Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Candy Bar Pie & Guest Blogger: Hilary & Giveaway

My guest blogger today is Hilary. She is the wife of one, the mother of 2, the daughter of loving parents, and the friend to many. She is kind and willing try an adventure like organize a Homecoming event for local alumni from her alma mater. (BTW - She carried it off beautifully! Her details made all the difference!) 
Every year at the beginning of November, we hide away our witch's cauldrons, take down the cobwebs, put the skeletons back in the closets, and tuck away the costumes and disguises.  We replace them with cornucopias, wreaths, and beautiful crafts inscribed with lists of the many things we are grateful for.  This is the physical transition we make in our homes, but I believe it's also symbolic of what is going on in our hearts.  In many ways we are also clearing the inner cobwebs, putting to rest some of our lingering troubles and grudges, putting aside our selfish attempts at fooling the world and returning to the beautiful things in life.  We are mindful of our many blessings as we busily prepare for Thanksgiving.  Blogs and statuses are filled with thoughts of gratitude and love.  It's a wonderful thing.  As William Arthur Ward said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it".  So, I'm am very grateful for this opportunity to express my own gratitude on this lovely blog.
When Wendy asked me to do this, she shared with me this quote:  "Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings."  It is so true!  Because of this, I feel the need to share my journey to the point I'm at now in order to really explain the depth of my gratitude.
Growing up I considered myself a grateful person.  I said thank you when people gave me things, I tried to take care of what I had, I was glad to be alive, grateful I had friends, grateful my needs were met, etc.  That gratitude is good, but it was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to showing gratitude for all the things that merited it because my understanding of what was important in life was limited.  My somewhat charmed life had allowed me to take many things for granted and I had not yet entered life's school of hard knocks. 
So, what happened to change that?  In short, life! In a span of about 5 years starting after my graduation from high school I went through my own personal dark ages.  Not necessarily in the spiritual sense, but it was a time of many big changes and challenges.  My dad got cancer, I got married, had two intense and life altering teaching jobs, my dad went into remission,  I graduated from college, had a premature and sickly baby, my dad's cancer came back, I had to move away from my father when he supposedly had only 1-2 months left to live, lived a home bound life in a new place until the doctor cleared my sick son to be around others at 9 months of age, traveled back and forth between two states torn between my husband and new home and my sick dad and overwhelmed and lonely mom, and had some health issues of my own.  Then right before my son turned one, my dad, who had lasted 9 months thankfully rather than the 2-3 he was told to expect, died.  It was rough.

  I felt like I had been put through the wringer.  I felt overwhelmed as all the action simmered down and I was left to finally try to process all that had happened in the last few years.  It was the dawning of my personal Renaissance. 
I have spent many hours thinking and many hours on my knees as I have tried to figure out what to make of the wild ride life has taken me on in the past few years.  And so far, what I've learned is that many of the things that I previously considered to be important in life (i.e. being popular, being smart, having nice things, and so on) really do not matter nearly as much as I thought they did.   I've learned that the most important things are the virtues I stand for.  The relationships I have with members of my family.  The words I say and how I treat people.  My spiritual knowledge.  My standing with God.  I've become profoundly grateful for my health and physical abilities, the little things like walking to the bathroom by myself and being able to be around others without fear of my child becoming deathly ill.  My gratitude has deepened for my healthy body and mind, my testimony, true friends who have reached out to comfort me, the unconditional love of my growing family, my life!  But at the same time, I realized the truth that Samuel Johnson put into words so perfectly for me:  "Life, like every other blessing, derives its value from its use alone."  I've learned that just saying I'm grateful isn't enough.  I have to live it. 
I'm grateful for my healthy body and mind, so I will care for them and use them to serve God and his children.  I am grateful for my family so I will support them in their trials and celebrate their triumphs with them.  I will do my best to build a good relationship with them and help them be worthy to be together forever as a family and with God.  I am grateful for my children so I will do my best to treat them with respect and dignity and teach them eternal truths that will help them live up to their potential.  I am grateful for my home so I will take care of it and welcome others in who are in need of shelter and comfort.  I am grateful for the sufficient income we are blessed with so I will share it with those who can't make it on their own.  I'm grateful for the beautiful world, so I will notice it and help to protect and cultivate it.  I'm grateful for my talents, so I will share them.  I'm grateful for everyone else's talents so I will recognize them and refrain from envy.  I am grateful for the covenants I've made so I will honor them. 

 I am deeply grateful for the Atonement and Christ's sacrifice so I will repent and try to improve when I fall short of keeping this pledge, as I do too often. 
I have a favorite song called, Because I Have Been Given Much by Grace Noll Crowell.  See a performance of it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X23r4ATlUA.  It's one that has constantly come to my mind since those difficult years I told you about.  I want to share the text with you because it describes my feelings on gratitude so well.  
Because I have been given much, I too must give.
Because of thy great bounty, Lord each day I live.
I shall divide my gifts from thee with every brother that I see,
who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care…
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share-
my glowing fire, my loaf of bread-my roof’s safe shelter over head,
that he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need. I’ll show that love by word and deed,
thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.
This Thanksgiving season, may we all continue to make our lists of gratitude.  But in addition to listing your thanks, I challenge you to add a column on that list about what you can give to show your thanks.  As you use your blessings to bless others, I know that you will find great joy.  I also know that you will give others great joy because I have been the recipient of much service in my life and I am so thankful for the efforts others have made to use their talents to serve me and my family.  I know I have a lot left to learn, more challenges to face, and many more lessons in gratitude to experience before I arrive at a perfect knowledge of the most important things in life, but I'm grateful for what I've learned up to this point and know that a loving Father in Heaven is leading me through.  Good luck on your journey and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you so much for sharing! 

Hillary makes a cake with candy bars, chocolate, and caramel. This is pie that contains similar things.

Candy Bar Pie
Source: Newspaper Clipping from Grandma's recipe box

1 pint vanilla ice cream (2 cups), softened
1 chocolate or graham cracker crust
1/2 cup caramel sauce or dessert topping
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 tub (8 oz) Chocolate Non-Dairy Whipping Topping, thawed

Spread ice cream evenly in bottom of crust. Freeze until ice cream is firm. Spread caramel sauce over ice cream; sprinkle with peanuts. Cover with whipped topping. Freeze 4 hours or until firm. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes or until pie can be easily cut. Garnish with additional caramel sauce and peanuts, if desired.

Notes: I changed it a bit. I put an actual chopped up candy bar in the pie. I sprinkled it on the bottom and then covered with caramel sauce. Then I added a layer of chocolate ice cream then another candy/caramel layer then vanilla ice cream. I used a candy that had toffee and almonds to get that crunch.

I also made my caramel sauce.
Homemade Caramel Sauce
Source: Suzette Done

1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Karo
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp to 1 TBSP flavoring (vanilla, almond, ect.)
1 tsp soda
Melt and mix butter, sugar and Karo.

Add buttermilk and bring to boil. 

Add flavoring and soda. Remove from heat and stir. 

The sauce will foam considerably. If you want carmels, continue to boil until firm.


I will be giving away 3 shirts this coming week. Two adult and one child.

Good Luck!


1. Become a follower.

3.  Comment on the different recipes

3. Post a Link Up about your Gratitude tomorrow.

How easy is that?


Jocelyn Christensen said...

This looks soooooo good!

Sue said...

I agree with Hilary. In life, it's all about the people we love!


Kathy said...

Thanks for sharing your story Hilary. Life is unfortunately full of trials of many types, but everyone can definitely find something to be thankful for.

And the pie looks just sinful!!!