Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Easter!!

My sweet bunny!!
Photo by Alicia Lyman
Hello all!! Just wanted to re-post some Easter ideas!!
Easter Reading Chart... you can get it HERE on scribd.com or just email me and I'll send you the pdf version.
He Is Risen Trivia Game... you can get it HERE on scribd.com or again, you can email me!
HERE is a link to see the questions better hopefully.
Also, an idea for a fun Easter Singing Time....
Easter Tree Singing Time Activity
Have child choose a numbered egg hanging from the tree. Sing a song a certain way, according to number.
Ways to Sing
1.     Sing with 2 fingers bent like bunny ears behind your head.
2.     Sing with arms out front, fingers intertwined, like you are holding a giant Easter egg
3.     Uh-oh! Spring pollen is making you sneeze! Hold your nose and sing.
4.     Cheep! Cheep! Cheep! Instead of words, sing with a cheep!
5.     Make a butterfly. Link arms with a neighbor, use the other arm to flap your wing while you sing.
6.     Hidden egg… sing loud or soft to direct friend to find an egg.
7.     Flower pointer… primary friend uses flower to point to what side of room will sing.
8.     Sing while moving your cottontail.
9.     Sing while moving a pretend basket in your hand to the rhythm of the song.
10. Have a person up front painting an Easter egg in the air with their pointer finger. Children mirror how that person paints. So if they do zigzags, so do you! If they do dots, so do you!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

May 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

This picture is from The Friend October 2012 by the talented Oakley.
HERE is the talk by Elder Scott, it's one of my all time favorites.

Monthly Theme: Families are Blessed When They Follow The Prophet
Monthly Scripture: "Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets."
2 Peter 3:2
Week 1 God speaks to us through prophets.

*Grab an erasable white board and marker, a Gospel Art Book, and get ready for a game! A reverent child will be called on to come up front. They can choose any ancient or modern day prophet they can think of! They will whisper the name to you and you will write down the name of the prophet on the white board and then the primary children have to guess who the prophet is by asking YES or NO questions. They can't guess the prophet's name until AT LEAST 4 questions ABOUT the prophet have been asked!! After the prophet is guessed, see if anyone can tell us what that prophet taught!

* HERE is a link from the Liahonna (by Sandra Tanner and Cristina Franco). It has pictures of prophets and scriptures to match. You could print this off for small groups to match!!

* Beat the Teachers!! Using the chalkboard, draw 6 short lines to a picture of Jesus and then 6 lines on the other side of the picture. The primary children will get a question about the week's theme and if they get it right they can make an X on the line. Then the teacher's turn and on the other side if they get it right, they can make an X on the line. Basically it's a race to the middle, The Savior!! And of course the children can get help from other children, teachers from other teachers.
       Some questions for the kiddos could include:
Name 5 prophets from the Book of Mormon.
Name 2 things that were taught, in detail, at General Conference.
If a prophet speaks as a prophet, is it the same as The Lord saying it?
Who is your favorite prophet and why?
How do you feel knowing that God still speaks to us today? Can you name 3 ancient prophets that haven't been mentioned and 3 modern day apostles/prophets?
What does it mean to sustain the prophet?
      Some questions for the teachers could include (remember to make them a little harder!!):
What is the scripture reference for this scripture: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)
Can you say the 5th Article of Faith out loud from memory? What does that AOF have to do with Prophets?
What President of the Church said, "I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so he will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” (Wilford Woodruff)
Can you name all the current apostles/prophets?
What is one of your favorite teachings from the prophets?
What is something Hababkkuk taught?

A couple Recycled ideas from previous posts:

* We have a little girl in our primary who wants to become a movie director. Bring in a church film. Has anyone seen this movie? What are the credits at the end? Does anyone know the difference between a movie producer and a movie director? Basically, a movie producer is in charge of and directs EVERYTHING but will always need help dealing with the actors/people. That's where the director comes in. A movie director guides the actors under the producers supervision.
How does this compare to Jesus Christ and prophets? Make a paper action sign and have the children act out charades of different things or stories that were taught during our last conference!

* Have a list of cleaning chores around the home. Dusting, washing dishes, vacuuming, laundry, etc. Can mom do these all by herself? Sure! Would it be better if she had helpers? Heavenly Father could clean the world all by Himself, but He has prophets as His special helpers.

Have a bucket full of cleaning supplies. Invite children to come up and choose items. On the cleaning items have questions, scriptures and songs having to do with Prophets speak for Heavenly Father.
D&C 88:74 "...Yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean"

* Debate time! Have 2 children come up front and explain what a debate is. They have 30 seconds each to tell their side... what is the best flavor of ice cream and why? Who in the primary agrees and why? What about when it comes to Gospel topics? Is there a debate over those?

Sister Elaine A. Cannon, who has devoted much of her life to guiding and teaching young people, bore this witness of the living prophet: “Now, as he speaks to us … it is as if the Lord Jesus Christ himself were addressing us. … Christ made this very clear when he said to others of his children a time ago, ‘Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these … whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you’ (3 Nephi 12:1). … Your course should become clear, your priorities ought to be known to you. … Personal opinions vary. Eternal principles never do. When the prophet speaks … the debate is over(“If We Want to Go Up, We Have to Go On,” New Era, Jan.–Feb. 1979, pp. 40–41).

Week 2 The prophets in the scriptures are examples to my family.

* Have some "special guests" come to primary! Invite a few adults to dress up as certain prophets in the scriptures and share their story. Ask the children how these prophets are examples to each of us and our families?

* President Harold B. Lee taught, “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 134). Draw a large home on the chalkboard. Get about 10 different color paint sample cards from Wal-Mart. Ooooo, pretty! Have different scripture references of different prophets on the back of each of the cards. Divide into groups and hand out the paint cards. Give the groups a few questions about the prophet too. Let them discuss 3-4 minutes.  An extra attentive primary child can have the reverent stick (a free paint stick/stirrer) and call on children to come share what they discussed in groups. Just like paint makes our walls at home beautiful, the prophets in the scriptures make our families and homes a more lovely place because of their examples and teachings.

James 5:10 "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience."
     Families are NEVER perfect!!! We all make mistakes, and fortunately because of Jesus, we can repent!!
     Dioramas are mentioned in Teaching, No Greater Call HERE. However, I don't think I've ever seen them utilized. This would be a great week to make 3-4 dioramas. I would choose Job, Lehi, and Jacob/Israel and his 12 sons to really hit home the mentioned scripture. Family life requires patience and the life of the prophets in the scriptures are wonderful examples for us!!

* Grab your sunglasses and feather boa. Put them on dramatically and introduce yourself as the latest and greatest movie star/rock star/athlete. Crumple a piece of paper and throw it in the garbage can... to demonstrate your great athletic ability. You are super famous and everyone in the world knows your name. Because so many people know who you are.... you must be a good example right? You are a super star!!!!! Nothing you do could be wrong!!! Wait and see what the children say. There are a lot of nice people in the world who are famous for different talents they have, but it doesn't mean they are good examples. Remember, we are not "worldly" people.
      1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
    Have a picture of a magazine, a TV, a movie screen, a book, a basketball, a football... etc, things to represent where the world might look for an example. Have large red X's to cover those pictures. Have scripture stories of the prophets for each picture. Have a child choose a picture (let's say it's the magazine one, and of course they can feel free to wear your boa or sunglasses) and briefly explain how that prophet set a good example for our families. Have them X out the magazine picture and put a picture of the prophet above it. And of course, people in church magazines we can look to for a good example... but not really the magazines we see by the grocery check out!
     And of course, make sure to say that THERE ARE A LOT of good famous people out there!! A person doesn't have to be a member of The Church to be a good example!! Look at Abraham Lincoln or Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King Jr. We just need to be careful who we look to for examples. Ultimately, our greatest example is Our Savior!!

* Family Home Run Evening!!! Tell the children that what you do today in sharing time, they can easily do at home!!! Grab a roll of wrapping paper and a balloon, or some sort of soft ball. You, the pitcher, are going to have some questions about prophets and the examples they set for families. A child is at bat at the front of the room and can throw the balloon themselves and try to hit it, then they reverently walk to a corner of the room. If they give a really good answer they can go to 2nd base. Super good answer, 3rd base. WOW!!! Can't believe you know that... home reverent walk/run! Anyone in the primary can steal the base if they catch the balloon.... SITTING DOWN. If they are standing at all or jump up, it's not a steal. Stealing the base means switching corners with the child that is there. See how many home runs/ reverent walks you can get as a primary!!!
    Clarification: So if a child answers a question they go to first base, next child comes up and answers a question and the first child moves to second base, second child moves to first base. Basically, just move the kiddos along!!

Week 3 My family will be blessed as we follow the prophet.

* Multiple Choice Quiz Time!! The week before, choose 4 families from the ward that the children know well. Ask them for some examples in their life (about 3-4 short stories each) how following the prophet has blessed them. For sharing time, write A B C D on the board and under each letter the name of one of the families you got stories from. Tell the children you are going to have a multiple choice quiz!! Invite 3 children  up at a time, read them a story and have them stand under the letter/family they think the story is about. Have your primary pianist announce the correct answer!!

* Have a picture of a prophet. Have a picture of a family. Let a child pick a spot, any spot to put the picture of the prophet. See if the children can remember some of the stories from General Conference. Share some brief stories from Conference then ask the children what the message is of that story and how your family can be blessed by that principle. Whoever answers can take the picture of the family and put it by the prophet. Then another child comes up and moves the picture of the prophet. Share a conference story, move family.... continue on!! :)

* HERE is a great example of how President Hinckley's family was blessed by following the prophet. After reading it and going over the questions with the children. Have a few highlighted conference talks for the children to read in groups... the highlighted parts. Have them brainstorm ideas for a Family Home Evening based off following the teachings of that prophet/apostle, then share with the primary.

Week 4 The prophet speaks to us at General Conference.

* HERE is a must read to prepare for this week's topic. In October 2014, Elder Robert D. Hales spoke extensively on the topic of General Conference.

* HERE is a conference center tour found off LDS.org. If you are able to download, it's a short video about the conference center and what happens behind the scenes at conference! It's really wonderful and interesting!! It is about 2 1/2 minutes in length. HERE is the written message if you can't get the video... but the video is really awesome.

* HERE are some conference hidden pictures. My children LOVE these types of things. Why not turn it into a sharing time or Family Home Evening? Have strips of paper with scriptures, songs, and questions having to do with General Conference folded in a paper bag. A child comes up front and picks from the bag. Once the answer or read the scripture or lead the song, they get to see if they can color/find something from the look and find. Just have the look and find on the blackboard. If they need help, have them call on another primary friend to come up. Make copies for the primary children to take home after the lesson.

* LDS.org makes life so much easier!!! HERE are conference squares. Print off a sheet for each child or for small groups. Have 10-20 short quotes from Conference. Have them play conference squares as you or another good reader reads the quote.

* Sometimes we might think that Conference is a little long or that it's just for adults... but it's not!! The prophet speaks to US at General Conference. HERE is a story of a little girl who could testify to that truth!! Read the story, then have the children write their name on a post it and put it on the chalkboard, all seperate. Have them think of something they like to hear about during conference... whether it's faith or stories from the Book of Mormon or talks about the temple or even the singing!! Invite a child up front, blindfold them or have them close their eyes and choose a post it or 2  from the chalkboard. Whoever has their name chosen can say what they like to hear about at General Conference or one of their favorite messages from the last conference... Heavenly Father knows us each by name. He knows us better than we know ourselves and at Conference time, He speaks to us through His holy prophet!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book of Mormon, Book of MORMON writing prompts for children

In continuation of my Book of Mormon Writing Prompts for Children, here are some for the Book of Mormon.

Book of Mormon
Book of MORMON Writing Prompts
By Sofia Lykes 2014

1.    Create a “Good Bye Note” from the 3 Nephites to the people of the America’s during the time of Mormon. In the note include reasons why they have to go, any feelings they might have, and any words of wisdom to those they leave behind!

2.    Extra! Extra! Read all about it! In Mormon 4, the city Desolation is fought over. Write an article focused on the war for the newspaper “Desolation Daily”.

3.    Unfortunately, many sad things take place in this book of scripture because of the wickedness of the people. Mormon talks about how this sorrow could be avoided if the people would just repent! Make a list of 25 things that make you sad. On the other side make a list of 25 things that make you happy.

4.    Create a Venn Diagram and compare the destruction of the Nephites with that of the Jaredites. Try to include as many details as you can. Specifically look at Mormon 6, Mormon 8:2, Ether 14 & 15.

     5.    Poor Moroni sees a lot in his lifetime. At one point in
          Mormon 8 he is all alone. He’s witnessed the entire
          destruction of his people. Write a poem about true
          loneliness from his perspective.
6.     God is a God of Miracles because….
     7.   “Be wise in the days of your probation.” What are
            some wise choices you can make in your life
            daily and in the future?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book of Mormon Writing Prompts, Book of Ether - Great Sabbath Day Activity!!

I have to insert a bragging moment. I have 2 wonderful little writers. They are very clever and creative. However, I've found that in order for them to grow, I have to provide additional opportunities for them to write... thanks Nevada Public Schools. And don't get me started on art...
But I digress. My sweet Christina recently won a district wide essay competition (she's 9) on the topic of Martin Luther King Jr. and how we can continue his dream. It was brilliant and I loved her analogy of Martin Luther King Jr. being quote, "a peaceful dove that soared above the chaotic lake of life".
She won a $100 scholarship and tickets to the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society Dinner where she was honored by the Air National Guard.

I don't know whether I was more proud that she was so successful or the fact that the very first thing she said when she had learned that she won was, "So that means I'll need to pay $10 for tithing."

My little 7 year old entered the competition too and wrote a wonderful piece. She had a great ending that I had her edit. "If people would just be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, keep the commandments, and follow Jesus we'd really have a lot less problems." Next time, I won't interfere with my sweet little missionary.

Anyways, babble me bumbles the backward behemoth. I've always wanted to have writing prompts for my kiddos to do based off The Book of Mormon. I love their writing and treasure their words. I plan on doing this for all the Books in The Book in Mormon, but it will probably take awhile!! Feel free to click and paste, but please do not use for monetary gain. If you are publishing on the internet, please link back to my blog. I don't want to be a credit hog, I just want to be organized and honest.
I have a PDF file for anyone who would like, just email me... it's easier to print out.

You'll notice these are not writing prompts for beginning writers. But even young children can talk to you and you can write down their ideas for them!!!

Book of Mormon
Book of ETHER Writing Prompts
By Sofia Lykes 2014

1.   In Ether 1, a genealogy is given of the Jaredites. Make a word art poem by taking the names and connecting them like dominoes. Use at least 20 names. For example:

2.   “A land choice above all other lands of the earth” Ether 1:42. Describe what this choice land would be like for you personally.

3.   Nimrod the hunter was making a regular hunting trip, but this time….

4.   Day 284 on the barge. A journal entry while we crossed the great waters…

5.   The Brother of Jared was asked by The Lord to figure out a solution to a problem. Can you think of 2 other ideas as possibilities for light in the barges?

6.   Ether 6 – the end talks about many different kings. Some were righteous, some were not. Pick a  king and write a letter to the people, or someone in their family, from that king’s perspective/ viewpoint.
7.   Write a poem about the poisonous serpents that were sent to plague the wicked Jaredites.

8.   Write a persuasive essay on why “secret combinations” should always be destroyed. Give at least 3 good reasons. Make sure your essay is titled.

9.   In Ether 12, Moroni lists examples from the scriptures who showed faith.  List at least 4 of those examples and then add 3 more from the scriptures. Describe who they were, how they showed their faith, and what happened after.

10.        At the end of Ether, we see the destruction of the Jaredites. Part of this destruction was because of the pride and stubbornness of Jaredite leaders like Coriatumr. From his perspective, write an “I wish I would have” piece… because in Ether 15 he does have some regrets!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

April 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Our newest family member!! Sweet Ella. Almost 1 month old!!
Photo by my good friend Alicia Lyman.

Monthly Theme: The Family is Central to God's Plan
Monthly Scripture: "Marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God and... the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Week 1 The family is central to God's plan.

* Play a game of PLASTIC darts! (Or some type of game where there is a bull's-eye! You could even have a taped circle on the ground with the word family in the middle... and have children throw a bean bag to see how close they can get to the central point!) Divide the primary into groups and give them different examples of families from the scriptures. Have them discuss the stories of these families, what they did to be happy or unhappy families, and what we can do to make sure our families are eternal! After a few minutes, invite 3 members of the group to share what they talked about and throw the dart!

* “The family unit is fundamental … to our hope for eternal life. We begin to practice in the family, the smaller unit, what will spread to the Church and to the society in which we live in this world"
President Eyring "The Family" Ensign, Feb. 1998, 18
     Have a bowl of water and a small stone. What is a ripple effect? Have a child drop the pebble in and show that at the start of the pebble dropping, waves and ripples spread out to the end of the bowl.
    What we do in our family is like that pebble and spreads out into the world as President Eyring said! In fact, it even spreads into eternity if we work hard enough!!
     Have a bucket full of pebbles, have some painted a different color with a number on it. Invite a child to pick a pebble. Have questions, songs, or scriptures having to do with family that correspond with the number. 10 should be about right. After they answer the question or you sing the song as a primary, have them drop it in the bowl of water to see the ripple effect!!

* "Carefully observing and.... living in accordance with righteous family patterns on earth is at the core of our quest to know the Father. Heavenly Father and family are inseparably connected."
Elder Quentin L Cook The Doctrine of The Father Ensign Feb. 2012 Such a great talk! Highly recommend reading it!
     Bring in a stuffed animal and about 10 paper apple cores. We have a little friend today who wants to know all about families! Hasselhoff the horse! What is the central part of an apple? Or it's middle part? The core!! Like Elder Cook said, the core to knowing the father is understanding families!! Families are central to Heavenly Father's plan!!
     Hide the cores throughout the room and invite a primary friend to take Hasselhoff (or whoever your stuffed animal friend is) to find a core. Have scriptures, songs, and questions having to do with families on the cores! Make your questions GOOD questions!! Too simple of questions like- are families important? or Should we be good in our family? are a waste. These sweet children are smart!! Yes or No answers can sometimes be too easy and create boredom.
     What are 3 things you should do in your family to make sure you can be an eternal family?
     Name 4 different places you can go to start an eternal family. (They'll have to name 4 different   
     temple sites)
     Was there family in the premortal world? How do we know? (Yes, because we have a Heavenly
     Father and a Heavenly Mother and the scriptures say we are His children.)
If children get stuck, have them call on another primary friend to help them!
* "The family is the primary support structure in God’s plan to help us resist evil, overcome weakness, and work out our salvation. For this reason we should do all we can to strengthen the family..." From the Dec. 2004 Liahona Article "Strengthening the Family: The Family is Central to the Creator's Plan found HERE
     Bring in some legos!! If you have quite a few legos , divide into bags for groups. Can we build things if we don't have a good base? A good base is what gives the tower good support so it doesn't fall over!! Have the children brainstorm in their groups experiences when they have felt the importance of family. When have they had happy family memories? What can they do to make sure their family is eternal? Have them build something with their legos in their group as they share. Make sure there is a strong base!! After a few minutes, have a couple children from the group come up front and share something they discussed as well as the thing they built!!

Week 2 Parents have important responsibilities in the family.

* Mothers! Fathers! LIVE!! Welcome the Primary children to our live taping of the TV Show Mothers! Fathers! LIVE!! Today we will be having future successful mothers and fathers sharing with us what we need to know about the important responsibilities parents have in the family!!! (You could even have a little fancy hat and shawl for the mother and a suit jacket for the dad if they'd like) Delegate a child to be the camera man (a box made to look like a video camera) and have a microphone (toilet paper tube with foil on the end in the shape of a ball). Have 3 chairs up front.
Have a bag of topics for the children to draw out and talk about. For example, some topics could include education, family home evening, work, chores, church, bed time, etc. What are some ways you as a future dad can help at bed time if they are home? Read a book and tell everyone to gather for family prayer! Great answer! What about you as a future mom? Tuck us in and sing a primary song! Good thinking! Remember there is no set in stone answer because every family is different!!
     This idea focuses on the children drawing from their own experiences at home but ultimately putting the answer of what they will personally do when they are parents! Thus, if their home life isn't the traditional mother/father, they don't have to feel bad.

* HERE is a lesson from Teachings of Brigham Young. In it, he says, "Parents should never drive their children, but lead them along, giving them knowledge as their minds are prepared to receive it."
     Have a simple path drawn on the chalk board with spaces. Have a picture of a family holding hands with their child. Add a magnet to the back of the family so it can move easily on the chalk board. Parents don't push their children around!! We hold hands and parents lead us along, just like in the song I am a Child of God. (Which you could then sing!)
     Let children roll a dice. Whatever number they roll they can move, but they also have to name that many responsibilities parents have in the family!! Make sure you make your own list so you can help "prompt" answers.
     For example, a child gets stuck... you respond, What about school? How can parents help you when you are at school all day? (Possible answers, they give us rides or walk us to school, they help with homework, they read to us and teach us the importance of reading and math, maybe parents are students themselves and set a good example with the education they have received)
    For the end, have a picture of Jesus. Parents have important things they need to do to help families be eternal!!!

* Do you need some specific examples of what moms and dads are supposed to do? HERE is the Gospel Principles Chapter: Family Responsibilities with plenty of those specifics. I really like the quote "....Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners” The Family: A Proclamation to the World
    A good demonstration would be to have a couple heavy books. Is it fair to have one person carry all the books all the time? Give one book to one child and another book to another child. It's easier when we share the load!!

* Have a few guests come in (with the bishop's approval)!! You can divide into groups and rotate through the guests (2 moms, 2 dads... each separate). At each "station" that adult talks about some of the important responsibilities they have and maybe a funny story (with a visual) having to do with responsibility. Have each adult share a favorite scripture about parenting with the children. If you have 4 adults, you'll need to rotate every 2-3 minutes.
     At the end, thank the guests and bear testimony.

Week 3 Children have the responsibility to obey their parents.

* HERE is an interview for children to ask their parents from The Friend. (It would be a good handout to take home) The article also says, "In 1974, the First Presidency stated: “Honoring your parents by living a good life and by showing them that you love and appreciate them are gifts that last forever. To your earthly mother and father and to your Heavenly Parents, you are their most valuable treasure. Their love and concern for you never ends” (Friend, Dec. 1974, 3).
      Have the children make "YES!! I will!!!" bags. (Brown paper bags are just fine!) The  children take squares of paper and draw or write things that they can do this week to be obedient to parents! Have them add a bow as a gift they can give to parents!!  

* "The commandment to honor our parents has strands that run through the entire fabric of the gospel." Elder Dallin H. Oaks "Honor They Father and Thy Mother" April 1991 Ensign HERE
     Make a simple paper weaving together!! Cut the paper and then have a child come up front to weave a strand in. (Younger children will have to have another adult or older child help them while you continue with the lesson)
On the single strands of paper that you weave in together, have questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with obedience to parents on them! When you finish, bear testimony that the gospel is a beautiful pattern and design in our life! Obedience is an important and very necessary strand in the gospel!

* HERE is a story about a little boy who decides NOT to be obedient to his mom. There really is no point in me sharing this other than the fact that I would be the mom who laughs (instead of having tears in her eyes, unless they are tears from laughing)... then tells my kid to suck it up because you never know where you'll serve your mission.

* Demonstrate the importance of following a recipe. For example, if you have some lemonade mix you need to add sugar... not salt. If you decide not to follow the recipe what happens? Is there a brave soul who would like to try the salt lemonade?
     Obedience, following the Savior, will bring sweet happy results. Not obeying will bring bitterness and unhappiness. We have been commanded to obey our parents. Christ showed us the way as He obeyed Heavenly Father. Sometimes obeying our parents is hard, even Christ said, "Let this bitter cup pass" but He knew the importance of following Father and said, "Not my will, but thine be done." Sometimes things are hard, but Heavenly Father will make it all worth it if we are obedient because He loves us very much.
     Invite the children to make a recipe for obedience and share!! Here is an example I made on power point. You can take a blank paper and have them draw a picture of something they can do to be obedient at home. Please be aware of your children. If they don't have a mother or father at home, parents means whoever is taking care of them and loving them.

Week 4 I can show love to each member of my family.

* Secret Service Spies!!! Bring in a spy kit: magnifying glass, binoculars, trench coat, hat, flashlight, watch, sunglasses, compass, feather duster, envelopes with paper....
     Times are tough and there are many who want families to be unhappy! It was the same in the Book of Mormon, Zeniff and his people were not safe from the hatred of the Lamanites "But I had sent my spies out round about the land of Shemlon, that I might discover their preparations, that I might guard against them, that they might not come upon my people and destroy them." Mosiah 10:7
      We need modern day spies too!! Boys and girls who are brave and willing to spy out opportunities to serve within the family!! In doing so, families will be strong and eternal!!
     Let children come up front and choose spy gear and discuss:
     Magnifying glass- We need to look really closely at family members. We need to do small things to help each other. What are some small things we can do for others?
     Binoculars- We need to constantly/always be looking for opportunities to make each other happy!! Am I looking carefully to see the needs of others before my own, or am I too busy playing video games? What is something I can do less of this week to make more time for service to my family?
     Trench Coat- We put on our coat and hide in the shadows. Does service always have to go noticed? Do we need to make a big fuss about it, or can we be sneaky? Matthew 6:4 says, "That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
      Hat- A spy hat always helps our minds think!! Sometimes service can be something that happens or sometimes we can think about and plan out a service idea! What would be a BIG service for your family that you might have to plan out?
      Flashlight- John 5:35 "He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light." Who is the ultimate light? Jesus! What were some things He did in His family to show love?
     Watch- No matter what time of the day or night, we can show love and service. Aha! You say! What if we're sleeping? Well what if a little brother needs a hug and is scared of the dark. What if you are tired and annoyed that he is crying and you can't sleep? How could you show love! What about at breakfast time or family home evening time?
     Sunglasses- Be prepared. Once service has started in a home, the happiness can become very bright and you'll need sunglasses to see through all the brightness to keep on finding ways to serve.
     Compass- Do you need directions to find your way? The scriptures are our compass. One of the greatest ways to show love in a family, is to sit down together and read our scriptures! Can the children find a way to fit in an extra 10 verses of scriptures this week with families?
     Feather Duster- Dusting for fingerprints and finding clues is important to spy work. A big way to show love is to help clean up. You might find a clue that your sister dumped out the box of barbies... it would be easy to ignore or make your sister feel bad... however, a secret service spy would do what?
      Envelopes with Paper- If there is time, have children draw or write out a secret service mission plan for the week! Have them come up with ideas for ways to show love at home and then of course do it!

* Write or draw thank you notes to members of our family!

* Have children cut out hearts and write nice things about family members on them. Have them hide the hearts throughout the week where family members can find!

* One of my favorite singing times is when I had a garage sale for good singing. I just went through junk in my house and brought it to primary and the children could choose 1 thing to take home. We have allergies in our primary, so we don't do treats. Teachers had a great time and said to let them know so they could clear out some things in their homes too! I know that you can never have too much singing! If you sings some songs about families, love, and service... after each song you can reverently invite a couple children to come up and get something to GIVE to a family member!! Have another adult help with paper bags to wrap/stuff the item in. I always tell the children that they have to choose quickly, because at a garage sale if you take your time, someone else will swipe up the bargain! If someone chooses something you were looking at, remember it's not a big deal! There are other fun things to give! Have them raise their hands if they can agree that it's not a big deal if someone else chooses something you were looking at. OK! All hands are raised and we're ready to show some love for our family!

For A Special Primary Friend Who is Sick

We had a little CTR 4 boy who was sick. I know he likes bacon, so I made up a song for him and gave him a pack of bacon at home. Feel free to use this song for someone special too!

Sung to the tune of What Does The Fox Say:

Peter’s Sick.
I feel sad.
That he’s sick
and feels real bad.
Stuck at home.
Eating soup.
He will recoup!!!
You’ve been so brave.
You’ve been real tough.
You’re such a
Keep getting well
Keep getting strong

Monday, January 27, 2014

Some Personal Thoughts...

1905 photograph taken by Gertrude Käsebier of Beatrice Baxter Ruyl

Well, I'm getting ready for my fifth child to come into the world. I, like always, am overwhelmed by the love I feel as I ponder why God trusts me as a steward over these precious and beautiful little souls.

I'm grateful for a little... and I do mean little... experience under the belt now. I don't feel like I even know a half of a half of a half about being a good parent, but I definitely have had experiences in the 9 years of being a mother where the spirit has taught me.

My mom, a full fledged Greek American, called me up the other day and asked if I'd heard what the Pope said about breastfeeding. HERE is what he said. What a good man. He truly is a man of God.

You might be gearing up in your head.... OK, here's another one of those crazy breastfeeding people who always has to shove their boob and opinion in people's faces. Please, please, please.... let me state that is NOT my intention! I was just reflecting on the miracle of life and what a privilege it is to be a mother and wanted to share a couple of thoughts.

The reason I wanted to share is because:
1. One day my children will read this.
2. When I had my first child, I would have loved to know more than I did.

I was curious if the church had anything to say about breastfeeding... here's what I found! 

An Ensign Q&A from Sept. 1981, found HERE, says,
"Q. What are the pros and cons of breast feeding and bottle feeding?      
A. Breast feeding really is better than bottle feeding, but it is important to remember that some women have difficulty breast feeding and such women should not feel inferior as mothers.
Breast milk and feeding has many advantages:
1. Breast milk is an ideally balanced food for baby, and formulas are only an attempt to approximate breast milk.
2. Breast milk is clean. There are no sterilization or storage problems.
3. Breast milk has disease preventing qualities.
4. Iron in breast milk is more easily absorbed and beneficial to the infant.
5. Upset stomach, intestinal difficulties, and allergies are less frequent in breast-fed babies.
6. Breast feeding helps the uterus of the mother to return to its normal state more rapidly.
7. Breast feeding is much more economical and usually more convenient.
8. A bond is formed between mother and child during nursing.
9. Breast feeding has other emotional benefits as well. Mothers who feed their infants often report, “I
feel more like I’m giving my baby what he needs.” “It helps me feel fulfilled as a woman.” “It forces me to relax and take time with my baby. I love breast feeding and I need the rest.” “It makes me feel important because I know the baby needs me.” “It helps me appreciate more the sacrifices my mother made for me.” “I feel closer to my Father in Heaven and the role I play in creation.”
A pediatrician or other physician should be consulted regarding the appropriate formula for the baby who is not breast fed."
      Another source, The Latter Day Saint Woman Manuel HERE says,
"Our Heavenly Father made the mother’s body so it could produce milk. This milk is made especially for human babies to drink. It is better for babies than milk from animals. The first fluid that comes from the mother’s breasts after a new baby is born is also important. It contains substances that help protect the baby from diseases for the first few months.... A mother should breast-feed her baby if she can."
I don't usually link to sites that have advertising, however, I really loved the scriptural examples and art used HERE (Women in the Scriptures by Heather Farrell)on mothers in the scriptures who nursed. Did you know that Rebekah had a wet nurse?
HERE is a blog post with a bunch of  LDS artwork of women breastfeeding... I thought the one at Temple Square was really interesting! I never knew there was a woman breastfeeding on the Seagull Monument!
I know we all have different perspectives. I'm not telling anyone what to do.
I'm just speaking to that mother with a newborn in her arms who feels overwhelmed, confused, and not sure. I too have been there. I understand what you are going through.
I felt prompted to share my story.
My sweet Christina.
We lived in DC and it was winter and I'd never been so cold in my life! We didn't have a car and all of a sudden I started getting sick. I paid attention in S.H.A.R.E but was a little surprised still, when I got the news. I was in love with her the moment I knew I was pregnant. I felt this extreme blessing and humility. My parents had always been open with me about their struggle with infertility and I developed early on a reverence for the sacredness of motherhood.
I had just graduated and my husband was finishing up his last semester. I remember calling up for health insurance, happy as a lark, and the brutal reality setting in... pregnancy is a beautiful experience, but a pre-existing condition. The joys of worry began. How would we ever pay? What if something went wrong?
Fortunately, we qualified for government help.
And I'm not ashamed to say thank you to all the gracious tax payers who helped us out during that time in our lives!
Christina was born in the fall after we moved back to friendlier weather conditions in the good ol' silver state. The trees were alive, bursting it seemed with the color that our sweet daughter would fill the world with.
When she was born, I was overcome with love but also an insanely intense worry. What had I done!!
I received a little help with nursing at the hospital, but it didn't seem to go that smooth.
In fact, I had developed a small hole that (I know graphic... sorry) had started turning green and oozing. I was told that she needed formula. Over and over. I gave her a little, but I was completely uneducated. My whole life breastfeeding experience was my mom telling me that Greeks breastfed. My Yaya had 10 children. 2 died, but the other 8 she breastfed 2 years each. My mother breastfed me 2 years. And that was it.
I was pretty panicked that I wouldn't be able to feed her, but fortunately I met with a lactation consultant who told me that I just needed to relax.
So I tried my best to relax and what do you know, within a few weeks we were doing good! Christina breastfed for 2 years.
I never pumped any milk or gave her expressed bottles.
I guess I just wanted some leverage when she's a teenager, getting ready for a date... "Your curfew is 9PM and I don't want any lip. I breastfed you 2 years... no one else ever fed you. I was up every moment at the night, there for you. You owe me. 9PM."
I'm hoping this tactic might work?
My sweet Maria.
Oh man. I was ready. I was an EXPERT. We would have no trouble this time around.
And we couldn't latch right.
Maria lost quite a bit of weight until a friend suggested a shield.
I tried that little sucker, and by golly! It worked!! We used it for about 5 weeks and then I was able to get her to feed without it, just trying each time. We breastfed for 2 years, again no expressing bottles or formula.
I also discovered Mastitis. Wow. Really, there are no words.
For me personally, we are in the most blessed circumstances for me to stay home. I know that not everyone is in the same situation.
The way the spirit guided me personally, was that I needed to be the one to feed my child. It was a privilege, and never a sacrifice, to be the one to comfort and provide for my baby... at 1AM, 3AM, 3:20AM, 6AM... etc.
So when Maria starts dating... same story. She owes me.
My perfect Joe.
My first little boy. I had been on Pitocin and dilated to a 9 before I finally got an epidural... the last 10 minutes to push. But hey, I'll take it. At that point I felt a deeper understanding of the Atonement. This pain, this terrible pain that I wasn't prepared for... and yet, God gave me comfort. And that was just a foreshadowing.
I don't know how, but as I look back, I knew. I have videos of me at the hospital just going on and on about how perfect he was. I was overwhelmed and I remember having a blessing that scared me, but I chose to kind of just block out my feelings... I had the direct impression that death would be near.
He was completely healthy.
But, of course, struggled breastfeeding.
We tried the shield, and I truly believe that if I didn't have so many medical professionals trying to shove the bottle down his throat, that our experience would have been more peaceful. But I know that God's plan is perfect and I know that I'll have that much more joy when I do breastfeed him in the resurrection.
He was about 1 oz. under his birth weight when my pediatrician told me that he was "not thriving". That I "didn't have enough milk". That I had to "supplement or he would starve".
I panicked. Completely.
Hormones. Stress. We were 1 month from moving into a new house.
I had no clue how formula worked. Some good friends were very supportive and helped me.
I still insisted on being the only one to feed him.
I tried breastfeeding. I tried pumping. I tried fenugreek.
I pumped every 2 hours for 1 1/2 months. Day and Night.
We were out at a restaurant and everyone was happy. Except for me. I felt so blessed... however, I was feeding my Joe a bottle and it didn't feel right.
I wish I had never listened to my pediatrician. I wish I had never listened to the nurses in the hospital.
One day... I hope you don't mind me sharing this personal day. But one day, it was nap time and Joe was crying. I was pumping, but I didn't want him to cry, so I rocked him on my knee while I pumped. I did that quite a bit. I was trying to just do my best. I was trying to do everything possible that I could for him. I was able to feed him some expressed milk in a bottle. I kissed him and set him down for nap.
And he didn't wake up.
One time, we had gone to a park and it was summer time. A little rain storm kicked up out of nowhere.
I'm so happy that in his short life he got to feel rain on his cheek.
To all my friends that have loved and lost, we will hug each other. We will embrace each other. And we will have one kick a** mother's group in the resurrection. Assuming I make it, because I do use a** on occasion when I'm feeling hormonal.
My sweet Elijah.
Jittery. Nervous. Peaceful. Trusting.
God blessed me. I doubted myself. Maybe I was just a horrible mother.
But every time I thought this, I heard my angel baby's voice.
"No mommy, God just needed me."
So my 2nd born son came. I couldn't eat.
I was so happy. I was so worried.
We were about ready to go home when there was a terrible event. At the Fallon Air Races, a plane had lost control and crashed into crowd. There were a lot of serious injuries.
Not a good sign.
All the doctors and nurses left us for hours. Finally, we were able to go home late at night.
We drove home, a 25 minute drive.
The pitch black sky taunted me.
The tiny lights of homes glimmered hope.
At the hospital Elijah was having trouble latching.
A nurse squeezed me so hard I thought labor was easier.
Another nurse said, "You shouldn't use a shield. That's horrible."
But I did, and he nursed.
I had a new pediatrician this time around.
She was my angel. She knew how scared I was.
And let me just state. I wasn't scared of death.
I know God lives. I know He loves me.
I was just scared that I might have to live without.
Living without is sad.
But you know what she told me... he's gaining weight, who cares if there is a piece of plastic helping him latch? I tried weaning him off the shield, but it didn't happen right away.
We breastfed 8 months with that thing! One day, he grabbed it and threw it and then started breastfeeding "normal" quote on quote.
So in my own personal experience, shields have been life savers. They aren't something horrendous.
Elijah continued to breastfeed until 2. Again, no expressed milk or formula.
However, I probably won't use that against him. I think it'd be weird for a 16 year old boy.
Instead I'll use the time I had to change his diapers after he drank a whole carton of muscle/protein milk at papa's... thank you grandpa... Scarred. For. LIFE.
My Sweet Ella.
3 more weeks and she'll be here.
I'm pretty prepared that breastfeeding will not be easy.
But I know that for me personally it's worth it.
Hebrews 10: 35-36 "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."
My thoughts today are this, if you don't feel confident, it's OK. God will help. He will help you find the confidence and the patience.
Whether it's breastfeeding or bottle feeding, the spirit will guide you personally.
If you need someone in your corner cheering for you and saying you can do, I'm shouting out