Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pickle Poem Adaptation- LDS Christmas Primary Gift/ Ornament

The Christmas pickle is a Christmas tradition in the United States. A decoration in the shape of a pickle is hidden on a Christmas tree, with the finder receiving either a reward or good fortune for the following year.

There are a few poems out there, but I decided to make my own. Please do not use for commercial purposes.

A small little pickle, funny too see
Hanging so softly in our Christmas tree!

It reminds us to look really close all around
And appreciate the things that always surround!

So hang it at night on one special limb,
Among all the lights, so bright, and trim-

And each day in life as we go about
Remember the pickle and not to doubt….

We are loved and Heavenly Father is there
He is not hidden, just call Him in prayer!

Jesus Christ was born, our Savior, our friend!
Merry Christmas and joy, to you we send!!
Love, The Primary Presidency

Monday, December 15, 2014

2015 January LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps And Ideas

Christ in the Garden of Olives by Gustave Moreau
(Public Domain work of art)

Monthly Theme: We Believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Monthly Scripture: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." Articles of Faith 1:1
Week 1 God is the Father of my spirit.

* Tell the children you are going to ask a couple of questions. They can nod their head yes or no. They do not need to answer out loud. See if they can hear a common word....
Is Bishop K OUR bishop?
Is the Book of Mormon used for scripture study in OUR homes?
Is the temple a sacred place in OUR city?
Is this church building used with respect by OUR ward?
What was the common word? OUR!! Meaning you and me!! All of us!
Read Matthew 6:9, "...Our Father‍ which art in heaven, Hallowed‍ be thy name."
When Jesus told us how to pray, did He say that Heavenly Father was just HIS father? No! OUR father.
     God is the Father of our spirits. He knows each of us by name! Play a game- a name game! Invite 1 primary child from one side of the room up. Tap 4 children on the other side to also come up. See if the 1 child can name the names of the 4 children you tapped.
     Ask questions, sing songs, and share experiences about Heavenly Father in between each round of the game!
Sample Questions:
What are a few words to describe Heavenly Father?
What has Heavenly Father created that brings you joy?

How can we know Heavenly Father lives?
Who has seen Heavenly Father? What about heard?

    End with bearing testimony that God is the Father of our spirits! There are a lot of people out there with a lot of different names, but Heavenly Father knows each of OUR names and loves us!

* Bring in about 5 candy bars and a small plastic knife to cut. Please BE AWARE of any food allergies!!!
     I know that these are delicious candy bars. I've tasted them and enjoyed them many times. Would you rather know for yourself that they are delicious or just go off my words?
     What if I were to tell you that Heavenly Father lives. God is the Father of our spirits. We are His children and He loves us dearly. Would you rather know this for yourself or be dependent on my testimony?
     Read John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know‍ thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." What does this scripture promise us if we know and develop our testimony of God the Father and Jesus Christ?
     Divide into small groups. Give each group a sheet of paper to draw on and a few crayons. Give each group one of the following questions and have them draw their answer:
1.What is a spirit?
2. Who created our spirits?
3. Is everyone in the world brothers and sisters?
4. How can we know Heavenly Father loves us?
5. Why should we pray to Heavenly Father?
6. What are some things Heavenly Father has said?
7. Where is Heavenly Father?
8. How can we talk with Heavenly Father?
9. What are some feelings we have knowing that we are children of God?
10. What can we do to return to Heavenly Father?
   Have a person from each group come up front to share their answers. Truth is a beautiful thing!! And we don't just have to take another person's word for it, like the candy bars! The truth that God is the father of our spirits can be a part of our testimony today. Testimonies are for sharing, and so is the chocolate you brought in!
(*I do not advocate sugaring up children, this just happens to be an idea that popped into my head. You could easily substitute in some delicious cut up apples!)

* Have everyone look into their neighbor's eyes for 5 seconds. Now switch to your neighbor on the other side. (You might have a few giggles, but that's OK!)
What did you see when you looked into their eyes?
"As we look into the eyes of a child, we see a fellow son or daughter of God who stood with us in the premortal life." (Children by Elder Neil L. Anderson October 2011... such a GREAT talk!!!)
     We are children of God. God is the father of our spirits!! Review what happened in the premortal life by bringing in a few white sheets. Dress up a few primary friends in white. They were in the heavenly host... what happened??
     Have about 10 pictures of eyes all over the room. On the eyes have questions, scriptures, or songs having to do with Heavenly Father on them.
Children can go home and have family look into their eyes! Have them ask what family members see. Be sure to teach our family that when we look into each other's eyes we are seeing a beautiful child of God!
Week 2 Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

* Sing Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, CS 57. Bring in mini-books prepared for the children. (Plain paper, cut in half, stapled on the ends!) Invite them to write & draw a favorite story about Christ. Bring in a bunch of stuffed animals. After about 5-7 minutes to make their book, have a few volunteers come up front to a special chair to read to the animals and the rest of primary! (This idea is more geared toward Junior Primary)
    Did you know there is an art competition this year, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus" at the Church History Museum? It's for people 18 years or older and children can encourage family members to participate! HERE are more details.

* Have a few children up front to act out the following story from our last General Conference,
     "One evening Susan and I stood near a window in our home and watched two of our little boys playing outside. During the course of their adventures, the younger of the two boys was injured slightly in a small accident. We quickly recognized that he was not seriously hurt, and we decided not to provide immediate assistance. We wanted to observe and see if any of our family discussions about brotherly kindness had sunk in. What happened next was both interesting and instructive.
     The older brother consoled and carefully helped the younger brother back into the house. Susan and I had positioned ourselves near the kitchen so we could see what next took place, and we were prepared to intervene immediately if additional bodily harm seemed likely or a serious accident was imminent.
      The older brother dragged a chair to the kitchen sink. He climbed up on the chair, assisted his brother onto the chair, turned on the water, and proceeded to pour a large quantity of dishwashing soap onto the scratched arm of his little brother. He did his best to gently wash away the dirt. The reaction of the little brother to this procedure can only be described accurately using language from the holy scriptures: “And they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth” (Mosiah 16:2). And did that little boy howl!
      After the scrubbing was finished, the arm was carefully dried with a towel. Eventually the screaming stopped. The older brother next climbed up onto the kitchen counter, opened a cabinet, and found a new tube of medicated ointment. Though the scratches on his little brother were not large or extensive, the older brother applied almost all of the ointment in the tube to the entire injured arm. The screaming did not resume, as the little brother clearly liked the soothing effect of the ointment much more than he appreciated the cleansing effect of the dishwashing soap.
       The older brother returned again to the cabinet in which he had found the ointment and located a new box of sterile bandages. He then unwrapped and put bandages all up and down his brother’s arm—from the wrist to the elbow. With the emergency resolved, and with soap bubbles, ointment, and wrappers all over the kitchen, the two little boys hopped down from the chair with bright smiles and happy faces.
       What happened next is most important. The injured brother gathered up the remaining bandages and the almost empty tube of ointment, and he went back outside. He quickly sought out his friends and began to put ointment and bandages on their arms. Susan and I both were struck by the sincerity, enthusiasm, and rapidity of his response.
       Why did that little boy do what he did? Please note that he immediately and intuitively wanted to give to his friends the very thing that had helped him when he was hurt. That little boy did not have to be urged, challenged, prompted, or goaded to act. His desire to share was the natural consequence of a most helpful and beneficial personal experience."
     After reading this story while the children act it out (make sure to have props like dish soap, ointment, and band aids- the children don't have to make a mess, just pretend!) ask, What does this story have to do with Jesus Christ? All answers are good answers! Repeat the underlined words. Will knowing Jesus help others? It will!! So just like the little boy shared his band aids, we need to be good missionaries and share our knowledge about Jesus Christ.
     Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Have a band aid box up front with 5-10 questions about Jesus. Divide into partners and have the pairs sit on the floor throughout the room. Invite one child to come up to the band aid box and pull out a question about Jesus. Take 30 seconds for pairs to talk to each other about the answer to that question.
    After children return to their seats, bear testimony that knowledge of Jesus Christ is the healing power that will help the world!
(Quoted story from Come and See by Elder David A. Bednar Oct. 2014, such a great talk!!!)
* There are a lot of beautiful videos about the life of Christ on Lds.org. I  like this music video, I'm Trying to be Like Jesus. It seems a little slow, but it might just be because it's night and I ate 6 sugar cookies. Woooooo!!!
* HERE is a link to teaching children the topic of Jesus Christ. I really like this poem, “I Find the Savior” (August 2013 Friend).
    After reading it to the children, have hidden pictures throughout the room from the life of Jesus. Have children find the pictures and talk about the stories. You could even have special giant glasses for them to put on to look for the pictures. Jesus Christ is the Son of God!! He lives and loves us!!

Week 3 & 4 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me.

* Have a large bunch of index cards. Have children write down something that shows Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's love for them. Examples could include the earth, animals, family, flowers, etc. They can be as specific as they like!! Have a hat that you can tape the index cards to, 1 at a tme.
    Invite 3 children up front. 1 child will wear the hat and won't be able to see the index card. The other 2 children will give hints to that person to try to help them guess the something that shows Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's love for us!

* HERE is a great story from The Friend. You could easily summarize or read it with enthusiasm. Play the alphabet game after! Go from class to class and have them come up with a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet. (For example, Sunbeams get A. Apples! CTR 4 gets B. Butterflies!! CTR 5 gets C. Chins!) The word will be something that shows that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me!!

* My favorite scripture is found in  1 John 4: 7-11,
     " Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
     It is really humbling to think of that great love. I can't help but read that scripture and feel the truth and spirit behind the words.

* Invite a member in to share a time when someone showed them great love. How do we know when someone loves us? They tell us and they show us.
     HERE is a list of MANY scriptures that TELL us God loves us!! Have children spend a few minutes to look up different scriptures from the topical guide. Would anyone like to share a couple? Play a game of win-win-draw to SHOW some of the different things Heavenly Father and Jesus have done or created to show their love for us. A child would come up to the chalk board and draw, other primary friends guess.

* 2 Nephi 1:15, "... I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."
Bring in a bear, to give bear hugs! Let the children give the bear a hug and pass to their neighbor. When the music stops, that person can say how they know Heavenly Father and Jesus love them. For example, He gave me my sister or One time I broke my arm, but it healed quickly.
     Go over the story of Jesus blessing the children in America. (3 Nephi 17)
HERE is a simplified version with pictures.
     How does it feel to be hugged? Safe. Warm. Happy! Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us! We are, like the scriptures say, "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 Primary Teacher Binders

As we're trying to get set for the new year, I thought I'd post what we put in our binders for teachers. I don't want too much "stuff" in it, but I do want them to have what they need.

For binder covers, we just make a copy of the Sharing Time Outline's front cover.

1. Primary Lesson Manual with pictures

2. Theme & Purpose of Primary (From the Handbook)
" Primary is for children ages 18 months through 11 years. The Primary theme is “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (3 Nephi 22:13). The purposes of Primary are to help children:
      1. Feel Heavenly Father’s love for them.   
      2. Learn and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
      3. Feel and recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost.      
      4. Prepare to make and keep sacred covenants.      
Parents have the first responsibility for the spiritual and physical welfare of their children (see D&C 68:25–28). The bishopric, Primary leaders, and Primary teachers support but do not replace parents in this responsibility."
3. Class List
4. Lesson Schedule
5. Primary Substitute Teacher List
6. Time Schedule
7. Primary Presidency Information- Names and Numbers
8. Teacher Tips ( HERE for the PDF)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Primary Music Leader 101: The Basics, How to Teach a Child a Song

Remember, before you teach, to give the pianist the songs ahead of time. Also, pray for the spirit to be with you!
Tips on how to teach a song:

1. BE CONFIDENT. So you're not the best singer. So what? Practice. Ask for help. Or maybe you're a great singer but being in front of a bunch of children who are adorably cute makes you nervous. You are amazing. You are awesome!! You can do this!!!

2. KNOW THE SONG. Know the melody, know ALL the words. How can you expect to teach a song that you haven't practiced or do not know? It doesn't have to be perfect and you'll probably make mistakes. But it is better to have a song semi-memorized than holding a big bulky book and looking confused. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing on elevators??, sing a word on each stair you climb... teach your family, teach anyone willing, then teach at Primary! Yes. This takes some time. God will bless you. Do you have a special experience with this song? Share the story with the children before you learn it.


What does the song sound like?
- Have the pianist play through the melody. Let children hum along. They can also sing vowel sounds like oooo, aah, or eee, and switch off throughout the song.
- Have the children see if they can clap (or tap on knee) the rhythm while you sing the melody. Rhythm sticks are an excellent tool to use while learning the melody of a song... you could even use 2 pencils to tap together!
- You could have a guest come in to sing it. For younger children, have them conduct their hand while the person is singing. Remember, sitting for large amounts of time is HARD!! And not necessary.

What are the words?
- Have visuals with PICTURES. Let the children hold the visuals!! You do not need to have every word written to the song on visuals because a good chunk of your little ones can't even read yet! Plus, half the time you can't see the words printed out. It's the pictures that they will need to associate with learning. KEY WORDS along with pictures are great!
- If you don't have visuals, use hand movements!!! Have a few children up front to do hand movements with you!
- Sometimes dress up will work. Or toys. You can even have visuals that hang around the neck like a necklace. Don't limit yourself to just a flip chart!*
- I write all the words on the back of the visual for me so if I get stuck, they are there, instead of me having to run back to the book.

4. TEACH SMALL PHRASES OF WORDS AT A TIME. Sing the phrase. Have the children repeat. Listen carefully to see if the children are getting it. Do you hear everyone singing? After a few phrases, go back to the beginning and sing it through up to what you have learned. The pianist can just play the melody while you are learning.

5. BE POSITIVE!!!! Tell the children what a wonderful job they are doing. Thank them for all their help. Thank them for listening and working so hard. Use your words to build them up, not tear them down.

6. DO NOT SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON THE SAME SONG!!! Opinions may vary, but anything over 8ish minutes seems brutal for one song. There is so much wonderful music in the Children's Songbook. Of course you want to have children learn the song, but if you spend a small amount of time each week, it will come.

7. QUIZ!
Sing a phrase and leave out a word. Sing a phrase and have them sing the next! Put in a silly word and have them sing it the right way.

Once you have learned a song, there are many ways to review it! Here are a few simple ideas.**
1. Hot/Cold - is your song about love? Have a heart for a child to hide in the room. Let another child go outside while they hide. When they come back in, the primary sings loud if the person is close to the heart, soft if they are far away.
2. Special Pointer- It could be as simple as a stick. One primary friend comes up front to point to which side of the room will sing. The primary has to watch carefully and be ready!!
3. Zipper Words- Have a pencil case with a zipper. Have a child choose a word from the song to zip our lips to! Is the word ALL? Zip it in the pouch (pretend) and don't sing on ALL!
4. Stop/Go- Have a red and green circle. Invite a primary child to hold them up. On red, no singing. On green, sing.
5. Staccato- sing it short and choppy.
6. Ribbon sticks- Sing smooth and flowing. Good to use after you sing staccato.
7. Sing the song backwards- Stand up and face the back of the room. Ha ha!!
8. Yoga Pose Singing- Balance while you sing.
9. I SPY- Have special glasses for special children who can sing and spy at the same time. If they saw someone singing the WHOLE SONG, then they can have that person come up front to wear the glasses and spy the next time we sing.
10. NO PIANO- The primary pianist comes up front with her fingers playing the air either high or low. Children play the air piano also while they sing and move their hands high or low just like the pianist.
Read THIS to really feel the spirit and gain a stronger testimony of the importance of music.

* Flip charts are not my personal favorite. Flip charts are "YOU". But singing time is about "THEM". I really like having children stand up front holding signs because it gets them moving. After singing through once, children can choose another primary friend to hold the sign. It gives them the chance to figure out the order of the words for the song again, so you're sneaking in extra word practice! Remind children the behavior expected while holding a sign- keeping the sign to themselves, steady, and singing while holding!

** Some songs are more reverent in nature. Be aware and don't use review methods that would detract from the spirit of that song... for example, stomping during I Stand All Amazed. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

December 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

The Madonna of the Lilies
1899 William-Adolphe Bouguereau
(Image courtesy public domain laws)

Monthly Theme: We remember and worship our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Monthly Scripture: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6

Week 1 The sacrament is a time to remember Jesus Christ.

*HERE is a lesson from the Primary 2 manual. It's sure to spark some thoughts!

* HERE is a really cool little book for the children to make from The Friend (April 2000).

* HERE is a beautiful talk by Elder Holland. You could review the story of the Passover with the children by having one dress up as Moses. Have pictures or toys to represent the different plagues. The Passover was miraculous. It was a testimony of how much God loves His children. The sacred night where Jesus feasted with his apostles, he prepared and taught about the sacrament. President Joseph Fielding Smith said the sacrament is, "the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church”
       Elder Holland goes on to ask, "Perhaps we do not always attach that kind of meaning to our weekly sacramental service. How “sacred” and how “holy” is it? Do we see it as our passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?"
      Play a game of "Passover" or heads-up-7-up. Children close their eyes, put their heads down, and thumbs up. 3 or 4 children will "pass over" to touch 1 person's thumb and then go to the front of the room. The people who had their thumbs touched put their thumbs down and then when you call time, they stand up. Those that stand, ask them to tell something you can do to remember Jesus during the sacrament. Then have them guess who touched their thumb. If they guess, they can switch places with the person who touched their thumb. Play a few rounds!!

*HERE are some more good ideas from The Friend. Throwback 1996, the year of the Macarena!!!!! I love the spin the bottle idea, but I don't think I'd actually use it.... ah, how times have changed. I also liked inviting a couple people in to share their favorite Sacrament Hymns... you could have the primary pianist play the tune quietly in the background as they talk.

Week 2 Remembering Jesus Christ helps me choose the right.

* Go through the Gospel Art Book and find 8-10 stories/pictures of things Jesus did that we can do too. Number the pictures. HERE are some CTR rings in a bunch of different languages.
    Number the back of the CTR rings and hide them throughout the room. Have a child find a ring, practice saying choose the right in a different language, and then show them the numbered Gospel Art Picture. Have them tell a little about the picture and how it helps us to remember to choose the right.
For example:
The picture of Jesus working with Joseph as a young child. He listened to his earthly Father and was helpful. I can do this too by helping around the house and having a good attitude.

* Sometimes, in a larger primary, children don't know each other! Start off with 3 children. Have them say their name and something interesting about themselves. We're working on our memory today by playing this game!! Remembering is important!! Have them sit down and invite a primary friend to say the 3 children that were up front and what was interesting about them.
     After each round share a story about Jesus, or read a scripture, or sing a song that they love. How does remembering The Savior help us to choose the right? For example, a child wants to sing I love to See The Temple, so sing it... then discuss, The temple is The Lord's house! We can make choices now like praying often to prepare us to go to His house.
      You can make the game harder by adding more children each round!

* I LOVE LOVE LOVE this conference talk, Choose Wisely, by Elder Cook.
    Bring in a little Peanut comic strip! Show the children and tell them that Elder Cook likes Charlie Brown! Who else here does too? Share the following quote- there will be some big words, so if you aren't sure of a word, wait until we're done and we'll discuss the meaning:
     "My beloved brethren, my desire this evening is to share some counsel about decisions and choices.
      When I was a young lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area, our firm did some legal work for the company that produced the Charlie Brown holiday TV specials. I became a fan of Charles Schulz and his creation—Peanuts, with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and other wonderful characters.
      One of my favorite comic strips involved Lucy. As I remember it, Charlie Brown’s baseball team was in an important game—Lucy was playing right field, and a high fly ball was hit to her. The bases were loaded, and it was the last of the ninth inning. If Lucy caught the ball, her team would win. If Lucy dropped the ball, the other team would win.
       As could happen only in a comic strip, the entire team surrounded Lucy as the ball came down. Lucy was thinking, “If I catch the ball, I will be the hero; if I don’t, I will be the goat.”
       The ball came down, and as her teammates eagerly looked on, Lucy dropped the ball. Charlie Brown threw his glove to the ground in disgust. Lucy then looked at her teammates, put her hands on her hips, and said, “How do you expect me to catch the ball when I am worried about our country’s foreign policy?”
       This was one of many fly balls Lucy dropped through the years, and she had a new excuse each time. While always humorous, Lucy’s excuses were rationalizations; they were untrue reasons for her failure to catch the ball.
       During the ministry of President Thomas S. Monson, he has often taught that decisions determine destiny. In that spirit my counsel tonight is to rise above any rationalizations that prevent us from making righteous decisions, especially with respect to serving Jesus Christ. In Isaiah we are taught we must “refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
     Give the children a piece of paper and have them divide it into 4ths. Have the draw a cartoon strip where they remember a gospel principle and make a good choice! It doesn't have to be funny, it should just tell a good idea! Have them share!

Week 3 The Son of God was born on earth.

* Bring in some simple costumes and have the children act out the story of the nativity.

* Bring in a Nativity and have Christmas songs attached to the figurines. Invite a child to choose a figurine and then sing that song together.

* HERE is a fun and simple reader's theater from The Friend on a Nephite Christmas.

* Bring in some really pretty wrapped boxes. In the boxes have pictures to do with the Nativity and life of Jesus. Invite children to come unwrap a gift and then talk about what is inside.
    "I testify that Jesus Christ was the literal Son of God and the Savior of the world. He was the perfect gift from our loving Father. At this and every season, our Savior invites us to join with Him and others to offer the priceless gift of joy." Elder Henry B. Eyring, The Perfect Gift.

* HERE is a beautiful clip from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Video series. It's 5 minutes and would be great to show the children.

Week 4 Jesus Christ will come again.

HERE is a great idea from The Friend. It's especially a good activity for children who can write! Younger children would need to have help from adults. If you have a larger primary, you'd have to cut the slits for children ahead of time and the drops of oil.

* HERE is a really good coloring book for the children to color and learn the words of the primary song, When He Comes Again.

* Play stock the pantry!! Draw 3 shelves/lines on the chalkboard. Have a bunch of magnets and cut outs from magazines of food that you would put in the pantry.
    “Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord” (D&C 133:10). Remember, we prepare physically but most important is spiritually!!!! Try to say the scripture often, together as a primary, throughout your lesson to memorize it!
    Have children come up to put a can in the pantry. Have questions, scriptures, or songs on the backs of the cans having to do with the Second Coming of The Lord.
Another adaptation could be bringing in a bunch of CLEAN, empty food cans... see how many you can stack/stock up!!

* In our latest General Conference, Oct. 2014, there was a talk given which asked us to self evaluate!! Have we done that?? One day, Jesus will come to earth. One day, we'll stand before Him. What will come first? Only He knows. I don't think we need to ask the children these questions. They are pure! But it's good for us as leaders to reflect:
"On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God?
Do you have a personal witness that your current offering as a Latter-day Saint is sufficient to inherit eternal life?
Can you say within yourself that Heavenly Father is pleased with you? What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now?
Would sins, regrets, and shortcomings dominate your self-image, or would you simply experience joyful anticipation?
Would you meet or avoid His gaze?
Would you linger by the door or confidently walk up to Him?"
Approaching the Throne of God, Elder Jörg Klebingat
     Now, this isn't to depress anyone. Hello, that's the job of the news media. Set those goals though. What can we do!!! My goal is to really work on not letting things in my home that take The Lord's name in vain.

Thanksgiving Family Home Evening- Turkey Shoot!

I saw this picture on pinterest and knew it would be a hit!!
I don't have very good luck with sharpies and balloons, so I just taped some turkeys with points on them. Each family member got to answer a question about gratitude, then take a turn to shoot the turkeys with a nerf gun.
You are not trying to pop the balloons.
The goal is to see if you can get 100 points total as a family!
We also took some to friends with a treat to show our gratitude for them!
HERE are the questions (If you want to print out for friends)
If not, then feel free to use these:

1.What is gratitude?
2.Please read D&C 78:19
3.Tell the story of the 10 lepers in your own words.
4.Name 3 things you are thankful for.
5.Why do we need to give thanks in our prayers?
6.Sing For Health and Strength (CS#21)
7.Name 3 things you are thankful for that someone did for you today.
8.Sing My Heavenly Father Loves Me (CS#228)
9.Please read Alma 34:38
10.Where are some places that you should always remember to say thank you?
11. What are different things you can do to show you are thankful?
12. When should we have an attitude of gratitude?
13.Name 5 things you are thankful for in your own backyard.
14.Why are you grateful for the gospel in your life?
15. What feelings do you have when you show gratitude?
HERE are the turkeys to tape to the balloons.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Topical Guide Scripture References Jesus Christ

Christ Retreats to the Mountains at Night by James Tissot
Painted between 1886-1894
(Image courtesy public domain copyright laws)

In last month's General Conference, Elder Boyd K. Packer talked about the Topical Guide.

"Before handing the scriptures to the chaplain, I opened the Topical Guide and showed him one subject: 18 pages, very fine print, single-spaced, listing references to the subject of “Jesus Christ.” It is one of the most comprehensive compilations of scriptural references on the subject of the Savior that has ever been assembled in the history of the world—a testimony from the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
      “However you follow these references,” I told him, “side to side, up and down, book to book, subject after subject—you will find that they are a consistent, harmonious witness to the divinity of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ—His birth, His life, His teachings, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection, and His Atonement.” (The Reason for Our Hope)
A while ago I finished Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage. I admit, it took me a lot of time to get past the first few chapters. The vocabulary, the tone... I mean no disrespect to the book, but the only thing that got me through the first bit was reading in an English accent. Because honestly, everything is better with an English accent. Once I established myself within the pages I grew to sincerely love the book and cherish the new information gleaned from it.
I realize I have a long way to go before I fully understand who Jesus Christ is. I do know that He lives and that I love Him.
After pondering the words of Elder Packer, I realized I've never taken the time to fully go through the Topical Guide in regards to references of Jesus Christ. A lot of that has to do with size!!! It's just so small!! Also, for me personally, I do best when I can check off what I've read so I don't lose track of where I am.
As I was making the Topical Guide References bigger and in a format where I could highlight the ones I've read, I had multiple impressions that what I was doing was dumb and pointless. It weighed me down heavily. After all, the PDF ends up being 18 pages!! I hate wasting paper. Even now typing, I have this sensation that I've wasted my time.
But I know very clearly that there are opposing forces out there.
There was one category "Jesus, the Anointed" that had no references, but since it was listed, I put it in. It says to reference Jesus Christ, Messiah in the topical guide... and all those scriptures are listed.
I want to know my Savior better, so I'm going to look up all the scripture references. I will print them and put them in a small folder. I know that my life will be blessed. Hopefully this can bless your life too!
HERE is the link for the PDF.

Monday, October 20, 2014

November 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Odilon Redon, Christ in Silence, 1897

Monthly Theme: Living the Teachings of Jesus Christ Strengthens Me and My Family.
Monthly Scripture: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Week 1: “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” Alma 32:21
* A fun way to memorize this verse is with a game called sparkle (Senior Primary would work best for this). First you'll need to say the verse about 5 times together. Then each child says a word in the verse, after the last word in the verse the next child would say sparkle and be out (sit down). It helps if you are in a circle. If someone doesn't know the word, then they are out. Also, someone who is out can raise their hand and try to get back in. Whoever is the last person standing is the winner!

* Another way to memorize from The Friend, Jan. 2008, " Help the children memorize Alma 32:21. All of the children will memorize the second part, beginning with the word if, by setting the phrases to music. Sing the words of the scripture to “Have a Very Happy Birthday!” (pp. 284–85). Fit one word to each note; you will sing the scripture through twice. Sing the song through several times until the children memorize it." The article has more wonderful ideas, HERE.

* From Oct. 2014 General Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott said, " We must take time to actively exercise our faith... Our Father in Heaven has given us tools to help us come unto Christ and exercise faith in His Atonement. When these tools become fundamental habits, they provide the easiest way to find peace in the challenges of mortality. Today I have chosen to discuss four of these tools. As I speak, consider evaluating your personal use of each tool; then seek the guidance of the Lord to determine how you could make better use of each one of them."
     He then goes on to mention the 4 tools- prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance.
     Can we build anything without tools? Can we have a true strong faith without prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance?
     Make a tool belt for the children. It can be as simple as a string or a paper envelope. Divide the room into 4 groups. Have 4 different stations with an adult who can give a personal experience (or one from the scriptures) about how the tool Elder Scott mentioned helped strengthen their faith. So for example, one station will be prayer. At that station I could talk about the story of Enos. I could show a picture and ask some questions. The other stations would be scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance.
     At each station have a paper/cardstock tool for the children to attach to their belt. Each station should last about 2-3 minutes. On the tools, you should have the corresponding prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance. If you need a PDF, you can email me.... but please say, "Hello Sofia." I know we live in a time with smart phones and texting this and that. But it makes me feel like a piece of meat when people don't address me as a person. :) I'll say your name too. Let's connect!!

HERE is the talk. It's wonderful, like all of Elder Scott's talks. I especially like his challenge, "Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!"

Also, please notice his challenge from the first quote, "As I speak, consider evaluating your personal use of each tool; then seek the guidance of the Lord to determine how you could make better use of each one of them."
You could encourage the children to go home and talk with their families about how they can improve! They can even write how they want to improve/goals on the back of each tool.

Upon more thinking, we could even play 4 corners instead of the stations idea. Label 4 corners of the room as Prayer, Scripture Study, Temple Attendance, and Family Home Evening. On the chalkboard write, "Helps build my faith." All these tools are to help us exercise our faith. You'll need to write the 4 things again on small pieces of paper to draw out of a bag from. Invite 5-6 children to play. They choose a corner to stand in. Ask a question about faith or have someone read a scripture, then have a primary friend draw out "the corner" from the bag and after put it back in. Whoever is in that corner is out. Those remaining children choose another corner. Repeat with another question. Have another child come up and choose a corner. Play until there is only 1 person left!! If it happens quickly, play another round!! Make sure to have plenty (about 10-12) of questions/scriptures/songs about faith ready!!
Some questions could include:
1. How is faith like a little seed?
2. What is faith?
3. What is a story from the scriptures that talks about faith?
4. As a Primary, sing I pray in Faith (CS #14)
5. What can we do in Family Home Evening to help strengthen the faith of other family members? (help give/plan lessons, be reverent, answer & ask questions, be helpful)

* Bring in a large box with a hole in it. Have some different items for children to "feel" and guess what they are.
Can they see what's inside? No!! But there are things there!!!
      We don't have to see to know!
Have about 10 (total) different questions, songs, and scriptures about faith. Invite children up front to answer a question or read a scripture, then have them feel inside the box and guess. If they are right, have them take it out and show everyone!
Week 2: Prayer is reverent communication with Heavenly Father.

* HERE is an excellent little matching game and article in The Friend entitled, "Prayer is reverent communication between God and Me" by Jennifer Maddy.

* HERE is the ULTIMATE talk for this week's lesson. I especially liked, from Elder Oaks,
     "When one of our daughters was about three years old, she did something that always delighted her parents. When we called her name, she would usually answer by saying, “Here me is.” This childish reply was among the sweetest things her parents heard. But when she was grown, we expected her to use appropriate language when she spoke, and of course she did. As the Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11).
      The same is true of prayer. Our earliest efforts will be heard with joy by our Heavenly Father, however they are phrased. They will be heard in the same way by loving members of our Church. But as we gain experience as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we need to become more mature in all of our efforts, including our prayers."
     For Senior primary, you could even give the children copies in pairs and have them read it. After they can make up 2 questions to quiz the rest of the primary.

* An analogy:
       "Reverence is the atmosphere of heaven." President Howard W. Hunter (another wonderful talk found HERE)
     Bring in a couple pictures of the earth. What is the sky? What is air? The earth's atmosphere is a thin layer of gases that surrounds the planet. The atmosphere is what keeps us alive! It holds the oxygen we breath and it protects us from the harmful radiation of the sun.
     Without the atmosphere, our earth would be like other planets. Barren and with no life.
     "Reverence is the atmosphere of heaven." How important then is reverence!! In comparison, reverence is what keeps our spirits alive. It should be as important to us as our breathing. It protects us from the ways of the world. It should surround us as we pray!

* Sister Laurel Rohlfing shares some great insight in a Friend article HERE. You could definitely make a good point by having a children come up front and try to get you to talk about your day, but you respond only with the words, "Thanks for asking, it was nice, ok the end" over and over again!

Week 3: Repentance is a change of mind and heart.

* You could have a couple child act out the story of Alma and Abinadi, dress them in simple costumes. Alma didn't make the best of choices but he changed his ways and repented! What about Alma the Younger too??
Alma 5:11-12, "Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them?
    And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true."

* HERE is a very straight forward explanation of what we need to do to repent from Elder Russell M. Nelson.

A couple recycled ideas from previous posts:

*Bring in the movie Cinderella. Who has seen this movie? Have a primary princess or prince BRIEFLY tell the story!! A minute or less!! Well, it's an important story because it was even brought up in this last April General Conference !!
"Every Cinderella has her midnight—if not in this life, then in the next. Judgment Day will come for all. Are you prepared? Are you pleased with your own performance?
     If any has stumbled in her journey, I promise you that there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Though the path is difficult, the promise is real. Said the Lord: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow....And I will remember [them] no more.” (Believe,Obey,Endure by President Monson)

Have 10 paper glass slippers with scriptures, stories, songs or questions having to do with repentance on the back. Let primary children come and choose a glass slipper and do what it says. (Of course, songs should be sung by the whole primary!) At the end of the lesson, you can show a picture of Cinderella in rags and then in her beautiful ball gown. Bear testimony that repentance changes our rags into beauty!!    

* Have a member of the bishopric come in to help you with your lesson if possible. You'll need a running headband, a racing number to pin on him and a pair of running shoes for him to change into. He might look a little silly wearing these things and his suit! However, he's going to be our special runner today! He's going to reverently run (perhaps even just jog) from one side of the room to the other. After he finishes, ask him, if he were in the middle of a race and realized he was going the wrong way, what would he do?? Share this quote,
       " If I were going the wrong way in the middle of a marathon, and I realized my mistake, would I keep going? I would immediately turn around! . . . I wouldn't stay on the wrong course because no matter how long I ran there, I would never reach the finish line. And yet for many who have made a moral mistake, a little voice keeps saying: 'You blew it. You can't change. No one will ever know anyway.' To you I would say, Don't believe it. 'Satan wants you to think that you cannot repent, but that is absolutely not true' (For the Strength of Youth [2001], 30)." Elaine S. Dalton, "You Can Return," New Era, Mar. 2010, 11
      Have the children jog reverently (demonstrate for them first!) in place with their thumbs out. Invite one child up front to answer a question on repentance. Then they can reverently jog to another primary friend and tag their thumb. That friend comes up front to answer another question on repentance. While children answer questions, the primary children can sit down. We need to run and finish the race, repentance and forgiveness from our Savior and Heavenly Father helps us do so!!
Week 4: Forgiveness brings peace.

* HERE is a video from lds.org on the prodigal son. It is 5 1/2 minutes. After showing the children, ask them if the story would be different if the Father didn't forgive the son? Absolutely! But The Father does forgive!
Have the children illustrate the story of The Prodigal Son. Have them divide a piece of paper into 6 sections. For younger children, just have them 1 picture using the entire sheet.

* Bring in a frozen turkey. See if a small child can lift it up. It's pretty heavy. How would it feel if you dropped it on your foot? How would it feel if someone threw it at you?
HERE is a wonderful talk by President Hinckley. I actually remember hearing him give it. I'm sure you do too! He shares a true story that you could tell the children. HERE is The Friend version.
I like the ending quote,
      “According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing carefully and tentatively made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’
        Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses, including a Times reporter, heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’ According to accounts, hardened prosecutors, and even reporters, were choking back tears”
* HERE is a great story about some girls who need to learn how to be nice and also show forgiveness. After reading the story, have the children make some friendship bracelets to remember that forgiveness brings peace.
* HERE is another great story about letting go of bitter feelings. Go ahead. Take a minute to sing it to yourself. I'm one with the wind and snoooo---oh-ow. I liked how at the end of the story they wrote on some balloons and let it go. Have some balloons up front for the children to choose. On the balloons have questions/scriptures about forgiveness for them to answer or read.
* I love Boyd. HERE is an article entitled Peace in Forgiving. Have a bunch of broken paper hearts. (Almost like puzzles, you can have different zig zags to match the hearts broken in half) Invite children to match the different sides of the hearts and heal them with a band aid. While doing so, they can talk about something that comes to their mind about forgiveness. Perhaps a scripture story, a personal experience, or ways to forgive.
* SUCH A GREAT OBJECT LESSON!!!! Bring some pebbles to have the primary children try. HERE is the whole story in The Friend. I also really liked how the story of Joseph Smith and Brother Phelps is mentioned!
THIS is one of my favorite talks. I love President Uchtdorf's analogy of the point of no return. God loves us. He wants us to repent and He will forgive us. We must make sure that we don't have "points of no return" with other people... "I'll never forgive...." cannot be part of our lives.
     "For our own good, we need the moral courage to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Never is the soul nobler and more courageous than when we forgive. This includes forgiving ourselves.
      We will receive the joy of forgiveness in our own lives when we are willing to extend that joy freely to others. Lip service is not enough. We need to purge our hearts and minds of feelings and thoughts of bitterness and let the light and the love of Christ enter in. As a result, the Spirit of the Lord will fill our souls with the joy accompanying divine peace of conscience (see Mosiah 4:2–3).
        My dear brothers and sisters, my dear young friends, when the captain of a long-range jet passes the point of safe return, and the headwinds are too strong or the cruising altitudes too low, he might be forced to divert to an airport other than his planned destination. This is not so in our journey through life back to our heavenly home. Wherever you find yourselves on this journey through life, whatever trials you may face, there is always a point of safe return; there is always hope. You are the captain of your life, and God has prepared a plan to bring you safely back to Him, to your divine destination."