The Gospel Gives Freedom

The Gospel Gives Freedom

I found this quote enlightening: “The gospel of Jesus Christ is not weight, it is wings.” It was part of a talk by Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor in the General Primary Presidency (World-wide religious organization for children of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). By following the teachings of Jesus Christ–loving people, being chaste, giving service, honoring God–life is so much lighter and happier. You have wings to soar higher. [I designed this art by using, very fun experience]

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Chocolate-covered Cheesecake Bonbons

Bonbon closeup, finalThis is my initial “Fun Friday” post. I am trying to infuse more fun into my life. What better way to begin than with chocolate and cheesecake?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a “Cook”, I avoid cooking as much as possible, however–I love cheesecake and chocolate and so I combined two recipes in an experiment that turned out a-MAZING. And it was easy. I  adapted the cheesecake recipe from Michael Kory’s Crust-less Protein Cheesecake. Also, I followed the advice of Alton Brown regarding how to use a microwave for tempering chocolate. Find it here.

Chocolate-covered Cheesecake Bonbons


  • 3 packages of cream cheese (24oz total)

If the cream cheese is cold from the fridge, unwrap it and soften it in the microwave for 20 seconds.

  • 2 scoops of whey protein powder (60 g) See options below:

The only whey powder we had in the house was Hemp…and it is olive green powder. I didn’t want green cheesecake so I substituted 1/3 C white rice flour. I imagine plain old flour would also work as well.

  • ¾ C white granulated sugar

You can substitute an artificial sweetener if you want.

  • “Some” vanilla extract–I used 1 teaspoon
  • Three whole eggs
  • 1Tbsp of lemon juice

I used True Lemon brand crystallized lemon. I love that stuff! For this recipe I mixed ½ tsp into 1 Tbsp water


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking pan with oil

Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Choc-Cheescake Tutorial ingredientsMix into a thick batter. Choc-Cheescake Tutorial bake & cut

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes. The edges will look barely golden when done.

Let the pan sit in the fridge for 2 hours. At this point if you don’t want chocolate coating, just top it with fresh fruit or syrup and eat it. Okay, maybe share it  with others…

NEXT…After 2 hours of refrigeration, cut the cheescake into squares, place on a plate and put in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.  The squares are about 1.5 “ x 1.5” x 1” , there will be 20 or 25 pieces depending how you cut it.


Here’s the basics: You melt “expensive” chocolate to an exact temperature, you let it cool down to an exact temperature, you toss in some pieces of un-melted chocolate. Stir until it cools down further to an exact temperature, and maintain that temperature while you dip.

Why bother with the temperature, etc.?? This tempering method results in a satiny coating that is hard and brittle, not messy-soft or chocolate streaked with grey “bloom”. For this project I bought a candy thermometer from a thrift store and checked its accuracy by sticking it in boiling water. (The boiling point of water is 212 °F …)

I used Lindt brand chocolate bars and a bar of German’s Sweet Chocolate that I had in the cupboard. Expensive, good quality chocolate has a sharp, “snap” when you break it and results in wonderfulness after it is tempered.

Use about 12 oz total of chocolate bars, or pistoles ( looks like large chocolate chips).

Chop  the chocolate into small pieces. Set aside roughly 1/4 of the chopped chocolate pieces–a small portion. Put the rest of the chocolate pieces in a glass microwave-safe bowl.

Choc-Ceesecake tutorial, test temper

Microwave on high for 30 seconds, and then stir with a clean spatula to evenly distribute the melting pieces. Repeat 2 more times, 30 seconds each time, stir each time making sure there are no hot spots.

THENMicrowave on high for 15 seconds, and then stir. Repeat 2 to 4 more times or until the chocolate reaches 97-100 degrees F.

And THENMicrowave on high for 10 seconds, and then stir. Repeat until the chocolate reaches 115 degrees F. (It only took me two times at 10 seconds)

Remove from the microwave and cool by stirring occasionally until the chocolate reaches 95 degrees F.

Into the melted chocolate scatter the small amount of chocolate pieces that you set aside in the beginning. Stir continuously until those pieces melt and the chocolate cools to 90 degrees F. It should seem slightly thicker, and will look glossy.

Test the temper of the chocolate by dipping a little corner of a smooth metal spatula or knife into the chocolate. Put the metal spatula in the fridge for 5 minutes. If it is tempered correctly the chocolate will be hard, smooth and have a matte shine.

Chocolate-dipped Cheescake Tutorial

Start dipping! Gently lower a cheesecake piece with a fork into the bowl of chocolate. Drip the excess for moment and then place the dipped square on a plate. Continue until all the squares are dipped. It is important to Maintain the 90-degree temperature. You can briefly heat up the chocolate with a 10-second blast of warm heat from a hair dryer.

Look at your lovely plate of Bonbons. Place the plate in the fridge until serving. These can be stored in the freezer as well, I suspect.  I’m typing and wishing I still had some in the fridge…time to buy more cream cheese…DSCN1211###

[Please note: If you see ads below my post they were placed there by WordPress and may not reflect by own personal beliefs and are not endorsed by me. Thanks.]

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Followers Aren’t Always Special…Sad Face

Jemima and her ducklings in The Tale of Jemima...

Jemima and her ducklings in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Immediately after I posted my blog thoughts on business focus and mermaid tails I received many links from people who said my post was “awesome” and said they were going to follow my blog.

“Wow,” I thought, “I didn’t realize that post would be meaningful to so many people. ”

One follower sent a link to me just seconds after I posted. I reasoned they must have already been reading WordPress and it was a coincidence that they quickly saw my post. I was kind of excited about the group of followers I had generated so I opened each person’s profile link to learn more about them.

They were a demographically diverse group; their blogs were diverse as well—some were inspiring with embedded videos, some chatty, some basic. Yet I began noticing a trend. Most seemed to belong to a particular internet marketing group that had “changed their life.” Out of 9 followers only 2 people seemed to be unique, unaffiliated bloggers. The other 7 were connected to the same marketing program.

With dampened enthusiasm I realized they probably weren’t attracted to my writing and philosophizing, that those first “eager” admirers may not  even have read my posts, they may have just found a way to connect their auto-responder-messenger to my particular blog text keywords. Sigh.

I did initially watch some of their linked videos…even though I first was required to write my email address on a pop-over screen before the video played. There were some good thought-provoking ideas presented. They certainly seemed sincere in wanting every person on the planet to reach their full potential. I kept waiting to understand what it was they were marketing and then I realized they were selling monthly blog hosting with easy to use marketing templates and, for more money, additional webinars regarding the secrets of internet marketing.

The plan seemed to be that once you got the templates and marketing information you could set up your own blog that would link to their special promotional videos so your blog followers could give you money to also buy the monthly blog hosting and on their  blog, link to the same promo videos so that THEIR followers could buy the blog hosting and….on and on.

I’m sure that many in their program are financially successful. And obviously, there are many who are not. I do love to learn about technology, yet I’m not too keen on promoting semi-intangible products in perpetuity. However, I do think it is exciting that by using workable plans I might find people in international markets who will enjoy my products or my music.

I guess my point is, in the future I won’t get too excited over “numbers of followers” and if I view marketing presentations that produce tales of vast monthly income and jangling excitement and confusion I need to step back, turn off the computer and ponder the focus of my own personal life plan.

Today I studied yet another new website. This one really made me happy. Click here to see why it was meaningful to me. I won’t even make you give me your email address first. :)

–Read about Fear and business in a previous post, here.

[Please note: If you see ads below my post they were placed there by WordPress and may not reflect by own personal beliefs and are not endorsed by me. Thanks.]

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Mermaids, a Business Tale

English: en:Mermaid Français : fr:Sirène

English: en:Mermaid Français : fr:Sirène (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Fifty years ago when I was 8 years old I pretended I was a mermaid, holding my breath and swimming underwater while imagining my two feet  as a  mermaid fin. I could remain sitting on the floor of the pool by gracefully waving my small arms through the water above my head. I let iridescent bubbles escape from my mouth in a slow stream through the clear, sun-dappled water of the community swimming pool.

Thirty-seven years ago when I was twenty I was learning to SCUBA dive in my university’s deep diving pool. I occasionally thought about being a mermaid and sometimes kept my flippered feet together to swim like one.


Two years ago while working in a retail craft store  cutting fabric I was stunned to learn that a customer was buying brightly-colored stretchy spandex fabric for her growing business of manufacturing mermaid tails. She stitched up the tube-like costume around actual swim fins and sold them online at a healthy price to a growing customer base.


I have a BA degree in costume design. I have vast knowledge and skills and creativity. I want to earn money doing something creative. I went home from my fabric-cutting work and researched the mermaid-tail business. I found several small businesses making beautiful creations; on some websites there was even  underwater video footage of mermaid-swimming  customers.


I sighed and realized that with such a niche product the market was probably already flooded. I forgot about mermaids and continued to make prototypes and research marketing techniques for my wonderful un-launched products and newly recorded music CD.


Today I read an article from about a small business owner who is finding success in her job of manufacturing mermaid tails. (…!!)  It described the journey of Jerilyn Winstead  from “homemaker to owner of Aquatails, a company that designs, produces, and sells swimmable mermaid and merman costumes to an international audience.”


In the past, Jerilyn had the same information regarding a niche market that I did. She chose to become excited and look at possibilities rather than the number of competitors. Now Jerilyn “has already started her second business, Mermaid Cove, a full-service swim school which also offers the art of mermaiding, to kids and adults of all ages.”


I don’t want to sew mermaid tails, though I still love to swim underwater. However, I do want to be reminded, to remember, that no matter how educated and creative a person is, it takes actual physical effort and personal belief to move forward in developing a profitable business.

–Read about Fear and business in a previous post, here.

[Please note: If you see ads below my post they were placed there by WordPress and may not reflect by own personal beliefs and are not endorsed by me. Thanks.]


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Windows Live Writer

I’ve read good reviews about Windows Live Writer. Will it be user-friendly??

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She’s a Warrior-Sept. 2012

My Sister

Inspired to succeed, that could be the license plate of my sister’s car. Except it would be too long….

She has had cancer for 10 years. Breast cancer that spread. There were a few years of remission in there, but not enough. Fifty years of remission would be enough, I think.

She has always been healthy and active and loved her job as a P.E. teacher. She even taught her children where the “healthy” parking places are in a store lot.  Yes, you guessed it : they are the ones farthest away from the store so one must put forth some physical exertion to enter the store.  I like and love and admire my sister.

After you read it, please go to and watch the sweet video her kids made. She is a single mom now and a VERY young and beautiful grandmother.

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Self-image, Self-esteem…Do You Have a Healthy Dose?

Charles Proteus Steinmetz, theoretician of alt...

Charles Proteus Steinmetz, theoretician of alternating current. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Self-image. Some people are possessed with a healthy one.

An anecdote was printed on the letters page of Life magazine in 1965, after the magazine had printed a story on the scientific genius Charles Steinmetz. Jack B. Scott wrote in to tell of his father’s encounter with Steinmetz  at Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

Henry Ford’s electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator. Ford called Steinmetz in to the plant.

“He stood just four feet tall, his body contorted by a hump in his back and a crooked gait, and his stunted torso gave the illusion that his head, hands and feet were too big. But he was a giant among scientific thinkers, counting Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison as friends, and his contributions to mathematics and electrical engineering made him one of the most beloved and instantly recognizable men of his time.

“Upon arriving (at the plant), Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot.

“… Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.

“Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from (Steinmetz via) General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.

“Steinmetz responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:

Making chalk mark on generator    $1.

Knowing where to make mark         $9,999.

Ford paid the bill. ”



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Our Efforts

Window at Parish Church of St Peter, Frampton ...

Window at Parish Church of St Peter, Frampton Cotterell, England (Photo credit: DanieVDM)

Today in Church we sang a hymn that had a phrase I am inspired by: “Pardon faults, oh God we pray; bless our efforts day by day.”

That is a beautiful thought, to ask God to bless our efforts as we stumble along our earthly path trying to do the best we can. I am glad He will pardon my faults. The hymn also reminded me that I need to pardon faults in myself as well, and just move forward.

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Inspirational Fear

Rodeo Joe, All rights reserved by toytent

In trying to move forward to my  “Breakthrough Goal”, I often feel like a little wind-up toy that keeps bumping into walls and bouncing off of baseboards. I suppose, to take the analogy further…sometimes those little toys go so fast they collide with an  object, flip upside down and lay there, wheels spinning, rotating and vibrating, never getting any where. Finally the momentum slows and the toy stops completely.  Not an inspirational image.

I was thinking about this in the early wee hours one morning, wishing I could return to sleep. To pass the time I chose to visualize the next steps to my goal and try to figure out why I felt so Stopped. There was a repetitive familiarity to the labels on the glass walls that I kept bumping. “Money”–I don’t have much and it is necessary to move ahead, and the other Stopper is “Fear”.

Fear. Forceful power phrases assault my thoughts whenever I edge to the brink of comfort. “Don’t do that, people will think you are a dork. You will look so stupid. People will make fun of you when it fails. You aren’t professional enough. ‘Regular’ people never really succeed on that large of a scale…”

Okay. Money and Fear. Here’s the mind game I played as I lay wrapped in the cocoon of my blanket. I asked myself, “If money were endless, and you had absolutely no fear, what would your next step be?”

Immediately I thought clearly of situations that I had been avoiding and what needed  to be done to move forward.

Hmmm. That was interesting. “Okay,” I thought next, “assuming that those first steps just went great, what doors would then be opened to me?”

Again, I had immediate inspiration of what to try next. Simultaneously I felt my heart pound and the “Warning, warning, Embarrassment Alert!!” rang in my head. I reminded myself this was only an exercise in logic, I could calm down.

“Remember, if there was absolutely no fear and all the money you needed, would those activities and choices help you move ahead?”

I took a slow breath, and pondered. It was SO interesting to be able to think with logic–“Cause and Effect”. I could see that some of those steps looming ahead were very helpful and a few were definitely not. That surprised me. Even if I had all the money and courage that I needed, some of my speculative plans weren’t the right direction for me.

I was stunned  to discover how much clearer I could think using my imaginary Courage & Money scenario. New ideas popped into my mind. Logical steps began to evolve that I hadn’t before considered.

What if Fear is not really fearful? Even NFL quarterbacks feel butterflies when they step onto the field for the Super Bowl. Try this on as a re-frame: “Fear is the gateway to Success.”

Take some deep breaths and move forward.

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