Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Healthy Chocolate Fondue!

Yes, this does taste as delicious as it looks! 

 Healthy Chocolate Fondue 

1 cup coconut cream*
1 cup honey (ideally raw) 
1 cup cocoa powder 

Combine and mix. Because my honey is thick I warmed the mixture over the stove with a wire whisk. Don't get it hot if you want to keep the health properties of raw honey. If your honey is thinner, you can try a whisk in a bowl, or you could use a blender.  

*I used the thick part and not the watery part of the coconut cream. The coconut cream came from Trader Joe's. It looks like the Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk I buy at Wal-mart, but with less liquid. So I bet you could use coconut milk and again, just use the thick part. Try it and see what you think!

Here's a little treat dish I took to my neighbor who, like me, likes chocolate AND likes to eat healthy. She was thrilled! 

LDS-based Curriculum for Homeschool Families

When my children were younger I loved using the Family School curriculum by Latter-day Learning. Now that they're older, they are in private school programs. But here is a great option for teens that I want to share. 

Latter-day Learning is pleased to announce three options for homeschoolers in grades 7–12 for 2016–2017:
  1. Accredited, Self-paced Courses. Self-paced, accredited courses, including assignments, feedback, and grading are available year round, starting Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Transcript credit is awarded upon course completion.
  2. Accredited, Online Cohort. Live, interactive webinars begin Tuesday August 23, 2016 and follow a school-year calendar. Limited seats are available by application only. Transcript credit is awarded upon course completion.
  3. Non-Accredited, Curriculum Only. Our curriculum for grades 7–12 can be used by homeschools, co-ops, or academies, any time, any place, and at any pace—but without AHS transcript credit or grading services.
For further information, visit the Grade 7–12 Homeschools FAQ page.

Monday, May 23, 2016

My 14-year-old son Gabe is so excited for his Shine Theater camp tomorrow that he made this hilarious video to celebrate!

I'm speaking this Saturday at an event "Preparing with the Spirit" in Ogden, Utah!

Click here for details and to register for this FREE EVENT! I'll be speaking on spiritual and emotional preparedness. 

It's Friday and Saturday, May 27-28 in Ogden, Utah. 

Space is limited so be sure to register online at the link above. If you come, please stop and say hello! 

Click here for more posts about preparedness. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"People and Principles Activity" for our Last Day of Old Testament Seminary, and FHE Idea

This is my last week of teaching Old Testament seminary! I love, love, love my students! 

Tomorrow we'll close out the year with a people and principles activity and then a testimony meeting. 

Here's the activity we're doing. You can adapt it for a class or family home evening with teens. This would be a great FHE as the year of seminary comes to a close. 

Here are the steps to this activity. It would be a great FHE with any people from the scriptures any time of year.

  1. Each person chooses an Old Testament person from slips of paper. 
  2. Give about 5-10 minutes to: 
    1. Review the story in the Old Testament 
    2. Choose a favorite verse in the story 
    3. Choose a principle (a life lesson you can use) from the story
  3. Then take turns sharing the person, favorite verse, and principle with the group. 

Here's the list we're using. For a smaller group, you could still use this many and let people choose more than one person, or reduce your list to the size of your class or family. 

1. Adam and Eve

2. Noah

3. Abraham 

4. Jacob 

5. Joseph of Egypt 

6. Moses 

7. Israelites

8. Joshua 

9. Gideon 

10. Samson

11. Ruth

12. Samuel 

13. Saul 

14. David 

15. Solomon 

16. Elijah 

17. Elisha

18. Jonah

19. Daniel 

20. Esther 

21. Job 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

I love knowing angels help us every day - several quotes and paintings about angels

She Will Find What is Lost by Brian Kershisnik

A recent article by Wendy Watson Nelson here about angels has been receiving great response. I think people love learning about this unseen blessing from heaven. 

I started collecting quotes about angels years ago. It is a special, sacred topic to me. I love that Heavenly Father loves us and our families so much that He set up His system to include angels to watch over and minister to us. Isn't He nice? 

Angels Among Us by Annie Henrie

Here are a few quotes about the blessing of angels in our lives. 

Heavenly Hands by Greg Olsen 

Elder Holland

“Usually [angels] are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, November 2008).

Angels by Brian Kershisnik

Heber C. Kimball

[T]he Lord has said that there are more for us than there can be against us. “Who are they,” says one? Righteous men who have been upon the earth. “But do you suppose that angels will pay friendly visits to those who do not live up to their privileges? Would you? . . . the God whom I serve . . . has millions of angels at His command. Do you suppose that there are any angels here to‑day? I would not wonder if there were ten times more angels here than people. We do not see them, but they are here watching us, and are anxious for our salvation” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.3, p.230, Heber C. Kimball, March 2, 1856).

When the Angels Come by Clark Kelley Price

Elder George Q. Cannon

“Now, this is the truth. We humble people; we who feel ourselves sometimes so worthless, so good‑for‑nothing; we are not so worthless as we think. There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given His angels‑‑invisible beings of power and might‑‑charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping . . .Those who otherwise might be thought to be contemptible and unworthy of notice, Jesus says be careful about offending them, for “their angels do always behold the face of my Father” (Matt. 18:10). We are in their charge. They watch over us, and are, to a certain extent, doubtless, responsible for the watchcare that they exercise over us, just as we are responsible for any duty that is assigned us (Collected Discourses, Vol.2, George Q. Cannon, November, 1890).

I Will Go Before Your Face (D&C 84:88) by Kennth Turner

Elder James E. Talmage 

“This great Being of infinite power and goodness, whom we cannot think of in His mighty attributes without sinking in our own sense of personal insignificance, He is our Father; and He has greater affection than we can comprehend by [a] father’s love for His children. As a result of that great love, He has set heavenly beings to watch over us and to guard us from the attacks of evil powers while we live on earth. Do we realize that in our daily walk and work we are not alone, but that angels attend us wherever our duty causes us to go? It is only when we stray into unholy places, only when we tread upon forbidden ground, that they leave us to ourselves; and then they watch us from the distance with sorrow and tears. Those holy beings think it not beneath their state to abide in the hovels of the poor, to stand by us in the most menial labor, provided it be honorable employment; but I cannot conceive of their going with us to the dram shop, the gambling den, and the brothel. But as long as we are where duty calls us we are in no way alone. Our eyes are so heavy, our ears so dull, that we see and hear only the things of earth. Could our vision be opened, we would see in this room at this very moment more worshippers than are occupying these seats; could our ears be unstopped we would hear more than our own feeble voices joining in the hymns of praise that we sing.

Angels, by Mark Mabry Photography

“When at times trouble comes upon us, and we feel almost given up to despair, and think we have been deserted by friends, let us think of the heavenly companions whom God has assigned to us; who, indeed, would reveal themselves to our eyes but for our lack of faith. Let us read again and ponder over the wonderful experience of the prophet of old, who, with but a single earthly companion‑‑the servant who was with him‑‑found himself surrounded by the army of a wicked king. (See 2 Kings 6:15‑17). In fear, seeing escape by human agency to be entirely impossible, Elisha’s servant cried out, “Alas, my master, how shall we do?” But the prophet answered, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” And then Elisha prayed that the Lord would open the young man’s eyes, and the servant saw that the mountains were covered with horses and chariots and hosts of angels sent to protect the prophet of God, whose time had not yet come” (Collected Discourses, Vol.3, James E. Talmage, June 25, 1893).

Nativity by Brian Kershisnik

Click here for more about angels from the LDS Church's website. 

Click here for a recent powerhouse talk from Wendy Watson Nelson and her husband, President Russell M. Nelson. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today is the best day to prepare for the Second Coming

Tomorrow in seminary we're discussing prophesies of Christ's Second Coming. 

Here is a great little video clip about now being the best time to prepare. 


My favorite quotes from this talk from Elder Oaks.
While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us. ...
What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow—through our premature death or through His unexpected coming—what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?
If we would do those things then, why not now? Why not seek peace while peace can be obtained? If our lamps of preparation are drawn down, let us start immediately to replenish them.
Click here for more about preparedness. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

One simple thing you can do to be protected against the adversary's influence


Take a few minutes to watch this video and see if you can write down and count all the promised blessings from doing this one thing.

Powerful promises! 

The LDS Church created this video which you can find here. 

Click here for more promised blessings about this one thing.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Have you created your own "I am" statements like the Savior did? The battle is real -- this will help you fight back.

Jesus loved to use "I am" statements to clarify His identity for us. 

Have you created any "I am" statements about yourself to clarify your own identity? If not, I invite you to do so. 

The adversary attacks our identity every day. The battle is real. 

Creating a list of statements about who you really are and then saying those aloud in affirmations or declarations each day, is a powerful way to fight back!

Below is a great list of "I am" statements my friend Tammy Ward recently shared with me. 

The day I saw this list I felt in a slump. After standing tall and saying this list aloud with some cool background music (here is the music I used) I felt my spirit and energy lift right up! "I am" statements are powerful. 

Write your own list or use these today. It only takes about 60 seconds. If you say it twice it's even better.

I am a cherished, beloved daughter of the most high God. 
He created me and He loves me!! 
I am abundant. 
I am a believer. 
I am cheerful. 
I am passionate. 
I am motivated. 
I am joyful. 
I am successful. 
I am worthy. 
I am a leader for God's army. 
I am smart. 
I am consistent. 
I am prayerful. 
I am healthy. 
I am organized. 
I am obedient. 
I am teachable and humble. 
I am a covenant keeper. 
I am virtuous. 
I am courageous. 
I am purposeful. 
I am a good listener.
I am forgiving. 
I am repenting. 
I am full of faith. 
I am an awesome mother. 
I am dependable. 
I am fun. 
I am (your name). 

Now, how do you feel? Your identity is under attack. Fight back by declaring your own "I am" statements today. 

Click here for a simple tool to flip negative thoughts into positive ones, and create declarations that are like your own set of armor against the fiery darts of the adversary. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How do you comfort your seminary students when their best friend just died serving a mission?

It's been all over the Utah news. Yesterday Elder David Hampton died while serving a mission in Taiwan. I discovered that he used to attend the private school where I teach seminary, and his best friend is in my class. 

What can I tell my class to offer comfort, peace, and perspective in what feels like such tragedy for their friend? 

Click here for a video about David and his family on KSL News. The faith of his parents is incredibly inspiring. 

The missionary mom in me can't even begin to imagine how it must have felt to receive that phone call. My heart goes out to Cyndi and Steve! 

Could God have protected Elder David Hampton on his bike? Yes, God can do anything. Then why didn't He? I don't know. But He knows. 

And that's what faith is about -- trusting that God intervenes when it is His will and plan, and that when He doesn't intervene to save a life of a precious young man serving Him, then God has a reason and we will understand it someday. 

Here are a few quotes I may discuss with my class. 

"On the other side of the veil, there are perhaps seventy billion people. They need the same gospel, and releases occur here to aid the Lord's work there. Each release of a righteous individual from this life is also a call to new labors. Those who have true hope understand this.  Therefore, though we miss the departed righteous so much here, hundreds may feel their touch there. One day, those hundreds will thank the bereaved for gracefully forgoing the extended association with choice individuals here, in order that they could help hundreds there"  (Neal A. Maxwell, Notwithstanding My Weakness, p. 55).

"Now, as you and I look at our lives… we sometimes do not understand that through which we are passing, but, being submissive, we can trust Him.  The day will come, brothers and sisters, when the tapestry of your life will be unfolded, and you will see divine design all through it, and praise God for the experience and the tutoring which, in His goodness, He has given you” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Devotional, 9 Feb. 1988, BYU-Hawaii, 8).

"We do not control what I call the great transfer board in the sky. The inconveniences that are sometimes associated with release from our labors here are necessary in order to accelerate the work there. Heavenly Father can’t do His work with ten times more people than we have on this planet, except He will on occasion take some of the very best sisters and brothers. The conditions of termination here, painful though they are, are a part of the conditions of acceleration there. Thus we are back to faith in the timing of God, and to be able to say Thy timing be done, even when we do not fully understand it" (Neal A. Maxwell, "Glorify Christ" Address to CES Religious Educators, 2 Feb. 2001).

“All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, … purifies our hearts … and makes us more tender and charitable, … and it is through … toil and tribulation, that we gain the education … which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven"  (Orson F. Whitney, in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (1972), 98).

I just remembered my favorite book to give as a gift when someone loses a loved one. 

It is Making Sense of Suffering by Wayne Brickey. He was the bishop of our BYU Married Student Housing Ward, and I adore him. The reason I named my daughter Grace is because Bishop Brickey taught me about Christ's grace. It is a beautiful book with his son, Jospeh Brickey's amazing artwork throughout. And the short chapters are like healing balm on a broken heart. The book spoke deeply to me years ago when I was struggling with depression, and I know it has helped countless other people through times of intense challenges. If I had pulled out my repeatedly-loaned-out-and-beloved copy of this book before writing this post, I would have found a gold mine of quotes for this topic. 

Look at the Cool Pattern I Found in the Lord's Prayer

For the first time I noticed a cool pattern in the Lord's Prayer.  

  1. Address the prayer to Heavenly Father
  2. Praise 
  3. Thank* 
  4. I turn my will over to Thee 
  5. Ask 
  6. Please forgive me 
  7. I forgive others
  8. Protect us from temptation and evil 
  9. Praise 

This is a good opportunity for you and me to check in. Which parts of the Lord's prayer pattern are we already using? Which ones can we add today? 

*I'm sure the Lord wants us to include thanking in our prayers. I'm taking the liberty to assume this phrase "thy kingdom come" means "I thank Thee that thy kingdom is come." Any thoughts?

Click here for ideas on saying power prayers rather than check-off-the-list prayers. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It is my duty to seek the spiritual gifts that will turn my weakness into strength

Some people think spiritual gifts are like a lottery. 

You are either born with certain gifts or you're not. Period. The end. 

That, my friends, is false. 

You can ASK for spiritual gifts! God wants you to!

In fact, in this short half-page article in the back of this month's Ensign, we are told SEVEN times by George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency in 1894 that God wants us to ask! If you click on my picture below you can see my hand-written list on the bottom left. 

Then this prophet, seer, and revelator said SEVEN times that God promises, wants, is willing, or gives us spiritual gifts! See my hand-written list in the middle column. 

We are told that it is NOT God's plan for us to say, "Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature" because "God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give us gifts that will eradicate them." 

And it goes without saying that once we pray for something, we get off our knees and work hard to help the Lord answer that prayer! 

If we pray for charity and then receive a prompting to forgive someone or to be kind when the temptation is to be mean, following those promptings is part of how we allow God to give us the gift of charity. When you ask for a gift from God, also commit yourself to follow any promptings He gives you. 

Here is my favorite quote about spiritual gifts, that happens to be in this tiny summary of President Cannon's talk. 

"If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not. So with all the gifts of the gospel. They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, “Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.” He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them" (George Q. Cannon, "Seeking Spiritual Gifts," Ensign, April, 2016 quoting Latter-day Saints' Millenial Star, April 23, 1894. 258-62). 

Here is my favorite quote about less conspicuous gifts of the spirit. 

Did you know the ability to weep is a spiritual gift? If anyone has seen me in sacrament meeting with my tissues when I feel the Spirit, you'll understand why I appreciated learning this is a gift.

Marvin Ashton said, "Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost" (“There Are Many Gifts,” Conference Report, October 1987).

Click here for more quotes about gifts of the Spirit, including a mini handout of quotes. 

In your prayers tonight, I invite you to thank Heavenly Father for spiritual gifts, ask Him to help you see which ones you already have, and which ones He wants you to start asking and working for.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Week or Two in the Life of the Edwards Family

Every so often I like to gather pics of our family life into a post. 

Grace and I got new glasses. I confess that I'm grieving having to get bifocals. The progressive kind makes things blurry. I'm the picky kind who can't stand a tiny smudge on the lens. I may go back to my old glasses... 

 Grace tried on prom dresses. That's a pretty one!  

 And Grace finally washed her car with the fun prom asking messages. 

The cute Sister Missionaries needed a ride. When one of them realized it was her mom's birthday, I said we need to make a sign and text the picture to her mom! Of course her mom loved it. What missionary mom wouldn't??

Hyrum and Gabe's 14th birthday party. I posted more pics of that over here. 

General Conference. Yay! One of my favorite weeks of the year! It's more tricky to concentrate with our two cute granddaughters around, but we LOVE it when they're around! 

Our barely one-year old granddaughter taught herself to climb up our stairs all at once! 

During the priesthood session Malia and I made some easy fresh fruit fondue by dipping them in our favorite Costco dark chocolate chips, melted of course. It's messy but really yummy! 

A beautiful spring day for a walk between conference sessions! 

My kids were poking around in Grandpa Balderree's shed and found an old trophie I won when I was six years old for a piece of art. 

Monday night we had our "family chore night." The kids did their assigned weekly chores and I put away some piles from the basement stairs and hallway. Ahhhh, my brain loves order so much! 

Before - Top of basement stairs
After - Top of basement stairs 

Before - Hallway next to basement food storage room
After - Hallway next to basement food storage room

After pic of tidying the pantry
After pic of tidying the pantry bulletin board

These are my trainers for a Go Vertical group mentoring program we started this week - Kirk and Kim Duncan, who are two of my heroes. I have learned some great knowledge, skills and principles from them the past few months at their various trainings with 3 Key Elements. The kickoff dinner for Go Vertical happened at La Caille, a beautiful restaurant in Salt Lake City. The people at 3 Key Elements events have a great energy of always moving forward in life and up to the next level. Fun! 

Here are my new friends who all sat at the same table with me at La Caille. 

Thursday morning at seminary we had a student conference where students shared some of their gold nuggets from General Conference and ate a delicious breakfast of French toast, sausage, and fruit. This is Grace leading the opening song. 

Here is one of my favorite places ever. The Ogden, Utah temple. It's like home to me. 

And just check out the spring flowers at the temple in early April! 

After the temple I volunteered at Hyrum's school. 

This week I hired a personal mentor to help me jump start my business of mentoring, emotional release/energy work, teaching online classes, and giving presentations. I have loved the clients I've already been working with! It is such a blast helping empower and free people to become and do what God put them on earth to become and do! I was already in town from teaching seminary, attending the temple, and volunteering at school, so I found a pretty, peaceful park and held my first personal mentor appointment in the gorgeous sunshine! 

Friday Grace and Gabe had a beautiful choir concert. Grace loves to ballroom dance and they did a lot of fun lifts! Gabe even did some dancing! Grace is the girl on the boy's shoulders on the right side, with her hands in the air.

Grandma and Grandpa Balderree came to support the kids' choir concert. We love them! 

Saturday we ended our week watching the new version of Saturday's Warrior in the theater. It was great! 

Click on the arrow to watch the movie trailer. 

My new AM/PM schedule to start off my new week. I love creating a new one of these every Sunday morning. It's such a fresh start, hopeful feeling. I love what my power-up habits do for my day and my week! This is a tool I got from 3 Key Elements, but I've been creating my own of something similar for years. I think I like theirs better. The pink sticky note goes along with a 30-day Miracle Morning challenge I'm doing right now to overcome my night-owl-ness and power up my mornings better, and it's going well!