Monday, 28 April 2008
Love is Spoken Here
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest force for peace and unity on the face of the earth and when every knee shall bend and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, there will be no division among us." ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley
We travelled to our Stake Centre yesterday to attend one of our bi-annual Stake Conferences. For those of you who don't know, our church is composed of first of all countries, then areas within the different countries, stakes within the areas, and finally wards within the stakes. Each level has a distinct leadership, all falling under the leadership of the whole church, which is the church presidency. Twice a year we gather as a world wide membership to hear our leaders speak to us as a whole, and then twice annually we meet as a stake to her our stake leadership speak to us as a smaller group. They are always very uplifting experiences and when you belong to a church that, in this country at any rate, is very small in size, it's really heart warming to be in a larger group and experience the great feelings of love, acceptance and understanding that is always present in one of these events.
The spoken words at one of these events is always exceptional. We are spoken to by various individuals and their words are always very uplifting and inspirational. The stake choir always sings and it never fails to be beautiful and moving. I often find myself in tears actually. Music does have such a powerful influence on hearts and minds. Yesterday was no exception. I was especially moved by the last hymn that they sung, entitled "Love Is Spoken Here." It is sung in parts, the males singing one part and the females another. It is a song usually reserved to be sung in our children's Sunday School, but it was particularly moving yesterday, when it was sung by the adults. Here are the words:
I see my mother kneeling with our family each day.
I see the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray.
Her plea to the father, quiets all my fears,
and I am thankful, love is spoken here.
Mine is a home where every hour
is blessed by the strength of priesthood power
with father and mother leading the way
teaching me how to trust and obey
and the things they teach are crystal clear
for love is spoken here.
The parts are sung individually, first the girls and then the boys, and then finally they are sung in unison and they go so very beautifully together. It's immensely moving and inspiring. It really touches the heart. It really touched mine . . .
I sat there and thought . . . did my babies see me kneeling to pray when they were growing up? Oh, they knew I was a praying woman for sure . . . I never made any secret of that . . . but we never prayed together, other than at meal times . . . and . . . they never saw me pray my own secret prayers . . .
I found myself wishing that they had. I found myself thinking that . . . if we had been a family that had prayed with each other and together . . . then perhaps there might have been a very different outcome than there was. Perhaps there would never have been a divorce. Families are sacred, and my heart often aches at the thought that mine was not eternal . . . mistakes made in our youth, the fingers of bad decisions made in ignorance and haste have far reaching and painful implications that we don't realize at the time.
As I listened, I felt Todd's fingers creeping into mine and we looked at each other and I could tell that we were both feeling the same thing, thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same sorrow. We both have families . . . mine all being thousands of miles away in Canada, his no longer on this earth, with the exception of one son and a step daughter who don't want to know. It took each of us two marriages and two divorces to find each other and finally get it right. We, neither one of us, had the blessing or the advantage of having been brought up by parents who were in the Gospel and we both came into the church, for whatever reasons, late in life. We look at each other and we both feel the longings and the heart ache of regret for not having found each other sooner, and for not having been able to have a sacred family together . . . and yet . . . at the same time, we both feel incredibly blessed for finally having found each other at all, and our hearts fill with joy because we know what true love is and what it means, after all this time . . . both incredibly grateful for finally having gotten it right . . .
And so . . . our fingers touched . . and two pairs of eyes, brimming with tears met, and two hearts filled with love and gratitude reached out to each other . . . both thankful for the love that is spoken here . . .
(If you wanted to hear the song I am talking about you can find it here: Love Is Spoken Here Make sure you click on Recorded Music, words and music. You will be blessed by listening to it, I promise.)
After we got home yesterday we had a relaxing day the rest of the day. I made us some dinner, just leftovers from Saturday and then I had some bananas that needed using up and so I made us a lovely banana loaf, another delicious recipe from my Big Blue Binder. It makes two scrumptious loaves so you'll have one for eating now and one for the freezer, or to give to a very lucky friend!
*Cinnamon Streusal Banana Nut Bread*
Makes two loaves
This may well be the best banana bread you will ever eat. Moist, flavourful with a deliciously crunchy topping of brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon, this pleases everyone.
3/4 cup butter, softened
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 cups caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
1 cup toasted pecan nuts, chopped
1/2 cup firmly packed soft light brown sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecan nuts, chopped
1 TBS plain flour
1 TBS melted butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease and flour two 8 by 4 inch loaf pans and set aside.
Cream the butter and mascarpone cheese together in a large bowl, until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in another bowl and then gradually stir this mixture into the banana mixture, beating at low speed until just blended. Stir in the bananas and pecans. The batter will be thick. Divide it amongst the two prepared loaf pans, smoothing the tops.
Make the streusal by stiring together all the streusal ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over each banana loaf.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about an hour, to an hour and fifteen minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. You may need to cover the top with aluminum foil the last 15 minutes or so to help prevent it from over browning.
Cool in the pans on wire racks for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pans to finish cooling. Slice with a serrated knife to serve.