November 29, 2012

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This slideshow created with Smilebox

September 18, 2012

So I have the wonderful opportunity to teach TWO Religion classes this year. I teach Book of Mormon to Young Single Adults- college age students. And I teach an Adult Doctrine & Covenants class. I LOVE them both!
I absolutely LOVE being with the young people. They are full of fun and energy! They face difficult challenges in their young lives and I’m so grateful we get to study the scriptures together to find hope and answers. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It stands beside the Bible. It confirms and validates the Bible. They go hand in hand! In the Book of Mormon, the missionary Amulek declared “And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” (Alma 34:8)
The Lord himself declares in Doctrine & Covenants 11:28-30 “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world. I am the same who came unto mine own and mine own received me not; But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name. Amen.”  It is an amazing and humbling experience to study the words of the Lord. He loves us and He knows us. He is aware of our lives, our struggles, our joys and our pains. He will bless, and comfort, and strengthen us if we will turn to Him.
This will be a BUSY year preparing all these lessons. But I am eternally thankful for the opportunity to teach. I hope and pray that my students will learn and be uplifted. And I mostly and especially hope that our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be strengthened. 

August 29, 2012

Come and See

Have you ever noticed as you go through life that your faith comes and goes in stages? Or is it just me? I mean, I always have faith. I always have a testimony of my Savior. But, I find as I go through different experiences sometimes I feel closer to my Savior and sometimes I feel as if I have wandered from Him a ways.

As I have recently been studying the New Testament more diligently I have learned a beautiful lesson. It is a lesson we can learn whether our faith is feeling strong enough to move mountains or, if for some reason our faith is feeling weak, or maybe for someone else, perhaps they have no faith at all. The lesson is the same. 
The most common miracle of the Savior’s ministry was healing the blind. One might wonder why? Was there a severe case of blindness in the Meridian of time? I don’t think so. I believe the Savior was very thoughtful and purposeful in all His teaching and healing. I believe there is beautiful dual meaning in these miracles.

Jesus declared “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

After the Savior healed a blind man John tells us the man “came seeing.” And Jesus declared again “I am the light of the world.”

In John 1:43-46 we find the 2 Great Invitations of the Lord
1. Jesus invites Philip to “Come, follow me.
2. Philip, now converted, tells Nathaniel “We have found the Savior.” Nathaniel asks in disbelief “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip simply invites “Come and see.”

Come and See. It is a simple invitation. Remove the blindness from your eyes. From the very beginning of His mortal life this has been the invitation.

In Matthew the Wise Men say they have “seen” the star and have “come” to worship
In Luke, after the angelic invitation and proclamation, the shepherds say “let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing…"

After her marvelous conversion the humble Samaritan woman invites those in her town to “Come and see…  is not this the Christ?”

Even at the very end of his mortal life the invitation remains the same. The angel, in Matthew, declares to Mary “He is not here, for he is risen… Come and see.”
We find this invitation throughout the New Testament. It comes from the Savior Himself, from His Apostles, angels, and His humble followers; each inviting us to “come and see”.

And so, as we go through life the invitation is for us. If we are one who is blind and lacking faith – “Come and See”! Open your eyes to the power and mercy and love of Jesus Christ. If you are like me, perhaps sometimes you just need to see His love and miracles a little more often. What I have learned is I need to open my eyes. It is not that His love is lacking. My eyes have been somewhat blinded. His invitation is to me, a faithful follower: “Come and See”. Look a little closer, a little harder, and Come and See.  

August 23, 2012

Mama Mia Pizzeria!

Roasted Tomato & Basil Pizza 

So, I love finding new recipes that are easy and DELICIOUS! Well, this pizza is SUPER delicious and fun! Takes a little time, but not anything difficult, and well worth it. We LOVED it!

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough:

1 package active dry yeast (1 TBS)
1 tsp white sugar
1 cup very warm water

2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 TBS Olive Oil
1 tsp salt

   1. Preheat oven to 450*. In medium bowl, dissolve yeast & sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy/foamy (about 10 minutes).
   2. Pour into large bowl (or mixer) stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. In mixer only about 3-5 minutes. Let rest for about 5-7 minutes.
   3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to pizza stone dusted w/cornmeal (or lightly greased pizza pan).
   4. Gently brush lightly with Olive Oil
   5. Bake about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes. Then add desired toppings...

STEP 2: make Pizza

Shaved Parmesan cheese
Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1 large green onion
4 garlic cloves
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1-2 cups baby arugula
8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
Fresh Mozzarella pearls
Fresh basil

STEP 3: In bowl toss cherry tomatoes, sliced green onion, 1 garlic clove, vinegar, salt & pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and cook in oven at about 350* for about 10-15 minutes or so. Not too long.
Also, roast other 3 garlic cloves in small skillet w/ little Olive Oil. On medium-high. Careful, this is fast. Just give them a little toast. Then stir with some fresh cut basil in the bowl that used to have the tomatoes.

STEP 4: Time to put goodies on top of pizza.

Spread with marinara sauce, spread on roasted tomatoes, sprinkle garlic & basil mixture
Dot with Mozzarella pearls, sprinkle shaved parmesan cheese, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, mix in small amount of the baby arugula
Bake at 350* for about 15 minutes ~ just until cheese is good and melty.

Remove and sprinkle rest of the baby arugula and a little more fresh basil on top.
Serve. DELICIOUS!! This is NOT YOUR NORMAL PIZZA and I'm Not Your Normal Nana! 
Second Option: we used goat cheese instead of the mozzarella pearls. We also added roasted pine nuts with the roasted garlic.
Of course, you can add all kinds of yumminess to this: artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, meats… etc.. ENJOY

August 08, 2012

Oh My Sister, You're Getting Old!

My sister turned 50 years old this summer! It’s quite a milestone. Half a century! Five decades. 18,250 days! That’s a lot of days to either get things right or get them wrong. Thankfully, she has spent most of those days getting it right. 

Her birthday has caused me to reflect on a couple of things. FIRST: getting old and SECOND: Sisters. While I truly appreciate and am eternally thankful for sisters I am still trying to fully appreciate getting old.

I haven’t quite figured out how to lovingly embrace Middle Age.
Bob Hope once said “Middle Age is when your age starts to show around your middle.” And Bette Davis said “Getting old isn’t for sissies!” 

As I seem to be more forgetful, my back aches more often, my knees creek and I continue to find grey hairs I realize How True It Is!

Notwithstanding the difficulties of getting older, I am thankful I have about a half a century of great memories with my sister. I am blessed to have 5 AMAZING sisters. We are blessed to, not only be sisters, but to be the best of friends. Sisters share a special bond.  A bond almost greater than any other human bond. They share bedrooms, boyfriends, secrets, clothes, joys, heartaches, triumphs and tears. It is because of their special bond that sisters survive the many experiences throughout life. 

How thankful I am for my sisters.

July 12, 2012

We're A Family

I love families! I love the family I was raised in and I LOVE my family now. I know I am truly blessed. I also realize that neither one of these families is perfect. Like most families, we have our shortcomings, our differences, and our challenges. But we love each other and that keeps us together. 

I have been blessed to travel to many places around the world and soon I will go to even more places. As I have traveled, one of my favorite things to do is meet with families. I have been blessed to be in many people’s homes and shared meals, stories, songs and prayers with other families. 

Each family has been different. But one thing they all have in common is their love for each other. That familial love transcends all cultures and countries. Regardless of where they live, what they eat, how they look ~ a family is still a family. We live in a wonderful world of great diversity. The beautiful people of this earth are all Children of God and are of many and varied religious persuasions. 

We must cultivate tolerance and appreciation and respect for one another. My travels have helped me do just that. As I meet and become acquainted with so many amazing people and families I recognize the wonder of diversity and the beauty of sameness.

I have written this little song about the many incredible, fascinating and different families around this globe. (Now I just need to put the words to music)

We’re a Family
By Kristen Rhead Sweeney

There’s a Mama, a Mama & a Papa and a baby
And a brother, and a sister… make a family
They make you feel good and ya giggle and get happy
They grow like branches and spread out in your family tree

And we hug ‘em, we squeeze ‘em, and we kiss ‘em
Cuz we love them… we’re a family

They live in mountains, in mountains & by rivers and in cities
And in forests, and in deserts where it’s hot and gritty
Some wear shoes, but others let their feet get dirty
Some wear jackets, or dresses that are bright and pretty

And we hug ‘em, we squeeze ‘em, and we kiss ‘em
Cuz we love them… we’re a family

All around the world, everywhere we go
Meeting different folks… oh, people, don’t you know
They’re just like you, and they’re just like me
We share this planet earth… we’re one big family

Spinning round and round through the galaxy
Going from town to town… Oh, can’t you see
That they’re just like you and they’re just like me
We share this planet earth… we’re one big family

They eat rice, yummy rice, and pasta and their vegis
And burritos, and bugs and linguini with mommy
Some eat bugs! But others think that’s disgusting
But they love ‘em cuz they’re super sweet and squishy

All around the world, everywhere we go
Meeting different folks… oh, people, don’t you know
They’re just like you, and they’re just like me
We share this planet earth… we’re one big family

Spinning round and round through the galaxy
Going from town to town… Oh, can’t you see
That they’re just like you and they’re just like me
We share this planet earth… we’re one big family

… we’re one big family
… we’re one big family

We share this planet earth… we’re one big family

June 26, 2012

Deliver Us!

Deliver Us!
From Israel we drove across the barren Sinai to Cairo Egypt. More land covered with thick, hot sand for thousands of years; the very sands that the Children of Israel (some of my favorite people), once trekked through. I have read and studied the Old Testament so much that I love these people. Now, having walked through this sand, having felt the blistering sun on my head, and the hot desert wind across my face I feel as if I know them a little better. And my spirit feels connected to their spirit in a way it will never forget.
It is a powerful spiritual experience to walk where Moses walked. He is one of my heroes. The Prophet Brigham Young once said that he would have “crawled around the earth on [his] hands and knees to meet someone like Moses who could tell [him] anything about God and heaven.” (In Journal of Discourses, 8:228.)
From Moses and the deliverance of the Children of Israel I have learned great lessons about God and heaven. And now, here I was at the Red Sea. The very spot this epic event occurred! Here is one of the greatest miracles of all time: most talked about, most reenacted, most wondered about… In this great miracle, this momentous act, this grand- supernatural event we learn very sweet and tender lessons.
First, the sobering truth is that during our lives we will experience adversity, opposition, and darkness. We will face our own Pharaohs. We will have our own Red Seas to cross. As I stood on the edge of this great sea and looked out over the water I felt the panic the Israelites must have felt. I imagined their fear as they turned to see the army of Pharaoh behind them! Moses and the Children of Israel were faced with a great emergency!
I dipped my toes in the water. It was nice and cool. The sun was warm on my face. My mind continued to imagine the Israelites. They were trapped! There were chariots behind them, sand dunes on every side, and a lot of water immediately ahead. What would I have done? Like the Israelites, I have sometimes found myself feeling “trapped” by challenges and struggles. There have even been times I have felt like there is no escape. 
Moses needed help! The Children of Israel needed help! And I have needed help before. I have learned is that the “Red Sea” will open to the honest seeker.
I rolled up my pants and stepped into the water. It felt cooler on my calves. I wondered if it would feel even cooler still if I jumped all the way in! The gravel was smooth on my feet and the water was refreshing. I splashed my feet around and allowed my imagination to slip away again to the Children of Israel. What would it have been like? What fears would have entered my heart? I heard the faint echoes of men murmuring, babies crying and mothers praying. And then the Spirit whispered to me and I remembered what Moses had said to them “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” I love that!
Another beautiful lesson learned. When we have trials, when we face our Pharaohs, when we have Red Seas to cross: Do not be afraid! Be still and see the hand of the Lord in your life.
The next lesson that comes in the miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea is, if God has told you something is right, if something is indeed true for you: He will provide the way for you to accomplish it. The Lord not only told Moses what to do: “You’re going to cross this sea.” He told him HOW to do it… “lift up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea and divide it”. (Ex 14:16)
I can imagine my thought process if the Lord had been working with me that frightening night. “Ok Lord, you want us to cross this sea. So, I know what you want me to do. I know how you want me to do it –lift my rod. But, still, my weak mortal self cannot part that sea! I simply, humanly cannot do it!”  Then comes the next mighty lesson, and perhaps my favorite: The Lord will give us power to accomplish whatever it is we need to do! “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back…” (Ex 14:21) It is an eternally compelling yet powerfully personal principle.
I was completely lost in my daydreams. My feet were wet and cool. The edges of my pants were damp. My face was warm and the fresh sea air filled my lungs. I could have stayed for hours. One of the greatest miracles of all time occurred in this very place! I imagined great walls of water towering above. I imagined the fish and whales swimming along. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the Israelites to take that first step into the water and the muddy ground with darkness surrounding them, wind blowing, and mists of sea splashing their faces. And then, I remembered the fabulous Dreamworks animated movie ‘Prince of Egypt’. I remembered, as I stood in the Red Sea that day, taking my children to see that movie. As we watched the frightened Israelites follow Moses across the sea I leaned over to my son Jaren, who was about 4 years old at the time, and I said ““Oh, Jaren, would that be scary to follow Moses into that water?” And he looked at me and said with all the faith and confidence of a child “No! He’s the prophet!”
And so, I remembered the great lesson that I was taught by my four year old son. The last great lesson we learn from this moving miracle. We must have faith because He WILL deliver us! “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians.” (Ex 14:30)
He saved Israel and He will save us. He will deliver us! Whatever challenges and struggles we may have. Whatever Pharaohs we must face, whatever Red Seas we must cross. He will deliver us!

May 20, 2012

May Time Carol

Tis the Season to Be Rushing!
                                                       (A May Time Carol)
                      By: Kristen Rhead Sweeney

Tis the season to be rushing
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
No Christmas trees or holiday pudding
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Don we now our May apparel
Soccer cleats, baseball pants, hats and gloves
Now we sing a May Time carol
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Lunches, fieldtrips, dancing classes
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Reports, exams…hope everyone passes
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
End of school year celebrations
Invitations, graduations, some complications
Bridal Showers and Wedding Receptions
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Classroom parties “We want cupcakes!”
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Mother’s mixing, now Mother bakes
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Don’t forget what’s most important
Teacher gifts, thank you notes, pizza parties!
Don’t be late for any appointment
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
No time for dinner or for resting
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Off to hear some recital playing
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Needing strength from Heaven above
Rushing here, rushing there, everywhere
Do it all for the people we love
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
Hurry now, is summer coming?
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
I’ve had enough of this May time running
Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run
No more homework, no more parties
No more games, no more treats, no recitals
No more school and no more tardies
Phew!...Rush, rush, rush, rush, Run, rush, rush, rush, Run!!!
                                   (Mothers: On your mark…Get set…Go!)

April 14, 2012

Let's Swim!

It's that time of year: The Sun is hot and the Water is cool. 
Time for SWIM LESSONS! My favorite time of year.
** 25 years experience ** 

1. May 14 - May 24
2. May 29 - June 7
3. June 11 - June 21

May: 11:00am on... I will also have time available for after school kids.
June: 10:00am... as long as needed
I strongly believe lessons need to be often and consistent so I teach M-T-W-Th.
30 minute lessons
4 swimmers per class

$75.00.Session = 8 lessons

Contact me ASAP. Let's Swim!

February 29, 2012

Gentle Hands

This is dedicated to my mother. She is a small woman, standing just 5'3". But her soul is large and her heart enormous! I sometimes wonder how it all fits into her cute little body! :) She often lives in the shadow of my father who is tall, handsome, wise, and receives much attention. Deservedly so, he is a great person. But, so is my mother, who often serves quietly, diligently, and tirelessly behind the scenes. I once heard someone say that God will just look at our hands and be able to tell the kind of person we are. My mother will go to heaven with beautifully worn out hands! She'll have scars from needle pokes and pricks as she mends torn clothes and sews brand new ones. She'll surely have flour and dough stuck to her fingers from all the homemade bread and rolls she bakes. Her hands will be worn from the many years of serving others; cleaning, working, washing, fixing. Mostly they will be soft, warm hands from all the love and giving. 

Gentle Hands
By: Kristen Rhead Sweeney

Gentle hands always Serving
Working, Weeding, Sewing, Stirring
Never shouting words of fame
No awards, applause, acclaim
But still Serving, Loving, Working...
Just the same

Gentle hands always Giving
Mending, Kneading, Helping, Healing
Never shouting words of fame
No awards, applause, acclaim
But still Playing, Sharing, Feeling...
Just the same

February 13, 2012

Boy or Girl?

I have had five children. Ultra sounds were just becoming popular when I was having my babies. But most Doctors only performed an ultrasound if there was a problem. I never found out the sex of my baby. Even with my last two, when some women were doing so. I never wanted to know. I liked the fun surprise. Besides, women have been having babies for thousands of years without knowing the sex! Why do we need to know now? 
But this new generation likes to know and wants to know! My grown children, who are having babies now, all anxiously await the doctor visit for the ultrasound that will provide this exciting news.
Last year while visiting my pregnant daughter, she scheduled her Doctor’s appointment so I could go. It was so fun. We heard the heart beat and the Doctor confirmed again that Ashley was in perfect health.
Then, our little bubbles of excitement and anticipation were burst when the Dr. announced  he didn’t have time to do an ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby. Well, that will never do in 2012! We were bound and determined to find out whether this baby was a boy or a girl. We wanted to know and we wanted to know now!
So we drove straight to the Mall to this funny little lab that does ultrasounds for pregnant women. Ashley & Mike have been feeling like she was having a boy. After all, the Pencil Test said she would have a boy first! 

You know the “Pencil Test”, right? Oh boy! Swing the pencil over your wrist: vertical means a boy, horizontal means a girl. “The Pencil Test is never wrong!” So says the gypsy women with dangling earrings and colorful scarves.

But we wanted proof. It was so cool to watch the ultrasound. This time with my daughter. The young technician gently rolled the probe over Ashley’s round belly. It’s been a long time for me but I could tell what everything was. Look! A leg… the head…  the heart - look at it beating! It’s so incredible and wonderful to see that there really is a little baby inside. An arm, a hand, another leg… two legs… a bottom and…  look- it’s a girl! Wait, a girl? “Are you sure?” Ashley and Mike both asked. We looked again… the spine, a leg, another leg, a bottom and…  “Yep! It’s a girl.” How can the Pencil Test not be true? Our faith has been shaken! (hee hee) 
It was a strange feeling for Ashley & Mike who had been imagining a boy all this time. Admittedly, they were a bit disappointed. However, as soon as we were finished we went straight to Baby Gap and found the most darling little girl dresses and bloomers and bows. Ashley quickly decided it was going to be very fun to have a girl! Thank goodness for modern technology! And for Baby Gap.J
And this is that sweet baby girl