Saturday, July 25, 2009

Consider the Lilies

El Vendedor de Alcatraces By Diego Rivera
(Image courtesy creative commons license

D&C 84: 81-84 "Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed. For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these. For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things. Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself."

I once was given a very special blessing that truly firmed my testimony in Divinity. I was studying this scripture and pondering it. The person giving me the blessing had no clue what I was reading in my personal scripture time, and yet Heavenly Father knew. The scripture was quoted and it's purpose expanded to me within the blessing.

I would like to pose 3 questions.
1. What can you do to increase your faith in Jesus Christ and our loving Father?
2. What can you do to make your attitude more Christ like?
3. Do you believe that we are indeed children of a loving Father?

This is a favorite piece of art that hangs in our home. Originally, Diego Rivera meant it as a more political piece symbolic of the burdens of the Mexican people. However, art is art. I appreciate it in a different sense. I see a woman with a tremendous load, yet it is a beautiful load. And she is not alone, she is never alone. Deity is behind her, helping her bear the load and lifting it. She has fallen to her knees and it is a good thing. I look at this picture everyday and am inspired. I hope you can be inspired by it also.

Often our callings can seem overwhelming. I didn't become a doctor for a reason, I don't do well with blood and guts. The same can be said about teaching yet here we are in an organization that asks us to do what we don't necessarily have confidence in. The burden however is beautiful and we need to recognize that. And we have support. If you feel overwhelmed about teaching Primary, take a step back. Did you have a lesson that just didn't go well? It's OK. Next week will be better! A person doesn't get to Carnegie Hall over night, it takes practice!

The time has come for preparing/writing Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentations. We are all entitled to revelation and help from above. Often I receive such nice and kind comments on how "my ideas" are wonderful. If only I could claim them as my own! The ideas are inspiration from above. Plain and simple. I find that if I pray sincerely, make sure my heart is in the right place and listen carefully... answers will come. The same can be true for you too! Don't get stressed out, you don't need to! Heavenly Father will help. Using the chocolate chip cookie analogy - A chocolate chip cookie is not a chocolate chip cookie with one chocolate chip. You need lots and lots and then another cup full. Pray often. The more the better.

If I had to boil down the message of this post into one thought, it'd be this: Have Hope!! Basically, if you were in the corner of the ring, I'm patting you on the back and chanting for you, you can do it! You can do it! You can do whatever you need to do in life because God is truly with us and mindful of our needs. Psalm 55:22 "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Roseville, California 1st Ward... I Applaud You

I am always looking for ways to build a bridge between church and home. For Father's Day weekend we were visiting the greater Sacramento, California area and stayed at a hotel right by the temple.

It was a packed house! We had a lady in front of us who was a primary teacher welcome my children and was super friendly! Oh how I love people that don't ignore children! And a little girl held my daugther's hand so she could also sing to her daddy for Father's day. Thank you for being a ward full of awesome friendly people. We didn't stay for primary (which I was dying to do because I love learning and getting new ideas) however, there was a connection that I thought was brilliant.

On their Sacrament Meeting program, on the back, they put the primary monthly theme and scripture! Is that simple? Is that helpful? Is that wonderful? Is that a quick way to help parents reinforce the principles being taught on Sunday?

Kudos to you Roseville CA 1st Ward!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

September 2009 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Month Theme: Prophets teach me how to strengthen my family.
Month Scripture: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, . . . whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38)

Week 1 Bible prophets teach me how to strengthen my family (review biblical stories about righteous families such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, and Zacharias and Elisabeth).

* Make "book kits" for the children to put together as groups. Give them a few minutes to glue together, review and then come up and share that story. For example have 6 pages for a book with simple phrases/scriptures that review the story, let the children draw pictures to the story. Have a teacher help and supervise. Don’t forget to have the children say how that bible prophet teaches them how to strengthen their family!!

* I'm such a clutz! Put together scriptures, simple phrases and pictures to tell about the biblical families. Have them in small stacks. Accidentally trip and knock over all the papers, mixing them up! Have the children come up and pick up one paper/picture at a time and decide what story stack it goes to. (For an example of a simple phrase: They loved all the animals and took very good care of them. The plants and flowers were beautiful in the garden. - then ask - Where does this go? Kind of tricky. We know Noah loved animals... but did he live in a garden?) Don’t forget to have the children say how that bible prophet teaches them how to strengthen their family!!

* Have a large arrow with the words "AND THEN...." Bring in some pictures and prepare some questions to help the children tell the stories of these families. Invite 5 children to the front. Have the first start out the story and say whatever they can think of, then they pass the arrow to the next person and say "And then!!". Don’t forget to have the children say how that bible prophet teaches them how to strengthen their family!!

* Have adults come in dressed up as that prophet. Let the children ask them questions to figure out what prophet they are supposed to be! Have the adults prepare a short summary of who they are and read a scripture relating to that prophet. Don’t forget to have the children say how that bible prophet teaches them how to strengthen their family!!

* Have mini-crossword puzzles! On the black board have 3-5 words in crossword format, number properly, and have clues for the children. Clues can be pictures! Clues can be songs! Clues can be scriptures! With the mini-crossword format you can do a few bible families! For younger children who can't read and spell, say the letters out loud for them and then have them repeat with you. (It only takes a few seconds and helps with letter recognition, a key to reading!) For Senior Primary, assign them a scripture family and have them make up their own mini-crossword puzzle for the others to figure out!

* Have some really strong men from the ward come in and demonstrate their strength. They could do one handed push-ups. The could pick up their own child and toss them in the air. They could do a chin-up. It's important to be strong! Ask them to talk about their favorite prophet and why that prophet is their favorite. How has that prophet helped their spirit and their family be stronger?

* Sheila E. Wilson, pure genius, has this idea she shared in the October 2004 Friend "Sharing Time: Follow the Prophet”:

" Read aloud D&C 1:38. Prophets are servants of the Lord and speak for Him to guide and direct us. Share the story of the prophet Joshua from the Old Testament. The children of Israel had left their homes and wandered in the wilderness for more than 40 years. Through Joshua, the Lord promised the children of Israel that the city of Jericho would be theirs. He told Joshua what the people should do, and Joshua told the people.

Read together and role-play (see TNGC,p. 178) the account in Josh. 6:6–16, 20. You will need children to portray Joshua, the seven priests (with rolled-up paper for ram’s horns), and the children of Israel. Rather than shout, sing a song or hymn while the children stand and represent the wall around Jericho. Have the children sit down to represent the wall falling down. Give a choral reading (see TNGC,p. 163). Have “Joshua” say, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). Have everyone respond with a choral reading of Josh. 24:24. Bear testimony that our homes will be blessed and our families will be strengthened as we choose to obey the prophets and serve the Lord."

Week 2 Book of Mormon prophets teach me how to strengthen my family.

* All the ideas from Week 1 can be adjusted to fit this weeks theme.

Week 3 The prophet today teaches me how to strengthen my family.

* Do you have any books by President Monson? Gather as many as you can find! Print out talks, articles from the Ensign and other church magazines. Let the Senior Primary go through the books and see if they can find quotes from the prophet on how to strengthen the family. Give them post it notes to hold pages and spots, then have them share!

* Here is a link to the Friend. It is a wonderful article from President Monson on how to build strong testimonies. Strong testimonies lead to strong families. You could easily help the children build a road by asking them questions from the article.

* Here is another wonderful link to the Friend. It could make a great flannel board activity of the teachings of President Monson. It's important to remember that the whole world is our family. We are all brothers and sisters.

* How much do our children know about the first presidency? Have their pictures displayed and a bunch of clues to match. See if the children can guess which member the clue is about! Here is a link with some simple facts about them. Add in a couple quotes that each member has said about strengthening families and have the children guess who it belongs to! At the end of the lesson have some primary friends share something new they've learned about the members of the first presidency!

* This is a great story that President Monson told. Make paper canaries and have questions, scriptures and songs posted on the back of the birds. Our families don't have to be driving the fanciest cars or have super big homes with lots of toys, our families should have peace and inner beauty like the canary with the best song.

* President Monson talks about 3 pieces of a treasure map in a friend article found here. Make up your own treasure map to find a hidden treasure within the primary room. For the children to move to the next spot on the treasure map, they must answer questions: What have I learned from my family in the past? How can I prepare for a family in the future? How do I help with my family now? These questions can correspond to a compass (So the child will pick N, S, E or W. You could spin them and have them point... be creative) You could also have a song assigned to a point on the compass. The treasure is a picture of the temple! Families can be together forever when I listen to the prophet today and help strengthen them!

Week 4 I will hear the words of the prophets when I listen to general conference.

* Print out a bunch of different clip art black and white images children can cut out and glue stick to make a coloring book. (Take a piece of construction paper, fold in half... fill with white paper and staple... this would be the book they can add images too) As they go to conference they can take their book and listen to hear if anyone talks about the different things they are coloring! Have pictures of the apostles themselves for them to glue in too! What apostle will they get to hear?! Older children of course can make this more of a journal to write what they are thinking.

* Show short video clips (2-3 minutes each) from a past general conference. Give the children paper ears glued on popsicle sticks and paper hearts glued on popsicle sticks. When the hear something that is interesting have them raise their ear and share what they've heard. When they have felt something, have them raise their heart and share what they've felt. They can also share in partners if a lot of friends want to participate!

* Linda Olsen, “Conference Reverence Tent,” Friend, Oct 2008, 36–38... classic! Thanks Sister Olsen!

Make a large sheet tent for the children to sit under as you have someone role play King Benjamin. Encourage the children to do this at home, with the help of their parents as they listen to next month's general conference!