Monday, May 30, 2016

June 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 4 The Holy Ghost comforts and guides me.

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

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

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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sacrament Meeting Talk Jan. 2016

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

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Gift or Visiting Teaching Mother's Day Gift

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

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


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

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

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