Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: The Mark of the King by Joceyln Green

I receive free books from Bethany House Publishing in turn for writing reviews.
All opinions are my own.
This book came at just the perfect time for me. We've been having snow storm after snow storm, and it was nice to cozy up under a blanket and fade away!
First off, I loved the cover. It was simple, elegant, and caught my attention.
The Mark of the King is a historical fiction novel that will grab you right off the bat. Julianne Chevalier is a midwife in France who is very good at what she does, yet she is young. She is confident and careful, but something happens one day that will alter her path dramatically.
She finds herself heading to New Orleans among supposed, less desirable company. It's nothing like she imagined once she arrives, and on her shoulder she carries something that sets her apart from the rest. Something that if other's know about could ruin her life, yet again.
Will she be able to survive this new place? Will she be able to keep to her values and do what she loves? Will she find someone to share in her hope?
The story was excellent. I thought the characters could have been more developed. I liked them, but I didn't love them. I learned a ton of new information and the book had me looking up more and more about New Orleans. I would definitely recommend reading this book because it's clean. There are a few moments where women are treated severely, but the author Jocelyn Green writes with a dignified voice. Nothing crude or explicit. And that, for me right there, is such a breath of fresh air!!
I'd also recommend reading the book if you like stories that promote faith. This is definitely a Christian book with scriptures quoted, singing the tune that even though we have trials, we can have help from above.
On a 5 star scale, I'd give it a 3.5.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

February 2017 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Noah's Ark by Colin Thompson
He makes art for jigsaw puzzles!

Monthly Theme: When We Choose the Right, We Are Blessed.
Monthly Scripture:“If ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you” Mosiah 2:22

Week 1 Noah was blessed for choosing the right.

 * Tiger, Moose, Elephant. This is a great game for large primaries where you invite 10-15 children up front. In between each round of the game ask questions about the story of Noah and about the obedience he and his family showed. The children up front will need to be good examples in between each round and listen, or even raise their hand to share an answer.
     This is how you play the game. Tiger makes hands in a clawing shape. Moose puts hands on head spread out. Elephant bends over and drops arm like a long nose. On the count of 3, and they have to do it on 3 or they are automatically out, they choose whether they want to be tiger, moose, or elephant. Whatever animal there is the most of, all those children are out. You can play until there are 2 winners.
      Aren't we so grateful for animals? Bear testimony of Noah and his life as a prophet. He was blessed for choosing the right, and we are blessed because of his choices too!!

* Have children draw pictures of different animals or of Noah and his family or of an ark. Have an "ARK SHOW" where you display their animal art on the front board. (Bring in plenty of small magnets!!) Have the primary pianist choose a piece of art they really like and why. Have the primary child who drew it come up front and answer a question or read a scripture having to do with the story of Noah. Repeat the process of choosing art with different people like teachers or fellow primary friends, and they have to say why they like the "ark" piece.
       Oh my. This is such a cheesy idea, but I kinda love it. It sounds like fun!!

* Divide the primary into 5 sections. You're going to make a rain storm today!
Section 1:  Rub your hands together.  (This is the wind)
Section 2:  Tap one finger on the palm of your hand.  (These are the first raindrops.)
Section 3:  Tap all 4 fingers.  (Many more rain drops.)
Section 4:  Full out clapping.  (It’s getting more intense!)
Section 5:  Slap on the floor, or your thighs.  (Thunder enters!)
After a big crescendo (getting louder), repeat all the activities in reverse order (1 section will drop out at a time) as the storm dies down, until you’re rubbing hands together.
Then quietly stop, and there should be absolutely silence.
    Can anyone think of scripture stories that have to do with rain? Wow!!! Great answers. Today we're going to talk about the story of Noah!! Give each section ONE of the following questions and 2 minutes to come up with an answer- Who was in this scripture story? What happened in this scripture story? Why is this scripture story important to us today? When did this scripture story happen? How can we be like Noah? Have each section choose a representative to come up front after and share.
     If you have time afterwards maybe you can make another rain shower!!

Week 2 Jesus’s disciples were blessed by choosing the right.

* HERE is a great talk to read for this week. What is discipleship? Great  thoughts and inspiration! “The word disciple comes from the Latin [meaning] a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who is learning to be like Christ—learning to think, to feel, and to act [like] he does” (Ensign, Sept. 1974, 81).

* “He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple...” D&C 41:5
     Have 4 stories from the scriptures about different disciples. Write a short paragraph describing that person and how they were blessed by choosing the right. Choose 5 words from your paragraph to leave out/fill in the blank. Write the 5 words on the chalk board. Invite a child to come up front and read the paragraph nice and clear, when they come to a blank invite them to choose another primary friend who thinks they know what word will fill in the blank. You can have one primary friend be in charge of erasing the words that were chosen.
      You will have to switch readers for the next story, and write the new set of words on the chalk board. Choose a new primary friend to erase the next set! (Yes, some little friends can't read.... so point to the words and say them out loud!!)

* Choose the Right! When a choice is placed before you!!
   Sing Choose the Right!! Hymns 239
   A reverent primary friend will come up front and act as a certain disciple from the scriptures. You can have a few simple props or costumes for them to wear while they read and answer. A choice (a small piece of paper with a sentence on it) will be placed before them and they will have to tell what choice they made and why it was a good one.
For example:
Nephi- Getting the brass plates was not easy, my brothers wanted to quit. What was my choice?
Esther- My people were all going to be killed by an unfair decree. I would lose my life if I spoke to the king when not spoken to. What was my choice?
Widow of Zarephath- A wicked king and queen sought the prophet Elijah's life. He had to hide. He wanted to stay with me and my son, but we had no food. What was my choice?
Ammon- I was a brand new missionary and ran into some thieves. They wanted to kill and scatter the king's sheep. What was my choice?
Alma the Elder- My whole life I believed a certain way and wanted to live the way I knew how. When I heard Abinadi speak, the Holy Ghost testified what he said was true, it was much different from what I had believed. What was my choice?
Stephen- I knew that Christ lived. He loved and is my Savior. Some men were very angry with me and want to kill me with stones. I had a testimony and knew I should speak. What was my choice?
Moses- I thought I was a prince of Egypt, but found out I was a Hebew son. I could have lived a life of luxury and richness or freed my people who were slaves. What was my choice?
     For senior primary you could even have the children themselves come up with a disciple and what their choice was.

Week 3 Nephi was blessed for choosing the right.

* Make a memory match game with words/pictures that have to do with Nephi's life. When a match is made, a primary friend can tell us a little more about that story and how Nephi chose the right. How was he blessed?
Some ideas for matches: Broken Bow, Brass Plates, Build a Ship, Tree of Life, Nephi Writes the Things of God,  Frank Forgiveness, and Respect for Parents

* HERE is a short clip about President Monson talking about Nephi and the blessings of obedience.

* Nephi, a scripture hero!! THIS ARTICLE is from The Friend and would be a great read for the primary. After sharing it, invite the children to take a piece of paper and design a super hero cape for Nephi. They can write words on it or just do a design with pictures. Invite some children up front to share their work and ideas.

Week 4 Church members today are blessed for choosing the right.
* “Of all the lessons we learn from the life of the Savior, none is more clear and powerful than the lesson of obedience” (“If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 35).
    Sing Choose the Right Way, CS 160      
"I am learning the teachings of Jesus; They will help me and show me the way" Have a scavenger type hunt in the primary room. Have different manila sized envelopes with pictures of The Savior showing different things He did to show obedience, and also directions to another envelope in the room. When we follow Christ and choose the right, we will be blessed and like the song says... be happy!!
*HERE is an excellent talk with a story of a Mission President who chooses to wear a special CTR tie tack. You can tell the story to the children. Is anyone in primary wearing a CTR ring? Can they show us?? A quote that stands out from the talk is, “Likewise, my dear young friends, the positive things you will want to accomplish need be decided upon only once—like going on a mission and living worthily in order to get married in the temple—and then all other decisions related to these goals can fall into line. Otherwise, each consideration is risky....There are some things Latter-day Saints do and other things we just don’t do. The sooner you take a stand, the taller you will be!(President Kimball Speaks Out, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 94).
      Bring in some building blocks and have the children name a good choice, then stack their block. How tall can it get? An interesting lesson in this is sometimes we aren't perfect and fall, like our block towers, but we just keep on going. Pick ourselves up and continue to make good choices. What is something you can do this week to take a stand and choose the right?

* Get some stories (this idea is very similar to the one in the outline) of friends or family members of the primary children who made a good choice and were blessed by it. You'll need to prepare and call the week before to get everything ready. In primary, tell the children that you are going to be sharing a very important story of a church member today who chose the right and was blessed... and then they can guess who the person is! Have a couple clues to maybe help them figure out who the story is about. Maybe you can even get some pictures to go along with the story from that person!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

January 2017 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Image NASA Hubble Crab Nebula
"This supernova remnant contains a strong pulsar wind nebula that is not visible to the naked eye but it can be viewed by using binoculars on a clear night. The pulsar situated at the center of the nebula is the celestial object that remains after the supernova, spinning at a rate of around 30 times per second."

Monthly Theme: Agency is the Gift to Choose for Ourselves
Monthly Scripture: “Wherefore, men are free … to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men” 2 Nephi 2:27

Weeks 1 and 2 Agency is the gift to choose for ourselves.

* "Consider how we use our time in the choices we make." Elder Dallin H. Oaks Good, Better, Best Bring in a portable clock with an alarm. Invite a primary friend to leave the room while you set the alarm for two minutes and have someone hide it. The friend will then come in and try to answer a question about agency and find the clock before the alarm goes off!!

* HERE is a really great video to show the children. I could definitely see some younger children getting scared, so pray about it. You could even just bring in a picture of a scorpion and tell the story. Have a pair of shoes and a pair of flip flops up front. Have some different case scenarios. Invite a primary friend up front to hear the scenario and then stand by the pair of shoes depending on the choice made in the scenario- good at shoes, bad at flip flops.
   Some examples of case scenarios could be:
   John was watching TV. A show came on that was not appropriate and had swearing. He shut it off and decided to go write in his journal.
   Kate was skating outside. She was not supposed go past her neighbor's house. Since there wasn't anyone on the street she went to the end of the block. No one saw her.
    Mike broke his mom's lamp. He didn't want to get in trouble, so when she asked if he knew what happened, he shook his head.

* HERE is a Friend article that talks about a basketball player who made a good choice. "Decide right NOW!" says President Monson! We can make the choice beforehand to do what's right ALWAYS!! Have a basked and 3 balls. Mark 3 spots on the carpet each getting closer to the basket. N for the first spot. O for the second. W for the third. A child will come up front and answer a question or read a scripture about agency, then get 3 balls to throw at each spot. What if a child doesn't get the ball in? That's OK. It's a tricky game!! Just get up nice and close and toss 'em in!! Try to do this at home and see how your family does!!

* Have 7 small wrapped boxes with a letter in each box- F R E E D O M. Mix them up. Divide the primary into 7 groups and have talk about an experiences where they made a good choices. Have one person speak for the group and share a story about where good agency was used. Have that person unwrap a box. Once all the groups have shared and the letters up front, invite the primary to try to figure out the word. Agency is the gift to choose for ourselves!
     2 Nephi 2:27 "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."

* "Your choices are the mirror of your self-control. They will lead you to your eternal destination if they are made with divine direction and control."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf On The Wings of Eagles Liahona July 2006
    Have everyone find a partner. Have one child do some simple actions and the primary friend sits across from them and tries to mirror what they do!! Have them imagine a mirror in between their hands and try to move as the other person does.
    Like President Uctdorf said, our choices are the mirror of our self control.... what our hearts are made of! Today we are going to talk about agency but during the lesson I'm going to repeat that quote and when I do, you have 10 seconds to find a partner and mirror each other!! If we do this quickly and reverently, we can play the game many times!!
   Have some quotes, scriptures, and questions prepared about agency. Can anyone recite the quote by memory at the end of sharing time and who said it??

Week 3 In the premortal life, I chose to follow God’s plan.

* HERE is an awesome video about a scientist who believes in the premortal existence! Excellent visuals and scriptures!!
    Have children design artwork about what they picture the premortal life to have been like. Ask some to share their work and details about what did happen during the premortal existence.

* Today we have some very special guests in primary. They have some very big questions and I told them I know the most brilliant children who can answer those questions. Introduce the children to 5 stuffed animals who have a question attached to them.
   We are going to divide into 5 groups and pass 1 stuffed animal to each group. Someone will read the question and then you can all take turns to answer the special guest's question. After a minute or so we will rotate the guests between the groups.
     The questions each stuffed animal has is:
Who is Heavenly Father?
Where did we come from?
What is the meaning/purpose of life?
What am I supposed to do with my life?
What is the plan of salvation? (This stuffed animal comes with a dry erase board and marker for anyone who would like to draw it out!)
     It may seem silly that stuffed animals would ask these questions, but in real life, many people don't know the answers. They ask these questions and it's up to us to help spread knowledge and truth!

* Arrange children as parts of the plan of salvation up front. Have large signs (with pictures if possible) to label the different parts and invite primary friends to figure out who represents what in the plan of salvation. Once one is figured out, hand that child his/her sign... what do we know about the premortal world? Earth life? Paradise and Prison? The final judgment... etc. You can line up 11 kids like this picture.

Week 4 Jesus Christ created the earth as a place where I can learn to choose the right.

* Have 10 different places from all over the world. Make 2 of each picture and turn it into a matching game. Invite a primary friend to come up and try to find a match. Jesus Christ organized/created the earth as a place where I can learn to choose the right. If they make a match they can share an example of a time when they chose the right or a story of another person who chose the right!

* Creation Charades
Adam & Eve, Tree of Life, Water, Land, Mountains, River, flowers, sun and moon, elephant, wolf
   Invite 1 child to pick a creation charade to act out and have the primary guess. Before they choose the charade though, they can tell the primary something that is a good choice to make or do. Some children might even want to do their own ideas for creation charades... just have them whisper it to you first to make sure it's appropriate.

* Bring in a large cardboard box with a top. Ask your primary pianist to come sit inside it and shut the top. Ask her if she thinks this would be a good place to learn to choose the right. Could she make a lot of choices in there? Probably not. Aren't we glad Jesus didn't create  boxes for us to live and dwell in!!! He created this beautiful earth as a place where we can learn to choose the right!! Have everyone offer a round of reverent applause for our stunning demonstration from our stunning primary pianist.
    Have 15 different questions/scriptures about the creation and agency written on the box. Invite a child to choose one question and answer it, or scripture and read it, then they can take a marker and make a checkmark by it! (Choose a different color for junior primary and senior primary)
     Boxes?? Boring!! Earth?? We are so blessed!! Let's make good choices always to show our appreciation for all The Lord has given us!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Easy Nursery Games

This is a list of games that are easy to play with toddlers.

1. Red Light, Green Light
2. Bean Bag Toss in a Basket
3. Stations with cones & picture instructions- Jump, jog in place, clap, kick, wiggle. Lead all the children to each cone and do it along with them.
4. Puppet Switch- Have 2 baskets with puppets in each one. (go through the puppets and figure out what the puppets would say, like ribbit for a frog or moo for a cow) When I say switch, they bring back their puppet and get a new one.
5. 4 squares with colors
6. Balancing on Tape on the Floor
7. Red Rover, Red Rover, Send ________ (name of nursery friend) right over!! (no breaking through hands, just coming to join hands and swing them)
8. Teddy Bear Hunt- During the walk, another leader can hide 3 bears or even a CTR ring like The Friend. Who can find them??
9. 3 of These Things Belong Together (post to come soon)
10. Limbo

Nursery Leader!!

Ella, my 2 year old.
Her face basically summarizes how I felt when I was first called to be Nursery Leader.
Just keepin' it real.

In August our Sparks Stake split because of new growth. We didn't move, but we were reorganized into a new ward. We love it!! Tons of awesome people. I was in Relief Society as a teacher for 3 months. I was worried about how I would do teaching adults, but I enjoyed it.

And then..... drumroll.... back to primary!! I gotta say, I did cry when they called me to Nursery. And not out of joy (collective gasp). This year has been the hardest year of my life. I'm hoping one day that I can write about my experience, but it's still ongoing. A tad too fresh still. All I can say is that loving a person with depression is a whole different level of life. Hence the hard day, hence the tears.

But, of course I accepted. God is the only way I live. And as I prayed for direction, it was quick to come. I knew that once I was organized that all would be well.

So, to the drawing board, prayerfully I went!! It helps that my mom owned her own preschool for 20 years.

Here is the Nursery Schedule I've used one week and will probably tweak as needed. Everything went by super fast!!!

2:15- 2:30 Gathering Activity of play dough & puzzles.
    Welcome in all little friends by name.

2:30 - 2:40 Attendance & Books
   We sing to the tune of Here We are Together -Here we are in Nursery, Nursery, Nursery, Here we are in Nursery with all our friends... there's Ella, and then we sing everyone's names including the adults in the room.
   Children will be able to put a happy face by their picture to show they are here. Who is missing? Review names of friends.
    I bring in 4 books, short and simple!! Always read with pages facing towards children and don't be afraid to move around so all the children can see. You can spread out a blanket or have carpet pads for friends to sit on.

2:40 - 3:00 Free Time with toys & clean up

3:00- 3:15 Healthy Snack
    Count how many friends are at the snack table. Encourage good manners, please and thank you!  
    I'm hoping to get parent participation and get some good fruits and veggies (no carrots!) going.
   Once a month I'm going to try "Chefs in Training", having them stir some fruit and yogurt or spoon hummus on a wrap then roll. We'll see, the possibility of fun is there.

3:15- 3:20 Lesson
    5 minutes? Yup.

3:20- 3:30 Art
   We take the time to do a craft that reinforces the lesson theme or something seasonal/holiday.

3:30- 3:40 Picture Walk
   Using the rope we stop by pictures in the hall and go through High Priests class to wave. One, because the old men can't hear if we make noise, and two because grandpas (most) are just plain friendly and kind. We make sure to wave!

3:40- 3:50 Singing Time

3:50- 4:00 End with a bang!!
   We end with something extra fun like bubbles, crawl through tunnels, scarves, bean bag toss or games.
   We all wave goodbye to our friends who leave nursery and by name say, "See you next week!"

     We are at a hard time for toddlers!! Many have missed nap and are tired. I'm going to have a couple small pillows and rolls for anyone that would like quiet time. No forced naps!! Some do just like to lie down!!

   This is a really great time to work on vocal skills. Learning and using words. Not every child is going to vocalize with words right away, but it doesn't mean that we can't teach them! And, use different languages!! They are little sponges at this age!!

   There are so many opportunities to teach about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the gospel. While the lesson may be 5 minutes, nursery really is the first learning opportunity at church and should be utilized. It doesn't have to be about babysitting, surviving biting, or rabid scream sessions. Get the proper help you need and divide and conquer your time. Use moments to integrate gospel vocabulary or stories or principles throughout the entire 2 hours.

   I may have been hesitant when I accepted, but of course, the very first week I felt the spirit so strongly. These children are close to the veil. They see and talk with angels. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Easy Christmas Family Home Evenings

I ran across some ideas the other day that I thought would be easy for any last minute Family Home Evenings or Primary Singing Times.

1. Candy Cane Fishing - Make a simple fishing line and hook (pipe cleaners work!!), put numbered candy canes in a glass, and a child fishes one out. The numbers can correspond to certain songs, or questions about The Nativity.

2. Christmas Bells Matching Game - Have 2 sets of 12 Hershey's Kisses with numbers 1-12 written on the bottom. Sing Christmas Bells (CS 54). Each child gets one or two tries to find a set of matching numbers on the bottom of your bells. Once all the matches are made, have 12 pictures having to do with the story of Jesus' birth. Whoever has 1 tells about picture number one, and so on.
3. Christmas Card Puzzles-  Let the children cut up old Christmas cards into 10-12 pieces (4-5 pieces for younger children). Have them put their Christmas Puzzle in a Ziploc bag and pass to another family member. Who can put their puzzle together the fastest?? After, have each family member share a favorite memory about Christmas or something they love about the story of Jesus' birth. Switch puzzles and repeat a few times!!
4. Christmas is the Best! Jenga - Each family member shares their  favorite part of Christmas before they remove their block! If you have older children, you can add a small letter sticker to some blocks, so when they pull out a block with, say a T, they have to come up with a Christmas word starting with T... like treats or temple where baby Jesus was presented!
" Sometimes it seems that our efforts to have a perfect Christmas season are like a game of Jenga—you know, the one played with small wooden blocks that are precariously stacked up to a tower. As we try to increase the height of the tower, we pull out one wooden block before we can place it on top of the delicate structure.
     Each of those little wooden blocks is a symbol of the perfect Christmas events we so desperately want to have. We have in our minds a picture of how everything should be—the perfect tree, the perfect lights, the perfect gifts, and the perfect family events. We might even want to re-create some magical moment we remember from Christmases past, and nothing short of perfection will do.
      Sooner or later, something unpleasant occurs—the wooden blocks tumble, the drapes catch fire, the turkey burns, the sweater is the wrong size, the toys are missing batteries, the children quarrel, the pressure rises—and the picture-perfect Christmas we had imagined, the magic we had intended to create, shatters around us. As a result, the Christmas season is often a time of stress, anxiety, frustration, and perhaps even disappointment.
      But then, if we are only willing to open our hearts and minds to the spirit of Christmas, we will recognize wonderful things happening around us that will direct or redirect our attention to the sublime. It is usually something small—we read a verse of scripture; we hear a sacred carol and really listen, perhaps for the first time, to its words; or we witness a sincere expression of love. In one way or another, the Spirit touches our hearts, and we see that Christmas, in its essence, is much more sturdy and enduring than the many minor things of life we too often use to adorn it." President Uchtdorf    Of Curtains, Contentment, and Christmas 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

December 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart (1888)
by Alice Havers

Monthly Theme: The Scriptures Teach Me about the Savior’s Birth and Second Coming
Monthly Scripture: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” Matthew 16:27

Week 1 Prophets prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ.

* Have a box with a picture of baby Jesus in it. You will be wrapping the box 13 times. In between each layer of wrapping paper, have a small envelope with a question (or scripture) having to do with the week's topic.
HERE is a link to information that can help you develop questions.
      "Heavenly Father gave this gift to all of us, young or old, rich or poor. We did not have to search the shops for it. It did not cost us a single penny. It did not come wrapped in shiny wrapping paper. The most treasured gift of all was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. It was sent to all of us with love from our Heavenly Father." The Gift Ensign Dec. 2010

* HERE is an "Advent Calendar: Prophecies of Christ’s Coming,” NewEra, Dec 2008, 21–25. It'd be a great handout for the children to take home to families.

* Numbers 24:17 "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob..." Who was the prophet Balaam, from the Old Testament, prophesying would be born? Who was that Star?? Jesus!!
Have 10 different glow in the dark stars throughout the room. Turn off the lights and invite one Primary friend to choose one. Turn on the light. Have scriptures, songs and questions having to do with this week's theme attached to the stars. (OR you could just put up these STARS)

* HERE is a mobile children can make from The Friend about different prophecies.

Week 2 Jesus Christ was born.

* Bring in some paper for the primary children and blindfolds. (If possible!) Have everyone help each other get ready with the blindfolds. You'll need pencils too. You are going to do a blind drawing of a Christmas tree. They will have 1 minute to draw the tree, ornaments, star, presents.
    After the minute is up, have them look at their art. What do they think??
    Read John 9:1,5-7, 25 "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth....As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing...one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."
     Jesus Christ was born into this world as the light of the world!! Because of Him, we can see!! We don't have to be blind, stumbling to know what to do each day. Hold up a picture of The Savior's birth. Now take a minute to draw a Christmas tree with ornaments, star, and presents... but with no blindfold!! Which one was better??

* Gather 15 medium sized pictures having to do with the nativity story. Place them on the chalk board with magnets. Invite one child to leave the room and one child up front. The primary child up front will choose a picture to take down, then the other primary friend who was outside will come in and see if they can remember what picture was taken down. In between each round, ask some questions or have the children read scriptures having to do with Jesus being born on earth!

* Trip to Bethlehem!! As each primary friend comes into the room, give them an index card with a letter on it. Divide into groups and tell them you are going to play a game! Does anyone play the alphabet game when they go on a car trip? Well today we are taking a trip to Bethlehem and are going to come up with a word that starts with that letter. Give everyone 2-3 minutes to help each other in their group.
     Next, call up the letters one at a time and invite the primary children to share their word and what it has to do with Jesus being born. Try to have pictures or a nativity displayed so they can hold up something if it has to do with what they are talking about.  (Like A for Angel, they hold up an angel figurine)

Week 3 Jesus Christ will someday return to the earth.

* Will Earth Be White with Snow?? Sing I Wonder When He Comes Again and ask the children to repeat/fill in the blank... "Will earth be...." they say, "white with snow?"
     Today, we've got some snowballs (crumpled paper, or Styrofoam balls) and a basket to toss them in. Have 15 questions and scriptures (total) for children to answer about the week's topic- Jesus Christ will someday return to the earth. Let 1 reverent primary friend come up front, answer a question, then take a turn to throw 5 snowballs in the basket!! Can anyone get all 5? Don't worry if you miss, you're doing better than I would do!!
Some questions could include:
What is the parable of the 10 virgins and what does it have to do with Jesus' 2nd coming?
How will we know that Jesus is coming again? (SIGNS)
Will ALL the words of the prophets be fulfilled? (Yes!)
Some wonderful things will happen before the Lord comes- Fill in the blank:“Light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my.......” (D&C 45:28). (Gospel)
Where will the gospel be preached before Jesus comes again? (In all the world, in all the languages)
Before the Savior comes again, Elijah will appear on earth.... has this happened? (Yes, in 1836 in the temple)
A new city will be built before the 2nd coming, what will it's name be and where will it be? (New Jerusalem, Missouri)
Do the prophets know when the 2nd coming will be? (D&C 49:7)
How can we remain calm and at peace even when some of the signs are devastating?
What will no longer be when Jesus comes again? There is something big that will be done away with.... (Death)
How does the following scripture make you feel D&C 45:57–59?

* Create a small Welcome Back party for the Savior. Divide into groups. Have one group make an invitation, another few groups plan some simple games, another few groups can work on gifts to give, one group can plan decorations, one can do a food list (remember no meat!!).... give them plenty of paper and crayons!! Have them share their work as a whole group after 7 minutes!!

* Awesome idea from Sister Sydney Reynolds:
"To learn more about what life will be like in the Millennium, when Christ returns to earth to reign for a thousand years, choose 2 children to role-play TV news anchor persons, and assign each class to choose a “field reporter” to report the class’s findings on the following subjects in the scriptures: • animals / Isa. 11:6–9; Hosea 2:18 • people / Isa. 54:heading, 3; Micah 4:4; D&C 63:50–51 • nations, government / Micah 4:1–3; Jer. 31:33; D&C 29:11 • miscellaneous—time of His coming / Matt. 24:36, 44; Zion and the return of the city of Enoch / D&C 45:66, 71; Moses 7:62–64. Have the anchor persons make up questions for each field reporter to tell what his/her class learned about their subject. Tell the children that we do not know exactly when the Savior will come, but we must be preparing to meet Him (see Matt. 25:1–13). Sing “When He Comes Again” (CS, pp. 82–83) and discuss what the things are that we need to do to “be ready there.” (Dec. 1999 Friend)

Week 4 To prepare for the Second Coming, I will follow Jesus Christ.

* Make a huge saran-wrap ball with things inside it that have to do with the Second coming. Pass it around to some piano music and when the music stops, that child gets to unwrap until they find a surprise inside.
Some objects could include:
stop sign (signs)
flashlight (we don't have to be scared, we have the light)
Book of Mormon (the gospel will be restored)
water gun (lots of wars and rumors of war)
keys (priesthood will be restored)
clock (no one knows when the 2nd coming will be)
toy trump (trump will sound to signal Jesus is coming)
red cloth (what Jesus will be wearing when He comes again)
lamb & lion (they shall lie down together in peace)
happy face (in the millennium, all will be happy and righteous on earth)
picture of Jesus (how can we prepare for the 2nd coming??)

* Secret Service Time!! Today in primary we are going to follow Jesus Christ by doing something kind. Did you know this helps us prepare for the 2nd coming?? Don't sign their name on the paper!!
   Invite the children to draw a picture and write something nice down on a note. Go into Relief Society, with the cards and with the children!! Randomly hand out the notes and have the children sing a song. (You'll have to speak with the Relief Society President beforehand to see if this is OK) It should only take about 5 minutes.
     When you get back to the primary room, ask the children how it felt to do something without a person knowing you did it? How do you think Heavenly Father feels today knowing that you did this? Is this something you can do often?? Why is this important for when Jesus comes to earth again?

* HERE is a simple illustrated story talking about the second coming. You can make copies and have the children read in small groups. Draw a simple stick figure on the chalk board, this is Forgetful Fred. Forgetful Fred just read this story too, but can't remember what it was about!! Let's raise our hands and I'll write on the board some important things Forgetful Fred should remember from the story we read!!! (And us too!!)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Little Derek

This is our cousin, Derek. He is 3 years old and loves sports! Which is so fitting, because his dad was obsessive and is obsessive about anything that involves a ball.

His dad Daren, is my cousin, and was nicknamed Cheeseboy. When we were little, he'd either be glued to the game on TV or outside with a bat and ball. He always, always, always had the happiest smile and most free-hearted laugh!! Even just thinking about it brings a smile to my face!!

I love my cousin dearly. I hate to see them suffer. I'm so sad that they have to watch their little boy be sick.

Just 2 weeks ago, Derek was diagnosed with Leukemia. Derek was life-flighted to San Francisco. He was so confused, "Mommy please. I'll be a good boy if we can just go home." My heart was broken when I heard that. Hannah and Daren, Derek's parents, have not left his side.

Sometimes life can be so hard. But we know. We know God lives. We know He loves us. We know that through Christ, all things are possible.

I just wanted to do what I can to help. And maybe you might feel the same. Thanks so much!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

November 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Help & Ideas

When my daughter and I hiked Mt.Rose for a 4th grade field trip, it was quite the reverent experience. It started snowing heavily and peace just blanketed everything around us. We were very blessed to make it off the mountain in time, but I'll never forget the quiet as the snow fell.

Monthly Theme: Reverence Is Love and Respect for God
Monthly Scripture: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” Matthew 22:37

Week 1 Reverence is love and respect for God.

*   "Even the temple where Jesus taught and worshipped in Jerusalem was built in such a way as to establish respect for and devotion to the Father. Its very architecture taught a silent but constant lesson of reverence. Every Hebrew was privileged to enter into the outer courts of the temple, but only one particular class of men could enter into the inner court or holy place. Into the innermost sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, only one man was permitted to make his way, and this was limited to only one special day each year. In this way a great truth was taught: that God must be approached carefully, respectfully, and with great preparation."
Hallowed Be Thy Name President Howard W. Hunter 1977
     Display a picture of the ancient temple of Jerusalem. Play a game of "Steps of Reverence". Have a number spinner and invite a primary child to spin a number. After they answer a question on reverence, or read a scripture about reverence, or fill in the blank from a song on reverence... they get to walk that many steps toward the temple. (Normal steps!! Not giant steps!!) The 1st primary friend waits there until another primary friend spins, answers another question, then takes their spot to walk the number they spun. Once you reach the temple, you can start again (if there is time) and see if you can get there in less steps!!
      We approach Heavenly Father in reverence like they did in ancient times. We show respect for God by walking the path that Christ walked in reverence and love.

* Jonah's Reverent Shirt is a good little story from The Friend. Share the story with the primary children. Discuss some ways to show reverence and write them on the chalk board. Bring in some paper and show the children how to make an origami Reverent Shirt!! HERE is a link and it's easy enough for sunbeams!! (You'll have to have scissors for each class and teachers/older children can help little ones on that part!)
    Have the children choose one thing listed on the board that they can work on this week to show reverence, then write it down on their shirt they made!

* HERE is a great link to a reverence maze. You could make a copy for each child (pair younger ones with older children and have the younger children point to the picture of who is being reverent while the older child draws through the maze)
    Has anyone ever been in a corn maze? They sure are fun... if you like that sort of thing!! Sometimes though you can get lost and it can become frustrating. Life is a little bit like a maze sometimes! Sometimes we get to a wall or are not sure which way to go. But reverence invites revelation!! (President Boyd K. Packer) Reverence would help us in the maze of life by inviting revelation to steer us the right way!!
     Bring in a little maze game if you have it. They look like this:

(If you are feeling generous, Oriental Trading has 72 mazes for $8, but beware- some reviews say they are flimsy and were shipped broken. Yikes! Or you can find them at party supply stores to buy for your primary children.) Have a primary child come up front and try to get the ball to the end of the maze. Have all of the children listen to hear if they can hear the ball. Was that  pretty quiet?? Reverence is more than being quiet!! But being peaceful and still definitely helps in setting a reverent atmosphere!!
      Invite children to come up front and take turns with the maze. They will have 20 seconds to get the ball to the end, but first they have to answer a question on reverence. Each time, have the children listen to see if they can hear the ball. Wow!! That was really peaceful and quiet!! When it's reverent we can hear the Holy Ghost and feel love for Heavenly Father!! Bear testimony that we don't have to be confused or lost, like in a maze, we can show reverence and love and be guided back to Heavenly Father.

* THIS is a great story!! I LOVE IT!!! If you are able, call a few families before you teach (not on Sunday!!) and gather some family camping or hiking pictures. About 10-12. Get information on where they went and maybe a fun experience about that trip!!
     On the day you teach, share that story from The Friend. What did the children like about that story? Have they ever thought about reverence being more than just something we do at church?? Put up the camping and hiking pictures you received throughout the room. Invite a primary friend to come up and choose one picture. If they answer a question about reverence, you'll tell them about this picture, or even the picture of who it is can briefly share about their trip!! After each picture, ask how they felt when they were quiet and listening to the nature around them??
    Reverence is love and respect for Heavenly Father, for all He has given us. The peace we feel in nature, we can feel everywhere as we take the time to ponder about The Savior.

Week 2 Reverence during the sacrament helps me to remember Jesus Christ.

* HERE is a great talk to prepare yourself for this week's topic!!
What stands out to you from this talk?
Is there anything you feel you should share with the children?
What do the words and spirit prompt you personally to do better about reverence, the sacrament, and remembering Jesus?

* Go on a Primary Field trip, if you can!!
     What is reverence?? Sing The Chapel Doors, Children's Songbook pg. 156. When we come to church, how do we enter the chapel? Do we think about where we are going? Do we rush to our seats and dream about snacks or coloring time while elbowing our annoying younger sister?
    Today we are going on a field trip. The only rule is that we listen carefully, speak in whispers, and walk with mindful feet!! Those that can do that get a special treat.... because on field trips you always need a snack!! Let's see if we can feel reverence and the Holy Ghost when we go to the special place.
      We are going to walk in the halls with our arms folded. We are going to look at the art on the walls and listen to our breathing. We are going to gently touch the chapel doors and look at the wood on it. We are going to walk slowly across the chapel and look at the lights. Look at the sacrament table. Look at the windows. Close your eyes and think of a song that is played on the organ. We will place our hands on our hearts and feel our breathing, our hand going up and down with the rise of our chest. Now it's time to end our Primary Field Trip and talk about what we felt!!!
    Head back to the Primary Room and pass out a healthy snack. Invite the children to share what they felt or thought about on their field trip. Bear testimony that when we show reverence, especially in the chapel during the sacrament, we can remember Jesus and be close to Him!!

* HERE is a ready made activity from The Liahona with a Sacrament wheel. All you will need to bring are scissors and a brass fastener to hold it in the middle.

* HERE is a wonderful talk from General Conference on the sacrament! It has GREAT pictures. You could easily turn it into a matching game where you write the 5 ways to help us show reverence during sacrament on the blackboard. A child comes up and chooses a picture to match to one of the ways. When a match is made, have a child read a quote from that section of the talk or answer a questions.
Such questions could include:
1. Prepare in Advance
What are some things you can do before church in the morning?
Throughout the week, do you think about the sacrament? If not, what can you do to help you remember?? (Small signs by the mirror, look at pictures of Jesus in your home)
2. Arrive Early
How can you help your family to get ready before church?
What do you feel when you listen to prelude music?
Do you just have to sit when you get to church- can you look at scriptures or hymn books? What else could you do? (write in a journal spiritual thoughts, look at Faith in God)
3. Sing and Learn from the Words of the Sacrament Hymn
What is your favorite hymn and why?
Do we know where the sacrament hymns are in the hymnal??
4. Spiritually Participate in the Sacrament Prayers
Are you able to say the words of the sacrament prayer in your mind as they are spoken out loud?
Do you know the meaning of some of the larger words, if not... who could you ask to help you?
For the young gentlemen in primary, why do you look forward to blessing and passing the sacrament?
5. Ponder and Remember Him as the Sacrament Emblems Are Passed
What does it mean to ponder?
What are things about Jesus that you can remember?
Why do you think we are commanded to remember about Jesus?
     The sacrament is a time to be reverent. And when we are reverent we can remember Jesus Christ and feel close to Him!

Week 3 I can show reverence for sacred places and things.

* HERE and HERE are GREAT talks to prepare for this week's primary message!!!

* Have a REVERENT ROAD!!! (masking tape on the ground... make it fun and go all around the room and in between chairs if possible) Bring in 5 small cars. Along the road have pictures of places or things that are sacred. Invite a thoughtful and kind primary friend to choose a car, and drive it on the ground or in the air, along the road to a reverent stop. Have them tell what makes that place (or thing) sacred and how we can show reverence for it.
    If there is still time, you can pass out some car coloring pages (just google car coloring pages) and have them write down a sacred place they'd like to drive to someday. They can also take the car home and drive it around the house to spots where they can show reverence - kitchen table where we pray over the food, picture of Jesus, by the bed where we kneel to pray, the front door where we welcome friends in love and gratitude, the dresser where we place our Book of Mormon, etc. I also made a little bookmark to remind them of the lesson. (If you mouse over the square on the top right of the bookmark page then click it, it will take you to a new page where you can click a print button)

* Have a Reverence Race!! Break into groups and see who can come up with the longest list of places where we should be reverent or things that we should show reverence for. Teams will have 3 minutes!! After, invite a member of the team to share from their list.
    Have children draw a picture of the temple, or something/somewhere off the mentioned lists. Let them take it home and share with their family why it's important to be reverent!!

Week 4 Reverence for God helps me respect and love others.

* Tender Turkeys!!! I know. Something is wrong with me and alliteration. Invite primary friends to draw a turkey, then write a note to someone they love and are thankful for. If they don't know how to write, older children can help! Have them make as many as they can, but DON'T SIGN THEIR NAME!!! During the week they will hide their tender turkeys to show their love. Reverence is love and we can be grateful to Heavenly Father for blessing us with so many wonderful friends and family members!

* Reverence Review (I know!!) Jeopardy!!
Primary friends, how many points can we get!!!???!!! Invite one friend to sit by the board and be the score keeper, someone who is a math whiz!!

Shh!!! Be Still
100 Show with your entire body what you do when walking in church halls.
200 Show with your body what we do during prayer.
300 What gospel story from the New Testament has the words, "Peace, Be still."? (Jesus calming the storm, have a picture to hold up while they tell the story)
400 Why does reverence involve being quiet? (One answer is so we can hear and feel the Holy Ghost)
500 Can you name a time in your life when you were still and felt the Holy Ghost? (If not, you can call on another primary friend or teacher!!)

More than just Quiet
100 How do I dress in a reverent way? (Be clean and modest)
200 Many people take The Lords name in vain, why is this not reverent? (It's not showing respect or love for all Jesus has done for us.)
300 Can you be reverent at school, how? (Have a grateful heart for all God has given you and serve friends to show your love)
400 Why shouldn't we play games or text on the cell phone at church? (And please be mindful, we don't judge!! We just do the best we can do!! One answer could be because when we do that we aren't focusing on The Savior or the feelings of the Holy Ghost.)
500 What can we do to make our home a reverent place?

Sacred Place, Special Feeling
100 This sacred place has the words, Holiness to The Lord on it. (Temple)
200 This sacred place we visit weekly and renew our baptismal covenant. (The chapel, or sacrament meeting)
300 These are sacred books, and we should only treat them with the highest respect. What are the books and where should we put them? (Scriptures, in safe places and never on the ground.)
400 Who gives us feelings of peace, joy, and happiness when we show reverence in sacred places? (The Holy Ghost)
500 What makes a place sacred or holy? (One answer is it's where we show reverence and worship in a respectful way)

Reverence in the Scriptures
100 This brass ball only worked when Nephi's family showed reverence and love by keeping the commandments (Liahona)
200 Name someone in the scriptures who wasn't very reverent.
300 Joseph Smith knelt in the sacred grove for prayer. What made that grove of trees sacred? (He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ)
400 Moses saw the burning bush and was asked to do this, to show reverence? (Take off his shoes as he stood on Holy ground)
500 DOUBLE JEOPARDY- Get this question right and you get your choice of points up to 500. How did Jesus show reverence in the Garden of Gethsemane? (One answer could be He atoned for the sins of all mankind, the greatest act of love, and did His Father's will showing the ultimate example of respect)

Softly Sing our Melody (Children will have to sing their answer!)
100 Hum the tune of Reverently, Quietly
200 In the Chapel Doors it goes, "The chapel doors seem to say to me, shhhh be still.... " what is the next line? (For this is a reverent place to be, shhhhh be still)
300 In the hymn book, in Our Savior's Love, verse 3, it says, "Our Father, God Of all creation, hear us pray In rev'rence, awed By thy Son's...." Please fill in the blank.  (Sacrifice. And yes, they can have 30 seconds to look it up if they need to)
400 In Two Happy Feet it says, " I have two happy little feet
To take me where I go. They hop me and they skip me,
And make a noise, I know. But in my Heav'nly Father's house
So softly do they fall That, though I walk, you cannot hear
My little feet at all." Can your feet still be happy at church? (Yes! Bonus points of 100 if you can hum the tune!)
500 In Reverence is Love it goes, " When I'm rev'rent, it shows in my words and my deeds.The pathway to follow is clear..." What is the next 2 lines?
(And when I am rev'rent, I know in my heart Heav'nly Father and Jesus are near.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Prophet Ezekiel FHE: Bones!!!

Happy Halloween!
I'm not a big fan of the scary side of Halloween.
Peanut M&M's, yes.
Zombies, no.
I've always liked the story found in Ezekial 37:1-14.
This is a simple idea for Family Home Evening.
We each took a turn reading a verse of the scripture.
For my younger children we sang this song:
Questions we discussed:
What do you think this vision was about?
How do you think the story could relate to Halloween?
How do you think Ezekiel felt when he saw an army of bones?
Why do you think people make something sacred like the resurrection and opening up the graves, into something that is spooky?
Is it OK to have fun and enjoy skeletons?
Do we need to be scared of things in life? Why?
If we are scared, what can we do to find safety and peace?
How does it make you feel to know that your bones will be resurrected and that you can live with our Savior, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father again?
We made some Day of the Dead skull art. My 5 year old was obsessed! He's been drawing them all week!!
But I also saw this idea on pinterest and thought it looked fun for older children!! You just grab some popsicle sticks, clothespins, pipe cleaners, and cotton swabs. Children have 10 minutes to create a bridge of bones!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

October 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Gethsemane by Bulgrarian Artist Julia Stankova (for more of her artwork JuliaStanokva.com)
The greatest prayer ever given and answered.

Monthly Theme: Prayer Is Reverent Communication between God and Me
Monthly Scripture: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” James 1:5

Week 1 I Can Pray to Heavenly Father.

* Bring in a glass bottle (or jar). A long time ago people stranded on islands, would take glass bottles and write messages on paper. They would then seal the letter in a bottle and throw it out to sea in hopes that what they had to say would be found.
    Do you think this is a very good form of communication? Why or why not? What are some ways we communicate in today's day and age?? Are they good forms of communication, why or why not? What is the only perfect form of communication?? PRAYER!!! No matter where, when, or why... Heavenly Father ALWAYS hears His children's prayers and will answer.
     Have 10-12 plastic bottles with paper that has a question about prayer on it. Have them scattered throughout the room and invite a reverent primary friend to come up and find a bottle and answer the question. If there is time remaining, invite the children to write some things they can pray for this week on a piece of paper. Bring in enough dry, plastic water bottles for them to put their paper in and take home.
     We are never stranded, we are never on a deserted island alone!! Help is always available when we pray to Heavenly Father. He will hear us!! Sing A Child's Prayer (CS pg. 12) to end.

* I love The Friend. It always has such great stories! HERE is a captivating story about a little girl who learned the importance of prayer after facing PIRATES!!!!
     After reading the story, with possibly a patch on your eye and a sword on your belt... invite the children to share their thoughts about the story. Have 2 ship pictures on opposite sides of the room. One picture will have small post its with even numbers 1-10, and the other picture will have post its with odd numbers 1-10. Have a long strip of tape (a plank) to one ship. Have a strip of cloth to tie 2 children's legs together (to make a pirate peg leg/3 legged race type thing). You will need corresponding questions (or scriptures or songs for the whole primary to sing) for the numbers about prayer.
(This is the ship Brooklyn and would have been similar to what the Hudson looked like)

      Invite a reverent friend to walk the plank and choose a number or choose a friend to become a peg-legged pirate and choose a number on the other ship. Then have them answer the question or read a scripture.
       Do we have to shiver our timbers or live in fear, ARGH!!!!??!!!? NO!!! Heavenly Father is always a prayer away and will give us the strength and comfort we need!!

* Prayer Partner Tag. This is NOT a running activity, even though it has the word tag in it!! Also, we want to have the spirit with us in primary, so everyone please be positive and cheerful when you are tapped. Group primary friends in partners. They are going to have 1 minute-ish to share a story from their OWN LIFE about a time they prayed. Go ahead and think carefully about what you want to share. Now tell your partner. Did you feel the spirit when you prayed? Did something special happen? When time is up you are going to say find a new partner by tagging/tapping their shoulder. If someone taps you, sit down. Repeat YOUR story to your new partner (or if you can think of a new one, you can share that too!). Do this about 7 times. Afterwards, have someone reverent share a story FROM ONE OF THEIR PARTNERS that they really liked with the whole primary.
If a child cannot think of a personal experience with prayer, invite them to share one they remember from the scriptures.

Week 2 The scriptures teach me how and when to pray.

* HERE is a link to lds.org that has scripture retellings in an easy to read format. There are many that talk about prayer, you can print out about 5. I would have teachers read one to their class, then switch teachers!!! Rotate the teachers between classes to share the story with the new class. Take about 2 minutes for the teacher to read, if they are done early invite the children & teacher to talk about their favorite stories from the scriptures about people who prayed.

* HERE is a link to lds.org with scripture cut out figures. Print out about 5 of the stories and attach to popsicle sticks (the Rameumpton one is great!!) Divide into groups. Have the children choose a person who can tell about the story. Have other children hold the sticks, what can those people say to add to the story?? Prepare in the groups and then share with the whole primary. If you are able to, maybe set up a puppet theater (A box with a square hole would work) and have the children with the sticks behind it.

* Have a tic-tac-toe square drawn on the board. There should be 9 spaces. In each space write a person from the scriptures that prayed. (For example: Enos, Jesus in Gethsemane, Abish, Alma the Elder, Nephi, etc.) Invite a primary friend to place an X on a story they can tell the primary about and how that scripture story taught us about prayer. Repeat with another player and an O.
    Invite the children to play this game at home for a Family Home Evening!!

Weeks 3 & 4 Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.

* I LOOOOOOOOOVE THIS Friend story!!! And the reason I love it is because there have been a lot of times I've prayed for something and didn't get what I wanted. But I'm grateful for this, because I know Heavenly Father knows best!! Share the story and do an art project together...
HERE is an easier turtle project for Junior primary
HERE is a more challenging (but VERY doable) turtle project for Senior primary
The projects linked involve watercolors, but you can skip that and just have the children color with crayons or markers. Practice drawing before hand so you know how to instruct the children. Use the chalkboard to show them the steps of the drawing. On the bottom of their art, if they know how to write, invite them to write - Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers!!

HERE is a great sharing time from The Friend. It has step by step pictures on how we can receive answers to prayers then gives many case studies/examples for children to decide what step was used.

* THIS talk is quite powerful and full of good doctrine. He Knows You by Name Sister Elaine Dalton May 2005
     "Did you know that Heavenly Father knows you personally—by name? The scriptures teach us that this is true. When Enos went into the woods to pray, he recorded, “There came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.”  Moses not only prayed but also talked to God face-to-face, and God said to Moses, “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son.” The Lord knew Jacob’s name and changed it to Israel to more accurately reflect his mission on the earth.Similarly, He changed the names of Paul and Abraham and Sarah. In Doctrine and Covenants, section 25, Emma Smith is given a blessing for her comfort and guidance in life. The Lord begins this blessing by saying, “Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter.”     
       You may not have heard the Lord call you by name, but He knows each one of you and He knows your name. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “I testify to you that God has known you individually … for a long, long time (see D&C 93:23). He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars (see Ps. 147:4; Isa. 40:26); He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys!"
     In larger primaries, sometimes the children can recognize each other, but don't know everyone's name!! Isn't it amazing that Heavenly Father has so many children and can remember every single one?!?!? Line up 10 children up front. Invite them to share their name and favorite animal or color. Choose a person from the primary who can remember every person up front and what they said. Have a few questions, scriptures, or songs prepared on the topic of prayer. In between each naming round, ask the prepared questions. Is there a superstar that can name everyone in Primary??? Wow!!! End with the quote, "You may not have heard the Lord call you by name, but He knows each one of you and He knows your name." And He will hear and answer your prayers!!!
* Sweet Hour of Prayer!!! Read the 2 verses of the song. Or pass out some Hymn books and sing together!!
    Play build a cupcake! Draw some cupcakes at home and cut them into 3 parts- cupcake liner, frosting, cherry or chocolate on top. Here is an easy step by step chart to help.
Have about 4 cupcakes total, 12 pieces in all. On the back of the cupcakes, have questions, scriptures, or songs having to do with prayer. Invite a reverent primary friend up front to choose a part and build a cupcake on the bulletin board (you'll need magnets to hold up the pieces).
    Cupcakes and sweet, and prayer is even sweeter!!! Why?? Because the sweetness of prayer is more than sugar, it's a peace and calm. It's a way to feel happiness, comfort, and joy! Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.