Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Hard Lesson to learn

Hey all!
On the last post I said that I was going to be more grateful and spend more meaningful time with my family during the month of Thanks and Giving. I got to about day 5. Everyday I added something new to what I already wanted to do. Examples were:
Day One: Spend More Time with family. Day one didn't work out so well seeing as the instant I woke up I got on the computer and spent most of my day on it doing a super organized outline of Dax's classes for him. It ended up being longer than expected, but on the bright side I was grateful for the gift of creativity I have been given to use.
Day Two: To be more creative. Day two was a pass and fail. I had an amazing dream the night before and ended up typing out quite a few pages. I resisted the urge to check Facebook when I was bored. I tried to spend more time with Family but unforgettably in this day-in-age everything is being transferred to electric devices: work applications, shopping, and even family time with things such as movies or video games. While all of  these the aforementioned are useful and enjoyable I just wanted to spend pure time with my family in the month of November.
Day Three: Service. Dax and I had the opportunity to watch his 3 youngest siblings while his parents went to his moms high school reunion. I had so much fun with them! We went and saw "Wreck It Ralph" which was a really cute movie and I would recommend seeing it sometime in the future! I made them super tasty  BLTs with a quick way to make Bacon that I learned from Pintrest.

Baked Bacon
 Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F if you're cooking thin, or regular-cut bacon. If you want to bake thick-cut bacon, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with sides with heavy-duty foil. Arrange the bacon on the pan, side-by side, being sure not to overlap the pieces.  to give the bacon that pretty 'ridged' look he wads and unfolds the foil first so it is wavy, then arranges the bacon on it. That gives the fat somewhere to go so the bacon isn't sitting in the fat as it cooks. This method also shapes the bacon while baking.
Bake the thin-cut bacon for 12-17 minutes for thin-cut, or until desired crispness. I myself like my bacon very crisp, so I bake it 16-18 minutes.
For thick bacon, bake for 10 minutes, then turn the bacon with tongs. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 12-17 minutes longer or until the bacon is browned.
And then you remove all the bacon from the oven and it's suggested to use paper towel to pat off any extra oil but since I baked it there wasn't a whole lot. I used extra sourdough bread, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. I made sure not to toast the bread as I like to do with most of my sandwiches since I was already going to have a nice crunch with the bacon. 
I loved making bacon this way especially for family dinner! I didn't have to cook bacon and make individual sandwiches for everybody so that there bacon wouldn't get too cold. I just cooked it all at once, already had the bread slices prepped, added the bacon, and we all got to sit together and eat!
Day Four: Stretching my Comfort Zone. Today just happened to be a Sunday. Quite a few Latter Day Saint families try to exclude electronic devices unless they are Christ centered or gospel related to keep the Sabbath day holy. Other family may not do this and that's alright as long as we are trying to keep the Sabbath a Holy Day. Dax and I have decided that this is a tradition we believe will help us stay closer to Christ on this special day of the week. Also as I have seen, by doing this, we get closer to one another and the spirit as well. Dax's family just happens to have the same tradition and so it was easier to spend quality time with them. Dax, Tess, Brent and I played the game "Scum" . I was having so much fun it was coming out my eyes. I haven't laughed that hard for a while it seemed. I was "President" at least 3 or 4 times in a row and I would make Tess and Brent laugh by the silly things I would say I would do as president. Later that evening I tried another recipe I found from Pintrest which didn't turn out as good as I would have liked. It was way too spicy. 

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes

Serves 4-6
Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 tsp minced garlic

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes ( I think with the chili powder I might just eliminate this, especially for those who don't like much or any spice. It was a little too spicy, and if you happen to taste it before letting it cook and it dosn't taste spicy enough don't add more. The flavors will all be brought out as it cooks for a few hours during the day!)
2 tsp yellow mustard

Hot dog or hamburger buns

1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Drain off most of the fat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
2. In the crock pot, combine all remaining ingredients except buns and butter. Add the ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. When beef is ready to serve, butter buns. Broil until tops are golden brown, about 1 minute.
4. Spoon the ground beef onto the buns and serve. Enjoy!
Since this Sunday was the first of the month it is what is known as "Fast Sunday". Not because Church goes by faster or anything but because of the sacrifices we are willing to make to feel the spirit more and to gain more blessings. It is also a day to share your testimony, if you wish or are prompted to do so. (To learn more about Fast Sunday/ Testimony Meeting  click here). Today I bore my testimony. I stepped out of my comfort zone and shared what I believed in in front of the whole congregation. I felt that it was what I needed to do: to share my gratitude for the savior and what he has done for me. 
Little Did I know what was to happen next...
As life always seems to go when things seem almost right and perfect in the world a storm comes. 
What I am about to share is extremely personal and may make you feel uncomfortable. If it does please fill free to stop reading or to just skip the next couple of paragraphs. 
Satan, the Devil, the Adversary, whatever you may want to call him doesn't want us to have all the most beautiful and precious things of this world. And he'll do anything to stop you from getting them. He'll even drag that old sin that you put in your closest with a big "DO NOT TOUCH" sign. That sin that you packed away carefully and signed a contract never to look at again but it will always be there every time you open the door to remind you of how much it hurt and how much you don't want to go there again. 
When you begin to improve and get closer to God doing the things he wants you to do; when you are patterning your life after Him, alarms sound off. Satan becomes frightened because your dormant attitude about the Gospel and Jesus Christ is developing. So what does he do? He goes to your closest, dusts off that sin you've sworn never to touch, cleans it up, and wraps it in a very eye catching, thought provoking package and presents it to you. 
Satan knows just as well as God the things your heart desires most. The difference: Satan distorts what is your pure desires and makes them ugly and distasteful  so that you no longer want to go there. God will bless you with a high calling encouraging you to go forth and develop.
I want children more than anything. 
I've been trying the past couple of months to eat healthier  exercise, and spiritually grow so that when the time to have kids is right I am prepared. I will be able to give them every physical and spiritual thing they need. I can teach them of the atonement and what it means to me. I can teach them right from wrong and how much Jesus loves you even if you think you don't deserve it. 
One day Satan drug out my old sin from the closest. It wasn't on a computer but on my phone. It was photographs but literature. It was the same sin, but in a different package. I have no desire to seek these things out, but with idle searching they seek you out. I was simply researching how to refurbish a hard couch into a nice fluffy couch when a headline of a story stuck out to me. There was nothing about couches and two links down was this story. 
My fault: clicking on it to satisfy my curiosity. Could there really be a story like this? Is this true?
As I read I was horrified, shocked, and disgusted, and yet I still read. 
I read a few paragraphs before I ended up closing it all and feel the dread and hopelessness seep in. 
It was about a little girl. The thing I wanted most was twisted and distorted. I felt dirty, ugly, and as though I had committed this horrendous crime myself. 
I instantly grabbed my scriptures and began reading but every two words the words of the awful story popped into my head. I had to read 3 or 4 chapters before I began to even feel slighlty better. I still felt gross. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and then I turned on the tabernacle chior and prayed and listened and prayed again. The moment Dax came home from work I burst into tears and told him everything I could at the moment. 
How could I have done this to him?
I made special covenants not only with God but with him. I could I betray him like that? Why was I not showing him the love he shows me every day? And he still showed me more. 
The sweetest words a wretched soul could here is "I forgive you" with all their heart and soul. Of course that made me feel even worse and I kept apologizing over and over, and all he did was hold me and tell me he forgave me. 
My husband is one of the most Christ-like examples I have ever met. He teaches me so many things about love and Christ. His forgiveness made it possible for me to believe that Christ could forgive me also, but could I forgive myself? 
Throughout the day I would be happy and then sad when Satan kept shoving those words into my head. 
"You won't be a good mom." He'd smirk. 
"You can't be a good mom, now. Look at what you have done."
I then asked my husband to use his priesthood to give me a blessing and that helped out the most, I believe. 
By the end of the week I had told all of my family and even the bishop. I have put that sin carefully away with the others with a big sign that says "BEWARE OF COPIES". I cannot and will not allow myself to simply "browse" the internet. Not even to look up harmless things unless someone is near me. I will not even quickly look up something on my phone without extra support. I will be aware of those copies lurking around the corner and attempt to avoid those temptations of curiosity, because as we all know the saying "curiosity killed the cat." 
Two things that I found uplifting to me during this time was the song: "Redeemer of Israel". Especially the third verse which reads: 
How long we have wanderedAs strangers in sinAnd cried in the desert for thee!Our foes have rejoicedWhen our sorrows they've seen,But Israel will shortly be free. 
Also I found on Spotify a whole album I fell deeply in love with called Hymnalisms by Stephen J. Anderson.
Here is a sample of his genius art:
I just want to leave you all with a bright note to this "Hard Lesson To Learn". There is a up for every down and a light for every darkness. Sometimes we have to fall far enough to know what we really need to get out, to know what we really need to ask for. When we do what is right then the pieces of our puzzle just begin to fit and work out. We need an example to know what are puzzle is supposed to look like, otherwise we are just trying to fit odd pieces together while getting frustrated in the process. Christ is my example followed by my sweet husband and all the other beautiful people in my life.

Dax and I now live in our own apartment which we decided to get on a sporadic job and faith. The day we were moving in our neighbor asked if he could help and began talking to my dad about how he had an awesome job that he needed to give to a really good hardworking person. If my dad knew of anyone, he was to let our neighbor know. He said "as a matter of fact I do".
Dax now has a reliable job as a medical sample courier that works well with his schooling and pays pretty well.

Oh the blessings we are promised when only we are ready to receive!


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