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  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 

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.


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. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Spirituality as a Fundamental Element in Normal Life

This is part of a beautiful talk that was given by Lottie P. Baxter at a meeting for the Relief Society board and was published in the Relief Society Magazine in June 1920.  I love this speech!

It is said that "A woman without spirituality is like a flower without perfume, or like a statue without the soul." No other quality in a woman's character is so far reaching as spirituality, except the quality of virtue, and a woman must be virtuous before she can be spiritual.  A woman rises to her full stature in the home, in the community, among men and among children, among the sick, who possesses this elevating and refining power.  A spiritual life mellows the lines of the face and a person who in youth had rather severe, hard, features is often beautiful in old age through the softening power of this elevating attribute.  A keen sense of humor is a splendid accompaniment to a very spiritual temperament and gives a perfect balance and poise.  A nature lover is usually spiritual, as is seen by our own dear Sister Wells (Emmeline Wells, the General Relief Society President at the time) Her little book of poems is full of enthusiastic praise of nature and the great Creator.

When the greatest psychologist who has ever lived held that memorable class in psychology with one pupil and said "You must be born again, born of the water and of the Spirit," the student wondered and countless numbers of intelligent people have wondered, what was the real meaning of the Master.  But to the individual who has experienced a rebirth of the spirit, day by day, through a long and useful life, the real meaning is clear and they know this rebirth of the spirit must be taking place continually to lead us to the great goal.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake, Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.  Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest  a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.  Thou annointest my head with oil.  My cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

This confidence of the psalmist in God's grace, should be shared by every soul who has built spiritual thoughts upon spiritual thoughts until they have a foundation which cannot be shaken.  And though we "walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil" for God is with us. In Relief Society work, it is necessary to have a well-developed spiritual presence, for our visits to the sick and where there is death, lose their benefit if they lack this soothing power of the Spirit.

My sisters, if any of you have never experienced this hope-giving, uplifting power that has come to untold numbers when trials were in their homes, do not let another day pass without getting in line to receive the blessings that are yours for the seeking.  A truly spiritual person is enthusiastic over health, education, work and play.  As we were singing yesterday, I noticed many a person singing with tears running down their faces, which bore mute evidence that they were carrying a heavy load.  Dear sisters, I hope and pray in the name of Jesus Christ, that the spirit of this conference will comfort all of you and particularly you who are heavy laden and that you will be blessed as you have never been blessed before in a conference and I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So wonderful!!!