Sunday, November 26, 2017

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano Book Review


As I type, I hear the sound of rain. I've got my heat turned up and the lights of the Christmas tree soft in the background. It was the perfect weekend to read this book!!

I love Jen Turano!!! Her books are light hearted, funny, and feel good stories with characters who would obviously be your best friends if you were written into the book. This book is not a literary masterpiece, and I caught a typo... however, sometimes you just need an easy read with a simple story line and happy ending.

Out of the Ordinary is about a special Miss Gertrude Cadwalader. Her heart is one of gold as she is the paid companion of an older woman who tends to have sticky fingers and other odd eccentricities. She has a very kind friend named Harrison who owns a shipping company. They've been friends for years, but could there be more? There are balls, men whisking women away on horses failures, and bird cage bustles. There are friends sticking up for friends, questions of faith, and messages of forgiveness and being merciful.

Definitely would recommend this book and love being able to enjoy multiple stories of the same characters in the series!!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

October 2017 LDS Primary Sharing Time Ideas and Helps

lds clip art

Monthly Theme: Blessings of the priesthood are available to all.
Monthly Scripture: “And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord” D&C 84:35


Week 1 Worthy young men receive the priesthood when they are 12 years old.


* "To be worthy does not mean to be perfect. Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness invites us to be humbly at peace on our life’s journey to someday become perfected in Christ, not constantly worried, frustrated, or unhappy in our imperfections today. Remember, He knows all the things we don’t want anyone else to know about us—and loves us still." Elder Gerrit Wong Always Remember Him April 2016 Conference
     Have 9 envelopes with one word on each envelope- to be worthy does not mean to be perfect. Have 9 scriptures about the priesthood and a couple questions regarding the scripture in each envelope. Pass out the envelopes to 9 different groups and have them look up the scripture and answer the questions. Invite each group to share and place their word envelope up front to make the sentence from Elder Wong.
     Do you ever feel like you are not good enough? You are!! Remember, to be worthy does NOT MEAN TO BE PERFECT!!! We don't have to put ourselves down, we just have to try our best and keep going!! The priesthood is such a blessing and we are so grateful for it and the 12 year old boys who live the best they can!!

* HERE is an AWESOME!! story about a 12 year old who received the priesthood. Briefly tell the primary children the story and show them the pictures. Really stress the quote, "Robert's eyes widened. It was hard to find a word special enough to say how he felt. "That's so... awesome."
     Have a bouquet of 10-12 AWESOME BLOSSOMS (fake flowers from the $1 store) up front on a table. Invite a reverent primary friend to come up front and choose an awesome blossom about the priesthood. Have questions, scriptures or songs having to do with the priesthood attached to them for them to answer or the primary to sing.
   The priesthood is awesome because Heavenly Father is awesome!!

* I'm publishing this before the Oct. 2017 women's broadcast is in text form. So it's not exact, but from Sister Joy Jones, " Worth and worthiness are not the same. God's love is infinite and will endure forever. Worthiness is based on obedience. Sin makes us less worthy, but NEVER WORTHLESS. Strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact. We always have worth in the eyes of Heavenly Father."
      What is special about you? What do you do to be worthy? D&C 18:10, "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."
       Worthy young men are obedient young men. Have 2 bowls with labels. WORTH and WORTHY. Have children write down (or teachers can help too) something they'd like to share that is of great worth to them and something they can to do be worthy or obedient on 2 small seperate pieces of paper. Have them put each paper in the respective bowl. Prepare some questions about the priesthood. Invite a reverent primary child up front to answer the question and then pick a piece of paper out of each bowl to share with the primary. Can they guess who wrote it??
     Wasn't Women's Conference amazing?? I watched it at home and every single talk spoke to my soul. So needed.

Week 2 We receive the ordinances of salvation through the priesthood.


* What are the ordinances of salvation?? Bring in some paper and crayons. Invite the beautiful primary children to draw a picture to represent an ordinance they are excited about- baptism, confirmation, ordination to Melchizedek priesthood, temple endowment, and temple marriage sealing. (You can write/list the ordinances on the chalk board) Could we draw our pictures without crayons or pencils today?? No. And it's the same with the ordinances of salvation. We couldn't receive them without the priesthood!! Make sure to draw a background and fill up your entire paper!!!

* HERE is an excellent matching activity and story from The Friend. Some of the matches aren't "saving" ordinances, but ordinances that give us peace and happiness. I also like the idea on the side of bringing in a string and tying knots in it each time you can tell when the priesthood has blessed your life.

* HERE is a lesson from the Primary 3 Manual. Such a great visual idea with the pinwheel!!! An excellent material to help you prepare for this week's theme.

Week 3 I can receive strengthening power through priesthood blessings.


* HERE !!! This is where it's at for preparation this week. Looks like the church updated it's topics pages and it's phenomenal.

* Priesthood Puppet Pals. Invite the children to create some paper bag puppets of men they know that hold the priesthood. Invite anyone who would like to share their puppet and a time they were blessed by the priesthood. Did they feel happy? Did they feel the spirit? We are very blessed by the priesthood and those who are worthy and hold it.

* Bring in the following and set down on a small table up front: small baby doll, white towel, box of matches, piece of bread torn into small pieces, small oil vial, cardboard cutout of a tombstone, school backpack, bag of top ramen. (Things that represent the different priesthood blessings- baby name blessing, baptism, confirmation, sacrament, consecrated oil, dedicating graves of deceased loved ones, school blessings, blessings when we are sick). Bring in a large blanket to cover everything.
     We're going to play a game today as we learn about the priesthood. We receive strengthening power through priesthood blessings! Everyone look very carefully at the table. No invite a primary friend who has a very lovely smile up front to come choose an object, but they have to do it secretly while you hold the blanket up. They will put it behind their back. When you put the blanket down, have members of the primary raise their hand to guess what is missing!!!
      When the item is guessed, have a couple questions or a scripture that has to do with that type of priesthood blessing. For example, how do you feel when you see a baby blessed in church? Why do you think names are important? Why do babies get blessings if they aren't going to remember the words? Don't shy away from hard questions, children are smart!!

Week 4 I can go to the temple to receive ordinances for my ancestors when I am older.


* Temple match!!! Start off by singing, I love to see the temple. HERE is a temple match game with stained glass windows from The Friend, or you could just use the following. All images are found off lds.org. When a match is made, have a question pertaining to temple work that the children can answer.



* Have pictures of different temples and tape them to the back of children as they walk in. For other children, hand them the names of the temples that will match up with the pictures. For 3 minutes, have the children walk around the room and try to match up the name with the picture they think.
     Invite the pairs of children up, 1 pair at a time, and go over what temple that is. After 3 pairs, go over a few questions about temple work or sing a song about temples. Continue on with 3 more pairs. Read a couple scriptures about temple work.
    Everyone did a wonderful job!! Thank you for your help!! Bear testimony that temples are a sacred place where we can be blessed and where our ancestors can be blessed!!

* Invite the ward family historian in to tell a fun family history story (5 minutes max!) and bear their testimony of the importance of temple work.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

September 2017 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

Monthly Theme: The 10 Commandments teach me how to love God and His children.
Monthly Scripture: "If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments" D&C 42:29

Week 1 We are blessed when we keep the commandments.

* HERE is a lovely video for Senior Primary. I think some of the words are a little advanced for Junior Primary (like sexual relations), but use your judgement and go by the spirit!!

* Are the commandments in the Bible or Book of Mormon? Tricky!! Both!! 
HERE is a small crossword puzzle that children can do in groups or take home to do with families.

* HERE is an excellent finger play to do with younger children about the 10 commandments!! After clicking the link, scroll down to find it.

Commandment Catch! What are commandments? How do we get commandments? Should we keep the commandments or do we have to? Or both? Why is it important to keep the commandments?
       Invite 2 primary friends to the front of the room and have a bean bag. Have them answer a question, toss, then take a step back. The other child will answer the next question, toss, then take a step back. They can also do a couple tosses between questions to see how far back they can go. And no worries if you drop it or don't catch it, the game isn't Commandment Condemnation End of the World Judgement Day if you Drop. At least this Sunday. Maybe next Sunday. But for today, we're good.... relax!
       Plan plenty of questions or you can even have them read small quotes or scriptures!


* 1 Nephi 3:7, And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
     Have the children act out the story of Nephi getting the brass plates. Sometimes the things we are commanded to do are hard, but The Lord will always help us!!!
 
Week 2 I should respect and worship God.

* HERE is a must read to prepare for the week. Really thought provoking talk and food for the soul.

* Worship is an act of expressing reverence and respect for Heavenly Father. HERE is what True to The Faith says about worship.

* Psalms 95:6-7, "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand."
      After discussing with the primary children what it means to worship and show respect, pass out some popcorn sheep!! Invite the children to form small groups of 3 or 4.
       Take 2 minutes to share in their groups things they have been blessed with this week, try to name a blessing for each piece of popcorn!!! It doesn't just have to be this last week either, there are some things that we are deeply grateful for and can share with group members. Gratitude and worship go hand in hand.
       Take another 2 minutes to talk about ways to improve our attitudes when we are grumpy. Sundays can often be long days, sometimes talks are boring.... how do we improve our thoughts to make church a place of worship? For each thought, have a piece of popcorn!
       Take a final 2 minutes to share how they will show respect this week for Heavenly Father and Jesus. What can we do?? How can we love our Shepherd with all our hearts this week?


 
* Alma’s companion Amulek encouraged a group of poor Zoramites to “worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth” (Alma 34:38). Go over this story with the children briefly.
    Bring in some pictures of different places: church, home living room, school, grocery store, the movie theater, car, park, temple, Disneyland. Whatsoever place!!!
     Invite a child to come up front and choose a place. What can we do to worship God in that place? You may have some quiet time while children think! Let them be creative! At the park, someone might fall down and you can go help them up. When you help others you are showing love for God's children and that is worship! When you are at Disneyland and waiting in a long line, you can think of a primary song and sing it in your head. Aren't you grateful to Heavenly Father to have the chance to go on such a fun vacation!!! We are blessed and when our hearts are full of this knowledge and love, it leads us to worship and respect God!


Week 3 I should honor my parents.

* Not everyone has a traditional happy happy joy family. And that's OK. We come to earth and are expected to just do the best we can! Sometimes our parents are wonderful examples, sometimes they are not. No matter what, we have loving Heavenly parents who will NEVER FAIL US!!!!
       With that said, for today's lesson you "youngsters" can focus on your mom or dad, or a grandma or grandpa, or an aunt or uncle, maybe even a teacher!! When someone shows us love, they are acting as angels for Heavenly Father and we can show them honor!
      Make a piece of artwork or letter for a parent, or someone else that is special, and let them know why you love them. Be specific!! "You are nice." Yes, but when? "You are nice when you cook me special pancakes and read my favorite book." Teachers can help you write!! Make it your best work!! Make sure to have plenty of paper and coloring supplies!!
       Take 5 minutes at the end to have a few primary friends share about the people they love.
      “If we truly honor [our parents], we will seek to emulate their best characteristics and to fulfill their highest aspirations for us. No gift purchased from a store can begin to match in value to parents some simple, sincere words of appreciation. Nothing we could give them would be more prized than righteous living for each youngster.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 348.)

* Mark 7:10.... just because sometimes you need to whip out a scripture when your kids complain about chores.

* "Young people, if you honor your parents, you will love them, respect them, confide in them, be considerate of them, express appreciation for them, and demonstrate all of these things by following their counsel in righteousness and by obeying the commandments of God." Elder Oaks April 1991 Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother
     MY PARENTS ARE A TREASURE!!! Have 6 different stations and divide into groups. At each station children can collect a paper jewel for their envelope that has written on it "My parents are a treasure!" The stations are as follows, you'll need a teacher to lead the discussion and help write for younger kids or they can draw their answer on the paper jewel:
1. I love my parents: When is a time that you have really loved your parents?
2. I respect my parents: What is something your parent does that you admire?
3. I can confide in my parents: What is something you'd like to tell your parents?
4. I can be considerate of my parents: What is something you can do for your parents this week?
5. I can express appreciation for my parents: What is something you'd like to thank your parents for?
6. I can be righteous and obey: Why do you choose to follow the commandments of Heavenly Father and be obedient?
    You have about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per station.

Week 4 I should respect others.

* " I love the people of this church, of all ages, of all races, and of many nations. I love the children. They are very much the same the world over. Regardless of the color of their skin and of the circumstances in which they live, they carry with them a beauty that comes of innocence and of the fact that it was not long ago that they lived with their Father in Heaven. How lovely you are, wherever you are, you precious children...We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful..." President Hinkley April 1995 This is the Work of The Master
      Grab a bunch of old church magazines. Let children cut out pictures of all the different types of friends that are our brothers and sisters. Their is so much difference in the world, even in our own primary room!!! Differences are beautiful!! And in the end the most important knowledge is that we are all God's children and we should respect and love each other.
      Bring in paper, glue sticks and let the children make their beautiful collages!! Encourage them to cover the entire paper!!! If you have a large primary ask for magazine donations from families the week before!!

* There is beauty and goodness in different religions!! Do you know some converts or interesting facts about other religions?? Print out some pictures or bring in some objects from another faith. Share your positive experience with the children.
    For example, I have Greek icons that hang in my home. I don't worship or pray to them, but I love them as art. They remind me of my very faithful Yiaya (greek for grandmother). She is Greek Orthodox and I've been to church with her many times. I love how they light candles and the beautiful stained glass windows remind me of a few temples I've been too. In Greek Orthodoxy they believe in eternal marriages too!
      We can always find the good in other religions!! Pass out THIS article from The Friend and have children read it together in partners or small groups of three. We can always show respect for others!!

* Test time!! Pass out papers and pencils (you can number the papers for smaller children). HERE is the quiz on respect!! After the quiz, invite children to come up front to announce the right answer and read the quote mentioned in the quiz.
    When we are good communicators we show respect in our words!! And we can also do so in the things we do!! Bring in your cell phone if you have time and invite the children to call a person in the ward who serves a lot and leave a message of respect and gratitude. You can practice with them before hand what they might say on the message!! (Make sure you have a list of people and their numbers you could call before hand!)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Back to School Tic Tac Toe FHE

My beautiful children go back to school on Monday and I don't know why the time went by so fast!!

For Family Home Evening I made a simple Back to School TIC TAC TOE game. Feel free to use in your home if you like!

For each X or O chosen, find the picture with the quote and read before a family member places on the board. You can divide into teams or simply have anyone pick whatever one they would like when it's their turn.

I didn't write too many questions along with the quotes. Going to let the kids share any thoughts they have after reading it.

At BYU, the motto is "Enter to learn, go forth to serve." As an introduction to our lesson, we'll talk about the importance of this creed!



Just for fun, here are some other ideas for back to school games:

Book Lines - Gather 10 books. Invite each family member to state what they think the first line of the book is. Then read the first line!

Dictionary Clues- Have each family member choose 3 random words from the dictionary, along with the definitions. They can say the word and you guess the meaning, or they can say the meaning and you guess the word!

Post-It Back to School- On 12 different post its have things that have to do with going back to school. One person puts a post it on forehead (without looking) and has to guess what is written by asking questions. Easily can be adapted for younger children as charades.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Will Be Back Soon!!

(My little Ella, just one of my many water babies)
 
 Having too much fun in the sun.
Will be back soon!!!
Thanks and sorry!!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Review: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

 
 
At one point in this book, the main character, Permilia is talking to a clergy man over the frustrations she feels in being a part of a society that doesn't accept her. To quote:
 
He nodded. "Indeed, but do you recall what advice I gave you when we spoke of your dissatisfaction?"
   Permilia titled her head. "You told me to give my concerns over to God, but then to not simply sit idly by and wait for Him to fix my life for me, but to look for opportunities that He might send my way if only I was observant enough to recognize those opportunities."
 
Jen Turano is an excellent author who has simple, happy, and clean stories. They are perfect for young women in my opinion!
 
Behind the Scenes is based on a brilliant wallflower who is full of life and ideas, but who doesn't quite blend in based on what society feels is appropriate for women. Of course there is a dashing gentleman, Mr. Rutherford, who questions maybe what society has in mind for females isn't all he has believed to be true.
 
It is a love story with touches of humor. I'm not saying the book is profound or deep! But there are parts, like the above mentioned quote, that will fill your spirit in a joyful way. I do think it could have been 50 pages shorter, but I'm not complaining. I'm glad to have it on my shelf for my daughters!
 
Definitely would recommend this book! If you've read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts too!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why I change words in songs sometimes.....

 

I grew up with a mother who was an exceptional teacher. She taught children who lived in poverty in title one schools. I have so many memories of the different children and families throughout the years.

Now, there were parents who worked 3 jobs at different casinos and as cleaning maids on Sundays. Who beamed when my mom would tell them how smart and wonderful their children were. Who would send gobs of food to class parties even though they themselves couldn't be there. Who would make sure their children read at night and finished their math.

There were also parents who were in prison for gang related crimes, with aunts raising not only their own but their brother's. There were kids in the foster system who had no parents or even any sort of love shown their way at "home". School was where they could breath, where they found their peace.

In primary I've taught children with divorced parents, children who are being raised by grandparents, children in single parent homes.... and often I've seen leaders who aren't aware. Leaders who don't acknowledge their reality because it's uncomfortable or different from their own experience.

The gospel says families are forever. Husbands and wives, children will be sealed for eternity! Joy!!

And that's the truth!!!

But here on earth, that isn't the common reality.

I am a child of God
And He has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear

We sing these songs and I echo Elder Andersen sentiments, "We will continue to teach the Lord’s pattern for families, but now with millions of members and the diversity we have in the children of the Church, we need to be even more thoughtful and sensitive. Our Church culture and vernacular are at times quite unique. The Primary children are not going to stop singing “Families Can Be Together Forever,”6 but when they sing, “I’m so glad when daddy comes home”7 or “with father and mother leading the way,”8 not all children will be singing about their own family."

And he makes the point that while we might not have our "picture perfect" family right now, we can strive for that one day. (HERE is the full talk, an excellent read!!!)

But what in the meantime?

We were in the car with an uncle of ours who was visiting from out of town. Oh how we adore him!! We sing primary songs on the way to school and my son chose "I am a Child of God". I know our uncle didn't mind us singing that song, but I noticed him get a little sad on the part "parents kind and dear". It was a good teaching moment for my children and I said,  you know, those are beautiful words but not everyone has those types of parents.

My little 5 year old suggested, why don't we just sing family kind and dear then?

And I thought that was kinda brilliant. Our uncle smiled and I shared a look with him.

I'm NOT saying change the words at church or let's start a petition to change the words in the songbook!!!

All I'm saying is that Heavenly Father has given us family, whether it be grandparents or uncles, close friends at church, good teachers.... there is kindness in the world! There is family in the world who are dear!

So if I can change a word in a song that still fits, to make another person feel less bad, then I'll do it.

I really love these words from Elder Andersen, "While a child’s earthly situation may not be ideal, a child’s spiritual DNA is perfect because one’s true identity is as a son or daughter of God."

Easy Mother's Day Gift for Primary or Nursery

A photograph of flowers and a quote by Sister Sheri L. Dew: “Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of … the mothers who bear with us.”
Click HERE to find the link to download this picture
 
I wanted something easy to do for our Nursery kids for their moms, so I'm going to print out this picture at Costco and frame it with dollar store frames.
 
We'll give moms and/or special women in the children's lives a bag full of gummy bears.
Remember, not every kid has a mother who is present in their lives.
Be sensitive.
 
We'll have the kids color a picture of a teddy bear.
(older kids could draw one themselves with step by step instructions like the following) 
Image result for how to draw a teddy bear step by step easy


On their coloring sheets will be the words :
(I just google search and print out so kids can choose what they like)
I love my mom BEARY much because__________________
and we will write their answers for them.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

May 2017 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

The Baptism by AC Williams
 
Monthly Theme: I Choose the Right When I Am Baptized and Confirmed a Member of the Church
Monthly Scripture: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” Acts 2:38

Week 1 As I repent, I can be forgiven.

* HERE is an interesting story of an apostle who did something naughty. It was actually pretty serious and before the lesson I'd do a brief review on why it is SO IMPORTANT not to play with fire or flammables!! Share the story with the children. Was he blessed that there was no serious damage?
     On the chalk board draw an image similar to this:
     There will be about 10 "sparks" (The yellow things on the fuse). The children will erase a spark before it's too late!!! To do so, they will need to answer a question or read a scripture about repentance.
     There are a few points Elder Renlund makes that we often don't talk about with repentance, but are important, that could easily be incorporated with your questions:
1. Do not blame others for our actions. Can you think of how Elder Renlund could have blamed the other boy? Why do you think he didn't?
2. Don't minimize a mistake- for example, "It's not that big." "No one was hurt."  Why is being "truly" sorry important?
3. Do not separate Heavenly Father from His commandments. It's not just something He's asked of us, certain things are sacred. When we do things that are not right, who can get hurt? Us, others, Heavenly Father and Jesus! They are hurt because They love us and want what's best for us.
      I really enjoy this quote from his talk, "Even as we feel godly sorrow for our actions,21 when we choose to repent, we immediately invite the Savior into our lives. As Amulek taught, “Come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.”22 We can feel godly sorrow for our actions and, at the same time, feel the joy of having the Savior’s help."
    Well, did we make it? Never play with fire!!! Steer clear of things that are wrong and choose the right!! If we do make mistakes though, we can repent and be forgiven!!!

* In the Primary Sharing Time Outline they have an excellent object lesson of rocks in shoes! Just to continue on, after for the lesson you could take 4 shoes and place them on a table up front. Have a primary friend come up to guess which shoe you put the rock in. (They might have to turn around while you put it in, or you can have a blanket to cover the shoes while you put the rock in) If they guess right on the first try, they get to keep the rock! In order to guess they need to answer a question or read a scripture having to do with repentance.

* HERE and HERE are good, simple reviews of what we need to do to repent and forgive.

* Have the a few children act out the story of the parable of the prodigal son. Why did Christ share this story? What does it mean for us? We can repent and be forgiven!! You can print out the following if you'd like to do a short reader's theater. Bring in some simple costumes!! (Mouse over the top right hand corner, a box with an arrow should appear. Click, then it will take you to a link where you can print)



Week 2 When I am baptized and confirmed, I am following Jesus’s example.

* HERE is a fun little activity from The Friend to do in small groups. Make sure they look up each scripture and read them!!

* HERE is the bible video from lds.org of Jesus getting baptized. HERE is a good article from The Friend with review questions already prepared.

* 7 times!!! Go over the story of Naaman with the children. HERE is a wonderful article to refresh your memory.
(Image from lds.org)
     Have little slips of paper in a hat with things for the entire primary to do 7 times. Blow a kiss, hop on one foot, push ups, high five a neighbor, say thank you to the primary pianist, click tongue, pat head and rub belly, move to the left 7 chairs, move to the right 7 chairs.... etc.
     Before a reverent primary friend is chosen to pick a paper for our game 7 times, have them answer a question on baptism. Here are some questions relating to the story of Naaman & baptism:
Naaman was considered unclean as a leper. How are people older than 8 unclean before baptism?
Naaman was angry that he had to go wash. He was not very humble. What is humility and why is it important for baptism?
Naaman finally washed in the river. What is obedience? How was Christ obedient?
Baptism by immersion is a symbol... of what?
How do you think Naaman felt after he was healed? How do you think people feel after they are baptized?
Can you tell us a little about the story of Jesus being baptized?
Have you been to a baptism before? Can you share your experience there briefly?
Why is baptism so important?
Can you have baptism without confirmation? Why not? ( “Baptism in water … must be followed by baptism of the Spirit in order to be complete” (see Bible Dictionary, “Baptism,” 618).
If you could meet Naaman what would you say to him or ask him?


Week 3 The Holy Ghost can help me.

* "Taking “the Holy Spirit for [our] guide” (D&C 45:57) is possible and is essential for our spiritual growth and survival in an increasingly wicked world. Sometimes as Latter-day Saints we talk and act as though recognizing the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives is the rare or exceptional event. We should remember, however, that the covenant promise is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us. This supernal blessing applies to every single member of the Church who has been baptized, confirmed, and instructed to “receive the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Bednar That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be With Us April 2006
    Grab a backpack, hat, and a good walking stick. We are going on a guided hike today in primary!! Would you want to climb a really big mountain by yourself? Why or why not would it be a good idea? Is it helpful to have someone who knows the way? In the mountain of life, the Holy Ghost is our guide and he can help me!!
     Throughout the primary room have 10 pictures of things that might be dangerous on a hike with the following questions or scriptures:
     poison ivy - Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" How does the Holy Ghost help us tell the difference between good and evil?
     bear- When is a time you had a big challenge and the Holy Ghost helped you?
     falling rocks- We are "buried" in the water of what to enter the kingdom of heaven? (baptism) But it is not complete unless we do something else having to do with the Holy Ghost... what is that? (get confirmed, receive the Holy Ghost)
    stream crossing- JST John 1:31-33 " And John bare record, saying; When he was baptized of me, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him; for he who sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me; Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."
     bees- In the book of Alma, a group of Lamanites starts to kill their brethren the anit-nephi-lehies and the scriptures say they were, "stung (in their hearts) for the murders which they had committed". We will never end up killing people, but the Holy Ghost can warn us! Is a warning helpful? How does the Holy Ghost warn us? What does He warn us about?
     hot sun- How do we feel on a sunny day? There are many different ways people feel the spirit!! "It is clear that each of us may hear and feel the communication of the Holy Ghost in a variety of ways. We should move beyond simply teaching children that they will have a warm feeling because they might not experience that feeling; they may receive inspiration in a different way....I was teaching a Sunday School lesson to relatively new converts, and I asked the question, “How do you feel the Spirit?” Their answers were very enlightening. One said, “I feel clarity in my thoughts.” Another said, “I have a warm feeling inside,” while another shared, “I feel a deep sense of peace.” A woman who had been a member for a few months said, “I feel prickles all over!” And several stated that they occasionally would “hear” a voice speaking to them or that new ideas would come to them."
Dec. 2013 Ensign Helping Children Recognize the Holy Ghost by Merrilee Browne Boyack
     log in the way- "Your testimony of Christ, born of the Holy Ghost, can help you look past the disappointing endings in mortality and see the bright future that the Redeemer of the world has prepared." President Uchtdorf Grateful in Any Circumstances April 2014 The Holy Ghost can help us by giving us this- something felt in our heart that makes us look forward to something better? (Hope!)
    storm clouds- Have the primary pianist play Master, the Tempest Is Raging (Hymns 105) and read or sing the words to the 1st verse and chorus. What feeling can the Holy Ghost give us when there are storms in life??
The following aren't dangers, but are needed on our hike!
     snack break - How do we feed our spirit and invite the Holy Ghost into our lives?
     water break- What does refresh mean?? Here is a story from lds.org, and when you hear the word refresh, touch your nose:
" I recall a testimony given by a young cadet attending the United States Air Force Academy.
He was experiencing great difficulty in passing his courses and was very discouraged. At this point, he met a Mormon cadet, and from him he learned that there were a number of Mormon boys attending the academy and that they met together at five o’clock each weekday morning in a religious study class. The cadet was invited to attend one of these classes. He did so and was deeply impressed by the wonderful spirit. He continued attending, met the missionaries, was given the discussions, and, through study, prayer, and attending church, received a testimony and was baptized. He bore witness that upon receiving the Holy Ghost he felt its influence quicken his mind and understanding and refresh his memory, and that thereafter he had no trouble in getting satisfactory grades. His feelings of discouragement left him, and a spirit of peace and comfort came over him. This was a most inspiring and impressive testimony of the great value of the Holy Ghost."
Great job on the hike everyone!!! Bear testimony that no matter what we face on our path, the Holy Ghost can help us!!

 
Week 4 When I take the sacrament I renew my baptismal covenants.

* Makeover!! Transformation time!!  President David O. McKay said, “I feel impressed to emphasize what the Lord has designated as the most important meeting in the Church, and that is the sacrament meeting.” If we properly prepare for the sacrament, we can transform our lives."
     Prepare 10-12 questions on the sacrament and renewing our baptismal covenants. Enlist the help of your most wonderful primary pianist, or another willing teacher. Bring in some make up and hair styling products. Place them nicely on the table with maybe a couple necklaces or a shawl. Invite a primary child up front to answer a question and then TRANSFORM our primary pianist!!
     After the sharing time, WOW!!! What an amazing transformation or change!! Remember, like President McKay said, "If we properly prepare for the sacrament, we can transform our lives." We can change them for the better. Challenge the children to come up with 1 thing they can do next week to prepare for the sacrament and do it!!

* HERE is an awesome story about the sacrament!! After sharing it with the primary children, break out some paper and teach them how to make an easy origami project!! Have them bring it to sacrament next week to look at and remember to think of Jesus!

Friday, April 7, 2017

April 2017 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas


Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ Teaches Me to Choose the Right
Monthly Scripture: “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” John 13:15

Week 1 Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me.

* Acts 10:38 "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good... for God was with him."
     Have lots of brightly colored post-it notes throughout the room. Invite a child to "go about" the room to do something good. On the post-its, have instructions for them to do something kind at that moment or talk about something good.
     For example : Give a smile to someone, give a compliment to someone, tell about a time someone was kind to you, tell about a time you were kind to someone, give someone a high five or hug, go tell the Bishop thanks for all you do, give your teacher a compliment, tell the primary pianist something you admire about them, tell someone why you are glad they are your friend, name something you could do for FHE, name something you are grateful for, what is something thoughtful a person in your family does,
and tell a sunbeam why they are awesome.
      Have a picture of Jesus covered with a bunch of post it notes. In order to take a post it off, a child will have to say something Jesus did to set the perfect example for us. There will be plenty of opportunities for children to get involved in the lesson!! While a primary friend is making their choice as they "go about" the room or take a post it off the picture, invite the rest of the primary to watch and see who is being reverent. You could call on a primary friend to choose another friend who they saw being extra attentive.
    You could even give the children little stacks of post it's at the end to draw pictures or write compliments for family members at home!

* We received a really fun game called Watch Ya' Mouth as a birthday gift. I'm not saying go out and buy it... if you happen to have it though, it would make a useful object lesson. Place one of the plastic molds in your mouth and try to talk to the primary. Can they understand you really well? No!! You are not being clear! Take it out of your mouth and say the same thing.... now was I clear??
      “Of all the lessons we learn from the life of the Savior, none is more clear and powerful than the lesson of obedience,” taught Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the April 2014 general conference.
     There are only 10 plastic mouth pieces in the game. For sanitation reasons you could probably only have 3 kids up front to help for sharing time. Give each a plastic mouthpiece. Then invite another primary friend to come up front and choose an index card for a friend with the mouthpiece to read. They get 1 chance to guess what they said, then turn it over to children with raised hands in the primary to guess. Have the friend take out the mouthpiece and say it clearly. (Now, this lesson has the chance to turn out very rowdy if YOU AS THE TEACHER let it. Remind the children that we want to come to church and learn. We can chuckle, because yes, it is odd sticking a piece of plastic in your mouth and seeing so many teeth! But we want to be able to have fun AND learn at the same time- which means smiling, being calm, not laughing too loud, and listening carefully!!)
      Index cards can have things Jesus did that set the perfect example for us for us to follow. For example: Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan. Jesus anointed the eyes of the blind and helped them to see. Jesus cast out devils. Jesus taught many parables and how to understand them. Jesus often kneeled and prayed. Jesus attended the temple often. Jesus did not shun people who were different from Him. Jesus trusted His friends and helped them.
     Jesus Christ set a CLEAR and perfect example for us. Tell the children how much you love them, how grateful you are for the opportunity to learn from them in Sharing Time. Bear your testimony of The Savior, that He was perfect and even though we aren't, He can help us to be our best.

* Prepare a week ahead of time and invite some of your cub scouts (or 2 young men's scouts) to demonstrate a proper way to carry an injured person. Thanks for sharing that valuable information!! Let's think about how hard it would be to carry an injured person as we think about the following story.
     Mark 2 tells the story of a man who had the palsy (he was paralyzed and couldn't walk). His friends were so faithful, that they took the roof off a house and lowered their friend in so he could be healed by The Savior. First, Jesus said the man was forgiven of his sins. There were scribes there that didn't believe this could be, they didn't say so but they were feeling so in their hearts. Jesus knew their hearts and responded, "Why reason ye these things in your hearts?" He then showed them that He had power not only to forgive, but also heal. He told the man to rise and the man with the palsy was able to rise and walk.
    We have many examples from the scriptures of things Jesus did to set the perfect example for us. But the question is, why is He the perfect example for you? What are the reasons in your heart? Have a piece of paper with a heart outline on it and invite the children to write their testimony or draw a picture of a reason why they believe Jesus is the perfect example for them.

Weeks 2 and 3 Jesus Christ taught me the right way to live.

* Hosea 14:9 "the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them"
    HERE is a really good talk. Has anyone ever gotten lost? It's a scary feeling!! Tell the children the story of the little boy who didn't even know he was lost. "We simply acted, going out in search of the one who had been lost."
      Break into groups for 5 minutes. Give each group a picture of Jesus from the GAK (gospel art kit). Invite them to talk about what the story behind the picture is. Was there someone who was lost from the path of happiness? Sometimes life is hard and there are many trials we have to go through, we can feel lost. But The Savior is there to help us. Give each group a small stuffed animal to hide while one child goes out of the room. (Have an adult by the door to help out) Invite the child back in to find the stuffed animal and talk about a way they can "act", walking in the ways of the Lord like their group's picture.
     Once everyone is seated again, invite a person from each group to share with the primary what their picture was and how they can be like Him.
    
* Have 4 chairs up front. Maybe a little cardboard steering wheel too. Invite 4 children to come up front and choose one to drive. Have a stop sign, green light, have them pretend to put on seatbelts.... things that you need to do to drive the right way. After they are done demonstrating, ask the primary, what would happen if we did not drive the right way? Has anyone ever been in a car accident?
     Jesus Christ taught us the right way to live. Is there safety in following The Savior?
     Have 15 numbered toy cars. Have 15 numbered questions, scriptures or songs about the week's theme. Invite a primary friend to drive a car to their numbered question and then answer it. Make sure they drive it the right way!! No crashing into the primary pianist!!
    "There seems to be no end to the Savior’s desire to lead us to safety. And there is constancy in the way He shows us the path." Elder Henry B. Eyring Finding Safety in Counsel April 1997

* Make copies of The Living Christ. Have children work in partners or small groups to read this and look for something they would like to illustrate from it. Bring in paper and crayons and make sure everyone has what they need for their masterpieces. Have time for children to share their work at the end. OR you could even just have them make the primary room into a Living Christ art display. Have the primary pianist play reverent music while the children quietly (because it's like a museum) walk around the room looking at the art. Did they feel anything while they were looking at pictures or listening to the music? That's the Holy Ghost testifying to us that Jesus Christ taught us the right way to live and we need to live that right way!!

Week 4 I feel my Savior’s love when I try to be like Jesus Christ.

* HERE is a link to some great jokes from The Friend. Sing the song SMILES from the Children's Songbook. Ask the primary friends how they are feeling? Make a list of things on the chalk board (you can invite 2 primary friends to write and tell them not to worry about spelling, just do their best!) of things that make us happy. Hopefully Jesus was on that list!! When we feel The Savior's love, often we feel happy or peaceful. Sometimes when we feel that love, we feel energized or sometimes very humbled. Lots of things give us temporary happiness, but Jesus' love is something that we can feel forever!! When we try to be like Him, we can feel that love. No joke!!!
    Have balloons with a small amount of playdough in them and tie them after getting all the air out. You will need to make all these before hand! Bring in some sharpies (watch those Sunbeams!!!!!!!!!!!!) and have them draw a smiley face on it. Invite the children to take their happy sack home and give it a squeeze anytime they are sad. They can think about this lesson and The Savior and remember stories from His life. They can squeeze it and watch the silly face squish about. After they feel better, they can go and do something that would then make Jesus happy!



* This will take some preparation! Take pictures of some people in your ward... 1 only of their smile and then 1 of the person!!! Have them write a short paragraph of a time when they were trying to be like Jesus and felt His love for them. Print out the pictures of the mouths/smiles!!! Invite primary friends to choose a mouth, guess who it might be.... then read the paragraph of that person. After the story, can they take another guess who it might be??? Show them the picture of the whole person.
     When we feel The Savior's love we can't help but smile!! He loves us!! And we need to try to be like Him!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My God, My Heavenly Father.....


I pray Heavenly Father will bless me with the spirit to guide me in what I say, feel, and think. Because all these things lead me to know.

One day, my kids' kids are going to go to church and are going to be bored. Another day they are going to run across something in the church's history, and it's not going to make sense. One time they might have a close LDS friend who decides to leave the church. Another time they may just feel utterly and completely lost. One time someone might die. Or divorce might happen. Maybe they will lose a library book, and pray for a miracle and have faith to find it... but they just don't find it. $20 bucks later man.... $20 bucks later....

Life can be a giant boulder that is launched at you and completely smashes you under it's weight. And while you are underneath- your legs broken, lungs crushed, and liver in organ failure.... sometimes all you can do is say, "Well shoot. This is janky."

This is what I know. While you are under that boulder, there is going to be a man who helps you. He loves you. He loves me. You might feel Him close by, you might not.... but no matter what, He is right by your side. He will not leave you.

Some people say there is no God.

They can believe what they want. There is a God and He is great. He is good and kind. He is fair and loving. He has created a beautiful world for us, put angels nearby to lift us up, given us guides to help us along the way, and just wants us to be happy.

People make their choices. Their choices don't make them bad people. All people are good, sometimes their choices are just "janky". And you know what, you don't need to worry about their choices. Love the person, hate the sin? Naw. Don't even go there. Let Heavenly Father deal with sins. You worry about your own. You know what you need to do? Love. Love some more. Then love some more.

We are in good hands. Even though times may seem like "rocks gone wild", no matter how broken you feel, you can be healed by The Master. You may be bleeding out, but hang in there. In the end, everything is going to work out. In the mean time, just do your best and know that God is over all.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review: Quick Tips for Busy Families


I love easy to read books. Books that make me smile, books that have good points. Jay Payleitner did an excellent job of giving me new ideas for parenting. A lot were common sense, but it was good to read nonetheless.

Should one simply pass by a tree stump on an afternoon walk with the children?? I loved his idea to make it into a temporary podium, a words of wisdom spot whatnot. Easy. Simple. Fun.

I laughed when one chapter suggested that young children will always choose scissors. I tried it out with my 5 year old, and sure enough- the first 4 times he chose scissors!! He was amazed that I was beating him!!!

There were some really inspiring Christian thoughts WITHOUT a holier-than-thou type of preaching. Amen. Thank you. Loved it.

A good reminder was his chapter on compliments. A business practice is to sandwich a negative between 2 compliments. But his idea was that the negative supersedes the positive and I tend to agree. Sometimes we need to just give compliments and leave it at that.

I would definitely recommend this book!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 March LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas


Monthly Theme: Living Prophets Teach Me to Choose the Right
Monthly Scripture: “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God” Alma 37:35

Week 1 God speaks through living prophets.

* Put a picture of Noah's ark on the board and a picture of President Monson. Why do you think President Monson wasn't commanded to build an ark? Do we need an ark in our day and age?
     President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency discussed the necessity for constant revelation:
“Much revelation received, in this time as well as anciently, has been doctrinal. Some of it has been operational and tactical. Much of it is not spectacular. President John Taylor reminds us: ‘Adam’s revelation did not instruct Noah to build his ark; nor did Noah’s revelation tell Lot to forsake Sodom; nor did either of these speak of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt. These all had revelations for themselves(Millennial Star, 1 Nov. 1847, 323)” (“Continuing Revelation,” Ensign, Aug. 1996).
       "These all had revelations for themselves."!!! Prophets of all ages are important, but for us to receive current revelations for our times, we need living prophets. God speaks through living prophets.
Divide into 5-6 groups. Give each group a picture of a living apostle and a highlighted talk from that apostle. Encourage the group to read the highlighted quotes and be able to share with the entire primary what that living prophet has commanded or encouraged us to do in our lives today. 

* Blind in the forest- 4 people are blindfolded. One person will guide them by telling them how far to walk, so that they can come together.
     From Gospel Topics on lds.org it says, "We can always trust the living prophets. Their teachings reflect the will of the Lord, who declared: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).
      HERE is a story from The Friend about President Monson. It has some good visuals of things he has done to show us how to live our lives. Can we trust his example? Absolutely!! He will lead us to The Savior if we trust him. But don't take my word for it. Encourage the children to go home and pray to know for themselves. Any happy or peaceful feelings they get are the spirit saying, "Yes! This is right!"

* Match the voice! Have some audio clips of the apostles and first presidency speaking. Have their pictures up front. Can anyone match the voice with the picture? God speaks through living prophets.... do we know them? Have simple facts/stories about the apostles to share with the children when they make a match to help them get to know them better.
 
Week 2: The First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are prophets.

* Fact or Fiction!! Come up with 3 facts and 1 fiction about the First Presidency and 12 apostles. Have a primary friend come up front and guess which statement is the fiction!! Make sure there are pictures so everyone can put a name to the face!
For example:
President Monson -
One time played with matches and lit a field on fire.
He served in the US Navy.
Used to have pigeons he raised.
Served as Mission President in Paris, France. (Fiction, it was the Canadian Mission headquartered in Toronto)
President Eyring -
Played tennis in highschool. (Fiction, it was basketball)
Loves to paint and sketch drawings.
Has a wife named Kathy and 6 children.
HERE and HERE are links to LDS.org for more information on each apostle

* I SPY!!! Print off the following for partners or small groups. Have children circle the first presidency and 12 apostles. Have one copy with all of them circled correctly. Have some quotes or fun stories to share with the children about our modern day prophets.



Week 3: God’s prophets and apostles speak to us in general conference.

* "In order for the messages of general conference to change our lives, we need to be willing to follow the counsel we hear. The Lord explained in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know … how to act upon the points of my law and commandment.” But knowing “how to act” isn’t enough. The Lord in the next verse said, “Ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me.” This willingness to take action on what we have learned opens the doors for marvelous blessings." (The Blessings of General Conference by Elder Paul V. Johnson October 2005)
      Have different quotes (short but meaningful) from the last General Conference throughout the room. Invite 2 children up front. "Bind" or tie one leg of each child to the other. (Like a 3 legged race, but NO RUNNING!) Invite them to work together to choose a quote and go get it. Read the quote and ask them a question pertaining to it.
    We need to be willing to do what Heavenly Father asks us during General Conference! We need to tie our leg with His and walk His path!!

* " Several years ago, as this Conference Center was being built and nearing completion, I entered this sacred building on the balcony level in a hard hat and safety glasses, ready to vacuum the carpet that my husband was helping to install. Where the rostrum now stands was a front-end loader moving dirt, and the dust in this building was thick. When it settled, it did so on the new carpet. My part was to vacuum. And so I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed. After three days my little vacuum burned up!
     The afternoon before the first general conference in this beautiful building, my husband called me. He was about to install the last piece of carpet—under this historic pulpit. He asked, “What scripture should I write on the back of this carpet?” And I said, “Mosiah 18:9: ‘Stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.’”
     Bring in your vacuum. Yes. Your vibrant sunbeams will either be thrilled or terrified. Did you know that at General Conference, under the carpet is a scripture written? Pretty fun! Invite a primary friend to vacuum for 20 seconds, then answer a question or read a scripture about General Conference. Life can get pretty messy, but General Conference is like the vacuum, it helps us clean up our lives if we'll listen!!

Week 4: I am blessed when I choose to follow the prophet.

* Invite some special guests (3-4) in to share a short experience of a time they were blessed when they followed the prophet.

* “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” 2 Chr. 20:20
     What does it mean to prosper? To make successful! Have children draw a picture of themselves in the future. What do they imagine their lives will be like? What are some things they must do to be successful? How can our lives be blessed when we follow the prophets? Invite children to share who their favorite prophet is with a partner and why. Switch partners as time permits, they can also share their artwork too!

* HERE is another super sharing time from The Friend on how obedience to the prophets brings blessings. Thanks Sister Nichols!!