Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012


This Sunday our lesson is based on two talks by Apostles.  First "The Challenge to Become" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks,, and Richard G. Scott, "The Transforming Power of Faith and Character" . 

Click HERE to read the talk by Elder Oaks.
Click HERE to read the talk by Elder Scott. 

Each day in all the decisions we make, we are attempting  to bridle the "Natural Man" within us, and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.  In each good decision we make, God uses our faith to mold our character.  Character is the manifestation of what we are becoming.  Strong character results from consistent correct choices.  The bedrock of character is integrity.  The more our character is fortified the more enabled we are to exercise the power of faith.  It is a glorious circle  which permits us to become what our Heavenly Father wants us  to become.

Ponder and then pray and ask the Lord:

How do I see my potential, and how does God see my potential?

Are the decisions I make each day helping me become what my Heavenly Father wants me to become?

How do my thoughts affect my actions, and my decisions, and what am I becoming?

Can I change?  Do I want to change?  Do I need to change?

Elder Oaks said, "In contrast to the institutions of the world which teach us to know something, The Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something."  What does that mean to you?

See you Sunday, let's discuss and learn together!

More Sacred when HOT...

It is now truly a Dallas Summer as the temperature stays in the 100s and a "weak" cool front brings us down to 98! The Visiting Teaching Message for June discusses the SACRED nature of this service we do for each other. It is now, more important than ever, to visit our sisters in their living environment and make sure they are safe from the heat.
In discussing how we report Visiting Teaching with our RS VT Coordinator, Laurie Johnson, she told me how we now count any contact with the sisters as having being visited. We no longer list if it is a call, letter, or home appointment.
I feel the Lord is giving us more agency to use. He is asking us to feel the SPIRIT and SACRED nature of what He has asked us to do and follow those promptings. Do do more for each - because we WANT to!
I also feel it is more important in harsh weather months to have a "visual" on the environment of the sisters we are asked to "watch over".
The Prophet Joseph Smith said that the organization of Relief Society was to "SEEK" after those in need. This is not a casual directive.
We still have several days left in June to do our Visiting Teaching. We are coming off of the hottest week of the year. How are your sisters doing? Can we assess this need with a letter or a phone call?
I feel our calling gets more "sacred" when it is hot!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Yesterday, when I drove onto the Temple grounds, I got to leave the traffic, noisy radio, oppressive heat and "cares of the world" behind - it was my "Passport to Peace".  Both Fern Woodbury and Debra Newcum mentioned to me, "it was like a little bit of Heaven" yesterday seeing so many sisters from the ward.  Many sisters were able to eat lunch together, and Bonnie Muir had provided a delicious "medley" of unbelievable treats.

The Initiatory was "quietly humming" with Dallas 4th patrons and temple workers.  A great big THANK YOU  to  Fern Woodbury, Debra Newcum, Ilene Nebletts and Julie Grant, who made an extra effort to serve us in Initiatory and make the work possible for so many sisters -

At 6:00 p.m. with a little help from the priesthood, we had eight sisters doing Baptisms for the Dead.  Sister Morphis remarked, "I have always heard that wards that have a temple close by, are"doubly blessed". I think since we have moved into the Dallas 4th Ward, we can feel and see that strength and spirit here - it is amazing."

Thank you for your support yesterday.  There is a long, hot summer ahead of us. When you start making your travel plans - also consider spending a day in the Temple and find your "Passport to Peace", it is just 6 short minutes down the road.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

WORLD versus the TEMPLE

Sometimes I feel like David versus Goliath. I have so many children and so much extended family and friends and health concerns and church callings etc. I see me with my puny slingshot and rock and see the details of this GIANT WORLD (Goliath) coming at me.
As I plan for our Relief Society "Heaven Ready?" day at the temple  - THIS TUESDAY - I find out that my youngest son and family have accepted a job offer in Dallas and will be moving here within the week! He has asked to stay with us until they can get established and find their way in this new "post-college" world.
Let's just say, I have a LOT to do to make this house ready for a family for four. So I count the days till their U-Haul arrives and David and I look at the list of what needs to be done.
And I am so grateful that Tuesday is taken by my decision to spend it in the temple with (hopefully) many of you! What a privilege it is to show the Lord that I know I cannot do this without Him. I choose Him first. I believe that He will make "all things possible" for me. There is NO better way for me to prepare My house than spend that day with Him in His HOUSE.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flashes of Inspiration 6/17/12

As hands were laid upon my head in order to be set apart as a contributor to the Relief Society blog, many things were said. Most of them were unfortunately forgotten but the phrase that resonated in my heart and mind was to "record flashes of inspiration." We have been encouraged by numerous different people in Relief Society over the last several months to record our impressions and promptings. So far, I hadn't done this. Invariably, I would forget the words of the Holy Ghost or convince myself that this wasn't what was really said. We are receiving very clear and direct orders to write down impressions and thoughts. Maybe it is so that we don't forget them. Maybe it is so we can understand them better. Or maybe, it is to bless others. I'm not quite sure of the reasoning and logic but I do understand that our obedience is important. And therefore I will record flashes of inspiration regardless of whether or not they make sense to me at this present time. Our obedience will bring blessings to ourselves and others.

Rachel Roark

Sunday's Lesson

Dear Sisters,
This Sunday we will be discussing "The Divine Gift of Repentance" by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. Click HERE to read the talk.

President David O. McKay declared "Every principle and ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ is significant and important...but there is none more essential to the salvation of the human family than the divine and eternally operative principle, repentance. Without it, no one can be saved. Without it, no one can even progress. Why? Because it is the key that unlocks the cleansing power of the Atonement."

Please take the time to read about this great gift we have been given and to refelct on the blessing it is to your personally. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Suday!

Sister Stoddard

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Joanne Poulsen and Esther Davis threw a casual summer party last night, and all 17 sisters attending loved it.  We shared so many great entertaining ideas and recipes and fun stories that everyone left well-fed.  I remember looking around last night, and thinking - This is what the Church had in mind when they changed the Relief  Society activity focus to smaller, more involved "interest groups".

We learned how to cut a watermelon quickly to remove  all the seeds - make a tangy colonial day drink, fruit pizza cookies and homemade oreo cookies.  We enjoyed 7-layer dip, shrimp salad dip, cheese and cherry tomato bites dredged in a balsamic vinegar sauce,  AND...did you kinow that black olives, green olives and red cherry tomatoes look absolutely beautiful mixed together in a bowl?

Someone has said, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"  but you can ALWAYS teach Relief Society sisters of any age new tricks, and they are grateful for it!  I will include a few of the recipes I  received last night,

(Colonial Era Drink)
3 to 4 Bananas
6 oz. Orange juice concentrate (slightly thaw)
6 z. Lemonade concentrate (slightly thaw)
32 oz, Pineapple juice
(Mix aboce ingredients in a blender)

Pour 3 oz. of this fruit base into each glass,
then slowly cover with 6 oz of very cold Sprite
garnish with a lime slice.

24 grape tomatoes cut in half
4 mozzarella cheese sticks cut in 6 slices
fresh basil or cilantro
On a toothpick, layer 1 half tomato, 1 cheese slice, other
half of tomato, and top with  a 1 inch piece of basil or cilantro
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp  balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Drizzle over tomato/cheese bites and chill until served

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup cream
1 pkg small salad shrimp, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste'
Mix together and chill
Serve on your favorite crackers

2 Boxes of Devil's Food Cake mix (any chocolate kind will do - but
devil's food is not as sweet so it balances the sweet filling.)
1 cup Crisco (she uses sticks)
4 eggs (Large - not extra large)
preheat oven to 350 degrees
1.  Mix together all incredients and fully incorporate - you don't
need to mix it too long, batter will be stiff.
2.  On an ungreased cookie sheet, roll batter into a ball about the
size of a walnut.  Slightly  flatten each ball with the palm of
your hand.
3  Bake for approx 10 mins.  After taking cookies out of the oven -
allow to sit on the pan for about 30 seconds to let them "set".
4  Cool completely before frosting

1 can cream cheese frosting
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Take the frosting out of the  can and put in a small mixing bowl.
Add softened cream chese and vanilla.  Mix with beaters  until
fluffy.  Put in refrigerator while cookies are baking/cooling to let it
set up.
Using two cookies that are approx the same size - frost
the bottom of one and affix to the bottom of another so the
tops are  on the outside - like an oreo cookie!

The Fruit Pizza Cookies were done with purchased Sugar Cookies,
or use your own homemade sugar cookies. 
Then frost them with  a package of softened cream cheese, to which you
add 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp orange zest and mix
Cut various summer fruits strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mandarin
oranges, peaches in small pieces and decorate the cookie - or let your children
or grandchildren - even husband decorate their own cookie.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

What is your LIFELINE?

This week there are lots of ways to socialize and involve yourself further in our Relief Society.

Tuesday we have the Cooking 101 Interest Group at Joann Poulsen's home. The theme will be Summer Entertaining, such as how to cut a watermelon so you get slices without seeds.You are welcome to bring a summer appetizer/finger food to share if you want. We will meet on the back patio, so bring your swimsuit if you want to jump in the pool!

Thursday morning the Playgroup will be meeting at the Campbell Park Splash Pad. See the blog post below for more details. It is such a wonderful way to get to know other families in the ward as well as cool off from the summer heat.

Then Thursday night we will meet at the church at 7pm for a class on how to do a Personal History Timeline. I've got lots of easy ideas to help you get started on your personal history--which you could also use for fun Family Home Evening lessons. Feel free to bring old calendars, family birthday lists, scrapbooks, or just the knowledge in your head! There are several types of timelines so you'll be sure to find something you like! And you know we'll have a yummy treat for those who join us...

Pick and choose, or come to all. We hope to see you there.

Mealtimes & Families = SUCCESS!

In research reported in this week's PARADE magazine, this astounding assessment was made:
"Children and teens who eat with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, suffer from depression, and develop eating disorders. Studies have also found that children who enjoy family meals have larger vocabularies, better manners, higher self-esteem, and more resilience.
Research from the University of Michigan, found that the mealtime children share with their families AT HOME was the single strongest predictor of high academic achievement scores."
In our Gospel of Jesus Christ and the urgings of our Prophets, we know how important FAMILY MEALS are to the health and well being of each child.
Now, other experts weigh in with the need for the families of the world to find more time - especially at the dinner table - to be together!
It all sounds so simple - if we want a successful family - let's EAT - TOGETHER! I love this idea and second it with a testimony of the truth of it.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Several years ago, our family moved to Arizona from New York after my husband finished school. It was my husband's first "real" job after law school, so the move was an exciting one for us. Not knowing what kind of hours he would be working, we chose to live near his office. This was a difficult choice to make, especially for me, because most of our family and a lot of our good friends lived in a different area of the city. I had planned on getting together with cousins, friends, grandparents, and our siblings on a regular basis. However, our home was over an hour away from just about everyone, so we were lucky if we got together once a month.

At that time, there were only a handful of families in our ward with younger children, and it seemed as if we were all searching for friendship - - for ourselves and for our children. Our Relief Society president decided to form a playgroup so we could get together regularly and get to know each other better. It was just what we needed! As my children and I attended the activities, our relationships with these new friends quickly developed and were strengthened. We truly began to care for, love and support one another. We became each other's family, shared fun times together and helped each other through difficult times too. These ladies became my very good friends, and getting to know them through playgroup was such a blessing to me at that time. I'm thankful the Relief Society president in that ward was able to see a need and help fulfill it through playgroup.

Summer is finally here, and there will be many opportunities to get together and develop relationships with one another through our ward's playgroup.  Next Thursday, June 21 at 10:00 am, we'll be getting together at the Campbell Green Splash Pad (16600 Parkhill Dr. Dallas, 75248) to play in the water. I hope lots of moms and children will be able to attend!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prayer and Revelation

Sisters - we are so lucky! Next week we have not just one but two great lessons from our manual! We will be studying lesson #9 Open Your Soul to the Lord in Prayer and also lesson #11 Revelation From God to His Children. These two lessons will go hand in hand really well since prayer is how we begin seeking revelation from the Lord and very often that is the channel through which the Lord gives us sacred information personalized to our lives.

Please take a few moments to read through these lessons and begin pondering these two questions.

#1. In what ways have you felt the power and protection of prayer?

#2. What are some of the things that stand in the way of our receiving personal revelation?

I look forward to sharing your thoughts and experiences next week and hope that you will come prepared for a great discussion!

 Angie Alford

A Second Witness

I am very "lame" on the computer. After torchering my old one to death, one of my children bought me a new one and another came and set it up for me. They put "lds.org" as my home page. When I got up this morning to study my scriptures, the "home page" had a picture of President Monson talking about "turning towards the temple."
It is difficult to always know if we, in the Dallas 4th RS Presidency, are going in a direction that is important to the each of you and more importantly - to the Lord. When I saw this new "home page" article today, it was like a second witness to me that this is what the Lord wants us to emphasize right now.
The TEMPLE and its importance is always a good thing - I know that. But summers are hard times to schedule things as all of you women have so much going on in your lives.
I felt, again, that real answers are waiting for you and me as we make this Dallas 4th Relief Society Temple day on Tuesday, June 26th, a TOP PRIORITY.
Blessings that are needed, affirmation that is needed, knowledge that is needed, PEACE that is so needed - all waiting for us as we sacrifice our time and set aside our normal routine prepare for this special day of temple worship - together.
Below is a link of the talk given by President Monson from the home page on "lds.org" - it is truly awesome to have the voice of our prophet as a second witness!  The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World - general-conference

Saturday, June 9, 2012


June 26th, a Tuesday, is our Third Annual Relief Society Temple Day - HEAVEN READY?   We are asking the sisters of the Dallas 4th Ward, to clear your calendar for that day.  Sign up and commit to spend as much of the day with us in the Temple, as your schedules will permit.  Sunday, we will have signup sheets, where you will have an opportunity to commit to Initiatory Sessions at 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. or  11:00 to 11:50 a.m.;  Endowment Sessions at 1:00, 3:00 or 7:00 (husands invited) and sealings at 5 p.m.  If you do not attend R.S. because you have other callings on Sunday, please call or e-mail a member of the Relief Society Presidency and we will be happy to sign you up.  These are the scheduled sessions together, certainly you are invited to go to any session that suits your timeframe.

There will be a special lunch time 12:00 noon in the Cafeteria, where you can sign up for Quiche, Sandwiches, or Entree of the day for $5.50.

We will also be offering babysitting at the Church for a morning or afternoon time slot, if we have sufficient signups.  If you are unable to join us, please consider offering to tend one of our sisters children - that is also a service.

So please Sisters, look at your schedules, make personal arrangements for children if possible, or signup for a babysitter at the Church.  Assess what  time you can give on June 26th to temple work, and then please SIGNUP AND COMMIT.  Help us make this Annual Temple Day our gift to the Lord, and show Him we are HEAVEN READY!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

George Albert Smith Chapter 10--The Scriptures

Dear Sisters,

"The Scriptures, the Most Valuable Library in the World" (Chapter 10 of our Manual) says it all. I think about how crazy I can make myself by looking up every word in a crossword puzzle that I don't know. Then thinking about using that word and when and on and on...when the scriptures are my most important source of knowledge and guidance. So profound yet so simple. Please think about times the Scriptures have helped you and share that with us on Sunday.

Wishing you Sunshine in your Soul this week,


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

JOURNALING my Revelations

As we might recall, the Dallas 4th Relief Society lesson on Sunday was given by Ruth Guerreiro. She gave us a great article to read on REVELATION (a link to this talk is given in previous blog entry) and also included a handout on ways to improve our understanding of how to communicate with the Lord.  I know how long Ruth worked on this lesson and appreciated her efforts. I came away with the strong impression that I needed to write down the revelations I received - to JOURNAL them.
I am out of the habit but making the effort to remember and am so amazed at how often the Lord is "trying" to help me.
One such experience happened yesterday as I was reading the Book of Mormon. I have a son who is looking for another job and an idea for him popped into my head as I was reading - of all things - 2 Nephi! I immediately wrote it down and emailed him.
I love the efforts made, in my behalf, each Sunday by the women who teach in our Relief Society. I feel immediate blessings when I pay attention to the Spirit and then - ACT.
Writing this entry in the blog is a direct result of an impression to share my feelings about "JOURNALING" revelation on a daily basis.
I have felt more in tune with the Lord and more blessed by Him as I remember what He IS doing for me - right now!