Archive for June, 2011


June 20, 2011

1. Mothers Group: Wednesday, June 22 10:00 am at Jen Lyon’s home at 33 Newton Plains in Lee, NH. Call her if you need directions. 397-5074

2. Pancake breakfast July 4th at 9:00 am. Sign-up sheets were passed around.

3.. Senior night to honor our graduates, Taylor, Alex, and Amanda this Wednesday June 22nd 6:30 pm. Everyone is invited.

5. Have you done your visiting teaching? Please report to your supervisor.

6. The Boston temple is closed all this week and through July 4th for maintenance.


Friday Favorites

June 17, 2011

As many of you know, we’re checking out in a week and heading to South Korea. I’ve known for quite some time that we would be going there, and in order to prepare myself and my boys for this trip, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in preparation. We’ve read fiction and non-fiction picture books about Korea and Korean traditions and culture, we’ve read middle grade novels that take place in Korea, we’ve tried new recipes, we’ve learned some new words, and we’ve studied guide books.

Now that our trip is imminent, I’ve realized something. I love Korea and the resiliency of the Korean people, and I haven’t even been there yet.

So my favorite this week? Studying a new country in different forms: food, culture, literature, history, language.


Thursday Thoughts: Chapter 34, Developing Our Talents

June 16, 2011

I missed Sunday’s lesson; I was home with a very sick boy who wanted, more than anything, for mommy to hold his hand hours at a time. However, this has been a topic I’ve been thinking about for some time, ever since the Stake Relief Society Women’s Conference.

The lesson teaches that we all have different talents and abilities, and that we should use and improve our talents  (a la parable of the talents). Hearing this always makes me squeamish, for I immediately feel like I’m just not doing enough, and the guilt gland starts percolating.

But after reading the next subtitles, “We can develop our talents in spite of our weaknesses,” and “The Lord will bless us if we use our talents wisely,” I realized a few things: (1) there are a certain number of hours in a day, and (2) I do not spend my hours eating bon-bons and watching soap opera.

If I am not eating bon-bons and watching soap operas, what am I then doing with my hours? I’m developing my talents. If I were to go through a list of the things I do on a daily basis, are these not my talents? Sure, they’re not as tangible as some of the more visible talents–I’m not writing symphonies or painting masterpieces–but aren’t our talents simply another name for our stewardships? And if I perform my daily work, whether that’s cooking or cleaning or organizing or listening or writing or whatever, to the best of my ability, then I’m developing my talents, right? I think so.

So, if you’ll forgive me, I’d prefer to think of this lesson as “Developing our Stewardships.” Then there’s no guilt involved.

What do you think?


Wednesday Words: Patience

June 15, 2011

“There is…a dimension of patience which links it to a special reverence for life. Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe—rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance.”


“Patience is, therefore, clearly not fatalistic, shoulder-shrugging resignation; it is accepting a divine rhythm to life; it is obedience prolonged. Patience stoutly resists pulling up the daisies to see how the roots are doing!”


“[W]e find ourselves impatiently wishing to hasten the passage of time or to hold back the dawn. We can do neither, of course. Whereas the bird is at home in the air, we are clearly not at home in time—because we belong to eternity! Time, as much as any one thing, whispers to us that we are strangers here. If time were natural to us, why is it that we have so many clocks and wear wristwatches?

“Thus the veil stands—not to forever shut us out—but as a reminder of God’s tutoring and patient love for us. Any brush against it produces a feeling of “not yet,” but also faint whispers of anticipation of that moment when, in the words of today’s choral hymn, “Come, Let Us Anew,” those who have prevailed “by the patience of hope and the labor of love” will hear the glorious words, “Well and faithfully done; enter into my joy and sit down on my throne” (Hymns, no. 17).”

From Neal A. Maxwell’s address Patience.


Tuesday Tips

June 14, 2011

If you weren’t able to attend the Relief Society meeting last Wednesday, here are a few important things about summer safety in our area.

1. Poison ivy rashes are caused by an allergic reaction to the plant’s oil, called urushiol. If you’ve touched poison ivy, wash the area immediately with cold water. Better yet, get some Tecnu poison ivy cleanser. It can help even up to 48 hours after contact.

2. Ticks are the bane of our spring, summer, and fall existence. Short of raising chickens who feed on them, we’re stuck bathing in insect repellent. As part of our assembled first aid kits, we purchased Ticked-Off Tick Removers for everyone, which are much easier to use than tweezers. Whenever I’ve used them, the whole tick has been easily and quickly removed, even when the tick is on a squirming and wiggly child.

3.  Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be tempered by drinking lots of fluids, taking frequent breaks when you’re working in the sun, and cooling your body down if you become overheated.

4. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of what Kristie said about water safety, as I was preparing the first aid kits, but I did hear that one should never put too much confidence in floatation devices, as children can slip through them, or they can become water-logged.


Monday Menus: Lisa’s 30-minute rolls

June 13, 2011

This recipe comes by way of a stake cookbook in the hands of Lisa W. Since it’s going to rain for the next several days, I suggest you have one last hurrah for soup, serve these with it, and invite me over to sample. 🙂

30-Minute Rolls

3 1/2 c warm water

1 c oil

6 Tbsp yeast

3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

10 1/2 c flour (feel free to mix half white flour, half wheat)

Mix water, oil, yeast, and sugar to make a sponge and let rise for 15 minutes. Add salt and eggs, then gradually add flour. Shape into rolls. Let rise 10 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.



June 12, 2011

1. Mothers Groups: Wednesday, June 15 10:00 am, meet at the Portsmouth Urban Forestry Center

2. Pancake breakfast July 4th at 9:00 am. Sign-up sheets were passed around.

3. If you didn’t get one on Sunday, please make sure you grab a Ticked-Off Tick Remover from our summer safety midweek Relief Society meeting.

4. Senior night to honor our graduates, Taylor, Alex, and Amanda: June 22nd 6:30 pm.

5. Have you done your visiting teaching? Please report to your supervisors.


Friday Favorites

June 10, 2011

As an English teacher of 31 years, I have read and taught many books, plays, stories and poetry.   Some of these I enjoy more than others.  I thought I would talk about a few of my favorite pieces of literature that I get to teach each year.

As a teacher of British Literature, I get to teach great classics all year long, but my favorites of all each year are Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, and The Importance of Being Earnest.   Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play of all that he wrote, and certainly the most well-known and most often quoted.   I love to teach it less as a piece of literature and more as a piece of theatre. I use three different film versions to help kids see the different ways this great play can be interpreted, and we always have a lot of fun.  It is a tragedy and very sad at the end, but we always have great discussions about Hamlet and his failure to really act except when it is too late or at the wrong time.

Pride and Prejudice, of course, is one of the best books ever, at least for women.   The guys never seem to really get into like my girls do, but we always have a good time talking about the creepy Mr. Collins, the dastardly Mr. Wickham, the snobby Lady Catherine, and of course the dreamy Mr. Darcy.    And you can’t teach Pride and Prejudice without watching the quintessential version with Colin Firth. He is Mr. Darcy.

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is just about the funniest play I know.  The language is witty, the characters are interesting and quirky, and it has a happy ending with everyone ending up with the right person.   Who can complain about two men who lead double lives just so they can have  a little fun, but are willing to give it all up for love. It is a great play to end the year after reading a darker 1984, which we just did this week.

Great British Literature will stand the test of time, and these titles are great.



Wednesday Words

June 7, 2011

It has become a tradition in the Portsmouth Ward Relief Society to welcome the graduating Laurels into Relief Society and we prepare a special lesson just for them.   This year we had the honor of welcoming  Amanda Martin into the Relief Society.  We learned what a great young woman she is and how much those in Young Women will miss her.  

Our lesson explained how the values and activities learned and practiced in the Young Women program are the stepping stones to the values and life activities the women of Relief Society live every day.  

For example, the Young Women’s pledge states that as they accept and act upon the eight values they learn throughout their time in Young women, they will be prepared to  strengthen home and family.  As  Relief Society sisters we dedicate ourselves to strengthening home and family.   Everything they learn in young women is  preparatory to the life they will lead and be supported in through Relief Society. It was a great lesson for all of us, not just Amanda.   


Amanda, we welcome  you into our fold of sisters.  We are a sisterhood of friends.

Tuesday’s Tips

June 6, 2011

A few years ago the stake asked Sis. Wendy Dewitt to speak to us about creating a food storage that all of our family members would eat.  She introduced to us the idea of canning meats, using solar ovens, and using the vacuum sealers.   Many of us in the stake at that time have taken these ideas to heart and have used them ever since.   

For those of you who  weren’t able to  see her speak or to even be here when she spoke to us, I have discovered a way for you to listen to her presentation.   Sis. DeWitt has put her presentation onto YouTube.  Just look under Wendy Dewitt.  She has her presentation divided into 9 or 10 segments.  Now you can be inspired too and find ways to add to your food storage or to start your food storage.   

Below is an announcement from Sis. Lyon about “Moms of Portsmouth”.   This is a great way for sisters to get together during the summer and to let your kids enjoy each others company as well.

Dear Moms of Portsmouth,

This week Amy is hosting at the playground/park behind her home.
Please let us know if you’ll be able to make it!
I hope to have a June-July-Aug schedule up soon so you’ll know in advance.  If you have ideas/requests, please let me know.
We want to include as many moms as possible, hopefully expanding our group a bit over the summer….
Come when you can, it is always so refreshing to see you.