Boy! have I got a good recipe for you tonight! It's called Mexican Casserole and they make it at the deli at the grocery store by me. My daughter who lives in Nevada really likes it, as I do, and when I asked them for the recipe they were nice enough to give it to me. It's not low-fat at all, but it sure tastes good!
2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups cooked beef
2 cups cooked beef
2 cups cooked macaroni
8 bean and cheese burritos, cut up
3 8oz. cans chili
12 0z. mild salsa
Shredded mozzarella, provolone and cheddar cheeses, 1 lb. bag
Chop up meats, then add the rest of the ingredients with 1/2 of the cheese. Bake in a 9x13 pan at 350 for 25 minutes or until hot all the way through. Top with the other 1/2 of the cheese and serve. Enjoy! It sounds a little strange, but it really is delicious.
Now that that's out of the way......In church on Sunday we had a lesson on freedom. Since it was the 4th of July weekend, that was not surprising, but it wasn't about our political freedoms, or even our physical freedoms, but our spiritual freedoms, and what they mean to us in the long run. We discussed the fact that spiritual freedom gives us the right to choose right or wrong, good or bad. The fact that there are consequences to those choices does not affect our right to make them, but it may affect the choices we make. And the choices we make can affect our freedoms, too. If we choose to break the law, that affects our freedom. Knowing the law can affect our choices. For example, if we choose to do drugs, then we choose to give up our freedom, and instead we become a slave to the drugs. We also choose to give up the freedom we will lose to the law. It's all a big vicious circle.
A lot of times, our children look at the commandments as rules that constrict them. They feel that all our "rules and regulations" are binding, and they feel tied down by them, so they make some bad choices that they call exercising their freedom. But instead of freeing them, those choices can put them in bondage. The bondage of sin, of choices that they can't undo. If only they could see that obeying the commandments gives them choices that they will get no other way. They can choose to be free of guilt, free of memories that haunt them for the rest of their lives. They can choose to be the type of person who is looked up to as an upstanding member of the community and never have to worry that their past will come back to bite them. These are all options for the person who chooses the straight and narrow.
Some of us never learn. We make the same mistakes over and over and over again, thereby narrowing our field of choices until we have very few alternatives. We can't seem to let ourselves be happy by making good choices. And a lot of the time, we blame our troubles on anyone but ourselves so that we can be free to make that same choice again. Or we look back and say "If only...".
I want my children to know that by setting rules in our home when they were young, I was trying to help them make good choices. I was not trying to force them to be something they were not. They have all made decisions that I'm sure they look back on and think "If only I had done that differently." I tried to help them not have any of those. But I realize now that I couldn't. They had to make up their own minds about what they were going to do and what kind of lives they would live. I would like to think that I gave them a good foundation on which to base their decisions, but ultimately, the choices were theirs. I have spent a lot of time blaming myself for the choices they've made, trying to figure out what I should have done differently. I have 5 children and 4 of them won't have anything to do with church or religion. They don't take their children to church. My grandchildren are not being baptized or being taught about God and their Savior, Jesus Christ. They are not being armed with the gospel to aid them in their journey through this world in these latter days. And I'm afraid my children fall into that group of people who don't believe there really is a devil. They don't seem to realize the eminent danger in not acknowledging his existence. They are trying to teach their children what they need to know to get ahead in this world, but they're doing it without all the lesson plans. And I have to stand by helplessly and let them do it.
Someday, they will realize what I was trying to teach them. That I was trying to prepare them for the times to come, when everyone will need all the strength they have to be able to make it through. I hope they realize it before it's too late. Especially before it's too late for their children. I'm sorry that I've been so negative tonight. Every once in a while, I look at my family and wonder what I did wrong. I love them all very much, nothing will ever change that, but I wish they had made different choices that led to different lives. I wish they were all active in the church, with temple marriages and kids who were born in the covenant. I wish their children attended Primary and Young Men's and Young Women's. I wish my sons and son-in-law honored their Priesthood and taught their sons to do the same. I wish my daughters and daughters-in-law were active in Relief Society and actively learning how to make their families strong in the face of evil. I will continue to pray that they will remember their upbringing and the things they were taught, and will look at those things in the way they were meant, not as shackles but as keys to their freedom.
Someone (I don't know who) once said that all it takes for evil to triumph over good is for good people to do nothing. I hope you are all doing something to make the world a better place, and I don't mean planting flowers. Good isn't always easy, but it IS always right. 'Night, Gramma G.