Creamy Roast Tomato Basil Soup

Since we have recently had a cold few weeks I thought it was only right to share another belly warming recipe

Ingredients:

1.2kg Roma Tomatoes  halved lengthwise
600g Cherry Tomatoes halved Length wise

8  cloves Garlic, peeled then smashed with back of Knife
3 Tablespoons Olive oil
salt and Pepper
1 large Onion diced
1 red capsicum diced
2 Potatoes peeled and diced
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leave, roughly torn

Instructions:

Preheat Oven to 220 degrees Celsius. place Tomatoes on a baking tray with the Garlic cloves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until soft and tops begin to char.

As the tomatoes are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sized pot. add in the onion, capsicum, and potatoes … cook and occasionally stir. once onion is transparent and potatoes begin to crisp. stir through the tomato paste, pour in vegetable broth, season as desired.  cover and bring to a boil.

once boiling; reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potato is just tender when pierced with a fork. Add in the tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Continue to simmer until the basil is just soft.

Blend soup using a stick blender, and serve with bread!

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Mediterranean Cannellini, Kale and Farro Stew

Seeing as we are Now in winter, even though the sun is shining .. the wind is cold.

So I thought I’d share one of my favourite recipes with you, a stew that has cultural significance for me. A recipe I love and recently after many years of not having it due to being Gluten Free I realised there is a quick fix for that, and now We have a lovely stew with a Gluten Free option.
So If you are like me and live a Gluten Free Vegan life, or find yourself cooking for one, unable to make your standard winter beef casseroles or want something with some more flare this is for you.

Ingredients

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2Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup  Chopped Celery (roughly 2 stalks)
1 Cup  Yellow Onion
1 Cup Chopped carrots
4 Cloves  Garlic crushed
1 Bay leaf
5 Cups vegetable broth (Low-Sodium)
1 can Chopped Tomatoes in Juice
1 Cup Farro (Or Brown Rice for Gluten Free Option)
1tsp dried Oregano
1/2 Cup Parsley , Slightly packed
Salt to taste
4 Cups Kale chopped, Slightly packed
1 can Cannellini Beans
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, Fresh
Chilli flakes to garnish
Serves 6

Directions :

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add carrots, onion and celery and saute 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, tomatoes, farro(or brown rice) , oregano, bay leaf and season with salt to taste.
  5. Lay parsley in a mound on top of soup and bring soup to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat just below medium. Cover and cook 20 minutes
  7.  remove parsley, stir in kale and cook 10 – 15 minutes longer
  8. adding in cannellini beans during last few minutes of cooking, until both farro and kale are tender.
  9. Remove bay leaf, stir in lemon juice and add additional vegetable broth or some water to thin soup as desired (the farro will absorb more liquid as the soup rests).

  10. Serve and Garnish as desired!

I hope you enjoy this Stew as much as I do!

As Always Much love,
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an ‘okay’ day with depression

The nights linger on but sleep still evades, people ask if I know how to silence my mind. It’s not the noise or thoughts keeping me here in the dark unable to rest… it’s a white noise that no one else can hear that pulses not just in my ears the through my veins and swirls around in my head as though trying to wash out something that is not there. The exhaustion builds and my body can only handle so much.
some days or nights are a cold black coma where even after twelve hours of apparent rest, trying to wake me is near impossible. laying there with a body like cement and a fog over my mind that will. not. lift. The hours have passed, yet no energy has been granted. A thirst nothing quite quenches.
I roll out of bed and sit on the floor, I am not sure what is really going on. There is nothing, no emotion, no desire… I am just here. I bow my head to speak to Father in Heaven, I know here is there. I just cannot feel it, this disease separates us. The words are hard I’m not sure what to say.  I get off my knees and try to start my day.  I walk aimlessly around the house, but with no purpose.
I sit to try and organise my thoughts, things to be done today seem like a lot, but at the same time, there isn’t much. By this time it’s almost 12’o clock … I haven’t eaten yet. I should probably start with this.  I look for food but I am not very hungry.
I must eat. Eating is important. The Idea of food makes me feel rather ill. a hand full of sultanas is at least a start.
I sit in the bright sun filled dining room, aimlessly scrolling through my phone. not particularly reading anything, mindlessly gazing outside to the blue skies. It’s probably warm out. I should feel like going outside. but I don’t, so maybe later I’ll go out. maybe fresh air will help me focus, maybe I’ll enjoy it.
Eating these sultanas is taking way too long so I will finish them as I study.
okay just this page, just start with reading this.

” despite
the
above
counter –
arguments
to
challenge
the
Alfred- myth ” *

Crap… what was the first word again… okay read the sentence again…

“despite
the”

crap what happened in the last paragraph. The brain can you please retain something.

” to
challenge
the”

I can’t remember what I just read. my head is pounding and words are swirling

“despite”
“Vikings”
“great”
“failing”

I want to do this. But it’s not working. I am trying, brain, please.
Please just work!!!
The tears are wetting the book making it impossible to see what I am attempting to read. Head swirling and hotly frustrated with my own lack of ability.
I flop on the floor trying to clear my mind.
It’s now 3′ o clock, I’m not sure how long I’ve sat here.  I’m still not hungry, I don’t feel like cooking but I should. I don’t exactly feel like sitting here either. I don’t feel like anything. the white noise still courses through my veins, numbing fog. unable to connect to the reality surrounding me even when I try.
you can do this. Just get up. simple.
one foot at a time.
okay good.

I’m not quite sure what I am eating, but I’m sitting and I have some food in front of me. Just eat it. You need to.
I shovel the food down so I don’t have time to pick at it. I feel like I over ate. But It must be a normal portion.
phone buzzes

” you coming tonight? ”

Oh right, we have a family home evening tonight. I don’t feel up to going. I should want to, but I don’t. Being around people just doesn’t draw me in. However, I don’t want to sit here all night either.
Do you really have the energy? you are a mess. you have under and hour to look decent. make your choice.
You don’t want to be here, but you don’t want to be there…. what do I even want? why don’t I want anything. I should want something right?

” sorry I think I won’t be able to be there in time” 

See no problems. but why do I feel guilty? maybe it could be fun. you aren’t doing anything better. common stop being useless.

okay fine… I’ll try.
I shower, makeup…. okay I  am barely going to make it.

my heart beat is growing louder, it is throbbing in my ears… each step along the road feels like I’m going to fall.
maybe this was a bad idea. you can’t even get there. you are stressing over nothing. you’re fine.

But I’m late, well I feel late. that’s rude. If I’m late I shouldn’t go at all. you haven’t seen them in ages so what if it awkward. okay, you’re over thinking.
great you are crying. Calm the heck down. too late to back up now.
thoughts swirling, but nothing is coherent, head dizzy and heart echoing in my bones.
you are on the train. play with snap chat something. distract yourself.

cool so just a short walk. I got this.
sing hymns.. and walk.

no … no, I don’t got this. It’s not too late to go home

phone buzzing. crap.

hey do you think you will make it at all?”

you still have time to say no and go home. it’s gonna be fine

“hey yea I’m almost there”

crap.. okay breath and walk.
people are probably late anyway. so you are fine

oh yea.. I am the second person here.

small talk. please let me disappear.

more people. I feel sick.

this looks like fun, but why do I feel like I am participating through someone else’s body. This isn’t me, why am I not laughing? they are. this should be fun right? My chest is tight.
you cannot cry here. not now.
okay, talk to someone.

okay .. I can’t sit here any longer. I’m exhausted. I’m going to break if I can’t leave.

fake call?
text someone?
just leave?
bathroom and not come back?
lie?

okay…. just say you need to go.

Okay done. just to get home.

….
….

where did the past hour go? what was I doing?
well, I guess it’s time for bed.

I flop on my bed exhausted. I can’t focus on anything.
But the white noise. the numbness courses through my body…
How can one be so beyond exhausted and not fall asleep?
how useless I didn’t even cover half of what I was meant to do today.
crap. how am I going to do this?

Self-annoyance and guilt are sickening to my stomach, the pain makes me curl into a ball and try hold the pieces together as I feel them fall apart. Can someone please show me how.  why can I not keep up?   I want this to stop… please Just stop

I should be better than this.
I need sleep, I need rest.

I need energy if I expect to do this again tomorrow.

I roll onto my knees. ” Heavenly Father. I miss you”


Thank you for reading this.
I know mental illness can and will be different for each person who experiences it.
Mental illnesses are complex There are bad days, meh days. okay days… and there are good days. we cannot Judge everyone according to one experience we have or one person we know.
If you feel like you are struggling with any of these things, or you don’t feel okay. I encourage you to turn to someone you trust, to medical professionals, and your church leaders. Life can be easier and better!
It is something worth fighting for.

Love ,
391570539593422220117

Lessons of a Wedding Ring

This world is full of symbols, some private and some public.P1110680

One of the most internationally recognised is that of a ring on one’s left hand.  symbolising to the world Love and loyalty to the person they have committed themselves to.

However what happens to these symbols as time goes on?

I have inherited one of such rings, the Engagement ring of my Mother to my biological Father, but as many people are aware my Mum is married to this wonderful man I am blessed to call my stepdad.
So this ring belongs as a symbol of a previous marriage, and I wear it on my right hand.
this has raised many questions in the months I have worn it more frequently.
When I explain what the ring is, I get mixed responses… I guess people seem to find it sad or a little strange. However, although this ring no longer symbols Love, commitment and loyalty to another Person, this ring stands daily as a personal Reminder of the things I learnt earlier in life from observing my parents relationship, and specifically my Mother. Who through example as taught me a lot.
Understand Love
Understanding Love is something that I find personally an essential part of life.
Learning how we as individuals first recognise and understand the presence of Love in our lives. Knowing that there are more ways to express and receive love than to have someone state it, and to know what we as an individual need to recognise it’s presence.
Hand in hand with that is understanding that everyone is different and that those around us may not recognise love and appreciation the same way we do and learning how to express love to those around us in ways that they can feel and understand.
However we must also understand that at times through no fault of our own, some people struggle to recognise love, appreciation, and affection in any form. This can be due to many different experiences through their personal lives, and we must not take that personally. Nor should we stop expressing love towards the person, although at times it may be incredibly hard because we feel as though all efforts are in vain, and that they don’t love us in return. However, if they can’t recognise love, they are probably incapable of expressing it. You can work through it, and you can be Happy. you just have to be prepared to put the effort in.
110%
Put your best work in, no matter what it is, relationships, study, family, friends, work, and in all aspects of life. Give your best in those circumstances. Your best may differ from day to day, and what you are capable of will change. But always give it. Try to make things work even if you feel like your efforts are failing. Keep trying, Keep finding new ways to make it work. The best things in life are not easy. They will take sacrifice, time, commitment and effort. Sometimes more than we think we have, but if you keep trying and give it all you have. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve.
You’ll be at peace knowing you have done all that you can, so when things don’t work out. You will have a clear conscience,  that sometimes despite your best efforts things won’t always go the way you hope.
Work with the Lord
As we do all that we can in life, and put our best foot forward, we need to realise that we cannot do everything alone. The Lord will aid us, give us options and help us build on that which we are already doing. We cannot make it through the manic journey that is life alone. We need our Father in Heaven and He will help us. However, He cannot do it for us. That would break His own law of agency and His desire to see us learn although He would love to save us from heartache and pain.
We must pray like it is all up to Him, and work like it is all up to us. Miracles, can and will happen!
and sometimes things still will not work out how we hope, not because God doesn’t care… or because we have not done our part. But other factors, including things just not being right for us and our future. Other people and their agency… the list could go on forever.
However, in moments of darkness when we feel we can’t do anymore. When things don’t go to plan and we feel hopeless, and we blame ourselves. He will be there with us. He will uplift us and strengthen us. He will comfort our souls, and give us the courage to press on and accept that which we cannot change.
 
Acceptance
Life is not perfect, things change and fall apart, but with help from the Lord and our own conscious choice, we can learn to accept the things in life as they come, or as they may sadly they go.
People we may want around forever may leave. career paths may come to a sudden halt.
This does not make all of that event, person or situation bad or wrong. There is more than likely good and bad amongst it all.
We need to accept it as it is, embrace the good memories, and keep the reality of the bad.
as my mum once said about her relationship with my Father “it wasn’t all bad, good example. I got you didn’t I ?!” However of course in the Long term the bad, or the personal directions of these individuals didn’t align.. and that did outweigh the good. We must embrace things as they are. Take off the rose tinted glasses (or in some cases, black tinted) and accept the reality. Don’t regret those things. Forgive where we can, and learn. Then prepare for what will come next.
                                            Move forward
P1110692Never stop progressing, always have goals, and look into the future .. but do not spend all your time so far in the future that you forget the present. Set goals, make plans and be prepare to give 110% all over again, with the open knowledge and acceptance that it may go wonderfully or it may not. But no matter how it goes, do it. Move forward and embrace the messiness that is life. Don’t be too afraid to be vulnerable and raw.
Be Vulnerable
Don’t give up opportunities when they scare you. Turn to the lord, find courage… grasp the bull by the Horns. Give 110% and be honest. Express those concerns, express your dreams and hope to someone you trust. A friend, a family member, or significant Other. Most importantly express them to the Lord.
Be prepared to feel out of your comfort zone, and keep on moving forward. Knowing that better things May come.
A brightness of hope
Be prepared that the Lord has better things in store than we can ever imagine.
My mum for example probably was not expecting to meet her wonderful eternal companion after ending a 16-year relationship with my Father. However, the man she deserved came along, the man of her dreams… although not a perfect human being… they are working on it.
Life in the future will never be perfect. However, there will be joy and happiness in it, even when we cannot see it at the present time. Know this, hold onto it and keep pressing forward giving your all… and one day you will look back and see how far you have come and how you have progressed. You will be thankful for those curve balls that came your way when even at the time you felt as though your world was crashing around you. You will understand those learning experiences better and you can feel at peace with your past. The good, the bad, the glorious and the ugly.
then you’ll look to the future and feel as though the task at hand is more than you can achieve. Take a moment, look back. You came this far. Now look to the future… if you could go through all that you have. Of course, you can accomplish this!
I hope we are all able to keep progressing, to apply all that we have and to see that bright future ahead even if we feel our world crashing around us.
I have my reminder of these things every day, a symbol of strength and hope.. in a ring once worn by my mother, a woman who has taught me so much without saying a word of it.

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love,
391570539593422220117

A world of Noise

Be still, my soul.

The silence was once a thing I despised, I needed sound. something; music, television, movies, people, anything as long as space was filled with something. But why was there something to fill?

As years passed and life changed I worked through private issues and other circumstances in my life. To name a few; depression, anxiety, lack of self-worth, mental clutter, toxic people, and other things that come throughout our personal lives. No one is perfect, no one is immune to the messy reality of living.  However as I became more comfortable and accepting of where I am, who I am, and the circumstances I would find myself in… the more I organized my brain and faced my challenges head on. As I stopped ignoring things that were limiting me and embraced them as to resolve them. The less I needed the distractions of the world to block out the parts of me that aren’t settled.

Distracting one’s self from mental chaos with chaotic noise is common. We disconnect from our emotions, we disconnect from ourselves because we are ‘connected’ in a world of blurring noises, notification alerts, and funny online videos. The world bustles around us. Rarely are streets quiet.   We forget to simply exist, to take inventory, to evaluate where we are, and where we intend to go. We miss all important red flags and warning signs our body, mind, and spirit is trying to give us.

As I stopped masking and distracting my brain from things I didn’t want to deal with, and openly invited them to the front of my conscious thoughts I grew as an individual. I found out who I was as a Daughter of God, and started to accept myself in my imperfections and strived to overcome them… Slowly the way I viewed things changed. I no longer filled moments with mindless ‘stuff’  … I became comfortable with my thought patterns and acknowledged the ways I could challenge negative thoughts and slowly the silence became my healing time, my time to work on myself, to focus and to feel the spirit and to receive guidance.

I no longer feel the need to fill something that does not need to be filled.

Does this mean I don’t watch TV?  of course not… but I do not have it on aimlessly in the background, or waste time in front of the screen.. it is probably the last thing I even consider doing (this includes Netflix and movies)

Does this mean I don’t listen to music? Of course not… I only ever turn it on when I consciously choose to listen and when I am going to focus on it… or on excessively long journeys. But in the background, as I do five other things.. probably not. I like to focus on the things of importance.

Becoming comfortable with myself, becoming comfortable with silence has become one of the best feelings of freedom I have experienced. To feel at peace with myself and the progress I make. Although I do not always progress at the pace I would like or overcome all obstacles in a timely manner. I accept it as it comes (not perfectly I may add. I get stressed, I get anxious, and I get impatient)  But I can now accept things as they come and find ways to work from where I am to further myself in my personal journey as I traverse this adventure we call Mortal life!

I hope we all are able to become mindful of ourselves in a world that aims to disconnect us and distract us. That we may be able to find more happiness and Peace in a world where is seems near impossible to find.

Love,

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20167102

Well Hello Wonderful!!

It has been a while and I apologize for that. I have been working on some more serious and focused posts than just my mind’s ramblings.
However let’s take some time to talk, or in my case to ramble and express different things I have been pondering as of late.

But lets start with the end.
The End of 2016 has come with an overload of life changing moments, I am sure this is not exclusive to just me. It has been one roller coaster of a year . For many it seems to have been a year they wish they could forget, yet a year they will forever remember.
However I wish not to dwell on the heartbreaks that have been experienced in 2016, because I am not here to dwell upon moments, but to learn from them. To allow those memories empower me to make the most of the future, to carry these lessons into the future to aid those around me.
This year was filled with one of the greatest blessings, the opportunity to serve The Lord as a full time missionary. Eight months out of twelve was focused on nothing but this. On helping others and on giving all that I could to be a better aid to them, relying on the Lord to make more of me, and more of my efforts than I could ever imagine possible alone. This in itself was a wonderful marvelous high, accompanied with some lows. overall when I look at this time. A cascade of people, moments, lessons, and miracles flood into my mind and spirit. Everything and Every person I love so dearly. like little fish fighting a current, glimpses of sorrow and trying moments are visible among all that I hold dear. Enough to remember, to remind me, to strengthen me, and to make the Good all the sweeter.  The finishing of the mission truly felt like heartbreak. A piece of my heart will remain in Australia, with the people who have impacted me for good, and whom I hope I was able to serve to the best of my abilities. This was the hardest ‘goodbye’
However this ending was truly a beginning of the Rest of my Life. Life didn’t end upon finishing a mission, it was truly only just starting to begin.
I had to adjust back to the normal world. But with this my focus has been changed. Certain things have become less important whilst others have continued to grow in my heart as focuses for the Future. Decisions to be made, plans to be started and put in order, things to be done.
I was blessed to then see my dear friend and beloved Companion from the mission be sealed for time and all eternity to her wonderful Husband. Now if this isn’t the definition of beginning I don’t know what is. What a beautiful moment it was to see her on the day she started Her new life with her Husband.
Christmas came and went, bustling family moments, laughter, food, and music.
I’ve been blessed to get to know people I could have never imagined would be such a part of my life.
2016 has been a year for the books and I hope that from now on things continue to strive onward and upwards. Because although I leave a lot in the year of 2016, things I wish i could carry  with me. (like never removing the name tag)  this quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf  is always applicable

“In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny. The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.” 

Leaving behind the things of 2016, isn’t leaving their impact on me, or the things I have learnt, it is taking them to create more, to become more in this new Beginning.
However of course new beginnings, change, repentance, and fresh starts aren’t a once off act. They are thousands of choices and actions we make every day, every hour and every minute of our lives.
we may fall down, we may not see perfect success in everything straight way. In fact rarely ever do we success immediately. Because this is not often how we learn. we develop skills and talents as we try and at first we don’t succeed,so we try again. We learn solutions, where we went wrong, how to improve here a little and there a little. As we rely upon the Lord until eventually we succeed. The success is all the more brilliant and encouraging. We learn the importance of enduring and always putting our best effort in. We learn how to fall down and pick up the pieces, to create out of ashes. We build our characters, because the Lord allows us to do so. He strengthens us and blesses us through all things, however we wont do it all for us, patiently He guides us. Tells us options, gives us freedom to act and to learn for ourselves.
We make mistakes, we trip up, we fall down… and sometimes it takes a while to pick up the pieces, or to even recognize we are face first  in the mud.  That maybe we of our own will chose the wrong path, and ventured away from the Iron Rod. But hope is never lost. He never left that spot, He stands and waits for you to call out and ask, and He will bring you back, and move forward, leaving it behind you.  We Just need to trust in Him.
To trust in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that it is able to cleanse of all sin, to strengthen in your weaknesses. To reach beyond that which we are able on our own.

So going in to 2017, I am excited. To see what blessing and trials will come my way, to serve though around me and to set goals. My Resolution for this year is to set goals, monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly when needed. To not try pile all my faults in one task to achieve, but to turn to the Lord and ask the important question “what lack I yet ?”
Then to take the things He reveals unto me and focus on them, to slowly overtime improve. To work on the things that matter most. To be aware of where I am and take inventory with myself. with those I love and focus on improving, to fulfill all that the Lord may require of us!

I pray that we may all be able to enter this new year with a sense of hope for the future, that we may focus on the things that matter most. Making 2017 a year that is worth remembering!

I love you all, thank you for sticking with me

~ C.A Priston-Turner  xx

Sunshine in Sydney, Sunshine in my Soul

Well somehow another week has been and gone!
For me it has a been a wonderful week, probably the laziest yet most relaxing I have had since returning. I know for others this has been a week that will have leave a memory on the rest of our lives. I hope we all choose to do something weekly that will impact our future selves for the better!

The week started for me bright and early about 2:40am monday morning, getting dressed, eating, and bustling into the car to the air port for a 4:30am check in! It was a wonderful flight, I enjoy Flying with Qantas airlines. Their fruit platter breakfast option is honestly my favourite thing I ever eat on planes along with orange juice and water. As the plane first lifted into the crisp monday morning air we were greeted by the most gorgeous sunrise.  One of those breath taking moments, where if only time would stand still. Where in that moment you can feel  the Love of the Lord whispering ” I created this for you” wellington sunrise
I love these moments, natural, unchanged by man, the Glowing deep orange of the sun sending playful rays along the purple and blue sky. Reflecting and bouncing off the deep green of the mountain ranges. The lakes as though liquid gold nestled among the emerald forest floor. No camera could ever fully capture the beauty of this view.
I arrived to wonderful 33 degree Celsius weather,  not crazy sunny but nice and warm. The first view I had of this wonderful country made me insanely happy! just the cliffs all around vaucluse, watson’s bay, and malabar. the city sky lines and even the industrial areas! first after going through customs. I went and got myself an Opal card for all of the public Transport in NSW. Now I love the Opal card system… unless you want to access the airport, then the price is ridiculous! (seriously $16.50 for three stops is pricey) Well after a train from the international air port to Central station, transferring to the T1 line form central to Hornsby. I finally made it to Thornleigh station. Where my wonderful friend Rachel was. That hug of finally being reunited without a serious 5/10 minute time limit was the best. We went to her house and just sat on her bed for a bit and talked. Ate lunch and laughed. Followed by a trip to the mission Office!
It was almost like i slipped back through into another reality, climbing between two worlds. That of home life and the things that New Zealand holds, and the of the rest of the world. Into my place and the city the became my playground. I may not know all of it yet, but these streets feel like home!  It was great to stop by the familiar temple grounds, see the wonderful office couples that I was so blessed to serve alongside. The blessed opportunity I had to stop by and visit President and Sister Checketts!
Then when leaving the grounds I saw none other than the Bishop of my last Area who came up and hugged me. not going to lie this was the strangest thing ever, we always saw Him there as missionaries so to attempt to shake His hand and to be greeted with a hug, almost felt like I was breaking rules… But hey I am not a missionary. How lovely it felt to be back!
Family home evening was great, we all talked about General conference! then Played a quick round of UNO… guess who lost, yes that is me!

Tuesday consisted of a nice quick get ready for the day and out of the door by 7:40am to catch the train into Central, get lost trying to find the address for a Job interview and find ourselves down the dodgiest looking alley way! Just completely dead and empty except two men chilling having smoko! After running late and getting in contact with the company. Having everything sorted we decided to make the best of our situation.. laugh, have fun p1100996and then find our way back to the station. I love this, getting lost and find my way to the insides of the city. Not the clean polished streets of the CBD or the busy building lined streets of people in impractical fashion and the suits, where the pace involves a hidden Jog and the hum of the streets become ingrained into you veins. But the back streets, the naked undressed up side of a city, where people seek solace from the pace, to become an enigma. This is backstage, the side of the show that others don’t often see. Without what happens here, the show would never perform. The pace would break and things may possible stand still. (Heck maybe occasionally this could be a good thing)
We made our way through the concrete jungle back to the station and headed out towards one of my favourite places for finding whilst a missionary. Bondi Junction!
Bondi Junction;p1110020
Here I introduced Rachel to the Mall (somewhere I had only been briefly) and the outside shopping area. We Picked up a few Items, browsed and had Lunch in the food court over looking the water and the city. seeing in view the Harbor Bridge and the Opera house.
We spent time just enjoying that which we had, and doing those things we haven’t done in a long time.. Like fussy Jean shopping 🙂

p1110016After a nice lunch and obtaining all that we wanted we caught the 333 bus to Bondi beach!
Where I had sorbet and Rachel had a savory scone! I enjoyed the fresh ocean water for a lovely refreshing swim, I may have got wiped out by a solid wave, much to Rachel’s enjoyment as she watched.

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We discussed many things from missions, the Gospel and just how great God is throughout the day! we read emails from those we love and we laughed. We enjoyed the side of Just living and having a friend to share it with!
Then the nice hour and a half journey home began. Arriving a little before 8pm to find the missionaries having correlation … Elder Bush whom I served with out in penrith Zone looked around to say hi and i swear He saw a Ghost “Hi! wait?!? what?! how?!” hehe
funniest moment, so after eating and them finishing their meeting I got to say hello to all four missionaries  that I had been blessed to serve alongside.
Rachel and I then sat on her bed with food and watched The errand of Angels and the beginning of the fellowship of the ring! stopping at 2am realizing we should probably get some sleep!

Wednesday Rachel, Her wonderful Mother, and I all went and did the 10am temple session! How wonderful it is to be in the temple with those we love, to be blessed to take through some of their family names as well was such an honor! I wish I could just talk all about this. But just the Joy of being there again, not Just at the temple of the Lord but at one I love so dearly with people I love as family is an absolute blessing.
We all then had lunch at home, went to the mall to pick up a few things. followed by dinner together and Then getting ready for institute.
I have never been to institute outside of the Wellington region. So it was almost a giant culture shock! A huge amount of YSA all gathered together. We talked about prophets and their role and how we follow them, it was amazing ot be somewhere where the YSA  engage and respect their teacher. It felt so good, it felt like the first lesson in a while where i was able to enjoy and ponder personally on a fer aspects of the Gospel.
Afterwards we Just hung out till about 10:40pm I met a lot of lovely people and enjoyed it very much. On the way home Rachel and I decided we were hungry so drove by Maccas to grab a snack. so we sat in the car and ate. Discussing different experiences we’ve had on missions and even a rather lengthy discussion on specific Gospel topics.
The feeling of complete peace I felt in the car home that night was amazing, the feeling of being in the right place with the right people. Another one of those raw moments, where it doesn’t need the catchy background music or even sound at all, no makeup covered photograph moments. Just those pure raw special moments where it feels like everything finally has aligned and the puzzle pieces are coming together. It just feels … GOOD!

Thursday Morning We woke up and Rachel and I headed off for another temple session, stopping by the mission office yet again to say farewell to the couple in there.
This session again was just lovely being with my best friend within those walls. Know what although 3 years have past, we’ve lived in different countries. served different people and spoke different languages. There is Joy in being united as Sisters, as Daughters of God! The friendship that although was once built upon mutual ground has grown deeper as our love o the Gospel has grown. our Friendship now has more of a base upon the important principles of eternity than that of the World!
Afterwards we went home, packed my luggage all up, had lunch and headed off!
However sitting at Thornleigh station a tradey came and sat beside us, so out of habit I ask how he was, he had the thickest accent I had heard in a long time, clearly from by liverpool England area … So we started talking, all three of us, asking about all my luggage and explaining  about how i had served a mission here and was taking it back home. So conversation grew and changed, He asked what is different about our church… GOOD QUESTION! SO next thing we know we are explaining prophets and who Thomas S Monson is, The Book of Mormon and inviting Him to read it. testifying. The flow was pretty good and the ability having never taught together in our lives to fall into a good pace was incredible. As we departed ways at central station we even obtained His contact details!
Accidentally claiming a new investigator as RMs? oops why not! we made a friend 🙂
Getting on the next train to the Airport and saying “see ya” so soon and yet again made me feel as though my heart was getting torn yet again. When you dont see someone for a long time you learn to live life with just the online contact you almost find it hard to remember any other way but you remember the fun with fond memories! But when you finally are together you realize how much you missed it. You realize when face with separating again how life maybe was missing an important person from it. Let alone the country itself I love and the place I feel at home!
I cried, no denial!
Then arrived nice and early for my next flight, waited and checked in. Hung out in duty free for about an hour and got there perfectly in time for boarding!

Thursday morning after being p14724414_542021089330905_8970125121781464311_nicked up by my wonderful mother and driven home. I cut off about half of my hair length, due to a series of unfortunate events! That lead to it needing some serious health fix!  fell asleep around 3am and slept through mostly until almost 10am. feeling rather sickly. i unpacked luggage and did the things in needed to.
Saturday again feeling rather unwell slept in and did chores before taking the niece and nephew down to a sports activity at the stake center, followed by an epic ward Quiz night, where our team was just our small family… guess who won!!! woohoo familia!

Sunday, well happy Sabbath!
Seriously this is by far my favourite day of the week every week. However it is competing with an amazing time in sydney!
But the talks in Sacrament were wonderful, I found myself asking and reflecting on how i can improve spiritually and again continue to further consecrate myself to the Lord, to refine who I am and become more of who He want’s be to be as His daughter. The woman He needs me to be as a future wife and mother, to aid my family and the community around me!
My CTR lesson went great! and I committed them all to do something special for someone else this week.
After Church we had ward lunch, where I was claimed by one of the cutest 3 yr old’s ever at church who ran up and told me she had been looking for me so she could talk to me, then she proceeded to sit on my lap and tell me about nursery and what she did at church. Honestly these small moments make my heart so happy, the sweet pure love of a happy little face running to hug me makes my soul literally soar, the cuddles, the hand holding the fun little games. They are priceless moments!  As Jesus Christ said “Behold your little ones”
They are precious! But then if we turn that relationship between Heavenly Father and ourselves, we are his little ones and we are so precious in His eyes, every bit of interaction between us and Him is pure treasure to Him, He Cherish’s those moments . However unlike this wonderful little girl at church we may not run and hug Him physically or sit and talk face to face. We kneel before him and talk, we pour out our heart and in return sit and listen. He does speak to us! through our feelings and thoughts. We can feel His embrace and all encompassing love encircle us as we turn to Him and strive to not only know of Him, but come to Know him!

I pray we all will be able to strengthen That relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ, through sincere prayer and study! Paying attention to our feelings and being ever grateful for all that He does daily!

I love you all so very much, I don’t say this lightly!

~ C.A. Priston-Turner xx

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Mental illness an invisible war

Dia dhuit!

I hope we are all well and pressing forward. Because sometimes this isn’t easy.
I’ve thought about this post, and discussing this openly for a while. But unsure on if it will sit well with people. I want to discuss the daily effects of living with mental illness.
we will often hear about the crippling stages of depression or the all consuming effects of severe anxiety. But often I haven’t seen much aimed at those who have maybe fought their way out of those depths. Those who think they have mastered the illness and learnt how to be well healthy. But in reality they still suffer from the effects of it in their daily life.

I would in reflection of my own personal experiences  joyfully say I have come leaps and bounds in happiness and recovery compared to where i was 3 years ago. But am I truly 100% ?  well to be honest I may have never been. not until the Resurrection. Clinical mental illness can be things we may struggle with for a life time. Just as any other disease. Some may be born with diabetes, some develop it later in life, others may eventually beat the diabetes to be fine, others may not. So it is with Mental illness. No matter when, where, or why we struggle. It is real, it is hard and we cannot do it alone.
So although I was diagnosed with such illnesses at the age of 15, I had very clearly been seriously ill for at least 2-3 years already and with in hindsight years before. First clear signs probably before the age of 10, specially as i go back and review the things i used to write in journals or just the way i felt. Now in my early 20s I see what has changed and what hasn’t. Having spent time with counselors and psychologists, having been on medication. I’ve made massive progress, I am a completely different person compared to whom I once was. However this illness it still remains.

I want to focus specifically on two things I have personally struggled with, ones that are more common than we often want to Admit. Both depression and Anxiety.
I remember the moments when I was almost crippled and held down by the dense mist, unable to make connections mentally at the speed I had used to, the empty weight in my chest that slowly felt as though it was consuming me. To randomly be replaced with such intense panic as though my pulse swirled in my own head. where my Body would literally forget how to function for periods of time. Through much assistance, of medical professionals and the Lord I have overcome the severeness of the illness. For those who are still in this place it is possible. It may seem like it is not. But as it reads in Ether 12:27 :

 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

We cannot do this alone, this is where humility comes in. We need to accept the help we need, medical and spiritual. We can however follow the counsel in Alma 37: 35-37:

“Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
     Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” 

Give it to the Lord, pray unto Him for everything. Put your trust in Him, there is strength here. As we do so, we can make it through.
However we may wonder why sometimes when we do all that we can, we try our hardest and keep the commandments. That we may not feel the Joy or Happiness we have often been promised. We may question why, or what we did wrong to cause us to become that exception to the rule. we may ask ourselves if this promise was for everyone else but us. That maybe we have failed God and He doesn’t love us like he Loves others. This however is false Doctrine. He loves you and He want’s you to be happy. With mental illness, our brains do not let the correct messages to be passed, making it hard for us to feel these things. Or maybe they do pass through but not as completely as a healthy person. This is not your fault!
This is something we need to Pray and find ways to push through, learn to express these emotions with those around us so they can support us. It worries them. You are not being a burden on them. No they may not understand perfectly. But Jesus Christ does.

As is reads in Isaiah 53: 3-4 :

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

He has gone through every heartache and pain we have, He knows how to understand, He does. He went though all of this so that we Hopefully will turn to Him and draw strength from Him. As we apply his Gospel, all of those beautiful teachings into our lives.

There is a beautiful Promise in the 38th chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon, found in verse 5:

 And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”

This promise is for us also. He never said “as soon as you do this, things will be easy”
The key thing is it will happen, in this we have an essential principle; HOPE. we can try look forward, no it isn’t easy. But this promise is sure;
In the Last day we will be free! and we shall be lifted up among the righteous to meet our beloved Saviour and Redeemer!

But even if we aren’t in the deepest depths of despair we still live a life different to that of others.  Sometimes I feel as though because I was no longer where I once was that I have no reason to feel as though things are hard. I would be hard on myself and try push myself.
However through attendance to the Temple I have discovered a crucial thing about myself.

although I thought I was free,  that the illness had left. The moment I step through those beautiful doors I experience something. This may not be the same for others this is a wonderful tender mercy I receive and I live for.
I walk through those doors, and those things that I have been bound by on earth cannot have any hold. I feel the mist lift and my spirit lighten and I experience for the time i am within those walls a glimpse of is to come. The freedom that I long for, and thanks to the goodness of God will receive.
However I realize upon leaving those sacred walls That I am not yet free. That I still rely daily upon Grace (the Enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ) to strengthen me through this. I don’t have the same energy levels as others because I am daily fighting against this to Just live a normal life. It’s like walking through water compared to walking on a track course.
Each day is a new day and every hour can sometimes be a small step to focus on in itself.
People often forget that Just because we may not show that it is hard because we manage to live normal or to hold a Job, or even get out of bed, that maybe, Just maybe it took us a world of effort. Some days it may seem absolutely impossible to even fathom moving out of Bed.
But there is Hope, it is possible, even if at the current time it may seem like it isn’t. You can do this.  One of my favourite scriptures is Doctrine and covenants section 24:8 it contains one of my all time favourite promises from the Lord:

“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.”

we are not in this alone,  take each day, each hour, and each minute as it comes.
One day dawn will break and we will be free, until this time we must hold onto hope and do all we can and seek the Help of those around us!

I can promise you the Lord will strengthen you!

I love you! But more Importantly the Lord loves you!

Sister Priston-Turner xx

Another one bites the Dust!

Hello everyone!
So it is another transfer done and dusted!
it’s crazy how time flies!

well I guess I’ll d my end of the quick updates.
Monday I worked the whole day!
Tuesday I worked the Whole day!
Wednesday I worked the whole day!

Thursday I had a doctors appointment, then ventured myself to the pools by about 8:40am and had a nice spa and sauna. whilst sitting in the sauna a little Korean lady comes in and starts talking to me, as we are talking she mentions she is christian. so we talk about that and her church for a little bit. next thing I know I am halfway through explaining How the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith! thus making our church different to others. As I left i openly invited her to church and said she is always welcome to talk more and strengthen each other.
I then went and got some nice Vegan Sushi with a friend, followed by blood tests (will find out the results this coming week hopefully) I did some adult things. Such as attend the place called a Bank and try update my accounts. fall asleep on a beanbag in the library reading scriptures on my phone. Awkwardly watch my friend speak to everyone he knows and watch from a 2 meter distance. But then He asks me if we believe in hell. so next thing i know I am explaining the entire Plan of Salvation to him, drawing it out on the back of a receipt. telling him to talk to the elders and stuff (he’s met the elders)

Friday I worked all day, and practically died in bed upon arriving home.

Saturday i went to work feeling extremely unwell and got sent home early
(due to all the stuff i am getting blood tests for) I curled up in my anti social bed room and napped most of my day.

Welcome welcome Sunday Morning!
Church today was just pure incredible, the strong tangible spirit. The witness that it is true, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live, they love us and they lead this ‘church’. That the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth preparatory to the second coming of the messiah.
The elders had investigator they had never met at church today. He had been referred from another area. met on the street and was given a pamphlet… that’s it. He’d been texting the Elders and he came to church!! miracle right?!!?!?
He was telling me this and explained he had never come to a latter-day saint meeting before. well right at the end of sacrament, He gets up and bears his testimony! all on principles others have spoke and he was clearly emotional and feeling this new strong sense of the spirit and he said ” I am glad I came today, to sit here and to know that this id the True church of God on the earth today” then after sacrament meeting, He practically pleaded for the elders to go visit Him this week!! Crazy right?!?!?!?! tender mercies and miracles. as he was bearing testimony I looked at one of the elders and my head was just screaming in pure joy, and his face mimicked that of my internal thoughts. He was practically crying, in shock and grinning. Best feeling ever!
I then got to meet a lovely new YSA girl who is staying in the area for a few months, from America! we had a lovely lesson on Justice and mercy!
I got to teach my CTR class for the first time this week, an adorable bunch of sweet little intense spirits!

After church I got set apart with a calling as a ward missionary. Second calling success!
then we sat and watched the women’s session of General Conference at home. So beautiful.  The messages were wonderful! they also went along well with what I wrote earlier in the week about facing the Future!!

I also have one potential Job interview back in Sydney and I am flying back on the 10th of October! So one week and I am going home xx

anyway, I love you all from the bottom of my hear!

Sister Priston-Turner

Facing the Future

Well hello everyone,

I hope you are all well, and pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ. Allowing your faith to grow through action and facing those trials that come your way.

One of the interesting things that happens as we return from serving the Lord, is like everything hits us all at once. Suddenly we’ve gone from focusing purely on everyone else and the Gospel. limited distractions and worries. Plus of course we have the missionary mantle. Strength greater than we could even describe.

But next thing we know, we are chucked the real world. No protection above that which we ourselves choose to keep. Working, Studying, Dating, Living circumstances, and everything that will ultimately lead to our future and where we will end up. It is to be rather blunt. Absolutely terrifying.

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
     And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.” ~ 2 Nephi 31: 20-21

I love these Verses. Because ultimately it reminds me of the essential thing of keeping perspective. We are Children of God. This life is only a short moment. No matter what happens, what trials come our way. Those things that in the moment feel like everything is crashing down. there is this beautiful truth; God Lives, Jesus is the Christ. They love us. Their church has been restored upon the earth, with all the ordinances essential to our salvation. Including the correct priesthood authority from God to perform these ordinances. So that Families can be together forever! I know this. I will continue to testify of these truths.
Our goal isn’t just to get the next good Job, or have the biggest and best house. It is about refining ourselves and preparing ourselves for the Lord’s kingdom. If that means I have to walk my through the fires of Mt Doom to do so.. so be it. Of course I know what you are thinking right now  one does not simply walk into mordor”  well one does not simply walk into exaltation in the celestial kingdom  either. But Mordor is a lot more achievable in this state of existence.
Honestly though, learning eternal lessons in this short period of time isn’t designed to be easy. Diamonds only form under extreme pressure and heat for extended time periods. For us this life is short, but the pressure is extreme. We all have our individual limits and capabilities. However we will each be tested time and time again to that which we feel is our breaking point. At times we may feel as though our very being is on the verge of being torn apart. But as we hold strong and rely on the Grace (Enabling power) that comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we will find more strength than we knew possible. It doesn’t mean things suddenly become easy or even feel bearable at times. But they become possible.
Through all the years of fighting depression, the enabling power of Jesus Christ (mixed with professional help) is essential to who I am currently, and how I continue to fight and move forward.  It is real. we can rely on it! We need to get on our knees and pray Like it is all up to God, then get on our feet and work like it is all up to us! because this involves effort and team work.

So as we return from the mission, we find ourselves again figuring out our way through this mucky reality. Trying to climb and scramble to where we need to be. But the Knowledge that we need to keep the Lord and His will above our own. Apply the things we have learnt and remain who we have become. We are able to do this because of the enabling power that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We push forward. We take leaps of faith, in directions that may seem completely insane. We seek to go beyond our comfort zones and reach those things the Lord is preparing for us.
For myself I am currently trying to process in my head the current options I have. Having confirmation I need to branch out of the country to grow, to Learn, and to become more than what I am already. I am currently weighing up between Australia, and the United States of America. funny how things change right?
Between university options and the things that will put me in a better position to do those things the Lord will ask of me. Sometimes finding complete answers and direction, makes me feel like I am running into a brick wall. I wonder if i am doing my part and asking the correct questions with the right desires.
Ultimately I just want to do as the Lord sees fit. But I am an agent I am free to act for myself (Helaman 14: 30-31) he wont Just hand me a gold plate with all the answers. I need to have that desire to do those things and to then seek if it is right. Make those decisions and try for myself to progress. I know that as I continue to press forward, having Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, seeking the Will of my Father in Heaven. Studying the Scriptures, keeping open communication, and serving those around me. I will find my answers. I will see the ways open and He will lead me by the Hand to that which He will have me do!
However whenever things get hard there is a wonderful verse in Hymn 85 “How firm a foundation” verse 5 :

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
These things are here to refine us. The paths we chose, the way we seek the Lord’s will. Our obedience. Our trials and temptations. They are all here as a refiners fire. Things we must walk through. To become the best us we can be.

I love the Lord, I love His gospel. I am so thankful to be a part of it. I pray that we may all be able to seek His ways before our own. That we may be able to progress together back to our Father in Heaven. That we may stand as beacons for Good in these the Last Days.

I love you all,
Sister Priston-Turner xx