Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sunday's Combined Lesson

Sisters, we just wanted to let you know that this Sunday's lesson will be a combined Relief Society/Elders' Quorum lesson. The Bishop will be giving the lesson and we will meet in the Institute Room. See you Sunday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Sister Spotlights!

Brittany Tuttle
What color do you like: blue
Favorite food:
Thanksgiving food! (mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey and pie)
Favorite scripture and why:
 Alma 7:11. I love the Atonement and how it covers EVERYTHING, our pain, weaknesses and our mistakes.
Favorite hymn:
 "I Know My Redeemer Lives"
Favorite place to visit:
 I love trying new things, so I like visiting places I've never been before. I love places with lakes and mountains and trees :)
Favorite thing about living in Dallas:
 Playing tennis in November in 70 degree weather.
Favorite Ice cream flavor:
Favorite time of the year:
 I used to like fall when I lived in Washington and Utah, but now living in Dallas I bet spring will be my favorite season!
Something interesting about yourself:
 I qualified for the Boston Marathon two years ago. For non-runners that probably doesn't mean anything, but it was a really big deal for me and I was excited about it.
Brittany & Ted

Brenda Singh 
What color do you like
I like them all.
 Favorite food:
If you ask my husband he'll say anything with cheese, but I think it depends on my mood. It's true sometimes I want cheesey Tex-mex or Italian, but sometimes I want Indian dosa or veggies and dip. My tastes are varied.
 Favorite scripture and why:
 It changes, but one that sticks with me is Mosiah 4:9
"Believe in aGod; believe that he is, and that he bcreated all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all cwisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not dcomprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."
I first discovered it as a teenager and felt inspired to post it on my wall to look at everyday. Not long after that we got some difficult news that my dad was very sick and would most likely not live beyond a year. It was a difficult year, but those words posted on my wall carried me through it. A few years later this same scripture inspired me to serve a mission, I wanted to share the strength I had gotten from them with others. Even today I feel encouraged to remember that God is all powerful and all knowing, that when I trust Him then everything will work out for my good.
Favorite hymn:
 I love Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It was in the old hymn book, and I first learned it when I spent a semester in Nauvoo. So maybe it's the connections that I have with Nauvoo that make my happy, but I also love the words.

Favorite place to visit:
 The mountains. I grew up in Denver so I'm very picky about what I catagorize as actual mountains, but after a few years near the Appalachian Mountains I'm willing to admit they definately have their own beauty.

 Favorite thing about living in Dallas:
 All the good friends we've made here!
  Favorite Ice cream flavor:
 Rocky Road mixed with Mint Chocolate Chip and some milk. 
Favorite time of the year:
 Winter, I love the holidays, decorations, family, snow and cold weather. Texas doesn't have snow, but I would take the colder weather over the Texas heat anyday of the year.
Something interesting about yourself: (that we might not know)
Since I just moved into the ward there is probably a lot that no one knows about me. I'm not sure what's interesting about me, but something that is perhaps unique is that I like to collect mediocre talents. I like to paint, draw, sew, cook, play the violin and piano, sing, read classic literature, go to musuems, study everything from history to nutrition, garden, crochet ... I'm willing to try almost anything just for fun, but I wouldn't say I'm very good at anything. Since I'm not very good at anything most of my talents are share just among my close family and friends. So you'll have to get to know me to see the crazy things I put together :)


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Recipes from Tuesday night

We have had some requests for the recipes from our Angels Among Us activity. Here they are!

6 TBS Flour
1 TBS Freshly ground pepper
1 ½ TBS Sweet Paprika
2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Note: If the chicken breasts are large, cut them in half.
6 TBS Olive Oil

Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture. (Put the flour, pepper, paprika and garlic powder in a zip lock bag. Drop the chicken pieces in the bag and shake. Sauté the chicken in the olive oil until browned on both sides. Do not cook the chicken completely. Place browned chicken in a 9 x 13 casserole dish sprayed with Pam.

In a saucepan, prepare the Orange-mustard sauce.

Orange-Mustard Sauce
6 TBS white flour
6 TBS Butter

Melt the butter in a medium pan. Add the flour. Continue to cook this mixture on medium low for about 5 minutes using a wire whisk. Then add the following, incorporating all ingredients with a wire whisk:

2 TBS Dijon mustard
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 3/4 cups Chicken broth

Bring this to a slow boil and continue to stir for a few more minutes, until the sauce thickens to a nice gravy/sauce consistency.

Pour the sauce over chicken and bake covered for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

NOTE: There are instructions for freezing ahead. I have not tried this but here are the instructions if you want to do it ahead of time.

Brown the chicken as noted above and place in Ziploc freezer bags.
Prepare sauce as noted above. Cool sauce rapidly by placing the pan in a larger pan or bowl of ice and stirring until cool. Pour into chicken bags, press air out and seal. Freeze laying flat in single layers.
When preparing to cook, move the frozen chicken to the refrigerator 48 hours ahead of the cooking date. Pam or oil the baking dishes, layer the thawed sauce and chicken, and bake covered at about 350 to 400 degrees for 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

2 Tbs Butter
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 small orange(use just the orange part, not the white part)
Juice of 2 oranges, plus enough chicken broth to make 2 cups of liquid
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sliced and toasted almonds for garnish on rice

Add all ingredients to rice cooker container, cover and cook until liquid evaporates (approximately 20 minutes). Serve and top with toasted almonds
At about 15 minutes of cooking time open the rice cooker and throw in two handfuls of frozen peas and carrots for color. Top the cooked rice with the toasted almonds after you put the rice in the serving dish. This makes 2 cups - double as needed.

8oz cream cheese, softened
¼ C sugar
16oz heavy cream
1 teaspoon orange flavoring (you can find it in the spice section of the store next to the vanilla)
½ teaspoon orange zest

Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with a mixer. Add the sugar and mix until combined. Add the heavy cream and beat on high until the mixture thickens into stiff peaks. Add the orange flavoring and the orange zest. Mix it a little longer intil combined and well incorporated.

Ingredients: VERY good chocolate cake mix 1 small box INSTANT chocolate pudding mix(Jello brand, don’t use a sugar free package) 1 C. sour cream (all natural, Like Daisy Brand) 4 eggs 1/2 C. water 1/2 C. oil (vegetable oil - what you have) 12 ounce bag VERY good quality chocolate chips(Gheridelli, Hershey's, or Nestle)

Directions: Heat oven to 350 Make sure the rack is at the middle bottom Grease the bundt pan or spray it generously with PAM and put some of the dry cake mix in it and shake around and put extra dry mix back into the recipe (this keeps the top from sticking) Put all the ingredients together - except chocolate chips - and mix for 5 minutes on a moderate speed. At the end, mix in bag of chips. Put into bundt pan and bake for approx. 50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then carefully turn over cake onto the plate and release from the pan with a knife to loosen it around the sides - inside and out - let cool.

Icing: 1 ½ CPowdered Sugar Evaporated Milk - about 1/4 Cup 1 t Almond extract 3 T. butter ¾ C chocolate chips Optional- 1 C chopped Nuts Directions: Melt the butter and milk in the microwave. Now the chocolate chips. The chips should melt in this hot mixture. With a whisk, start to add powdered sugar till mixture is like a thin frosting or a thick glaze. You can add more evaporated milk or more powdered sugar to get the consistency right. Now put in the almond extract and the nuts. While the cake is still a little warm, add your first layer of icing. You can use a butter knife or other frosting-type tool to spread the frosting evenly. Don’t worry if the fist layer does not cover the cake completely. Let the icing set up and then add the next layer. All together add 3 layers of icing!

Do not cover till cake is completely cool!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Power of Kindness

Dear Sisters,

Our lesson this Sunday is from the Teachings of George Albert Smith, and is entitled "The Power of Kindness". Kindness is a divine quality that is in short supply in the world today. It is an outward expression of charity, and comes from a heart that recognizes each individual's intrinsic worth. President George Albert Smith embodied kindness in his life, and I look forward to discussing how this attribute enables the Spirit to change hearts. How have you been affected by someone giving you praise? Have you had an experience where showing kindness has resolved a conflict? Please read the lesson and come prepared to share your experiences. I know we have "Angels Among Us" who have performed many acts of kindness. Have a great week, and I will see you on Sunday!

Love, Sister Stoddard

To read the lesson, click HERE.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


In Marcia Herzog's beautifully decorated home, we had a gathering of 80 plus Relief Society Sisters who shared the Spirit of Christmas with a delicious dinner, beautiful music, and stories of Angelic interventions in the lives of several sisters.

The dinner was an orange delight of chicken, rice and even a mandarin orange atop the chocolate cake.  We so appreciate Bonnie Muir's culinary talents and attention to every detail - and to all the sisters who provided salads and rolls.

The spirit was so strong with the beautiful music, and angelic stories, that I am certain we all "felt" the great gift which is the Savior Jesus Christ, and for all those "angels" which are sent into everyone's life  at " moments or seasons" when they are most needed.   Elder Russell M. Nelson says that when we witness this angelic aid  either in our own lives or the lives of others we also see the "Signature of God.

We hope that each year when you unwrap your little tin angel to put upon your tree you will be reminded of how much you are loved by us and your Heavenly Father.   Merry Christmas Sisters!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Sisters - it's December 4th, and our Annual R.S. Christmas Dinner Party is here.  We always plan to start  off the Christmas Season early before you get involved with all the shopping, wrapping and cooking.

Just come tonight and enjoy an evening of good food, wonderful music and many reminders of the "Angels"who have appeared in all of our lives.  Please call and check on those whom you visit teach, and see if they are coming, and if they have a ride. (remember you can count this for your V.T. in December if you made a phone call to make sure she knows about it and is coming). Have you invited a neighbor or friend that we can  meet and help you love them into the gospel of Jesus Christ?

We are starting at 7:00 pm with dinner, and a wonderful program to follow.  We even have a "little" surprise for each sister.  The place is Marcia Herzog's home and the address is found in your church roster, or call a member of the presidency.  The dress is nice casual - see you there!

Monday, December 3, 2012

DRESS for SUCCESS...a service that "covers" women!

I love the idea of cleaning out my closet and thinking of what I DO and DO NOT wear. I have some items of clothing that would work for women who need some help reentering the work place. I might wear the item once or twice every two months but someone else - IN NEED - might wear it every week.
When I think of how to serve the Lord during this holiday season, I think of all the months ahead where women will need to find jobs and feel better during the interview process. I do not want to give what I don't wear as that is not really a suitable gift to me. I want to give something I like to wear that I feel would make someone else feel more confident too.

Think about this Charity this Christmas season. To me it is as easy as looking in my closet and thinking of a "sister" who wants to have as much fun with clothes as I do!

Check out the info below -

DRESS FOR SUCCESS (click here)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas is Service

Some of the best presents I have ever received have been intangible gifts such as a listening ear, a hug of encouragement, or an act of service such as cleaning my house or running to the grocery store when I was ill. Christ teaches us in the scriptures that when we serve others, we are serving Him. President Eyring reminds us in the December 2012 Ensign how our acts of service are like gifts to Jesus Christ. President Monson also encourages us in the December 2012 Ensign to serve. He says, "there are hearts to gladden, kind words to say, deeds to be done, and souls to be saved."

Right now if you go to Mormon.org/Christmas (click HERE) you will find a bright red banner that says "Christmas is Family, Christmas is Service, Christmas is Love, Christmas is Jesus Christ." This Sunday in Relief Society, we will be focusing on service, as a way to prepare us for the Christmas season. Look around you, what can you do to serve? Organized service projects are a great way to build a sense of community and unity, but the Spirit of Christ can be just as strong when we take our own initiative to serve those around us. Thus, we can be Angels to those in need.

You're Invited...

Monday, November 26, 2012


If you are pondering service opportunities - one very worthwhile and interesting project is Reading and Radio Resource.   I volunteered more than 20 years ago, when it was called "Reading for the Blind", and it soon became one of my of "guilty pleasures".  They have a new name, but essentially it is recording textbooks, nonfiction and fiction, etc. for the sight impaired.  The facility has a state of the art studio to record in, and they are always looking for good readers, with a "little" voice talent, who is a committed volunteer - - although they are very flexible, and will work with your schedule.

It requires  a little training, and may be too involved for the Holidays, but it offers a great volunteer option in the New Year.  The Church recommends we involve ourselves within our communities to let our "Mormon Lights" shine!

Reading and Radio Resources are located at: 2007 Randall Road, Dallas, Texas 75201.  To contact this organization, you can e-mail: betty @readingresource.org. or call (214) 871-7668.

You can help a sight-impaired child get through his textbook, or read the latest novel to a senior citizen, and celebrate the wonderful gift of sight that you enjoy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

To be thankful...

I was in charge of the games this year at our family Thanksgiving dinner. I decided to do Bingo as it goes across the ages of the children and then I really invested in some great prizes. There were 16 people - young and old - playing Bingo and we would play the same card till everyone won something.  David put all the prizes out for all to see and the first ones who won were in ecstasy and the rest would get more and more concerned about the prizes left as time went on. By the end of the game, everyone had a prize - but - not all were "content" with what they had won. There had been just too many possibilities.
When we were finished, I asked them to look around at who was "thankful".
The room got a little quieter as I talked about how hard it is to see the blessings when there are just SO many blessings to see.
I know we live in difficult times. I know there are many negatives in the way the world is headed. Yet I sometimes think I am like one of my grandchildren who has a hard time seeing all the good because I would like it just a little better or someone might have some blessing I see as more desirable.
I am so thankful this day for all of you. I am thankful for Priesthood leadership in this church and this ward. I enjoy serving with Bishop Monroe and thankful for all the good he brings to his calling. I am thankful for my counselors and all with whom I serve in this Relief Society. I am thankful for temples and covenants and family and friends and food and books and on and on.
I  am most thankful for a wonderful Elder Brother Jesus Christ and His belief in me and my abilities to repent and change.
I think it is so important to not look at someone or something else and wish to have what they have as if life was a Bingo game!
I pray TO BE THANKFUL for what I have...to have what I want that is right before the Lord and more importantly...to want what I HAVE.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service

Dear Sisters,

In this talk by Elder Robert D. Hales he teaches us about how to become truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The strength of our conversion is centered in how we make and keep covenants with our Heavenly Father.  He states "We become converted and spiritually self-reliant as we prayerfully live our covenants-through worthily partaking of the sacrament, being worthy of a temple recommend, and sacrificing to serve others,"  Please spend some time pondering the covenants you have made with your Heavenly Father.  What are some of the promises you have made to Him?  What are the promises He has made to you? " Where do you stand on living your covenants?"  I would also like to discuss how you teach your children about covenants in your homes, so we can learn from each other, and help each other in this important responsibility.  I look forward to meeting with you this Sunday. Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for each of you.

Love, Sister Stoddard

To read this talk, click HERE.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Adopt a Family

As you contemplate what service project to do this Christmas season, please consider adopting a family or woman from Genesis Women's Shelter. Genesis clients are women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Most will receive very little this Christmas. Last year, a family in the community adopted a family with a little boy who had never received any present on Christmas. During years past, his mom would have to tell him that Santa Claus ran out of toys or Santa Claus couldn't get to all of the kids in the world. But last year this little boy woke up Christmas morning to a few toys under the tree. He exclaimed, "Mom! Santa Claus finally came to my house!" His mom told me that she felt so grateful for the love and support from the community.

To adopt someone this year, please email Mrs. Murphey Sears at msears[at]genesisshelter[dot]org. Let her know how big of a family you want to adopt (# of people) and she will send you the info. You can learn more about the Christmas Giving program by clicking HERE.

To learn more about Genesis, click HERE.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


We have a celebration coming.  Our Annual Relief Society Christmas Dinner and Party.   Invitations go out this coming Sunday.  Our theme is "Angels Among Us", which we feel works so well with our R.S direction of choosing a   personal charity that your family supports this Christmas Season with a contribution of either time, money or goods.  We CAN be Angels for local charities, our sisters on our Visiting Teaching lists, or introducing a neighbor or friend to the Gospel, and give them a gift that lasts the eternities.  If you have someone you would like to introduce to the Gospel, invite her to the Christmas Party.

Christ has no hands but our hands to do his work today - He depends on the goodness (angels)  within us to help answer the prayers of those in need. 

Circle Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Marcia Herzog.  The dress is nice casual, if you haven't had a chance to sign up, please catch Bonnie Muir, who is in charge of dinner, to see what you can sign up for.

Remember, Tuesday, December 4th, before the big rush begins. . .Come and share the Christmas spirit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Temporal Salvation

Sisters, in the business of daily life, do we take time to plan and prepare for our own temporal salvation and the salvation of others? My guess is that you probably do more than you realize. By paying fast offerings monthly, you are helping others temporally. Do you live within your means and store food, supplies and money for future use? Do you focus on building your spirituality rather than material possessions? Do you actively seek to help those in need?

These wise words from George Albert Smith will help us all know a little more how we can take care of our own temporal salvation with theirs.

Click HERE to read chapter 20 from the manual.

I look forward to meeting with you Sunday!
Angie Alford

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Service: Children's Medical Center

Children's Medical Center has a number of opportunities available for community volunteers to serve during the holidays. There are individual and group projects, some that can be done at home and many more! Here are a few examples of what you can do to help. (Please click on the name of each project to find out more).


Collect change & donate it to Children's. It will add up fast!

Help kids find their inner artist by stocking art closets throughout the hospital with everything the little artists will need.

Assemble a “Busy Book” to help entertain little patients in the waiting room. Use ribbon, yarn or staples to secure several coloring pages, mazes and/or word games into a small packet.

Gather a group of family members and friends to carol at the Dallas Campus.

For the full list of holiday volunteer opportunities, click HERE

The WHOLE Book!

I happened to see Barbara Doerk at the store today. We talked some about books, as always, as she hosts our monthly Book Club Interest Group at her home. I commented that it was great to read select chapters of JESUS the CHRIST for our December meeting. Then she said, "I am going to read the whole book this time." And then came this very clear thought to me - "I am ALSO going to read the whole book this time!"
I needed this contact today. I needed to hear this idea. I need to read the WHOLE book of "Jesus the Christ" by James Talmadge. I am starting this evening as soon as I finish this blog entry.
I have so many details right now and yet I always make time for the books I want to read - my recreational reading. I do not apologize for that. BUT, I have not read this entire book for many years and it is time for me to immerse myself in His life and His ways.
It will be a little Christmas Gift to myself! Thanks Barbara!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Word of Wisdom

When we were kids, our parents taught us some basic guidelines to help keep us safe. Don’t touch a hot stove. Look both ways before crossing the street. Always wear a seat belt. Don’t play with sharp objects. From a child’s perspective these probably seemed to us as restrictive and not very fun, but in reality, our parents just wanted to make sure we were safe and protected.

The Word of Wisdom can be compared to these rules that our parents gave us. President George Albert Smith said, “I look upon the Word of Wisdom as kind advice of our Father in heaven, who desires to see His children become more like Him… I take it as the fatherly counsel of one who, knowing what I needed, said to me: ‘My son, these things are not good for you, and if you will avoid them I will give you the companionship of my Holy Spirit and joy while you live in the world and in the end eternal life.’” (Teachings of George Albert Smith p. 204)

On Sunday we will be learning from Chapter 19 in the George Albert Smith manual on the Word of Wisdom. Read the lesson, think about these questions, and come prepared to discuss! Is the Word of Wisdom only a temporal law? What are the blessings promised to us if we keep the Word of Wisdom? How has obeying the Word of Wisdom blessed your life?

(By Melanie Jarnagin)

To read chapter 19, click HERE.


These are some of our favorite charities.  We accept fabric and garment donations at our store and we welcome your support for infants and children in need.  Your donations and volunteer efforts would be greatly appreciated by these charities. 

Plano Sewing Center provides materials, sewing machines and work space to volunteers on a regular basis to create blankets and clothing for these two very worth causes.   For more information on how you might help us help these fine organizations please click on the links below.   Thank you.

NEW BORNS IN NEED    http://www.newbornsinneed.org/

PROJECT LINUS  http://www.projectlinus.org/

This is the beginning of our Dallas 4th Relief Society Holiday Service Projects! As a Presidency,
we are concentrating our efforts on what each Sister/Family can do for others instead of organizing something FOR you!
Each week until Christmas, we will have a different Charity that we have found in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area that you might consider lending your talents, time, or efforts to bless the lives of others.
We hope you will let us know what you have decided to do and how it has helped you feel the Spirit of Christmas in your lives.
This week, I have found this wonderful, easy, important charity to consider as you decide how best to celebrate our Savior's birth.  And let the HOLIDAYS BEGIN!!!!!!!!

November Sister Spotlights

Kristi Chesnut
What color do you like: Black
Favorite food: Cafe Rio Pork Salad 
Favorite hymn: How Great Thou Art
 Favorite place to visit: Disney World
Favorite thing about living in Dallas: Horse racing and Cowboys and Dallas 4th
Favorite Ice cream flavor: Chocolate
Favorite time of the year: Autumn
Something interesting about yourself: I want to be a secret agent when I grow up

Karen Armstrong
What color do you like: Yellow and peachy
Favorite food: Steak, baked potato with Marie's Ranch dressing
Favorite scripture and why: D&C 78: 17-22 While Chuck and I served a mission we took turns doing the thought for the day when we visited differenct homes. It was around the time of Thanksgiving and so I was trying to find a scripture that had to do with thankfullness. I came upon this one and shared it throughout the day. As so often happens it is the last home of the day that you find out what Heavenly Father had in mind for the cause of finding that scripture to be shared. We were in a very humble home of a later in life couple. They were members and needed uplifting so we visited them. As I read the scripture the man got tears in his eyes and some even fell onto his cheeks. It seemed as if Heavenly Father was in the room and telling the message. His wife was being treated for cancer and was bald and taking medication that made her feel sick. He was suffering with his own health issues and struggles. This moment on our mission once again let me know that Heavenly Father is in the details of our life and loves us and wants to let us know. I am so grateful to have been His instrument for the message that needed to be delivered
Favorite hymn: How Great Thou Art and I Feel My Savor's Love
Favorite place to visit: Provo Canyon
Favorite thing about living in Dallas: The people
Favorite Ice cream flavor: Maple Nut can't be found anymore
Favorite time of the year: Spring

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ward Service Project

(Click on above image to enlarge.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Darkroom

Last week one of the sister missionaries asked me what it was like to have lived with the influence of Christ versus the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She was baptized at age eight and can't remember what it was like before receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I remarked that it was "amazing" but I don't feel like I really fully answered the question.

A couple of weeks ago I was developing x-rays in the darkroom by myself. It had been a trying week complete with very serious family problems that just seemed to be getting worse. Kneeling in prayer while waiting for the x-rays to develop, I poured out my frustrations to Heavenly Father. Then I listened and was answered with a question. "What is the purpose of life", the Holy Ghost whispered to me. My mind went back to Gospel Principles class and I started rattling off reasons for our mortal existence. The Holy Ghost replied, "To become more like Him." I desperately tried to understand His point and the word "Patience" floated into my mind. Imagine my surprise when in Relief Society meeting the following week, I watched Sister Stoddard write the word "Patience" on the chalkboard.  My jaw actually dropped when she said that our trials cause us to learn patience which helps us to be more like Him.  The darkroom experience was starting to make a little more sense.

Yesterday, I was in a rush to run an errand that I found completely annoying. In my haste and aggravation, I had a fender bender with the car in front of me. Did I mention I just bought a new car less than a month ago? Murphy's Law had to be at play here. After the accident, I asked the Holy Ghost in a kind of annoyed tone what the purpose of that accident could be especially since I already have so much on my plate. He said very quietly and very calmly, "I cannot force you to learn patience." Pardon my Karate Kid reference, but it was quite a Mr. Miyagi moment for me. Wax on.... wax off. Wax on..... wax off. Someday I might learn patience but obviously today was not the day.

So hopefully, this better answers how the Gift of the Holy Spirit has changed my life. Some of these lessons are painful but I do know they are for my own good.

by Rachel Roark

Friday, November 2, 2012


It is early Friday morning and still so dark outside. David has just asked me what I am doing today and my reply was a quick..."What am I NOT doing today!"
I can feel it....the election and the grand babies (two girls to be born within the month!) and the holidays are coming and the pace is quickening and......I sat down to read Isaiah 40 in preparation for Karen's lesson this Sunday.
What a reminder of the grandeur and majesty and greatness of God and His desire to bless all of us! (Isaiah 40: 29-31)
I am so GRATEFUL for the scriptures and this timely reminder to help make Gratitude more of a "spiritual reflex" in my life.
It is so easy to get busy and feel the world will stop if I do not get all things in their correct place and order. The virtue of studying the words of the prophets is the spiritual telescope they give me to view my life with so much more perspective and humility.
I pray I do not become so overwhelmed with all that needs to be done. I truly want this season to be a celebration of people and life and good works that reflect true personal revelation.
This holiday season, I want GRATITUDE to be more present in all I do - more of a SPIRITUAL REFLEX than a noble virtue I am constantly having to dust off to feel!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


This coming Sunday, the first in November, our Presidency message will focus on gratitude and thanksgiving, especially to our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ.

"And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is His wrath kindled, save those who confess not His hand in all things, and obey not His commandments. ( Doctrine and Covenants 59:21)

Please read part of King Benjamin's address at Mosiah 2:19-21, and then read of the magnificence of God that Isaiah describes in Isaiah, chapter 40. 

Shakespeare's  King Lear said  "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is, to have a thankless child."  Have you ever experienced an ungrateful child or a thankless friend?  - or been an ungrateful child/adult?  Does God want our gratitude because He needs it?  Or do we need it?  Come Sunday, and let's discuss.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but a parent to all other.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Enduring to the End

"Life is a mountain, not a beach" read my prophetic fortune cookie from last night's tasty Chinese food dinner. Upon arrival to Lake Mead for my first Olympic distance triathlon, the sun peeped over the mountains making them appear more drastic in contrast to the stillness of the lake. Open water swimming for 1500 meters is not that much of a mental game. You basically have two options: swim or drown. Quitting is never an option for an open water swim. Biking 24.8 miles up the side of a mountain IS a mental game because there are many other options. The option to turn around and speed quickly down the mountain seems grander every time you are forced to switch into a lower gear. But why go backwards when you worked so hard to get to this point? The option to just stop and rest for a little bit and avoid forward progression is equally enticing. However, if you stop your bike while going up the side of a mountain, you lose momentum. Stopping isn't a good idea because you'll just have to start back up again. Enduring to the end is like biking straight up the side of a mountain. Eventually, if we realize that our goal is to get to the top of the mountain then we cannot allow ourselves to halt forward progression. And we certainly can't let ourselves take the easy path back down the mountain. For the record, I don't put much stock into fortune cookie messages. This one just struck me as very profound because right now at this point my life is a mountain and not a beach.

Rachel Roark

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Constitution...A Heavenly Banner

With an election upon us and all the many details that swirl around us, the Bishop felt it was time to remember the great legacy of being part of the United States of America. President Ezra Taft Benson has stated that understanding and reading the Constitution should be part of our scripture study!
Sunday, October 28th, 7-8PM, Meandering Way Chapel, we will have a WARD FAMILY FIRESIDE about the blessings and responsibilities of being a citizen of this Republic.
Hilary Grant Weber, an attorney and an instructor for BYU/Idaho, will be our guest speaker (and she has made a solemn promise not to be boring!!). She has given this fireside in several other Stakes around this area.
We will have a nursery provided by our Single Adult Ward and also refreshments.
We hope this starts a tradition again of learning on a Sunday night through ward firesides. What better subject to begin with than remembering the privileges involved in being part of this GREAT country and better understanding the Constitution.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

General Conference Highlights

I found this video of a few highlights from our fabulous General Conference Sessions. What great reminders and direction we received this month from our Prophet and Apostles of the Lord. One topic that resonated with me during Conference was the notion to stay the course and constantly improve. Have I returned to any bad (or lazy) habits? Am I trying to be better today than I was yesterday? How well am I following through with resolutions I've made in my life?

Watch this video for an uplifting 23 minutes. Pay attention to the Spirit that comes into your heart as you recall the personal revelation you received during General Conference a couple weeks ago. Did anything stand out to you?

One of the speakers talked about how loyalty is the crowning expression of love. Do you remember who said it? One of the blessings of serving in the Relief Society presidency has been the opportunity to see each of you demonstrate loyalty to the Lord through your service, testimony, and character. Thank you for being an example to me on how to show more love towards the Savior.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mountains to Climb

Dear Sisters,

As I have been studying this talk by President Eyring I keep hearing that childhood song in my head, "The Bear Went Over The Mountain"! We always sang "The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see", followed by " He saw another mountain..."

Sometimes life can seem like a series of mountains, with very little valley in between. President Eyring relates that: "Trouble itself can be our way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith," and that "It is never too late to strengthen our foundation of faith." This Sunday we will discuss some ways we can build and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ so that "the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing."

See you Sunday,

Sister Stoddard

To read the talk, click HERE.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Lord's Side

My dear sisters,
Sunday we will be talking about "Staying on the Lord's Side of the Line." Please read lesson 18 from the manual if you can. It is packed full of great insights and council to keep us strong and safe in these last days. We will be talking about what is required of us, even as society is continually trying to blur the lines. I look forward to seeing you all again as we meet in Relief Society!

Click here to read the lesson.

Angie Alford

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"PRETEND" to engage

I listened/watched this 2012 October Conference and now I am reading it. I am at the end of the Saturday morning session - President Uchtdorf's talk "Of Regrets and Resolutions". Reading these sermons often gives me greater insights into what the Lord would like to see me do differently and I try to really pay attention to those things. BUT...I also love to read truths I all ready fervently believe and try to implement in my life right now.
One of the ideas he presents is the way social media mimics real relationships. He speaks of "pretending to spend time with others by the click of a mouse". I am such a big believer in one on one, eyeball to eyeball communication. I need to see your face when I speak with you so I can tell how my words are being received. I do not know how to "read" those expressions in emails or Facebook posts. (Actually, that is kind of an exaggeration as I am not on Facebook but you get what I mean.)
Most who know me know I do not have a cellphone so I do not get text messages or pictures over the phone. You have to leave a message for me on my home (land line) phone and wait for me to get it. But when I return the call, I do it when I can talk and so conversations can be expansive and we can both feel heard and understood.
I love people. I love the people in my life. I never find it satisfying to have a one word conversation with anyone! And I definitely do not like to have a conversation where the spelling is done in a phonetic shorthand.
In this area of my life, "pretending to spend time with others", I have no regrets. If you know me well at all, I do not PRETEND anything!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


How many craft project have you started and  never finished?   Tonight we gathered at  the home of Debra Newcum, and everyone went home with a finished project!  We made the delightful Origami Picture Books for Christmas gifts or just for our own delight.

With Debra's  great directions, we folded and glued, and  folded and glued until we created the most amazing fold-out album to paste in our memory filled photographs.

With fall in the air, Debra served us a wonderful fruit and nut bread, some warm apple cider, and we just enjoyed our sisterhood.

We are planning some fun projects going forward in our "Hands On"  Craft Class, so look for our next project in the New Year.  Anything you would like to learn how to do ?  Let Debra know, and we will see if there is enough interest.

Below are the instructions for the Origami Books. Click to zoom in. They can also be emailed to you if needed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Relief Society Sister Spotlights

So every month we will have a Spotlight for two sisters in the ward, here are October sisters!:

Stephanie Manwaring
What color do you like: Blue!
Favorite food: Crispy Coconut Chicken Salad (from Champps specifically)
Favorite scripture and why: Matthew 5:30 Because it helps me not sin.
 "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
Favorite hymn: Jesus the very thought of thee
Favorite place to visit: Utah (because my family is there)
Favorite thing about living in Dallas: My Job! I love it! And the Dallas 4th ward of course.
Favorite Ice cream flavor: Chocolate
Favorite time of the year: Fall
Something interesting about yourself: I pass out when I see needles or if I give blood!
 Melanie Jarnagin
What color do you like:
Favorite food: pasta
Favorite scripture and why:
Matthew 11:28-30. I love the reassurance of this scripture that we don't have to experience anything in this life alone. Christ wants us to come to him with our burdens, we just need to be willing.
Favorite hymn: I believe in Christ
Favorite place to visit:
San Antonio
Favorite thing about living in Dallas: Living close enough to see our families often
Favorite Ice cream flavor: mint chocolate chip
Favorite time of the year: Spring
Something interesting about yourself:
I've made a few wedding cakes.


Monday, October 8, 2012


"God bless America, land that we love, stand beside her, and guide her through the night, with a light from Above."  We all love this great country, we know that she is the bastion of freedom to the world, and that it was here on this the American Continent, that the Lord found the religious freedom necessary to restore the ancient church which Christ had established when he lived upon the Earth, during the meridian of time.  We now declare to all people, that it has been restored to the Earth by a Prophet, Joseph Smith,with all the priesthood  power and keys necessary to function in His name -  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We soon get the privilege to vote in a national election on  Tuesday, November 6th.  To vote, you must be registered at the address where you are currently living. and  the deadline to register is this Tuesday, October 9th. 

For those who have just moved into the Ward, you may still vote but must do  it in the old precinct, where you last voted before you moved, unless you re-register your new address by Tuesday.

Early voting begins on October 22nd and runs through November 2nd.  Fretz Park  Rec. Center  is probably our closest early voting place.

Dallas County has a new websitee for voting information, and is easy  to use.  http://www.dallascountyvotes.org

Please exercise your right and privilege to register and vote.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Sisters - Christmas is coming, and we have planned a fun craft class at Debra Newcum's home, Tuesday, Oct. 9th at 7:00 p.m.  You can learn to make budget-friendly, picture books for your children, grandchildren or just friends.  They are clever origami designed  little books, and if you add pictures to them, what a priceless gift.  If you don't have pictures to add, they can add their own!

These are inexpensive to make, and after you take the class, you will know how to make more for everyone on your list.  Please bring the following with you:

2 matching sheets of scrapbook paper measuring 12x12
1 sheet of coordinating scrapbook paper measuring 12x12.
(heavy cardstock won't work for the above - but you need 3 below)
3 sheets of cardstock paper measuring 12x12
1 yard of  wireless ribbon
glue stick and scissors
See those who are "interested" Tuesday night.

A "VITAL" Religion

In talking to my son who lives in Atlanta and works for a large corporation and deals with ongoing technology changes and policy changes - his take on yesterday's conference sessions was - this is a VITAL religion because of its capacity to change - IMMEDIATELY.
If you listened to the press conference held after the first session of conference concerning the announcement of the changes in the ages of when young men and young women can go on missions (18 & 19 respectively), Elder Holland was asked when the age changes would take effect and he said "30 minutes ago".
I know that this church has Jesus Christ at its helm and that we are led by a Prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson, and by a vigorous Council of the Twelve. I feel momentum build as the Lord sees what we cannot see - the future. He is getting more done at a faster pace and He needs all hands on board.
Elder Glen Pace gave a talk once about the members of the church getting on and off the train at will (the metaphor being the train as the church/gospel) and how the time was coming that those who got off the train would not be able to get back on because of the pace at which the train was moving.
I feel that this weekend. Time is moving quickly and we must be active and vigorous in our testimonies and convictions.
We need to hold on as this TRAIN is  picking up speed - and I think I am feeling that I must do the same!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I'm looking forward to General Conference next week, to hear the Word of the Lord. I still miss one of the former apostles, Neal A. Maxwell. Elder Maxwell had a love for words, and crafted them so beautifully as he taught the Gospel.

In his memory, I would like you to enjoy several of his old quotes:
1. Only the Lord can compare crosses, for all crosses are easier to carry when we keep moving.
2.One's life....cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free.
3. Clearly the Church must neither allow its doctrines to be diluted nor its people to be diminished by compromising with the way of the world.
4. How can we expect to enjoy eternally, that which we neglect in mortality?
5. The only things we should really fear are those things which can keep us from going,where there is no fear.

Here are a few other quotes to contemplate:
1.Do not handicap your children, by making their life too easy.(Robert Heinlein)
2. Seeing a spider isn't a problem. It becomes one when it disappears! (Anon. but one of my favorites!)
3. No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping those who sit on the couch.
4. If you don't want anyone to find out about it, don't do it! (Chinese Proverb)
5. In the time it takes for a lie to travel around the world, the truth barely has time to get it's boots on.(Mark Twain)
6. The problem with man's unhappiness is sacrificing what he wants most, for what he wants now. (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley).

Enjoy Conference Sisters, write the good quotes down, and e-mail them to me after- I have prizes for the first two who match any that I have written down. . . . . yes, it involves chocolate! Remember - that's how we got "Come What May and Love It.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blendtec Recipes

Here are the recipes from the Blendtec Demonstration (back in August...sorry so late!):

Click on the name of the recipe to go to the webpage.

Exfoliation Mask (for your face--not to eat)

Tortilla Soup

We also drank a very refreshing smoothie. There's no recipe for it, just add fruit (frozen and/or fresh), veggies, and ice. Thanks to Debra Newcum for having us over that night.

Cooking 101

Last Tuesday evening Joanne Poulson and Esther Davis taught a very informative (and yummy) interest group on how to use your 3-month food storage supply in various recipes. We ate two different chicken dinners, apple crisp, and chocolate cookies. Below are the recipes demonstrated as well as a few helpful handouts. (Click on the image to enlarge it. You can also zoom in on the image if you open the image in a "new tab.") Thanks Joanne and Esther for a such a delicious night!

Pictures from A Soleful Celebration

We again want to thank everyone who participated in this fun event! And special thanks to Karen Brantzeg for these pictures!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Next BEST Holiday is....General Conference!

Ever since David was a Bishop (25 years ago), I have looked at General Conference as the best family event of the year. Of course in 1987, we would have to go to the Stake Center to watch it but David was right on the row with me and our very bored (can't lie on this one) 7 children. I would plan for Sunday (Saturday was not really an option as they had so many games/sports) like for a vacation with all things needed to keep them distracted (no pretending they would be as enthralled as me) while I soaked up enough "spiritual courage" to last another 6 months.
THEN, came General Conference on cable and that meant I could stay home and watch conference and not care as much how the children acted which was even a bigger high for me. By then David was in Stake leadership so he would take all the children to the Stake Center for the Sunday afternoon session and I would be home alone to hear and feel and think - all at the same time.
Now, with the calling I have and the Sunday responsibilities involved, General Conference is once more an oasis of calm, peace, instruction, and inspiration. It seems even emergencies take a break for Conference!
I find myself counting the days till General Conference (10 days) and wondering what "theme" I will hear from the Lord and which ways my conscience will be pricked and how much peace I will feel. I need this General Conference - a "fire hose" full of water to my well.
This Sunday will serve as our Fast Sunday and I will be teaching the President's Message. And, as you might guess, I will be talking about PREPARING FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE to have the greatest spiritual impact. Please come with a memorable conference address or a personal shift you have made from the impact of a conference talk.
We are on a countdown...10 more days!