Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: The Mark of the King by Joceyln Green

I receive free books from Bethany House Publishing in turn for writing reviews.
All opinions are my own.
This book came at just the perfect time for me. We've been having snow storm after snow storm, and it was nice to cozy up under a blanket and fade away!
First off, I loved the cover. It was simple, elegant, and caught my attention.
The Mark of the King is a historical fiction novel that will grab you right off the bat. Julianne Chevalier is a midwife in France who is very good at what she does, yet she is young. She is confident and careful, but something happens one day that will alter her path dramatically.
She finds herself heading to New Orleans among supposed, less desirable company. It's nothing like she imagined once she arrives, and on her shoulder she carries something that sets her apart from the rest. Something that if other's know about could ruin her life, yet again.
Will she be able to survive this new place? Will she be able to keep to her values and do what she loves? Will she find someone to share in her hope?
The story was excellent. I thought the characters could have been more developed. I liked them, but I didn't love them. I learned a ton of new information and the book had me looking up more and more about New Orleans. I would definitely recommend reading this book because it's clean. There are a few moments where women are treated severely, but the author Jocelyn Green writes with a dignified voice. Nothing crude or explicit. And that, for me right there, is such a breath of fresh air!!
I'd also recommend reading the book if you like stories that promote faith. This is definitely a Christian book with scriptures quoted, singing the tune that even though we have trials, we can have help from above.
On a 5 star scale, I'd give it a 3.5.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

February 2017 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Noah's Ark by Colin Thompson
He makes art for jigsaw puzzles!

Monthly Theme: When We Choose the Right, We Are Blessed.
Monthly Scripture:“If ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you” Mosiah 2:22

Week 1 Noah was blessed for choosing the right.

 * Tiger, Moose, Elephant. This is a great game for large primaries where you invite 10-15 children up front. In between each round of the game ask questions about the story of Noah and about the obedience he and his family showed. The children up front will need to be good examples in between each round and listen, or even raise their hand to share an answer.
     This is how you play the game. Tiger makes hands in a clawing shape. Moose puts hands on head spread out. Elephant bends over and drops arm like a long nose. On the count of 3, and they have to do it on 3 or they are automatically out, they choose whether they want to be tiger, moose, or elephant. Whatever animal there is the most of, all those children are out. You can play until there are 2 winners.
      Aren't we so grateful for animals? Bear testimony of Noah and his life as a prophet. He was blessed for choosing the right, and we are blessed because of his choices too!!

* Have children draw pictures of different animals or of Noah and his family or of an ark. Have an "ARK SHOW" where you display their animal art on the front board. (Bring in plenty of small magnets!!) Have the primary pianist choose a piece of art they really like and why. Have the primary child who drew it come up front and answer a question or read a scripture having to do with the story of Noah. Repeat the process of choosing art with different people like teachers or fellow primary friends, and they have to say why they like the "ark" piece.
       Oh my. This is such a cheesy idea, but I kinda love it. It sounds like fun!!

* Divide the primary into 5 sections. You're going to make a rain storm today!
Section 1:  Rub your hands together.  (This is the wind)
Section 2:  Tap one finger on the palm of your hand.  (These are the first raindrops.)
Section 3:  Tap all 4 fingers.  (Many more rain drops.)
Section 4:  Full out clapping.  (It’s getting more intense!)
Section 5:  Slap on the floor, or your thighs.  (Thunder enters!)
After a big crescendo (getting louder), repeat all the activities in reverse order (1 section will drop out at a time) as the storm dies down, until you’re rubbing hands together.
Then quietly stop, and there should be absolutely silence.
    Can anyone think of scripture stories that have to do with rain? Wow!!! Great answers. Today we're going to talk about the story of Noah!! Give each section ONE of the following questions and 2 minutes to come up with an answer- Who was in this scripture story? What happened in this scripture story? Why is this scripture story important to us today? When did this scripture story happen? How can we be like Noah? Have each section choose a representative to come up front after and share.
     If you have time afterwards maybe you can make another rain shower!!

Week 2 Jesus’s disciples were blessed by choosing the right.

* HERE is a great talk to read for this week. What is discipleship? Great  thoughts and inspiration! “The word disciple comes from the Latin [meaning] a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who is learning to be like Christ—learning to think, to feel, and to act [like] he does” (Ensign, Sept. 1974, 81).

* “He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple...” D&C 41:5
     Have 4 stories from the scriptures about different disciples. Write a short paragraph describing that person and how they were blessed by choosing the right. Choose 5 words from your paragraph to leave out/fill in the blank. Write the 5 words on the chalk board. Invite a child to come up front and read the paragraph nice and clear, when they come to a blank invite them to choose another primary friend who thinks they know what word will fill in the blank. You can have one primary friend be in charge of erasing the words that were chosen.
      You will have to switch readers for the next story, and write the new set of words on the chalk board. Choose a new primary friend to erase the next set! (Yes, some little friends can't read.... so point to the words and say them out loud!!)

* Choose the Right! When a choice is placed before you!!
   Sing Choose the Right!! Hymns 239
   A reverent primary friend will come up front and act as a certain disciple from the scriptures. You can have a few simple props or costumes for them to wear while they read and answer. A choice (a small piece of paper with a sentence on it) will be placed before them and they will have to tell what choice they made and why it was a good one.
For example:
Nephi- Getting the brass plates was not easy, my brothers wanted to quit. What was my choice?
Esther- My people were all going to be killed by an unfair decree. I would lose my life if I spoke to the king when not spoken to. What was my choice?
Widow of Zarephath- A wicked king and queen sought the prophet Elijah's life. He had to hide. He wanted to stay with me and my son, but we had no food. What was my choice?
Ammon- I was a brand new missionary and ran into some thieves. They wanted to kill and scatter the king's sheep. What was my choice?
Alma the Elder- My whole life I believed a certain way and wanted to live the way I knew how. When I heard Abinadi speak, the Holy Ghost testified what he said was true, it was much different from what I had believed. What was my choice?
Stephen- I knew that Christ lived. He loved and is my Savior. Some men were very angry with me and want to kill me with stones. I had a testimony and knew I should speak. What was my choice?
Moses- I thought I was a prince of Egypt, but found out I was a Hebew son. I could have lived a life of luxury and richness or freed my people who were slaves. What was my choice?
     For senior primary you could even have the children themselves come up with a disciple and what their choice was.

Week 3 Nephi was blessed for choosing the right.

* Make a memory match game with words/pictures that have to do with Nephi's life. When a match is made, a primary friend can tell us a little more about that story and how Nephi chose the right. How was he blessed?
Some ideas for matches: Broken Bow, Brass Plates, Build a Ship, Tree of Life, Nephi Writes the Things of God,  Frank Forgiveness, and Respect for Parents

* HERE is a short clip about President Monson talking about Nephi and the blessings of obedience.

* Nephi, a scripture hero!! THIS ARTICLE is from The Friend and would be a great read for the primary. After sharing it, invite the children to take a piece of paper and design a super hero cape for Nephi. They can write words on it or just do a design with pictures. Invite some children up front to share their work and ideas.

Week 4 Church members today are blessed for choosing the right.
* “Of all the lessons we learn from the life of the Savior, none is more clear and powerful than the lesson of obedience” (“If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 35).
    Sing Choose the Right Way, CS 160      
"I am learning the teachings of Jesus; They will help me and show me the way" Have a scavenger type hunt in the primary room. Have different manila sized envelopes with pictures of The Savior showing different things He did to show obedience, and also directions to another envelope in the room. When we follow Christ and choose the right, we will be blessed and like the song says... be happy!!
*HERE is an excellent talk with a story of a Mission President who chooses to wear a special CTR tie tack. You can tell the story to the children. Is anyone in primary wearing a CTR ring? Can they show us?? A quote that stands out from the talk is, “Likewise, my dear young friends, the positive things you will want to accomplish need be decided upon only once—like going on a mission and living worthily in order to get married in the temple—and then all other decisions related to these goals can fall into line. Otherwise, each consideration is risky....There are some things Latter-day Saints do and other things we just don’t do. The sooner you take a stand, the taller you will be!(President Kimball Speaks Out, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 94).
      Bring in some building blocks and have the children name a good choice, then stack their block. How tall can it get? An interesting lesson in this is sometimes we aren't perfect and fall, like our block towers, but we just keep on going. Pick ourselves up and continue to make good choices. What is something you can do this week to take a stand and choose the right?

* Get some stories (this idea is very similar to the one in the outline) of friends or family members of the primary children who made a good choice and were blessed by it. You'll need to prepare and call the week before to get everything ready. In primary, tell the children that you are going to be sharing a very important story of a church member today who chose the right and was blessed... and then they can guess who the person is! Have a couple clues to maybe help them figure out who the story is about. Maybe you can even get some pictures to go along with the story from that person!