Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today my alarm went off and I didn't feel well. So I decided to treat myself with a day off work. Slept in until 10:30, had some food, and then went.... what do I do now??? I am so unimaginative when it comes to days off. Most of the time I just end up going to work in the afternoon because I get bored. Not today! Sticking it out this time. I have watched an episode of Prison Break, played with my dog, crafted, moseyed around the house and looked for interesting things on the internet. I know you're jealous.

I am Mtn Dew sober for almost two whole days. It feels good, peeps. Yesterday was a killer, but today has been better. Possibly simply because I slept for 12+ hours so didn't need the caffeine. Pray for me tomorrow.

I really need to stop reading feminist slash so-called "blind obedient Mormon" literature. It just really gets my blood boiling. But then I just feel grateful that I don't have those challenges of faith in my life. But mostly my blood boils.

On a related note, I am super bummed the temple is closed this week and next. We've been going often lately and when it is closed I sort of feel a void.

On a completely unrelated note - I hate it when people say "unrelentless". Or cannot possibly spell the word "definitely". Or just don't take the time to use spell check when they are posting something for everyone to see.

We had a delightful evening with Alex's grandma last night which included a 5-course "supper" :) and Indiana Jones.

The End.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Musings on Faith

I feel like I'm getting closer to understanding what this whole faith thing is all about :) Thank you so much for all your comments, I loved them all! But I CAN'T stop thinking about blind obedience vs faith. It's all I could think of in the temple on Friday, and all I thought about all day in church. And I keep bugging everyone I know to talk to me about it, because, well... I'm a girl and that's how we figure things out!

I think the thing that has been agitating me the most is that I, for the life of me, cannot understand what people view as blind obedience. I keep running circles in my head when I think about it. It goes something like this:
"Ok, so blind obedience means that we just obey, not really knowing why. BUT - I know in my experience that even when I start out obeying a law/principle without having a testimony of it, once I start living it, it's quite impossible for me to avoid gaining a testimony of it. So, it may be blind obedience in the beginning, but it turns into something else.."

"Blind obedience means that we just accept things without questioning them or studying it out. BUT - how does that coincide with having a "child-like" faith? Should people be condemned (or called a B.O.ite) simply because they don't NEED to study things out? 1 Cor 12:8-10 lists "gifts of the spirit" - one of which is faith. I think all of us know at least one person who "just knows" things. Their gift of the spirit is faith. They don't need to study it out, they don't need to figure it out logically to know of a surety that it is true. That's just simple and pure faith, right? Not blind obedience..."

So - does blind obedience even exist?? Because of the simple act of OBEYING, is that not a show of FAITH?

The latest conclusion that I have come to is that blind obedience has simply to do with intention. If you really and truly, down to your core, do something JUST because you are told. You have no intention of receiving a blessing from it, you do not ever take the time to see how it is helping you in your life, you never even give the act a second thought past just doing it. This has been hard for me to think about, because I've never known anyone in my life who acts like this.
However, this cannot be the basis of judgement for being blindly obedient, because no other person on the planet has the ability to know your intentions besides you.

*sigh* I'm feeling pretty good about this conclusion, feeling finally a little peace about understanding at least what people mean by blind obedience (even if I don't agree with the unjust label), and then I pick up page 1 of Lectures on Faith:
"If men were to...turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is FAITH, AND FAITH ONLY, which is the moving cause of ALL action in them."

Tell me what this says to you. Please. Because to me it says that ANYTIME we are EVER moved to action, it is because of faith. Therefore, blind obedience does not exist. (?) Do you interpret it differently? I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts! I am learning so much about this topic, and about myself, and I really appreciate you helping me :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I. Love. Baking.
Even after a super long day when I'm really tired, I have so much fun baking. I don't know if this will be interesting to anyone, at all, BUT I had fun doing it so I wanted to share this recipe and the photos I took while making these awesome cupcakes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour - sift it before you measure it.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles) (this is a lot of coloring, but it’s worth it! The color is gorgeous!!)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside. (I love this part :) Put the cocoa in the bowl first, and watch how cool it is when you pour the coloring over it!)

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla (my Mexican vanilla! This souvenir is alone worth the trip!) and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.
Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Be careful - it will fizz up. (I tried to get a good picture of the fizz - it didn't work. Also, I used WAY too gigantic of a bowl for this. Don't be dumb like me.)

Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter (they should be 3/4 full).
Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. (I like to clean up my kitchen during the baking. RESIST the temptation to sit down! Because there is nothing as awesome as fresh baked goods AND a clean kitchen, at the same time!)
Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check early and don't overbake. (Mine only took 18-19 minutes)

Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese icing - recipe below.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth)

There you go, hope you love the recipe like I do - it's one of my favorites.

Random tidbit from the day: our super duper cute dog, Norman LOVES scratches/rubs. Sometimes when you won't rub him, he'll go down to your feet and push himself up against them to get you to scratch him with your feet. Today he went down by my foot, stood underneath it and for several seconds moved his butt back and forth, scratching himself on it. I died. I am basically in love with that dog.
Also - best music from the 2-hour kitchen dance party: Ke$ha, Will Smith and Da Dip by...who knows? Also, Linda Eder once things started to slow down. If you've never heard her, prepare for an awesomeness comparable to a kick in the face. An awesome kick. (You can skip to 2:00 if you don't want to listen to the whole song. And you will still be kicked.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWP7l0OTXJI

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blindness - Good or Bad?

Several months ago I read someone accusing Mormons of being "blindly obedient" (which I will sometimes refer to as b.o. - just because I think it's funny), and this was not meant as compliment. I've read many publications and opinions that share this sentiment; people see Mormons as people who don't ever question anything and just go along with what they're told, not knowing why.
I can't stop thinking about this, mulling it over in my little brain over and over.
So here is the $25k question:
What is the difference between blind obedience and faith?
Is there a difference?

When I think of "blind" faith, I think of Adam when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. He built an altar and offered sacrifices, and when he was asked why he humbly said, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me." Would this be considered by these same people as b.o.?
Because isn't this essentially what we do, as Latter-day Saints, on a daily basis?
Why do we visit/home teach?
Why is it so important to keep the Word of Wisdom?
Why do we have family home evening?
Sure, there are the Sunday School answers to these questions, but if someone really grilled me about the reasons, and they weren't satisfied with my SS answers, I would say to them: because the Lord commands it. And that is good enough for me.
So does that make me a b.o-ite? Hehe :)

For me, the difference between b.o. and faith is that I know I will be blessed for keeping the commandments, no matter what that command is. If I'm commanded to not wear the color red for the rest of my life, I would KNOW that by following this commandment I would be blessed. I would KNOW that God expects it of me for my own benefit, and for my greater good. And without knowing WHY, in any shape or form, God asked it of me, I would know that it is because He loves me and wants the best for me. Is THIS what people see as b.o.? So what is their definition of faith?

I'd really love your input on this.
Have you ever been accused of being blindly obedient? If so, how did you respond?
How do you think faith is different than blind obedience?


Yeah, it's been a long time since I've blogged, and I have no excuse other than I feel like I never have interesting to blog about. So I'm just going to pretend like we're still friends and you still want to read my blog sometimes. Yay!
So, as you can tell from the aforementioned kitchen remodeling, I'm a little frustrated. When I was envisioning all my home decor, I was really feeling retro-y. THIS is what I was going for in my kitchen.

But it turned out looking more like a bad piece of Anasazi Indian art. I really just hate it, more and more by the day. I really despise the thought of having to paint the whole wall again - even though I didn't even do it in the first place (thanks, In-Laws). Just, painting is hard work and it takes forever. But it will be worth it to have a kitchen that doesn't make me cringe whenever I walk in to it.
So - now, what color? I've been agonizing over it for weeks. I'm torn between trying a really light turquoise like this:

a light green like this:

I'm really leaning towards the green, because I feel like I can do a lot more "vintage" accessories, and it seems like there is so much more freedom that way. With the turquoise I feel it's a lot more retro, and I think that's part of the reason it doesn't work in my kitchen - it really clashes with my wood floors.
I'm jazzed about going vintage, because I can put anything up on the walls, and it goes. Old frames, keys, mason jars for lights, random junk I find at garage sales. I just think it will be a lot more versatile.
So, what do you think? Thanks for any input :)