Sunday, July 27, 2014

A mother heart gift to my pre-missionary son -- his favorite recipes that are quick, easy, and cheap

I just created a little treasure for my beloved son who is preparing to leave for his mission. 

I invited Adam to choose his favorite recipes that are: 

  • Quick 
  • Easy 
  • Cheap 
  • Healthy (mostly)
  • and of course YUMMO 
Then I made a little tiny recipe book for him. 

I wrote ideas for quick meals on a table of contents tab for each category. 

This is page two of quick meal ideas. 

Then for anything that needs a recipe, I wrote out the recipe with simple, step-by-step directions. 

I did my best to estimate the recipe size for two hungry missionaries for two meals. I hope Adam has a fridge!  I don't know if he'll be able to purchase the same staple foods we cook with all the time here. But if he can, he'll be ready to cook! 

It may have saved time to type and print these...but I didn't want to.  

My husband Mike suggested I save time by photo copying my own cards. I didn't want to. I wanted to hand write them myself with Adam in my heart with each pen stroke. I wrote most of them to and from our Pioneer Day family trip to Logan. Then I finished them up last night with the family gathered around the kitchen table watching The District, which is on Adam's mission papers' checklist. Both happy, yummy memories for me and him. 

Adam said, "When I cook my first recipe with those cards with your hand writing, Mom, I'm going to cry." I don't think he'll cry, but I loved his sweet comment. 

Adam knows how to cook...some things. 

I invited him to cook dinner every day from now until he leaves on his mission in October. He looked at me with a shocked expression. I think it's a good idea...he'll be a pro by then! 

My next gift from my mother heart is a tiny quote book. 

I am a quote collector. I have a document all made up that I created for my dear friend's first missionary a few years ago. But I didn't know then the importance of correctly citing each quote. We'll see if I get to updating the citing and adding quotes just with Adam in mind. I hope I can make the time....

P.S. I took a picture of every recipe in the little book. Leave a comment below if you'd like me to post these quick, easy, cheap recipes. 

Click here for a great book list for pre-missionaries. 

Why in the world do I come to church when I'm in the hall with a fussy baby?

I ran into a young dad at church with his toddler and preschooler in the foyer during sacrament meeting. His wife was gone with another commitment, so he came alone with two rambunctious children. And he wondered what maybe all church-going parents have asked themselves sometimes. 

"Why am I here?" 

It's a very good question. I told him my husband and I asked ourselves that plenty of times when our children were young and fussy and rambunctious. Five out of our five had colic. And some of them hated nursery. Now that I've been a mother for 21 years, I wish I could go back in time and share some of the wisdom I've gleaned with my 20-something young mother self. Maybe some of these answers will help you too. 

Why do I come to church, even if I get virtually nothing out of it?  

Because it's the right thing to do.  

Because we do what is right and let the consequence follow. Even when the right thing is hard or inconvenient or a sacrifice. Think of the Martin or Willey handcart pioneers. Was the right thing hard for them? 

Because we are tough and can do hard things with Christ's help. 

Even when that hard thing is feeling exhausted walking the halls with a fussy baby when you'd much rather be relaxing in Sunday School feeling spiritually nourished by your favorite teacher learning about applying gospel truths to your life. 

Because if we don't go to church today for the reason of fussy kids, it will be that much easier to stay home next week, and next week, and next week. 

This habit is too precious to risk losing. Its' so much more than a habit. It's our lifeline to Christ, His power, His Atonement, His Spirit, His light, His truth. Ordinances and covenants that plug us in to Christ's power. It's too risky. 

Because if I use fussy kids as an excuse to miss church this time, what excuse will I use next time? 

A super bowl game?  Boating?  I'm tired?  I'm not in the mood for church? Someone was rude to me last time and I got offended?  Is my testimony, conversion, eternal salvation, and relationship with my Savior worth tossing to the wind for excuses like that? 

Because we love God, and God said to go to church. 

We show our love for God by obeying his commandments. And when God speaks, I've learned that He is a bajillion times smarter than me, so I obey. 

Because, as Elder Holland said, our children tend to exaggerate whatever we do. 

So if we're cynical or critical of church leaders, our children will tend to be more so. If we're committed disciples of Christ, our children will tend to be more so. On that same vein, if I find excuses to stay home from church, our children may never go. If I go to church no matter what, even when it's hard, our children will tend to have even stronger commitment to God and the gospel. Don't we all want that? 

Because I need the little bits and pieces of doctrine, principle, application, truth, light, understanding, testimony building that I can get. 

Even if a colicky baby keeps me in the hall a lot during church, when that baby finally falls asleep on my shoulder, or has ten minutes of calm between crying, I can sneak into Relief Society and be taught good stuff. Or I can hear a sacrament meeting talk from the speaker in the nursing lounge. Even if it's just ten minutes worth, it's more than I would have gotten at home. And somehow God can make that ten minutes worth enough to get me through another week. 

Because these hard moments won't last forever. 

My first colicky baby overwhelmed me so much that I couldn't even bring up the subject of having more children than one, for months. But she grew. She stopped crying all the time. She became a bright, talented, musical, academic, wonderful girl. And then she got married, and had my first little grand daughter. She's now finishing her degree in sign language on a presidential scholarship at Utah Valley University. And my oldest son is preparing to serve an LDS mission soon. Babies don't cry forever. My purpose here isn't to brag -- it's to give you hope, the same hope I needed when I was bouncing fussy babies in the hall myself. It seems like last week. 

Hind sight makes it all worth it. This beautiful daughter of mine outgrew her colic, grew up, and became a beautiful mother. 

My son holding his mission call to Paris, France. 

If I would have given up then, look at all my children would have missed not having the gospel in their lives. And look at all the help in being a better parent I would have missed in having the gospel, Spirit, Atonement, and ward family. I'm so proud of my daughter and son-in-law, that even though they've had moments of wondering, "Why do we come to church if we're in the hall with a fussy baby anyway?" they kept coming. Week after week. Even with a challenging pregnancy, a challenging calling, challenging homework, and plenty of reasons that it would be easier to stay home. They come anyway. 

Because by coming to church no matter what, we teach our children that this family is committed to Jesus Christ, no matter what. 

There's this concept called family culture. It's our identity as a family. And I grew up with a family culture that the Balderree family is active in the church. We are committed disciples of Jesus Christ. We obey His commandments. We daily fill ourselves with the Spirit through prayers and scripture study, even when their oldest daughter, Becky, stayed up too late and slept in and resists coming to morning family scripture study. The Balderree family always goes to church, even when my dad sits on the stand for what seems like my entire growing up years, and my mom wrestled with seven children all by herself. It's what Balderrees do. It's who we are. I can't tell you how many times I've been overcome with gratitude for parents who gave us that kind of family culture and identity. We have been so blessed by it EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

Because the purpose of life isn't fun and ease. It's to become like Christ, fulfill our life mission, and return to Him. 

Sometimes we forget the real purpose of life, which is another great blessing of coming to church - we get perspective and priority realignments and tune-ups. According the great and spacious building, aka, television, movies, the mall, and the world, the purpose of life is fun, ease, toys, looking awesome, and having lots of money and stuff and power. That's not God's perspective, and God's is always right. The purpose of life is so much deeper than all that fluff. There's a much bigger plan going on. The plan is to change us into new creatures. And that takes a lot of work. 

As C.S. Lewis said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself" (Mere Christianity). 
Because the law of the harvest is real. 

Parenting is more like the law of the late harvest. It takes a long time to reap the rewards of all the hard work of parenting. Sometimes showing up for church on hard days is like that too. The rewards and blessings do come, but sometimes after a while. 

Because crying and sacrifice is temporary, but family and heaven are forever. 

And family and heaven are worth sacrificing for. 

Because we need our congregation or ward family. 

Sometimes it's easy to take a congregation family for granted, because they're just there every Sunday when we show up, and we don't realize how precious they are to us. Today I attended a missionary farewell in the ward that we got split off from two years ago. It was soul nourishing to sit among old, dear friends and chat for a long time after the meeting.  We talked about our children, great books, mission experiences, so and so's health condition. We are family. And I love it. I don't think I appreciated how much I deeply love the people on that side of our neighborhood until the ward split. I served as a Relief Society president with those women, and Mike served as their bishop, so we both love them deeply. I miss them. And I relish the time to renew those bonds. 

Likewise, I love my current ward and the wonderful people here. I need them too. I love coming to church and feel my soul fill up like a gas tank with the goodness of the Spirit, the talks, the testimonies, the lessons, and the people, our ward family. Take today's Sunday School teacher, Wendy. She is a busy young mother of several children, her husband is a new doctor and works a lot of Sundays, and she's a new Relief Society counselor. Yet she filled in today, not for the first time, and taught Sunday School. She called yesterday to invite our kids over to a blow up water slide they had rented for a work party later in the day.  What a gal. We need to be surrounded by good souls like Wendy who nourish and nurture each other. 

And we also need to nourish others while we're at church. 

Even if we're spending most of the time in the hall or foyer. And believe me, I've spent my time in the halls. When my twins were nursing babies my husband got called to the war in Iraq. So I was essentially a single mother of five young children. I went through several double-wide strollers, and some of that stroller time was in the halls at church. When it was nap time, our adopted Grandma Cleo would sit with my other three kids, and I'd walk the halls, lap after lap, with a blanket over the stroller, humming, "Lullaby and goodnight" until they both fell asleep. 

That was a time when I needed others, actually I mean NEEDED others at church. I needed to talk to adults. I needed to feel cared about and asked about and nurtured. I needed support. I needed others to ask what they could do to help. I needed the Spirit. 

But I hope over the years that I've also been able to give to others. My single-mom experience gave me deep compassion and empathy for others struggling with young children. My off-and-on struggle with depression as a young mother gave me deep compassion for others struggling in that way, or in any way really. So my heart wants to listen, validate, encourage, uplift, and say, "With God's help you can totally do this! What can I do to help?"  

I sure needed to hear that sometimes. I hope I'm able to help others when they need to hear it too. 

But that can't happen in my ward family if I use fussy kids or sleeping in or ball games or boating as an excuse to get me out of the habit and out of the family. My ward family would never disown me, but I've seen people disown themselves from the family. And what a tragic loss that is. 

And the last reason is the most important. Because we want to partake of Christ's holy sacrament, renew our covenants with Him, receive the cleansing power of His atonement, and have a fresh start for the new week. 

Partaking of the sacrament is the most important reason and the most sacred part of coming to church. We need Christ's atoning power, to cleanse, enable, strengthen, empower and heal us. We need the sacrament. 

Why do you go to church when it would be ten times easier to stay home? Because it's the right thing to do. And because when you look back, you'll be oh so glad that you did. 

I am super duper proud of this young dad. And I guarantee when he turns 40-something and looks back, he'll be glad he came to church too. Even when it was hard. 


I think many parents can relate to this article. The post has gone a bit viral. In the first 2 1/2 days there have been around 2300 views. It has been shared on Facebook 16 times, and received a lot of fun and heart touching comments. Since many more people have commented on Facebook than on the comments below, I'm taking the liberty to share people's comments without adding their names. It's sometimes very comforting and encouraging to know you're not alone. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roles of the Holy Ghost in Teaching and Learning

When we teach the gospel it must be by the Spirit. If we teach by "some other way" than by the Spirit, then our teaching is not of God. (D&C 50:14-22).

From Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religions.

The following list includes some functions of the Holy Ghost directly related to His role in gospel teaching and learning:
  • He bears witness of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:3Ether 12:41).
  • He edifies (lifts or builds spiritually) both the teacher and the student (see1 Corinthians 14:12D&C 50:22–2384:106).
  • He bestows the “fruit of the Spirit,” which includes such things as joy, love, peace, patience, and gentleness (seeGalatians 5:22–23Romans 15:13D&C 6:2311:12–13).
  • He empowers a person to speak with authority and boldness (see1 Nephi 10:22Alma 18:35Moroni 8:16).
  • He testifies to the truthfulness of gospel doctrines and principles (seeJohn 15:26D&C 21:9100:8).
  • He imparts truth, knowledge, insights, understanding, and enlightenment (see John 16:131 Corinthians 2:9–11, 14D&C 6:14;11:13–1476:5–10, 116).
  • He helps teachers and students remember ideas, concepts, or principles (see John 14:26).
  • He inspires a person in what to say or what not to say (see Luke 12:11–122 Nephi 32:7D&C 84:85100:5–6).
  • He carries truth to the hearts of people (see 2 Nephi 33:1).
  • He softens the hearts of people (see  1 Nephi 2:16Alma 24:8).
  • He gives comfort (see John 14:26D&C 88:3).
  • He sanctifies and changes hearts (see Mosiah 5:23 Nephi 27:20;Moroni 6:4).

A great book list for pre-missionaries

I asked my Facebook friends, "What books would you recommend for a missionary getting ready?" They gave some great answers! I added my own ideas too.

Our son Adam holding his mission call to Paris, France. He leaves in late October. 

My response: 
  • Becky Mike Edwards Thank you everyone for your suggestions! It's fun to know Adam is already reading several of your suggestions: Preach my Gospel, Infinite Atonement, and of course the scriptures. Adam has already read Anatomy of Peace, Leadership and Self Deception, and some of Falling to Heaven (James Ferrell). We've read aloud as a family some of Power of Everyday Missionaries (so inspiring!) and Millenial Quest series. You all gave wonderful suggestions! 
  • Feel free to leave a comment below with other suggestions of great books for those preparing for missions. 

  • Here are a couple great stores that cater to missionaries. They're in northern Utah but they ship too. And 

We got a sneak peak tour inside the Ogden LDS Temple last night!

Mike and I got invited to clean up the Ogden LDS Temple grounds last night! 

It was in preparation for a general authority and VIP tour today and public open house next week. We were lucky enough to get a tour of the inside first. W.O.W. Absolutely gorgeous! I could feel myself getting more and more excited to go there often once it opens. The Spirit was strong inside, and it hasn't even been rededicated yet. 

I have a feeling the Ogden temple will become a much sought-after place for weddings, with the grounds prettier than ever, a large reflection pool, and a stunning bride's room, not to mention the temple itself is stunning, inside and out. The dark wood in almost every area of the temple is mahogany from Africa, and the gorgeous golden-toned stone throughout is imported from Egypt. The stained glass windows are absolutely gorgeous. The fabrics and carpets are a fun variety of turquoise and tans, and some chairs seemed to have a metallic silver in the fabric. I loved the beautiful paintings and murals, including ones I had never seen before. You are going to LOVE the beauty of this temple. 

Please invite your friends and neighbors to the open house of this beautiful temple!

As I was picking up little bits of trash in the gorgeous flower beds, an object lesson came into my mind. 

First I didn't have a flashlight, just the landscape lights of the grounds, so I couldn't see the gardens that well. Then I borrowed Mike's cell phone to use as a flashlight. I was amazed that I suddenly started to see pieces of Styrofoam under certain bushes. They must have been packed in foam during transporting. So in order to see and remove the foam I had to do two things: use a light, and look hard by moving the leaves around. 

It reminded me of the scripture in Ether 12:27 - Come unto Christ (shine Christ's light on our lives so we see things as they really are) and I'll show unto men weaknesses. If we humble ourselves and have faith in Christ He will turn our weaknesses into strengths. We need the power of Christ's light and we also need to invest some work in order to remove debris from our lives, repent of our sins, and have our weaknesses turned into strengths. 

Every time I walk into the temple I will pass those beautiful bushes and remember my special moment being taught by the Spirit, of how important it is that we continually strive to make our lives "temple grade" by coming unto Christ and working hard to become like Him. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Two great stores if you're sending out a missionary

If you have a missionary going out and live in Northern Utah (or want to shop online), here are two clothing stores that cater especially to missionaries! 

1. Holmes Clothing in Ogden and Brigham City

2. Missionary Mall and Sister Missionary Mall in Orem

Both places make suit coats with extra fabric in the arm pit to stretch during biking, line their slacks in certain areas to avoid ripping, and have all the little extras that missionaries have on their to-bring list like shoulder bags, first aid kits, and such. 

They each have different advantages over the other. 

Holmes Clothing has famous, amazing socks that are made by a marathon running sock company (ask for their moisture whicking demo) and has better shoes from what I can tell. They also have a bigger free package they give to new missionaries when they come in for their suit fitting. 

Missionary Warehouse guarantees their clothing and shoes for two years, even if a suit gets ruined by a dog bite! Their suit slacks aren't lined but their other slacks are. I was impressed with their double layer long men's dress coat. The shoulder bags varied quite a bit at both stores too. 

My dear friends recommended these two stores to me. I was so grateful that I wanted to recommend them to anyone else getting a missionary ready to leave also. One mom told me she wanted to save money by buying all the little accessories at different stores, but she wished she would have just bought it all at this type of store, to save a lot of hassle and time.

While Adam tried on a suit at Missionary Mall Grace and I hung out with their thousands of ties. 

Click here for a great book list for pre-missionaries. Or for anyone else who wants to come closer to Christ.