Well hello there…again…

Over the last couple of years, I have started a few blogs. Things were all over the place. It was cray cray. So I have combined them all here into one giant hodgepodge blog. The old family blog, the newish family blog, the prengancy and early McKenna blog. They are all here.

You’re welcome.

Mormon Pumpkin Spice “Latte”

I loved (love) coffee. I miss it some days. The most difficult of those days come during Pumpkin Spice Latte Season. I’ve been jonesin’, man. EVERYONE has them. Everywhere I turn I see them. This is not helpful. So I found a recipe online for a pumpkin spice latte sans coffee. Here is the recipe:

1 cup of pumpkin puree, 4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. You combine them all in a saucepan, use a whisk to make sure they’re all mixed up, and you simmer (not boil) over medium heat.

That’s it. BAM. Easy peasy. So a couple things about this:

  • It’s sweet. It doesn’t have the bitter taste of coffee to offset it.
  • It’s pumpkiny. Again, without coffee you can really taste the pumpkin. Not just in flavor, though. There are some little teeny pieces of pumpkin pulp.
  • The original recipe didn’t call for Ready Whip, but I put some on because, well, yum. Once it melted, it turned into that frothy goodness that you find with a “normal” latte. Did I say yum yet?

None of those things bothered me. In fact, I like it sweet and pulpy. I’m a big fan of all things pumpkin.

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This is what happens when you REALLY want to open a can and your husband took the can opener to work. Just sayin’.

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The final product…almost, I guess. This was before the whip cream.

Things I Wish I Could Say

One thing I love about blogging is that I can express my thoughts without anyone looking at me. I have this fear of public speaking. In front of people at church I go into full on panic attack mode. Even in smaller, more intimate groups {like the one I was in last night} I have a hard time looking people in the eye while I’m talking. It doesn’t really matter what I’m actually saying. I think reciting the alphabet would make me cry if the group was large enough.

This is very inconvenient for me. I do like to talk. Those that know me well enough, know this. I have some good insight and a unique perspective {at least I think I do} and no really great way to share that with people other than from behind my keyboard. It works for me. This particular post may be all over the place, but bear with me. I think it will be worth your time to read.

Let me start this thought by testifying to you that without a doubt I know that Heavenly Father knows me. He knows what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. He uses various people in my life to let me know this. Sometimes it’s the same person a bunch of times in a row {and if you’re reading this, I think you know who you are} and sometimes it’s completely random people. I am a convert to the LDS {Mormon} church. I was born and raised Baptist and, as you can imagine, transitioning from the religion that I was part of for 23 years to a whole other one is long and hard. I have been a member for 5 years as of October 11 and I am still in transition. There are certain things that are just plain different from what I learned growing up. Some of these things immediately make sense and I get it. Others don’t. Those things that I don’t get nag and nag at my brain. They make me stumble. Make me doubt everything at times. I am the type of person that has a need to understand and to know everything, like, right now. It’s hard for me to admit, but that’s just not possible. It’s a lifetime of learning and gaining understand. My mother-in-law {whom I adore} has always told me “line by line, precept upon precept.” I would just think “No, no. That’s not going to work for me.” {Like I have a choice in that!}

Coming from a Baptist background I obviously know a lot of people who are not Mormon. In fact, if we’re looking at percentages here, I know a much higher percent of non-Mormons than I do Mormons. And I’m usually the only Mormon they know. So guess what that means? Yep. I get all the questions. At first I would dread when someone would say “You’re Mormon right? Let me ask you something.” Don’t get me wrong. I love sharing my faith with people. I really do. But when you get burned by one or two people who’s goal is argue with you and try to convince you that you’re wrong, you get a little leery of the questions. Plus, I’m still new. I definitely don’t have all the answers. In Sunday school yesterday we talked about missionary work. The wonderful lady giving the lesson {who has become one of my favorite speakers} asked a question something like “Why do we share our faith?” {This is where I wish talking in front of people didn’t make my heart pound like I just chugged a case of Redbull.} This isn’t where she was going with it, but this is the first thing that came to mind for me personally that I wish I had the courage to have said: The biggest benefit that I’ve seen to taking the chance and answering the questions is it strengthens me. It has happened to me twice within the last couple of weeks that I have explained something to someone and as I was doing so I figured a couple things out. And these are two of my big issues. Things I’ve struggled with for the last 5 years. Honestly, I’ve just been struggling in general lately. I’m not strong when it comes to things of faith. I never really have been. I kind of just float along. But that has it’s downfalls, obviously. Like I said, Heavenly Father knows what I need. He knows that I am weak in my faith and that the more things I can say for certain that I know, the stronger I will be as a whole. He sent me these questions not so I could answer them for the people asking, but that I could answer them for myself. Amazing.

There was something else that happened to me this weekend. I am also struggling with some things in my personal life that have nothing to do with church and faith. {Although stronger faith would help me get through them, I’m sure.} Saturday was a bad day for me. I spent most of it crying. Being sad. Then I got on Facebook and saw this blog post. I won’t recap the whole thing, but it was the last paragraph that really stood out to me:

“Life is hard, but oh so beautiful. Forget not whose hands we’re in. Forget not that you are not meant to just ‘get by’, but to give you the absolute best ever created. Forget not that His ways are always better and how comforting to know He knows us better then we know ourselves. Never should it be about what you don’t have or haven’t gotten yet. Don’t let it be about what you don’t know, or can’t do. Embrace what comes your way, especially that which you didn’t initially invision for yourself.  Trust. Allow Him to show you how great our God is. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed. And more than anything, do not think you cannot do this. Do not let giving up be an option. Focus on Him, knowing that you will be blessed with the best ever created. What you know and what you have is enough for His help and guidance. You are always worthy of your God’s love. Prioritize. Turn to Him. Experiment. Act. Focus. Commit. Try. Hold on. Embrace and receive.”

The woman that wrote that is my hero. {Her name is Al Carraway.} I just cried. I mean, that might as well have been Heavenly Father standing there next to me saying those words. I know He sent that to me at the exact moment I needed them. I have read them so many times since Saturday. That’s undeniable proof to me that He knows me. He knows my struggles. I am not alone, even though sometimes the adversary would like me to think I am. I know that whatever happens is His plan, and it will be so much better than anything I could possibly dream up for myself.

❤ Marissa

My Daughter is a Pancake Fiend

She is. She could eat them every day for every meal, I suspect. I am a fan, as well, however I am not as passionate as she is. We make them all the time because it’s one of the few things her picky little 3 year old self will eat enough of. Sometimes we even have them for dinner because it’s quick , easy, and I always have the ingredients on hand. I did not take pictures. Partly because I didn’t really think about it until it was too late, but also because…well, they’re pancakes and pretty much look like pancakes. Next time I make them, I’ll try to take some pictures and add them here. I probably won’t. 😉

I did not come up with this recipe on my own, although I couldn’t tell you at this point where I got it.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

So, the original recipe says to mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl, then pour the wet mix into the dry mix and beat it until it’s smooth. I usually do this, but this last time I apparently hadn’t had enough caffeine when I started making them and, not thinking, just poured it all into one bowl from the start. It didn’t seem to make a difference and it was nice only having one bowl to clean. So do whatever you want. It also says to pour the batter onto your griddle or pan 1/4 cup at a time. I do 1/3 cup and it makes decent size pancakes. I always double this recipe and we get 12-14 pancakes out of it.  We have added cinnamon, chocolate chips, or blueberries. You can customize your own special flava.

Make sure you come back and let me know if you try them, especially if you add something or do something different.

Happy Tuesday!

Hi.

So this is my first post. Welcome to you all! Please feel free to check out the About Me tab at the top of the page there. I was going to copy and paste it for my first post, but I thought that would be redundant.

The title of this blog is “Mormon Me” so I feel it’s appropriate to share the story of my conversion into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and my testimony. I’ll keep it brief. Cross my heart.

I was raised Baptist my entire life. I always felt something was off – missing – and strayed away from my roots when I turned 18. I did pretty much everything I was taught not to do thinking that maybe what was missing was in those things. It wasn’t. {duh} I’ll spare you all the gory details and we’ll just fast forward to Cody. He and I hung out a few times and I told him he really just wasn’t my type. {HA!} We ended up hanging out one last time, and that was the end of my single life as I knew it. {Thank God. I was terrible at dating but Cody didn’t seem to mind.} We started dating exclusively in June, were engaged in July, and married in October. Whew. We moved fast once we got going. Over the course of getting to know each other while we were “hanging out” I discovered that he was Mormon. He dispelled a few Mormon myths, ones I’m sure you’ve heard, too. When I started to learn about the church, read things for myself, pray about it, I knew this was the right path for me. I was drawn to it and the core doctrines just made sense to me. I found what I was missing. I got baptized the week after we got married. I can’t say that I regret it necessarily, but that was a lot of change all at once for me. I don’t really recommend that timeline for anyone else. I have had and still do have my struggles {and I’ll share those with you} but I know without a doubt that this is exactly where I need to be.

We were inactive for a while after I was baptized but came back to the church in July of 2011. We were able to be sealed together as a family for eternity in March 2012. It was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful for my forever family!

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Are there any other converts out there? If so, I’d love to hear a little bit about your conversion story.

Not every picture has to be a portrait…

There are a MILLION photographers talking these days about getting in the picture and taking more pictures of your own family. This is more for me to look back when I lose sight again…because I’m sure I will.

Ever since I’ve gotten into the whole photography thing, I may have gone a little over board. McKenna has been my model from day one. When I look back through all the pictures of her first year, there are so many! The older she gets, though, the fewer pictures I have of her. I have learned so much about photography in the almost 2 years that I’ve been doing it. {Wow, has it been 2 years already?} I am lightyears ahead of where I was when I started {and I know I have lightyears to go}. So, the more I’ve learned, the higher my standards have gotten for what an acceptable picture is…what the acceptable conditions as far as lighting and environment are. I’ve found myself taking fewer pictures of everyday things and turning everything into a photo shoot. I’ve turned McKenna into a subject and lost sight of the fact that she’s my child and I’m missing things.

So…I have busted out my smaller DSLR {glad I never sold it}, put it in auto {it still kinda breaks my heart}, switched it from RAW over to JPEG, and have started taking random snap shots of everyday things and everyday nothings. It’s still weird with the pop-up flash and all, but MAN I wish I’d done this sooner…like for her birthday. I didn’t get nearly as many pictures as I should have because I was worried about angles and lighting and aperture and shutter speed and bouncing my flash and focal points. I should have just been taking pictures. But…she is only two, so I have a lot of moments ahead of me still to capture. Of course, for big things {and if the lighting is naturally agreeable} I’ll pull out the big camera and be a little more serious about it.

I’m writing all this down so when I start getting a little too ME about it, I can remember all the moments I am missing and get myself back on track.

You Get What You Give

So I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days just kind of writing it in my mind.

I have always heard that you get back from your body what you put in it. If you put in healthy foods and drinks, exercise regularly, and take care of yourself you’ll have energy and feel great. If you put it sodas and junk, you’ll be sluggish and just generally feel like crap. Also, I think it’s pretty well known that you crave what you consume. If all you feed yourself is sugar you’ll want more. If you start drinking a lot of water, that’s what your body will want.

I have found from personal experience lately that it works the same for us spiritually as it does physically. If all you put in your mind is negative things, it really starts to affect you. You search out more negative things and the next thing you know, all the good and positive that you know is overtaken and overshadowed by negativity. Other people’s perceptions and opinions do not have to affect our own. What makes sense to them does not have to make sense to me. On the flip side, if you fill your mind with good things then that’s what you’ll search out. You’ll find ways to get past the things you struggle with. You may not get a resolution to your issues, but oddly enough you’ll feel at peace about that.

I had been filling my head with negative and completely laying aside all of the positive. It’s toxic. This last week or so I have made the switch back to only seeking that which is uplifting and helpful. It’s so amazing how things that I have been struggling with don’t really have anything to do with the specific negative things that I have let in. Since I have been focusing only on the positive, the unrelated struggles have eased. It helped me to see that everything is tied together, even if it’s not obvious to us at the time. It’s been a great lesson to me.

So my new goal: No matter how tempting and enticing the negativity seems, it’s just not worth it. If I focus on what I know to be true and the rest will fall into place!