27 June 2010

Cooking with Bator

Our last Relief Society gathering was at Bator's home, in her beautiful kitchen, where she proceeded to teach us all how to make 4 amazing Thai dishes. We had so much fun cooking together!

Click HERE for the recipes for Bator's pad thai, spring rolls, peanut sauce on spaghetti (sorry, I need to find the ingredients list! Check back later for the recipe), and laab.

Spring Rolls....
Here's Kelly modeling the package for the spring roll pastry shell. Bator knows of a good oriental market in Worcester that carries these and several of the special ingredients for her dishes. Contact her if you'd like her to pick up something (or if you'd like to shop with her).

Bator is a pro...just place filling in one corner, fold like a burrito,

...and roll away from you. Add a dab of a flour/water mixture to seal the end of the spring roll.

Now it's our turn.....

Here's our hard work, ready to be fried in hot oil...

The noodles for pad thai...

Peanut Sauce to serve over spaghetti...

We need to have Sheryl give a beauty class..... we all know she's beautiful from the inside out.

One of our newest RS sisters, Hailey....

This one makes me smile....

Amy's smashing peanuts to top the pad thai and peanut sauce/spaghetti dishes....

Bator and her amazing pad thai...

Kelly's hand is all right, but Bator's oven mit...not so much.

Bator's organized spice cupboard....

Thank you, Bator for the delicious cooking class.
It's a blessing to have you in our Relief Society!

With Love,
Your NW RS sisters

10 May 2010

Visiting Teaching Conference- "Called to Serve"

We had a wonderful Visiting Teaching conference yesterday during Sunday School and Relief Society. Thank you to the priesthood for covering all of the teaching that took place in the other auxiliaries so all of the RS members of our ward could attend the conference. I don't think we had an empty chair!

As the sisters entered the room, they were giving a personalized missionary tag. We had a map of the "mission boundaries" (ward boundaries) and push pins dotting the homes of each of the sisters in our ward. We decorated around a harvest theme (D&C 4:4) with fruits, vegetables, loaves of bread, etc. The take home gift of 2 oz. of homemade raspberry jam and a mini loaf of bread were on display too. Sheryl and Kayla made each loaf of bread and made and filled each jam jar...both were delicious!

Our RS Pres., Sheryl opened with a list of things her husband said he learned on his mission. She reassured us that through Visiting Teaching, all of these lessons (the power of testimony, gospel knowledge, fasting, loving those you serve, etc.) can be a part of our souls as well.

We stood together and recited D&C 4. Returned missionaries (RM) will recall memorizing D&C 4 and reciting this from MTC days and regularly throughout the mission. It felt GOOD to do this in RS!

We heard from our newest sister RM (of 2 weeks!), Kelly. She took the "responsibilities of Visiting Teachers" near the bottom the RS VTing page at lds.org and taught us how VTing is much like missionary service.

“Missionary work is but [visiting] teaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and [visiting] teaching is nothing more or less than missionary work to Church members.” -Harold B. Lee

Kelly referred to "Preach My Gospel," the section on "charity" in particular which teaches us that striving to serve with charity enables us to feel the love that Heavenly Father has for those we serve. She reminded us of Paul's teachings of charity found in 1 Cor. 13, and highlighted verse 12.... "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Kelly taught that we do not know our sisters as perfectly as our Heavenly Father does, therefore we should seek to understand, to discern, and follow the Spirit when we are on the Lord's errand of watchcare.
Kelly shared how while serving her mission in UT, she saw firsthand how important faithful visiting teachers were in helping sisters come back to church.
We are blessed to have Kelly back in our Relief Society!

Bishop B. spoke about why we report visiting teaching each month.

Kayla played a beautiful piano solo. Thank you, Kayla for sharing your talent with us!

I spoke on Pres. Eyrings talk, "Rise to Your Call" and related that to VTing. On my mission we were given a handbook, rules, and discussions. I found success and didn't have a problem with any of these things, but found that my mission meant so much more than "following the handbook." We need to understand a few crucial things in order find success in our call to serve as visiting teachers....1. You are called of God.


2. You are promised that the Lord will guide you by revelation. Answers will come to your prayers of faith on behalf of the sisters you visit teach. President Eyring taught, "To know [the Lord's] will you must be committed to do it. The words "Thy will be done," written in the heart, are the window to revelation. Pondering the scriptures will lead you to ask the right questions in prayer. The answers come by the Holy Spirit.

3. Just as God called you and will guide you, He will magnify you. The adversary will try to bring you down and thwart your efforts with doubt ("I doubt this sister cares about the letters I send her each month because I never hear from her.", insecurity (I don't understand what this sister is going through. Sister So-and-so would be a much better VTer for her than me!), feeling overwhelmed, and feeling inadequate. President Eyring taught, "You are inadequate to answer a call to represent God with only your own powers. But you have access to more than your natural capacities, and you are not alone." As sisters in Relief Society we should seek for ways to express and show support for one another...
"Good luck on your job interview. You'll do great! I'll be praying for you."
"I don't know exactly how you feel, but I'm here for you and I care."
"I feel so blessed to be your visiting teacher."
"I feel the Spirit in your home."
"Our Relief Society is better because of you."

4. Your service as a visiting teacher will have eternal consequences...for you and for the sisters you visit. Just as we offer gratitude for those who've impacted our life for good, our sisters and their ancestors and descendants who chose eternal life because of something you said or did will be eternally grateful for your kindness. Our every effort to offer watchcare to our sisters truly matters.

“[Visiting Teaching] is one responsibility that is certain to increase our faith and personal righteousness and strengthen our own homes and families as we become partners with the Lord. A sister in this Church has no other responsibility outside of her family that has the potential to do as much good as does visiting teaching.” -Sis. Beck

We closed with prayer and had lemon, lime, and citrus bars, and fruit salad for refreshment as we all visited until our kids came in with hungry tummies wanting to head home:) What a blessing it is to be a part of our ward Relief Society! May we each express that love, in no uncertain terms to the sisters we visit teach, so that each of our dear sisters will find herself clearly inside our circle of sisterhood.

With Love,
Sheryl, Jan, Rebecca, & Kayla

02 May 2010

Notes from the Stake Relief Society Conference

  • Sis. Dushku referred to The Woman's Exponent, a periodical written by pioneer Relief Society sisters. She spoke of the RS conferences recorded there and what a privilege it is to carry on that tradition. I felt like I struck gold when I found The Woman's Exponent on BYU's online library. Click HERE to take a look....enjoy!
  • Renew your faith everyday. -Sis. Hutchins
  • Take off your magnifying glasses when interacting with sisters in Relief Society. Be slow to judge or take offense, but quick to befriend and uplift. - Sis. Hutchins.
  • "We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together." -Lucy Mack Smith
  • In the Family History workshop: "Family history work has the power to do something for the dead It has an equal power to do something to the living. Family history work of Church members has a refining, spiritualizing, tempering influence on those who are engaged in it..." - Boyd K. Packer
  • "Having Faith amidst Modern Day Trials," by Marielle Joseph. She taught a beautiful lesson beginning with many scriptural accounts of faith. She then shared several inspiring stories of faith regarding the recent earthquake in Haiti. Marielle's mother, who is not a member of the church, is in Haiti and her life was spared because she followed the words of a child, "Do not go to choir practice. You will die if you go." The earthquake happened as the choir was practicing. The church collapsed and no one survived. Marielle shared that in parts of Haiti 90% of the area was destroyed, yet now one of our churches fell, and we were able to offer shelter right away. None of the members went without food from the beginning. Stephanie Granger from the Westford ward went to Haiti as an interpreter for a medical team 6 weeks following the earthquake. She attended church and found the members in white shirts, ties, well groomed and happy to be there. She said that the members spoke of faith, of heeding the prophet's counsel to have food storage. They do all they can to attend the temple in the Dominican Republic. There is a collective desire to be right with the Lord; to be prepared to see his face, knowing that could be at any moment.
Thank you to our stake Relief Society leaders for putting together a wonderful women's conference. Lunch was delicious and kindly served by the high priests.
It was a great blessing to attend.

12 April 2010

The Holy Ghost- lesson by Lorainne

A loving Heavenly Father sent the Holy Ghost to comfort, help, and guide Adam and Eve and all of his spirit children following the Fall.

Adam and Eve called upon Heavenly Father in prayer. The Lord sent the Holy Ghost to testify of the Father and of the Son and to teach Adam and Eve the gospel. (See Moses 5: 4-9)

Through the power of the Holy Ghost, Adam "began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God" (Moses 5:10). Because of the witness of the Holy Ghost to Eve, she said, "Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient" (Moses 5:11).
  • How is our need for guidance from the Holy Ghost similar to that of Adam and Eve?
The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of the truth of all things.
  • Think about times when the Holy Ghost has helped you grow in your testimony. Take time to record your testimony.
"...Make every decision you contemplate pass this test: What does it do to me? What does it do for me? And let your code of conduct emphasize not ‘What will others think?’ but rather ‘What will I think of myself?’ Be influenced by that still, small voice. Remember that one with authority placed his hands on your head at the time of your confirmation and said, ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’ Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that special voice that testifies of truth.” -Thomas S. Monson

"The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeƱo pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit." - Richard G. Scott

24 March 2010

Time to CELEBRATE...

168 years of Relief Society! 168 years of visiting teaching, compassionate service, sisterhood, motherhood, WOMANHOOD, teaching moments, testimonies, listening, caring, temple worship, workshops-- family history, photography, organization, travel, baking, decorating, literature, history, gardening, sewing, beauty, journaling, etc....
This past year our ward Relief Society has come together for scores of needs, classes, and opportunities to serve. Therefore, we felt it was appropriate to celebrate the Relief Society's birthday by CELEBRATING each of YOU sisters. To those who were not able to attend, we love you, missed you, and truly appreciate all that you bring to our Relief Society!

Here's a little recap of our fun birthday celebration:



Click HERE for the corn and crab chowder recipe
Click HERE for the Zuppa Toscana recipe


On our display table, we collected birthday celebration supplies such as cake mixes, frosting, candles, birthday cards, cake pans, cupcake supplies, etc. We donated the supplies to our local women's shelter and they replied with a gracious Thank You note. They were grateful to have replenishment for their birthday celebrations which they have regularly. They are grateful for the continued support of our Relief Society.


Kayla came up with a memorable surprise game for our amazing Relief Society president, Sheryl. {Sheryl's birthday was the day after our party.} Kayla had a goofy picture of Sheryl blown up, and then photocopied the mouth & we played pin the lips on Sheryl. Here we are with our silly poses in support of silly Sheryl. Really, she has a huge heart and fills her days with love and service. We are so lucky to serve with you, Sheryl! SO lucky. We love you!



***We also played a nail polish relay race & had a Birthday Yankee Swap. Everyone went home with a "birthday" gift and fond memories of a FUN Relief Society celebration.***


Kayla used a flower scrapbook punch to make this bouquet of travel size scented hand sanitizer.

Happy 168th Birthday to the Relief Society. Best wishes in the year ahead!

04 March 2010


Thank you for all of the small and large acts of love you offer each day.
Our Relief Society is better because of YOU.

Post Edit: Click HERE to read a beautiful illustration of how following seemingly simple inspiration can lead to blessing a life in a deeply meaningful way.

14 January 2010


We had a timely 1st Relief Society meeting of the new year. Christine Vick, co-founder of the website, Store & Style, came and spoke to us about simplifying and organizing our lives. If you came to hear tips on organizing your closet, you definitely left with a whole lot more. Here are my notes (feel free to add to them in the comments)....

Christine asked us to list a few places in our home that are cluttered, that we'd like to organize. She offered the following tools to help us get started....

1. Trash bags. Christine uses a black trash bag in a lidded aluminum garbage can in the garage to toss unused items. If they aren't missed after 6 months (or so) then they are donated or tossed.

2. Markers. Label piles you're making as you declutter: Donate. Toss. Wash. etc.... whatever works for you.

3. Tags or Stickers. This may sound radical, but think about this.... Attach the tag or sticker to everything you own (or as near to that ideal as possible). As you use or wear an item, remove the sticker. After a few months assess what items in your home still have stickers and seriously consider whether you need it or whether it can be tossed or donated.


1. Start with a workable space such as your purse, your refrigerator, your junk drawer, etc. Being able to quickly clean and organize a small space will motivate you to move on to bigger and more difficult areas in your home.

2. Dedicate a little bit of time each and every day to organizing. Just like grooming, cooking, cleaning, make this a part of your day, even if for just 15 minutes. Those minutes will add up over the course of a week and month. You'll see progress before you know it.

3. De-clutter for 15 minutes each day.

4. When deciding whether to keep or toss an item, as yourself: Is it beautiful? Do I love it? Is it useful? Do I use it regularly? Some thoughts to be mindful of that can keep us from de-cluttering: I paid a lot of money for this. I might use it someday. [Aunt Edna] gave this to me.

5. Places to donate: WHEAT Community Services in Clinton and Abby's House in Worcester.

Christine offered the reminder that when it comes down to it, none of the things in our lives really matter; we can't take them with us when we pass on from this life. What will matter most is our relationship with the Lord and our relationships with others. When you close your eyes and take a moment to envision your perfect day in your home, what is it like? What is your home like? What is your relationship with your family like? When you open your eyes, ask yourself if the way that you choose to spend your time aligns with the day you envisioned.

To get a quick idea of how you spend your time, keep a "TIME" journal for a day or two. Write down everything you do in your day. You may be surprised to find a few minutes here or there that can be reallocated to fit more with your goals and life you envision.

What keeps us from de-cluttering this aspect of our lives? Christine suggested the following stumbling blocks....perfectionism, unreasonable expectations, insufficient time allocated to a task. To overcome these roadblocks we need to set realistic goals and be realistic about allocating time we need to succeed.

Suggested reading:

"Good, Better, Best" - Elder Dallin H. Oaks

When we simplify our lives and schedules to where we are nurturing the things we value most, we will be able to hear and follow the promptings of the Spirit which is our never-failing guide.

Thank you, Christine for a wonderful presentation; lots of food for thought & action!

If you'd like to add anything, please leave a comment by clicking on "sisterly notes" below...