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! 

My Babies are 14... A Fun Birthday Week!

The older our twins get the more their preferences differ. They wanted different food, activities, and birthday parties. We extended their birthday for about a week so they could fit it in! 

Hyrum is a book lover so I spent an afternoon with him in the BYU bookstore. He was in heaven. 

Hyrum and I both eat gluten-free and dairy-free so this burger place was recommended that caters to our way of eating. It's called Mooyah. They have some stinkin' good, loaded burgers and salads! 

We stopped at my daughter Malia's house on the way home. I loved reading books to my two adorable granddaughters (on the left and center). 

Gabe LOVES anything flying. So we found a deal on a one-time flight lesson. The pilot even let Gabe control the plane some of the time in the air! Mike was in the plane with them. I love how Gabe has his camera on his head ready to record the fun! 

Before the flight, Gabe got to use a flight simulator.

I'm on the ground taking pics of the take off and landing.  

That night we ate dinner at Applebees.  

Gabe spent his birthday money on more flying objects -- his latest craze of drones or quad copters. He even created an Amazon and You Tube channel where he reviews these and other items. He's pretty excited that he's starting to get free items shipped to him so he can make review videos of them!  

Here is Gabe's other love... baby chicks! Last August he finally persuaded his non-pet-lovin' mom to let him get a batch of baby chicks, which he nurtured like a little daddy in a bin in his own bedroom until they were put out in a coop that he and his Grandpa Balderree fixed up together, with heat lamp and all that. Because a couple of them were roosters and had to be given away because of our zoning, he got a few more. He'll sell some of these and keep two, since our neighborhood is zoned for six chickens. Gabe's dream is to own a ranch where he can have as many animals as he desires! 

 The boys had a fun birthday party with lots of zesty boy energy! They played with quad copters, played Spaz Uno, had snacks and dessert, and went swimming at a nearby indoor pool. Fun! 

Man, I love my boys!! It's sad to see them growing up, but I love to see them growing up well!