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Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

Image via Wikipedia

I wish to share a thought for those who are alone on this day.  Although you may not have company in a physical form, that spirit which was sent by him who’s day we are celebrating today is with you if you listen.  The Holy Ghost was sent to all as a witness and a comfort in all times, and in all places.

No matter your status, your location, or your health, he is with you. You have only to reach out with your heart and mind, and be willing to listen with your spirit in order to hear him.

You will know when you have heard him, as he always speaks peace to your soul.

With all sincerity, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I have the privilege of helping to shepherd the children ages 3 through 11 at my church.  We have a two hour block of time to teach basic scriptural principles and have fun.  The two hours covers one hour of Sunday School class time and 1 hour of singing and sharing a fun activity as a larger group.  This Sunday was the Children’s Christmas Party.  We didn’t actually do much different this week than we usually do in sharing time, but the story was Christ’s birth and the children got to stick paper presents on the tree whenever they answered a question.  They loved it.  And there were favorite songs sung as well.  The main difference this week was that we added a food treat.

Food treats for any group can be challenging when you factor in allergies and philosophical preferences.  We have some who are allergic to dairy, and some allergic to wheat (gluten), and some who can’t have any nuts.

I managed to find a treat that could fit those criteria.  I used a basic Crispy Rice treat and modified it for taking out the dairy and still retaining a wonderful flavor. It only required a simple substitution of Coconut oil for Margarine or butter.

You’ll need:

1 – Large (preferably non-stick) pot

1- very large bowl or pan (spread a tiny little bit of coconut oil in it to keep the mixture from sticking to the sides)

1- large (preferably wooden) spoon

6 cups of Crisped Rice product

4 1/2 cups little marshmallows

1/2 cup of coconut flakes

4 tablespoons of Coconut oil

(Wal-Mart has the cheapest food grade coconut oil available – though you can pay way more for it at a health food store)

Put a large pot on low heat and put three tablespoons of coconut oil in the pan.  Add 4 cups of the little marshmallows. Stir it until all of the marshmallows are evenly melted.  Add 2 cups of the Crisped Rice, and 1/2 cup of coconut flakes, and stir until you have picked up as much of the marshmallow mixture as you can scrape off the sides of your pot.  Turn this out into a very large bowl or large pan (spread a little coconut oil in it if you don’t want anything to stick to the sides) with the rest of the crisped rice already in it. Mix the contents together until all the marshmallow mixture is evenly distributed through the crisped rice.  At this point decide if you want to pat it all down into an even layer  to cut up later, or as in our case, we made little individually wrapped snow balls out of it with the coconut flakes added into the mixture.  It was a hit with the all the kids but one (I have a vegan I didn’t know about)

Next time I will find or create a recipe that works for her as well.

Hooray for the new challenge!!!   😀

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Ford Motors,
Thank you for your candor in reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It isn’t often I see the decency that you have displayed in your summation of this faith.  You have given me another reason to shop Ford in the future.  If I were a betting person, I’d buy Ford stock about now 🙂  What the heck, it’s a sucker bet.  Buying Ford stock after the publication of this article isn’t a gamble at all.  You’re gonna get some Great business in the coming years from members of this faith.

I wrote this as a comment on another blog published by Alan Osmond (Alan, I hope you don’t mind my re-posting it here – it’s going to show up twice in my Facebook page now, as that is where I saw it first) who posted the following article:

Following is an interesting article written by Ford Motor Company for its employees. It was presented by the ‘Ford Interfaith’ group as a message about the LDS Church .

The Ford Interfaith group promotes unity by sharing information about all faiths and features these types of articles about various religions and faiths.

QUICK FACTS & INTERESTING TIDBITS about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Fleeing continued mob attacks 158 years ago, the first Mormon
pioneers desperately started their Westward trek from Illinois in the dead of winter. Of the 70,000 who began this 1300-mile journey, 6,000 were buried along the way, including many children. The following are quick facts and interesting tidbits about this now flourishing church.

OVERVIEW

* Named “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”; informal
nicknames are “LDS” or “Mormon” -named after the prophet-historian

* Believes it is the Lord’s restoration of original Christianity as
foretold to occur before Christ’s Second Coming.

* Core focus is that Christ and His teachings bring happiness in this
life and exaltation in the next.

HISTORY

* In 1820 14-yr-old Joseph Smith told of a vision of God and Christ
foretelling a church restoration.

* Organized in New York in 1830, the church moved to near Cleveland, then near Kansas City, then Illinois .

* Fleeing Illinois , Mormon pioneers founded Salt Lake City in Utah and over 600 other Western communities.

SALT LAKE CITY

* Temple Square in Salt Lake has over 5 million annual visitors, more
than the Grand Canyon .

* The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the world’s most famous choir and has the world’s oldest radio program.

* The Salt Lake Temple is the most famous, but there are 128 other
temples built here and around the world while
others are under construction.

* Home of the world’s largest genealogy database; visit it online or
through 3,700 free branch libraries.

ACTIVE CONGREGATIONS

* Sunday services entail a three-hour block of three meetings; about
27,000 congregations exist worldwide.

* Highly vibrant programs exist for youth, children, singles, men, and women; very strong family focus.

* Everyone has a calling; some surveys show LDS have the highest U.S. attendance and service rates.

* Families receive personal fellowship visits at home from other members on a monthly basis.

FINANCES

* Members tithe 10 percent, plus donate generously to the needy the first Sunday of each month.

* Clergy and all other congregational positions are unpaid (however, much of the janitorial is paid).

* The church has no debt; all buildings are paid for in cash (average of two new congregations a day).

* The paid positions in Salt Lake are famously low-salaried; funds are frugally used and tightly audited.

HEALTH CODE

* With a health code from 1833, LDS avoid alcohol, tobacco, illegal
drugs, coffee, and tea (herbal tea is ok).

* This 1833 code also teaches grains (especially wheat), fresh fruits and vegetables, and sparing use of meat.

* A UCLA study showed that active LDS live longer than most Americans, men by 11 years, women by 8.

* Utah is 50th in smoking, alcohol consumption, drunk driving, heart disease, cancer, and sick days.

EDUCATION

* With four colleges, Utah ‘s BYU with 30,000 students is the largest
single-campus private college.

* BYU Independent Study with 130,000 students is North America (340 web courses, 530 via mail).

* Seminary, a daily class usually held around 6:00 A.M., serves 376,000 high school students.

* There are Institutes of Religion at 1,950 colleges worldwide that serve 367,000 college students.

* The church operates schools in parts of the Pacific Ocean and Mexico for 10,000 students.

* Utah is 50th in spending per pupil, but first in adults that graduated from high school and attended college.

WOMEN

* In 1842 the “Relief Society” was organized; it’s the largest women’s
organization in the world.

* Wyoming was first to allow women to vote; Utah was second, two months later, in 1870.

* Women preach from the pulpit and serve as organization presidents, teachers, committee chairs, etc.

SHARING CHRIST’S GOOD NEWS

* 61,000 missionaries serve in 165 countries; 93 percent are college-age; 22 percent are female.

* Unpaid and paying their own way, most work 65 hours a week for two years, often in a new language.

MEMBERSHIP DISTRIBUTION

* LDS are 70 percent of Utah, 30 percent of Idaho; after Catholics, LDS are the largest sect in 10 states.

* The church has 5.5 million members in the U.S., making it the fourth largest individual U.S. denomination.

* Some memberships: New Zealand 95k, Japan 115k, UK 175k, Philippines 500k, Brazil 900k, Mexico 925k.

* Worldwide 51 percent are female; about 55 percent are not Caucasian; about 70 percent are converts.

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH

* For the last 15 years, every day an average of 800+ people worldwide joined the LDS church.

* Half of the growth is in Latin America, but the rate of growth is
highest in Africa and the former Soviet bloc.

* Worldwide membership just passed 12 million, a tenfold increase in 50 years.

* In 1984 a non-LDS professor estimated 265 million members by 2080; so far growth has been faster.

* As this growth has been steady, it will be the next major world religion since Islam.”

CHARITY/SERVICE

* Members in need obtain welfare from the LDS Church (thus Utah
government welfare spending is very low).

* LDS donate time at 220 welfare storehouses or canneries and about 400 farms.

* There are 210 employment centers placing over 175,000 people annually, and 64 family service centers.

* The church operates 46 thrift stores, in part to provide employment for the disadvantaged.

* The 61,000 missionaries spend half a day each week doing

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

* Over 200 million pounds of food, clothing, and medicine were donated in the last 20 years in 147 countries.

* Almost all of this help is to non-LDS; LDS charities also work with and donate to many non-LDS charities.

* Very rapid disaster relief has been given in 144 major disasters since 1986.

* Almost 3,000 welfare “missionaries” work without pay in 55 countries (farm instructors, doctors, teachers, etc…).

* LDS charities fund a wide variety of projects like drilling water wells or funding small business startup loans.

* New in 2001, members in poor areas can get low-rate college loans;
10,000 loans have been made to date.

GRAB BAG

* Utah is first in: charitable giving, producing scientists, household computers, children with two parents, and birth rate.

* Noted LDS included five senators, and other famous dignitaries
(click on link)
the Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Steve
Young, and the inventor of TV -Philo T. Farnsworth.

* LDS played a key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics; the chair was the former governor of Massachusetts .

* Hawaii ‘s #1 tourist site is the LDS Polynesian Cultural Center ( Tonga and the Samoas are one-third LDS).

* LDS have sponsored Boy Scout troops since 1913; 23 percent of all Scout troops are LDS.

* The BYU Women’s Cross Country were national champions or in second place each of the last seven years.

DETROIT AREA

* The Detroit metro area has 30 congregations; the Dearborn chapel is on Rotunda by Ford’s Building #5.

* Detroit has a temple, storehouse, cannery, employment and family
service office, and family history libraries.

* LDS include former Governor Romney, three former Lions quarterbacks,
and hundreds of Ford employees.

A member of Ford’s Interfaith Network,
the author of this note sends out monthly interfaith notes to thousands of Ford employees who have asked to receive them.

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