Life Lessons, Spiritual

Integrity

I was flipping through my Personal Progress book on Sunday, and a particular “experience” (Integrity #3) really stuck out to me. I don’t know why, exactly. Usually, I think, “yeah, that one should be easy enough right now.” or “um, I should probably work on that one.” or something to that effect. But they don’t usually hit a chord. This one did. So I’ve been working on it this morning. Instead of writing it down in my journal, the thought came to me that I should put it on the blog. It says share your experience, so I guess this is a good way to share it.

The funny thing is, when the instructions said to think about a time that I showed integrity and it was not easy or popular, a story instantly came to mind. An incident that was close to 20 years ago. I don’t know what recalled that particular instant, but it hasn’t left me since.

I was in 8th grade. We had this really boring text book in my Leadership class. The whole class hated it. One day, the teacher stepped out of the room, probably to go make copies or something. The entire class hid their textbooks. The teacher was pretty flabbergasted when she came back in. I don’t know what made her do it, but she looked right at me and said, “Keira, where are the books.” Althought I didn’t stand up and tell the kids no (they were reaaaallllly boring books), I couldn’t tell a  bold-face lie. So I caved and told her where they were. I thought for sure, the whole class would be mad at me, but actually no one was. Maybe because they knew I couldn’t like. I don’t know. But we didn’t have to use those books again. And the class didn’t really care. I don’t know why it’s so ingrained into my memory, but it is. I don’t remember a single other thing from that class, but I remember the time I didn’t lie.

Integrity Scrabble Brick

It’s no surprise that the first example the Young Women Personal Progress book gives is that of the Savior. Even when He realized exactly how hard it was to comply with the atonement, He did it. He suffered for our sins. If He hadn’t had integrity, there would be no plan.

Joseph showed integrity with Potiphar’s wife. To me, that’s not just showing integrity in the obvious way. Not committing adultery is a definite  commandment. But honoring the wishes of an employer and getting out of a potentially bad situation (as well as making a bad situation good without complaint) are also ways to show integrity.

Esther is one of my favorite examples of integrity. I don’t know if I’d have the courage to put my life on the line to stand up for others. I mean, I guess you’d just have to do it. I like that she fasts and prays before she does what she does. In this kind of situation, putting God at the central part of the plan, remembering that all things are possible through him, is the real example of integrity in Esther’s story.

Job never denied the Lord, when times got hard. I think that everyone has those moments when they wonder, with everything going on in their lives, if God loves them, if He really exists, and if He can help. But at the end of it, if you’ve kept the faith, kept believing, then you can show integrity, too. Just like Job.

Daniel didn’t stop praying. God’s commandments are greater than man’s.

Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were willing to die for their faith, but to me the true sign of integrity is something I heard in a conference talk once. I’ve never been able to find it since. In the talk the speaker said once that Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were great examples of the “But If Not” principle. Not only do they stand up for their beliefs, knowing that Christ CAN save them, they know that doesn’t mean Christ WILL save them. The true act of faith, and integrity, is remembering that God’s ways are better than our own plans. They know that they can be saved, but if they are not saved, they know that they will be with their Savior. “But if Not.” Integrity is trusting God. Submitting to His will.

Hyrum showed integrity for delighting in truth and finding what is right.

Paul showed integrity for changing his ways when he knew better. For adimitting he was wrong. That’s a big one!

Joseph Smith showed integrity by never denying what he had seen. “I knew it and I knew that God knew it.” How easy it would have been for him to just give into the world, “yeah, guys, you caught me.” But just because something is easy with Man doesn’t mean its easy with God. Giving into what the world wanted him to do would have eternal repercussions. It would NOT have been worth it. Easy and worth it are definitely not the same thing.

Brag

Rainbow Baby Shower

In case you didn’t know, my sister lost her first baby a few years ago. Adella would be turning 5 this year. When my sister had her second daughter, we threw her a rainbow-themed baby shower.  Here are some pics from her shower.

Rainbow baby shower

Baby Shower favors: soft salts. We made a huge batch, divvied them up into these snack bowls, and used double-sided tape to add favor labels (now available on my etsy store).

Rainbow baby shower

The nice thing about this baby letter-guessing game is that it makes a gorgeous room accent. Inside each of these bags is a baby item that starts with that letter.

  • R=rattle
  • A= applesauce
  • I= infant Tylenol
  • N= night light
  • B= bottle
  • O= outfit
  • W= washcloth
  • B= bib
  • A= afghan
  • B= book
  • Y= yarn

yeah, infant Tylenol is a stretch, but can you think of something that starts with an I? Besides, it’s more of a challenge, right?

Rainbow baby shower

We used these clothing items underneath the bags. I didn’t get a picture of them together. My mom made the first 3 things – the red dress, the crocheted sweater, and the little skirt. I found the other 3 on a great sale at Walmart ($1/piece!)

Rainbow baby shower

I made up these game pamphlets and a keepsake page for my sister to keep in her  baby book.

Rainbow baby shower

Rainbow napkins equal party win

Rainbow baby shower

My sister is allergic to corn, so she got a cupcake without a rainbow and everyone else got frosting made without powdered sugar. It was a pain, honestly.

Rainbow baby shower

We served Hot Chocolate and had a hot chocolate bar with something in every color. The blue element is home-made marshmallows (using tapioca starch for powdered sugar/corn starch. These were de-LISH-ous. I’ve made them multiple times since. The shape is actually a pumpkin, but I think it passes as a cloud. What do you think? The dish on the side is mint syrup (For the green element). We had raspberry jam for red, orange was made with pumpkin spice, caramel counted for yellow, and huckleberry syrup was our purple element.

Rainbow baby shower

these are our St. Patrick’s Day decorations. They worked pretty well as decor around the room. The white clouds from balloons just added that much more charm.

Rainbow baby shower

rainbow food table. There was a layered salad in the bowl, and taco bites went on the platter. I honestly don’t remember what went in the glass pan.

Rainbow baby shower

I made the rock candy myself. I need to improve, that’s for sure. My crystals didn’t get as big, and the color wasn’t as bold as those you can find in the stores. They tasted okay, though.

Rainbow baby shower

We played the candy game, where you are given a phrase tied to babies and pregnancy, and you have to guess what candy is tied to it. I had an added challenge (to take more time), guests had to play memory with numbered cards on a poster board. Guests took turns calling out numbers, and I flipped the cards over. When they made a match, they had a chance to guess what that phrase had to do with the candy. This is what we came up with:

the daddy big hunk
choosing baby’s name whatchamcacallit
girl’s name baby ruth
twins mike n ike
contractions now n later
hospital address 5th avenue
driving to the hospital rocky road
maternity nurses sweet tarts
hospital bills 100 grand
triplets 3 musketeers
11 lb babies whoppers
chunky baby rollos
time alone zero
nap time Fast break
baby giggles snickers
diapers, formula, medicine payday
lullabyes symphony
teething crunch
new babies treasures
ultrasound look
preemies runts
collic cry babies
postpartum tears gushers
loves for baby kisses
christmas baby junior mints
loaded diapers toosie rolls
mommy brain airheads
doctor life savers
Baby bump mounds

I’m sure you could play with the candy on one card and the baby phrase on the other. It’d be shorter. Up to you.

Rainbow baby shower

we also had the guests paint peg people for baby to play with when she gets a little older. I think they turned out pretty cute! I painted the guy in the suit in the back, and the orange girl  and Harry Potter with the extra pegs.

Rainbow baby shower

Life Lessons, Spiritual

He’s my Prophet

New photo by Keira / Google Photos

In case you didn’t hear, my Church called a new President. We really believe that God has given us a new prophet after the death of President Thomas S. Monson. It wasn’t any surprise to us that it is now President Russel M. Nelson as the prophet of God. A friend summed it up nicely when he said, “Only in the Mormon church would they replace a 90-year-old man with a 93-year-old man!” But unlike a popularity contest or a democratic vote, there’s a system set up as to whom our next prophet will be. There’s still room for change in that system, but I highly doubt we’ll ever see it deviate. Our church is quite proud of being a “house of order.”

I’m sure everyone has or will have their own experience about our new Prophet and that he is called from God (if not, I invite you to), but I wanted to write my own witness down in a place I would easily come back to and re-read. There was both a special virtual meeting for the members and a press conference to announce who would be our new Prophet/President. I actually watched it 15 minutes behind everyone else because I didn’t keep track of the time (I wish that wasn’t as common as it is. Just glad watching it right behind everyone was even possible). The whole member portion of the broadcast was fine, not really a surprise, but still interesting. It was nice hearing each of the called First Presidency address us. Elder Oaks has always been a powerhouse, and Elder Eyering is my daughter’s favorite. I loved President Uchdorf, too – who is now back in the quorum of the 12, just like when we rearrange a Young Women Presidency – but it seemed like he was everyone’s favorite and was utilized a LOT, so I’m excited to see a change. He will do well in his new assignment. As far as my previous feelings toward President Nelson: He trained the man who saved my grandfather’s life, so there’s that. But that’s not a testimony. That’s knowing he’s a world-renown surgeon and a pioneer in his field.

At the broadcast their messages to the members were all nice. I’m happy that Elder Oaks (President Oaks) let us all know that even though President Nelson is old, he’s still in excellent health and very active. Once again, he’s 93!

Then, there was a news conference where they took a few questions. It was such a juxtaposition to see the things interesting to the Saints and the things interesting to the news media. They wanted to know if his opinion was any different than the previous prophet. Members of the Church were not surprised to be reminded that it’s not President Nelson’s opinion that matters. It’s God’s opinion. Which is the same with President Nelson as it was for President Monson. I loved watching President Nelson put people first over and over in his answers. He talked about how he knew the newscasters before he ever answered their questions. Sometimes he’d even forget the questions. Knowing and Loving the people is important to him. President Monson always said, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” President Nelson exemplified this during the press conference.

One of the questions (an early question. No surprise. It’s what the Media has focused on) asked how President Nelson felt about LGBTQ agendas. When President Nelson’s response was that they are children of God and paused to let that soak in, my heart soared. I was thinking to myself, “of course that’s the question. But the answer wont change because it’s not his answer, it’s Gods.” And then hearing a reminder that everyone is a child of God… That is all it took for my testimony to find it’s roots. Not only did President Nelson zoom the focus back out to everyone – everyone is a child of God – but isn’t that always the answer? So many problems become minuscule when you remember that the person in question is important to Heavenly Father. The thing about testimonies is that it’s not just about the logical.  My testimony of the newest prophet of God isn’t just coming from my head. That’s the amazing thing about testimonies. Once the roots settle, your whole body, mind, and soul just … know. I know that President Nelson is a prophet of our church, my church. I know that he was called of God. He’s not just some old guy giving old-world advice. He is our Prophet. He is called of God. I look forward to a continued re-training of my thoughts as I hear his messages at conference. Thinking of him as more than a surgeon, but as the man that God has called to lead his church. He is just what God can use right now. He’s clear and concise and simple.

But mostly, He’s my Prophet.

 

Brag

First Freebie!

Our Young Women Presidency decided we wanted to give our girls a little extra challenge this year. We knew they needed a nudge to strengthen habits. And with the Olympics coming, we decided an Olympic theme would be an appropriate challenge theme. We didn’t want it to be easy. Habits don’t just happen. But since it’s not easy, there are only 3 goals. The first one is to read their scriptures for 120 CONSECUTIVE days. The Second goal is to say their prayers for 120 consecutive days. We also set the goal to attend the temple 8 times with their own names. Our ward is pretty close to the temple, so it shouldn’t be too hard of a goal. If you don’t live so close to a temple, you could just make it a goal to find 8 names that need temple work.

Anyway, I decided, since it’s pretty specific, I’d just make it a freebie instead of loading it up on Etsy.

New photo by Keira / Google Photos

At new beginnings, we will give each of our girls one of these bracelets

New photo by Keira / Google Photos

You can buy them at templesquares.com. I’ll add a little note that these are NOT the bracelets we ordered, but when they got here, we just went with it. They come with this little scripture charm on the leaf, but we took them off because they’ll earn the charm when they complete the goal.

New photo by Keira / Google Photos

They will also get a charm for saying their prayers, but we didn’t want that one to be earned until Girls’ Camp (they can complete it now, but we will have an award ceremony at GC to hand them out there). Our Girls’ Camp Director is ordering those, so I don’t have them.

We ordered our temple charms from Doodle Beads, and I love them! If you need a lot (like we did), I’d recommend you contact them (like I did). They were great to work with, prompt, and very approachable.

I’m sure you could come up with any goal prizes you wanted to. You could award charms or make it so if they earn all 3 goals, they get one big prize. In fact, I will be making a few bracelets of my own soon (clerical error, I have charms we aren’t using), and they’d make great prizes. I’ll post the Etsy link when I get that far.

Anyway, click on the picture and it should take you to google drive, if I did it right, and you can download the page there. If I did it wrong, lemme know. We’ll fix it. 😉

Brag

Charlie Sock Monkey Baby shower

Here are some pictures of my newest Etsy project from when I hosted a sock monkey baby shower for my little nephew. This is probably when I first realized that maybe what I was previously just playing with could actually be worth something. One of the guests told me it was the most Pinterest-worthy baby shower she’d ever attended. That filled up my brag-jar right away!

sock monkey 16

When the guests enter, this table is waiting for them. There are raindrops for guests to write a nice word or two for the mother-to-be, name tags that say who they are and how they know the baby. There’s a coloring page off the internet (sorry, don’t remember where  I got it. I just googled it, feel free to do the same) for the little guests, a jar full of baby socks we had everyone guess how many socks it had, and yarn we used all over the room because not only did it add color, but it tied everything together. You know, because sock monkeys are made of yarn. The folded papers have all the portions of the games that guests will need to write. There’s a game where guests need a letter, so the Bananagrams game is there for them to draw a letter. It’s fittingly… a banana. Each of the bags has a baby item in it. I wish I could remember what I included, but I did a lot of google searching for that, too.

sock monkey 15

I know, bad luck to open an umbrella inside, but it was so cute hanging these raindrops from it. I wish we could have hung it from the ceiling. Not bad enough to stick tacks into a place that’s not my own, though.

sock monkey 9

I made this quilt just like one I made for my niece (hers was an owl), the back was red, orange, brown, green and blue stripes, no kidding. How lucky that I found such fitting fabric!

sock monkey 14

Aside from the casual gathering and visiting, my favorite part of baby showers is most definitely the food! At the beginning of the food table, we placed all the utensils we’d need for the meal. Straws in varying shades of brown and red, utensils all bundled together with the napkin rings, and plates (Walmart. Once again, lucky purchase. The colors are perfect).

sock monkey1

sock monkey 13

sock monkey 12

We got the sock monkeys from Oriental Trading company.

sock monkey 10

The baby-momma said the only thing she really craved during her pregnancy was chicken, so we had little chicken salad bites.

sock monkey 6

and chicken pinwheels (sockful of monkeys is also from Oriental Trading)

Sock monkey 5

we also had trail mix (Jungle mix), banana bread, nachos, salad, and…

Sock monkey 4

Sock Monkey 3

these cheesecakes. Seriously, guys, these cheesecakes were amazing! I’ll have to post my own version of this recipe. I tweaked it to be corn-free. Seriously, guys. It was so rich! It tasted sooo good! you could only eat about one at a time (which is fine), but ohhh,  while it lasted!

Sock monkey 2

At the end of the shower, each guest got a cookie mix with M&M’s in it. We typed the instructions on the top. We had a few jars left over at the end. My family did not complain the random cookies for as long as the extras lasted.

sock monkey 8

sock monkey 7

Signs made by me. Monkey from Oriental Trading, again, but I’ve seen him elswhere, too.

sock monkey 6

So, what’d ya think? Like I said, this shower really gave me the confidence to think I could maybe design stuff to sell on Etsy. It’s there, now, if you’re interested. I should sound all cool and “I-got-this,” and say I’ve always known I was this good, but… sometimes it takes a push. If any readers buy the kit and use it for their own party, I’d love to see the pictures!

A Day in the Life

Because I Think Better in Print

Okay, so I’ve been trying to decide how this blog fits into my life, {nothing new} and I’ve been doing the new-year thinking, but I’m not getting anywhere in the thinking department. So I”m going to write it down. All real-style and such. How’s that for the first post on my blog in over a year? I always envision some grand insight coming up. But this is me. Glorifying my imperfections. If I wait to have it all thought out, it won’t happen. As evidenced by the past year.

  • I know I want to revisit what health is. I”m sick of being sick. I don’t think I’m going to find some magic cure, but I’d love to re-evaluate what I discovered a few years ago when I was trying to somehow unlock the mysteries of my body and the lack of pregnancy therein. Clearly, it didn’t work then, either. Too bad we can’t learn our way into better health. But there is still definitely something to learn in the process, and it sounds like a good place to start.
  • I know I want to grow my Etsy store and a blog can help. I have so many previously-made projects that have not uploaded yet. All it takes is time. They don’t make any profit sitting on my hard drive.
  • I know I want to finish some of the projects I’ve started in the past. Like the Family Home Evening Lessons. And Homeschool lessons. And … Pinterest projects. Am I silly for actually wanting to DO my pinterest projects?
  • I know I want to de-junk my house (I’m sure everyone feels that way. I have too much stuff).
  • I want to fix up this house (But I lack the strength and Ranger is lacking the time to do it). It’s been at a stand-still lately.
  • I want to make friends. Like seriously. I’m kinda a little afraid of people. It’s pretty sad. I used to love people. And then I shied away from people while I grieved all of my losses. And then I got hurt by some family pretty badly and it made me afraid of what I say and to whom I say it. And then we moved here and I didn’t HAVE to see people (I love country life) and lately, I’ve been so sick this past year, It’s been easy to just stay home. But I’m not getting any better and I’m sick of letting that stop me.

What does that mean for this blog? No idea. HOpefully I’ll be less surprised than you will.

Canning/Harvest, Recipes

Pumpkin-Apple Fruit Leather

Untitled

Pumpkin fruit leather is a great harvest treat. It’s nice and fall-y flavor. I don’t know if I’d care for it much in the spring, but it’s perfect in the cold months.

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For a information on dehydrators or drying methods, check the classic apple recipe.

Also note, these recipes are the right size for my dehydrator trays. You may need to adjust the amounts for your own individual trays/drying methods.

Now, on a more specific note, classic apple leather is my daughter’s favorite. She likes things plain and simple. I personally think it’s kind of… boring. But if your kid (or you) like boring, you may love this leather.

The recipe? Just 1 1/2 c of applesauce. Smooth it onto the tray in as even layer as you can get. The smoother you can get the applesauce, the better it will dry. I plan on investing in a silicone bench scraper, though I don’t own one yet. I think it’d be perfect for getting the layer smooth. My spatula doesn’t quite cut it for me. It works for now, but I’d like an upgrade.

I don’t have any fruit leather trays, and I am on the fence about getting them. Sometimes the food just sticks to them. Instead, I take a square section of parchment paper, place it over the dehydrator tray to mark where I need to make a few cuts to fit over the center vent and then mark the edge of the tray, as well. (I just set it on the tray and rub my fingers over the tray and let a crease form, then I use that as a guide to cut. It’s an imperfect art, but I like the results. I also don’t cut the center all the way off, but make lots of slits, so that if anything is runny, it has less of a chance of falling through the layers. That’s a mess.

Classic Apple Fruit Leather
Cuisine: snack
Author: Keira @ Searchforseven.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 c applesauce
  • Other tools:
  • dehydrator
  • Parchment paper (or leather trays)
  • spatula or bench scraper
Instructions
  1. Spread the applesauce evenly on the dehydrator tray lined with parchment paper
  2. Turn dehydrator on and let it do it’s work for 6-8 hours. I start the dehydrator in the morning and turn it off in the afternoon or evening, depending on when it’s done.
  3. Cut the leather into desired strips or sections. somewhere between 5-15 sections is ideal.

 

applerecipes