Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just a Jam Sesh

Even though I may have gotten raspberry juice on my shirt, it was still a pretty good day.  Any day is a good day though when I get to hang out with my grandparents.  We've gotten pretty close this summer as I go and help clean, paint, or work in the garden.  GranNorma has been telling me for ages that she was going to teach me how to make jam.  Today was the day.

At the end of the day my grandpa gave me a B+ in Jam for Beginners.  I probably didn't get an A on account of splattering the berries, my stirring form, and over-filling one of the bottles.  But, hey, we're not all professionals the first time around, however I still think it turned out pretty great.   

Here's the proof:

 First we heated the jars and lids.

Then Norma showed me really how much sugar goes into jam... no wonder I love it so much.

Because she's brilliant and freezes her excess berries, she can make jam all year round.

Somewhere between the last photo and this one I splattered the berries on my shirt.

Then we stirred in the pectin with a pinch of butter.

Stir to a boil.

Make sure you have an expert on hand.

 Because it never hurts to have a shoulder angel.

 Make sure you are stirring, not whipping.  Whipping is bad form, however, popping your pinky might make up for it.

 While stirring, pour in sugar.

 Make sure to get all the lumps out.

 Then borrow my grandpa to help you seal the jars. 

Proceed until you've canned it all. 

 And voila!  You're the proud owner of some fine preserves!
Wife potential points.  Just sayin'.

Also, while flipping through an old cookbook I found a recipe submitted to the Lakeland Ward cookbook by my namesake! Looks like I was bound to be a master cook. 

So, cross that off of the summer bucket list!

And, speaking of that...

Cross this off too:

 Caleb took me on a date and we stopped by the carnival to cross something else off of the list.

I'm happy to say I was with him as he took his very first Ferris Wheel ride.  It only took 23 years!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


So, if you were at all curious whose birthday is fast approaching, I could perhaps give you a hint.  



That's right folks.  21 here I come!  

Because I am a kind, considerate and somewhat self absorbed soon-to-be birthday girl, I've compiled my wish list for your convenience.

You can thank me later.  

1. A spoon ring. 
I've narrowed down my favorites on to the following:

I'm a size 7.

2. A curling iron.
Preferably a Hot Tools 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" barrel:
3. A cookie scoop: 
I'm hoping for a Pampered Chef scooper as seen below, it's a must have for a cookie baker like myself:

So, if you were looking for ideas (mom... dad...) there's a few.

August first is just around the corner. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No Maximum Capacity

In a corner of my Book of Mormon I have a little note scribbled.  It's a scribble that I stole from a dear friend's Book of Mormon.  It's in Alma 41, which happens to be one of my favorite chapters, due to the topic.
That simple little note says:
"Happiness comes from our capacity to love other people."  
And, you know what?  I believe there is truth in that statement.  
I know of no better example of this principle than Jesus Christ, Himself.  If there ever was a person with a capacity to love, it was certainly the Savior.  How grateful I am for his example in loving others unconditionally.  What's more is that His great love extends into forgiveness and mercy, and not just for a few, but for everyone.  
I find it astonishing that people spend lifetimes and life savings pursuing happiness, when really it is as simple as doing as Jesus so expressly taught.  
So, it the primary song, as we sing,
"As I have loved you, love one another" 
 We are really just being commanded to be happy. 

Today my capacity to love other people was over-flowing. 
But then, what is there not to love about them?

I am one blessed and happy girl, and there is no arguing that.  

Sydnie Juniper

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's In It For Me?

I guess you could say I have done a lot of reflecting in the past little while.  Today at church one lesson after another seemed to be about missionary work.  They went about as usual giving the charge to go forth and save souls and bring them unto Christ.  These lessons caused me to ponder on my own previous missionary opportunities, many of which I have mentioned in prior posts, but forgive me for being repetitive, as this is something I should have shared in Relief Society, but did not. 

What is the point of this life anyway?  What is a major point of the plan of salvation, and agency?  It's experience, isn't it?  D&C 122: 7 "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."  Well, my handful of missionary opportunities have been just that, experience.  I have found that my best growth can come from times qualify-able as "experiences," if nothing else.  Some even go to an extent where I feel like the experience wasn't even about the other person, but about me. 

Rewinding to my freshman year at Southern Utah University, I received my roommate assignment in summer of 2009.  Naturally, my first instinct was to facebook stalk them and find out a bit about who they were.  Through the course of meticulously picking through their info pages or whatever else I could see despite their security settings, I realized that of the six of us, three were members of the LDS church.  Long discussions were had with my parents about staying true to my foundation and that my roommate assignments presented a great opportunity for missionary work.  I leached onto this idea, and I went into the situation with the attitude that they had been placed in my life for me to teach them the gospel. 

It took a few months but I was finally hit with a realization.  After these months of interacting and answering each others questions it hit me that the experience was just as much for me as it was for them, if not more.  My perspective broadened and so did our conversations.  We talked about what they believed, theologically and beyond.  We discussed lifestyle choices and personal philosophies on topics even outside of religion.  It was through these discussions that my testimony was fortified, I didn't always agree with their choices or theories, but I learned so much.  I wasn't just sent to them, but they were sent to me too.  We learned to respect each other and each others beliefs.  

Because of that experience I have had a softened heart in every missionary opportunity since.  Missionary work is so much more than drawing the line between right and wrong.  It is about the individual, and relationships that can be built.  We hope and pray that we will be able to be a force in bringing that person closer to the Savior, in helping them build a relationship with their Heavenly Father.  But additionally, missionary work is about building relationships between each other.  There isn't just one teacher and one student, those roles are interchangeable.  In the ideal missionary discussion, both walk away having learned something new with a strengthened relationship with each other and with the Lord. 

So, I guess what I am getting at is, after the lessons today that were so heavy in admonishing us to go and do, and to valiantly save the world, I would like us to step back and evaluate how we may need saving too.  People are placed in our lives for us to learn from them.  What a shame it would be to be given such a great privilege of having the gospel, and to then put on our blinders to our brothers and sisters who can offer so much to us.  We have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.  If nothing else, just imagine how much our missionary opportunities will be enhanced because we have a greater understanding of humanity and God's children. 

Go ahead, be selfish and ask yourself, "what's in it for me?" Because chances are, there is so much more in store for you than ever could be imagined. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

things seemed right

i went for a run
and i did it on purpose
clouds threatening rain
extended quite an invitation

my feet meeting pavement
my mind feeling clear
the first drop fell 
a silly grin appeared 

just feeling in the present
not the past or future 
and things seemed right
in that moment

i turned the corner
i latched the gate
something made me linger
as i felt rain on my face

parked on the old doghouse 
beneath a crab apple tree
i slid to the left 
and each rung i reached

underneath the abandonment
blowing away the dust 
the old clubhouse 
somehow seemed perfect

housing nostalgia
meetings and make believe
memories of my growing up
illuminated my mind

the scars from skinned knees
huge glasses and an eyepatch
broken bones and that perm 
were just part of my definition

i would trade it for nothing
all a part of me
 a part of who i am today
and who i will be tomorrow

 crazy things happen 
from time to time
but things seemed right 
in that moment

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Partial to Poppies

Maybe it's because we're both red-heads... I don't know.  But if you ask me, everything about them is beautiful.  They were so innumerably scattered throughout the French countryside and as we passed on the train, I found them enchanting.  Something about the delicate petals and their long stems makes them perfect in this sort of imperfect way.  They're wild yet elegant, and today I am dreaming of the flower beds they will occupy when I have a home of my own someday. 

Sydnie Juniper