30 November 2008


I have a little "crowd anxiety". So, I've only been out on Black Friday once and that was to a store I knew wouldn't be everybody's first choice to shop. But this year I've put off my Christmas shopping and I still have a little guy at home that I would like to see get the only thing he's asked for, for Christmas. My biggest fear was that this item wouldn't be available after Black Friday, so I decided to get up at 4:30 in the morning and see if I could get lucky. So, I went to the mall, and what a nightmare. The parking lot was filling up quickly and there were people everywhere. I fully expecting not to get what I wanted but to my surprise--I was successful. Mainly because this present wasn't on sale at this particular store. That was okay, though.

As I waited in line, I spent the rest of the time observing the crowd. A lot were angry because they weren't able to get what they wanted, others were upset because they weren't sure which line they were supposed to be in and a lot of store clerks were frustrated just trying to accommodate everyone. Wow, I started thinking, this should be the "most wonderful time of the year" but most people didn't look very happy. So, I decided to chat with different people in line and "be cheerful" like Elder Marvin J. Ashton would say. I don't know if anyone else got anything out of it but it made the moment better for me. As I purchased my item, I ended my experience with a bold, loud, "You Have a Merry Christmas" to the store clerk. I don't think he had heard those words yet that day. His countenance changed and he looked into my eyes and said, "you too" and then quickly went back to his duties. No crowd anxiety this time. I guess I've come a long way.
"What a joy it is to see someone of good cheer,
who, when others because of an unpleasant happening
or development live in angry silence or vocal disgust,
meets the situation with cheerful endurance & good spirits."
--Marvin J. Ashton

26 November 2008


Sunday we had our annual "Young Women's in Excellence" program. The theme was "Going the Distance" and the girls did a dramatization of young women in past eras up to today that had struggles spiritually into making the choices of being valiant young women in keeping the commandments. It was very powerful and I enjoyed it a lot. What struck me though is the fact that my daughter, Jessica, is now a young woman and her young women's president is Ashley G., who I taught when I was young women's president. I guess "what goes around comes around."
"We are daughters of our Heavenly Father,
Who loves us and we love him,
We will stand as witnesses of God,
at all times and in all things, and in all places,
as we strive to live the Young Women's values. . ."

23 November 2008


Mark & Jolinda with their whole family at Thorley Mountain
I read Elder Uchdorf's talk this week, from the priesthood session of general conference. "Lift Where You Stand." It was so great! I feel that my brother has been a "lift" to me all through the years. When I was young he teased me so much I could hardly appreciate him, but as we both matured, he became a great example to me. I especially remember the time when I was desirous to go on a mission. I knew it was what I wanted to do but I needed a little encouragement. Mark was the one that helped me see that I could do it and what a great blessing my mission was for me. So, Mark, have a Happy 53rd Birthday.
". . .if we all stand close together
in the place the Lord has appointed
and lift where we stand,
nothing can keep this divine work
from moving upward and forward."
Elder Dieter Uchtdorf

21 November 2008


Jake & Friends at BYU vs Air Force November 2008
Because I went to BYU off and on '77 to '82, I've lived through the "no respect attitude" toward some of the western football teams. So, secretly, I've been pulling for the University of Utah to do well this season as well as other schools in the WAC and Mountain West Conferences. But, when it comes to the BYU vs University of Utah game, I have to "be true to my school."

Rise, all loyal Cougars
And hurl your challenge to the foe.
We will fight, day or night,
Rain or snow.
Loyal, strong and true,
Wear the White and Blue.
As we sing, get set to spring.
Come on Cougars, it's up to you!
So Rise and Shout, the Cougars are out
We're on a trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out
As we unfold our vict'ry story.
On we go to vanquish the foe
For Alma Mater's sons and daughters.
As we join in song,
In praise of you, our faith is strong.
We'll raise our colors high in the blue
And cheer our Cougars of BYU.

14 November 2008


My Favorite Thanksgiving Day Recipes

A lot of my family and friends ask me for these recipes.

So, here they are. Enjoy!


3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flaked coconut, optional
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sweet potatoes and sugar. Add salt and eggs; stir well. Add butter, milk and vanilla; stir well. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven.

Melt butter for topping. Add sugar, flour, pecans and coconut. Mix well. Spread on top of sweet potatoes. Return to oven for 20 more minutes.


1 package yeast, dissolved in
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup shortening
2 well beaten eggs
4 cups flour
1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Mix well all ingredients, place in large bowl with tight cover. Store in refrigerator overnight. Two hours before serving, roll out on board. Cut with glass, make crease in circle half way, butter and fold over, not quite half. Let rise. Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes.


2 eggs
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 Tablespoon self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked pie shell

Stir ingredients together then mix in pecans. Pour into pie crust. Bake AT 350 for 50-55 minutes or until center rises and cracks. I put foil around crust so it wont get too cooked.

"For health and strength,
and daily food,
We praise thy name, Oh Lord."


13 November 2008


Debbie R., Faith D., Beth & Wanda B.
Almost 20 years, back together again

Having lived in a military area for over twenty years, I've seen friends come and go and everytime one leaves its almost like a death. The seperation makes the relationship different. I've kept up with most of my friends through correspondence at Christmastime and on rare occasions I'll get to see them again which is always rewarding. This was the case on Wednesday.

My dear friend Wanda lived here in Fayetteville while her husband served at Ft. Bragg and now her son-in-law is going to Duke University and will be here for a few years with their daughter. My good friend Debbie and I got to drive up to Durham on Wednesday and reunite with her and see her daughter--Elisabeth, husband--Stu and son-in-law--Ben. We also meet up with another dear friend "Faith" who has moved to Benson, NC. It was great to see them and talk about old times again.

"Many people will walk in and out of your life,
but only true friends
will leave footprints in your heart."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Wanda & Elizabeth, Back in North Carolina

Wanda & Stu visiting from Sacramento, CA

"Make new friends,
but keep the old,
One is silver
and the other is gold."


10 November 2008


Living near Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, makes it easy to appreciate the service of our many men and women who put themselves in harms way for our freedom. Lately though, my thoughts are of my father. My dad served in the Navy for 6 years. He joined when he was in high school, returned and finished school and then re-enlisted after graduating. He didn't really talk about his military experience much but I do know that it was while he was in the service that he was introduced to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ by my mother. He read the Book of Mormon while at sea and was converted to its teachings. He is now 81 years old and sadly to say, he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. We don't get to visit as much as we'd like. He hasn't talked to me over the phone in years but when we visited last summer, he did recognize me and called out "Bethany" when he saw me which gave me great joy and comfort.
". . .And should they die
before their journey's through,
All is well, All is well. . ."
Jessica, "Coach" & Carson
Summer 2008
Visiting "Coach"
(Dad's endearing nickname)
My brothers called him "Coach" when
he was coaching them in little league baseball.
The name stuck and he's still called "Coach"
by all who know and love him.

(Jody P., Dave & Melissa G.)
Stake Youth Activity
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Placing Flags on Veterans' Graves

The Heavens Weep

"My Flag, My Flag, My Country's Flag,
I Love to See You Wave"

Jessica had a great time, rain and all.

08 November 2008


San Bernardino California Ward Primary 1938
(photo of my mom and her twin brother, Dorothy & Doyle)

A couple of weeks ago, we had our annual Primary Presentation. It's always a special moment for me because many of the most memorable times of my childhood are of singing in primary. My favorite Music Leader was Sister Keate. I can still picture her leading me to sing: "Popcorn Popping", "Lift up your Voice and Sing" and "Called to Serve" just to name a few.

Now I teach in Primary. So, I was able to relive some of those classic primary songs I learned when I was young plus some new ones ("If The Savior Stood Beside Me". . . Carson's favorite) As we sang in the presentation, the Spirit touched my heart, just as it first did when I was so very young. Ya know, a song truly is "a wonderful kind of thing."

"We shall make music to brighten the day,

Music will help us to lighten the way,

Lift up your voice! Lift up your voice!

Lift up your voice and sing!"

Richard C. Berg


04 November 2008


We live in a great nation where everyone has the privilege to vote. I voted today down at our neighborhood fire station here in Gray's Creek, North Carolina. We live in a somewhat small and yet mostly "God-fearing" community. The lines were unexpectedly short. I felt great pride in the opportunity to vote and no matter if my candidates win or lose I take faith in what Elder Boyd K. Packer said in general conference:
"We live in those “perilous times”
which the Apostle Paul prophesied would come
in the last days.
If we are to be safe individually, as families,
and secure as a church,
it will be through obedience
to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
I also think what President Ezra Taft Benson once said is very significant:
"The world would take the people out of the slums.
Christ takes the slums out of people
and they take themselves out of the slums."

01 November 2008


(from left) Jessica, Eric, Carson, Cassidy & Lil' Carson
We had fun "trick or treating"
in the neighborhood with friends.

Ghoul days, ghoul days, goody, goody, ghoul days.
Ringing the bell of your neighbor's place,
Hearing him yell at your funny face.
You were the greatest ghost I've seen;
I was the witch whose hair was green.
And we haunted the house on Halloween,
When we were a couple of ghouls.
"Jessisca" THE GHOUL
Isn't she a beauty
"Carson" He's a NEWSIE
He's obsessed with this movie
"Dottie" THE DEVIL
How true it is
"Abby B." & "Kellee B."
They dressed up as HYMN BOOKS
So clever!