Religious

Scripture Study 30 Day Challenge

If you’ve ever committed to studying a book of scriptures, you’ll know the feeling. It’s right before you fall asleep. As your brain goes over your day, it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks: you didn’t read your scriptures today, let alone study them! But tomorrow’s a new day, you think. You’ll read them first-thing when you wake up, when you’re able to actually concentrate.

Then morning comes. Before you even remember your resolution, you’re pouring milk into your cereal bowl. Oh well, you think. I’ll just study them tonight. And so it goes. On and on and on and on… unless you break the cycle.

How can we do this? For one, you could set an actual, tangible goal. You could decide what, exactly, you want to study. Another thing you could do is try studying in the afternoon or evening when you’re not just about to start / end your day. Lunch breaks are usually a thing. So are evenings where you sit in front of a computer or a book and zone out for two hours. For me, I want to make scripture study more fun.

With that in mind, I’ve invented a scripture study challenge in the vein of art challenges and journal challenges; each day will have a different ‘scripture study prompt’. Feel free to make your own Scripture Study 30 Day Challenge, or to add ‘bonus’ prompts or switch the prompts around. All I ask is that you share them with me, so I can try them out too!

There’s some Mormon-specific stuff on the list, but you can easily modify it to fit your own needs. Enjoy!

The Creative’s Scripture Study 30 Day Challenge

  1. Who is your favorite scripture hero? Find up to 10 scriptures that explain why.
  2. Look through the talks (aka sermons) of a church leader and identify a recurring topic. Pick one talk and record any impressions you receive.
  3. Find 3-5 D&C scriptures about the Restoration. For each one, find a corresponding scripture in the Bible and Book of Mormon. Write about the verses’ similarities and differences.
  4. Look for a story anywhere in the scriptures that you haven’t heard of, and write down what principles you can learn from it.
  5. Think of a place you like to go or thing you like to do. Using the scriptures, turn it into a metaphor or parable.
  6. Write down all the reasons and ways you don’t follow God and His commandments. Then study the Anti-Nephi-Lehites’ story, and pray for help to bury these rationalizations.
  7. Which color best represents each book in the Book of Mormon? Explain your reasoning using scripture verses.
  8. Write a poem based on a scripture or scripture story. Consider how it might be turned into a hymn.
  9. Think of a scripture that represents each furniture item in your room / house. Then tape each scripture to its corresponding furniture item.
  10. Consider the personalities of your family members. Which scripture hero is most like each one? Explain why using scriptural evidence.
  11. Turn to the Bible Dictionary and look up a word (Faith, Repentance, Prayer, Grace, Prophet, etc). What did you learn? What stood out to you? Remember to use scripture study tools like this as you read in the future.
  12. Learn about the context of a favorite scripture. Who’s talking? Who are they talking to? In what circumstances are they saying it? If you can’t think of a favorite scripture, look at these scripture mastery scriptures for ideas.
  13. How many times have God and/or Christ appeared to mortals? Make a list using scripture references, and note why they chose to visit.
  14. Think about some of your favorite stories (in books, movies, TV shows, etc). Write down the similarities between them and stories / events / people in the scriptures. Why might there be so many parallels?
  15. Write a recipe for a Christlike attribute you’re struggling with. Find scriptures that list Christlike attributes, then research that specific attribute and write about how to grow it in yourself.
  16. Draw a person and label the body parts with scriptures referencing those specific parts (e.g. if thy arm offend thee, cast it off; the light of the body is the eye; etc)
  17. Name 3 of your favorite scripture heroes. Now compare their lives. What trials did they go through? How did they become faithful? Did tehy make mistakes?
  18. Draw a bubble map with core doctrine / principles at the center, and with other things branching out. Use scriptures to justify your reasoning.
  19. Explain the Plan of Salvation so clearly that even a little child would understand it. Then imagine the questions they’d ask if they heard your explanation, and improve it using scripture references.
  20. Design a color-by-number page, except with scriptures about a certain topic corresponding to a certain color. (e.g. faith = green, mercy = yellow, etc)
  21. Think about the names of things and people and places in the scriptures. Find out where these words came from, and why they’re named that.
  22. Rewrite a scripture story so it takes place in modern times, or in another genre (fantasy, sci-fi, etc).
  23. Pretend your life is about a scripture hero. Then think of a problem you’re having, and of what the scriptures would say about how the scripture hero living your life would overcome the problem. Use real scripture references to describe what your scripture-hero self would do. Then do it!
  24. Think of an object in the scriptures. Why is it mentioned? What can be learned from it? What does it look like? Draw a picture as well.
  25. Read a talk (aka sermon). Find a hymn, and then a scripture, that both relate to it. It doesn’t count if you use scriptures and hymns quoted in the talk itself!
  26. Take a parable and change it to fit how Jesus might have told it in a different country, culture, or time period. (For example, if Christ had grown up in a culture where having an office job was more common than herding sheep, what might he have used as a metaphor for lost souls instead of The Lost Sheep?)
  27. Which scripture event would you have liked to of witnessed, and why? Use scripture references as proof.
  28. Sing “Scripture Power!”, then find 10 scriptures about the power of the scriptures.
  29. How is the physical connected to the spiritual? Find five different ways they relate to each-other using scriptural evidence. (e.g. you need air to keep your body alive, just like you need prayer to keep your faith alive)
  30. Think of a time you finished a big project or anything else that took a long time. Compare it to the principle of enduring to the end using at least three scripture references.
  31. BONUS DAY. Review your notes from this month. Write down specific goals to act on what you learned, and start working on one of the goals right away!
Uncategorized

ABCZ Muffins

A few days ago we had a bunch of overripe bananas hanging out on the counter. So I got it into my head that banana muffins + carrot cake = banana carrot muffins, and went off to find the Ultimate Recipe on Pinterest.

Thing is, it was a little too ultimate. As in, I didn’t have enough carrots. So I improvised.

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This, a fairly straightforward muffin with banana, carrot, and zucchini, slowly transformed into a frankenmix of six different ingredients, all in an attempt to get the right amount of fruit/veg into the batter. As I waited for the muffins to cook, part of me wondered whether I’d invented something with so many flavors that we wouldn’t be able to eat them without making a face.

Fortunately, I was very wrong. These muffins are amazing. Even after reducing the sugar from 1 cup to 1/3 cup, replacing half the flour with oats, replacing most of the carrots with applesauce, and tossing in ingredients it didn’t even call for, these things stayed edible.

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Here’s the recipe. I almost titled these “Everything Muffins”, so don’t be afraid to experiment like I did. If you’re out of one fruit and have plenty of another, feel free to mix-and-match and let me know how it turns out.Speaking of titles, the ABCZ stands for Apple, Banana, Carrot, and Zucchini, since those are the main ingredients.

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ABCZ Muffins

Makes: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup brown or white sugar (Can be increased by up to 1 cup, especially if you have more veggies than fruit in your muffin mix.)
2 cups apple sauce (I used homemade applesauce; it has chunks of apple in it that make for an interesting texture.)
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup zucchini, grated
1/2 cup peanut butter (I also added around 2 tbsp of plain yogurt, but that’s just because we didn’t quite have enough peanut butter to fill up the measuring cup.)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
4 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil; we never have vegetable oil at my house.)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a larger bowl, stir together the sugar, apple sauce, banana, carrots, zucchini, peanut butter, shredded coconut, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
  • Stir the dry ingredients to the wet, making sure not to over-mix.
  • Pour the batter into lined or greased muffin tins. If you want nice, big muffins, fill them so that the batter comes up over the top a little. If you want smaller muffins, you could probably turn 2 dozen into 3 dozen by filling them up halfway instead.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
    Note: 
    I recommend eating these with cream cheese lathered on top, but then again, maybe I just really like cream cheese. They do remind me of carrot cake a little bit when I spread cream cheese on top.

 

 

Uncategorized

Zoo From A Double Perspective

One of the things I like to do is walk around like a tourist with a big DSLR camera held up to my face. Time and time again, I come back to reflective surfaces. The double images that are reflected back at me for mere seconds can be pinned down like insects to the wall of a museum.

A couple years ago, my DSLR camera-hefting self made its way to a zoo. It occurred to me that for animals, the glass is going in the other direction. They get to view thousands of homo sapiens every day. Whether they’re as interested in us as we are in them, we can only guess… but it did give me some photography inspiration. In many zoo photographs, the goal is to immerse the viewer in the animal’s world. There should be no gates, no plaques, not even a hint of reflection on the glass, because that would break the “4th wall” of reminding us we’re still in our own world. For my photo series, however, the goal is exactly the opposite. Instead of photographing the animals, I attempted to photograph the people who watch the animals. Thus we can imagine the experience of a zoo from the eyes of an animal: looking through glass at strange animals with clothes and cameras.

This photo collection is in no way saying that animals feel trapped or unhappy in zoos. After reading The Life of Pi (which I highly recommend), I realize that zoos are a good place for many animals to be. I simply found the reflections on glass intriguing to explore.

(Hint: click on the images to see them full-sized.)

Recipes · Soup

Mexican Butternut Squash Soup

First of all, I apologize for using “Mexican” as a descriptor. The only thing remotely “Mexican” about this is the jalapeño. Why didn’t I just say “spicy”? Because it doesn’t actually make the soup spicy. It just gives it a fabulously interesting flavor. Just ask my mom. She couldn’t tell there was an entire jalapeño in it until I told her, and she has low tolerance for spiciness.

The basic recipe is nothing more than something I pulled out of a cook book on the kitchen shelf, on a day I didn’t feel like roaming Pinterest for 20 minutes just to find the Perfect Recipe. Because sometimes when you have a butternut squash, you just want to eat it as soon as physically possible, with whatever recipe you can find first.

The jalapeño went in on a whim. We bought a couple of them recently, inspired by living in a Spanish-speaking country, and I’ve been trying to find ways to use them up before they go bad. Could you make this soup without the hot pepper? Yes. But will it be half as good? No. Just trust me on this. Use the jalapeño.

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Mexican Butternut Squash Soup

Makes: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

3 tbsp butter or oil
1 small onion (or 1/2 of a large onion), diced
3 tsp powdered ginger
1 butternut squash, baked in the oven at 350°F for an hour (or until soft), with the seeds scooped out and the skin peeled off
1 fresh jalapeño, de-seeded (the seeds are the spiciest part — if you touch them without gloves on, do not rub your eye unless you want lowkey pepperspray sensations on your face)
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
A pinch of salt

Instructions:

  • Heat butter or oil in a pot, then sauté the onions in it until soft.
  • Add the ginger and stir, cooking a little more.
  • Add the butternut squash, jalapeño, and 3 of the cups of broth. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Blend the mixture, either by pouring it into a blender or by using one of those handheld blender things. Make sure to pulverize it really well.
  • Pour the mixture back into the pot and add the other 1 cup of broth, as well as a pinch of salt.
  • Stir it all up and heat for a couple more minutes, until you’re ready to eat.