Friday, September 30, 2011

The Power of Love - Part II

I had to include the follow up to this story. Who knew there would even be a follow up, but when you know amazing people, amazing things are bound to happen.

We go now to the following Monday. I had gone to one of my good friends apartments to talk about a presentation that I will be conducting at her school in October and to talk about some other stuff. We were in her room when there was a knock on her front door. I jokingly said, “Let me know if it’s for me.” Boy was I shocked when she called for me and said that someone was there to see me. I was surprised to find our choir director standing there. He had gone to my apartment looking for me and was told I was here instead. He came to apologize for the way things happened and for any hurt feelings. I was so incredibly touched by this. In all honesty, it wasn’t anybody’s fault… really…just the way things happened. And, as I previously explained, the tears weren’t from hurt feelings (ok, only a tiny bit, but again, no one was to blame for that, it’s just how it was.) I explained this to him and he said something profound…he said that those were still my feelings and shouldn’t be disregarded and that he was sorry for his part in any of it. What a great guy!!

If I hadn’t had such a good experience the day before in feeling my Savior’s love for me, this moment would have done it alone. As it was, it was a coupled experience that reaffirmed to me the truth and reality of our Savior’s love. Never underestimate the power of kind words. This person certainly had nothing to apologize for, but his kind words helped me value myself; I felt like I was “enough”. So, thank you Mr. Choir Director for being concerned about me, for helping me to come to these realizations.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Power of Love

For the last several months, I have been filling in on the piano at church when people have not shown up, and I've also been playing for the ward choir. It has been such a fun time; stressful, but fun. Two weeks ago, the bishopric had made some new callings and people had been assigned to both of these positions, which was wonderful! The timing, however, couldn't have been worse. I struggled that week feeling that I was "enough"; I just kept selling myself short. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was looking for comfort and peace and got anything but. I fully anticipated the coming changes, but in the moment, I hadn't prepared myself for the actuality of it all. When I got to choir, I was told that someone else would be playing from here on out. Under normal circumstances, that would have been fine. In fact, it was fine - I was just emotionally...unstable...that day. I'm completely embarrassed to say I started to cry and had to excuse myself for a few minutes. After I pulled myself together (haha) I went back in to choir. I did my best to stop from crying, but then as we started to sing, I really paid attention to the words of the song that we had been practicing; the song that I had been playing for over a month. The song is "I Feel My Savior's Love". 
In the moment that I was feeling so worthless. In that moment, I felt my Savior's love, the love He freely gives me! As I sang this hymn, my heart was healed, and the tears of joy flowed freely. I have included a video of this song as performed by the Orem Institute of Religion Choir. I hope that as you listen to it, you will feel the love our Savior offers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Obedience and the Cream Puff

Well, it was actually an entire batch of cream puffs. I’ve been making cream puffs for years. They always turn out good, if I do say so myself. I would even consider myself fairly satisfied with the end result, though I always thought it could be better.

Several weekends ago, Lori had her last day of work in the bakery and she wanted to take a treat in to share with everyone (and when you work in a bakery, what else do you take but baked goods??). She decided that she wanted to take cream puffs, so we got to work. I was determined that since these were not for my own wants, I wanted them to be perfect. So, I took out the recipe and followed it exactly! None of this “well, it looks like it might be done”, or “its close enough”. I wasn’t striving for close, I was striving for perfection!

The recipe says to bring the butter and water to a boil. Once this happens, stir in the flour until it is incorporated and starts to form a ball. You then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg in completely before adding the next one. This is generally where I mess up. I usually have help that is so helpful, I haven’t actually mixed the egg in entirely before the next is dropped in. I don’t know if this is really key, but we did it this time and worked so well.

Then you scoop them out and bake them. The directions said to bake until golden brown and crispy. I always made it to the golden brown stage but was afraid of burning them that I never really gave them the opportunity to get the right amount of crunchiness. When I made them this time, I checked them at the appointed time and then added 5 – 10 minutes, checking frequently so they didn’t burn. When I brought them out, they didn’t fall like they have in the past. They were cooked enough that they kept their shape!! They were amazing to eat plain while they were still warm…just saying.

We made the pastry cream. Usually I just use a standard pudding mix…one box mix, two cups milk. When we went to Georgia in June, I decided to mix it up a little bit. With a little guidance from a happenstance website, I added a cup of cream and a cup of milk (I’ve made it since then and have done all cream…very good, but very rich and completely unnecessary). It makes it set up thicker and gives it an amazing taste. However, I put that good cream in compacted, soft pastry puffs and it was very disappointing. This time we had it right. Amazing puffs + amazing pastry cream = amazing cream puff!!

Now, if you are a chocolate addict like me, you must have chocolate on top of the cream puff. The recipe for my chocolate glaze/frosting is my favorite. It was given to me by a friend in college and I use it any chance I get. I have always wanted it to be thicker and better than I had made, but I had never been able to get it to work. This time, we did something amazing (new favorite word for this post…sorry!). We followed the recipe…again! It says to combine the first few ingredients in a pan until it boils for a minute. I have little patience for boiling things. Lori diagnosed this problem when, after only 20 seconds, I asked if I could move one. She looked at me with a look only a sister could get away with…you know, the one that says “you’re a moron”. I continued counting to 60 (1 minute) and started getting worried when the mixture started separating in the pan. I always thought separation in food prep was a bad thing. In this case, it was the best thing that could have happened! Thick, rich, fudging frosting/glaze (honestly, it was too thick to be considered a glaze, but it was perfect on the cream puffs).

I learned through this endeavor that obedience is fine. I followed the recipes before, I did what they said. This time, however, I followed the recipe with exact obedience. In this moment, I wondered what things in my life I was being obedient to, but could be exercising exact obedience. I’ve decided that if it’s something worth doing right, whether in the kitchen, at work, or anywhere else, I am going to be doing it with exactness.