Jan 31, 2012

Tuesday Tip #19

Have you ever tried to make home-made french fries? We did HERE and I'm not sure if this tip would've worked with those types of potatoes or not but it would've been great to try then.

Let raw potatoes stand in cold water for at least half an hour before frying to improve the crispness of French-Fried potatoes.

I'm sure we'll try it soon...
Let us know what you think!

Happy Tuesday!

Jan 29, 2012

Spiritual Feasting #13

Today's Spiritual Feasting is a simple yet profound message.
I LOVE the Temple.
I the the perfection, the simplicity, the beauty, the peace, comfort, warmth and tenderness that you feel when you enter those doors. It's a wonderful place to leave reality behind and focus on the here and now in the quiet sanctity of the Temple. To remember that you are a daughter (or son) of our Heavenly Father and also remember that you are a Princess (or Prince). 
In life today, so many things can get in the way to keep us from going to the Temple. Life, weather, kids, chores, grocery shopping, R&R, vacations, and other activities. I know that it's rough to get to the Temple.
I can tell when it has been waaaay too long since we've been to the Temple because I start to feel less and less confident about myself and decisions that I make. I end up craving the Temple and it's peace and comfort like someone might crave chocolate, or their favorite food. But something always gets in the way until we firmly put our foot down and make that appoint to go. 
I found the following clip online from President Monson. He talks about how no trial or daily activity should keep us away from the Temple blessings. That really there is no excuse.

When we got married we made the goal to go to the Temple every month. We exceed and then some with that goal our first year of marriage. We were truly blessed. Since then we've missed a month here or there and this year we didn't go all hunting season (from September until Thanksgiving) because Marvin didn't get this kill as fast and he has other years. As soon as we could after that and in between weather systems, we made it over to the Spokane Temple and I felt soooo good to have that chance to be spiritually rejuvenated. It's time to go again here pretty quick but we've had some strange weather come through that makes for unsafe travel.
I desperately wish that we had a Temple that was closer to us, but I fell like if we did, I might take it for granted. The Temple really is a special place and deserves a special day set aside for itself.
I hope that if you haven't gone to the Temple yet this year or in a while that you make the decision now to set aside some time to go. Take your kids with you and a babysitter if you can so that your children can understand the importance of going to the Temple and can enjoy being on Temple grounds. 
It's such a blessing that we are alive in this day and age to be able to enjoy so many Temple world wide!!!!

Jan 25, 2012


My brother is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bueno Aires Argentina. (We're also know as Mormons)

He wrote us a letter recently telling us about some of his favorite foods. His favorite right now is Empanadas. He described them as turnovers but instead of fruit in them there was meat and potatoes and veggies. All I could really think about was Raspberry Turnovers with meat and it almost made me sick. So I started looking through cook books and online and I found a recipe that looked rather yummy and thought that I'd give it a try.
Here is the recipe.

For the Dough:
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 cup Lard or Vegetable Shortening (Crisco)
3/4 cup Warm Milk
1 Egg, beaten

For the Filling:
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic
2 tbsp minced Jalapeno Pepper
1/4 cup drained Ro*Tel Tomatoes
4 ounces Lean Ground Beef (Elk)
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cornstarch (or 1 tsp Flour)
1/2 cup finely Shredded Colby-Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 375*

In a medium bowl combine the flour, cheese, salt and baking powder...mix well

Add lard and with fingers, fork or pastry blender work the mixture until the lard is well distributed

Warm milk and beat egg into it

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture

Stir until the mixture forms a ball, you may need to add more flour if mixture is too sticky
(I used my hands, pretty much treat it the way you would with regular bread dough)

Cover and allow to rest while you prepare the filling

In a skillet over medium heat add oil to warm

Once oil is warm add onions and cook until they being to soften, about 3 minutes

Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute or until fragrant

Add the ground beef (elk) and brown meat

As meat is browning add cumin, coriander, salt and cornstarch (or flour substitute)

Add in the drained tomatoes and cook for another minute before removing the pan from the heat

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before adding the shredded cheese

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper (opt)

Divide the dough into four pieces and on a floured surface roll it out until its very thin (about 1/8 in)

Cut out 3" circles of dough

(**I didn't separate the dough into four pieces. I just rolled out the whole thing and I wanted bigger empanadas. The 3" are great for appetizers but since this was dinner we went with a lid to some Tupperware**) 

Add a teaspoon of meat filling (for appetizer) or as much as desired that will fit (for dinner)

Fold the dough over and press to seal

Crimp the edges with a fork

Repeat until you have filled your pan or the ingredients are all gone

Brush tops with egg wash 
(I forgot and didn't do this)

Back for 18-20 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

We served ours with Guacmole and it was rather delicious. Let us know what you think!!!

Jan 24, 2012

Tuesday Tip #18

I hate it when the pot boils over when you're making spaghetti.

Noodles, spaghetti and other starches won't boil over if you rub the inside of the pot with vegetable oil.

So let us know how it works out for you and what other things you do to keep your pots from boiling over!!

Happy Tuesday!

Jan 22, 2012

Spiritual Feasting #12

Happy Sunday!!!
How has your week been? We've had the most insane week. We haven't really had any snow all winter. Maybe 1-2 inches here and there but that was it. It's been in the 40's and 50's and has been a mild winter until this week. Last Sunday they kept saying that the worst snow storm in years was coming and I think all of us were in denial because they had lied about all the snow thus far. But they weren't lying this time and it was the worse snow storm that we've ever had since the 90's. 
It started snowing Tuesday night and didn't stop until Thursday night. So in 48 hours we got just a little over 15 inches of snow. Cars were snowed in. Radio announcers were saying that "the police have requested that if you live on a side street to stay put until city can plow your road." It kind of made me laugh that they said that because the majority of the city lives on side streets. Lets just say that even the major streets didn't even look plowed until Thursday morning. 
It was a little nerve racking for me to drive around in the snow because we got a new car last March and I really hadn't had a chance to drive it in the snow. But once I got used to how it handled in the snow, we had some fun on the side streets. Nothing crazy though, nothing like doughnuts or anything like that but I wasn't as scared to drive. 
Yesterday warmed up to the 40's and it's been off and on raining and melting and we've been able to see the sun. It was kind of weird to see the sun after all the clouds and snow. It was kind of blinding. We're supposed to drop back down into the 30's today and get more snow tonight and tomorrow. We're not exactly looking forward to that.
Here are some PICTURES that I took. They are all darkish because I took first thing before I left for work around 6:30 a.m. and then on my way home from working out around 5:30 p.m.

So now onto the Spiritual Feasting part...
The other night in our family reading I read Pslams 31:24 "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." I paused after I read that verse and reread it and then looked at Marvin and told him that I really liked that verse. It just seem really peaceful. Like a bit of encouragement. Then as I reread the chapter this morning I found a few more verses in that chapter that I really liked.
Verse 7: "I will be glad and rejoice in they mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou has known my soul in adversities;"
I liked that verse because I felt like it went along well with our Family Motto.
Then I liked the verse before 24 and how when you put the two of them together it made even more sense.
Verse 23-24: "O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."
Both of those verse start with a plea and end with a promise...
Verse 23: The plea is to love the Lord. The promise is that the Lord will preserve the faithful and reward the doer.
Verse 24: The plea is to be of good cheer. The promise is that He will strengthen our hearts as long as we hope in the Lord. 
I love scriptures that give advice and encouragement. It's times like that when we can really apply the scriptures to our daily lives. It's those times when I really do feel like they were writing the scriptures for us. To help us our in our time of need. To let us know that we aren't alone in our suffering or strife. That they were there too and if we lean on the Lord, he will preserve and reward us and strengthen our hearts to Keep Moving Forward with Faith.
{It's funny how everything lately ties back to our Family Motto.}
I really hope that those scriptures bring peace to you today and that you have a wonderful Sunday. 

Jan 20, 2012

Happy Anniversary!!! :)

Holy Cow!!! 
I can't believe that I have been blogging for 1 whole year. 
It's crazy how fast time has gone.

I can even remember that very first Welcome Post and the very first Make Your Own Pizza Post and how sick I was for that one. :)

The growth has been slow but fun and it's perfect!
3240+ pages views

I've learned so much in the blogging world and wish that I had more time to participate in all the networking. It's been a fabulous experience getting know more and more people and that I'm not alone in the crazy and fun filled blogging world. 

I hope that you guys are enjoying the blog and what I've been able to share with you. If you have any suggestions about what I can do in this next year or anything like that let me know.
I love learning and sharing.

Enjoy The Stoker Kitchen!!!

Jan 19, 2012

Want To Make A Family Cookbook?

How many of you have wanted to make a Family Cookbook but didn't want to sit down and take the time to type out all the recipes and create a format and then have to find the right printer blah blah blah....?

Well, I'm sure you guys have seen my widget at the bottom of my blog for SocialSpark... It's a place that allows you to write reviews on things/products for revenue. Well, this one came to my attention and I would've jumped on it a long time ago but time just keep running away from me. You guys should jump over to SocialSpark and see if it's for you.

ANYWAY.... back to the Family Cookbook...

This site is amazing. My sister put together a cookbook for me for a wedding present and I loved it. It's got all the good old favorites from when we were kids and several from my brother-in-laws family and other friends. But now I want to make one with all the new recipes in it. Especially since I'm coming up on my 1 year Anniversary of my Blog!! 

{Can't believe it's been a year!!!}

Click on the Link below to head over to the Family Cookbook site and take a look around!
So easy and fun and a great way to remember the best family recipes with out having to call someone to get the ingredients.

Oh and the best part is that you can have more then one contributor too!!! 
Make it a family effort and create and save those memories and recipes.
They are priceless!!!

Jan 18, 2012

Taco Pizza :)

My two favorite foods!
Taco & Pizza

Now this isn't exactly what you think. When I first found it I thought that it might be a little disgusting because I was thinking that it would be more of a pizza thing with a taco flavoring but it's actually just the opposite, minus the pizza flavoring. ;)
Even heard of Navajo Tacos or Indian Tacos? I just realized that I have done this one yet so I might have to make Navajo Tacos to put on the blog, but anyway, they are pretty much the same thing but SUPER easy!!!!!!

For dinner or appetizer, either way this is delicious!

1lb Ground Beef (Elk)
1 envelope Taco Seasoning Mix
1 can Pillsbury Pizza Dough
1 (16 oz) can Refried Beans
2-3 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese or Mexican Blend
1/2 cup Chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup Sliced Black Olives
4 Green Onions, chopped (opt)

I was so excited to make it that I forgot to take the ingredients picture first :)

Heat oven to 375

Brown ground beef and drain

Add taco seasoning to ground beef according to package directions

Unroll pizza dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet

Press dough over the bottom and up sides to form crust (crust opt)

Bake dough for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown

Warm beans

Carefully spread beans over warm crust creating a thin layer

Top with cooked beef mixture

Sprinkle with cheese, tomatoes, olives, green onion (opt)

Return to the over for 3-6 minutes or until cheese is melted

Serve immediately.


Jan 17, 2012

Tuesday Tip #17

I thought this was a pretty shnazzy idea. I don't bake with nuts because there are too many allergies in my family.

If your cake recipe calls for nuts, heat them first in the oven, then dust with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan.

Hope this helps you guys and let me know how it works!

Happy Tuesday!

Jan 16, 2012


I know posting on a Monday is totally out of the norm for me but I thought posting today would be a great time to get some help on something. 
I don't know if you're noticed but I had some minor changes to my blog over the weekend. As I was making some changes I realized that my 'date header' is missing and doesn't show up. I messed around with the customized settings and couldn't figure out how to make it come back. 
Do any of you know how I can fix or bring back my date header?


Jan 15, 2012

Spiritual Feasting #11

I was on Pinterest the other day and for a moment I felt like the LDS members were taking over. It shocked me and then made me smile. I was scrolling down through all the pins and for a moment my entire screen was filled with quotes regarding the Young Womens Theme for 2012 or something for Primary Themes 2012 or just random scripture quotes. Then as I scrolled down further the world came back into view. But it was the coolest thing to see!

In the beginning when I started blogging and I had no idea about all the linking and networking that incurred. I thought that I was one of the few 'Mormon Bloggers' out there blogging with no real purpose in mind other then to share a hobby. But as I started linking and looking at other blogs I realized and learned that I wasn't alone. I felt like I was joining a new family full of bloggers who happen to be LDS. It was sooo cool! When I found another blog that had an LDS author I would tell my husband and then add them to my following list. I love being inspire by those who have the same values as I do and share their struggles and triumphs.

What I wanted to talk about today is kind of two-fold. 
1) The abundance of Young Women 2012 Theme ideas 'pinned' on Pinterest
2) Being a light on the hill and not hiding our bushels

1) I really was impressed and taken aback with all the pins I saw in regards to the Young Womens Theme this year and to tell you the truth, I'm kind of jealous that I'm not in Young Womens this year. I'm hoping that I'm not saying that too loud because I love where I'm at in Primary right now. I just love the Theme. Here are two displays of the theme that I pinned and really like.

^^This one comes from Liberty's Layouts. She is a stay at home and her blog blows me away. You have to go over there and just check everything out. I only got a quick glimpse but I plan and look at it more later.

^^ This one comes from Lil Luna. Her blog is always amazing. I can hardly wait to check out more of hers as well. I totally want to make one of these blocks too.

Below is one of my favorite songs. I just found this video on Youtube and LOVED it!!! So Perfect!!

 I love how all the images really correspond with the lyrics. I originally heard this song on the Women of Destiny CD that came out in 2001. It really helped me get through some tough times. I remember when I was going to Singles Ward back in the day I would turn this up really loud in the car on the way to church and sing my heart out. Whenever I was having a bad day this is one of the few songs I would turn to. 

I think that we should all make this our own individual theme for this year.

To Arise and Shine Forth.

2) This one will be really brief... I just want to let all of you 'Mormon Bloggers' our there know how grateful I am that you are NOT hiding your light under a bushel on a hill and that you are arising to the occasion and shining forth and sharing all over the internet about our religion. You are an inspiration to me.

Happy Sunday!!!!

Jan 11, 2012

Meatball Subs

I have a friend at work how loves cooking/baking as much as I do and it has been a real treated trading recipes and lunches and ideas with her. Her name is Kristy and this recipe I got from her. It really hit the spot and I'm excited to share it with you.

1 lb Beef (we used elk)
1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 small Onion
1 Egg
{we doubled recipe, only used 1/2 of the onion}


Defrost meat
{I do it in a sink of hot water}

Mix all ingredients

Shape into balls

Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes at 400*


Linked To

Jan 10, 2012

Tuesday Tip #16

I remember growing up having stale and soggy food all the time. I grew up back east and if you didn't close something just right, the next day it was bad. I haven't experienced it as much here with the dry weather, but if you have ever had stale or soggy chips or crackers, try this out and see what you think!

Rescue stale or soggy chips and crackers!!
Preheat the oven to 300*F
Spread the chips or crackers in a single layer on a baking sheet
Bake for about 5 minutes
Allow to cool
Seal in a plastic bag or container

Do you have other tips on saving food from going bad?

Happy Tuesday!

Jan 8, 2012

Spiritual Feasting #10

This past week has been rough. For those of you who didn't get a chance to read Spiritual Feasting #9 feel free to read it and you'll understand. Just grab a box of tissues before you do if you're a crier.
I went to work two days last week:
Monday we had off to observe New Years. 
Tuesday I went to work. It was so busy (I'm a customer service representative for Allegiance Benefit Plan Management Inc) and the phone were ringing off the hook. I couldn't think straight and was rather stressed. 
Wednesday was the funeral. It was a gorgeous day. Sunny. Almost 50 degrees. It was perfect weather to make the reason for the gather not so dismal, but still... it was rough. 
Thursday I went to work and I didn't feel at all like myself. I really had no brain at this point. I was trying so hard to suppress all that had been going on that I couldn't think straight. I couldn't remember the simplest things. Like when my alarm went off that morning, I didn't know what to do with it. I couldn't remember how to turn off my alarm. Part of if may have been utter exhaustion from not getting enough sleep over the last few days, but still... I didn't like that I couldn't access all of brain and it was rather frustrating. So....
Friday I stayed home. I set my alarm to get up around 8 so that I could get some cleaning done around the house and maybe some crafting and work out for the first time that whole week. My alarm went off and then some how didn't go off again. I didn't wake up until 9. I guess I did need that sleep. I got up and took the day slow. I went over to my mom's to work out and ended up talking with her for about an hour before I actually worked out. I got all the cleaning done that I wanted to and got something ready for a crafting project, but it was really nice to not have to use my brain much. Then around 11pm Marvin looked at the clock and it hit home... That a week ago right then, well... yeah. I cried. He shook his head and said "I just want this week to be over."
Saturday I didn't budge until 10:45. Granted we didn't really get into bed until mid-night. But that is still almost 11 hours of sleep. 
Today I'm feeling better. Marvin is doing a bit better. As long as he's not thinking about it or talking to anyone about it and is distracted he's okay. Today I'm ready for some spiritual strength. In fact, I think it's time that we go to the Temple!

I have wondered all week why this has affected me so much harder then it has Marvin. Or at least why it appears that it affects me harder. I think it has a lot to do with how men and women react and respond emotionally and how our brains work. Women are emotional, we think about a million things all at once and we get overwhelmed quickly. Men get angry, and they can compartmentalize for the most part and can repress all their emotions when they don't need them to be present. And I have one more thing that is against me. I don't generally go around advertising this, but I have an anxiety disorder. I've had it since I was really little and it got worse as I got older. About 6 years ago when we moved to Montana, to a slower pace, to a smaller town, I was able to learn how to control it and haven't had issues since. But, I felt all week the way I do post panic attack. My brain skipped a step and just shut me down instead of having me go through a horrify (to me anyway) experience of a panic attack. Being so vulnerable has been rough. I haven't like it one bit. And in my job, you can't be vulnerable. It just doesn't work. 

I bet you're wondering how this all ties into being a 'spiritual feast'? I'll get there I promise. Part of why I'm writing this is to help me grieve. To help me recover and express my feelings. I have a journal. In there I'm working on being more detailed. I just can't seem to get myself to sit down at all let alone long enough to write about the whole experience and at least here, I have bits and pieces that are already written down.

Out of this bittersweet experience came our Family Motto for 2012. 

On Pinterest I found that several people that I follow were coming up with Family Mottos or choosing scriptures or phrases or words that they wanted to incorporate into their New Year. I had been thinking about it before all of this happened and then I thought that it would be a great idea considering all that we've been going through. The night that Marvin's dad passed away, his mom said that he would want us to live with no regrets and keep going forward. So, out of that, our Family Motto was born....

This is where the 'spiritual feasting' ties in. This quote hangs on our wall right as you walk in the door. Now it doesn't look exactly like that because I just designed that in photoshop, but I really want to print out and hang it as is...

Thanks for letting me share all of this with you all. I hope that our family motto will help to inspire you to "Keep Moving Forward with Faith and no regrets" as the New Year continues.

Jan 4, 2012

Chicken Pot-Pie Bundles

This was a very interesting yet fun variation to the traditional pot-pies. I think it still needs a little more flavor but I'm not sure what... Test it out and let me know what you think!

1 1/2 Tbsp Canola Oil, divided
1 large Carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 in dice (about 1 cup)
1/2 small Onion, but into 1/4 in dice (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast halves, cut into 1/2 in dice
2 tsp chopped fresh Tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried Tarragon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper
1 cup All-Natural Chicken Broth
4 teaspoons Cornstarch (or double in All Purpose Flour)
3/4 cup frozen Petite Peas, thawed
3/4 cup frozen Corn kernels, thawed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
12 Egg Roll Wraps (NOT the smaller wonton wrappers)

Preheat oven to 350*

Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat

Add the carrot and onion and cook stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes

Add garlic and cook 1 more minute

Stir in chicken, tarragon, salt & pepper and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes

Place the broth and cornstarch (flour) in a bowl and whisk until well combined

Add to skillet along with the peas and corn and bring liquid to simmer, stir constantly

Continue to simmer and stir gently until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes

To prepare the bundles, use a muffin pan with 12 medium-sized cups 
(DO NOT coat with nonstick spray)

Gently place 1 egg roll wrap into each cup, letting it extend over the sides

Place a generous 1/4 cup of chicken mixture into each wrap

Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese
(I forgot this one, maybe that would've helped with the lack of flavor)

Fold the corners up and over the top of the filling and press to seal the edges 
(It doesn't have to be perfect)

Brush the remaining oil on top of each bundle

Bake until golden and crisp, about 12-15 minutes

Cool slightly before eating

Jan 3, 2012

Tuesday Tip #15

Happy New Year!!!!
Well, with the new year here it's time revamp your food storage and what you have in your cupboards. Below is some basic Shelf Life information.

General Shelf Life

unopened: up to 12 months
opened: 6-8 months

unopened: 2 years
Sugars don't spoil but eventually may change flavor

Brown Sugar
unopened: 4 months

Confectioners Sugar
unopened: 18 months

Solid Shortening
unopened: 8 months
opened: 3 months

unopened: indefinitely
opened: 1 year

Whole Spices
2-4 years whether or not opened

Ground Spices
2-3 years whether or not opened

Paprika, Red Pepper & Chili Powder
2 years

Baking Soda
unopened: 18 months
opened: 6 months

Baking Powder
unopened: 6 months
opened: 3 months

18 months whether or not opened

Dry Pasta made with out Eggs
unopened: 2 years
opened: 1 year

Dry Egg Noodles
unopened: 2 years
opened: 1-2 months

Salad Dressing
unopened: 10-12 months
opened: 3 months if refrigerated

1 year whether or not opened

unopened: 2 years
opened: 2 weeks if refrigerated

unopened: 1 year plus
opened: 6 months if refrigerated

Peanut Butter
unopened: 6-9 months
opened: 2-3 months

What else are you doing to make this new year better?

Happy Tuesday!

Jan 1, 2012

Spiritual Feasting #9

I know what I want to write about today but I'm having a hard time putting all the words together.

This past weekend has been a roller coasted ride of emotions and ending with a bittersweet end. My father-in-law Clyde passed away on Friday night. He has had ALS for the last 5 years. It started with the loss of the use of his arms. Then he had a stroke which left him as a quadriplegic. After the stroke he bounced back rather well but has a hard time talking and coughing. As the ALS progressed it took over his lungs and breathing and he passed Friday night. He was a prisoner in his own body. Now, he is free. It's a bitter sweet end because we all miss him dearly here on Earth, but it brings me great joy to know that he is up in Heaven and he is free from the body that failed his strong spirit. 

With this whole weekend, I my testimony has grown immensely. The knowledge that I have of the Plan of Salvation and Priesthood blessing has been a great comfort. 

Thursday night he was rushed to the ER. His CO2 levels were at 80%. Friday morning they were back down to 40% and Marvin was able to spend some one on one time with him. Marvin told me that evening that Clyde was doing pretty well. He was talking as he has for the last year and he seemed really well. Then we received a call from his mom around 8pm on Friday night saying that he wasn't doing to well and she asked if he could come and give him a blessing. Marvin called my dad and he and my mom showed up to give comfort and assist in the Priesthood blessing.

Marvin gave a great blessing, however, it was one of those blessings that has a double meaning. In the blessing he blessing his dad to have the strength to make it through this tough time so that he could be able to return home. As he said the words "return home" I had this strong feeling that it wasn't going to be returning to his physical home. Marvin was comforted by the words of the blessing also thinking that he would be home soon and that this would all just blow over. After the blessing, we stayed and chatted for a while. My dad teased with Clyde about the bi-pap that they had him on since my own father sleeps with the assistance of a C-pap machine. Clyde was smiling and laughing along with us as we shared stories and experiences. He was happy! He seemed great. We left the hospital around 10pm saying good and telling Clyde that we would be back in the morning.

At 11:10, we got another phone call. It was Marvin's mom. He had just passed away... Just an hour earlier he was smiling and laughing and seemed like he would be home the next day. Come to find out that after we left when they did his vitals his heart rate was up and all his levels were up. His chest didn't sound good so they started doing some xrays. His left lung had filled up with fluid and he could no longer breath. The ALS had finally won the 5 year battle and he was gone. We rushed back to the hospital to comfort his mom and sister who were there when he passed. It's a haunting image that I have stuck in my head of my loving and happy father-in-law, that I had just seen an hour before, passed away in his hospital bed. I called my dad as soon as we found out and he too rushed back to the hospital to be there with us and proved Marvin's mom and sister a Priesthood Blessing to comfort them in their time of need. We were there for an hour. We didn't want to leave. It didn't and couldn't have been real. But as we left, I still felt peace knowing that he was free. He was up in Heaven with his other family members hugging and walking around. I imaging that my grandmother that passed away 6 years ago was there to great him also saying "Hi, my name is Jeannette and I'm Megan's grandmother. It is nice to finally meet you."

We drove his mother and sister home that night. They live about an hour away from us and spent the evening with his mom and younger siblings and didn't get home until 5am Saturday morning. Marvin was up with in a few hours because there were phone calls to make. Two of Marvin's brothers are serving mission. Joseph is in Tennessee and William is in Guatemala. He was able to get a hold of Joseph's mission president with no problem and he called Joseph so have him meet with him that afternoon. For William however it took us 4 hours to find a number to reach his mission president. Let me tell you that international calling can get really frustrating. But we finally got in touch with him and he was going to meet with William either last night or this morning. Joseph called us just after 12 and Marvin couldn't speak. We sat there with Joseph on speaking phone and I told him the whole story. I had a hard time getting through it but I'm glad that I was able to. Neither of them could really speak. But I'm so grateful that we were able to speak with him. {Joseph lived with us our first year of marriage and up until 6 months before he left on his mission.} I want to hug both of those boys. I pray that William is okay...

Today in church was fast and testimony meeting. All morning my heart was racing and I knew what I wanted to say. But I couldn't get it. I did everything that I could to distract myself. I couldn't out of respect to Marvin. He feels that being emotional is showing weakness and I couldn't get up and do that to him in public because I would loose it and so would Marvin. Well, I didn't have to bare my testimony to loose it. The closing song today was Abide With Me Tis Eventide. Dang those hymns!! You remember that I lead the congregation right? Well, I tried and tired so hard not to loose it. I had to mouth the words and pray that no one could see the tears welling up in my eyes. I looked over at Marvin for a brief minute to see how he was and his face was bright red and he had stopped singing. As soon as the song was over I quickly left the stand and lost in my arms of my husband. He admitted too that he had to stop singing. 

I wanted to bear my testimony today to share that I have a strong testimony of the plan of salvation and of priesthood blessings. With out them this time would be so much harder. I know that we can return to be with our Heavenly Father again. I know that we'll be able to see Clyde again. I can hardly wait for the day that I can give him a hug and receive a hug in return. When I met Clyde he had already lost the use of his arms. Once he become a quadriplegic I gave him a kiss on his forehead at every change I got, but that hug.... Lets just say it will be a great time!!!! I had a strong testimony of priesthood blessings before this weekend but it confirmed again the realness of the power of the priesthood and the comfort it can bring to those in need. Clyde had the strength to make it through the last hour of his life here on Earth and return home. 

Please if my may ask... prayer for us to get through this tough time and to strong. 

God be with you, Clyde, until we meet again!

P.S. Sorry for any errors that there may be, but I've cried my way through this post and I don't exactly want to re-read it right now. 

Happy New Year!!!