Sunday, November 30, 2014

ADD, Depression, Anxiety, and other Brain Issues...there are natural ways to heal.

Brain challenges seem to be a modern day epidemic. 

There are too many people struggling with brain challenges like ADD, depression, anxiety, OCD, bi-polar, you name it. It's sad! The good news is, there are natural ways to heal brain issues. I'm no doctor, and of course I'm not diagnosing, but years ago I struggled with depression off an on. I can throw out a few suggestions of what worked for me. Thank goodness, now I'm a happy camper! 

Here is a letter I wrote to a friend whose daughter has been struggling with depression, and the medication hasn't helped much. (I've omitted names to protect privacy.)

Dear (Friend), 

I don't know if you're open or interested in this, but in case you are, I want to share a few ideas that might be helpful for your daughter. As our family has prayed for her to heal,  the thought has come to me to mention these ideas to you. I know she has tried medications, but there are so many other things that can be even more effective for healing depression, as they get to the root cause of it, rather than putting a band-aid on it like medication tends to do. Years ago I struggled with depression off and on, and for me several things have made a huge difference: 

1) Balancing blood sugar. 

My family is somewhat sugar sensitive. We still have treats sometimes, but we’ve learned to be careful about when and how often. If we ate a typical American breakfast of waffles with syrup and orange juice, we would all be grumpy, stressed, and depressed for maybe the rest of the day. So we’ve learned to include protein and fiber in all our meals, and to emphasize raw fruits and veggies. When our blood sugar is balanced our mood is more stable and we’re nicer to each other. Our family rule about sugar is never on an empty stomach, and never in the morning. It makes for a much happier family. A good book to understand this is Potatoes Not Prozac: A Natural Seven Step Program to: Balance your sugar sensitivity and come alive, lose weight, heal depression, and stop cravings.

2) Food sensitivities. 

As you know, I was eating gluten-free and dairy-free for a few years. Thank goodness I have been able to include those foods back into my diet, but I know someone who still needs to be very careful to avoid them. If he eats those foods his brain really struggles with depression, anxiety, OCD and ADD. I’m amazed at how many more people are having issues with these basic foods like gluten and dairy than ever before. Maybe it’s because there have been several generations of eating processed foods, artificial flavors and colors and preservatives, a lot of sugars, and genetically modified foods. The way most people eat today isn’t the way God created our bodies to digest food, so it makes sense that over time that can damage people's digestive systems. Anyway, that is something that made a huge difference in healing depression for me. 

With or without food sensitivities, candida yeast overgrowth is a common problem today that is often related to depression and other symptoms. Sugars and processed foods feed candida. Antibiotics kill the gut's good bacteria (like the kind in yogurt, kefir, probiotics, or raw fermented veggies) but they don't kill candida so candida is free to grow too much. My friend owns a company dedicated to helping people overcome this problem that is more common than people realize. It's called My Feel Good Foods.  And her product is called Yeast Beaters. 

3) Balancing hormones.  

Fourteen years ago I was really struggling with depression. Although I didn’t like the idea of medication I felt desperate and was ready to try that. My friend suggested I see a natural practitioner first, who has helped a lot of women with hormone imbalance issues. I went to him and he said that’s what he has become known for , even though it’s not his only focus by any means. He works with herbs, homeopathics, nutrition, and other natural remedies. He gave me one herb and one homeopathic and said that in about two weeks I should start to climb out of the dark hole I was in. One morning I woke up and I was shocked to notice that I had just thought a positive thought! I did the math and it was almost the 2-week mark. And I did indeed climb out of it and became my happy self again. 

Dave, the man I saw who owns Dave’s Health and Nutrition in SLC, showed me a list of symptoms for women’s hormone imbalance. I told him virtually every woman I know has at least some of those symptoms! (Things like PMS, foggy brain, forgetfulness, sugar craving, mood swings, irritability, cramping, etc.) He said it’s because our modern-day diet and environment create an imbalance of too much estrogen, so most women are indeed estrogen dominant. All these years later I still take Vitex, the herb he gave me, on a pretty regular basis. If I run out and go too long without taking it, I start to feel myself slipping into feeling blue, and I get another bottle and bring my hormones and mood back into balance. I call it happiness in a bottle for seven bucks! A pretty amazing deal. 

4) Energy work. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of energy work, but I’ve found it to be very beneficial in helping me and family members release negative energy, emotions, false beliefs, or other baggage that we don’t need to carry around. I believe that all healing ultimately comes from the Savior’s Atonement, and the more I’ve done energy work the better I am able to access the power of the Atonement in my life. Christ has already suffered and died for our sins and baggage. He wants us to cast our burdens on Him and be freed of those things. I don’t feel like I really understood how to do that before I learned some simple tools of energy work that help me access the power of the Atonement. If you’re interested, I can suggest some great LDS women who are energy practitioners. One of them is in a nearby town, and she got into the whole field because of a daughter who couldn’t find any healing from depression in the medical realm, so she started looking into other options. I also have a book she wrote if you want to borrow it. 

5) I recently discovered a nutritional supplement called Q96 Empower Plus. 

Someone I know has used this supplement to heal bi-polar. She is now happy and stable with no medication. My friend’s son was failing out of school because of ADD issues and depression, even suicidal, and now is doing great in a rigorous high school program, off of all his medication. He only takes Q96 Empower Plus now. I just found out that someone I know takes an advanced version of this product, Empower Plus Advanced and takes an even higher dose, and it has healed her depression and anxiety. 

Here is a documentary about this product and how it was developed by an LDS father of ten children. His wife had already committed suicide from mental illness, and two of his teens were starting to show signs of it, and I believe it was a miracle how this was developed. 

Whether or not you want to investigate that nutrition product, it's good to keep in mind that nutrition does play a huge part in brain health. If a deficiency in a micronutrient can create brain issues like bi-polar, depression, or ADHD, then it makes sense to clean up the diet and intake high quality foods, and possibly supplements that ensure a thorough range of nutrients. Several years ago I started having a smoothie for breakfast every day made with Raw Meal powder, frozen fruit, and water. It is the healthiest food I eat all day. It is full of sprouted, raw, enzyme-activated, and nutrient-rich foods that I feel like this daily food is part of what has helped my body become healthier and healthier. Many people find that having a large green smoothie every day brings healing to a multitude of health issues. 

There is a BIT practitioner here in South Ogden at Rocky Mountain Health and Wellness Center. Here is a link to some testimonials of people who have healed brain issues like ADD, dyslexia, memory loss, and depression. 

This doctor had his own brain issues after being a successful professional, and became an expert starting with his personal experiences and searching. One analogy I really like from this book is that often brain issues are caused by more than one thing, so just like a person who has stepped on ten tacks won’t get pain relief from pulling out only one tack, we also need to be thorough in our approach if there are multiple causes with a brain issue. For example, if someone has a build up of mercury in their brain cells from childhood immunizations, has a delayed food reaction to dairy products by feeling depressed and foggy brained the couple days after eating it, has sugar sensitivity, and a hormone imbalance, then the person will find true relief only when all four of those issues are addressed. Removing one tack from a foot is good, but it won't take all the pain away until all the tacks are out. So it's good to do what you can to determine all the causes so each cause can be healed, therefore having a full recovery and a happy, successful life. 

Another great brain doctor is Dr. Daniel Amen. He is famous for his cool brain scans and his distinction of six types of ADD.

If depression or other mental struggles has been an issue for you, I have compassion for you. There is hope!  Of course my list isn't complete. These are just the things that have made the difference for me, but each person is unique. Make it a matter of prayer and let the Lord guide your path of healing. 

Feel free to leave a comment below about what has helped you. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My testimony

Last night in my letter to my MTC missionary son I felt like sharing my testimony with him.  Here it is. 

I want to share my testimony with you. 

I know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ, who atoned for our sins so we can repent and become exalted. I know it. I know that the Holy Ghost helps us very often if we tune into Him – through feelings, thoughts, warning of danger, testifying of truth, reminding us of things we’ve learned, sanctifying us, and guiding our big and small decisions. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church on the earth, and that it has the fullness of the gospel, including God’s priesthood power, saving ordinances and temples, living prophets and revelation. We are so very blessed to have the fullness, rather than just some truths. It’s like how much more you can play on that awesome conference center organ with all the keys and stops, than you can on a little mini keyboard. The mini keyboard still plays some music, but not as much and not as powerfully. I know that Jesus Christ will come to earth again, and the most important thing we can do to prepare is come unto Christ and repent. 

I know that families are central to God’s plan and that because of the priesthood power, temples, and Christ’s Atonement, families can be together forever! Which is super de duper awesome!! I know that the family and home are the best places to learn the gospel and develop our character to become more like Christ. I know that a gospel that invites sacrifice of time, talents, and funds is a gospel with the power to help us change into the beings God needs us to become. I know that if we hold fast to what we know in the gospel, any little things we don't understand will make sense later. The old adage is true -- it's best to doubt your doubts and feed your faith, until your doubts are resolved or disappear. 

I know that by studying true doctrine, ESPECIALLY in the Book of Mormon, our attitudes and actions change from the inside out. From my powerful experience last December with reading the Book of Mormon in one month I know that book is true more than I ever have before. And I know that Joseph Smith was right when he said that the Book of Mormon is the truest book on the earth, and living its principles brings you closer to Christ than any other book. 

I know that Jesus Christ leads this Church through giving revelation to living prophets and apostles, and that they are inspired of God for our needs today. If we follow them we will be blessed. Period. I know that our opportunities to serve as a missionary for you, or in other callings like Dad’s bishop-ing or my seminary-ing, are incredible opportunities to bless others AND ourselves. Those callings bring us closer to the Savior, help us stretch, grow, do hard things, study hard, ask for and receive revelation, become less self-centered, and change in wonderful ways. They help us to become like Jesus. Which is what we want. I know that through Christ ALL things, including our challenges, can work together for our good. Challenges are part of the plan, and we can choose to let them make us bitter or better. I also know that Satan is real and he knows our strengths, weaknesses, and life missions. Because he’s real I know that it’s uber important that we put on the armor of God chain mail every single day through power holy habits like:  

connecting prayer (not just saying a prayer)
feasting on scriptures (not just skimming the surface) and words of the prophets 
serving others, which includes missionary work, callings, small acts of kindness and friendship, service projects, helping the poor and needy, and especially serving in our own families 
obeying the commandments, modern prophets, and promptings from the Spirit
using holy music and media, avoiding worldly music and media
in other words – continually filling ourselves with God’s light and pushing away darkness

It’s all true, Adam! I know you already know that. But I just wanted to say it anyway. 

I love, love, love you!! 


Friday, November 21, 2014

My seminary student totally made my day!

One thing we discussed in seminary this morning was modesty. 

I thanked the girls in the class for dressing modestly, and said I'm sure the boys in the room appreciate when they dress modestly. Boys were nodding their heads in agreement. After class, one young man came up to me and said, "Sister Edwards, I like your outfit. You are modest AND fashionable." 

Young man, you just totally made my day! 

The MOST important commandment.

“The most important commandment is the one you have difficulty keeping  today!  Now, if you have made mistakes, make today the beginning of a change in your lives.  Turn from the thing that you have been doing that is wrong.  The most important of all the commandments of God is that one you are having the most difficulty keeping today.  If it is one of dishonesty, if it is one of unchastity, if it is one of falsifying, not telling the truth, TODAY is the day for you to work on that until you have been able to conquer that weakness.  Put that aright and then you start on the next one that is most difficult for you to keep.  That’s the way to sanctify yourself by keeping the commandments of God.”

(Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 73-14)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Good stuff takes effort, but sin thrusts itself upon you.

"All good things require effort. That which is worth having will cost part of your physical being, your intellectual power, and your soul power—“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt. 7:7.) But you have to seek, you have to knock. On the other hand, sin thrusts itself upon you. It walks beside you, it tempts you, it entices, it allures. You do not have to put forth effort. … It is like the billboard advertising attracting you to drink and to smoke. It is like the message that comes into your very homes with the television and radio. … Evil seeks you, and it requires effort and fortitude to combat it. But truth and wisdom are gained only by seeking, by prayer, and by effort" 

(David O. McKay, Conference Report, Oct. 1965). 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cool quotes about gifts of the Spirit...and a mini handout to glue into your scriptures

Tomorrow in seminary we're discussing gifts of the Spirit in D&C 46. Click here for a mini handout of these quotes that you can glue into your scriptures. Just print it on both sides and then cut it into four handouts. 

Three places in the scriptures you'll find a list of spiritual gifts. 
  • D&C 46:11-26
  • Moroni 10:8-19
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

God wants us to ask for the best gifts. 
  • D&C 46:8 – “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts.”
  • 1 Cor 12:31 – “Covet earnestly the best gifts.” 
  • 1 Cor 14:1 – “Desire spiritual gifts.”
  • Moroni 7:48 – Pray with all the energy of heart to be filled with charity. 

Ask to be shown your gifts. 

President Henry B. Eyring – "My challenge to you is to pray to know the gifts you've been given, to know how to develop them, and to recognize the opportunities to serve others that God provides us" (“Help Them Aim High," Ensign, Nov 2012).

Elder Gene R. Cook -- "One of the great processes you go through in life is to discover yourself, to find those gifts and capacities God has given you. He has given you great talents, the smallest part of which you have just begun to utilize. Trust the Lord to assist you in unlocking the door to those gifts. Some of us have created imaginary limits in our minds. There is literally a genius locked up inside each of us. Don't ever let anyone convince you otherwise" ("Trust in the Lord," in Hope [1988], 90-91).

Ask for the gifts needed to overcome your weaknesses. 

President George Q. Cannon – “How many of you ... are seeking for these gifts that God has promised to bestow? ... 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 my imperfections. 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” (Millennial Star, Apr. 23, 1894, 260). 

Ask for specific gifts that are most helpful. 

Elder Robert D. Hales – “One [gift of the Spirit] that I believe has impact on each of our lives is the gift of prophecy or revelation. This gift is different from the priesthood office of prophet. The gift of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus”  (Ensign, Feb 2002, 12).  

President Joseph Fielding Smith –  “All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance” (Church History & Modern Revelation, [1953], 1:201).

George Q. Cannon has called the gift of discerning of spirits “a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter-day Saint. … No Latter-day Saint should be without this gift, because there is such a variety of spirits in the world which seek to deceive and lead astray” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. in 1 [1987], 156–57).

There are an infinite variety of spiritual gifts. 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie – “Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 371).

Less conspicuous gifts of the Spirit.

Elder Robert D. Hales – “Other gifts [are]...the gift to ponder, looking to God for direction, the gift to hear and respond to the still, small voice, the gift to be calm, which includes the ability to curb anger and to be temperate rather than contentious, the gift to study and to listen, and, perhaps the greatest gift of all, to have charity” (Ensign, Feb 2002, 12).

Elder Marvin J. Ashton –  “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.” (Ensign, Nov. 1987). 

The scriptures give us three lists of spiritual gifts. 

D&C 46:8-29 – Know that Jesus is the Son of God, believe in their words, know differences of administration (administering & leading the church*), know diversities of operations (discern whether a teaching or influence is from God or another source*), word of wisdom (gift of wisdom - the ability to use knowledge in righteous ways*), word of knowledge – teach to be wise and to have knowledge, faith to be healed, faith to heal, work miracles, prophesy (John taught “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” – Rev 19:10*), discerning spirits, speak with tongues (speak in different languages, or tongues*), interpretation of tongues. (*Explanation of gifts from under Index of Topics: "Spiritual Gifts.")

Moroni 10:8-21 – Teach the word of wisdom by the Spirit (teach by the power of the Holy Ghost*), teach the word of knowledge by the Spirit (teach by the power of the Holy Ghost*), exceedingly great faith, gifts of healing, work mighty miracles, prophesy, beholding angels and ministering spirits, all kinds of tongues, interpretation of languages.

1 Corinthians 12:7-10  – Word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophesy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues.

Moroni 7:43-48, 1 Cor 13 – Faith, hope, charity.  Pray with all energy of heart to be filled with charity, the greatest gift of all, the pure love of Christ, if you don’t have it you’re nothing, cleave unto it.

Besides granting us gifts, the Holy Spirit changes us in other amazing ways. 

Elder Parley P. Pratt (1807-57) --  "The gift of the Holy Spirit adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates, and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form, and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being" (Key to the Science of Theology [1979], 61).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Preparing for Christ's Second Coming...great stuff from the seminary manual

Tomorrow's seminary lesson is about preparing for Christ's Second Coming in D&C 45. Here are some great quotes, videos, and other stuff from the manual. 

The most important preparation is to come to Christ and repent. 

"Assure students that the most important preparation we can make for the Second Coming is to come to the Savior, repent, and be cleansed of our sins. Invite students to think about whether they need to repent of anything and what they must do to be cleansed of sin." (Doctrine & Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013, page 120). 

"Preparing for the Second Coming"

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: The Ten Virgins in the Last Days (D&C 45:56-57) 

“The arithmetic of this parable is chilling. The ten virgins obviously represent members of Christ’s Church, for all were invited to the wedding feast and all knew what was required to be admitted when the bridegroom came. But only half were ready when he came” (“Preparation for the Second Coming,” Ensign, May 2004).

"They that are Wise"

President Spencer W. Kimball: Adding oil to our lamps 

“In the parable, oil can be purchased at the market. In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living. Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity—these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 256).

"Taking the Spirit as Our Guide"

The three things the wise virgins did in D&C 45:57 were: 

  1. Receiving the truth
  2. Taking the Holy Spirit as their guide
  3. Avoiding being deceived 

"Be Not Troubled" 

Stand in Holy Places (D&C 45:32)

“‘Holy places’ may have more to do with how one lives than where one lives. If we live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then we stand in a holy place. … A holy place is any place where a person enjoys the Spirit of God” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 196).

"Stand in Holy Places"

President Boyd K. Packer: We need the Spirit and we need not fear

"We live in troubled times-very troubled times. We hope, we pray, for better days. But that is not to be. The prophecies tell us that. We will not as a people, as families, or as individuals be exempt from the trials to come. ... We need not live in fear of the future. We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do" ("The Cloven Tongues of Fire," Ensign, May 2000).

Here is an overview of last days events from Elder Ballard.  

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presented a comprehensive overview of the events of the Second Coming in an article titled "When Shall These Things Be?" by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

One more good one...

P.S. This isn't from the seminary manual but it's my favorite talk to help you live with excitement rather than fear about the last days. It's Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's "Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast." Here are a couple great quotes from it:

"We cannot stop living life. Indeed, we should live life more fully than we have ever lived it before. After all, this is the dispensation of the fullness of times. ... God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe." 

Ten awesome talks by Elder Holland!

Click here to see these ten awesome talks. 

Thank you to the people who gathered these beautiful talks and pictures all in one place! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Watch Your Step" Mormon Message video

Tomorrow in seminary we're covering D&C 42, which talks about lusting and adultery. 

Because pornography is all about lusting and adultery of the heart, and because pornography is all too available, we need to be extra vigilant with our media and internet usage. That's why I wanted to post this beautiful video. Notice the light on one side of the screen and darkness on the other side in certain scenes. I love that symbolism. Christ's Atonement is powerful enough to save someone with this kind of addiction. But it's way better to prepare and prevent, than to repair and repent. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet by Ezra Taft Benson

This is my favorite classic talk about following the prophets. 

Here's another great quote by Ezra Taft Benson. 

"The best yardstick to use in discerning the worth of true knowledge and learning is to go first and foremost to the words of the Lord’s prophets." (In His Steps, BYU Devotional, March 4, 1979)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Adam's MTC Week! Lotsa pictures...

Counting down to MTC day...

If you just want to see pictures of MTC day, go to the bottom. :)

A sunny day at Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square with Adam and Mom and Dad 

Adam has loved the temple for a long time, and he went regularly to do baptisms for the dead, bringing along friends and siblings. This day he wanted to do a session at the Salt Lake Temple with his Mom and Dad. I loved walking around Temple Square on a gorgeous fall day, soaking in our son.
Surprise, surprise, Adam actually brought his camera!  (For much of his life he despised pictures.) He and I noticed someone who looked like a professional photographer who found this fun little angle of the Salt Lake Temple among fall leaves, so when she was done, we took her place and copied her. We liked it too!  

This painter, Joseph Brickey, is one of our favorite artists. He is the son our BYU family ward bishop when Adam was a baby. Adam was born when Mike and I finished our bachelor degrees together and Mike started law school. A funny thing about Adam is that while I was in labor with him, the big white "Y" on the mountain was on fire. Adam jokes that he lit it on fire so he could come into the world with a bang. 

Adam has been taking organ lessons in the basement of the Assembly Hall on Temple Square from Bonnie Goodliffe, a Tabernacle Choir organist. 

Inside the beautiful Assembly Hall.

Adam played piano at a rest home one last time. They LOVE him there! 

Adam's Eagle Scout project was organizing a bunch of people to play various instruments and sing on a regular basis for a rest home. Once his project was done, Adam was told he wasn't allowed to be done!  He has come every month since then. 

Adam also chats with the residents and helps wheel them back to their room. The most amazing thing happened a month before this. I went to watch Adam and he forgot to bring any sheet music. I felt a little concerned. He played the entire concert for the audience just fine without any sheet music!  He even played requests that he had never played before!  I was amazed.  

This mom is one big fan of the pianist! 

Other last minute stuff. 

Adam's favorite spot to check email and Facebook.  Next to my desk in my bedroom is a small desk that Adam has used for his studies for the past several years. Our family rule is that to be on the internet, a child must be in the same room as other people. So this spot works out well. My room seems to be a favorite hang-out spot for studying, wrestling, pillow fights, chatting, giggling, you name it. As I type this I'm looking at that little desk, with Adam's laptop shut right where he left it, and now gathering a little dust, even though Adam has only been gone five days. It has some Bach organ CD's and a stack of family temple names on top. I miss that boy. Sigh...

Let's take family portraits!

Adam's niece Zia is his favorite little buddy. She loves to play piano too! 

Zia sure likes her Uncle Adam.

Time to pack!

About ten days before Adam left I really wanted to put our  whole life in a box and set it aside -- my seminary teaching, Mike's work and bishoping, the kids' schoolwork and lessons and groups, so we could just be together as a family and soak in Adam. So you can imagine I jumped at every chance I could get to help with things like packing or shopping or anything to spend time with Adam. He teases me because I don't know how to pack without using a bunch of Ziplocks. It's true.
Mike and Adam's two brothers wanted to be with him while he packed. 

Adam created a binder for his favorite holy music. He is hoping to be able to use his piano and organ talents to serve others in his mission. And he is really hoping to get to play some really old, beautiful pipe organs in France.  If his dream comes true, with his binder he'll be ready!  Actually he doesn't really need any sheet music. He can rock any piano or organ without looking at any music. And he loves to improvise and play by ear. It's really fun to watch him. 

I thought it was cute how Adam packed his ties, all rolled up inside his new shoes. I nicely suggested he find another place to pack them for the flight to France. He doesn't want all his ties to have boy's stinky shoe smell once he arrives! 

One thing I adore about Adam is all the little notes he posts all over his room - reminders, goals, commitments, his personal mission statement, and favorite quotes or scriptures. I think it's adorable. I'm so glad he didn't take those down when he left. I haven't had the guts to go sit in his room yet and soak him up, but I'm sure I will one of these days. I'll bring some Kleenex. By the way, the "Who's Your Hero" poster behind Adam is a picture of Abinadi, who is a Book of Mormon prophet. 

The day before MTC day...

One more soccer game with Adam's little brother. Frost never stopped these two soccer fans! 

Adam disassembled and put away the two soccer goals that are out in the yard most of the year because Adam loves to play soccer. 

Gotta bug the little brothers while Adam can!

One of Adam's chores is to empty the trash can and recycling can under my desk. He wanted to do it one last time for me. 

My sweet friend Monica brought over the cutest gift ever! 

It's a Missionary Mom Survival Kit

The contents are listed below. I wore this watch to the MTC and I kept wearing it after as a token of Monica's love and support, and to remember this sacred day. 

Tissues: to dry your tears
Chocolate: to give you comfort (I ate almost the whole Symphony bar the next day) 
Watch: remember he's on the Lord's time! He'll be watched over
Band-aids: to heal your broken heart 
Game: to keep your mind off missing him 
Stars: to remember that you're under the same sky
Gum: Be proud! He is "chews"ing the right and serving the Lord! 

Adam outgrew his mission shoes (and running shoes) since we bought them six weeks ago!  Off we go to trade sizes...

I recommend Holmes Clothing in Ogden, Utah to anyone sending off a missionary! They were great to let us trade for a bigger shoe size. 

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Buying a few last minute things at Walmart. This is Adam telling me he is DONE with my picture taking that's been a bit obsessive lately! You can understand why I've been overboard with pictures, right??

Last dinner before the mission 

Adam LOVES Famous Dave's. 

I was sad that Adam's younger sister couldn't join us because she didn't feel well. His older sister couldn't either with her cute little family as they were busy with college and work. There is something in a mother's heart that really likes it when all her kiddos are together. 

Adam getting set apart as a missionary

Adam's grandparents came to support this special event. 

We love our wonderful stake presidency. 

Grandma Georgia requested that Adam play a song for her. He played a hymn. Then I told her that Adam plays a great rendition of David Archuletta's song "Glorious" that plays at the end of Meet the Mormons movie. He just sat down and played it by ear. I'm so glad I video taped him playing this for his grandma! 

Wow, Adam is an official missionary now! 

The morning of MTC day

I think Adam looks great in his new grey suit. 

I had to sneak this picture of Adam getting into the van to leave our home for the last time in two years. He's annoyed at all my pictures, but I'm still not done taking them!  Last night he said, "Mom, please tell me you're not going to take any pictures tomorrow. I don't think I can take it any more!"  Ha ha ha!  What was he thinking??

Mike is really going to miss Adam's shoulder rubs! I loved sitting next to Adam for most of the ride down to Utah County, while our driver's permit daughter drove next to Dad. 

MTC day lunch with the whole family 

We met Malia, Austin, and Zia at Apollo Burger for a family lunch first. Adam has a special place in his heart for "Cute little Z-ster."  

Malia made Adam a handmade quilt for his mission! She is gifted with sewing, quilting, and crafting!

Apollo Burgers are yummo.

Adam sat next to Zia, entertaining her and helping her eat lunch. 

I love our family!!! 

Adam actually gave me permission to take this picture! 

Taking pictures at the Provo Temple grounds  

Beautiful day. I love every person in this precious picture. 

Adam with his only niece Zia. 

Adam with one of his twin 12-year-old brothers. 
Adam with the other twin 12-year-old brother. 

Adam with his 15-year-old sister.
Adam with Malia, who is finishing up her sign language degree at UVU and is expecting baby girl number two this spring! 

Adam with two very proud and sentimental parents. 

Adam carrying Zia back to the car. 

For some reason I like pictures like this. Capturing the moment of watching my family with my heart filled with love.

Saying goodbye on the curb by the Provo Temple. 

Saying goodbye to Zia. 

Saying goodbye to Dad.

Saying goodbye to Mom. Awe man, this picture brings it all back...

Zia giving one last kiss to Adam!

Dropping Adam off at the MTC Curb 

We pulled up to the furthest away curb. Number 25. 

Mike and Adam pulling out luggage. I didn't think we were allowed to hug him there or take more family pics, so I thought this was the best I could get. 

To our surprise, our little helper missionary Elder offered to take a family picture!  Hooray for us!  We each gave him one more hug. I gave him two. 

Our helper Elder was great. Very upbeat and positive. A blessing for Adam, who was doing well holding it all together and didn't cry, but he may have wanted to a little. 

I stood there watching my beautiful oldest son walk away with his beautiful new suit and luggage, walking off to serve the Lord whom he loves with his whole heart.   

Up to that moment I had stayed pretty upbeat and excited for Adam, amidst a few tears here and there. But after watching him walk away, when I couldn't see him any longer, I completely lost it. Good thing Mike was right there to hold me. 

The ride home was quiet and melancholy. 

So after a while, Mike announced that he must tell a Silly Mukdeegee story! Since our kids were young, Mike has created delightful stories about this villain and the heroes are always the princes and princesses of the kingdom of Edwardia. This story was about Silly Mukdeegee trying to capture Adam at the MTC, even poisoning his blueberry pie in the cafeteria.  But Adam and his new mission companion saved the day. It felt great to laugh again. I needed that. 

Tender mercies from God for a sentimental mom 

We stopped at a Seagull Book store on our way home from the MTC. These two nice ladies overheard us talking about Adam, and noticed we were all dressed up on a Wednesday. The woman in the middle asked if we had just taken a missionary to the MTC. I said that yes we had. She was super, duper compassionate, validating, and sweet. I felt very nurtured and I made a new friend that day!

A missionary quote book from Mom...where is that thing, anyway? 

I'm a quote collector. Over the years inspiring quotes have brought me a lot of strength, comfort, and guidance when I needed it. So I made a little quote book for Adam to take on his mission. The funny thing is, it got lost in his room while we were packing. I finally found it, so I get to mail it in a package...maybe with some candy! 

Adam now has a blog where I'll post his emails and pictures. 

It's His contact information is at the top of his blog. You can also subscribe to his blog if you want Adam's weekly email to come to your email box.