Friday, May 31, 2013

June Calendar

Summer has arrived! Here is our calendar for June. Hope to see you often, especially at our Relief Society Day at the Temple on June 11!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Trial of Your Faith"

Sisters, we live in challenging times that can try our faith. President Ezra Taft Benson noted in 1975 that "Every [person] eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there ... must make his stand." Elder Neil L. Andersen, in his talk "Trial of Your Faith", presented at the October 2012 General Conference, encourages us to be prepared for these trials of faith and not be surprised when they happen to us. We will discuss Elder Anderson's talk this Sunday in Relief Society and explore what actions we can take to strengthen our families and ourselves to be "steadfast and immovable" during these times. As Elder Andersen noted, "By definition trials will be trying. But our trials need not be spiritually fatal. They need not take us from our covenants or from the household of God."

Sonia Brown

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lessons from Baseball

My mother told me as I hung up the phone, "You'll love Little League. They run in a group, don't know where to go and can't pay attention long enough to catch the ball. It's very entertaining!" Boy, was her assessment right on the money. Today while watching Zachary's first coach-pitch baseball game, I figured out that baseball AND teamwork are learned skills. Zachary scored a point for the Dragons as they managed to take the win over the Maroon Rangoons. My mother's words echoed in my ears as I watched the "team" scramble like ants toward the ball. At one point, two kids on the SAME team were actually fighting over the ball. Do we do this in the Church? Do we fight over the ball out of pride, self-importance, or because we just don't think the other guy is doing a good enough job? The second flaw my mother had pointed out was not knowing where to go. During the game, I noticed that the kids who were actually listening to the coaches did a better job at running in the correct direction. Maybe we should listen to our Church coaches. We would be more likely to run in the correct direction. Lastly, the kids would get bored, start looking around and not be ready for the ball. At the beginning of the game, they were paying attention and ready for their moment to shine. Towards the end of the game, the noonday sun, boredom and diminished expectation of action caused them to be less diligent. We are the choice spirits reserved for these Latter Days amongst unspeakable amounts of distraction. Let us not miss our shining moment due to a lack of diligence.

Rachel Roark

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Search me, O God, and Know My Heart"

Sisters, this Sunday, our lesson is #8 in the Lorenzo Snow manual. It is based on a brave plea from David in Psalms 139:23-24: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

How do we stand with the Lord? When we serve Him, obey His commandments, does He also have our hearts? Do we ever take the time to contemplate with the Lord how we approach Him in prayer, or if there are things in our characters that need to be repented of and refined so that the Spirit may continue to teach us how to please our Heavenly Father?

President Snow suggests that examples in our scriptures teach us how to improve, like Moses, Jonah, or Esther and Hannah. There are people all around us as well, who set examples of enduring rectitude through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who inspires you?

Why do we need to be aware of our faults in order to strengthen our characters? How can we allow ourselves to see our own shortcomings without becoming discouraged? Sisters, there are always many questions, let's discuss the answers together this Sunday.

Karen Bateman

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Third Set

This past year, one of my new endeavors has been to work with a personal trainer. It has been a joy to get to know Aaron Johnson, a delightful and talented personal trainer with a profound spiritual side. Unfortunately, he is quite concerned about the sad and pathetic state of my abdominal musculature. He frequently reminds me that there are eighty year olds who can show me up in a contest of sit-ups. Aaron has me do three sets of every exercise and he is very consistent about this concept. If I were in charge, I would only do two sets of the exercise. But for Aaron, just two sets will not do. The third set of exercises is the set that pushes your muscles to grow and stretch beyond their original capacity. It requires great mental focus to finish the third set. The ultimate goal is to bring the physical body under subjection of the spirit while still tired and under duress. Today, Aaron had me working with boxing gloves and punching at handheld targets. Between the punching, he instructed me to lean back to avoid getting hit. Then I was to spring forward, in order to punch some more. The first and second sets were super fun and I didn't miss a beat. When that obnoxious third set arrived, Aaron hit my shoulder and declared profoundly, "Don't get hit when you're tired." Well, doesn't that just about sum up how we function in life? Our capacity to grow is determined by our execution of the third set. Do we just want to make it through to the end of a spiritual exercise, or are we trying as hard as we were during the first set? Or as Aaron would put it so succinctly, "Don't get hit when you're tired."

*Side note: Aaron Johnson is currently a personal trainer at LA Fitness on Preston and LBJ. He also does children's fitness camps. His website is www.skatebuds.com.

Rachel Roark

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Club - Minka's Recipes

During the month of April, we read a good book, The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult. The main character in the book, Sage, is a baker and the story goes into great detail about how Sage makes her grandmother Minka's challah bread and special roll. I've posted the recipes here for us to enjoy. Both sound delicious!

Minka’s recipes:

Minka’s Challah

  • 8 cups all-purpose flour (do not pack the flour into the cup or overfill it)
  • 1 T instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups water (temperature of bath water)
  1. Mix: Combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed until the flour is absorbed and the mixture is homogenous.
  2. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Mix for 3 minutes in the mixer scraping down the bowl if necessary.
  4. This process can also be done by hand in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Proof: Place in an oiled bowl and cover for 90 minutes (or, place immediately in the refrigerator to shape and bake the next day).
  6. Shape: Divide the dough into 6 pieces of equal weight then roll into tight cylinders, about 4 inches long.
  7. Let the cylinders relax for 20 minutes then roll them into 12-14 inch strands. Take three strands, seal the starting ends together and braid loosely, sealing the finishing ends. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray and repeat with the second set of strands.
  8. Proof: Place, covered, in a warm place for 1.5 to 2 hours to rise.
  9. Bake: While the loaves proof, preheat oven to 350F.
  10. Egg wash thoroughly and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds or coarse sugar and place in the center rack of the oven to bake for 30 minutes, rotating as necessary to ensure even color.

Minka’s Roll

  • 1/2 cups warm milk, 110 degrees
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for bowl and muffin tin
  • ¼ pound bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped or shaved
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Set asides
  • Butter a large non reactive bowl for dough; set aside.
  • Butter a 12 cup muffin tin; set aside.
  1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together ¼ cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated.
  4. Change to the dough hook. Add 3 tablespoons butter, and knead on low speed until flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, about 10 minutes. Dough will be sticky.
  5. Butter a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Set aside in a warm place to rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  6. If dough is not in a warm area it may take longer to rise. A simple trick to help warm your dough-place a large pan of boiling water on the lowest rack in your oven and place bowl of dough on the next highest rack. This should help the dough rise.
  7. Prepare filling- Place chocolate, remaining ¼ cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Add 3 tablespoons butter and toss to combine. Alternately, place chocolate, cinnamon and butter in food processor and pulse to combine. Set aside
  8. Once dough has doubled, turn on to a well floured surface and deflate. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
  9. With rolling pin, roll dough into large rectangle shape. Sprinkle filling over dough; roll the dough into a log and slice into 2’ pieces. Place each slice in muffin cup. Cover muffin tin with plastic and let sit for 15-20 minutes or until dough rises slightly.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 350
  11. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How To Survive a Satan Attack

1. NAME your enemy. We live in a world full of those who refuse to acknowledge the presence of Satan. The "anything goes" mentality pervades our culture and threatens our relationships.

2. RECOGNIZE the tactics of the enemy. This guy punches below the belt, so expect the unexpected. Satan knows his time is short and therefore he is becoming more and more desperate to wreak havoc amongst the children of men.

3. PREPARE to put on the whole armor of God. Who am I to think I can say this one any better than the Apostle Paul?

4. CALL for reinforcements. A Satan attack is NOT the time to isolate yourself out of fear, depression, or embarrassment. Surround yourself with fellow soldiers in Christ.

5. TAKE action. Go to battle. This part can be as simple or as difficult as getting out of the bed in the morning. In veterinary school, I used to remind myself, "This test is going to be unpleasant, but it will be over in 2 hours." Break things down so they don't look so difficult. One of my favorite heroes in life is Flylady (see references below) who breaks everything down into 15 minute increments. Her motto is "You can do anything for 15 minutes."

6. THANK Heavenly Father for your trials. YOU wanted to be here. Remember that you wanted these experiences to grow and progress to a different spiritual plane.

Ephesians 6:10-18
Doctrine and Covenants 27:15-18

Rachel Roark