*)
1/8 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup lemon juice (about one regular sized lemon)
1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional. I actually prefer it without)
1/2 teaspoon salt (depending on whether or not you drain the beans)
2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 small clove (or 1/2 a large clove) garlic, minced (if you have a good blender, you can just add it whole)
A few Tablespoons water, as needed

*I’ve made it without draining the beans and just omitting the water and the salt. It is recommended that you drain and rinse it though, because I guess the liquid the beans come in contain a lot of sodium & BPA. (Recently I’ve been leaving out the salt even when I drain it, since I figure that the chips you dip in it have plenty already. It still turns out great).

To toast the sesame seeds, just spread it out in a pan and put in the oven on broil for a few minutes until it turns dark brown. Watch it closely though, so it doesn’t burn black. You can stir it around once halfway, if you like, to get it more evenly toasted.

blender hummus sesame seeds

Then, just put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! Easy enough, right? The amount of water you add depends on how thick you want it – or how thick your blender can handle. Depending on what type of blender you use, you may or may not be able to get it 100% smooth (there may be a few sesame seeds here and there that didn’t get pureed), but that’s OK because it will still taste great!

You can spice it up with some fun add-ins, such as:

Roasted red bell pepper
Fresh spinach
Fresh herbs
Spices, such as paprika or others

Just experiment!

Use as a dip with crackers or tortilla chips. I also like it spread on pita bread. I think it’s best after it has chilled in the refrigerator for an hour or two. Hope you like!

homemade hummus easy

Dec 01

Puto (Filipino Rice Cakes)

homemade puto easy

Here’s another Filipino recipe! This time from my sister Lisa. Puto is a very popular snack in the Philippines. It’s usually made with rice flour, but this recipe just calls for regular flour. She made it a few weeks ago- it tastes pretty authentic! So here’s her recipe 🙂


Puto recipe

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 cups water
1/3-1/2 cup shredded cheese (best if you use the Filipino ‘Eden’ brand, but cheddar works great if you can’t find that kind)

Other things you need:
A steamer
Some sort of cloth, like a small towel
Cooking oil
Puto molds (my sister got hers in the Philippines.These are the closest thing that I could find online. From the reviews it sounds like others have used them for making puto).


Step 1: Heat water to boiling in the steamer
Step 2: While waiting for the water to boil, mix the ingredients together
Step 3: Grease the inside of the molds with oil (this will make it so the puto won’t stick)
Step 4: Fill each of the molds 3/4 to 4/5 full with batter
Step 5: Once the water in the steamer is boiling, place the puto molds inside the pan (not the pan with the boiling water, but the pan with holes that goes on top of the boiling water)
Step 6: Cover the pan with a cloth or small towel (use this instead of a lid to prevent water from gathering on the lid and dripping on the puto, thus making it mushy)
Step 7: Steam the puto for 20 minutes
Step 8: Remove the puto from the molders
Step 9: Enjoy! You can eat the puto hot, or you can store it in the refrigerator and eat it chilled later. It is recommended that you store leftovers in the refrigerator to preserve freshness

Caution: it is a good idea to open a door or window and/or turn on a fan while the put is being steamed, as lots of steam will be produced. My sister forgot to do that and ended up with yellow steam streaks on the wall behind the stove 😉



Nov 23

PreparetoServe: Blessings (Part 2)


In light of Thanksgiving coming up this week, I wanted to dedicate a post to expressing gratitude. Specifically focusing on the ways Alex and I have been blessed through working on (I’m breaking away from my normal routine of posting recipes/ideas and blogging on a more personal note right now, so if you don’t know what I’m referring to, feel free to see my previous post here).

How We’ve Been Blessed by the PreparetoServe Project:

I think one of the most rewarding parts of this endeavor is the opportunity it has given us to individually serve others through what we are doing. (Like, for instance, being able to make a difference for someone who just got their mission call and to see their excitement build after we put up an interview of someone who served in their mission- it’s so fulfilling!)

Another rewarding part is being able to have a front row seat in learning from hundreds of amazing returned missionaries and their experiences. I have been so impressed with the caliber of the RMs we’ve been able to associate with. Wow. I truly believe that returned missionaries, who keep living the gospel with that same missionary zeal they exhibited on their missions, are one most one of the most powerful forces for good in this world. Our testimonies have been strengthened by each of them. It’s been neat to be able to feel uplifted and edified every time we invite a returned missionary to bear his/her testimony or share faith-building experiences in an interview. It really brings the spirit into our home.

An outpouring of spiritual/other insights

Another cool thing is that I’ve been able to pick out a lot of similar themes/patterns from all of the different interviews, which has taught me a lot about missionary work in general. For instance, it’s fascinating to see the similarities of the missionary experiences of someone who served in South America to someone who served in Asia. Although they are on opposite sides of the world, there is so much overlap, even in cultural things. Who’d-a thunk?

Every time I conduct an interview, I get more excited about the project and the vision of what we’re doing seems to become even clearer. Oftentimes while listening to an RM share mission stories and testimony, I’ll receive personal insights that help me in my own personal life or insights that help me see the bigger picture and the value of the PreparetoServe project. (more on that later). It’s even gotten me kinda eager to get interviewed about my own mission (which is something I’ve been avoiding for a long time because of being too camera shy). But I feel like I’m really catching the vision now!

It’s been a very educational, eye-opening, and has helped me to better understand other people and cultures. At the dinner table, Alex will often share interesting things he has been learning about the places he’s recently done interviews about. It’s cool to be able to learn all sorts of random cultural tidbits about every place in the world. One cool side effect of this is that it has made it easier to start up conversations with random people we meet from all walks of life.

Missionary Opportunities

Building the website has also opened up many unexpected missionary opportunities.  Through it, we’ve been able to connect with people of all backgrounds from all over the world, both online and in person.  It’s been way cool. We’ve been able to meet nonmembers, even pastors and missionaries from other faiths who are intrigued at the church’s missionary program, and who have expressed interest in learning more about our church. Some have accepted the invitation to be taught by the missionaries. I don’t know what the end story will be for all of these people, but it’s fulfilling to be able to provide a place where we can point them in the right direction.


One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about the PreparetoServe project is that it has given us lots of opportunities to meet people and make friends! In many ways, it has taken me out of my comfort zone and has expanded my social horizons. It’s also been a neat way to strengthen our relationships with those who are already our friends–because after you sit down for an hour listening to them tell you all about the most significant 2 years of their life (or 18 months), you really get to know them on a deeper level and come to love them more.

Anyway, these are just a few that I wanted to share. I may add to this post as time goes on. Anyway, I just feel privileged to have been able to participate in this endeavor with Alex and to see the many ways we’ve been blessed through it. Life is good.

*                         *                         *                         *

Behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started . . . that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?” Alma 26:1-2

— I thought this was kind of a fitting scripture 😉 It describes my feelings about the past 2 years.

Happy Thanksgiving! Count your many blessings!

Nov 15

Yummy Whipped Cinnamon Pumpkin Butter

cinnamon honey butter pumpkin

I love making things with pumpkin around thanksgiving time. It feels me with glee! My ward relief society put on a waffle night a few weeks ago, and they had this cinnamon pumpkin butter as one of the options for toppings. It was so yummy! It’s kind of like honey butter but with a holiday twist.

Me likes it so much, that me gots the recipe and decided to put it on this here blog ; )

How to Make Cinnamon Pumpkin Butter:


2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree
4 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla


Whip it all together with beaters until fluffy.


It’s great as a spread on warm rolls, toast, scones, & waffles!


pumpkin butter


Nov 10

PreparetoServe (Part 1): Our Journey of Faith

I realized that I’ve never really officially taken the opportunity to record my side of the story about Alex’s and my experience with building So here we go.

It’s been an interesting, unexpected, spiritual journey–and a long process of receiving personal revelation.

How it all began:

Rewind 7 years. Way back in 2007, Alex was really struggling trying to figure out what to do with his life and what to major in. Long story short, through a series of spiritual impressions and promptings, Alex felt led to major in Broadcast Journalism at BYU. The interesting thing about it was that he hadn’t even really heard of that major before, and he had no interest in it at all, but nevertheless he went forward with faith and applied to the major, not really knowing why. Only recently has it become strikingly clear just how perfectly that specific major prepared him for what he is doing now. It was through the Broadcast Journalism program that he discovered how much he enjoys interviewing people. He also became very familiar with video editing. As he went through the program, he produced several inspiring news stories, which got him excited and sparked lots of ideas for different video interview projects to maybe create someday.

One of those ideas was to create video resources for pre-missionaries where they could learn about where they had been called to serve from returned missionaries who had served there. This idea kind of got put on the backburner for a while as he focused on other things. But in the fall of 2012, Alex felt a strong impression that he should quit his job in order to start devote his time to working on this idea. We both agreed to give it a go, and he talked to his boss the next day. It was a huge leap of faith. Just two days later, we received an unexpected opportunity & blessing in our housing situation, making up for Alex’s lack of income. Once we had made the commitment to go for it, things started happening, and from then on, it just seemed like Heavenly Father kept lining up all our ducks in a row. Everything started working out to make the project possible. Eventually, we were able to get sponsors for the website- another huge blessing that enabled us to continue working on it. And so many more unexpected blessings I couldn’t enumerate them all here without making this into a monster-long post. Here’s a post that Alex wrote a while back that has a few more examples.

I was always very gung-ho about the PreparetoServe project. However, it took me a while to feel totally gung-ho about the idea of devoting ourselves full-time to it, with no outside income to support us for a while. I’ve definitely had to gain my own spiritual confirmation that this is really what we are supposed to be doing.

*                         *                        *                         *                        *

Through all this, I’ve come to realize that Heavenly Father is trying to build my faith.

It has taken faith to walk down this path. And a willingness  to embrace uncertainty. It’s been hard for me, at times, to not know for certain what the future holds. I’ve always been a planner. I like to have my entire life and future clearly mapped out so I can see the end from the beginning. Sometimes I think life would be so much more smooth and predictable if Alex just got a normal job. But you know what? That wouldn’t require nearly as big of a leap of faith. And so I think it’s been good for me. It has helped me to overcome doubt/fear and learn how to trust more in the Lord.

faith not fear

It reminds me of that one quote by Harold B. Lee,

“You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you.”

As well as a similar quote by Elder Uchtdorf:

“There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do.

light the way lds

And He has. Over and over. He has proved that He will, sooner or later, prepare and light the way, if we but first take that leap of faith into the dark.


The words to one of my favorite hymns has also taken on new meaning for me – I feel like it describes how my perspectives have changed since we embarked on this adventure:

“I was not ever thus nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now, lead Thou me on!
Lead Thou my feet, I do not ask to see the distant scene.
One step enough for me. – Lead Kindly Light, Hymn #97

I think that verse beautifully sums up what has been for me, a journey of faith.

*                         *                        *                         *                        *

I’m just in awe when I think about how much Heavenly Father has guided this whole process. I feel like “Going Forward with Faith” has been our theme as a family these past couple years. When I have doubts, nervousness, or fears, I just remember how much the Lord has taken care of us so far – so many unexpected opportunities and tender mercies! I would be blind not to acknowledge His hand in our lives. He has lined up our life circumstances perfectly to make it work with what we’re doing.

There’s a lot of things I don’t know. All I know right now is that we are supposed to essentially drop everything and work on this. We don’t know exactly all the reasons why. I don’t know if this will end up being the ultimate thing Alex does ‘for a living’ or if it is simply going to be the springboard/preparation ground for something else down the road. I don’t necessarily know the specifics of how it’s all going to work out financially or even what Heavenly Father’s ultimate purpose is in having us work on this project. Who knows–it may even be accomplishing something completely different from what we currently think its ultimate objective is. Whatever the end result, we just trust that it will somehow be a blessing for others and, in some small way, help to build up the kingdom of God on the Earth, which is our main goal in whatever we do.

Nov 03

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Waffles

crisp waffles


I love homemade waffles! This the recipe my mom always used growing up. They’re a favorite at our house. Grandma calls them “melt-in-your-mouth” waffles because they’re so crisp & light. Hope you enjoy!

Crisp Waffles

2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (or 1 stick of melted butter)
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder (1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar

Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, then whip together with a wire whisk until smooth. Heat your waffle iron, then pour batter in and let it cook for a few minutes, or until they’re as done as you like them. Real easy! (The amount you put in the iron depends on the size of your iron. I just have a small one, and 1/4 cup batter for each waffle is just right).

Top with whatever you like! My favorite is whipped cream with fresh fruit. Nutella is good too!

best homemade waffles ever


Oct 25

Faith, Fear, & Scary Movies

Christian halloween lds

What does faith have to do with scary movies? A few years ago, I took a “Media, Family, & Human Development” class at BYU.  One of the topics discussed in class was fear in the media. Though in class we didn’t go into much depth about it in a gospel sense, it really got me thinking about how much it ties into faith.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;

but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7


I love this scripture. Here, Paul reminds us that the spirit of fear is not of God. But in today’s society, it seems that seeking after this “spirit of fear” has sort of become an object of recreation. Why do we seek after it? We go to scary movies for the creepy thrill it gives us. [Some types of] Halloween festivities and haunted houses may offer the same type of excitement. Though it seems like harmless fun, I think the fact that faith and fear cannot coexist is an idea worth considering.

Faith and Fear Cannot Coexist

Kevin W. Pearson  said, “Faith and fear cannot coexist. One gives way to the other.” Faith is the absence of fear.  You can’t have faith with fear, and you can’t have fear when faith is present. One will crowd out the other.

Movies acknowledging the Plan of Salvation

I remember having a conversation with my sister one time where something she said struck me. She mentioned how she doesn’t really enjoy movies where she can’t see how the Plan of Salvation fits in the plot. That really made me think. Perhaps some movies (because their overarching theme) crowd out that vision of Heavenly Father’s plan for us. For instance, you wouldn’t expect the main character in a horror film to kneel down in the midst of a crisis and pray to the Lord for protection.  God’s power is absent from the picture. Why? Because resorting to faith would take away that “exciting” unsettling feeling of fear that those types of movies are intended to create in our hearts. Adding God to the picture would fill our hearts with the faith that God is in control of our lives, thus strengthening our faith and crowding out all fear.

Every choice affects our faith

The For Strength of Youth pamphlet affirms, “Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you.” Moment to moment,  every choice we make is either contributing to building our faith or weakening it. So does this mean that seeking after entertainment/recreation that encourages basking in the “spirit of fear” could, little by little, fill us with more fear and crowd out our overall faith? Perhaps. These things may carry with them an element of excitement, but is it really worth the potential demise of our faith?

“Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time.”

Neil A. Anderson

I’ll be honest, I’ve enjoyed scary movies and haunted houses at times. I can definitely see how we often find these things thrilling. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but thinking about it in this light has made me want to be more wary of the idea of intentionally doing things that fill me with the spirit of fear. It seems to me that when fear is present, the Holy Ghost cannot be present – simply because His spirit only dwells where faith dwells, and faith cannot fill our hearts when a spirit of fear prevails. Just something I’ve been thinking about.

cannot coexist lds

What do you think? Do you have any of your own insights to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Oct 11

Heaven in a Pan

This is my favorite dessert in the whole world, hands down. In my family, we call it “Heaven in a pan.” I don’t get around to making it very often- which is probably a good thing because I tend to eat way too much of it whenever the temptation is around. 🙂

Heaven in a Pan

(The recipe makes enough to fill a 9 X 13 inch pan. I sometimes half the recipe to fit in an 8 X 8 inch pan).

For the crust, mix together:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I always use walnuts)

walnut crust ingredients

(I sometimes just completely melt down the butter in the microwave to make it easier to mix).

walnut pie crust

Press the mixture into a 9 X 13 inch pan. 

nutty crust

how to cook walnut pie crust

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.

Pie crust with nuts

Then, mix together until smooth:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 the largest container Cool Whip

cream cheese softenedcream cheese layer

Spread this on top of baked crust, as shown below.No bake Cheesecake layer

Then Mix:

1 small box vanilla pudding
1 small box chocolate pudding


3 cups of milk.

Vanilla chocolate pudding layer

Beat until thick and spread over cream cheese layer.

Chocolate pudding cheesecake

Spread the remaining Cool Whip over pudding layer.

Whipped cream cake

Grate semi-sweet chocolate on top to cover.

Let stand in refrigerator overnight. (I don’t always follow this – sometimes I just let it chill for a few hours).

Heaven in a pan recipe

Then, indulge!

Oct 03

How to Make Spinach Your Kids Will Love!

how to make kids love spinach cheese

I’m so excited to share with you the secret to making spinach delicious! My mom always made spinach this way when I was growing up, and as a result, spinach was always my favorite vegetable as a child. I would even request it for my birthday because I loved it so much.

The first secret is: Use FROZEN spinach. Don’t ever, ever, EVER use canned spinach (that stuff is nasty). 🙂

The other secret: Cheesiness!!*
*(Assuming that you and your little munchkins love cheese. If not, this recipe is probably not the one for you).

How to Make Cheesy Spinach:

First, take:
1 package (10-12 ounce) frozen spinach (I prefer using the “chopped” kind)

Cook it according the package instructions. (Tip: make sure you don’t overcook the spinach or else it will start to taste more bitter, like canned spinach). Be sure to drain it very well (so that the sauce won’t get diluted and watery when you mix it with the spinach).

In the meantime, you can start making the cheese sauce.

How to make the cheese sauce:

1 Tablespoon butter
1/8 cup all-purpose flour (definitely use white flour- I once tried using whole wheat flour and it came out all grainy and weird)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 – 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want the sauce to be), not packed down.


melted butter spinach sauce

First, melt the butter in a small to spice up spinach

Second, mix in the flour.

white sauce for spinach

Then, pour in the milk (you may want to use a small whisk to stir it) and stir over medium heat until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken. You should now have a nice white sauce.Cheese sauce for spinach

Add in the cheese and stir until melted.

cheesy spinach

Mix the cheese sauce with your cooked spinach and serve!

*I rarely ever measure the ingredients out anymore when I make it. I just put a little butter, a spoonful or two of flour, and then just eyeball it on the milk and cheese. I often add more milk to stretch it (but not so much that the sauce won’t thicken) and less cheese (unless I’m making it for company or someone who’s never had it before). I also often use a larger bag of spinach.

*If you’re making it for the first time to introduce to your family, I recommend not varying too much from the recipe, so it will be super cheesy/tasty and will make a good first impression (especially if they aren’t spinach fans yet). You can experiment later on to make it a little lighter/healthier if you want 🙂

Even my 2 year old son likes it! (I had to get pictures of him gobbling it up, for proof).

yummy spinach recipes

spinach with cheese sauce

how to get toddlers to eat spinach

delicious cheese spinach recipe

I also couldn’t resist posting this cute video:

As you can see, he loves his cheesy spinach!

Sep 18

My Favorite Children’s Picture Book


best children's book for girlsDaughter of a King is my all-time favorite picture book. I just love it! I think every girl should have this book. The pictures are breathtaking and the story is beautifully written.

The story line is about a little girl named Katie, whose parents taught her that she is really a Princess. She learns that her father, the King, sent her to live away from Him for a time so that she could learn and grow. If she learns to always act like a princess, she will be able to return back home to live with the King in His crystal palace.

It goes on to tell of the challenges Katie faces throughout her life as she strives to do what is right and to act like a princess at all times. Eventually, the time comes that she and her husband take their journey to the crystal palace. Someone shows them a path made by the King’s oldest son. They are told that it is difficult and steep, but it is the only path that leads to the palace of the King.

I love this story because it is so rich in symbolism! It teaches the plan of salvation in a clear and captivating way. The King obviously represents our Heavenly Father, who sent us to live here on Earth to be tested. If we pass the test and learn how to act like the princes/princesses we are, we will be able to return to live with him in the Celestial Kingdom (represented by the crystal palace) someday. The King’s oldest son who made the path back to the crystal palace represents Christ, who provided the atonement for us. It is only through the atonement that we will be able to be cleansed from our sins so that we can return to Heavenly Father’s presence.

My favorite part of the whole book is the last page, where Katie is finally welcomed into the arms of her loving father, the King. I love this picture! Sometimes when reading the beautiful ending to this story, I get all choked up with emotion. Because it reminds me of how much my Heavenly Father loves me and how much He wants me to succeed and to return home to live with Him again.

nothing will startle us more

It also reminds me of quote I love by Ezra Taft Benson:

Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us.”

This book really brings the gospel to life for me. I love it, and I just wanted to share this special story with you so that you can share it with all the little girls in your life (& big girls too!) 🙂

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