Monday, July 30, 2018

Studying my family history was delightful!

As part of my 101 things in 1001, I wanted to read at least 10 family history stories.  This was a last minute addition, due to a fabulous speaker we had at girl's camp this year.  I absolutely loved this experience.  Here are some things I wanted to share. 

My great-great-great grandmother, Ann Ham Hickenlooper, left England and a fiance after hearing the missionaries speak and gaining a testimony.  It broke her heart to leave her fiance but he told her he could never support her new found faith.  She was part of the first handcart company to come to Utah.  She writes in her journal of the joys and sorrows that company had.  President Brigham Young and others came to help them and they brought a present of watermelons which were wonderful.  Ann tasted the watermelon and it brought back her voice.  She had suffered with a sore throat and could barely speak for three weeks.  When she told the prophet this, he became emotional and could only whisper "God bless you sister." Because of this story, I have decided to start the tradition of having a watermelon every year on the 24th of July. 

She married William Haney Hickenlooper. She was a nurse and she and her husband would be called to the bedside of the sick all the time.  She would take care of them as a nurse and he would administer Priesthood blessings.  Her husband was said to have the gift of healing.  They were a terrific team. 

My great-great-great aunt was Olympia Brown, a staunch supporter of women's suffrage. She went to college and was told in her speech classes that women weren't required to memorize their speeches like the men.  She memorized every single speech.  She became the first women ordained minister.  Because she was such a fabulous speaker, Susan B. Anthony continually sought her help with the suffragist movement.  She delivered 300 speeches in one summer. 

Another great-great-great grandmother was Mary Ann Burnhope Wallace.  She gave birth to 11 children and only raised two to adulthood.  She had three sets of twins and all died except one. Her husband was in a polygamist marriage and when his second wife came down with small pox, Mary Ann nursed her night and day until she died.  That wife left behind one little boy and when she saw her husband worrying about what would become of his son she said, "No one but me can have him, for he is yours," and she raised him and loved him as her one.  She studied obstetrics and practiced as a midwife for many years. 

My great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Carlton Wallace Hickenlooper loved theater and loved to dance and sing.  She met her husband because she had been cast as the lead in a play and Orson Hickenlooper and another boy volunteered to go pick her up and drive her to the hall each night for rehearsals.  After Orson's turn the first night, he told the other boy that his services would no longer be required.  She lost every single one of her sisters due to tragic illnesses.  When she herself was sick with small pox, her father prayed to know what to do and was given the answer to make her cinnamon tea, which helped with her symptoms. 

There was another woman who came up in these stories who inspired me and made me very curious, she was the sister of Mary Ann and aunt of Elizabeth.  Her name was Betsy and both women talk of her coming to take care of them during difficult times.  I don't know much else about her, other than she had a rather large family of her own to take care of.  But both Mary Ann and Elizabeth talk of her coming for long periods of time and the sweet and tender care she gave.  I want to learn to minister like Aunt Betsy. 

I also got a chance to read a journal that my grandma kept.  That was precious.  I loved reading things about her I didn't know.  We weren't particularly close, but I felt so much closer to her after that.  She wrote about a time when I came to visit and we went to the beach.  She loved the Oregon Coast more than anything.  She really was a writer and expressed herself so beautifully through those journals.  She even chose a pen name,  based partly on the love she had for copper dishes.  Hmm...loved Oregon, writing, and dishes.  Sound like anyone you know? 😉 I had to chuckle about how many times she used the word "delightful" to describe something in her day.  I use that word all the time! No, she wasn't the ideal grandma, but she was mine and I love her for it. 

This was a wonderful experience.  I treasure these stories and hope to learn many more.  I highly recommend getting to know your ancestors through their stories.  I loved it!

Betsy Carlton Burnhope Laura Mattinson Borup with Klea, Carl Leta  The older woman is Betsy Carlton Burnhope Mattison.  I am excited to meet her some day!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

40, "The Year of Adventure"

Hey friends!

I was a little afraid of this birthday, feeling the typical "over the hill" feeling, particularly because I don't have a husband and kids yet.  However,  I've decided that this year is going to be absolutely fabulous.  This year, is going to be my year of adventure.  It started out with a fabulous Bear Lake adventure today with one of my favorite friends.  I loved it! I have a few other trips/experiences in the works.  One of them is a trip to Scottsdale AZ to meet one of my favorite authors. I am SO excited! It is going to be a fabulous year!

My gospel goal is continuing over from last year.  I am attempting to read all of the General Conference talks that are on lds.org.  It has been such a wonderful project and I have learned so much.  I have one more conference in 1979 and then I am done with the 70s.  I'm excited to start on the 80s!

And last but not least, here is my cooking list for the year!

1) Zephyr pancakes
2) Lorann oil snow cone syrup
3) Philadelphia strawberries and cream ice cream
4) Vanilla butter mints
5) 15 minutes homemade root beer
6) Homemade corn chips
7) Loaded baked potato soup
8) Homemade rainbow sherbet
9) Homemade German roasted pecans
10) Blackberry cobbler baked oatmeal
11) Five spice ginger molasses cookies
12) Thick and rich best ever french toast
13) Best ever snickerdoodle cookies
14) The best applesauce
15) Frozen Brazilian lemonade
16) Berries and cream dessert
17) Candy cane muddy buddies
18) Strawberry frosty
19) Straticella sweet cream ice cream
20) The most amazing cornbread
21) Summer berry delight jam
22) Cinnamon steel-cut oats with brown sugar streusel and fresh peaches
23) Boxcar Children stew
24) Orange hot chocolate
25) Four star cornmeal butterflake biscuits
26) Rich egg turbans
27) Sweet cream southern peach frappe
28) Scottish lemon sugar shortbread
29) Best baked mac and cheese
30) Orange spice cake
31) Amish strawberry shortcake
32) Always soft and creamy honey better
33) New York raspberry ice cream soda.
34) Disney puffed French toast
35) Lime coconut honey
36) Homemade mashed potatoes
37) Lisa Yockelson cinnamon toast
38)  All butter peanut butter cookies
39) Candy cane soft serve
40) Pie crust biscotti

I'm excited! It's going to be awesome!




Sunday, July 15, 2018

40 things I've learned in 40 years

So grateful for this wonderful life of mine and for all the things I've learned so far! There are so many more adventures to have and lessons to learn.  As I've thought about this milestone birthday, here are some important life lessons I've learned along the way.

1) The difference between giving up and letting go, is that giving up is about fear.  Letting go is about faith.

2)  Change is not about eradicating your comfort zone.  It's about expanding it.

3) Forgiveness means that you no longer use a person's past mistakes as a yardstick for measuring other people in your life.

4) The true art of simplifying is not found in the elimination of what it special, but rather in the ability to find the special in what is simple.

5)  Whenever we assume and define God's will as whatever is the opposite of our own, we could be missing out on the things that God wants for us that we want too.

6) One of the great fallacies among many members of the church is that they assume that they only need to be spiritually born again, and therefore remain toddlers all their lives.  We are spiritually born again, and then we must spiritually grow up --Learned from Brother Satterfield, my college religion professor.

7) At any time, in any circumstance, it is possible to make a little magic. --My mom taught me that!

8) Being humbled is not about God setting us up to fail so we can learn a lesson.  It's about learning where our true strength lies.

9) God's protection doesn't mean He will stop whatever we don't want to happen from happening. Sometimes he does stop the bad thing from happening.  Some times he lessens the effects.  Some times he strengthens us so we can't feel the burdens.  I don't know or understand everything, but I do know that God is never blind-sided. 

10) If we listened to the inner critic we would never do anything because we would never have enough time or talent and there would always be better things to do. 

11)  "I am a child of God and He has sent me here."

12)  Life is full of wonderful surprises if we are open to them. 

13) "Believe in your associates.  Believe in your companions.  Believe in others.  Don't go around tearing people down.  The Lord doesn't want that.  He doesn't want us to spend our time destorying others.  He expects us to build and sustain and cultivate and nurture and strengthen our associates.  Wonderful things happen when you go forth with that kind of attitude" President Hinckley.

14) When something is troubling you, put it on the altar and let the Lord give you back the strength to deal with it--Learned from my friend Vicki Wilkins

15) It says in the Bible that we are supposed to be the salt of the Earth.  The thing about salt is that you can't describe it. It's unique and the only one of its kind.  That's what we should be.  Satan is all about counterfeit and copies.  Salt is unique.  Children of God are unique.--Learned from Brian Steiner

16) To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts--Henry David Thoreau

17) Being strong and proud and being strong and humble are two very different things--Learned from Erica Steiner

18)  There are times when I have a "Gadiantion Robber" inside my head, robbing me of my peace.  Do I build it up, or cast it out?

19) "Suffer the little children to come to me." He still calls that to the little girl inside of me.

20) I am a priority to our Savior and Heavenly Father and so is everyone who has ever lived. 

21) "One plus God is sufficient." --Learned from Virginia H Pearce

22) "With intellectual curiosity,  the world will always be full of magic and wonder" --Learned from Marjorie Hinckley.

23) "Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey and share our love with friends and family." --Learned from President Monson

24) "You did then what you knew how to do.  And when you knew better, you did better."--Learned from Maya Angelou

25) You are never too old to love a doll or cherish a teddy bear

26) Home truly is where the heart is.

27) You may not have a plan but God ALWAYS does.

28) Service is joy.  --Learned from Cindy Hall (In addition to how to paint a room, fix a fence, and use an electric sander.)

29) We all have things we can work on, ways we can be better.  Let this inspire you, not condemn you.

30) Trials are gifts in so many ways, but an important one is because we "get it" when people we love are going through their own trials-- My dad taught me that

31) Journeys are different.  Each person's is special and unique and if something is true for one person, it doesn't always mean it is true for someone else.

32) Take more time for play and self-care --Learned from  Brian Steiner

33) Friendships as well as families are forever.--Learned from Neal A. Maxwell

34) If you can endure to the end, you will have eons of perfect days--Learned from Rhonda Shelton

35) Let's  choose to focus on our contributions, not our deficiencies. Because someone breathes easier when we are near.--Learned from Rachel Macy Stafford)

36) The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude.

37) Integrity isn't just about being honest and being true to what you know is right.  It's about being true to yourself, who you are, and how you see the world.

38) Heavenly Father is truly in the details of our lives.

39) "Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life." Learned from Mark Twain

40) "When you swallow food, it goes down your esophagus, NOT your asparagus." --Learned from Jack.  💓😆

Image may contain: Beth Blake, smiling, closeup
Image may contain: Beth Blake, smiling
Image may contain: Beth Blake, smiling
Image may contain: Beth Blake, smiling

Saturday, June 30, 2018

101 things in 1001 Days

Hey all!

I have come up with a new 101 things in 1001 days list of goals I want to accomplish and experiences I want to have.  This is my second list.  I didn't finish the first list but I made this one a little more realistic and I am so excited to start! If you haven't heard of this, it is a fun way to set goals and have fun experiences.  It's pretty simply, make a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1001 days! I'll keep you posted as I complete the list!

1) Go to the Thanksgiving Point tulip festival
2) Go to Great Salt Lake
3) Paint ten pictures--Loving my new hobby!
4) Enter the WOW Women on Writing contest--It is a fun National contest.  I've won the short story contest before.  Maybe I'll enter the creative non-fiction contest. 
5) Submit something to the Ensign--A goal I've had for awhile
6) Submit a family name to the temple--I've actually never done it and I'm excited to learn how!
7) Make lemon beeswax  furniture polish--Yes, I'm a domestic dork but I can't wait to try this!
8) Start a new tradition--I love traditions!
9) Watch the Grey Gardens documentary--I am fascinated by the story of the Beale women!
10) Make a quilt--I want to do a patchwork quilt with one square representing someone I love.
11) Make dishes decorated with Sharpie markers--Always wanted to try this!
12) Make homemade pine cleaner--cleaning vinegar + pine needles
13) Write a kindle book about traditions for Amazon
14) Go to a temple I've never been before
15) Learn the language of flowers--Excited to learn what different flowers mean.
16) Invent a new recipe
17) Go to Evermore Park--Can't wait for it to open!
18) Write a fairy tale
19) Write a Little Women missing story--Coming on the 150th anniversary of Little Women coming out.
20) Go to Riverton Park.--One of my favorite parks growing up.  Haven't been in over 20 years.
21) Have a random acts of kindness day--Excited to plan!
22) Find my signature waffle recipe--I love waffles!
23) Get something at the Bluebird soda fountain--Never been but always wanted to go!
24) Make my own milk bath
25) Go to the National Parks 3D adventure--another cool experience at Thanksgiving Point!
26) Make homemade bath fizzies
27) Go see a dermatologist
28) Host a childhood potluck--Everyone brings a comfort food from childhood
29) Go to First Dam and feed the ducks
30) Take a class in something
31) Cook a turkey
32) Make big bubbles--Another thing I've never done but always wanted to
33) Visit a museum--I love museums! It's a dream of mine to go to the Smithsonian
34) Make five loaves of bread--Want to improve my bread making skills
35) Go on a picnic
36) Make a roast beef with all the trimmings
37) Make my own snow globe
38) Do the butterfly habitat--Gives the chance to watch caterpillars turn into butterflies
39) Go to the aquarium in Sandy
40) Make pancakes with orange sugar--You sprinkle orange zested sugar on top of the pancake as soon as it is done. Sounds so good.
41) Finish Personal Progress as a leader
42) Get a papsmear and a mammogram
43) Make an embroidered dish towel or a pillowcase
44) Make the chiffon pie--Vanilla mousse, fresh raspberries, enough said
45) Make someone breakfast in bed.
46) Make naturally dyed Easter eggs
47) Make homemade peanut butter cups for Halloween
48) Get certified in first aid and CPR
49) Do a "This is me" photo shoot--an idea I've wanted to do for awhile
50) Make homemade cracker jacks with prizes
51) Go to Bear Lake--I want to go to the "cool" side.  Apparently the only times I've been I've been to the wrong side.
52) Make homemade pasta
53) Make homemade Christmas candles
54) Go on a hike with Vicki
55) Make my own yogurt crumble
56) Have a European feast of croissants and hot chocolate
57) Try one new hairstyle
58) Make a Serendipity sundae--From the Serendipity ice cream shop in New York
59) Make campfire muffins in orange peels
60) Read 10 family history stories
61) Have a classic game night--Clue, scrabble, card games, all the classics
62) Grow a plant from a seed.
63) Get a Hokalia snow cone
64) Try a new fruit
65) Have a game night with the Binghams--Ready any time you are Tracy!
66) Submit hymn lyrics for the new hymn book
67) Write five memoir stories
68) Watch a classic movie I've never seen before.
69) Make a braided loaf of bread
70) Get some cheese at Gossners
71) Walk the new Logan River Trail
72) Write a letter to the editor of the paper
73) Take a personal day off of work that is just for me
74) While I'm in La Grande, cook dinner or make dessert for MacDonalds and Pettits together
75) Rediscover a favorite childhood summertime ritual or pastime
76) Make a tablecloth
77) Research how to pick the perfect watermelon and successfully pick 5
78) Have a summer breakfast party
79) Have a Disney night
80) Make homemade lemon soap
81) Do the 56 lists--A lists of lists I found on Pinterest to help you when you are feeling down.
82) Learn how to make paper frogs
83) Read all of Elder Maxwells BYU/I/Hawaii devotional talks
84) Learn how to make handkerchief dolls
85) Make stained glass window cookies--a childhood Christmas cookies
86) Make a comfort drawer
87) Make 5 salads
88) Have an Altoids tin challenge with Adam--We  each try to build something cool with an Altoids tin
89) Make a special delivery breakfast to someone of homemade pancake mix and syrup
90) Have a summer picnic in January
91) Invite neighbors over for homemade ice cream under the paper lanterns
92) Do a cereal cafe
93) Watch the sunrise in La Grande
94) Make essential oil play dough
95) Make cheese fondue
96) Have a milk and cookies party
97) Make a fairy garden
98) Make fried chicken
99) Clean out my closet/drawers
100) Make a fancy cake
101) Read the list of happy books I made several years ago.

Going to be a great 1001 days! End date: March 27th, 2021!


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Sunday, April 1, 2018

An Easter Story

               
This was not a story that actually happened at Easter, but it is a very precious one that I’ve been thinking about all day.   A few years ago, I was looking through Facebook and saw a blog article posted about challenges that single LDS people face.  I was curious to read it and see what another single LDS person had to say about challenges they faced.  Maybe I would find a kindred spirit in the words.  I opened the article and started to read the different challenges.  “Number 1: You are no one’s first priority.”  As I read those words, a terrible, noxious weed took root in my heart.  I knew I had many, many, people who loved and helped me, but it was true, I wasn’t anyone’s first priority.  I knew my friends loved me but I felt I was bothering them if I needed them because they needed to focus on their families.  I felt the same way in my own family, because each of my siblings had their families to focus on and I knew my parents first priority is each other. For months I struggled with that weed in my heart and the guilt I felt over feeling like I was being selfish made it worse.  I didn’t tell anyone how I was feeling, but pleaded with the Lord to help me. 

That summer, I had the chance to participate in another girl’s camp.  Those special experiences are always a treasure to me.  Having the chance to serve my sweet girls and my friends all day made me feel better during the day but I still struggled with my feelings at night and pleaded for help.  The night of the testimony meeting, we had a special guest speaker first.  The talk was about remaining optimistic during trials and was very powerful.  I was feeling the Spirit as I walked through the field toward the camp fire to start the testimony.  It was dusk and the air was sweet and cool.  As I walked with my friend and watched the girls walk together over the fire, suddenly an image flooded my mind.  It was an image of my Savior’s hands reaching out to me.  I could clearly see the nail prints in his hands and the scripture came to my mind “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” And then a clear prompting came to my mind and heart.  “You are my first priority, and so are all your brothers and sisters.” The thought overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand it.  I couldn’t comprehend it.  How could I be the Savior of the whole world’s first priority along with all the people who have ever been? Could the Atonement really be that individual and special? But even though I didn’t understand, through the Holy Ghost I knew that it was true.  I felt love fill my heart and root out that noxious weed.  It was a miracle.  I looked around at the beautiful mountains, the twinkling stars coming out in the silvery blue sky.  I watched my wonderful girls walk together and felt so much love for them.  I looked over at the faithful friend walking beside me and saw the rest of my dear friends I serve with gathering together at the campfire.  I thought of each member of my family, of my Oregon home and all of my people there, my mission, my college life, and all of the experiences, lessons, and people who have been a part of my life.  I know the Lord loves me and is aware of me because of all of those gifts he has given me. 

That experience was a few years ago.  There have been many times since then when I have slipped back into feeling sorry for myself because of what I don’t have.  But on this wonderful holiday, I always remember that sweet little story of mine, of the day when the Atonement became so real and personal to me.   I know that Christ lives and that he is in the details of our lives, because we are all individually his first priority.  I will be forever grateful.


  Photo credit, Del Parson mormonartist.net 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Sweet Message I Received in the Temple this Weekend.


It had been such a nice day.  At work we had a fun lunch celebrating the first “District Executive Appreciation Day” a special day we created to show appreciation for the professional scouters at our office.  I made my special chicken Alfredo stew in the slow cooker and there were an abundance of hot biscuits to go with it.  We had such a fun time eating lunch together.  After work I headed up to the temple.  I love going to the temple.   I love going to the temple especially on Fridays when my friends are serving there.  It was a beautiful session with sweet ending that made me feel loved.  I was happy as I entered the beautiful Celestial room and sat in the brilliant light of the chandelier.  I’ve started a new tradition for myself that whenever I do a session by myself, I spent some quiet moments in the Celestial room and look through the scriptures for a message I feel Heavenly Father wants to tell me.

I opened the triple combination and it was at 3rd Nephi in the Book of Mormon, chapter 13 as the Savior is giving his Sermon on the Mount to the Nephites.  This is the first thing I read, “Therefore take no thought, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘Wherewithal shall we be clothed?’ For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” I’ve read these verses and the ones following several times and always understood them to mean that Heavenly Father will always provide for those who are on his errand as long as they seek first for him and his kingdom.  I felt that Heavenly Father was telling me to not be concerns about the future, as there have been some heavy-duty worries on my mind and heart lately.  I left the Celestial Room and walked back to the dressing room.  It was as I was preparing to change my clothes that the Holy Ghost opened my heart, revelation flowed, and I received a very special message.  The phrase “Your Heavenly Father knoweth you have need of these things,” entered my mind again, but this time it was more than about temporal needs.  I had a feeling that my spiritual Father, who knows me infinitely better than I know myself was telling me that he knew what things Bethany Blake needs to thrive in life.   

He knows I need human connection.  I need people in my life I can believe in; who inspire, love and anchor me.  He knows I need work that I care about and can be devoted to.  He knows I need special occasions, traditions, and other times when loved ones come together.  I need summer days and Christmas lights.  I need beautiful moments and the words to be able to describe them.  I know my Heavenly Father does indeed know I have need of these things, because he has been providing them for me in tender and sweet ways my entire life. 

Sometimes seasonal depression and anxiety get the best of me.  In those times, it feels as if my sense of “It’s going to be okay,” is broken.  Heavenly Father knows that too.  It’s amazing to me how he sends help in the way that I need, not anybody else…just me.  Sometimes it is immediate, sometimes there is a long wait, but there is always some little message of hope, something for me to hold on to.  I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows what I need, and knows what delights and strengthens me, because loving me and helping me become who He wants me to be, is what delights him.

Photo: lds.org


Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Believe in Scouting (And not because it gives me a paycheck)

            In January it will be two years since I walked into the Trapper Trails Council office for a job interview and eventually was hired as a field secretary.  At that point in my life, my knowledge of the Boy Scouts came only from my experience as a big sister to two of them.  I admit, within about an hour of my first day, I realized I was in over my head.  The amount of information I was trying to fit into my brain was overwhelming.  There was so much to learn, far more than any other job I’ve ever had.  There were times when I wanted to walk away, but before I got this job I had been praying for weeks that I would find a job that I needed and where I would be needed.  I know this job was and continues to be the answer to my prayer.  I know that I can receive help.  Even when a difficult situation happened today and I felt discouraged, a little miracle happened to remind me of something important: I believe in Scouting.

            I believe in Scouting because today, one of the scout shop employees came to my desk and told me that a little boy had approached him, knowing he worked at the scout shop, and said he had $5 he would like to donate to the Boy Scouts.  As I was putting the precious donation in an envelope to store in our safe, these words on the back of the envelope caught my eye “On my honor, I will do my best.  To do my duty to God and my country…”I believe in Scouting because when all is said and done, all the paperwork is worth helping create a young man who embodies that timeless statement. 

            I believe in Scouting because I know a gentleman in his late 80’s who carries merit badge books around with him in his briefcase and will read them while he is waiting at doctor appointments and such, because “they are the best books in the whole world”

            I believe in Scouting because I have walked into work past rooms where good men are on their knees, praying to God to guide them in helping the young men they are responsible for.  How many people get to see that as they walk into work?

            I believe in Scouting because I heard a phone conversation yesterday about a pack in our area that includes boys from Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, and Agnostic backgrounds. Scouting can be a place where diversity is celebrated and all can come together.  


            I believe in Scouting because I have a spreadsheet on my computer of boys who have earned their Eagle Scout rank and the numbers of hours spent on each Eagle project.  Today, I got a total of those hours.  As of today, for just the Cache Valley service area, the total was 21,272 hours.  Just think of that! 21, 272 hours of making the world a better place! I believe in Scouting because of the stories behind those hours, stories of young men with vision, their friends who lend a hand to help, and the leaders who stand beside them and help shape who they are becoming.  

            Finally, I believe in Scouting because of this little boy.  Jack is the newest member of the Cub Scouts in our family.  He is joining his brothers, uncles, father, grandfather and so many others in a legacy of goodness and truth that will never be forgotten.  I believe in Scouting because I believe in Jack and he is going to do wonderful things in the next ten years and beyond. 


Whenever I get a little too overwhelmed or a little too discouraged at my job, I want to look at this picture and remember what it's all about.  Yes, there is a lot of paperwork and lots to learn and sometimes it just is confusing, but I will take a deep breath and promise that "on my honor I will do my best." Because that's what we do at The Boy Scouts of America.