Monday, November 17, 2014

December 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 2 Remembering Jesus Christ helps me choose the right.

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

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

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

Week 3 The Son of God was born on earth.

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

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

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

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

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

Week 4 Jesus Christ will come again.

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving Family Home Evening- Turkey Shoot!

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

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Topical Guide Scripture References Jesus Christ

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

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

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

November 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Odilon Redon, Christ in Silence, 1897

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple recycled ideas from previous posts:

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Joseph Smith - A FHE based on Elder Neil A. Anderson's Oct. 2014 General Conference Talk

All quotes are from the talk Joseph Smith by Elder Neil A. Anderson.
October 2014 General Conference

Attention Activity:
HERE is a website that can generate false newspaper clipping images.
Make some semi-true stories about members of your family. Share them. What was right, what was wrong about the stories?

"We might remind the sincere inquirer that Internet information does not have a “truth” filter. Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true."

If we want to know the truth, where is the best place to seek answers?
What did the Savior say? Read 3 Nephi 14:16-20
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. How can we know the truth of this?
Elder Anderson says, "Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is true for every generation. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God."
Have the following quotes from Elder Anderson in places that you might go to find out answers- scriptures, computer, books, TV, the bed where you pray, the front porch where a newspaper is.... As a family go to each place and read the quotes.

1. " Many of those who dismiss the work of the Restoration simply do not believe that heavenly beings speak to men on earth. Impossible, they say, that golden plates were delivered by an angel and translated by the power of God. From that disbelief, they quickly reject Joseph’s testimony, and a few unfortunately sink to discrediting the Prophet’s life and slandering his character.
     We are especially saddened when someone who once revered Joseph retreats from his or her conviction and then maligns the Prophet.10
     “Studying the Church … through the eyes of its defectors,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, is “like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed."
2. " To questions about Joseph’s character, we might share the words of thousands who knew him personally and who gave their lives for the work he helped establish. John Taylor, who was shot four times by the mob that killed Joseph, would later declare: “I testify before God, angels, and men, that [Joseph] was a good, honorable, [and] virtuous man— … [and] that his private and public character was unimpeachable—and that he lived and died as a man of God."
3. "Years ago I read a Time magazine article that reported the discovery of a letter, supposedly written by Martin Harris, that conflicted with Joseph Smith’s account of finding the Book of Mormon plates.
A few members left the Church because of the document.
     Sadly, they left too quickly. Months later experts discovered (and the forger confessed) that the letter was a complete deception.
     You may understandably question what you hear on the news, but you need never doubt the testimony of God’s prophets."
4. "... Some information about Joseph, while true, may be presented completely out of context to his own day and situation.
       Elder Russell M. Nelson illustrated this point. He said: “I was serving as a consultant to the United States government at its National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Once while awaiting a taxi to take me to the airport after our meetings were over, I stretched out on the lawn to soak in a few welcome rays of sunshine before returning to the winter weather of Utah. … Later I received a photograph in the mail taken by a photographer with a telephoto lens, capturing my moment of relaxation on the lawn. Under it was a caption, ‘Governmental consultant at the National Center.’ The picture was true, the caption was true, but the truth was used to promote a false impression.”
     We do not discard something we know to be true because of something we do not yet understand."
5. " Brothers and sisters, let me give you a caution: you won’t be of much help to others if your own faith is not securely in place.
     A few weeks ago I boarded a plane for South America. The flight attendant directed our attention to a safety video. “It is unlikely,” we were warned, “but if cabin pressure changes, the panels above your seat will open, revealing oxygen masks. If this happens, reach up and pull a mask toward you. Place the mask over your nose and mouth. Slip the elastic strap over your head and adjust the mask if necessary.” Then this caution: “Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others...Now is the time to adjust your own spiritual oxygen mask so that you are prepared to help others who are seeking the truth.
6. "To the youth listening today or reading these words in the days ahead, I give a specific challenge: Gain a personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith."
Challenges for the upcoming week:
"First, find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know are absolutely true. Then share them."
Next, read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.... Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet’s testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek."
Bear Testimony of Joseph Smith. Follow up with family members for the challenges that Elder Anderson instructed us to do during the upcoming week. At the next family home evening, or on Sunday, gather together and share!
Possible songs to sing:
Praise to the Man Hymns #27
Joseph Smith's First Prayer Hymns #26
We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet Hymns #19
An Angel Came to Joseph Smith CS #86
The Golden Plates CS #86
The Sacred Grove CS #87

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parents: The Primary Gospel Teachers of Their Children, By Elder Tad R. Callister FHE idea

I really loved THIS talk. I could just picture a little Granny walking out ready to serve "the elderly".

For family home evening, have 4 (or more depending on your family size) plastic cups and a small paper granny. Read the quote about what an example his mother was as a great gospel teacher/parent... even at age 90!

What does it take to be a good parent who teaches the gospel in the home?
Elder Callister gives some great ideas.

After you go over a question or quote on the sheet, take turns putting the granny under a cup and mixing up the cups. Each family member gets a turn trying to find which cup the good example granny is under!

The example he gave of the mother who helped her boy achieve success was very powerful (#3). Let family members talk about how they feel after reading this. Be open to see how the spirit directs the conversation.

Some possible songs to include:
Love is Spoken Here (CS #190)
Families Can Be Together Forever ( CS #188)

Bear testimony that parents have a sacred responsibility to their children. We have the ultimate example of a loving Heavenly Father who has given us so much. He provided a perfect plan and sacrificed so much for us to return to Him. We need to strive for that unconditional patience, love, and diligence as a parent.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

General Women's Conference Oct. 2014 FHE Idea

I'm hoping to do some art projects with my girls based off some of the wonderful Conference messages. I have them read the talks for scripture study and am looking forward to their written responses on the question sheet I made. I save their work in a little box and look forward to looking back on these treasured moments. I also try to have them review quotes and pick one or two to memorize!
Also, I never ever ever use anything but watercolor paper for watercolor projects!!
You can't beat the quality.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sing or Dare- Singing Time Idea

She's got some great ideas!!

I needed a last minute singing time idea and found THIS. I loved it!!!

But more importantly the children loved it. In fact, one child loved it so much, he took both my SING and DARE bag. I couldn't find it anywhere for Senior Singing Time!!! I had to do the DARE or SING off the top of my head!!

I didn't make a fancy poster. Because I'll be honest... paper bags are easier. Then you cut the following into strips and have them choose.

Ashley's DARE:
For Junior Primary
Stand on your chair and shout "I love primary!"
Name your favorite thing about Primary
Name 2 latter day prophets
Switch seats with someone else
Give your teacher a hug
Give the primary presidency (I changed to Pianist) a high five

For Senior Primary
Tell the names of everyone in your class
Stand on your chair and shout "I love Primary!"
Give everyone a high-five
Name 3 latter day prophets
Hop on one foot around the podium 3 times
Draw a picture of your favorite food

I added some dares:
Open the primary door and loudly say in the hallway, "I need a snacky!!!"
(That was awesome!)
Act like a fish for 20 seconds
In a sing-song voice give 3 people in primary a compliment

For singing, I chose different songs and used Ashley's ways to SING:
Clap the rhythm while you sing
March in place while you sing
Play Stop/Go while you sing
Stand on one foot and sing
Tiptoe in a circle while you sing
Whisper sing

October 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Yaiya Sofia and the kiddos on Ella's blessing day. I'm so grateful for my grandmother and the example she sets for me. She came from Greece, the oldest of 8 children, and worked hard to get everyone to America to avoid the devastation of WWII. She gave and continues to give everything to her family. There is not a single trip to her house that I don't leave with dish soap, toilet paper, or farfalle pasta. Spoiled!!!! But most importantly, my Yaya taught me about Heavenly Father. I've never seen or heard more sincere prayers. When my mother wanted to join the LDS church, Yaya supported her and has done so ever since. Family, our greatest blessing and joy.

Monthly Theme: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” Came from God to Help My Family.

Monthly Scripture: "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11

Week 1 "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" came from God to help my family.

* Make a primary scrapbook of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."
     Take quotes from it and type it on the bottom of a piece of paper. Have many different quotes! Give the papers to the children to illustrate that quote. At the end of sharing time, bind the papers together and read to the children, showing all the beautiful art of the children.
     Let the children know that you will keep the book and use when we can during songs about families! For example, Families can be Together Forever... while the children sing, you show pages from the scrapbook! Use it often to show the children you value their work!

* "What are some things that will help families?...No better advice can be found than that given in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Read it. Study it. Adopt it as your family standard. Make it the topic in several family home evening lessons so no one in the family has any misunderstanding about how your family operates." Sister Barbara Thompson I Will Strengthen Thee; I Will Help Thee Oct. 2007 (It is a wonderful talk and I highly recommend reading it!!)
   Have some "good advice" from The Family Proclamation printed out on different pieces of paper. I would do about 7-10. For example:
1. "The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave."
2. "Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live."
3. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.
4. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
   Have corresponding case scenarios to the advice. Have a child come up front and read the case scenario. Then have them choose what advice from The Family Proclamation would help.
Case Scenarios (to match the above advice)
1. Sally was really sad because Grandma was sick. Grandma had cancer and it didn't look like she would live very much longer. What happens after we die, Sally wondered?
2. Alex was fighting with his brother... again. His brother was always messing up his legos and so Alex shoved him a lot. He and his brother got in trouble. They were sent to time out and then asked to apologize to each other by their mom. Why do parents have to give us time outs?
3. Elizabeth was so excited to look through her sister's bridal magazine. The dresses were exquisite! She especially liked the poofy princess like dresses! However, most of the dresses were sleeveless. Why would a modest wedding gown be so important?
4. Kenny had a beat up station wagon. In fact, there was a big dent in the side of one of the doors. Many of his friends had brand new cars that sparkled, but they also had both parents who worked outside the home. Why would Kenny's mom choose to stay at home over not having a fancy car?
(And yes, I know that not everyone has the option of staying home!! So my thoughts are this, no children should be made to feel guilty for having a mother that works outside the home- whether by choice or because of need!! Go by the spirit and make up your own case scenarios.)

* HERE is The Proclamation itself. Play Proclamation Pictionary!!!! Use words from it and have a child come and draw! After they draw, quote the entire sentence using that word.
Words could include: The First Presidency, All Human Beings, Premortal Realm, Adam and Eve, Husband and Wife, Declare (This would be harder for young children), Family, God's Eternal Plan, Recreational Activities, Repentance, Work, Love, Law Abiding Citizens...
   Challenge the children to go home and play this game with their families!!

* Have about 6 children come up front. One child will stand with their back to the other children. Sing a song about families and have the other 5 children pass a copy of The Family Proclamation between each other. Have them all put their hands behind their backs. When the song is over, invite the one child to guess who is holding it now!
     Read parts of The Proclamation and invite children to share how this knowledge can help their families.

Week 2 Marriage between a man and a woman is essential to God's plan.

* Guess the Love Story!! You definitely have to plan ahead! Call 5 different ward members who were married in the temple. Have them tell you their love story, how they met, etc. Also get a picture of their wedding day.
     For sharing time, share their story and have the children guess who it might be! Share the couple's picture.
As a tip- when you are telling the story, don't stand in one place. Move around the room and be excited!
    True love is eternal love! True love is the love that is shared in the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman. It is essential to God's plan!!
(I did this as a Valentine's singing time idea and it was a huge hit! The children loved it!)

* What was Jesus' first miracle? Where did it take place?
Our Savior's first miracle was at a marriage feast and turned water into wine! Do you think it means anything that His first miracle was at a marriage?
    Bring in a basin of water and several items that will sink or float. Today, we'll pretend this basin of the water is one of the water pots from the marriage feast miracle. What are some things that will sink a marriage? What are some things that will help a marriage stay afloat (try to have more of these items to keep it positive)?
     Let the children put things in the water and then depending if it sinks or floats, share their ideas.
Possible ideas for sinking: arguing, not saying sorry, not helping each other, not putting Heavenly Father first
Possible ideas for staying afloat: saying prayer together, going on dates, going to the temple together, being loyal, helping with household chores
    Marriage can be a miracle! And it is essential to God's plan.

* Bring in a board game. Have 1 child come up front. Ask them to play the game. It's kind of hard to play monopoly when there is only one person!!
   Have a tennis racquet. Invite 1 child to come up front and play a game of tennis. It's kind of hard to play tennis by yourself and run back and forth across the court.
   Bring in a phone. Ask 1 child to make a phone call. You kind of need someone on the other end!!!
Genesis 2: 18 "And the Lord‍ God said, It is‍ not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an‍ help meet for him."
   Marriage between a man and woman is essential to God's plan! Break into pairs (it doesn't have to be boy and girl... just pairs!) to come up with a drawing of a man and a woman who were married in the scriptures!

* Share the following story about President Monson and how he met his wife. (From The Biography of Thomas S. Monson by Heidi S. Swinton pgs. 89-90) You could even print out a couple of pictures of them and pass around while you read, it's pretty long, but very much worth the read:
" At The University of Utah Hello Day Dance in 1944, he had a friend from West High on his arm when he first caught sight of fellow freshman Frances Johnson dancing with another student to the popular tune "Kentucky." He resolved to meet her but didn't catch her eye again that evening.
     It was a month before he happened to see her a second time. One afternoon, while waiting for the streetcar near campus, he saw her chatting with a few friends at the bus stop. Tom recognized one of them from Grant Elementary but could not remember his name. Not sure how to approach the situation, he hesitated - just briefly- when into his mind came a phrase he had committed to memory, "When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past." He squared his shoulders and stepped forward to greet his former grade-school acquaintance. "Hello, old friend," Tom said. "How are you?"
     The young man politely introduced Tom to the two young ladies with him, and they all rode the streetcar to town. As Tom bid the three good-bye, he quickly took out his student directory and underlined the name Frances Beverly Johnson. Ever the consummate proofreader, he noted a typographical error in her middle name- "Berverly."
     Tom wasted no time. That night he called to ask Frances to the dance at the Pioneer Stake gym that weekend. H has said that he will always remember his first visit to her home to pick her up for that date.
      Tom's home environment was noisy, his siblings gregarious; everyone was "part of the action." Whenever his older and "very beautiful" sister, Marjorie, brought to the house a beau- and there were many- Tommy and his younger brother took turns standing on a chair in the kitchen peering through the window in the door to the front room to check him out.
      There were no such antics at the home of Franz and Hildur Johnson on Yale Avenue on the east side of town. Frances, named after her father, Franz, was the only daughter. Her home environment was proper and dignified. On Tom's first visit, her father and mother both welcomed him; they were dressed up as if they were going out, but that formality was just to meet him. His nervousness increased.
     Franz Johnson asked, "Your name is Monson?"
     Tom replied, "Yes, sir."
     He said, "I think that is a Swedish name."
     Tom said, "Yes, sir."
      Then Franz walked over to a cabinet drawer and brought out an old picture of two missionaries with top hats and canes. He turned to the young suitor and asked if her were related to one of the missionaries in the photo, an elder by the name of Elias Monson.
     "Yes, sir," Tom said, then added, "that is my father's uncle. Elias Monson was a missionary in Sweden."
     Immediately, Frances's father began to weep as he described the visits his family had enjoyed with Elias and his companions in their home in Sweden. He threw his arms around Tom's neck and embraced him. then Frances's mother embraced him. Frances looked at Tom and said, "I'll go get my coat....
     Tom and Frances often double dated with friends from the Sixth-Seventh Ward, ending the evening at Don Carlos's drive-in having a barbecued beef sandwich and a pineapple malt. They dated often but did not "go steady"- at least, not at first...."
    President Monson was enlisted in the naval reserve during WWII, when he returned he graduated with honors and started dating Frances again.
     (pg. 107) " Tom took his mother with him to Davis Jewelry to pick out an engagement ring. He brought it home, showed it to his family, and then tucked it in his pocket for later. On the night he planned to ask Frances to marry him, he picked her up and they stopped off at his home. Seeing the two of them together, his four year old brother, Scott, announced with great glee, "Tommy has a ring for you, Frances." The story is legend in the family."
    President Monson and Frances were married Oct. 7, 1966 in the Salt Lake City Temple.
   We know that Sister Monson passed away. Her birthday was October 27th. Sometimes people are sad on days that remind them of their loved ones who passed. Invite the children to write notes or draw pictures for President Monson of him and his wife. You can mail them to him-
President Monson
50 E North Temple St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
Week 3 When family life is founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ, we can be happy.

* Set up a small SIMPLE obstacle course. Blindfold one of the children and see if they can make it through the obstacle course? (Watch, so they don't trip!) Have another child come up front and do it without the blindfold.
     John 9:10-11 "Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight."
      When family life is founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ, we can be happy! We can make it through the obstacles of life easier!!
Have a bucket of hints (based on the teachings of Jesus) at the beginning of the obstacle course. Invite a child to choose one. If they can figure out what the teaching is, they can go through the obstacle course. If they can't figure it out, they have to be blindfolded!!
      A few examples of hints:
 Fold your arms, bow your head-
 You can do this by your bed! (Prayer)

Wrong choices need to be made right-
or else your smiles will not be bright! (Repent, Say Sorry)

Your heart should always have this near-
a feeling for others to make them dear! (Love)
* "Several years ago a severe storm hit the area in which we were living. It began with a torrential downpour, followed by a devastating easterly wind. When the storm was over, damages were assessed—power lines were down, property had been damaged, and many of the beautiful trees that grew in the area had been uprooted. A few days later I was talking to a friend who had lost several of the trees in his yard. The trees on one side of his home were standing straight and tall. They had weathered the storm well, while the trees that were in what I considered the prime spot on his property had not been able to withstand the heavy winds. He pointed out to me that the trees that survived the storm were planted on firm ground; their roots had to sink deep into the soil to receive nourishment. The trees he had lost were planted near a small stream, where nourishment was readily available. The roots were shallow. They were not anchored deeply enough to protect them from the storm.
      Our testimonies, like those trees, must be built on a sure foundation, deeply rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that when the winds and rains come into our lives, as they surely will, we will be strong enough to weather the storms that rage about us." A Sure Foundation Sheldon F. Child General Conference Oct. 2003
Have children write down some of the teachings of The Savior they know to be true. Have them draw a picture of a tree. Just like the trees that were rooted deep, families that have foundations based on the teachings of Jesus can be strong and happy!
     I have a PDF file of the above images. If you would like them, just please email me. I love watching children do art!!! Please show the older children especially, that they don't just draw a stick with a poof on top to make a tree! Create and enjoy!!
* In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles state: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ”
       Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Anchor your life in Jesus Christ, your Redeemer. Make your Eternal Father and His Beloved Son the most important priority in your life...Then all that you need for happiness will come to you” (The Power of Correct Principles Ensign May 1993 Really great talk!!A must read, especially for stay at home mothers! Know that you are doing good!)
     Have a poster board with a drawing of a boat at the top. Use string to create a pulley for an anchor on that string. The children pull the string in the back and can move the anchor up or down. Invite the children forward if they have a happy/positive story about how their family has followed a teaching of Jesus. They tell the story, then can drop the anchor.
     You can share 2 stories of your family (Not the children!! You don't want anyone to feel bad) at times that maybe you haven't made the best choices. Show that the anchor doesn't go anywhere on those times.
     For example, One time I was tired and grumpy. I raised my voice at my children. Did Jesus teach us to yell?? No He didn't!! Jesus spoke kindly. (Anchor Up)
Or, Our family loves to go hiking and walking. Whenever we are in nature we like to give thanks to Heavenly Father and Jesus for organizing this beautiful world!
(Anchor down)
Week 4 Successful families work together.

* HERE is a page full of quotes about work and the importance it is to families!

* HERE is a really nice Family Duty wheel children can make from The Friend.

*HERE is a video that is pretty cute!! It is not affiliated, but would be great to show for Family Home Evening on the importance of working together and being unified!!!

* You can play roll the marble!! Choose about 5-6 children. Cut paper towel rolls in half so they form an open toped chute. Take a marble and try to have the children work together to get the marble to the end, by passing with their paper towel tube. After they try, brainstorm ideas and write them on the board of things the children can do this week to work at home and help out with their family. Keep on doing this with other children as time permits. Challenge the children to choose 2 things and do them!!
Roll the marble game image courtesy

* Have children act out the story of Nephi (1 Nephi 17) and his brothers building the ship. Bring in simple costumes for children to wear.
Nephi had a good attitude!! He always said, "I will go, I will do!" Are we like that when it comes to working and helping our family?
I made a handout for children to take home. It's a blank bingo sheet. Family members fill out things they need help with for the week. Work together to X out boxes and help others in your family!! See if you can get a Bingo or even a black out!! (X-ing out all the squares!) If you'd like a copy of the handout, feel free to email me.