The 14 Day Challenge

For those of you who are not a friend of Missionary Mums Meeting Place on Facebook, you might be interested to know that for the last 14 days I have been sharing one idea a day on how to join the online conversation.

If you would like to join with 56 other people, then you are welcome to ‘Like’ the Missionary Mums Meeting Place Facebook Page. You can follow the link HERE, or by clicking the ‘Like’ button on the menu bar on the right side of the ‘Homepage’ on this site. That way you can get any added updates there automatically, as well as keep up to date with posts here.

But, for the benefit of all I have decided to share the 14 ideas here on my blog.

Challenge Day 1: First challenge is to share my ‘What to Share’ post with your FB friends. If you are not comfortable sharing it with all your friends, then you can choose who to share it with by selecting the ‘share on a friends timeline’ option. That way you can select specific people to share it with.

Challenge Day 2: Another FB share. A touching focus on what fathers can do to raise their daughters. Share this short video with your FB friends by clicking the ‘share’ button and leaving a short message about how it makes you feel. *Don’t forget to watch it first 😉

Challenge Day 3: The article in Mormon Midrashim, ‘Freedom and Faith’, has relevance to those of us who celebrate our freedom every day (I love the name ‘Mormon Midrashim’, it evokes the feeling of two cultures meeting, both so different in many ways, but both connected in so many other ways).

Please have a read of it and if you are brave enough post a comment at the end of it. And don’t forget to share it on your facebook profile…

Challenge Day 4: Todays challenge is really simple. Just take a look at this very short video on being genuine when answering questions about the church. But don’t forget to share it with those friends who you think might like to watch it too.

For my Aussie friends, some of you might recognise Bro. Mike Otterson from years gone past. He is currently the Managing Director of the Public Affairs Department for the Church.

Challenge Day 5: Share this video with family and friends who might need it…

Challenge Day 6: Have you ever struggled with how to explain the Plan of Salvation to someone you thought might be ready to hear it? Todays challenge takes you to a blog post that gives a wonderful explanation of this great plan of happiness. Whether it be for your own benefit or the benefit of someone else, this post is well worth exploring, and makes for a great Sunday read, as Katheryn offers lots of extra links to support her writing.

Thanks to one of my favourite LDS bloggers, Kathryn Skaggs, at the popular ‘A Well-Behaved Mormon Women’ Blog.

Challenge Day 7: This video is close to my heart as I only just recently experienced something similar with my beautiful YW at church (You can read about my experience at Missionary Work of a Different Kind).

If you have a daughter who is looking for a 10 hour project for her Personal Progress, then here is a great idea. But don’t forget to share it with some of your other friends and family. It involves missionary work of a different kind.

Challenge Day 8: This one is easy. Visit and then share the blog post ‘Joining the Conversation – What to Share cont.’. Looking more in depth at what to share when starting the conversation, and what to share when adding to an existing conversation.

Challenge Day 9: I have just added this link to my most recent ‘Joining the Conversation’ post – ‘What to Share continued..’. So thought it would also make a good addition to my 14 day challenge to join the conversation online.

Heather Farrell shares a heartwarming story on her blog, ‘My Testimony of The Book of Mormon’, about a missed opportunity to share her testimony of the Book of Mormon. Her feelings come from the heart and it carries a beautiful spirit.

Challenge Day 10: Today’s challenge is just for fun. I’m sharing an ‘I’m a Mormon’ video by my friend Sarah. These days Sarah seems to pop up on many LDS blogs since the Church released their mormon.org widget for bloggers. She is wonderful, bubbly, and can talk the lid off an iron kettle if you let her. I have been lucky enough to work with Sarah on a couple of stake and multi-stake events, and have always enjoyed feeling her energy.

Here is the video that will show, and below is the link to the widget download.

For Aussies, you will love it and feel at home with Sarah. For my other friends…welcome to Australia 😉

If you have a blog and would like to include Sarah’s video on it, then here is a link to the widget download:

Challenge Day 11: Question – Have you created an LDS profile on Mormonn.org? As of this week the Church will be beginning a campaign to share many of the current LDS profiles on Twitter. This will allow, “… people all over the world to read the testimonies of members of the Church who have shared their beliefs, interests, and experiences through Mormon.org” (from an email we received this week informing us of this move).

So, today there are 2 things to do.
1. If you have not created a profile on Mormon.org, then visit there and do so.
2. If you Tweet, then sign up to follow Mormon.org and keep an eye out for some of these profiles so you can re-tweet them.

Challenge Day 12: So here is a real life, of the moment opportunity. Yesterday the Bloomberg Business week published an extremely biased article about how the church handles its finances. For some, even the image they used on the front cover of their publication was offensive in the way they manipulated a sacred event in our history to sensationalise the story. This article is an example of how people can really get things wrong.

In response, Katherine Skaggs of ‘A Well Behaved Mormon Women’ blog has offered a balanced view to this article. As usual, she does a wonderful job of it. Including adding the churches view on financial independence.

So, here is your challenge (you can do one of either, or both):

1. Visit Katherine’s blog and leave a comment so that you can join the conversation there.

2. If you are feeling really confident, visit the Bloomsberg Business Week online, and make a comment there about how you feel in regards to their article.

Remember, if you are not sure how to approach your response, visit my blog post on ‘What to Share’ when joining the conversation.

Challenge Day 13: Almost to the end of our 14 day challenge to join the conversation. Todays challenge involves something very simple. Go to the ‘Missionary Mums Meeting Place’ FB page. If you haven’t liked the page yet, then go ahead and do that. If you have, then at the top of the page, just beside the ‘LIKE’ button, there is a drop down menu that offers you a chance to share the MMM FB page with your friends.

Today’s challenge is to invite, or ‘share’, this page with those of your friends who you think would benefit from it. There might be some people on your friends list who would be interested in some of the ideas that I have shared here. They don’t necessarily have to be a mother of a missionary, but just someone who you think would like what is on offer. If each of you invited just one friend to join the group, that would more than double our numbers.

Go ahead…you know you want to…Thanks for taking the time to follow my 14 day challenge.

Challenge Day 14: Well, this is it. The last day. I hope that someone out there has enjoyed one or many of the challenges. It is hard to tell from my end, I don’t get a lot of feedback. So todays challenge is to let me know what you think. I am pretty thick skinned, so I can take just about anything. But most of all, I would love to have you just say hi and even tell me if you were brave enough to take any of the challenges.

Advice on Representing the Church

I am planning on publishing a series on how we as members of the church can join the online conversation. But there is a fair bit of research that I need to put into this. So I thought it would be nice to share this short video with you in the meantime.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton (From the Presidency of the Seventy) discusses with Sherri L. Dew ways in which we as members can share our story with the world at large. In there he quotes the scripture, “…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” D&C 38:30. He also suggests some ways that we can prepare ourselves.

Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers

Beef and Sweet Potato Burger

I feel really privileged to share this recipe today, as it comes from my good friend Naomi. Some of you may know her from her highly successful blog Seven CherubsShe is the mother of seven very cute kids, and she blogs about her adventures in that department.

Naomi is an extremely talented writer who, over the last few years, has managed to build her readership to an enviable size. I have discovered she is very organised, and has some really great ideas on how to run a happy and streamline household.

One of the most satisfying achievements of her online presence, and I am sure she would agree, was organising an online fundraising campaign for a close friend who lost both a son and her husband within 4 months of each other. Naomi single handedly raised almost $45,000 for her friend. An achievement that she should be very proud of. 

This recipe comes from her blog and is really scrumptious.

My kitchen became a testing ground this week, and I had several missionary aged girls around to give me their verdict. Result?…top of the list of our most favourite homemade burgers. The sweet potato adds such a rich full flavour to the meat. I don’t think I can ever make another burger without it.

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Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers

Serves: 4, or 2 very hungry missionaries
Preparation time: 10 mins (prepare the mix and patties before you leave home in the morning, place them in the fridge, and they will be ready to cook when you get home).
Cooking time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

350g (12oz) orange sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g (14oz) lean beef mince
2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 zucchini, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
4 mediums sized mixed grain rolls
1 avocado, mashed
Sliced tomato, cucumber ribbons, soft lettuce and sliced red onion to serve
Beetroot slices (optional)

Method:

  1. Steam or boil sweet potato until tender. Mash. Combine with garlic, beef mince, parsley and zucchini. Form into 4 patties.
  2. Heat large non-stick frying pan. Add oil and heat. Cook patties over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked. Keep warm.
  3. Halve the rolls and spread with mashed avocado. Top with patties, tomato, cucumber, beetroot, lettuce and sliced red onion.

N.B.
Take care not to overload the mix with sweet potato as it can make it very soft and difficult to keep its shape when cooking and eating. For this reason, I would suggest that you stick to making smaller patties and have two medium sized burgers, rather than a single larger one.

If you find the patties are too soft and they break up when cooked then next time add some fresh breadcrumbs and an egg to the mix to help it bind.

I added the beetroot to the ingredients list (it wasn’t part of Naomi’s original recipe) because here in Australia we rarely have a burger without it. So I urge you to try it at least once.

While I still have several recipes to share over the next few weeks, I invite you to send me any that you may have. Please email me at macytraine1@hotmail.com

Printable Recipe:


Download Word Doc with colour image – Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers


Download Word Doc without colour image – Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers

Guest Post…When Marriage Takes Precedence

Today’s guest post is from a very special person. Nicole is the best friend of my missionary daughter. But she is so much more than that to our family.

In 2005, when our family made our first trek over to New Zealand, Nicole, 14 at the time, was one of the first people we met in our new ward. Almost from the day we were there, she and my daughter Jess became firm friends. Over the last 7-8 years they have remained best of friends, and Nicole has literally become a part of our family, having lived with us for several months when we were back in Sydney.

She would have to be one of the most focused individuals I know. Both in her educational pursuits, as well as her religious devotion. When it comes to the gospel she is unfailing in her commitment to the Lord, and constantly seeks his guidance in everything. Her story reveals this deep devotion.

The decision for a young lady to serve a mission doesn’t carry the same emphasis as it does for a young man, but when that decision is balanced against another of equal importance, it can create some conflicting emotions and feelings.

From my perspective, I have always taught my girls that the preparation for a mission and for marriage is very much the same. So our family focus has been for each of our girls to prepare for a mission, and if marriage comes before that opportunity, then they will be aptly prepared.

In Nicole’s case there was no wrong or right decision, both were noble. But this is when it is important for a young lady to know what is right for her personally. 

If you are interested, Nicole also has a blog. Please stop by there and say hello – Our Happily Ever After.

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This was my journey, this was my story, this is my life
By Nicole Horsford

I was 18 when I received my first distinct impression to serve a mission. Life progressed, as it tends to do. I dated, went to university, and even though I still wanted to serve a mission it was much less of a focus for me.

I was nearly 20 when my focus returned. Part of the influence for that was my best friend preparing for a mission. Another was reading my patriarchal blessing and noticing it seemed as if every paragraph was talking about serving a mission. I felt the spirit testify to me that that was what I was supposed to do.

The experience that cemented my desire to serve a mission came just days after my 20th birthday. I had been worrying for a while about what to do with my future. That night I went to Heavenly Father in prayer. As I prayed, I heard a voice saying, “Go on a mission”. I felt the spirit flood through my body and I was filled with an indescribable joy.

To say I was anxious to go on a mission would be a gross understatement! I counted down the days until I could start my papers, submit them, receive my call, and then leave. I wanted to leave as close to my 21st birthday as possible. Things took longer than expected but by November 2011 my papers were in.

Nicole's Mission Call

The Mission Call Arrives

On the 13th of December 2011 I received my call to serve in the Philippines Quezon City North Mission, reporting to the Provo MTC on the 24th of April 2012.

In January 2012, Joel, the brother of one of my best friends, returned from his mission. His family had moved to NZ in July 2011, and so rather than going home to Perth where he left from, he came to Auckland. I first met him the night he got home and then didn’t see him for another week and a half, but the next time we saw each other something clicked and I realised that I had feelings for him. Over the next week we saw each other regularly and things with us progressed rapidly from there. He was everything I had ever wanted and so much more. In short, he was perfect for me.

On the 10th of February we started officially dating, and we began to talk marriage straight away. It took me by surprise because I was so fixed on my mission. I didn’t know what to do.

I was torn, emotionally and spiritually. I had prepared for so long for my mission, I didn’t see how I could just change my mind. But I had been preparing my entire life for marriage as well, and being a wife and a mother is my ultimate goal.

I prayed about it, we went to the temple the next morning and although I received answers about some things, I was still unsure about what I should do about serving a mission. The next day we fasted and the thoughts and feelings that came through strongest to me were that Joel was right for me, and I should follow the counsel that our priesthood leaders have given us.

Richard G Scott, in the April 2006 General Conference, said:

“In the home a young girl can understand that her primary role is to be a wife and mother. Yet as that preparation unfolds there may be an opportunity to serve a full-time mission, provided recent counsel of the First Presidency is followed: “Worthy single women ages twenty-one and older … may be recommended to serve full-time missions… Bishops should not recommend them for missionary service if it will interfere with imminent marriage prospects.” “

My first choice was whether I felt Joel was the one I was to marry- a decision I made and confirmed with Heavenly Father. If that was right, then marriage was to take precedence. It seemed as if the solution was clear, and yet I still felt guilty.

I knew without a doubt that I had received revelation that helped me to make the decision to prepare for a mission. But I didn’t know if all of that had happened because I was supposed to go on a mission, or because it would give me opportunities to learn and grow, and be in a position where I could meet and marry Joel.

We sought the counsel of my bishop. I am grateful for my kind, wise bishop, who listened as I explained how things had happened, my thoughts and feelings, and the questions that I had. The first thing he said was that he would not make any decision for us, that was our responsibility.

We talked about how a mission is a priesthood responsibility, and that while it is a fantastic thing for sisters to serve missions, it is not an obligation. He stressed that there is no shame in not serving a mission, even though I had received my call. He cautioned us about discerning between emotions and communication from the spirit so that we would be able to more clearly receive the answers we were seeking for. We talked about the need for righteous families to be reared.

As we talked, I felt my fears being calmed. I felt at peace. I felt that Joel was the one that I was to marry. And, I felt like serving a mission was not what I was supposed to do right now.

Later that night, Joel proposed and I, with no doubts or reservations, said yes!

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple

There are opportunities that I will not have because I chose not to serve a mission right now. But there are many more opportunities that have opened up because I have chosen to be married in the temple, to a wonderful man, and to raise a family with him in the gospel.

I still plan on serving a mission, hopefully several, but now with my eternal companion.

This was my journey, this was my story, this is my life. How grateful I am for the gospel, and for a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan for each of us.

Have you had to make a similar decision? How did you come to decide? I would love to hear your stories and how you made, or would make, the decision between serving a mission or marrying.

Pancakes at the Maurer’s

Banana and Walnut Pancakes

While I wouldn’t suggest that this recipe comprises a balanced meal, it is certainly a quick and easy meal option for anyone who finds themselves in need of some solid food at the end of a hard day. It is a must have for any missionaries recipe book.

For an explanation on the significance of this recipe see below.

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Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 cup milk
4 teaspoons butter or 2 tablespoons cream
2 cups S.R. flour (or 2 cups plain flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder)
Salt
6 tablespoons sugar

Method:

Place egg, sugar and half of the milk in a bowl and whisk well with beater.

Sift flour and salt and gradually add to mixture – adding the milk at the same time, until batter is the consistency of thick cream. Add melted butter or cream.

Beat until smooth then pour from a spoon onto a preheated griddle iron or frypan.

When surface is bubbly turn with a spatula and cook on the other side.

Mixture will make about 10-15 medium/large thick pancakes.

Serve with your favourite topping.

Topping Suggestions:

  1. Banana, walnuts, maple syrup, and whipped cream
  2. Sliced strawberries, maple syrup and whipped cream
  3. Mixed berries, ice cream, and icing sugar sprinkled over the top.
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As with any good recipe, there is always a good story behind it, so here it is.

Before our family moved here to Auckland in 2010, my husband and I had the best callings any couple could ever have. There’s two reasons why it was the best calling for me. Firstly, we were blessed to work together as a couple (not many callings in the church where you get to do that). Secondly, we worked with some of the most amazing Young Single Adults in the Sydney area.

As the Multi-Stake YSA Leaders, my husband and I were privileged to work beside many of these young people to establish a program that was both fun and spiritually based. We saw within them the leaders of tomorrow and, in many cases were left to sit back and watch their leadership skills in action.

Also, having three YSA age daughters at the time, there was actually a third advantage to this calling. We would never admit it to them, but it accorded us an opportunity to meet most of the eligible single LDS men in the area and determine some of our ‘favourites’. But, let me tell you now, there is no advantage, of any kind, in attempting to arrange a marriage in this day and age. It just doesn’t work…you can take my word on that! 😉

Ok, so I have diverted from the purpose of this post. To continue this little narrative…

During this time of service we would, on occasion, open our home to any number of YSA on a Sunday night for what we termed ‘Pancakes at the Maurer’s’. Ask any YSA from any one of the 10 Sydney Stakes (at times that included interstate and international YSA) and you will probably get an affirmative nod that they have attended at least one, if not several, of these events.

In our opinion, the pancakes were just an excuse to get these fine young men and women together for a social event. But I have to say that we probably served up more pancakes over a two year period than most restaurants would in that time.

So today we pass this recipe on to you; that very same recipe that we used to feed up to 100 young men and women in any one night (of course the quantities are different, but the recipe is the same).

I hope you get as much enjoyment from this recipe as we have over the years.

Printable Recipes:


Download PDF File with colour image – Pancakes with photo


Download PDF File without colour image – Pancakes without photo


**If you have any recipes you would be willing to share here please let me know by emailing me at macytraine1@hotmail.com 

My Faith

The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus...

The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Published by , August 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my never ending exploration of social media and how far it can reach, I was experimenting with what Twitter can do today, and enjoyed where it took me. I was able to add a few new twitter names to my ‘following’ list, but one in particular was really great.

I don’t know if any of you are Twitterer’s, but this is a new thing for me, and I am finding it an effective means of, not only connecting with other LDS people, but also in assisting to broaden the presence of the church.

I wanted to share today’s discovery through twitter, as it touches on something I have discussed recently. That of the media’s poor representation of the church, and how each of us needs to be really careful about determining what is true and what is not.

It may also act as a help for our missionaries who are struggling with investigators caught up with anti-mormon literature.

The blog I came across is published by Lia London. Lia is an LDS writer, who is conducting an interesting experiment online. On her blog she is publishing a COMIC MYSTERY, chapter by chapter. The unique thing about this is she is calling for readers suggestions on where the storyline should go at the end of each chapter. The story line for the next chapter is then determined by the readers.

But that is not what I am writing about today.

Within this blog, Lia has included a post about her faith, titled…My Faith. In there she talks about her conversion, and how she managed to navigate the meaning of ‘Mormonism’, through the many contexts of the day, as she investigated the church.

I don’t want to say too much more about it, as I think it is worth reading and discovering her journey for yourself. So please go and visit Lia’s blog and have a read of her conversion story.

I see this as just another way that we can come closer to the work that our missionaries are involved in, and perhaps as a resource of information if our missionaries ever need some advice or help.

Let me know what you think of the article.

Also, let me know what you think about twitter. Do any of you use it?

Mormons in Australia

From MMM I would like to wish each of you a happy Easter, and hope that you can take time over this weekend to ponder on the significance of events that took place over 2,000 years ago. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of our Saviour, who has allowed us the opportunity to live again.

I have  included a video here on the 2012 World Report on ‘Mormonism in Australia’. So if you have some time please have a look at it. Missionary work here in Australia has come a long way, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Some of those people highlighted on this video are personal friends, and my families associations with them have extended back to well before my childhood.

Thanks for visiting…and I look forward to reading your comments.