Edwards Family

Edwards Family

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas videos I'm showing my seminary class tomorrow

This post is for my fellow seminary teacher friends in case they need last minute ideas for their Christmas lesson. 

I'm excited for seminary tomorrow! It's our last day before Christmas break. We're having food, listening to students do musical numbers, talks and testimonies, and a few videos. We're handing out blank ornaments at the beginning, and letting the kids decorate them with colored pencils and write their name on the front. I'll ask them to think of a special gift they can give the Savior and write it on the back. Sometime during the program, between talks or musical numbers or videos, they can come and tape it to our cardstock Christmas tree. 

This will be our prelude music. O Holy Night by Piano Guys. I love the background made to look like old Jerusalem. 

Angels We Have Heard on High. The world's largest nativity with Piano Guys, David Archuleta, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and many YouTubers. I have friends who helped with this project and it is amazing! 

Good Tidings of Great Joy: The Birth of Jesus Christ. 

What Shall We Give? 

He is the Gift. This year's new 2014 Christmas Mormon Message. 

These are videos I won't have time to show my class, but I love them so I'll include them here. 

I'm Holding You. My beautiful neighbor is the star of this Mormon Message. It's based on a true story, but it's NOT her story. She's just an actress in it. 

The Coat. Based on a true story about Heber J. Grant. 

Peace is Possible: The Christmas Truce of 1914. This Christmas marks the 100 year anniversary of this Christmas miracle during WWI. 

The Old Shoemaker.

Other ideas that we'll be using tomorrow. 

My little gift for my seminary students. 
A candy cane with a poem about its symbolism about the Savior. 

Blank card stock ornaments to decorate and write what gift you'll give to Jesus. 
Blank ornaments.

Christmas break reading challenge. Ideas for how to keep reading over the break. 

Our Christmas celebration went great! Here are a few highlights. 

A brother and sister pair did O Holy Night in American Sign Language. It was beautiful. 
Three girls sang Breath of Heaven, accompanied by a boy.
One girl did a beautiful rendition in ASL. 

We borrowed a laminated tree from the library and used it to tape our ornaments where the kids wrote their gifts to the Savior. At the end of class they took their ornament home. 

At the end of class we got in a big circle for our gift exchange. We used the right and left story below. Lots of laughs!

Here is the "right and left" game we played for our gift exchange at the end of class. 

The Right Family Christmas Story Christmas was almost here and Mother RIGHT was finishing the Christmas baking. Father RIGHT, Susie RIGHT, and Billy RIGHT returned from their last minute Christmas errands. 

"There's not much LEFT to be done," said Father RIGHT as he came into the kitchen. "Did you leave the basket of food at Church?" asked Mother RIGHT? "I LEFT it RIGHT where you told me to," said Billy RIGHT." "I don't have any money LEFT." 

The hall telephone rang, and Susie RIGHT LEFT to answer it. She rushed back and told the family, "Aunt Tillie RIGHT LEFT a package for us RIGHT on Grandma RIGHT's porch. I'll go over there RIGHT now and get it," she said as she LEFT in a rush. Father RIGHT LEFT the kitchen and brought in the Christmas Tree. 

By the time Susie RIGHT returned, Mother RIGHT, Father RIGHT, and Billy RIGHT had begun trimming the tree. The entire RIGHT family sang carols as they finished the decorating. Then they LEFT all the presents arranged under the tree and went to bed, hoping they had selected the RIGHT gifts for their family. 

Now I hope you have the RIGHT present for yourself, because that's all that's LEFT of our story, except to wish you a Merry Christmas, isn't that RIGHT?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gift ideas for a missionary, even one who doesn't have a call yet

In our ward we will have six more missionaries leaving this summer!  Woo hoo! Today after church, one of their moms wanted ideas for pre-missionary Christmas gifts. So this is for those moms, or any other moms who want to start gathering missionary gear early.  Other items, like how many suits and slacks to bring, will be specified in his mission call. Most of these items can work for a son or daughter.

Here is an idea gift list of stuff missionaries universally use. Many of these are small enough for stocking stuffers. 

I sure love my Elder Adam Edwards!
  1. Luggage. We hit Kohls black Friday sale for this. Our son was allowed two large suit cases, a carry on, and he also took a shoulder bag. 
  2. Preach my Gospel, small size.
  3. Missionary reference library. Go here for the small size.
  4. Books to help them prepare. Go here for a list of suggestions.
  5. Camera 
  6. SD card(s) for the camera. Here's what one missionary mom said about this: "I just found out if my son had an extra sd card and pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelopes he will send home more pictures. So if he has 2 large sd cards you can send them back and forth. If you do one envelope for each month that makes a lot of pics." (My son emails pictures home in his weekly email.) 
  7. Watch 
  8. Socks. Holmes Clothing his place has AMAZING missionary socks that last forever, have extra cushion, and wick water away in cold or hot weather.
  9. Travel alarm clock. My son's mission required a battery one.
  10. Recipes. Go here to see the mini recipe book I made my son. 
  11. Uplifting music. You'll find out your child's mission standards when s/he receives the mission call, but even if they can only listen to a particular upbeat LDS CD until they go, it's still a blessing to help them prepare. My son's mission music standard is any music that is worthy of sacrament meeting, so we sent a lot of hymns or even classical pieces like Handel's Messiah or Bach's Jesus Joy of Man's Desiring. For a pre-missionary, my favorite album is The Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries.
  12. Little things your missionary can hand out like children's CTR rings, small pictures of Christ, stickers. 
  13. White shirts. My son in France took half long sleeve and half short sleeve shirts. If you don't know yet which mission your son will be going to, maybe just get one of each for now.
  14. Ties
  15. Gift cards 
  16. Journal
  17. Supplies for writing letters - paper, cards, envelopes, stamps. One mom said that if she gives pre-stamped, addressed envelopes, her son is more likely to write home. 
  18. Your favorite brand of pens, pencils, or highlighters
  19. Sewing kit 
  20. Small LED flashlight
  21. Ipod huffle. My son's mission won't allow a device with radio, a screen, or internet, so this one works well. (I was just notified by a missionary mom that not all missions allow portable music devices, so you may want to wait until your child gets a mission call before you buy this one.) 
  22. Portable speaker. I believe all missions do not allow ear buds so they'll need this to listen to music. Here is the one we got for our son.
  23. Shoe shine kit. My husband is kinda picky about this. Here is the one he chose. 
  24. Digital voice recorder with a case. This allows your missionary to record audio letters to send home via email.
  25. Towel. A microfiber towel is great for saving space, and for drying faster if your child goes to a humid place.
  26. Some moms offered ideas about how to personalize the gifts. One mom gave luggage and included quotes and a heartfelt letter about letting go of excess baggage on a mission. Another mom had her son's towel embroidered with his name. 
  27. Quote book. My friend sent me a wonderful gift for my son, which he'll be opening in his Christmas gifts this month. She gathered a ton of memes (quotes with pictures) from the most recent general conference, and then developed them into pictures and put them into an inexpensive little 4x6" photo album. I loved this. I suggested to my son that he can pull out some of the quote memes to hang around his apartment, and then he can use the book to store the family pictures we send him. I also sent Adam a quote book in the MTC of some of my own favorite quotes that I printed and cut into a tiny booklet with two rings. 
  28. My favorite gift that we sent Adam this Christmas is a calendar with collages of family pictures, and family birthdays. I think this kind of gift would mean much more after a missionary goes out, rather than before. 

A little update about our son Elder Adam Edwards. He is on the right, in the grey suit, fresh off the airplane in Paris, France a few days ago. After six weeks at the Provo MTC, today is his first Sabbath in the mission field! His first area is in Belgium. We can hardly wait for his first email from the mission field tomorrow!

Feel free to leave more ideas in the comments below. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Four short videos showing how trials can make you bitter or better. It's your choice.

What are you Thankful for? With Rachel Holbrook

My New Life, with Stephanie Nelson 

God Will Lift Us Up

The Refiner's Fire

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cool object lesson about testimony

(I believe this object lesson idea originally came from John Hilton.) 

There are many levels of testimony:
I hope it’s true . . .
I think it’s true . . .
I believe it’s true . . .
I know it’s true . . .

For example, what if we told you that your ring finger is less flexible than your other fingers? 

Do you hope, think, believe, or know that is true? What is the only way to move from “hope” to “know”? We must experiment and test it out. Do the following:

1. Put your hands together, palm to palm

2. Keeping your palms together, see if you can separate your pointer fingers. Can you do it? Good, now keeping your palms together fold your pointer fingers over.

3. With your palms together and pointer fingers folded over, try to separate your pinkey fingers. Can you do it? Good. Now fold those over.

4. What about your thumbs, and your middle finger? Good. Fold those over.
5. Now with your palms firmly pressed together and all your fingers folded over except your ring finger, try to separate your ring fingers from each other. Interesting, isn’t it?

So how many of you now “know” your ring finger is less flexible than your others? 

Gaining a witness of spiritual things is much the same: When we first experiment and act in obedience, then the testimony comes.

Inspiring Quotes about the Holy Sabbath Day

Tomorrow in seminary we are discussing D&C 59, which focuses on the Sabbath day. Click here for a handout you can glue into your scriptures. 

I love Eli Herring's powerful example of showing his love of the Lord by honoring the Sabbath, even when it meant giving up a great NFL career. 

Here are some inspiring quotes to help us see and keep the Sabbath as holy as it should be. 

David L. Herring: “Our great grandfathers called it the holy Sabbath day. Our grandfathers called it the Sabbath. Our fathers called it Sunday. And now, we just call it the weekend. We feel like our great grandfathers did about the holy Sabbath day” (John Bytheway, quoting Eli Herring’s father in “Family Night with John Bytheway: Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy”). 

Elder Joe J. Christensen: “Make Sundays special, and they will help make you special in the sight of the Lord” (Ensign, Dec. 1994). 

Elder Mark E. Petersen: “Our observance or nonobservance of the Sabbath is an unerring measure of our attitude toward the Lord personally and toward his suffering in Gethsemane, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead” (“The Sabbath Day,” Ensign, May 1975, 49).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie: “The matter of Sabbath observance remains … as one of the great tests which divides the righteous from the worldly and wicked,” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (1966), 658).

President Joseph F Smith: “Persons who habitually desecrate the Lord's day cannot be held in fellowship, and members of the Church who neglect public worship and the partaking of the Sacrament and do not remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, will become weak in the faith and spiritually sickly, and will lose the Spirit and favor of God, and ultimately forfeit their standing in the Church and their exaltation...” (In Messages of the First Presidency, 3:123).


Gordon B. Hinckley: “The Sabbath of the Lord is becoming the play day of the people. It is a day of golf and football on television, of buying and selling in our stores and markets. Are we moving to mainstream America as some observers believe? In this I fear we are. What a telling thing it is to see the parking lots of the markets filled on Sunday in communities that are predominately LDS. Our strength for the future, our resolution to grow the Church across the world, will be weakened if we violate the will of the Lord in this important matter. He has so very clearly spoken anciently and again in modern revelation. We cannot disregard with impunity that which He has said” (Ensign, Nov. 1997).

James E. Faust: “Over a lifetime of observation, it is clear to me that the farmer who observes the Sabbath day seems to get more done on his farm than he would if he worked seven days.  The mechanic will be able to turn out more and better products in six days than in seven.  The doctor, the lawyer, the dentist, the scientist will accomplish more by trying to rest on the Sabbath than if he tries to utilize every day of the week for his professional work.  I would counsel all students, if they can, to arrange their schedules so that they do not study on the Sabbath.  If students and other seekers after truth will do this, their minds will be quickened and the infinite Spirit will lead them to the verities they wish to learn.  This is because God has hallowed his day and blessed it as a perpetual covenant of faithfulness” (Ensign, Nov. 1991).

Spencer W. Kimball: "The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, sleeping, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day to which he is expected. To fail to do these proper things is a transgression on the omission side." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 96-97.)

President Spencer W. Kimball: "As we plan our Sunday activities, we may want to set aside time for our family to be together, for personal study and meditation, and for service to others. We might want to read the scriptures, conference reports, and Church publications; study the lives and teachings of the prophets; prepare church lessons and other church assignments; write in journals; pray and meditate; write to or visit relatives and friends; write to missionaries; enjoy uplifting music; have family gospel instruction; hold family council meetings; … read with a child; do genealogical research; … friendship nonmembers; fellowship neighbors; visit the sick, the aged, and the lonely" ("First Presidency Message: Therefore I Was Taught," Ensign, Jan. 1982). 

Russell M. Nelson – To measure where you are with the Lord, ask: 
1) What do I think of when I partake of the sacrament? 
2) How do you feel about the Sabbath day? 
  (“Reflection and Resolution,” BYU Fireside, Jan. 7, 1990)

Elder Russell M. Nelson: “My behavior on the Sabbath constitutes my sign to the Lord of my regard for him and for my covenants with him. If, on the one hand, my interests on the Sabbath day are turned to activities such as pro football games or worldly movies, the sign from me to him would clearly be that my devotions do not favor him. If, on the other hand, my Sabbath interests are focused on the Lord and his teachings, on the family, or on folks who are sick or poor or needy, that sign would likewise be evident to God. I have concluded that our activities on the Sabbath will be appropriate when we honestly consider them to be our personal sign of our commitment to the Lord. (“Reflection and Resolution,” BYU Fireside, Jan. 7, 1990)

See For the Strength of Youth for more about keeping the Sabbath day holy. 

Eli Herring: the holy Sabbath day or just the weekend?

Eli Herring, a famous BYU offensive lineman, made history for a very special reason. After much consideration, he chose not to join any of the NFL teams who wanted him. 

Eli's reason? His father said it beautifully: 

"Our great grandfathers called it the holy Sabbath day
Our grandfathers called it the Sabbath
Our fathers called it Sunday
And now, we just call it the weekend
We feel like our great grandfathers did about the holy Sabbath day” (John Bytheway, quoting David L. Herring, quoted by John Bytheway in “Family Night with John Bytheway: Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy”). 

Here you can watch the video clip of John Bytheway telling Eli Herring's story about the holy Sabbath.

You can read Eli's story in this New Era article. 

Here is a Ricks College devotional that Eli gave in January 1998. It's called, "Adding Meaning to Your Life through the Savior." Watch how tiny he makes David A. Bednar look! 

Eli and Jennifer Herring lived in our BYU married student ward at Wymount Terrace. He was a high counselor. They are quiet yet powerful examples to the masses of what it means to stand in holy places, even if you stand alone. 

So which is it for you? Do you see it and treat it like the holy Sabbath day, or just the weekend? 

Here are some quotes to inspire you to keep the Sabbath a holy day.