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Saturday, March 25, 2017

What I Learned About Compassion After Being Hit by a Car #PrinceOfPeace

As my readers know, I was hit by an intoxicated driver while I was pregnant with my third child.  {You can read more about this miraculous auto-pedestrian accident HERE}  I am discussing it more today as part of the #PrinceofPeace series for mormon.org and I hope my story will help us all remember the power of one compassionate person.  






I still remember how it felt to come home from the hospital after I was hit by that car.  I was overwhelmed with emotions.  I was beyond grateful that I had survived.  I was anxious about the health of my baby in my womb, and yet I was hopeful too.  I was elated to see the faces of my children and have my husband there to hold me.  I was in pain all over my body and sick from my concussion, but I was humbled that this was all I had to endure, knowing others had endured much worse.  I slowly walked into my house, my lovely, tiny, ramshackle house full of mismatched medical student furniture . . . and I loved it.  

I came home from the hospital that day very bruised and banged up.  I felt very broken.  Not only was I not able to drive, I was not even able to go to the bathroom without help.  I was almost 7 months pregnant, thousands of miles away from family, with a husband in med school, and two little darling children who needed me constantly.  I worried how I would get better to continue our hardest year in medical school--the year that if he didn't pass, we would have to quit.

And then I walked in my kitchen, there on the table was a basket of goodies from my friend Griselda who had already been there and cared for my little 3 year old boy that day.

Before long there was a knock at our door, it was my friend named Terri.  She had in her arms another basket full of helpful items, including a bottle of peppermint lotion for my many aches and pains.  I marveled at how she even had the strength to come considering her younger brother in the army had tragically died 4 weeks earlier in Iraq.  I had been to his funeral and viewing.  I knew the wounds she felt were still fresh and yet here she was on my doorstep ready to help me.

Within thirty minutes, another knock sounded at my door.  It was another friend named Susan.  Susan is often the first to volunteer for something and she had been through hard things too.  She had dinner for us.  We talked for awhile and I told her how amazed I was at all the helped I had already received, and I distinctly remember her telling me, "People are going to want to help you."  

To this comment, I quickly replied, "Oh, I'll be fine.  I just need a couple of days to get on my feet.  It's no big deal."  

I have always been independent and I have never wanted to be a burden to others.  It's a skill you learn growing up in a large family.  I am a person who definitely hates the feeling that someone is being put out just because of me.

But I have never forgotten how Susan responded to this.  She said firmly yet sweetly, "Let them help you.  They need it just as much as you."

And that is when I started to understand.  Compassion isn't about me.  It's never about me.  No matter what side of the story I am on, whether I am the one in need or the one helping, compassion is about others. 

So I let them help.  And it turned out I really did need the help for the next few weeks as I regained my abilities and strength.  And as they helped me, my heart was changed forever.  I was humbled and I was given peace.  Peace of mind about my own troubles as the compassion of others helped solve my immediate problems; and peace to my soul that there was still so much good in this world.  All because of compassion.

But most of all I learned that I needed to give this kind of compassion to others.  Just as Terri showed compassion in the middle of her grief, I knew I needed to always strive to give that kind of compassion.  The kind of compassion that is selfless even in the hardest of times.  Seeing their compassion for me, helped me be able to have compassion for the intoxicated driver who hit me and caused me so much worry.  I found myself feeling sorrow for him and hoping his life would turn out better.  It's not easy, and I struggle as much as the next person to think outside of my own troubles.  But I've see that compassion brings peace to a person because having compassion for that driver eased my mind in so many ways.  I was not burdened with unkind thoughts.  Instead I was uplifted by love.   If we want a good world without war and strife it starts with compassion.  It's exactly how Jesus Christ lived his life.  Compassion is empathy.  It is tenderness and warmth.  It is selflessness and it is tolerance.  Compassion is peace.  Compassion is power. 





So today I just want encourage all of us (myself included) to show  little compassion to someone today. Show your tenderness.  Show your warmth  Show your tolerance.  Show your power to change  world.

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For more ideas and inspiration about compassion and other tips for peace follow the mormon.org #PrinceOfPeace Easter campaign HERE.  You'll learn how to find peace through faith, compassion, scriptures, forgiveness, repentance, gratitude, prayer, and hope.




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Friday, March 24, 2017

What I Learned About Faith While Boiling Spaghetti #PrinceOfPeace

It was the hubbub of a busy Wednesday night.  Soccer practice was over, a quick dinner of spaghetti was bubbling on the stove, my oldest was reading her homework aloud to me as I cooked, and my baby girl was pulling pots and pans out of the lower kitchen cupboards.  My husband an was racing home from a long day at work to help with Boy Scouts by 6:30 p.m., and I had girls coming over to our house for a church activity at the same time.  Miracles had to happen before 6:15 p.m. that night.




And that is when my middle child, a boy of 6 years old, came over to ask me a very important question.  His voice was worried.

He tugged at my sleeve and asked, "Mom, what is adultery?"

I paused.  
I had no answer. Where did this come from? My mind was blank as I could only think of my time schedule and the spaghetti noodles that were boiling over.  

 And then I sighed.  My little son is very inquisitive and takes learning seriously.  He's an avid reader with a very tender heart.  So I turned and asked, "What's the matter?  Why do you need to know that?"

My son held up a paper bookmark with the Ten Commandments on it.  "I got this from my church teacher.  She says Jesus wants us to follow them."  The worry now increased in his voice as he said, "I think I can do all of them, but 'cept I don't know what adultery and co-co-coveting are."

And suddenly I felt a change in the room.  I could feel a warmth in my soul softening my heart as I knelt down to his level and looked into his wondering eyes.  I gave him a hug.  I focused on him, and then I was finally able to think of a simple answer that satisfied his heart.  

I didn't notice the pasta boiling over anymore.  I couldn't hear my oldest reading aloud or my baby banging the pots in the background.  I had stopped focusing on the busy world for a moment.  All I knew was that my little boy was doing his best to follow the Savior and he wanted help.  He had faith in the words of his church teacher.  He had faith in that words on that bookmark.  And he had faith in me, that I would help him understand.  But most of all he had faith in Jesus Christ.  It was a beautiful faith, untainted by the worldly distractions of that day.

I've learned that teaching moments are NEVER convenient.  
 I've also learned that having faith is not convenient either.  There are times when having faith is hard.  There is always something to keep me distracted or bring me down, making it hard to live in faith.  The busy world sucks away our days, stealing all our thoughts, energy, and our quiet moments.  Our news feeds are full of crazy things and confusing information and we sometimes don't know what to believe.  

But I've learned that faith is action.  Faith is doing.  Faith is blissful and hopeful.  It's living like you believe until you know and understand.  Just like my little boy who was actively seeking to know what Jesus wanted him to do amidst the distractions, we can too.  He was seeking for truth in faith until he understood and felt at peace.   





I've also learned that our hearts can be touched at the craziest of times and we can feel peace in the middle of the hubbub . . . if we are willing to let it.  I am thankful that I decided to pause and dig deeper into his question.  I could have easily just brushed him off (as I have done many many times), and instead I remember it as a very special moment.  

In the end, the spaghetti noodles were a little soggy, we were a little late getting to our activities, and I never had time to add a veggie to our meal, but miracles did happen before 6:15 p.m. that night.  It just wasn't the kind I expected.




Learn more about the principles of peace 

#PrinceOfPeace

My next few blog posts will be focusing on some of the principles of peace as part of the #PrinceOfPeace initiative from mormon.org.  I'll be sharing things I have learned from others and some of my vulnerabilities.  I hope by being open and telling these stories you'll find the peace and meaning in your own life.


What your thoughts about faith?  How does faith help you live a better life? Comment and share!
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Easter Scattergories Printable for Spring

Before SPRINGTIME and Easter are over I thought it would be fun to share a free Spring/Easter Scattergories printable with you.  It's a free printable.  Use it how you need for school, church, parties, or whatever.  I also have a Free Easter Bingo game printable that I shared recently if you would like then.  Also, remember that the #PrinceOfPeace campaign is coming up.  This is all about finding peace through Jesus Christ using the 8 principles of peace.  You can read about my experience with faith all while I was cooking spaghetti and more in in a few days.  If you would like to know more or share how you find peace, check it all out at mormon.org.



So here's the Spring Scattergories printable for you.  Below are the instructions of how to play the game.






How to play Scattergories:

1. Pick a letter of the alphabet (you can roll a alphabet dice or draw out of a hat)

2. Set a timer for 1 minute

3. When the timer starts, players see how many categories they can fill up by thinking of answers that start with the chosen letter.  When the time is up, all players quit writing.  Then they go around the group, answering out loud what they got for each category.

4.  The player with the most answers wins the round.  There is 1 point per answer unless they come up with a viable answer that has two words that starts with that letter.  For example, if the letter was 'W' and the answer was "Wicked Witch" that would count for 2 points.  However, if it is something that doesn't necessarily go together such as "Wimpy Witch" then they would only get 1 point.

5.  Whether or not an answer is right or viable depends on the group you are playing with.  If something doesn't seem to fit the category or subject then the group can dispute it and vote on whether or not that person's answer deserves a point.


Have a blissful day!


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Monday, March 13, 2017

Easy No Glue Spring Wreaths

My old spring wreath died in the garage this winter.  It was all dusty and smashed thanks to some big projects that went on in there, namely the mudroom shelves that my husband built for me--and I love the shelves--but the project killed my wreath.  So I had about 20 minutes max one day to throw together a new wreath and I actually ended up making 2 spring wreaths without glue.  I re-used flowers that I already had from other arrangements or projects.  I have a ribbon stash too that I could draw from.  Anyhow, I decided to show you my no glue wreaths because they were so EASY!  And maybe it will get your creative juices flowing so you can throw together your own easy wreath for your front door in 20 minutes.

*This post may or may not contain affiliate links at no expense to my readers.  All opinions are mine.


No glue spring wreath number one.







This piece of heaven totally brightens my room.  I actually have it hanging on the inside because I love it so much.  The wall basket made it so easy to make.








I used a wall basket similar to this Rattan Wall Basket from Hobby Lobby.  Amazon also has some other styles of wall baskets that you could use.







Basically you just stuff your wall basket with flowers and arrange them nicely.  Taller pieces in the back, smaller pieces in the front.  Spread the bright colors evenly.  You can use artificial flowers like these or even natural branches and blooms.  






To keep the flower stems and branches from flopping forward when it hung, I added some floral wire just to hold them back a little.








Add a nice big ribbon.  Use what you already have around the house if you can.  Tie it tightly so it stays on for the season.  When you are sick of this arrangement, simply fill it with different flowers, add a different bow and then you have a whole new wreath!  

No glue.  Just easy.  And cute.  And bright.  And everything else.






This spring wreath brightens up my kitchen too.  I can't decide where to put it.








Here is no glue spring wreath number two.

And yes, my front door is salmon-colored.  I like to call it coral.  

I live in a neighborhood where all the houses look the same, so I had to liven our front door up.  








I wanted this one to look very natural.  I wanted the flowers to look as natural as possible and the ribbon to be soft instead of stiff.  Here it is blowing in the breeze.







I re-used my grapevine wreath that I have had forever.  It is similar to this one at Amazon.com.









I have used this wreath many times, including my Easy Valentine Wreath.   This wreath also used minimal glue and wire so I could easily reuse it again.





And here it is again in one of my earliest blog posts, back in the day when I was still called Pebbles & Piggytails.  Please no cringing at my high-contrast photography.








Anyway, simply insert your artificial flowers in between the grapevine branches.  Put an even amount on each side.  Tie a ribbon in the middle to finish it off.  I got these flowers from Hobby Lobby a couple years ago.  You can also find tons for artificial blooms at Amazon.com.










Best of luck in your crafty endeavors!  Have a blissful spring!


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Friday, March 10, 2017

Quick Lemon Pound Cake

I've been in the mood for lemon lately.  It must be my desire for warmer weather.  I like sweet lemon desserts, not the tart kind, unlike the rest of my family.  My Man and all my kidlets LOVE tart lemon desserts.  Not me.  So when I saw this easy recipe from Duncan Hines for quick Lemon Pound Cake I knew this would satisfy my craving for sweet lemon in a jiffy.   Sometimes I need a quick recipe for gatherings or family nights and that's where these kind of easy cake box recipes come in.  This easy lemon pound cake is a little fancier than your typical cake mix cake.  So give it and try and make sure you check out my newest recipe video (you guys, I can't believe I actually made a recipe video!!!).  You'll be tasting that sweet lemon flavor in less 45 mins . . .

*This post may or may not contain affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.








Here's the recipe video!





 Here's what you will need for this lemon pound cake recipe.  I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix.  Delicious.








Mix it all up together.







And bake.  I used bread pans and they worked beautifully.  A bundt pan would make it beautiful too.







Top it off with powdered sugar or your favorite topping.  And enjoy!





Quick Lemon Pound Cake

1 box lemon cake mix (16.5 oz)
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil (I used olive oil)
4 eggs
1 box lemon instant pudding (3.4 oz)
1/4 cup powdered sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and pudding mix.  Mix well with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes.  Pour batter into well greased baking pans.  Bread pans or bundt cake pans work nicely.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean--depends on your oven and pan size.  Mine took 30 minutes with batter divided into 2 bread pans.  Cool completely before slicing.  Dust with powdered sugar.






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Disclosure

*This site may or may not contain affiliate links. These links help fund this site. All opinions are my own. I am never paid to give a specific opinion. Often I am asked to try products or services and share what I think about them.