Author Archives: Keri Vergari

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.

18th Century Christmas Recipe Meets 21st Century Tech

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The Recipe!!

I have this recipe I collected from the mother of my mother-in-law twice-removed. When I was a very young mother, with very small children, my cooking repertoire was limited to easy, and then easier. This recipe kind of intimidated me.  It intimidated me  because it was a ‘steamed pudding’. Which is a yummy, slightly sticky cakey-like Christmas treat. I’ve only once eaten it at said mother-in-law, twice-removed, mother’s home … I loved it. Great-Grandma Mitchell served it warm, with a slightly caramelly sauce.  This card has been picked up time and again, carefully looked at every time I’ve opened my old recipe box for my raisin oatmeal cookie recipe, and then just as carefully placed back into the old recipe box.

Looking at the card you might think I made it all the time. It has turned brown with age, and has oily spots on it. The ingredients aren’t difficult to gather together; grated carrots, potato, and apples mixed with flour, sugar, nuts and spices. Very Christmasy. The hidden terror to my neophyte young mother’s brain was first it was cooked in a coffee can (which I never managed to save) and then the cooking method wasn’t baked, but steamed for two and one-half hours!

That cooking method and time required just totally overwhelmed me … so its yummy stickiness stayed just a memory and a maybe I’ll make that … some time, until this past week. I had the thought to make my favorite mother-in-law’s (twice-removed), Christmas memories for her Christmas gift.  The first memory was date-filled sugar cookies, and the second, of course, Grandma Mitchell’s Steamed Pudding & Dip (Sauce). The cookies took two tries to get them to look and taste as I remembered them. Then out came the daunting steamed pudding recipe. Since I still had no coffee tin (does coffee even come in a can), I opted for a large size vegetable tin (tomatoes or pumpkin pie filling sized). I mixed it up (fingers crossed since I had never seen it in its raw form) and then it was steam time.

My new best cooking friend! (Thanks Angie De)

Online I found many ways to steam foods, including puddings, but they all took the same time … lots of time. THEN I HAD THE ANSWER!! I’ll use my brand-new, only used once for ham & beans, Crockpot Pressure Cooker (which has a steam option!!). I had to read some other blogs and looked for cooking tips to figure how to adjust a 19th century recipe to a 21st century appliance.  After much sorting and hemming and hawing I decided 60% of the approximate 2 1/2 hours should do it.

I followed the steaming instructions from the how-to booklet, popped the can of pudding mix into the pot, twisted on the lid, pressed steam … set the time and pressed start. While it was doing its thing I cleaned up my kitchen … I am not a neat, nor terribly organized cook. I always have grand intentions to keep things tidy … then something happens and I’m  sweeping flour from the counter and floor. What is that sticky stuff?

The Results! Steamed Pudding via Crockpot Instant Cooker

Ding, time’s up. The cooker slowly cooled. Anticipation. When it was no longer steaming I timidly twisted the lid off and watched steamy water drops drip from the lid onto the pudding … not a good thing (hint to myself … put a foil cover on the can next time).  Using a hot pad I picked the can up, set it on a rack and let it cool a long time. It seemed like about 4 hours before it was cool enough to tip it from its tin.  Nothing happened. The pudding was stuck, even though the can was greased and floured. I tapped it, I shook it … nope. Stuck. Then I thought, it’s suction! I found a church key (can opener) and popped a tiny hole in the bottom. Voila! The pudding slid out and there it was standing on the cooling rack just like I imagined it might. I made an additional tiny pudding from the left-over mixture that wouldn’t fit in the cooking tin … it was as yummy as I remembered.

My first 19th century recipe, cooked, cooled, wrapped and dropped at FedEx for an overnight delivery. Hope she loves her box of memories.  Now that’s what I call a Christmas wrap!

Just so you know: (Great)- Grandma Mitchell passed at the age of 99 and some months (and that was like 20+ years ago) … the recipe was her mother’s if I remember the story right.

 

Gratitude: the Answer to Every Question

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Gratitude: Counting my Blessings

Today’s the day … the final gratitude challenge question day. However, this is not the answer to just one question … Gratitude is the answer to every question. In times of stress and darkness being grateful for the smallest things turns on the light. Focusing on the light rather than the darkness lifted my spirit and gave me hope.  In times of happiness and joy gratitude multiplied my joy with contentment and peace. In my times of uncertainty giving thanks for the solid things I do know increased my faith and patience.

Taking this 30 day gratitude challenge has again opened my mind and heart and soul to the abundance in and around me. The opportunity to ponder the huge things and the small gratitudes day by day has given me such a lightness of heart and I’ve been happier, even when the crazies happen. I fear less and hope more. My eyes looked up from the paths of my feet; looked up at the light, and left the darkness behind (even if just for a short time).

My thought for the day is this: I will wrap gratitude around every thought,  in every blessing and through every trial and every pain, and I will see the abundance of blessings overflow in my heart and in my life.   I found gratitude in all times & places.  I encourage you to seek out the gratitude in your life.  And like one of my favorite hymns “Count your many blessings name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done”.

Milk Snorts

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Sweetie, Peter, Tessa, Ali & Mala

We have a large family … spread over a couple of few states … we have friends and acquaintances around the world; could I pick one to say they are whom I am grateful for today? Nope. Can’t do it.  Can’t make me pick one. They all make our world spin perfectly on its axis, make everyday special to us just knowing they are happy and are strong of spirit and heart. When things start to spin out of control for one of them or us someone steps up and adds a steadying hand, a thoughtful prayer, a laugh in the darkness.  I have to say we do find the oddest things funny, and often at the most inappropriate times (guess that’s when they’re the funniest). We’ve had a lot of milk snorts around our tables.

Well, I said I couldn’t pick just one person for which I am grateful today … but I lied.  Today it’s Tessa’s birthday! So I can say that I am grateful for her today and grateful to have her in my life.  I love her smile. Love her sense of adventure. Love her sense of style.  Happy Birthday Tessa!  Love You 🙂