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.