Edwards Family

Edwards Family

Monday, March 30, 2015

He Lives - Celebrate Easter Because Jesus Christ Lives (Beautiful New video from Mormon.org)


Happy Easter. I love this video. I love Him.






Click here for quotes about our Savior's Atonement.


Jesus Christ's Atonement and resurrection are real. What a blessing to know and use the power of these beautiful gifts. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How does God feel about sacrifice? And quotes about tithing.


This week in seminary we discussed sacrifice in D&C 117-119.

video
I love this tithing miracle story told by President Gordon B. Hinckley! Click on the video to watch it. (From “We Walk by Faith,” Ensign, May 2002)


My amazing sister, Andrea Jimenez, recently passed what I feel were two Abrahamic-like tests for her.

No, she wasn't asked to sacrifice one of her five adorable children. Thank goodness! But she was asked to put on the alter things that were dear to her and righteous desires of her heart. And just like in D&C 117:3, Andrea's sacrifice is sacred to the Lord. 

First, she was asked by the Lord to stay in a home she didn't like. For years she dreamed of a bigger home with a bigger yard for her growing family who loves to be outdoors and active. Several times her husband said, "I just don't feel right about it right now."  Last week he was put in as their ward's new bishop. I cried when I thought of her holy sacrifice. Virtually her whole ward has homes with tiny yards. But since the Lord called them to stay and serve as an undershepherd of the master Shepherd, they are now planning on buying a bigger home, albeit with a small yard, in their own ward boundaries. She passed the sacrifice test. She put the Lord first. I was so proud of her. 

Second, for years she has wanted to return to college and complete her bachelor degree. Each time she would get all excited to go back, with her great love of learning. Yet each time the she realized it wasn't the right time yet. Her children needed her during this crucial stage. So she put her education on the alter for now, again and again, and passed another sacrifice test. She put the Lord and her family first. I was so proud of her again. 






Mormon missionaries. Mothers. Fathers. Pioneers. The Savior of the world. People who serve in church callings or volunteer in the community. People who sacrifice great things for great causes. You. Me. When we sacrifice for the Lord or to serve His children, it is sacred unto Him. My favorite definition of sacrifice is giving up something good for something even better. 

Here are some quotes about how God feels about sacrifice.

Joseph Smith - “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” (LDS.org)

D&C 117:13 - Your sacrifice is sacred to the Lord. 

Ezra Taft Benson - Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life. (Jesus Christ--Gifts and Expectations, BYU Devotional, Dec. 10, 1974). 

President Ezra Taft Benson - When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives. (The Great Commandment--Love the Lord, Ensign, May, 1988).

President George Q. Cannon  – “Always remember that your lives, your ability, the food you eat, the water you drink, the clothes you wear, the earth you tread, the air you breathe, are all the Lord’s. … Then, whether you are rich or poor will make no difference. … You will look upon yourselves as stewards, and if you have a hundred dollars in your hands, you will say, this is the Lord’s, and if He wants it, He can have it. If you have a million dollars, you will feel the same. And where people have this feeling, riches cannot hurt them” (Gospel Truth: Discourses..., Newquist, 1987, 525).

Andrew Carnegie – “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust to be managed for the good of others.” 

Booker T. Washington – “The happiest people in the world are those who do the most for others.”

Mosiah 4:21-22 – If God created you, gives you life and all that you have and are, and gives you whatever you ask for that’s right, “O then, how ye ought to impart your substance... one to another.”  Don’t judge a man thinking it’s his fault he’s in need; your stuff belongs to God, not to you. 

C.S. Lewis – ”I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us,… they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them” (Mere Christianity).

Joseph Smith - It is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life (Lectures on Faith, [1985], 69).





Quotes about tithing, which is a law of faith and sacrifice. Some of these are paraphrased in my own words.  

Robert D. Hales – “The primary purpose of this law is to help us develop faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Tithing helps us overcome our desires for the things of this world and willingly make sacrifices for others” (Ensign, May 2009, 9). 

“Successful family finances begin with the payment of an honest tithe and the giving of a generous fast offering.” (ProvidentLiving.org)

Malachi 3:8-11 – “Will a man rob God...in tithes and offerings... Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse...and prove me herewith...if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes...”

2 Nephi 9:30 – Wo unto the rich who despise the poor, their treasure is their god. 

2 Cor 9:7 – “give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”


Psalms 24:1 – Everything is God’s. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.” 


Mosiah 4:26 – To retain a remission of your sins, give to the poor. 


2 Nephi 28:13 – People rob poor when prioritize worldly things rather than sharing.


Jacob 2:17 – Share your belongings with others, so you both have what you need. 


Mosiah 4:21-22 – All we have is God’s, so we should share with his other children.


Mosiah 4:24 – If don’t have enough to share, say, “If I had more I would give more.


Luke 6:38 – Be generous with the Lord, and the Lord will be generous with you.  


Pres. Kimball – Consecration is the giving of one’s time, talents, and means to care for those in need ... Members consecrate as they ... donate materials to Deseret Industries...” (“Welfare Services...” Ensign, Nov 1977, 76).


D&C 104:15 – “It is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.”

DC 19:26 – Don’t covet your own property, share it freely.

Alma 1:29-30 –  When you’re generous with God, He is generous with you! Alma’s people became very prosperous because of obedience, and they  had consecrated hearts, sharing with those in need. “...they did not set their hearts upon riches;  we therefore they were liberal to all.” They helped members and nonmembers. THUS they prospered and became far more wealthy.

President Gordon B. Hinckley - “I keep on the credenza behind my desk a widow’s mite that was given me in Jerusalem many years ago as a reminder, a constant reminder, of the sanctity of the funds with which we have to deal. They come from the widow, they are her offering as well as the tithe of the rich man, and they are to be used with care and discretion for the purposes of the Lord. We treat them carefully and safeguard them and try in every way that we can to see that they are used as we feel the Lord would have them used for the upbuilding of His work and the betterment of people” (“This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 50).



The Importance and Purpose of Struggle

The beautiful emperor moth. 

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home to watch the moth hatch. On that day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the moth struggle for several hours to force its body through the tiny hole. Then the moth stopped as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no further.

The man in his kindness decided to help, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon. The moth emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth expecting, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to help support its body. Neither happened and the little moth spent the rest of its short life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled legs. It was never able to fly.

The man in his kindness and haste did not understand that struggling to get out of the cocoon was the only way to force fluid from the body into the moth's wings. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, the man deprived the moth of life.

Sometime struggle is exactly what we need in life. Give every struggle a chance. Learn what you need to so you emerge a better person on the other side. 

(Author Unknown)


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fourteen promised blessings of studying the Book of Mormon



At the Temple Square visitors' center you can see Books of Mormon translated into many languages. 


This great quote has FOURTEEN promised blessings of studying the Book of Mormon!  Who wouldn't want these blessings, right?


“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, 
1) the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. 
2) The spirit of reverence will increase; 
3) mutual respect and 
4) consideration for each other will grow. 
5) The spirit of contention will depart. 
6) Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom.
7) Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. 
8) Righteousness will increase. 
9) Faith, 
10) hope, and 
11) charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake 
12) peace, 
13) joy, and 
14) happiness” 

(President Marion G. Romney, Ensign, May 1980, quoted by President Ezra Taft Benson in "The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion," Ensign, Nov. 1986. Numbers added). 


Click here to watch or read President Benson's full talk.   





I have experienced the powerful influence of studying the Book of Mormon again and again. 

Even though I have studied the Book of Mormon over and over, and even taught it to my institute class, this powerful book helped me through a small crisis of faith. 

A year and a half ago a person very close to me left the Church over things she had read about Joseph Smith. It rocked my testimony for a bit and I started praying to know what I could do to protect me and my family from what happened to this person her husband, who had been returned missionaries and strong members. 

Soon my son told me about his seminary teacher's invitation to read the whole Book of Mormon in the month of December. I felt like I should take that invitation for myself, even though December is a nutty month for mothers already. I took the challenge, and it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I can't read the scriptures quickly, even though I tried. I have to stop and underline, make notes in the margins, and jot down patterns I was noticing in my journal. It was worth every hour. 

It was an amazing, life changing experience. I hope to do it again someday. Even now as I type this I have tears in my eyes, remembering and feeling again the undeniable witness of the Holy Ghost over and over that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was the VERY BEST thing God could have inspired me to do to re-anchor my faith more deeply than ever before. The fear I felt about "what if that happens to me or my family" completely disappeared. It was gone. And it still is gone. I know it's true deeper than I have ever known it. 

Also, there is a domino affect with the Book of Mormon. 

Once you know the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God, there is a ripple effect of other knowings. If the Book of Mormon is the word of God, then Joseph Smith is a true prophet who was called of God. If that's true, then the Church he restored is God's true church. And the priesthood and temple blessings he restored are true and from God also. Also the prophet today, President Monson, is God's mouthpiece on the earth today. I am so grateful for this book! It's my favorite book on the planet!


What blessings have you noticed from studying the Book of Mormon? 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Eight Tips for Organizing Your Food Storage: My Presentation at the Whole Person Preparedness Expo


Today I spoke at the Whole Person Preparedness Conference. Here is my presentation "Eight Tips for Organizing Your Food Storage." 



Here are quick links to the the eight tips we covered at the conference. 
  1. Overcoming excuses with the word of God.
  2. Create a simple meal plan to build and rotate your year supply. 
  3. Finding more storage space in your home. 
  4. Finding more money for food storage and preparedness gear. 
  5. A master inventory of what you have, what you need/want, and where it is stored. 
  6. Prioritizing where to start, and what to do next. 
  7. Seven Ideas to organize your food storage. 
  8. Why I believe spiritual preparedness matters most. 


1.Overcoming excuses with the word of God.
        What excuses have you heard for not getting prepared? 
        We started with a summarized parable of Gomer who used many of the same  excuses we hear today. 


      Click here to see five common excuses and quotes from prophets to help us overcome those excuses. 

2.Create a simple meal plan to build and rotate your year supply.

     Click here for: 
     Becky's meal plan
     Becky's food storage recipes
     Becky's master preparedness checklist, inventory, and wish list adapted from FoodStorageMadeEasy.net.       

Here's a peek at my meal plan. 
Peek at the rough draft of my food storage recipes. 


     Peek at the super cool food storage spreadsheet on FoodStorageMadeEasy.net. I share it with permission.


3.Finding more storage space in your home.
        In a perfect world we would all have several large, dark, cool, dry storage rooms with wall-to-wall shelving.  



     Click here to see ideas to find more space for your food storage and preparedness items. 



4.Finding more money for food storage and preparedness gear.

       Do you own a cell phone?  Is it a phone with internet? Does your family own several internet phones?  Do you have an ipad, tablet, or large flat-screen TV. Do you subscribe to cable, satellite, or dish TV?  After answering those questions, we can see that preparedness is a lot about priorities, isn't it? 



     Click here to see 14 ideas to find more money for food storage and preparedness items. 




5.Organizing an inventory of what you have, what you need, and where it is stored.
        Adapting the awesome spreadsheet from tip number two from the bloggers at FoodStorageMadeEasy.net I have created a master preparedness inventory with nine separate charts all in one document.
1. Food & meal plan
2. Non-foods
3. Prep gear
4. 72-hour kits & car kits
5. First aid & natural healing
6. Clothes
7. Books & binders
8. To do list & skills to learn
9. Shopping list
Here is a peek of my meal plan and food inventory. 


Here you can see a peek of my prep gear inventory and wish list. 


     Click here to get your own copy of my adapted spreadsheet that includes all nine charts listed above. 

6.Prioritizing where to start, and what to do next.



Click here to see God's priorities for preparedness. 


7.Seven ideas to organize your food storage.



      Click here to see seven ideas to organize your food storage, with lotsa pictures! 


8.Why I believe spiritual preparedness matters most. 

"A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges..."

"But...a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value." -- Elder Oaks, from the quote below. 
     Click here to see why I believe spiritual preparedness is the most important preparedness.




Overcoming Excuses for Getting Prepared with the Word of God


What excuses have you heard for not getting prepared? 
Here is a cute parable of Gomer. Gomer used many of the same excuses we hear today. 




Here are five common excuses and quotes from prophets to help us overcome those excuses. 

Excuse 1) It’s not really that important. 
“The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.” (President Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980)     
                 
Excuse 2 ) I live in the United States! In Utah even, a nice, safe, peaceful place. Wars, economic challenges, and natural disasters happen in other places. I don’t really need to get prepared.   
 “We urge you to [get prepared] prayerfully and do it now.  I speak with a feeling of great urgency... Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.” (President Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980). 

Excuse 3 ) I’d rather spend or save all my money than buy food storage.
  “If you are saving and planning for a second car or a TV set or some item which merely adds to your comfort or pleasure, you may need to change your priorities.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1980).  And “When we really get into hard times, where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.” (J. Reuben Clarke, Jr., Church News, Nov. 21, 1953, 4). 
“You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate.”   (J. R.Clark, Jr., Conf. Report, 4/1937).  
“...Wheat should have a high priority. ‘There is more salvation and security in wheat,’ said Orson Hyde years ago, ‘than in all the political schemes of the world’ (Ezra Taft Benson quoted Journal of Discourses, 2:207).

   Excuse 4) It’s just too hard and overwhelming and I just can’t do it.
        “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (Book of Mormon,1 Nephi 3:7)

Excuse 5) My spouse doesn’t believe in preparedness.

I don’t have the answer for you but God does.  I can offer three suggestions. 

Pray for that person’s heart to soften and to receive their own spiritual witness, because a witness of the Holy Ghost can be a stronger influence, even than angels. 

Cheerfully do the best preparing you can with the resources you have, and keep being happy and nice. 

Pray for guidance about what and when to share little bits of God’s word with them. President Boyd K. Packer said, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior” (Ensign, Nov. 1986).    

Click here to see more quotes from LDS Church leaders about food storage and preparedness. 

                                   

Create a Simple Meal Plan to Build and Rotate your Food Storage


I learned and adapted this idea from Wendy Dewitt's seminar video years ago.  
Here is the rough draft of my food storage meal plan. I'm still tweaking it and some of my recipes.  

Here is the rough draft of my food storage recipes. Check back later for updated versions. 




I found a super cool food storage spreadsheet on FoodStorageMadeEasy.net. I share it with permission.

I love how you can type in your meals and ingredients needed, and then and it automatically calculates the amount of each ingredient you need!  The spreadsheet is set up to calculate three months of meals, but if you're like me and want a year meal plan, you can either use a calculator or tweak the formula in the chart to equal twelve months. I recommend you watch the two short tutorial videos on the site. They make it super easy to use the charts. 


Check out tip number 5 to see my adaptation of this great spreadsheet to include an inventory of all things preparedness: food, prep and camping gear, 72 hour kits, books and binders, non-foods, first aid, clothes, skills and to-do items.