Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter Book Review

 
I love free things. And when I saw this in the mail I was pretty giddy because I knew I could relax poolside and soak in the sunshine while reading sunshine. Kristi's books are always clean, witty, funny, happy, light yet insightful and meaningful.
 
She brings religion into her books and it's nothing forceful or melodramatic. I feel like it's always just right to lighten the soul and make me reflect on my relationship with Heavenly Father.
 
This book is about a Lady Georgina Hawthorne who seems to be quite the snob. She is uppity and on the prowl for a husband, but not just any husband. Only the finest breeding and dollar of course. However, as we continue on, things aren't exactly as they seem. She has a secret and you can see the reasoning of why she is the way she is.
 
Colin McCrae, as the book says, "is the man who is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere." He is a very successful business man with no London family ties. Very crisp, smart, and down to earth.
 
Stop. I know you know where this is going. And that's the thing, there is enough of a surprise to make the book enjoyable, but it is pretty predictable. I enjoy that. I enjoy a nicely wrapped package, because we don't get that in real life.
 
So, pick it up at the library or buy it!! It is that good!!

Do you enjoy free things too but feel like couponing doesn't make sense? This is simple. I mean it. I had to drop out of Calculus at BYU, but this really is easy. See HERE for more information!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Reno Nevada Temple (from lds.org)

Monthly Theme: The Temple is a House of God
Monthly Scripture: “Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally” “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” paragraph 3

Week 1 God has commanded His people to build temples.

* The temple is a place where Heavenly Father can teach, guide, and bless us. What else do we know about temples? See if you can brainstorm a list of 25 temple facts- write them on the chalkboard. Need help? Prepare scriptures, quotes to hand out to groups and give them a couple minutes to read. Come back to your brainstorm!
     Have the children use a piece of paper to brainstorm a design for the temple. Imagine they were in charge of the building plans, what would it look like? Have them share and end with your testimony of temples.

* Have 2 children come up front and shake hands. Have them introduce and MEET each other, "Hi, I'm Mary." or "Hello, I'm Jake." Have a few sets of children shake hands and do this. On the last set have them hold up their joined hands.
      "Temples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet." (Gospel Topics Temple, LDS.org) Temples are like the joined hands that connect heaven and earth. Just like you can feel the other persons hand right now, so when you go to the temple you can feel heaven- peace and happiness that is very deep.
      Have a  very small laminated picture of a temple that could fit in the palm of a child's hand. Invite 5 children up front to hold out their hands in a fist. Send one child out of the room. Put the picture in one of the 5 children's hand. Invite the primary friend back in the room to shake hands with the person they think has the picture. Have questions, scriptures, and songs prepared to ask/read/or sing in between each round of your heaven meets earth game! Yes, that means that the 5 friends up there are heavenly!!

* HERE is an excellent sharing time from The Friend, ready to go.

*  Have a large picture of a temple cut into squares. On the back of the squares have questions, scriptures, and songs about how God has commanded us to build temples. Invite a child to choose a square, answer the question, then build the temple on the chalkboard up front. (Like a puzzle activity)
     Bring in some play dough for each child to build a temple if there is time leftover.

Week 2 Families are blessed through sacred temple ordinances.

* "As I think of temples, my thoughts turn to the many blessings we receive therein. As we enter through the doors of the temple, we leave behind us the distractions and confusion of the world. Inside this sacred sanctuary, we find beauty and order. There is rest for our souls and a respite from the cares of our lives." President Monson (April 2015 General Conference Blessings of the Temple)
     Have a picture of a temple with a cut by the door, so that it opens when bended. What are the words President Monson used to describe the blessings of the temple? (Beauty, Order, rest, respite, chance to not be distracted or confused) Write down the words on a popsicle stick and invite a child to come up front and read the words and place them through the temple door.
     Depending on the number of your primary, prepare about 5-10 popsicle sticks per primary friend. On the popsicle stick you will write 2 words to describe the blessings of temples, one on each end. (I would stick to about 8 words total- peace, happiness, beauty, order, rest, eternal life, knowledge, comfort) After you pass out the popsicle sticks, have them get in small groups and play dominoes with their popsicle sticks. They match words then build off the word that wasn't used on the popsicle stick and go in a circle taking turns. First person to run out of sticks get's the luck award! (What's the luck award? You saying they got the luck award. Everyone who plays and learns and has fun with good manners is a winner!)
       Families are blessed through sacred temple covenants!

* TEMPLE Showdown!!! Bring in a good 20-30 pictures of temples that children might recognize. Invite 2 children up front, standing facing each other, and have them tap (NOT BANG) the table when you show a picture of the temple IF THEY CAN NAME THAT TEMPLE!
    Assure the children that this is difficult seeing as there are over 140 temples on earth! You could even do a round with teachers, try to stump them! In between each round, have questions, songs, and scriptures to read about the temple for the children. (And when I say songs, the whole primary sings a song about temples)

* Invite a family who was sealed in the temple to share a little bit about how it has blessed their family. Have them show some pictures of their special day and bear testimony.

* In the October 2000 Friend (HERE is the link) Rachelle F.A. Dow writes a beautiful poem entitled What Lasts?:
 
"Ice cream melts,
Flowers wilt,
The leaves of autumn fall.
Sunsets fade,
Seasons change,
And children don’t stay small.
Balloons pop,
Snowfalls stop—
Do summers last? Never!
Weekends fly,
Today will die,
But …
FAMILIES
ARE
FOREVER!"
 
I would gather pictures to illustrate this WONDERFUL poem (ice cream, flower, leaves, sunset... etc.) and then have a picture of a temple on the back. Let a child pick one picture from the poem, then turn over the picture and answer a question or read a scripture or have the primary sing a song- having to do with temples and forever families.
Some examples of questions might include:
Has The Lord commanded that temples be built always, or just in latter days? Can you name some people that built temples in ancient times? (Nephi, Solomon, Children of Israel)
What do we need to do in our families to be worthy to go to the temple?
How can we prepare now to go to the temple?
What are some feelings you have when you are at the temple grounds?
Why do you think people wear white inside the temple?
What is something you would like to do with your forever family in the resurrection?

Week 3 The pioneers worked hard and sacrificed to build temples.

* HERE is an excellent read from The Friend on modern day pioneers and how they sacrifice too to build temples! There is a temple matching to a map activity too.

* President Hinckley said, “Whether you are among the posterity of the pioneers or whether you were baptized only yesterday, each is the beneficiary of their great undertaking.” True to the Faith Ensign, May 1997
    
 
I took a little car and added some popsicle sticks, paper, and string to make a portable wagon. Have different stations for the children to drive the wagon to and learn about the pioneers and all they did to help us have temples!
 
* Railroad Spelling Bee- HERE is an article from The Friend with some games pioneer children played. Play a round of the game and then have the children gather around you on the floor while you tell a short pioneer story of sacrifice and faith (with a picture) in a pioneer bonnet.
 
* I once saw another ward do a really neat idea where they turned off the lights and had a paper campfire with paper wooden logs. They invited the children to sit round the fire and shared stories of the pioneers and sang pioneer songs. It was very reverent and looked like a wonderful learning opportunity! 
 
* HERE is a fun step by step instruction from The Friend on how to draw pioneer pictures. Pass out some paper to the children. Find 3 stories on pioneer sacrifice, (HERE, HERE this one is a little graphic for little children, HERE are a few GREAT VIDEOS from lds.org media library). Teach them how to draw 1 pioneer pictures (practice at home first if you think you need to!) and then share with them the story of sacrifice. If there is time leftover you can make these fun treats found HERE. (Marshmallow wagons!)
 
* For senior primary, handout THIS worksheet and see who can get the most right!! Just like the wagon got the pioneers to the west, the pioneers got us to the temple through their sacrifice to build them!!
 
Week 4 I can prepare to be worthy to go to the temple.

* Start off your lesson with the following quote, "Preparation also includes qualification for a temple recommend. Our Redeemer requires that His temples be protected from desecration. No unclean thing may enter His hallowed house.Yet anyone is welcome who prepares well. Each person applying for a recommend will be interviewed by a judge in Israel—the bishop—and by a stake president. They hold keys of priesthood authority and the responsibility to help us know when our preparation and timing are appropriate to enter the temple. Their interviews will assess several vital issues. They will ask if we obey the law of tithing, if we keep the Word of Wisdom, and if we sustain the authorities of the Church. They will ask if we are honest, if we are morally clean, and if we honor the power of procreation as a sacred trust from our Creator.
      Why are these issues so crucial? Because they are spiritual separators. They help to determine if we truly live as children of the covenant." Elder Russel M. Nelson Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings April 2001 General Conference
      Play a game of 2 choices. It's a walking game, so everyone will need to use quiet feet and silent mouths. It's pretty simple, you name 2 things and the primary friends move to the side of the room that they choose. For example blue on left, red on right. After about 10 choices, have the children sit down in their seats. Have the children talk about what are good choices to prepare for the temple with their primary friend seated next to them. After a minute, have a few children share what they talked about.
       Close with just having the children raise their hand on the choice they think is best as you go back to the quote you read. These are choices an apostle and prophet of God has told us to help us if we want to go to the temple.
Pay Tithing, Buy a Boat
Follow Word of Wisdom, Smoke Cigarettes
Tell stories that aren't true, Be Honest
Make fun of our leaders and teachers, Help and Support our Bishop
Choose Light, Choose Darkness

* "I pray that each of us will honor the Savior and make any necessary changes to see ourselves in His sacred temples." Elder Quentin L. Cook See Yourself in the Temple April 2016 General Conference
      Bring in 2 large mirrors if you can and a picture of the temple. Face the mirrors so that when a child looks in it they will see a going on forever image. Invite the wonderful primary pianist to play I love to see the temple as you quietly invite a primary friend to hold the temple picture and look in the mirror. Have a few children do this! After the music stops, ask the children how they felt. We will be resurrected and live forever, we are all guaranteed that when we came to earth to be tested and get a body. But eternal life with Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Jesus & our loved ones is something we must work and prepare for!! As we prepare for the temple, we prepare for eternal life.
      Have slips of paper with things children can act out to prepare for the temple. Temple Prep Charades! Just remember, no shouting out answers, please raise hands if you know!!

* HERE is a beautiful visual of temple rooms (from The Friend) and what we do inside. Is the temple secret?? NO!! It's sacred. What do the children think this means?
     Play 4 corners, and in each corner have a different temple picture. As reverent music is played, children use their quiet feet to choose a temple/corner. When the music stops, they must be in a corner or they have to sit down. You can draw a name of the temple out of the bag, those primary friends in that corner must sit down. When you are down to about 10 children, ask them to name something they can do to prepare to go to the temple. Continue with the game and keep playing until only one person is left!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

4th of July Singing Time or LDS Family Home Evening

Jingo is like Bingo, but involves more thinking! Here is a game of Patriotic Jingo I created with clue cards at the bottom. There are 10 different boards, so you could even use as a singing time game and give each class a board. Of course, you'll need some sort of marker to put on the squares.
All clues are based off scriptures, songs and church magazine quotes.
Like all things on this blog, please do not use for commercial or monetary gain.

Also, images were either found off lds.org or a google search for patriotic clip art.

To print, just move your mouse over the right hand corner of the jingo and there will be a box with an arrow (pop out box). If you click on that it will take you to a page where you can print!

(I posted this a couple years ago and am just reposting!)
 

Monday, May 30, 2016

June 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

This is a picture from last year when my daughter Maria got baptized.

Monthly Theme: The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel Make It Possible for Me to Live with God Again.
Monthly Scripture: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4).

Week 1 Faith in Jesus Christ leads us to love Him, trust Him, and keep His commandments.

* "As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness...if our faith does not change the way we live—if our beliefs do not influence our daily decisions—our religion is vain, and our faith, if not dead, is certainly not well and is in danger of eventually flat lining. Obedience is the lifeblood of faith. It is by obedience that we gather light into our souls." By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf General Conference April 2016 He Will Place You on His Shoulders
     Bring in some small clothes, even a baby shirt. Does it makes sense that when we grow we have to get bigger clothes? Try putting on the baby shirt... it doesn't even fit on my arm!! As our faith grows, so do the good things we need to do!
      Make a layer book for each child. Grab 2 pieces of paper, layer them, then fold and staple.
This picture shows several layers, you wont need that many. On the first layer, have the children write FAITH and draw a picture to illustrate what faith means to them. On the 2nd layer write LOVE HIM and draw a picture to illustrate why the children love their Savior. On the 3rd layer write TRUST HIM and have them draw a picture about why they trust Jesus. On the 4th layer have them write KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS and draw something they can do this week to really show their commitment to goodness. It would really help if you had an example to show the children of this layer book and what you drew inside!
       Did the pages/layers in your book get bigger? Repeat the quote from President Uchtdorf, "As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness..."

* "Most of you are familiar with Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You will remember that she comes to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. As she contemplates which way to turn, she is confronted by the Cheshire Cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path shall I follow?” The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.”1
Unlike Alice, we know where we want to go, and it does matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life leads to our destination in the next life. May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary—a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals." President Monson General Conference April 2016 Choices
       Have a path to a table set with a nice tea and a couple crazy hats. We know our path and where we want to go! And today our path leads to learning more about faith! Invite a primary friend to start on the path and state where they want to go - eternal life with Heavenly Father! They walk the path and sit down to tea (of course decaffeinated and don't forget to pretend pour it!!), wear a hat and get to answer a question about faith. Prepare 10-12 questions and have 2 scriptures to read about faith also! Have 3 paper Cheshire Cats hidden in the room. If someone can find one, remind them that the Chesire Cat says it's not important what path you take... wrong! What are some things we should avoid that don't help our faith??
(Yaya Christina and my Christina.... we're so Greek... these were the most fun hats to make!! I had to share.)
 
* Lds.org topic helps says, "Having faith in Jesus Christ means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, intelligence, and love. It includes believing His teachings. It means believing that even though we do not understand all things, He does. Because He has experienced all our pains, afflictions, and infirmities, He knows how to help us rise above our daily difficulties (see Alma 7:11-12; D&C 122:8). He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33) and prepared the way for us to receive eternal life. He is always ready to help us as we remember His plea: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36)."
      Bring in a blindfold and ask for a volunteer. Do they trust you? Set up a mini obstacle course. Guide the primary friend by the hand, talk to them when they get to an obstacle and help them through it. Would this have been pretty easy to do blindfolded without my help? Faith in Jesus means relying completely on Him!!
        Have about 10 pictures of people from magazines cut out with paper thought bubbles coming from their heads and a ? in each bubble. “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36)." Invent 10 different scenarios/short situations for each person. Invite a primary friend to come up front and choose a person. Read their scenario and ask the primary child how that person can be faithful! For example- Sara just had a really long day at school. 2 of her friends got in an argument and wanted her to choose a side and choose who she liked more. Sara had a bad feeling.... what could Sara do to show faith? A response could be- First off, Sara doesn't know what will happen. She has to trust Heavenly Father that He will help her. She can say a prayer, she can tell her friends that she doesn't want to choose... Jesus loved everyone and so can she!
  
Week 2 Repentance brings forgiveness.

* “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.And I will remember [them] no more." Jeremiah 31:34
     HERE is some really interesting information with GREAT VISUALS!!! I would have 6-7 red pieces of paper covering white pieces of paper throughout the room. Invite a child to take off the red paper, read an interesting fact from the article, then crumple the red paper and throw it away.
     Repeat the scripture often throughout the lesson and try to help the children memorize it by leaving out words here and there or having them fill in the blank as you say it. Are the red papers gone? Yes!! And our sins or mistakes (if we are younger than 8) can be too when we repent or prepare for repentance by saying sorry!!

* Bring in 5 paper bags with a couple simple costumes and props to tell the story for the following: Alma the Younger repents (Mosiah 27), Saul repents (Acts 9), Enos repents (Enos), The Anti-Nephi-Lehies (Alma 23-24), Jonah repents (Jonah 2).
     Do the children know these stories? Have them break into groups and prepare a short skit to present the scripture story of repentance. They must use all the items in the bag. Just in case the children aren't familiar or can't remember the story, type up 2 paragraphs to summarize and put that into the bag too. After 5 minutes, have the children present their story to the entire primary.

* HERE is a link to the FHE Resource book. If you scroll down there is a 5 question True or False test that would be a great introduction activity to your lesson. Children can stand on their right foot if they think the answer is True or left foot if they think the answer is false.
     Break into small groups of 3-4 primary friends and give each group a scripture on repentance. Have them read it and come up with a true/false question for the entire primary, then share.

* "In my youth I learned an important lesson about how our actions may limit our freedom. One day my father assigned me to varnish a wooden floor. I made the choice to begin at the door and work my way into the room. When I was almost finished, I realized I had left myself no way to get out. There was no window or door on the other side. I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had no place to go. I was stuck.
     Whenever we disobey, we spiritually paint ourselves into a corner and are captive to our choices. Though we are spiritually stuck, there is always a way back. Like repentance, turning around and walking across a newly varnished floor means more work—a lot of resanding and refinishing! Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it." Elder Robert D. Hales November 2010 Ensign Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life
       Play a game of 4 corners, label each corner with a color. Bring a bag with 4 small pieces of paper to match the colors of each corner. Draw a color from the bag and all the children in that corner are out. In between each round have questions (8-10), scriptures (2-3), or songs (2-3) on repentance for a child to answer or read. Songs of course are sung by the entire primary. You might not get to all the questions or scriptures, that's OK! It's better to be over prepared than under prepared!

Week 3 When I am baptized, I make a covenant with God.

* HERE is a great board game from The Friend on our baptismal covenant!

* Camp Covenant!! Write it on the chalkboard!! Bring in some camping supplies and have a reverent child come up and choose to learn more about baptismal covenants today at Camp Covenant!!
lantern (Please read Mosiah 18:8, emphasize LIGHT)
cast iron pot (How can we develop strong testimonies to prepare for baptism and help us afterwards?)
tent (Fill in the blank. Baptism is the gate that helps us to enter this shelter of The Lord...)
sleeping bag (Use the sleeping bag to demonstrate immersion)
backpack (What does it mean to bear one another's burdens that they may be light?)
mosquito repellent (How does keeping our covenants repel sin?)
marshmallow roasting stick (Sometimes we are a lone marshmallow in the fire. What does the covenant to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places mean?)
matches (What does Heavenly Father promise us once we are baptized and confirmed? Please read Matthew 3:11)
hiking boots (Why was Jesus baptized and how can we follow Him?)
hat (Using your beautiful mind and brain, come up with 10 ways to comfort a person who needs comfort!)
picture of the mountains ( Sometimes it can be very peaceful when we camp in the mountains. What can we do to bring peace or mourn with a person who is mourning?)
      Mark 1:4 "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." We might not have been exactly in the wilderness camping today, but hopefully we were able to feel the Holy Ghost (a feeling of happiness or calm or peace) while talking about baptism and covenants! Challenge the children to go somewhere in nature this and pray about something they can do to keep their baptism covenant this week.

* HERE are some good ideas from The Friend. I like the one about inviting a priesthood holder to come in as John the Baptist (with the permission of the Bishop).

* I Like My Birthdays (CS 104) is a great song!! The first verse is pretty easy to learn:
Have 2 birthday hats for children to wear on I like my birthdays every one
Have a party horn blower toy for a child to blow on the word JOY only!! in the phrase Each brings a greater joy to me
Have 2 children come up and hold up 8 fingers for the phrase But I can't wait until I'm 8
Have a child hold up a picture of Baptism on the phrase For then I'll be baptized you see -and have the child point to their eye on the word see
    After you've gone through the song a couple times, have an undecorated  REAL birthday cake. Have 10-12 questions/scriptures (Not each, TOTAL!) about baptismal covenants for the children to answer/read. After the child answers have them add some frosting to the cake. Once it's completely frosted, children who come up can add sprinkles. Have the missionaries come in and give them the cake and sing I Like My Birthdays for them!

Week 4 The Holy Ghost comforts and guides me.

* Have you ever heard about a breathing buddy? How does it feel when we take nice deep breaths? Bring in about 10 small stuffed animals. When you lie down on your back, you place your breathing buddy on your stomach and breath in and out... really noticing you buddy going up or down.
       Have 10 questions about the Holy Ghost attached to the breathing buddies. Invite a primary friend to come up and choose a breathing buddy. The Holy Ghost can give us comfort, calm, and peace. He's just like a breathing buddy- helping us stay focused, ready, and aware. After the primary friend answers the question, invite them to put the breathing buddy on their tummy and take 3 deep breaths. The primary can also do this in their chairs!
       "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 33:4

* Bring in a snow globe. Ask a child to come up front and shake it. Sometimes we feel angry, or sad, or afraid. We feel like there is a snowstorm inside of us. Will this storm last forever? Will the snow keep on falling and the wind never stop? What happened in our snow globe?
      The Holy Ghost can comfort and guide us. When we feel shaken up (shake the snow globe), He can be there for us to help us settle down and be at peace no matter what the situation. Has anyone had a time when the Holy Ghost has comforted them?
     Make some snow water bottles during sharing time. Save up some of your plastic water bottles, bring in a funnel and let the children add 1 tablespoon of glitter to it and a little bit of baby oil. (Try it out at home first!! HERE is one that uses glitter glue) Have some adults on hand to help out. For those that are finished, have them look up scriptures about the Holy Ghost or act out the story of when Jesus calmed the storm.
      "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still." Psalms 107:29

* After a long day, I love to change into my jammies and cozy socks! They are so comfortable and help me to relax. Does anyone else feel the same way? The Holy Ghost helps to give us comfort and guide us. He helps us to be calm and is there for us during and after a long day!! Hide some jammies and socks around the room. Invite a primary child to go and find an item. Have short stories attached where the Holy Ghost gave comfort or guidance.
      "For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Isaiah 51:3

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sacrament Meeting Talk Jan. 2016


In January I was asked to give a talk. Since this blog is like my "small plates", I hope you don't mind me posting it even though it's not primary related.

          My dearest friends, I am so grateful to be here this Sabbath Day with you. To worship, to give thanks, to learn of Christ, and to be one in the gospel together. I’m grateful for the messages that have been spoken and pray that the spirit will be with me as I share my thoughts.
          When I was 7 years old, it was the end of swim practice and time to enjoy a few minutes to relax. At Oppio pool, there was a high dive. I had never been on it before but I saw people jumping and laughing afterwards. I climbed rung after rung. Up and up I went, it seemed pretty high. As I got to the top, I had to take a couple quick breaths. I was up here. 2 choices - I could either climb down, or jump. I walked up to the edge, took a deep breath, and decided, no… I did have another option. While the phrase, like a boss hadn’t been invented yet, that was indeed my 3rd choice. I could do a graceful swan dive, head first like a boss. I would own it. I’m very blessed I didn’t break my neck and instead just belly flopped. Now... one might think that this experience turned me off the high dive- however, the magic of childhood made the experience a rush that was to be enjoyed. To this day, I would still jump off! If you paid me $20.
          What is courage? We have all had moments in our lives when we’ve had to take a stand. When our belief, conviction, and strength were taxed. Sometimes, courage is just facing the day and making it through. Courage comes in all shapes and forms. Courage comes in words, in actions, in thought and attitude. Today I will be talking about courage to believe. And I’m going to focus on 4 words that Elder Holland has said in an April 2013 Conference Address, “Lord, I believe.” They really are profound words and I love them, “Hope on. Journey On.”
          Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Do you believe that God is the eternal Father? Not just the eternal Father, but your loving Father? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? When you address Him in prayers, do you speak with Him or at Him? Do you feel that He listens to you? I know God lives and I know that He loves us. I testify that He is real. I felt overwhelmed yesterday morning. I felt so sad. I was staring straight ahead on my front porch, listening to each breath I took, and the cold seemed to seep deep into me. The branches were bare on the trees all around me. Dogs were barking and seemed so angry at each other. A bird sat at the top of a tree, all alone, so very alone. And then, I looked even farther up. There was a huge cloud with 2 puffy eyes and a very sad frown. As it moved ever so slowly, that frown… you guessed it, did not stay. It turned itself right up again and smiled that frown away. Some might scoff at me. Some might say it’s a coincidence or that I’m delusional. But I see Heavenly Father’s hand in my life. I see His love for me in the clouds, in close parking spots, in little old women who stop to tell my children they are beautiful at WinCo, and in so many other aspects of my life. What is the greatest proof to you that God is real? Go home, write it down!
          From lds.org it says, “The word hope is sometimes misunderstood. In our everyday language, the word often has a hint of uncertainty. For example, we may say that we hope for a change in the weather or a visit from a friend. In the language of the gospel, however, the word hope is sure, unwavering, and active. The principle of hope extends into the eternities, but it also can sustain us through the everyday challenges of life. “Happy is he,” said the Psalmist, “that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5). With hope, we can find joy in life. We can “have patience, and bear with … afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions” (Alma 34:41).”
          Elder Holland said from his talk, “A 14-year-old boy recently said to me a little hesitantly, “Brother Holland, I can’t say yet that I know the Church is true, but I believe it is.” I hugged that boy until his eyes bulged out. I told him with all the fervor of my soul that belief is a precious word, an even more precious act, and he need never apologize for “only believing.” I told him that Christ Himself said, “Be not afraid, only believe,” a phrase which, by the way, carried young Gordon B. Hinckley into the mission field. I told this boy that belief was always the first step toward conviction and that the definitive articles of our collective faith forcefully reiterate the phrase “We believe.”
          Courage to believe is having hope. Hope On. What do you know to be true? What do you want from this life? Have hope and believe. Phillipians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Whether we are just starting in our belief, discovering truth, or whether we know and are firm, we must have hope to press forward.
          Journey On. One time, when Christina was 3 years old, we were waiting for our order of pretzels and cheese at The Claim Jumper. It was taking a while and the waitress came over to tell us it would be 5 more minutes until they were done. Christina very sweetly said to the waitress, “Your 5 minutes is up.” Patience. Isn’t patience one of the absolute worst lessons we have to learn about!?!?! The DMV? Don’t even get me started on it with children under 3. The fact that we don’t have robots to cook and clean yet? Yeah. Hollywood lied!!! Imagine that!!
          On a more serious note, does this journey of life ever seem a little long? I really don’t like waiting to hold my dearest baby Joe again, to feel him breath and have his warmth again. I really don’t like having to wait to put my hand on my mother’s face and see her shining eyes again. I don’t like struggling though obstacles, and waiting for that time when I can rest. I hope I don’t come off as whining and complaining. I’m not. The veil is thin and I feel those I love close by. There’s just something so important about our bodies though and physical touch. I’m simply saying, patience to journey on is hard. Enduring isn’t a walk in the park.
          President Monson says, “What does it mean to endure? I love this definition: to withstand with courage. Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey. It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.”
          The Savior promised, “Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” It might be that we have to take life breath by breath, moment by moment, day by day. Whatever our situation, whatever we face, whatever comes our way- God loves us. He loves you. He will not leave you. He is merciful and good. He is all powerful. Your belief, your knowledge, your willingness to do His will and His almighty arm will be what helps you to endure. Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
          We are not alone. Do not expect perfection from yourself right this very second, but do the best you can. There are angels, many that the eye cannot see, that are with us at this very moment. They are on the errand of The Lord, to help His children. We can journey on and know that there is heavenly help guiding and directing us. There are angels that we can see too! Look around. Look at the faces of those by your side, behind you, in front of you, next to you. These are some of God’s finest angels. You are not alone. There are so many here willing to help, to cook you meal after meal, to listen, to cry with you, to give you a hug, to call upon the very powers of heaven and bless you, to give you encouragement. We are mortal, but we do the best we can. We journey on together. If this beautiful journey ever seems overwhelming, when we wonder how to move on, when we seem stuck, I repeat “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
          Rung by rung, we courageously climb the ladder of our high dive. We obey God’s commandments, we pray, we read our scriptures over and over again, we have family home evening, we help and give service, we are baptized, we serve missions, we get married in the temple, we hope, we believe, we repent often, we are kind, and we endure. And then the moment comes when we reach the top. We never know when we’ll reach the top and be called to jump. But we don’t have to be scared. We can have confidence through Christ our Savior. He has died for us. He has lived for us. He lives for us still. We hoped on and we journey on. We can own it. When we jump off that high dive, we are uninhibited and liberated. We feel the wind, we feel the freedom, we are truly happy because our hope is a reality. We don’t belly flop, we slice through that water sharp and clear. We have done our part, we were brave, we were valiant and God looks to welcome us with a clean towel and open arms.
          I bear my testimony that hope is the attitude that will keep us strong and stalwart in this life. I know that if we have the courage to believe, that that belief and hope brings us to action. As we endure to the end and make our daily choices, I know that if we remember Christ and do as He did, all will be well in the end. I bear testimony that God the Father is real. He loves us dearly for we are His children. Glory be to His name forever and to His Son, Jesus Christ, in whose sacred name I close, Amen.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Gift or Visiting Teaching Mother's Day Gift


I wanted to do something easy for my kid's teachers at school. So I grabbed a bag of these tasty babies and attached a note that says, "Knowledge is power!! Thanks for being the great teacher you are!"

I also have my children write detailed notes to their teacher. If they get stumped on what to write:
What does your teacher do to help you?
How does your teacher make the classroom a happy place?
What is a favorite memory of your teacher?
What are some fun things your teacher has taught you about?
Why do you think your teacher became a teacher?
What are 4 words you would use to describe your teacher?

OR

For a visiting teaching friend, grab a bag and attach this quote

"When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children."
Sister Julie B. Beck Mothers Who Know Liahona Nov. 2007

Would it have been convenient if I made a tag. Yes. Sorry, I know. I'm lame. I do ideas, not digital art.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

May 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

The Eight Witnesses, by Olinda Reynolds
 
Monthly Theme: The Church of Jesus Christ Has Been Restored.
Monthly Scripture: “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” Joseph Smith—History 1:17

Week 1 The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored.

* HERE is an excellent resource from The Friend. It talks about a mom and child restoring a piece of furniture. There is a puzzle activity included that you could attach questions, scriptures, and songs to about The Restoration. You could put pieces under primary friends' chairs. Have primary friends try to put the puzzle together one piece at a time as they come to the front and answer the question on back. (Or scripture...etc.)

* HERE is a ready to use sharing time!! It is called "Partial Pictures". Have the children look up the scripture and match it to the picture. You can always show them the complete picture after!
Some questions to go along with the #'d pictures:
1.What priesthood did Peter, James, and John restore?
How does the Melchizedek priesthood bless our lives?
2. Sing An Angel Came to Joseph Smith (CS #86 )
Why do you think Heavenly Father sent the angel Moroni to Joseph?
What would you do if an angel came to you? Can you think of any scripture stories where an angel came to deliver a message from Heavenly Father?
3. How does it make you feel to know that God appeared to a young boy?
Why do you think Joseph Smith was chosen to help restore the church?
(Look carefully at that question, why do "you"- this isn't about being right or wrong, encourage the children to really think about things and value their answers!)
What did Heavenly Father say to Joseph?
4. What temple did Elijah appear to Joseph?
What did Elijah restore to Joseph and Oliver?
Sing The Hearts of The Children ( CS #92)
5. Read James 1:5
What are things we can do to gain wisdom?
Can anyone give ideas or tips on how to make scripture study meaningful?
6. What are some of your favorite stories from The Book of Mormon?
Why do you read The Book of Mormon?
What knowledge did The Book of Mormon restore?

* Invite a primary friend to the front. Ask them if you are standing in front of them. Are they sure? Well, that isn't the only thing we can be sure of!! Elder Holland in General Conference said, "I bear witness of that gospel and that Church, with a particular witness of restored priesthood keys which unlock the power and efficacy of saving ordinances. I am more certain that those keys have been restored and that those ordinances are once again available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than I am certain I stand before you at this pulpit and you sit before me in this conference." (The Cost & Blessings of Discipleship, April 2014, such a great talk!!)
     Time to play... Are you sure?? Have about 20 statements, either fact or fiction/true or false, in regards to The Church being restored!! Make sure to have plenty of visuals to go along with statements. Have a child come up front and draw a statement from a bag. Then have the primary stand up if they are sure the statement is right!
Some sample statements:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized April 6, 1830. (true)
Joseph Smith had a vision of only an angel. (FALSE!!! He saw God the Father and Jesus)
Why is this so important to know??
The Aaronic Priesthood was restored by John the Baptist. (True)
Could you be baptized if this hadn't have happened?? Read D&C 22:2
     It's OK if we aren't sure about some things in life. But if we seek, we will find. Bear testimony!

 * What does the dictionary define restored as? Ask a child to come and help you demonstrate. Give them a book or a toy. Now have them give it back and return it to you. Key words: "Give back and Return". Now have the child hold a picture of the earth. Have a sign that says "TRUTH". Have the child with the earth picture hold the truth sign, then you take it away. (Apostasy!!) Return the truth or restore it back.

* Have a large basket of rocks. On the rocks attach questions, songs, and scriptures having to do with Joseph Smith, the 6th Article of Faith and the Restoration. Try to have the children come up and choose rocks that get bigger in size.
      "The restored gospel is the kingdom of God on earth, the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would become a great mountain and fill the whole earth, as seen by Daniel (Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45). It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which was organized 6 April 1830 in preparation for the Second Coming of the Savior." (Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manuel pg. 61)

Week 2 Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration.

* Joseph Smith and Restoration Jeopardy!!
Categories and ?'s :
He was  a child too!!
100 When Joseph was small (7 years old) he had to have surgery on this part of his body. He wouldn't drink alcohol to ease the pain and held his father's hand while enduring the hurt. His leg
200 What month was Joseph Smith born? December (right before Christmas, the 23rd!)
300 How many brothers and sisters did Joseph have? 10
400 What was the name of Joseph's mother? Lucy
500 True or False: Joseph had to work hard as a child on the family farm. True!

The Early Church
100 Sing the 6th Article of Faith Song
200 After the church was organized on April 6, a miracle happened! The Prophet Joseph met a man named Newel who was possessed of a devil. Acting on Newel's faith as well as his own, Joseph cast out the devil in this name? Jesus Christ
300 At the first conference of the church, the sustained leaders by doing what we do today. What do we do? We raise our right hand to the square in support.
400 Emma Smith, Joseph's wife was called "An Elect Lady" of the Lord. She was commanded to do something special and put together this book. A hint: It's often green! The first hymn book.
500 True or False: When Brigham Young was introduced to the church he immediately joined. False!! He studied and pondered the church for 2 years before joining.

Truth Restored!100 Read 2 Nephi 3:24
200 True or False: The church started in 1830. False!! The church started with Adam and was restored many times, including the last dispensation with Joseph Smith.
300 Sing the Priesthood is Restored (CS pg. 89)
400 Name a witness of the Book of Mormon. Answers can include the 8 witnesses from the beginning of the Book of Mormon, to prophets to even children who have a testimony it's true.
500 True or False: All truth has been revealed!! False: Much truth has been revealed, but there is a lot more that is yet to come!

Final Jeopardy Question: What is something you've learned about Joseph Smith or the Restoration?

* A good talk to read and personally study in preparation for this week's sharing time is Joseph Smith- Prophet of the Restoration by Tad Callister.

* Who was the greatest prophet sent to earth?  
"The scriptures record that throughout history, on occasions of exceptional importance, God the Father’s voice has been heard. On repeated occasions Jesus Christ has personally appeared to select individuals. Yet there is only one supernal, singular instance of which we have knowledge that God the Father Himself appeared in person. This was done with His precious Holy Son, Jesus Christ, to an audience of one. That one was young Joseph Smith Jr., an extraordinary spirit prepared before the foundation of the earth. He would become the greatest prophet sent to earth." Truth Restored, Richard G. Scott, October 2005 General Conference

* Divide into small groups. Give each group a story about Joseph Smith (a teacher can read it to them) and have them draw a picture to share with the primary along with a brief summary of the story.

* Here is an idea from the Friend with an early church for the children to make.

 
Week 3 The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.

* "He who reads it oftenest will like it best." Joseph Smith
           Divide the primary into groups. Have about 4 stations for them to rotate. Each station they will have 3 minutes. Some might not finish in 3, but that's OK... they can finish their things at home!! You will need an adult or 2 at each station to help the children.
Station 1Build King Benjamin's tower- have a bunch of blocks for them to build with, a picture of King Benjamin from the Gospel Art Book, & a teacher to read a couple scriptures from that story
Station 2- I will go, I will do- have a piece of paper for each child, have each child write & draw 5 things they can do today to go and serve someone- little children will need help writing down their ideas and if they don't get 5, that's OK!!, have a picture of Nephi and paper headbands for the children to decorate and wear
Station 3- Hidden Golden Plates- use a picture of the golden plates or small Hershey golden nuggets, go outside and have the children find them! Gather together and sing "The Golden Plates" (CS 86) Have each child share a favorite story from The Book of Mormon
Station 4- Ammon's Sheep- have spoons for each child and cotton balls, let the children pass a sheep/cotton ball around in a circle but don't let it drop!, have a cotton ball for each child and see how many times they can bounce it on their spoon without dropping it, see if they can toss it with their hand and catch it with their spoon, have them toss the cotton balls into a basket with their spoon at the end. Have a picture of Ammon from the Gospel Art Book, and have the teacher read a scripture about the story.
     When you gather together, bear testimony that The Book of Mormon is full of great stories. All the stories are a witness to Jesus Christ. Invite the children to go home and think of an activity they can do with their family based on one of the stories from The Book of Mormon.

* "Those who have read the scriptures, and who have drunk of the stream of knowledge which they convey, know how to appreciate them." Joseph Smith
     Have a blue blanket or blue plastic table cloth. Lie it on the ground like a stream with a few fake plants from your house. Have pictures from the Gospel Art Book, from The Book of Mormon section, and scatter them throughout your river with paper clips attached to them. Invite a primary friend to come up and fish out some knowledge. You'll need a fishing pole with a magnet on the end.
       Have the child tell a little bit about the picture. How did this prophet testify of Christ or what does this story have to do with Jesus?
      Send the children home with a white paper cup that they can decorate/color at home (or if you have time at Primary) with their favorite story from The Book of Mormon.... repeat the quote emphasizing, "Who have drunk.... know how to appreciate".

* Invite about 10 people in who speak a different language. See if they can bring in a Book of Mormon written in another language. Ask them beforehand to say "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ". If children would like they can try to repeat! What did all these wonderful people say? The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ! Pass around the Book of Mormons very carefully!! Take a look at the different languages and ways people write.
     Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God!!
HERE is an EXCELLENT video to show!! If you still have time have a couple Book of Mormon facts written in code (first letter switched with last). See if the primary can figure them out!
Here are a few facts:
 The Book of Mormon was first published in English in New York in 1830
Eht kooB fo NormoM saw tirsf dublishep ni Hnglise ni WeN KorY ni 0831
     In 1851 the Book of Mormon was translated into Danish, its first translation to a non-English language.
    Ni 1851 eht KooB fo NormoM saw dranslateT onti HanisD sti tirsf nranslatiot ot a hon-englisn eanguagl 
     3 men saw and 8 men handled the plates... they give their witness at the beginning of the Book of Mormon
     3 nem was dna 8 nem dandleh eht slatep.... yhet eivg rheit sitnesw ta eht geginninb fo eht Koob fo NormoM

* THIS is always a fun visual on how we need to hold to the rod!!

Week 4 The priesthood has been restored.

* Here is an awesome sharing time from the Friend. You could easily attach questions, scriptures and songs about the priesthood to the puzzle pictures and have the children come to the front to answer and put together.

* Here is an awesome diorama idea from the Friend. You'd need lots of shoe boxes!! But it would be fun and memorable for the children!
 
* Here is a crossword puzzle about the priesthood. (Scroll past the bug search and find)

* Here is a sharing time on how the priesthood blesses our lives with a flannel board story.

 * A lot of children don't understand what the priesthood is. Let every child draw a short fact about the priesthood from a brown paper bag. Have the room set up with 2 lines of chairs facing each other. Have younger children sit on one side and older children on the other. Each child may tell his/her fact to his/her partner and talk about it for 30 seconds. Then the younger children get up and move one chair to the right while the older ones stay seated. Repeat! Have pictures to go along with some of the facts. For senior sharing time, see if they can come up with their own facts to share about the priesthood! A good reference is HERE, Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Chapter 25.

* Play musical chairs reverently. Have them in a circle with #'s taped to the back. It's actually more like a cake walk where you draw numbers and whoever is sitting on that number gets to answer a question or read a scripture about the priesthood.... don't take away chairs! Have them sing songs about the priesthood as they walk around the circle

Monday, March 28, 2016

Playing the Part- By Jen Turano- A Book Review

 
 

Jen Turano is a great author!! Playing the Part is the 3rd book in her series A Class of Their Own.
 
Having 3 daughters, I'm constantly on the look out for good literature with strong female characters. The women in Jen's books are always virtuous, brave, smart, charming, funny, down to earth, hard working, clever, and believe in God.
 
This book is clean!!! On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a little violence and 10 is extreme, I'd give it a 2. There was a nasty little goat named Geoffrey that seemed to be intent on wreaking havoc. There were a couple chaste kisses.
 
The basis of the book- Lucetta Plum is a very successful actress in New York in the 1800's. She's had to work hard and has some amazing abilities. Unfortunately, as an actress she's had an admirer who has taken to extreme measures to secure her as a possession. Fortunately, she has a well abled and muscled body guard, and a benefactor in society named Abigail- the doting grandmother type who buys her all the latest fashions from Paris. Much to Lucetta's chagrin, Abigail is quite the matchmaker and sees a solution to the crazed admirer by taking Lucetta to meet her grandson. Enter violent goat.
 
Will they be a match? How will things end up with the obsessive stalker? Why is the grandson's castle haunted? Is he truly who he seems, or does he have a more sinister situation... seeing as there is a dungeon in the basement!!??!!
 
It's not an overly complicated book. But it's full of good humor, fun characters, and good moral lessons.
 
I definitely recommend this book! It's one that will leave you smiling and wishing for times that were less complicated and more proper.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 April LDS Primary Sharing Time Ideas & Helps

By CM Dudash


Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.
Monthly Scripture: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” Articles of Faith 1:3

Week 1 Jesus Christ was chosen to be our Savior.

* Moses 7:39 "And that which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me..." (The pronoun "that" being Jesus Christ)
      Play "The Chosen One". Invite 6 primary friends up front. Send one person out of the room. Choose one of the 6 friends to be "the chosen one". That friend will choose a motion and everyone has to follow it. It would be easiest if 3 children faced the other 3 children. They all repeat the motion until the chosen one changes it, then they follow that motion. The person who left the room comes back in and has 2 guesses to who the chosen one is. (The chosen one might have to be sneaky to not get spotted, and the other children in the game can't look directly at the chosen one.)
      In between each round of the game, have scriptures or questions about the premortal world. Have pictures. Discuss what the word Savior means. Who chose Him?? What can we do in our lives to follow the REAL chosen one, Jesus Christ?

* Elder Neal A. Maxwell said that it is "extremely important to get straight what happened in that premortal council. It was not an unstructured meeting, nor was it a discussion between plans, nor an idea-producing session, as to how to formulate the plan of salvation and carry it out. Our Father's plan was known, and the actual question put was whom the Father should send to carry out the plan." (Deposition of a Disciple 1976)
     Have about 15 pieces of paper placed in a crooked path on the ground. Let's get straight the path and get straight our understanding of what happened before we came to earth!!
     Have 15 questions, scriptures, or songs having to do with the week's theme. (Not 15 each, 15 total) Invite a child to come up front and answer the question and then straighten out a piece of paper. At the end of the lesson, have a child walk the straight path and hold up a picture of Christ. He was chosen to be our Savior. Remind the children that if they have felt happy or peaceful today at church, that is the Holy Ghost bearing testimony that this is true.

Week 2 Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me.

* 1 Peter 2: 21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps"
     Have 10 paper footprints placed in a wide circle. Invite 5 primary friends to walk around the circle while the primary pianist plays some music.  (As I have loved you would be a great song!) When the music stops, they stand by a footprint and answer what is on it.
     Some ideas for words on the footprints:
home - What is a way you can follow Jesus' example here?
school - What is a way you can follow Jesus' example here?
story from the life of Jesus - briefly tell a story from Jesus' life and how He was an example
opposite of a good example- what is a bad choice that doesn't follow Jesus' example?
scripture- previously choose some scriptures beforehand they can read if they land on this footprint
family & friends- share with the primary someone in your life who chooses to follow the example of Jesus, what have they done that is like Him?

* 3 Nephi 18:16 "Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you."
    Give everyone a piece of paper/crayons and have them fold it in half. On one side teach the youngest primary friends (sunbeams) how to draw a sun. Demonstrate for them on  the chalkboard. It's always nice to have an example!! Sometimes with art, we don't always get a perfect picture on the first try... but that's OK. If we follow the example and keep on trying, we'll do just fine.... just like in life!! For the other friends, teach them how to draw a lightbulb. For Senior Primary, demonstrate how to draw a flashlight or campfire. You don't have to be an artist!! Just try your best or even invite someone in from the ward who knows how to draw. Remember, keep it simple!! Why are we so grateful for light??
     On the other side of their paper, have them draw a picture of The Savior. Have older children write down at least 5 things Jesus did to set an example for us.

* HERE is a short little video, it's a little slow- but definitely worthwhile for younger children.
     Have different pictures from the life of Christ. Have one friend hold the picture and briefly share what The Savior was doing. Invite another friend to come up and act out a way to follow the example of Jesus in their own life. (For example, if a friend holds up a picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane- another primary friend can demonstrate praying and saying I'm sorry)

Week 3 Through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved.

* I love SPARKLE!!! It is such a fun way to review and learn an article of faith. Going down the rows, every child stands, each child must say 1 word from the article of faith, then the next child says the next word. If they don't know that word they sit down. However, children sitting down can raise their hands to get back in the game if a person doesn't know the word. After the last word, the next person has to say sparkle and sit down. You keep on going until you have a lucky duck!! (I'd say winner, but everyone is a winner who has fun!!)

* What is the atonement? HERE is a very clear explanation. Divide the primary into groups of 3 or 4. Pair some younger children with older children who can read. Give them copies of that Friend article and a yellow marker and have them read for a couple minutes. Have them highlight with the marker anything that really sticks out to them.
    Afterwards, have everyone sit down in their chairs. Invite a few to share what they highlighted as a group. Great!! Now have the primary friends write on an index card an answer to the first question in the article, "What would you be willing to give for someone you love very, very much?" AND their name. Have them bring up their index card and put it into a paper bag up front.
     Invite a primary child to pull out 2 cards and share what others are willing to give. Can anyone guess who wrote that? Have them share who did. At the end review that Jesus has atoned for us. He has given His life, and everything, so that we can return to Him and Heavenly Father if we will repent and follow Him. Jesus has done this because He loves us very much!!

* Bring in a broken something, like a plastic cup with different broken pieces. Is it bad when something breaks? Yeah, pretty much because you can't really use it again unless you fix it, right? Is it a bad idea to break things? Well, one time there was a little girl who was confused about Jesus. She knew that He never made mistakes and was perfect, but couldn't understand why he would break something.
     HERE is the story to read to the primary. (Sometimes it helps the primary focus to have a few children acting out the story while you read) Was it OK for the bands of death to be broken? What are the bands of death?? Yes, absolutely!! It was completely necessary and needed!!

     Do you have the game, Don't break the ice!! DO NOT go out and buy it, just if you have it, it'd be easy to play. Instead though, we'll play DO break the ice!! Each friend gets a turn to hammer out a piece of ice and answer a question about the atonement. When the ice finally breaks, it's OK!!! It's actually great!!! It's like how Jesus has shattered the sadness that comes with death and sin, and through His atonement has cleared the way for us to return to Heavenly Father if we do what's right! He broke the bands of death, and we are grateful!!

Week 4 Jesus Christ was resurrected, and I will be too.

* The outline's suggestion is excellent for this week! HERE If you aren't able to get people to come in, have children make paper bag puppets of one of the witnesses of Christ’s resurrection and take them home to testify to family members! (You'll need paper bags, glue sticks, crayons, small scissors, and colored paper) Of course, once they are finished, children can come up and share their puppets!

* Invite a person in from the ward who has had someone close to them pass away. You will need your Bishop's approval. Have them share a picture of that person and their testimony of the resurrection.

* What is the resurrection? Bring in a glove to demonstrate it is the body. Can the glove move by itself?? No, it needs the hand. Just like our bodies need our spirits. Once we die, our spirit and body are separated for a little bit. In the resurrection, our bodies and spirits are brought together again for eternity in perfect form.
     Bring in enough pairs of gloves so that each child in primary with have a glove. Hand them out randomly, then have the children find their match. Once they have their partner, have them read a scripture about the resurrection together and talk about what they think it will be like then. Give each pair a piece of paper and have them draw a picture together or brainstorm words to describe the resurrection. During this time, you can collect all the gloves back. After a few minutes, invite children to return to their chairs. Have a few children share their work.

*  "As we learn we are immortal creatures, we realize that life, which does not end with the grave, does not begin with the cradle either. We lived before we came to this earth. We are creatures of the stars, time travelers, who come from afar and, if we are true and faithful, may return to celestial halls and live again with the mighty God who is the Father of our spirits. God’s Holy Son, our Savior, whose glorious resurrection makes it all possible, will be there to encircle us “in the arms of [His] love” (D&C 6:20)." Elder Alexander B. Morrison April 1995 "I am the Resurrection and the Life"
     Bring in a decorated time travel machine. A box with some glitter and paper on it? No friends!!! A real pretend time travel machine that will amaze and capture your attention today!! Bring in a spinner that points to 4 categories- premortal, earth life, resurrection, compliment. Invite a primary friend to come up front and sit in the time travel machine, after all, we are creatures of the stars!!, and spin the spinner. Have questions prepared about each topic premortal, earth life, and resurrection. On compliments they give 3 compliments to different people in primary. (It is AMAZING... some children do not know how to give compliments!! Teach them!! It develops a primary environment of love)
      Our time travel machine would not even be possible if it wasn't for The Savior and His resurrection. Life would really have no meaning!! Bear your personal testimony of what the resurrection means to you.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Few Easter Ideas

I know everyone is on pinterest and has probably heard of these ideas. But just in case, I'd thought I'd share.

I'm not super big on having long, drawn out activities with my 4 year old and toddler. I don't mind having "moments". I love simple, and my sanity.

On the first Family Home Evening of the month, I introduce 1 or 2 songs about the resurrection with visuals or motions. This month we sang, Did Jesus Really Live Again? (CS 64) and Easter Hosanna (CS 68). Then, on our drive to school we sang these 2 songs each morning.

 
We took some white flowers and talked about how Jesus is a perfect person, who never sinned, and lived a completely clean life.
 
Because He loved us, He knew we would need help getting back to Heavenly Father. He "took upon" Himself our sins, just like the white flower takes the red water upon it's petals.
 
Mosiah 15:8-9, "And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—
Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice."

 
I hung some Gospel Art pictures and we reviewed the story of the last week of Christ. We took a grapevine wreath and put toothpicks in it.
 
Many people were cruel and mean to Jesus. Sometimes our choices are bad, and that hurts The Savior. He wants us to choose the right and be kind.
 
So throughout the month, when someone does something nice for another family member, they are able to take out a thorn.
 
 
Our glow in the dark egg hunt is always a favorite. I take eggs and put glow sticks inside. When it is dark out, the kids get to go and get them!!
I usually have a few scriptures in some of the eggs to:
Psalms 27:1
Isaiah 60:19
John 8:12
Ephesians 5:14
2 Nephi 10:14
Ether 4:12
D&C 6:21
 
This year we also did this fun Resurrection Hunt found HERE.