Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Side Benefit of Being Missionaries

Our new friends in East Brunswick Stake surprised us
with garden produce last night--check out the bag of basil leaves
and green cherry tomatoes! Thanks, Jeanean

Thanks, Rick! Figs and white eggplant and yummy tomatoes
and green peppers and zucchini....

Speaking of zucchini--check out this one! Like a green swan!
We LOVE fresh veggies!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


In Jersey, you don't turn left from a center lane. You turn left using a "jughandle" which is like an right exit ramp BEFORE the intersection where you want to turn left. It's confusing to a touristo causing locals to honk. (How rude! Check out my license plate!) Apparently, New Jersey isn't the only state using "jughandles"--Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, NY, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont--but Jersey is particularly associated with them.

Monday, August 29, 2011

THE T-Shirts Are Ready!

We are counting our blessings this morning as we took our daily walk around the neighborhood! Many, many downed trees. (Trees have shallow roots here because this part of USA gets lots more moisture than other parts.) Also, neighborhood run off basins that collect excess rain were not draining properly due to excess dirt mixed with water. Sadly, wet carpeting was piled at curbside in front of many homes--obviously many basements flooded. Household drainage pipes were spewing water into street gutters.

We were only without power 11 hours. The news is saying Irene caused worst floods in 100 years!

Thank you, Betsy, for t-shirt title!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Social Media Experiment

This lovely young sister missionary is involved in something very exciting! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a pilot program where a few missionaries have a Facebook page and a blog about their missions. Only 4 missions in the whole Church have been asked to participate and this young sister's mission is one of them. Check out "Hermana Anderson"  and her blog. (FYI: Family members are not allowed to "friend" missionaries on Facebook and are not allowed to make comments on missionary blogs.) Social media tools can spread the gospel message.

(This is the daughter of a dear friend we knew in Denver 25 years ago.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Daily Scripture Reading

Our CES Director asked us to pass this around with our Institute class attendance rolls to see how are students are doing on their DAILY SCRIPTURE READING.
This reminded me of an encounter I had on our first mission. We were street proselyting in Malta. I asked a man passing by if he read his Bible. His reply: "Oh, yes. I have a Bible in my living room and one by my bedside." I asked again: "Do you read it?" He said: "My wife dusts it every so often." I asked a third time: "But do you READ your Bible?" He confessed: "My priest said he would tell me what I need to know." In my mind, I visualized this son of Heavenly Father standing before His Savior at the end of his earthly life and beginning of his eternal life saying this same thing.

B Basic
I Instructions
B Before
L Leaving
E Earth

Words to Live By

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene

As you can see from the Weather Channel's projected path map, HURRICANE IRENE will be a dangerous Category 3 hurricane as it tracks toward the East Coast this weekend. Weather Channel warns: "Anyone in corridor from eastern North Carolina to Northeast US should be preparing for a hurricane!" Yikes!!! This is the 1st tropical storm/hurricane watch of the season! Please let this one be mild and the "season" be short! FYI: Our elevation is 131 feet above sea level.

Happy Birth Day!

Youth is the gift of nature
but age is a work of art.
-Garson Kanin, US playwright and director

Cherish all your happy moments;
they make a fine cushion for old age.
-Booth Tarkington, US novelist and dramatist

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

3 Principles Governing Discussion of Religious Beliefs

The following from the Church News quoting Brother Daniel Peterson, an Islamic Studies professor at BYU:

Brother Peterson closed with the story about the prominent New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl, who was Lutheran bishop in Stockholm, Sweden, in the early 1980s when construction of an LDS temple was announced in that city. "As commonly happens when Mormons build a temple, there was complaining, puzzlement and some opposition among the local people. The now-deceased Bishop Stendahl, who had Latter-day Saint friends and had visited Brigham Young University, reacted dramatically and quite unexpectedly."
The Lutheran bishop called a press conference and held it in an LDS stake center. There, he outlined for the Swedish press three principles that should govern discussions of the religious beliefs of other people:
1. If you want to know what others believe, ask them. Don't ask their critics or enemies.
2. Compare your best with their best, not their worst with your best.
3. Always leave room for "holy envy."
"Regarding Mormons and their temples, Bishop Stendahl suggested baptism for the dead as an object of 'holy envy,'" Brother Peterson recounted. The Swedish bishop lamented, "We Lutherans do nothing for our dead."
"At a minimum, observing Krister Stendahl's three principles would eliminate much of the religious strife in a world that is growing ever smaller and more interdependent and that can no longer afford such conflict," Brother Peterson remarked.

It Costs to Use Public Beaches in New Jersey

The idea behind a 1955 state law to charge "reasonable fees" to use New Jersey beaches was that towns could "provide facilities and safeguards for public bathing and recreation," including lifeguards. Some beach-goers say what's "reasonable" to some is not reasonable to others. (To a westener, it seems bizarre to have to PAY to use a beach!!)

Garbage Disposals Illegal in Townships

Garbage disposals are illegal in some New Jersey townships. In fact, use of illegal disposal units face lifetime ban on getting city water. Older pipes that serve many villages tend to have so much sludge and scaling in their waste lines that additional ground-up waste produced by garbage disposal can result in clots, back-ups, overflows and property damage. (FYI: We do NOT have a garbage disposal in our apartment.)

Illegal to Pump Own Gas in New Jersey

The Garden State is one of two states where it's illegal to fill 'er up yourself. Only gas station owners or employees can pump gas in New Jersey and Oregon. New Jersey passed the law making it illegal to pump your own gas in 1949. At the time, legislators felt it was too dangerous to have untrained people dispensing such a flammable liquid. Opponents of the law argue that removing it would lower cost of gas and make refueling much quicker and convenient. Proponents of the ban argue that it creates jobs and customers like full service.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Around 1:51 p.m. EST, there was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Louisa, Virginia; it rattled windows to the north in New York City as well as to the south in North Carolina.

My companion felt a slight wobbling of table at which he was sitting. I was oblivious as I was making treats for Institute tonight in the kitchen.

Apparently, earthquakes don't happen much here. I hope that remains a true fact!

How Did We Manage Before GPS?

How did we manage our way out and about when we lived in the East in the late 1980's?

I am daily grateful for our navigation system or global positioning system (GPS) as we dash from one appointment to the next! Still, after 3 weeks, I am confused which direction we are going as the streets meander through densely wooded areas and unfamiliar landmarks!

Google Earth is also very helpful as we sometimes have to look into which route to take before we leave the apartment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gourmet Gal

Cream Puffs (makes 12 large or 20 med or 35 or more small)
1 cup water
½ cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sifted flour
4 large eggs
Whipped cream (1 pint liquid)
Powdered sugar or chocolate sauce for topping
1) In sauce pan, heat water, butter and salt to full rolling boil. Reduce heat
and quickly stir in flour and salt, mixing vigorously with wooden spoon until
mixture leaves sides of pan in a “ball”. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
2) Place mixture in mixing bowl, add eggs one at a time on medium speed
until batter is smooth (after each). Mix on slightly higher speed after all are
added, about 30 seconds.
3) Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets or squeeze through pastry
tube in any shape about 3” apart. Bake at 400o for 10 min then 350o for 20-30
min according to size. Puffs are don when golden brown and firm.
4) Remove; slice each puff and return to turned off oven for about 10 min.
When cool fill with whipped cream or other filling. Top with powdered sugar
or chocolate sauce.
5) Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
(Our hostess coated top chocolate ganache and nuts which made this
dessert even more decadent!!!)
We braved a "gully-washer" last night to attend a young single adult family home evening and our reward was an AMAZING meal!

The hostess was not only beautiful AND smart but she could have her own cooking show on the Food Network!?!?!

After a thoughtful message from Jeff, we concluded the evening by playing "What If". So fun!

Thank you, CF!

Topping: 2 cups Roma tomatoes, seeded, diced. (Romas don’t get mushy.)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh basil
1 ½ Tbsp Bermuda red onion, diced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced through garlic press
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed (bruised) with back of knife
8 oz cream cheese or goat cheese
1) Warm (sauté) olive oil and garlic 1 min. Brush oil on top of sliced baguette
bread and place in 400o oven for 10-15 min until toasted.
2) Spread each slice with cream cheese or goat cheese before spooning
tomato mixture on top. Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan.
Grilled Lemon Chicken Ina Garten (serves 8-10)
¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
¾ cup good olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 tsp dried)
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, halved and skin removed
1) Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.
Pour over chicken breasts in nonreactive bowl. Cover and marinate
in refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
2) Heat charcoal grill and cook chicken breasts for 10 min on each side,
until just cooked through. Cool slightly and cut diagonally in ½” thick slices.
Skewer with wooden sticks.
Satay Dip (makes 1 ½ cups)
1 Tbsp good olive oil
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2/3 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 ½ tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 ½ tsp minced fresh ginger root
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp good red wine vinegar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup ketchup
2 Tbsp dry sherry
1 ½ tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1) Cook olive oil, sesame oil, red onion, garlic, ginger root, and red pepper
flakes in small, heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat until onion is transparent,
10-15 min. Whisk in vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter, ketchup, sherry,
and lime juice; cook for 1 more min. Cool and use as dip for
Grilled Lemon Chicken skewers.
(Note: dip will last 1 month in refrigerator.)

Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint Vinaigrette Giada De Laurentiis
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup simple syrup, recipe follows
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 cups watermelon balls, from half a watermelon
2 cups cantaloupe balls, from about 1 cantaloupe
1) In blender, combine mint, lime juice, simple syrup, and
almond extract. Blend until smooth.
2) In large bowl, combine watermelon and cantaloupe. Add
vinaigrette and toss. Transfer to serving bowl and serve.
Simple Syrup (yields 1 cup): ½ cup water and 1 cup sugar
1) In saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat.
Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 min, until sugar
has dissolved. Take pan off heat and cool syrup. Any extra cooled
syrup can be saved in airtight container in ‘frig’.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1st YSA Engagement

Forgot to mention:
After teaching our Wednesday night YSA Institute class,
Christian asked Brittany to marry him.
Do we get credit for this? : )

1st YSA Wedding

Yesterday we attended the first young single adult (YSA) wedding of our mission. The bride is a Jersey girl. At our Tuesday night Institute class, she enthusiastically invited us to her wedding although she had just met us. We smiled at her happiness--actually glee! The groom came to NJ for a construction job. He is a recently baptized member of our Church. He hails from Colorado City, Utah. We met at least 10 of his family members. It was a VERY interesting collection of guests and relatives!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mormons: Not Necessarily Who You Think They Are

A substantial accumulation of polling data over the years has given us a pretty clear picture of current public perceptions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among the most consistent, top-of-mind impressions is that of a Utah church with a heavily Caucasian membership.

Naturally, Utah will always be associated with the church, as its global headquarters and the place which provided refuge way back in the mid-1800s when a less friendly America forced the fledgling faith to uproot from Illinois and Missouri and move West. Today, Utah and the surrounding states of the intermountain West still claim the heaviest concentrations of Latter-day Saints, and provide substantial support to the church’s missionary efforts and other church programs.

But the popular picture of a predominantly Utah faith with mostly Caucasian members no longer holds up. The church’s demographics are changing rapidly, especially throughout the western hemisphere. What was once, by and large, an American church is now a genuinely international faith. Today there are more Mormons outside the U.S. than in it. Today, Mormons are Bolivians, Ghanaians, Koreans and Russians, all an integral part of the church family.

Membership is measured on the basis of a member baptized into the faith, for whom we have a formal membership record. So if we took the church’s 14 million people and statistically represented that whole body as a single congregation of 100, what would it look like?

A snapshot of the church’s membership in the 1980 shows a heavy concentration of members in the United States, a largely homogenous group showing 73 of our 100 statistical members in the U.S. and Canada. Sixteen were Latin Americans, three were Asians, three were from Oceania, five were from Europe, and Africans comprised less than one.
Graphic via

By 2010 we see a quite different picture as the church grew from a membership of just over four and a half million to more than fourteen million over that period. In our hypothetical worldwide congregation of 100, only 48 now live throughout the U.S. and Canada; three are Africans and seven are from Asia. Three still are Oceanians. But a remarkable thirty-six of the hundred now hail from Latin America.
Graphic via

With global expansion have come associated challenges of diverse languages. Missionary training centers around the world now prepare missionaries to teach Christ-centered principles of the church in a bewildering array of tongues. The Book of Mormon, which members use as a companion to the Bible, has been fully translated into 82 languages and partially into 25 more, and more translations are underway. Sri Lankans can read it in their native Sinhala, and it’s also available in Twi, so Ghanaians can too. Again, a glance at a graphic illustration is the easiest way to grasp its significance.
Graphic via

It’s fun to play with graphics, but behind the numbers are real people of incredible cultural and ethnic diversity. Many of their stories are told in person on It all seems a long way from 1830 when the church was organized from a tiny and obscure group of believers in a New York hamlet.

By Michael Otterson is head of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kind Words Never Die

A kind word is never lost.
It keeps going on, from one person to another,
until it comes back to you again.

Oh, Deer!

While speaking with our daughter on the phone this morning,
I happened to glance out our window....

....and what did I spy?                                                                  

A BUCK (deer)!!
We've seen many, many deer gathered on lawns in neighborhoods
throughout NJ! Apparently, this is a common sight in NJ
as there are few natural predators.

This lucky homeowner can boast COWS on her front lawn!

Faithful Friends

Eatontown YSA Spencer & Brittany with Elder S.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Institute Friends

Two BRILLIANT YSA's--Jeff & Melissa.
Incidentally, Jeff's family lived in our home ward before we did!

CES Inservice

Today was our 1st Church Education System (CES) Inservice.
We met with other CES specialists as well
as our Director and his assistant.
We learned a TON about preparing to teach a lesson!
We will train bimonthly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More New Faces

A few of our East Brunswick Crew:
Courtney, Alysa, Jeanean & Rick
(Andrea came later)

Historic Red Mill in Clinton, New Jersey

Red Mill

Charming old town Clinton, New Jersey

Our CES Director took us on a foot tour
of historic Clinton New Jersey
between rain showers.


We tried our first New Jersey "diner" today at lunch with our CES Director and his family. It was owned by a Greek family so there were a few Greek dishes. Apparently, New Jersey has more diners than any other state and they run the gamut of ethnicity. The servings were HUGE and the price was SMALL. As Frank Sinatra sings, "New Jersey (diners) are my kinda place." (Huh?)

(Trivia: Our CES Director's wife is the sister of our bishopric counselor in our home ward! Small world!)

Mnemonic Rhymes for Poison Ivy

Leaves of 3; let it be.

Hairy vine, no friend of mine.
Berries white, run in fright.
Today we had a nature lesson about poison ivy, etc. Beware! It is THICK here as is poison oak and poison sumac!

A few more rhymes:
-Longer middle stem; stay away from them. (Refers to middle leaflet having visibly longer stem than 2 side leaflets.)
-Raggy rope, don't be a dope! (Poison ivy vines on trees have furry "raggy" appearance. This rhyme warns tree climbers to be wary. Old, mature vines on tree trunks can be quite large and long, with recognizable leaves obscured among higher foliage of tree.)
-One, two, three? Don't touch me.
-Red leaflets in spring, it's a dangerous thing. (Refers to red appearance new leaflets sometimes have in spring--later in summer leaflets are green, making them difficult to distinguish from other plants, while in autumn they can be reddish-orange.)
-Side leaflets like mittens, will itch like the dickens. (Refers to appearance of some, but not all, poison ivy leaves, where each of 2 side leaflets has small notch that makes leaflet look like mitten with "thumb".)
-If butterflies land there, don't put your hand there. (Refers to some butterflies land on poison ivy, since they are not affected, which provides them protection as their predators avoid eating plant.)
-If it's got hair, it won't be fair. (Refers to hair that can be on stem and leaves of poison ivy.)                      

Excellent Helpers

Furniture moving and pizza with Elders from Florida and Ohio

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fun Friends

A few fun new friends at Sunday evening YSA potluck.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Deja Vu

Ben, a member we met on our first mission on Malta,
came to visit today with his lovely wife, Vickie!
Definitely a SWEET treat for us!

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Full Week of Institute

This week's Institute Lesson:
Neil L Anderson's April 2011 Priesthood Talk:
Preparing World for Second Coming
East Brunswick Building....met with Courtney, and sisters,
Becky and Emily as well as new members Mary, Rick and Kelsey

Princeton Building...met with Benita, Miguel, Jennifer,
Brittany, Peggy, Alexis, Winston, Shelby, Cameron,
Christian, Emily, Melissa, Adam, Derek, Bryon, Skyler,
Michael, Tylel, Jessica, Stephen, Kym, and Matthew
...and 3 late comers

Eatontown Building...met with Brittany, Christina, Laura and Sheena
...met Luis last week
This is the Freehold Building...
we still have to visit the Toms River and Stafford Buildings