Author Archives: Keri Vergari

Countdown to Vaya con Dios

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Recap: December 2013 generally an inauspicous day, but it was two weeks before official retirement and I had about 5 months before written out 5 goals to be completed in 5 years. One of those goals was to begin a blog. Not to make money, but to share the adventures of my pending retirement. To add to honest thoughts it was something to keep my mind engaged so I woldn’t get brain bound living inside my own head.

My family had cristened me wanderingkeri several years before and the moniker stuck…a little like where’s waldo, they’d ask where’s mom and what is she doing now? Seemed an appropriate title and wander together we have; across the U.S. , through the Rocky Mountains, over the Sierra’s, down rivers and into secret spots. We’ve rolled over deserts, squished in ocean sands. Took a lealp across the pond to hug family, and experience antiquity. Biking and hiking, whining or trumpeting triumps and broken hearts, and appocolyptic green house debacles we’ve seen it all and more. The best things besides my Fam is sharing our faith in and love for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Life is like that isn’t it?

Where does this recap lead? Today begins the countdown to March 31, 2021. That day will be the last day for the last post for wanderingkeri in this place. Life is full and my sharings have become fewer and farther between. It seems the right time to wrap up this adventure. So the next 40 plus days I may or may not finish this journey up with a flood … it may be just a trickle – it depends. I don’t want to give you or myself an over abundance of expectations. Will I go out like a meteor or fizzle like the tailend of a sparkler on the 4th of July? Stay tuned.

Beignets! Beignets!

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This pandemic has kept us closer to home and watching way to much television … movies, sitcoms, dramas … and cooking shows. Those cooking shows have become an addiction unto themselves. Just this past week I followed Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster. the hosts of America’s Test Kitchen and made the most flavorful, moist and delightful Tuscan Pork Loin Roast. We had it for 2 dinners, and 3 lunches (sandwiches) and Sweetie has already put it into our nightly meal rotation. It was soooo good!

Then a few days ago I came upon Kevin Belton’s New Orleans cooking also on YouTube and he was making French Quarter Beignets. Oh how we loved the beignets at Cafe Du Mond – those fluffy pillows of fried dough sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar, eaten hot. Ah…

So I did a quick google and found the recipe and yesterday voila! Fresh beignets for dessert. Fresh beignets for breakfast along with a poached egg. The recipe made a large batch so I cut it in quarters and we’ll have some more for tonights dessert. (We’re having company). Again for breakfast and I think I’ll have to freeze the rest of the dough (the recipe said I could) so I don’t turn in to fat, waddling wanderingkeri.

No kidding friends, you NEED to try these beignets & the tuscan pork loin roast. Ooooo maybe on the same night? That might be tastbud overload!

French Quarter Beignets ftaken rom Presto.com

 Makes 36 to 40 beignets

  • Vegetable oil for frying*
  • 1 cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Combine water, 1/4 cup sugar, and yeast in a small bowl; stir until combined. Let set for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it swells or bubbles.

Add eggs to a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs slightly. Add milk, remaining sugar, salt, and yeast mixture and mix using an electric mixer. Add 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add shortening and continue to mix. Add remaining flour and mix until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, about 10 minutes (a mixer dough hook can expedite this process). Place dough into a large bowl, cover with a linen towel, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

When ready to fry, preheat oil in Presto® electric deep fryer. If using an adjustable thermostat deep fryer, set at 350°. Do not use a frying basket with this recipe.

Divide dough into thirds for easier handling. On lightly floured surface, roll dough out 1/4-inch thick and cut into 2-inch squares or triangles. Fry until golden brown, turning continuously. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve hot with extra powdered sugar.

Adapted from Homemade Tortilla Crisps recipe in Chef Kevin Belton’s Big Flavors of New Orleans cookbook.

Hate & Love

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There I stood staring at the windfall of leaves that covered almost every inch of the lawn in my back yard. I overwhelmed myself. Where did all of those leaves come from? Then I remembered …

When my trees were planted I was ecstatic that I would have shade, from the Maple and the River Birch, and apples, and pears, and peaches, and not to forget the grapes and blackberries. Yes!

Now it’s many years later and my trees are mature (that means very tall and bountifully leafy). Every season I relished their abundance; fresh, jammed, and bottled. But nooooowwww, now it’s fall – do you know why they call it fall? HA! Because all of the leaves FALL to the ground and then I get to pick them all up!

Which is what I did – I raked and raked and raked those crispy, dead leaf remains into piles, and piles, and piles, and piles then I spent another at least half day bagging them – it was grand exercise – bend and stretch, twist and turn, lift and drop. That night my muscles were so sore I felt every one, individually screaming at me to just stop moving!

I hate leaves!!

This morning I took the Mala Dog for her morning sniff and wander and found myself walking a worn field road alongside very old, very enduring cottonwood trees. Then I realized I was smiling while crunching leaves under foot, and noticed silver gray cottonwood leaves flicking up in drifts in front of my Asolos. I smelled the dusty leafy air and reveled in every leafy memory that floated into my mind and I smiled more broadly.

I love leaves.!!

Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

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In such times as this that are full of contention, commotion, fear, and distrust I have reached out more often during my days seeking comfort and peace. I look for ways to fill my heart with calmness and hope; good music, study, and laughter with family and friends. But honestly, the only way I have found that truly gives me lasting peace is my Savior Jesus Christ.

I am in awe of his majesty and love every time I reach he reaches back, calms my heart and gives me hope.

This Friday, November 20, 2020, @ 11:00-11:15 MST, the President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, will share a message to the world … for hope and healing for the world.

Promise! You will totally find your soul and heart calmed and filled with love, hope, and healing.

Live via Facebook, and other social media sites, and it will be streamed on churchofjesuschrist.org

 

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hugs children after they rushed to meet him in Asuncion, Paraguay on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018.

When, Not If, IT Happens

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A few months ago I wrote the following letter to my family … the impression I had to write and send this to them was unmistakable and I’m hoping they heeded the message. But after talking with some of them the letter has been beneficial to others — I hope it will be helpful for y’all too.  

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Vehicle 72-hour Survival Packs

Survial packs for the car. Grab an old backpack, aor large messenger bag or sack. It needn’t be fancy. Remember it’ll be stuffed somewhere in your vehicle and tossed back and forth.

 

Dear Family – With all the turmoil in the world; fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, besides the crazy political upheaval, we have had you on our minds – a lot. The other night I had the distinct impression to encourage you to:

 

 

(1) Put together 72-hour survival packs to KEEP in your car.  We never know where we might be when hunkering down is a nessecity. We may be alone, cell phones may have no connection (earthquakes for example can drop a cell tower in a second, breaking up roads, or a dam may break) … see where I’m going? Ask yourself ‘what if I have to walk out to safety’? It is most likely there won’t be any concentrated effort by police or government to find and rescue you.  You will be on your own. Will you be prepared?

(2) Develop and emergency plan that when something happens and you are separated you will know a) where you will go and b) if you only had 1 phone call you might consider a contact number for someone outside  your area that would serve as a message center.

(3) Begin to put some food and water storage away, and put aside an emergency fund. Start small if you’re skint on cash; buy a can or two extra each week when you pick up your groceries. Then, build up enough for say 2 weeks, then add to it bit by bit until you have a months supply. After a while you will be able to care for yourself for 3 months (food & water) in case of long-term need.  It isn’t necessarily a natural disaster, but it may be the loss of a job (like the covid-19 pandemic), or a world-wide financial collapse (like in 2008). 

Well, that’s what has been on my mind and that I have been prompted to encourage you to do … not to put off preparing.  This thought also has run through my mind as I’m writing this… If you are prepared, you need not fear.

Please – Just start – Do what you can now

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Ideas for a 72-hr Pack (going for high calorie/low weight) in case you have to carry your pack.

 

 Basic Materials needed per person/per pack:

 1 two-liter bottle of water or smaller bottles, or a filled camelpak insert
 Food items listed below
 Duct Tape, Large Garbage Bag(s)
 Large Gallon Ziploc Bag(s) for packing food & other items
Extra Medicines You May Need
A Small First-Aid Kit
 Knife or Multi-tool
 Waterproof Matches or Full Lighter
 Flashlight & Extra Batteries
 

Food Items:

 2 packs of chewing gum
 2 packets hot chocolate mix &/or 2 packets of instant coffee
 1 ½ cups trail mix or small package peanuts
 2 sticks beef jerky (for the vegetarian option, considering replacing with vegan jerky).         
 1 small package of fruit or apple juice
 2 packets apple cider instant mix
 1 two-liter bottle(s) water
 13 pieces hard candy
 2 fruit roll ups
 3 packages soda crackers
 1 can hearty soup (pop top)
 2 instant soup mix pkg
 4 granola / energy

 

 Note: Write the Date packed on the outside of the Ziploc bag & Refresh your food yearly. Print this file to attach to your 72-hour Survival Pack. (List from prepardnessmama.com)

Possible Menu:

Day 1 — Breakfast 2 granola/energy bars, 1 package fruit or apple juice — Lunch: 1 pkg soup mix (or noodles), 1 pkg soda crackers — Dinner: 1 beef jerky stick, 1 fruit roll — Snacks: 4 pieces of candy & 3 sticks of gum

Day 2 — Breakfast: 3/4 of the trail mix, 1 hot chocolate or coffee Lunch: 1 beef jerky stick, 1 apple cider Dinner: 1 canned soup, 1 pkg soda (or cheese) crackers — Snacks: 5 pieces candy, 3 sticks of gum

Day 3 — Breakfast: 1/2 trail mix, 1 apple cider — Lunch: 1 pkg soup mix (or noodles), 1 pkg soda crackers — Dinner: 2 granola/energy bars, 1 fruit roll, 1 hot chocolate — Snacks: 4 pieces candy & 3 sticks gum

 

Other Useful Additional Items

 

Sleeping Bag

Water Purifier

Dust Mask

Good Walking Shoes or Boots

Seasonal Coat/Gloves/Hat – Change of Clothes

Heating Water Source – I suggest a Jet-Boil & Fuel (It can be used to heat water and as a pan)

Paper Towels

Toilet Paper, Moist Wipes & Sanitizer

Feminine Hygiene

Baby/Children Needs (Formula, Diapers, Toys etc)

Playing Cards

Paper / Pen (for notes or directions)

Maps of the area you are traveling in & compass

Small Tarp with jump-line (for shelter if needed)

Solar or Windup Portable Radio

 

 

None of this is meant to frighten you, cause you to panic, or to turn into a ‘prepper’, but it is prudent to be aware and prepare for the ups and downs of life.  There are a lot of great websites to learn more about preparedness and self-reliance. The more you know, the better prepared you can be.  

ready.gov

Prepardness

red cross

Remember: It is your job to take care of yourself. Don’t count on ‘someone’ coming to ‘save you’.  

 

Prepare every needful thing

Jesus the Christ – Instead of Panic & Fear

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I reread this tonight … after I initiated the deletion of my facebook account and pages.  Everytime I opened my feed the escalating cacophany of voices of contention, hate, arguing, anger, blindness, deafness, hard-heartedness, fear, finger-pointing, and, and, and  wracked my soul and I said “enough”!

I know where I have peace. I know who knows the beginning to the end, I know that what I wrote was true then, is true today, and will be true to the end of time and throughout all eternity! Jesus Christ, Lord, Savior, King.

In the midst of this viral crisis when we are bombarded by tsunamis of fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of no food, and anxiety for our family, friends, country, and the world we might feel like a banana in a smoothy blender , tossed to and fro on the winds of hysteria. Stop.

… STOP … PAUSE … REFOCUS on the one who has overcome ALL things, who has gone below ALL things, who has suffered ALL things that He may know how to succur us in our extremities and our distress.

Listen to His words. Believe Him.  Believe that He is and that He knows you and knows how to come to you … where ever you are  … and He will give you rest.  He has promised, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

And he has not left us alone to wander about unaided, and lost in the cacophany of talking heads, and opinions, and fear-mongering. Did you know we have a living Prophet of God  upon the earth today? He is a prophet, seer, and revelator of the Lord, and holds the keys of the powers of heaven. He is our Watchman standing upon the towers to guide us through the storms of life … he focuses us on and points the way to our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we listen to his counsel, when we follow in the steps of Jesus we can weather any storm. No matter what.

These are a few prophetic words given through the years that have touched my heart and given me hope and direction.

“In the coming days it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” President (2018 – ) Russell M. Nelson (1924 – )

“As we make Christ the center of our lives our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.” President  (2008-2018) Thomas S. Monson (1927 – 2018)

“We are in a period of stress around the world. There are occasionally hard days for each of us. Do not dispair, Do not give up. Look for the sunshine through the rain.” President (1995-2008) Gordon B. Hinkley (1910 – 1995)

“Prepardness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.” President  (1973- 1995) Spencer W. Kimball. (1895 – 1985)

“Happiness does not depend on what happens on the outside of you, but what happens on the inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life.” President (1972-1973) Harold B. Lee ( 1899 – 1973)

It’s true. All of it.

 

Only 21 Days and Counting!!

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There are only 21 days until Christmas! Santa’s coming! I have Christmas Lists to write! And send those Christmas Cards. I have to hang the Christmas Stockings! I loved those decorations I pinned at midnight last night. I have to start the Cooking, Baking and Candy making. We are going to go cut our Perfect Tree, and I’ll bring hot chocolate, and cookies, and we will all smile and be happy and it will be a perfect memory. I want to find the Perfect wrapping paper to match my perfectly themed tree. Why are the lights and decoration not up on the

Rejoice! The Lord is King!  He is our Salvation!

house yet? Did I Find the perfect presents? What if they think it is stupid. I should have some spare gifts ready.

 

Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 

For the past several years I have shared daily advent scriptures on my Facebook status; I opened the Old Testament and offered Isaiah’s powerful visions and prophecies of the coming of the Messiah, and stood with Zacharias in the temple, we knelt in awe at Mary’s humble acquiescence to the angel’s announcement she was to be the mother to Messiah, the Son of God. I felt Joseph’s fear when there was no room at an inn. And on the day I wrote of the shepherds, I rejoiced again with the Heavenly hosts, for the day of our salvation had come.

 

Each morning I sat for a few minutes writing, and for a month I followed the foretelling and unfolding of God the Father’s Plan for our Salvation. I hoped this would be a benefit to someone. I don’t recall too many comments or Likes, but I know I benefited from those few minutes of relecting on the miracle that is our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Turn up the Light around us, to hold up the light of Christ to our brothers and sisters. Like the Prophet Nephi we can “talk of Christ, we can rejoice in Christ, we can preach of Christ, we can share the  prophesy of Christ, … that our children (and I add our brothers and sisters) may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins”.

Because with the birth of our Lord and Savior, the Plan of our Salvation became reality.

In the middle of the world’s version of Christmas we’ve been asked to Light the World and keep Christ in our Christmas. There may be big things we could do, but we don’t have to do big things. Maybe simplify  things that add stress to our holiday and hides the joy of the season.

Isn’t “it through small and simple things that great things are brought to pass”?  This month’s edition of the Ensign* has many resources to jog our thoughts, and offers suggestions to help keep Christ in Christmas; there are a month’s worth of daily devotionals, and a calendar of ideas to share the spirit, share the season, and share our abundance. My sister sent me a text this morning with a meme and short note of her appreciation. It was a light. She made me smile.

But we don’t have to do exactly the same things everyone else does. When we rely upon the Holy Spirit to direct us in our days he will show us who we should serve, or cheer up, or calm down, and whom he would have us share His love. As Aaron said to the Lamanite King when he asked why Ammon  had not come to teach him, Aaron told him, “the spirit called him a different way”… (Alma 22:4)

Keeping Christ in Christmas isn’t a must do, a one more thing to add to our list, sticking him in here and popping him over there. Keeping Christ in Christmas is doing those things that keep the spirit near; we can pray for peace and guidance, we can read and study the scriptures to hear God’s voice in answer, and always we must include Him in our plans.

Christmas preparations and expectations can be overwhelming and it is easy to forget the real meaning of Christmas. When I start to spin off the track and my lists are too long, and my schedule too crowed and when I become discouraged and start to lose heart and think I can’t do it all.

I remind myself that God knows me, He knows my heart and my desires and knows the world we live in. He has given us direction, comfort and encouragement … I do not need to run faster or labor more than I have strength and means”.

Take minute … do you remember how you felt when I listed those Christmas activities? Did you notice a difference in your heart when I said Jesus was born?

I think that is what Keeping Christ in Christmas is … he immediately quiets our minds, he turns our hearts and gives us peace. We in turn can share that peace and His love through the Holy Ghost as we offer to lighten another’s load, engage in our community’s activities, give secret gifts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the chope that is in you.

When we reach out to others and hold up our testimonies of Jesus Christ and his restored gospel even when we think no one hears, or cares what we are doing. Someone is watching and listening.

As much as we desire to keep Christ in our Christmas, the business of the season will overtake us and when we forget and get wrapped up in the world, we can stop and refocus, and remember Ether’s admonition: “…I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever”.

*The Ensign magazine is a monthly publication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is available online at churchofjesuschrist.org/magazines or the gospel app.

 

 

 

 

 

First Novel … It’s Published! Cool huh?

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Hello? Anyone out there?

I don’t know if anyone is still checking in to read wanderingkeri  … but I’m going to tell you my personally excellent news!

On November 8th my first novel 20th Century Utah Pioneers, Homesteading “The Basin”, Uintah Valley Indian Reservation 1906 – 1922 was published! I did several happy dances, cried a bit, and can hardly believe I am looking at the results of where those  Chills, a Nudge, and Footsteps that I shared in July of 2017 have led me.

As I started retracing their footsteps, researching their places in time, the nudge became persistent pushes to capture the lives of Hyrum Chase Nicol and Isabella Crawford Murdoch. My writing urges were redirected to write and share with you their determination, faith, perils, and joy. Here it is … cool, huh?

I want to share my greatest thanks for my family and friends who listened and read ad nauseum to excerpts and research and offered me encouragement when I wanted to just ‘go on vacation’. To Jill, Lisa Anne, and Bailey who edited the final copy during their very busy lives I am sooo indebted! To my Sweetie, who endured my marathon research sessions, and road trips and never complained when my face was stuck in my computer. And to my daughter Angie De, for her unfailing support and cheerleading.  Love You All!

And with no further ado I present

20th Century Utah Pioneers, Homesteading “The Basin”, Uintah Valley Indian Reservation 1906 – 1922

“With the opening of the Uintah Valley Indian Reservation in Eastern Utah to white settlement, an unofficial call went out from local ecclesiastic leaders in Heber City, encouraging young men and families to move to the reservation and build homes and lives to offset the influx of gentiles who won the land lottery in the fall of 1905. 

In the spring of 1906, Hyrum and Isabella Nicol loaded two young sons, and their belongings into a wagon and ‘moved east’ in answer to that call. They brought with them faith, determination and a willingness to sacrifice their good lives for the promise of a better one yet to come. Together they battled nature, financial peril, and man-made disasters bound together by love for one another, humor, and their faith in God.”

It’s available on Amazon.com

 

Shiloh … Never Forget

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Sweetie and I have been on a Southern US Coast Tour this past month … there is so much water down this way!

I’ve also adopted the all inclusive noun-verb y’all into my western vernacular.

Yesterday we left Nashville heading to Memphis when we took a sharp left and visited the Shiloh Civil War Battlefield. Beautiful and Sacred.

My thoughts passed over the contention and anger permeating our hearts and country at this time in our history. Dissenting isn’t wrong, but civility should remain strong. Anger and hate lead to this:

I offered prays to the men known and unknown on both sides of the divide. And I pray for sweet unity and grace to fill our hearts today as we remember…and hopefully never forget.