Thursday, October 14, 2010

Relief Society History - every sister encouraged to contribute

In the general Relief Society meeting on September 25, 2010, Sister Julie B. Beck taught, “Studying and applying the history of Relief Society gives definition and expression to who we are as disciples and followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” She announced that a history of Relief Society will be published in 2011. 

An exact date has not been determined for the release of this history. In the meantime, updates and additional information will be available on the Relief Society site of and on the visiting teaching message page of the Liahona and Ensign, where you will find excerpts from the history of Relief Society.

Sister Beck said, “As we move the Lord’s work forward, the history of Relief Society will continue to be written by faithful sisters throughout the world.

” For this reason, the Relief Society general presidency encourages you to record what is happening in your life. Though you might not feel that you are making history, sisters around the world can learn from you and your personal experiences

Consider recording:
  • Visiting teaching experiences.
  • How faith and personal righteousness is being increased.
  • How homes and families are being strengthened.
  • How the poor and needy are being sought out and blessed.
In your continuing efforts to fulfill the purposes of Relief Society, remember the following statement by Sister Beck: “Ultimately, the value of history is not so much in its dates, times, and places. It is valuable as it teaches us the principles, purposes, and patterns we are to follow, and it helps us to know who we are, what we are to do, and unites us in strengthening the homes of Zion and building the kingdom of God on the earth."

To watch a video of Sister Thompson addressing this topic - click on the caption below, and it will take you there.

Training Video - Relief Society History

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Making Your House a Home... an example of recording a RS Meeting

The 4th Ward is fortunate to have a RS Historian - Karen Palmer.  

She is at every meeting and event that happens with her camera.  

The 4th Ward has a history that has been kept for several years.  At the RS Birthdays in years past, the books have been displayed and the sisters have enjoyed looking back and remembering how things used to be.  Besides laughing at the hairstyles, changes in fashion, and if we were heavy/thin/old/young, etc... it is a reminder of the loving service that each sister has been a part of.  

Karen sent this to me so I could show you an example of a simple (uncomplicated) way to document a RS Meeting.  

(*I would love to have all wards send me their photos & descriptions 
of RS Meetings to post here... just asking!)

"Making Your House a Home"  
Decorating tips and tricks by Kris Stratton

Fortifying Your Home by Pat Moss. 

After these sisters, the following presented 
their thoughts on how to 
"Make Your Home a Haven"..

As a young family
Hayley Neider
During the teenage years
Kay Park 
As an empty nester
JoAnn Martin


During the 
grandparent /golden years  Sharlene Crosgrove 


4th Ward RS Meeting Coordinator - Teri Ross 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

General Women's Meeting Broadcast & Dinner

We were happy to have so many sisters attend the General Women's Meeting Broadcast & Dinner this past Saturday evening.   We estimate there were over 300 of our dear sisters of the River Stake in attendance.  It was delightful to hear the 'buzz' of happy voices enjoying a nice meal and the opportunity to visit with each other.

It's a little taste of heaven to enjoy something lovingly prepared by someone else, and many of you commented on the delicious variety they were able to choose from.  There were several requests for the recipes, and we have contacted each sister who generously donated their time and talents to see if they would be willing to have their recipes posted here.

We are beginning to see recipes coming in, so we will post them in groups as they arrive.  Here is the first group we have received:

Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli  (serves 6-8)

1 lb super-lean ground beef

1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 sm onion, diced (1 cup)

1 12oz can V-8 juice
1 lrg carrot, julienned (1 cup)

1 Tbl white vinegar
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)

1 ½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 tsp dried basil
1 15oz can red kidney beans (with liquid)

½ tsp pepper
1 15oz can great northern beans (with liquid)

½ tsp dried thyme

1/2 lb (1/2 package) ditali pasta (salad-roni)

Brown the ground beef in a very large saucepan or soup pit over medium heat.  Drain off the fat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.  About 50 minutes into the simmer time, cook pasta until al dente.  Add the pasta to the large pot of soup.  Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.  (We add the pasta in the individual bowls.  This keeps it separate so the noodles don’t get soggy if there are leftovers)

--Cindy Weeks, 5th ward

Taco Soup 
(The amazing soup that somehow was put on the stove and left unattended, which then burned.  Will you forgive us Mary?)

taken from Taste of Home Best of Country Cooking 2005 Book
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 can(15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 can (10 ounces) chili without beans
1 pound process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream, divided
In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add the beans, tomatoes, chili, cheese and seasonings.  Reduce heat to low; cook and stir until cheese is melted.  Stir in 1 cup sour cream; heat through (do not boil).  Garnish with remaining sour cream.  Yield:3-1/4 quarts.

River 2nd Ward - Mary Ballard

Tomato Gorgonzola Soup

Serves 8  (I doubled this to fill the large crock pot)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the cheeses, cream, and milk; heat mixture until cheeses melt and the mixture is simmering.  
  3. Stir in the tomatoes (including their liquid), tomato juice, basil, sugar, and pepper. Continue to simmer mixture for 15 to 20 minutes while stirring constantly. Do not boil.  If you want to make it smooth, process in batches in a food processor, blender, or try a hand blender directly in the cooking pot.  

Laurel Giles - 3rd Ward

Taco Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 can (16 oz) corn
1 can (28 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans (can add 2)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix

Cook ground beef and onions, then drain grease.  Stir the taco seasoning into the meat.  Mix in remaining ingredients.  Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-30 minutes to blend flavors.  Serve with grated cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips. 

Barbara Sweat - 9th Ward

Apple Crisp
16 apples , peeled and sliced
1/2 C sugar
1 C boiling water
Place apple slices in a 9x13" pan.  sprinkle sugar over top, and pour boiling water over the apples.
In another bowl, mix:
1 C flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1 C pecans, chopped
2 C graham cackers, crushed 'til coarse (but not fine)
1 C butter, melted
Add melted butter to top of mixture.  Mix 'til all is moistened with butter.  sprinkle mixture over apples.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let set for 25 minutes.

Suzanne Eddington - 8th Ward

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Preparedness Opportunities

In Stake Welfare Meeting this morning - we were made aware of preparedness opportunities for those of the River Stake.  You will want to put these on your calendars.

Friday, Oct 15:
Dry Pack Event - 7th Ward coordinating

Saturday, Oct 16:
Self-Canning @ Stake Bowery
Stake members will be able to use the dry pack canning supplies to seal items they have purchased from all sources (they don't need to purchase church commodities this time - anything you choose)

September 30:
Preparedness Exercise
(beginning with a communications exercise at 6:30, then neighborhood group meetings beginning at 7:00)

Oct 24th:
5:00 to 6:00 (don't be late!)
Marilin Hoff - "the Earthquake Lady" will speak concerning earthquake preparedness.
Here is a short synopsis of an event that Marilin spoke at recently...

Marilin Hoff, a community presenter for the Utah Division of Homeland Security.
Hoff's nickname-inspiring earthquake preparedness presentation, which she gave to North Salt Lake residents at a Uniting Neighbors meeting last April. More than 200 people attended, inspiring the group to bring Hoff back for a second presentation.  "Everyone loves Marilin," said Kirkham. "She's extremely informative but also extremely entertaining. We had several requests for her to come back."

Read more:
Davis County Clipper - Earthquake Lady tells how to survive NSL power outage

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A (very easy!) Relief Society Meeting Idea for September

We hope each of you will join us for the annual General RS Meeting as outlined below.

We will be bringing flyers, a poster for each RS room, and signup sheets for soups (or) cobblers to each RS Presidency in the next few days.  We hope you will be able to distribute them for the next two Sundays, and then 
return the signups back to us by Sunday, September 19th.  
We look forward to seeing many of our sisters there.  
Thank you so much for the important service you freely give in your wards!

With Love, 

Your Stake Relief Society Presidency

Monday, August 16, 2010

A few meeting ideas...

Here are a few ideas for RS Meetings you may want to consider.

This could be a way to help any sister get to the temple on a regular basis, and especially those sisters who who have difficulty getting there for various reasons.  Babysitting and carpooling could be offered, and you may consider offering it quarterly, or even monthly.

Empty Nesters
A time for those who no longer have children living at home to come enjoy dinner and good company.  

S.I.S.ter Day  (acronym for "Self-Improvement Saturday")
An alternative to what has been known in the past as Super Saturday.  A time to try a new skill, something new, or work on a project of your own.  Consider using sisters in your own ward, or at least in our stake as your instructors.

If your presidency & Bishop prefer to offer a traditional Super Saturday, keep in mind the guidelines in the RS Handbook.  

Here are a few project ideas that might peak your interest...

Fun with Jars  (Glass Etching, Gift Ideas, Take-Home Treat)  Showing how to use jars in various ways.  Tutorial link is HERE.

Picture Frame Dry Erase Board:
Using spray paint, fabric, and new (or old) picture frames.  Tutorial link is HERE.

Cafe Apron:
Taking a simple folded napkin, adding a waistband, and transforming it into a kitchen apron.  Great beginning sewing idea, as it is very easy.  Tutorial link is HERE.

Friday, August 13, 2010

LDS Beta Sites

The Church is testing new websites - "beta" sites.  This one contains touching videos concerning the humanitarian work going on around the world.  Many of these projects are not sponsored by the Church, but when their needs become known - the Church steps in and often helps them complete the work they have begun.

This site, along with so much information it contains - can be a great resource to show at a RS Meeting where humanitarian projects are being worked on.  Many people have access to projectors that will work along with a laptop.  Check out this site and see if these videos would motivate your sisters to participate in a humanitarian service project.

LDS Beta Site is HERE.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Legacy & the Mormon Channel

With July being a month we appreciate our heritage, you may want to check out a program on the Mormon Channel.

If you're not familiar with it - check out the link where you can learn more.

Some of the programs have not only mp3 downloads, but also PDF.  In the PDF version, it is a written text of the program exactly as it originally aired - great for research.

One in particular that caught my eye was the Legacy program.  This program tells some of the unique history of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Throughout the world, great stories from faithful Church members have only added to that history. This weekly program on the Mormon Channel, created in cooperation with the Family History and Church History Departments of the Church, shares some of these incredible stories of faith, perseverance, hope, and inspiration.

It's interesting to see how the Church has always offered activities that uplift and strengthen.  For the sake of nostalgia - you may enjoy these photos from the past...

(Makes us count our blessings, no?)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Focus on your GIFTS...which are stable.

A recent BYU devotional caught my attention this week, and I thought it had great potential for a RS Meeting idea.

Economic conditions are s-l-o-w-l-y improving - so slow in fact, that it's hard to see much progress.  Many are still struggling with job & financial stress.  For families & individuals who are lucky enough to have stable jobs right now, they may feel a bit of (anxious) gratitude - but realize that could change at any time.

This devotional is entitled "What Is Your Calling in Life?" by Jeffrey Thompson of BYU.  It is available in both audio and a transcript.  Listen to it first, then examine the written transcript (that is downloaded at this LINK)

You may have a resource in your ward who would be able to present these ideas - which are based on the Gospel.  It may be the kind of activity/workshop that both Priesthood & Relief Society would benefit from together.

He presents several examples & stories that illustrate his message - one in particular is about zookeepers, and how they view their 'job' as a calling.

Here is one nugget of wisdom included in his talk that I thought was excellent and applies to all of us - no matter our situation at present...

When you are negatively affected by unstable economic conditions, focus on your gifts, which are stable.   You may have to take a job that is below your level of qualification.  If so, perform the work with drive, and use your gifts to put your unique stamp on your contributions. Doing so will increase your chances of finding better employment later.  You may even suffer joblessness for a time. Research shows that unemployment can have a devastating long-term impact on self-confidence, on health, and on happiness.   

I submit that having a sense of calling is part of your inoculation against the vicissitudes of the job market. Know yourself.  Know what your gifts are. And define yourself by your gifts—not by your lack of a job.  Contrary to what the world might tell you, you don’t have to have a job to express your calling in life. If the world at present is not willing to pay you for what you can do, then donate your spiritual gifts to worthy causes—perhaps through public service or volunteering—until the value of those gifts becomes so evident that people want to pay you a fair wage for them.  Even in a booming economy, you may have to create your own opportunities to fulfill your calling in life.  Despite what most fairy tales imply, real-life princes and princesses don’t just wait around for their dreams—or dream jobs—to come true.

Friday, May 28, 2010


This could be an idea for a midweek RS meeting.  Sisters could learn of this new missionary tool by making it part of a presentation on missionary work.  A member of your RS Meeting Committee could teach it, someone in your ward or stake with this type of skill could teach it, or it could be an opportunity to simply view the profiles that are currently on the website for ideas.

Here is an explanation...

New changes are coming to - the biggest of which is the profiles of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Their goal is to have 1,000 profiles of Mormons by the end of May 2010.

The new is designed for visitors to learn more about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Each profile is a collection of stories and testimonies from Mormons.  Participation is optional, but you must be a member of the Church to create a profile.  The profiles will be made public this summer when the new site will launch.  English only profiles will be available this year; other languages will follow.

Here is an example of a profile...  (Click on the photo for more information)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cinco de Mayo - 4th Ward May RS Meeting

The new 4th Ward Presidency launched their second mid-week RS meeting on May 5th - the actual day of Cinco de Mayo.  Their new RS Meeting Committee went to work advertising with this bright poster.  Since Stake Conference fell the Sunday before, they wanted to make sure it was well advertised - and flyers were handed out in all auxiliaries the week before that.  The day before, a ward-wide email went out reminding the sisters.

Each table was set with simple Mexican decor, and there was a small cup of mexican soda similar to carbonated apple juice (the name escapes me!) for everyone to taste.

A 'Cafe-Rio-like' buffet was set up, and the sisters served themselves in tin pans similar to the restaurant. 

After dinner, Jane McClement introduced her son Brian - who served his mission in Mexico.  He spoke about the Cinco de Mayo holiday - which is only celebrated in a very limited region in Mexico, and more so in the United States.  (Here is a little synopsis below)  We found that it is NOT to be confused with Mexican Independence Day - which is celebrated on September 16th.

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a holiday held on May 5 that commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.[2][3] It is celebrated primarily in the state of Pueblaand in the United States.[4][5][6][7] While Cinco de Mayo sees limited significance and celebration nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed nationwide in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.[8] Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day,[9] the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.[10]

Claire Chance - the RS Meeting Coordinator (official title, notice?) gave a little quiz to see how much we remembered.

Following Brian, Cami Clark (Sharie's daughter) spoke of her experience teaching English in Mexico.  She  set up a slide show and gave us background on food, culture, etc...  She spoke of the hard-working, humble people she worked with.

This was a fun atmosphere to mingle and visit - which all sister really miss because of limited time during the Sunday meeting times.  It was also a way to get to know Cami better - one of the talented, younger sisters in Relief Society.

*Many thanks to Karen Palmer - she is a fantastic photographer/historian for the 4th Ward Relief Society.  She always makes a point to bring her camera to every activity - just in case.

Each RS should think about having a historian - just think how fortunate we were to have the photos in the Women's Conference slide show...

*We would love to spotlight your recent RS Meetings so we can share ideas.  Photos are great, but not absolutely necessary - so don't let that deter you!  Please send them to me by email, or I can swing by and pick them up from you if needed.  My email is located to the right...

Welcome New 8th Ward Presidency

Last night we were happy to get to know the new RS Presidency in the 8th Ward.

Here they are (from left to right...) Jill Petersen (president), Kathy Eskelson (1st counselor), Paula Hardy (2nd counselor), and Barbara Mitchell (secretary). They have been in just a short time, but already have several things planned.

One in particular that sounded fun was a "Sisters In Zion Picnic" - which is essentially a mother/daughter activity. The name has been changed to be more inclusive for all sisters in their ward. (What a great idea!)

The theme they are using this year is "The Empowered Woman" - which was instituted by the recently released presidency.

Their ward has always had the most success in their RS Meetings when sisters are given the opportunity to work on humanitarian projects.

They currently have a humanitarian committee where 3 sisters decide on projects that would be beneficial and of interest to the sisters of their ward to help with. Their bishopric often states that the 'humanitarian fund' in their ward is always generously contributed to - and they often have to come up with projects to use those donations.

One recent project they shared with us last night - which was making burial clothing for stillborn and very premature infants.

There is a real need for these items, as parents are most often not prepared for finding appropriate clothing to dress these very tiny infants in prior to their burial. It is common practice now to turn these very tiny deceased babies over to their parents - even at 16 weeks gestation. What a difficult time for parents (most often young and struggling financially), and what a relief to be offered lovingly handcrafted items as a service to them.

Shown below is the basket where sisters can bring their finished items and place them during Sunday RS Meetings.

To give you an idea of how small these are, here are some photos.

These are burial shrouds - often the infants are so small that clothing them is impossible.

These are like tiny sleeping bags or buntings where only the little face is showing

These are small gowns which are much easier to dress such a tiny baby.
The ward RS provided small doll-sized patterns.

The caps are made from ribbing, cut to length and tied with ribbon at the top.

Hard to imagine how hard it would be to prepare such a small infant for burial.

These are small pads to place beneath the baby, with a pouch to enclose absorbent material.

Lovingly crocheted afghans that are 12" square.

Items such as these can rarely be found or purchased, and if they are available - they are often expensive and costly to ship quickly enough to be used in time for a burial.

The sweet thing about this is the fact that the hands that touched these donated items before the parents, did so with much love and compassion - so different than mass production from a business.

*Update to this post (added Sept 10, 2016)

So many have requested patterns and sources for these gowns, I have added a new post with that information.  See the link to this post here:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Testimony Tag

With one of the themes of our Saturday evening adult meeting of Stake Conference a few weeks ago, I've become more aware of opportunities to share testimony (in unobtrusive ways) with those we mingle with. Mingling can happen in many ways today - especially with the great tool of the internet.

I found this as I browsed the subject of using the internet for promoting the Gospel. I thought it had merit. Below I've included an example found on a personal blog that highlights this. It is subtle, noticeable, and invites curiosity without confronting others with the "golden question". (It is found HERE)

Wouldn't it be fun to have a RS Meeting where examples such as these are shared by your own ward members?

You might want to see the actual link where I found this idea - which is HERE.

Here is what Elder Ballard has said concerning the subject:

Elder M. Russell Ballard said "May I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration." (See video below)

Sharing your testimony or experiences of the Gospel via a blog has three principal benefits:

  1. You increase your faith in the Gospel and stand as a witness of Christ.

  2. You help increase the faith of your readers and may interest some to learn more about the Mormon Church.

  3. You increase the likelihood that individuals searching for information about the Church on the web will be more likely to find fair and accurate information about the Church.

Sample Personal Blog Post:

Our Family is Forever

On our recent trip, while filling up at a gas station, Neal saw a bumper sticker that gave him a brilliant idea. Pretty soon he was writing in the dust on the back window. It took me a moment to figure out what he wrote (since I was reading it backwards from inside the car). I had to chuckle when I realized that he had written What better way to let people know that this is our religion and we are proud of it. I am so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our trip was wonderful and a challenge at the same time. As hard as it is to travel 3500 miles with three kids, 5 and younger, it was so worth it to be able to spend such quality time together. I love my husband and children I am so thankful to know that we can be an together forever. "What matters most is what lasts the longest..." and I hope my family knows that they are what matters most to me.

(You have to look really close because the rain washed most of the dirt away.)