Friday, March 29, 2013

General Conference FHE

Purpose: To help each family member properly prepare for General Conference in order to ensure that each may get the most out of the opportunity to listen to the prophets and learn together as a family. 

Possible scriptures: Doctrine and Covenants 1:38; Doctrine & Covenants 68:4; Doctrine and Covenants 43:8–10. Reread some talks from last conference. Prepare a quote from your favorite talk to share with the family
(Younger family members may benefit from watching the excerpts of conference found from the conference page of The Church website under “watch highlights” or “Relive the stories;” or via YouTube Mormon Channel).

Possible Songs: We Thank Thee, O God For a Prophet, hymn 19; Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice, hymn 21; The Spirit of God, hymn 2; Testimony, hymn 137; Again We Meet Around the Board, hymn 186; Come, All Ye Saints Who Dwell on Earth, hymn 65; Come, Sing to the Lord, Hymn 10; Oh, Holy Words of Truth and Love, hymn 271; Latter-day Prophets, Children’s Songbook page 134;

Possible Materials: 3 different sizes of containers and 3 containers of water full enough to fill the largest sized container, as well as something to catch the extra water (towels or a cake pan?). A set of each of the standard works (or illustrations of them) and the most recent copy of the conference report. 

Preparation: Begin with prayer. Consider your present attitude towards General Conference and ask yourself what you could do in order to receive greater spiritual renewal and personal guidance from the Conference addresses. Read the conference talks from the last General Conference (or watch them), as well as any articles listed in Resources.
Children: Have fun playing with measurements and how much water will fit into each cup. Then get the help of a grownup and explore Conference website for children, especially this video about the Conference Center.  


Introduction: Ask the family to join you in a place that is okay to spill and get wet. Present a small cup (the smaller the better) and a large cup (larger, the better), as well as a medium-size. Tell the family that the Holy Ghost is like water. We are each like the glasses. When we are being taught, the teacher who has done his work to prepare and invite the spirit in is like the pitcher that pours water into our glass. Some of us spend very little time preparing. We are like the small glass (pour the water into the small glass, let the extra water overflow). When conference comes, we are able to receive some of the blessings of the Holy Ghost, but we are easily overwhelmed and cannot hold more than a little enlightenment. Sometimes we are like the medium glass (pour the water into the medium glass. Just a little should overflow): we are looking forward to conference, we have plenty of room for the Holy Ghost, and we come away feeling refreshed and enlightened, but we still long for just a little bit more. But what happens if we could be as prepared as the full glass (Pour water into the third glass. It should fill it entirely)? When Conference comes, we are eager and well-prepared, we have prayed for enlightenment, studied past conference addresses, and are eager to receive more enlightenment. As we listen to conference, we receive every blessing and insight that the Lord wishes us to receive.

Read this statement by President Boyd K. Packer:
 “In a few days there opens another general conference of the Church. The servants of the Lord will counsel us. You may listen with anxious ears and hearts, or you may turn that counsel aside. … What you shall gain will depend not so much upon their preparation of the messages as upon your preparation for them” (Follow the Brethren, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Mar. 23, 1965], 10).

Discussion: Ask the family what we consider scripture. Hold up each book as it is called (I have a drawing of each book so that Old and New testaments are separate, as well as The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price). Then hold up a copy of the Conference Edition of the Ensign (or draw one, as well).

From a Modern Prophet: Ask the family why we have General Conference. According to President David O. McKay (in Conference Report, Oct. 1954, 7), General conference is:
1.        “To inform the membership of general conditions—whether the Church is progressing or retrogressing, economically, ecclesiastically, or spiritually.
2.       To commend true merit.
3.       To express gratitude for divine guidance.
4.       To give instruction ‘in principles, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel.’
5.       To proclaim the restoration, with divine authority to administer in all the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to declare, quoting the Apostle Peter, that ‘there is none other name under heaven given among men’ than Jesus Christ ‘whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12.)
6.       To admonish and inspire to continue in greater activity”
President Howard W. Hunter also said,
“Conference time is a season of spiritual revival when knowledge and testimony are increased and solidified that God lives and blesses those who are faithful. It is a time when an understanding that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, is burned into the hearts of those who have the determination to serve him and keep his commandments. Conference is the time when our leaders give us inspired direction in the conduct of our lives—a time when souls are stirred and resolutions are made to be better husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, more obedient sons and daughters, better friends and neighbors” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 15)

From the Doctrine and Covenants: Read Doctrine and Covenants 1:38; Doctrine & Covenants 68:4. Discuss how each time a Prophet speaks the words Heavenly Father wants him to say, it is scripture.

From President J. Ruben Clark: President Clark once asked how we would know if the Prophets were speaking as themselves, or as one speaking for God. In answer to his own question, he said,
“I have given some thought to this question, and the answer thereto so far as I can determine, is: We can tell when the speakers are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’ only when we, ourselves, are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost.’
 “In a way, this completely shifts the responsibility from them to us to determine when they so speak” (“When Are Church Leaders’ Words Entitled to Claim of Scripture?”Church News, July 31, 1954, 9).

Further discussion: Ask your family what they can do to receive all of the blessings of General Conference. Make a list of options. This may include taking notes, discussing conference between sessions, setting goals to study conference in the future, praying to receive inspiration for your life, and thinking of questions you have that you would like answered and then listening for those answers.
            Discuss with your family a time that you received an answer to a question that you had during General Conference, or just bear your testimony about General Conference and how you feel about getting to listen to men of God.

Challenge: Ask each family member to prepare for conference this week. Ask them to think of a question that they would like answered, and invite each member of the family to take notes so that they can invite the spirit of revelation into your home.

Resources:’s website on General Conference and how to prepare for it; Institute manual on Teachings of the Living Prophet, chapter 6. A copy of the most recent conference addresses.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shame & Empathy by Dr. Brené Brown

"If I could tell the world one thing then it would be, we're all okay."

I wish that I could single-handedly reprogram the world and teach them that shame is caustic. It is deadly.  It kills people, it kills relationships, it kills religion. It is not of God. He does not parent using shame. Shame removes agency. It removes responsibility. It removes the atonement. It removes love. I know one  very powerful and persuasive being who wishes to destroy all of this, and honestly, He is not my friend. He is not my mentor. He hurts.

This subject has been weighing on my mind heavily lately. I have not compiled all of my thoughts into a beautiful article, yet, but I'm studying it. Be prepared for a big bold loud statement when I get my words together.

Until then, Listen to Brene. She's amazing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter FHE

Purpose: To help each member of the family focus on the Savior this Easter and remember that through the resurrection, we can return to our bodies and live forever. Jesus Christ gave us great gifts that no one else could give us. The Family Home Evening Resource manual states:
“Religious holidays provide parents with some very natural teaching moments when they can share with their children those feelings and experiences that will bind them to each other and to the gospel throughout their lives…We need to find ways to celebrate Easter that are meaningful and that help them grow in love and appreciation for the Savior.”

Possible scriptures:Any in Matthew 21-28, Mark 11, 14-16, Luke 19-20, 22-24, or John 12-13, 18-20 (clearly, there is more to the last week of the savior’s life, but these scriptures cover the events); Guide to the scriptures on the Atonement; 1 Ne. 11:32–33; 2 Ne. 2:7; 2 Nephi 9:6–26;  Alma 7:11–13; Alma 11:41–45; Alma 40–41; Doctrine & Covenants 19:16–19; 1 Corinthians 15; Article of Faith #3

Possible Songs:

Possible Materials: An Easter basket filled with eggs and bunnies, with an empty egg for each member of the family. Gospel Art pictures (or any other pictures of your choosing) involving the Savior’s last week; including the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, Christ in Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, and Christ as a resurrected being.

Preparation: Begin with prayer. Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources. Address this lesson with enthusiasm and gratitude.
Children: Think about what Easter is all about. Fill an Easter basket with your favorite things about Easter, then gather enough empty eggs for each member of your family. Then watch the videos about the week of Jesus’ death, including the triumphal entry, the Last Supper, Christ in Gethsemane, Christ on trial, Christ being crucified, and Christ risen again [Note to parents: for younger attention spans, pick the videos you deem most appropriate for your child].


Introduction: Pull out an Easter basket filled with commercial Easter items. Hand the family each an empty egg and ask them to find something that fits in the egg that makes them think about Easter. Make suggestions throughout about new birth and spring flowers starting to grow, or about bunnies and candy. The idea is to understand that each of these things has a place, but that they are not the purpose of Easter. When the family has regrouped, start with the youngest member of your family and ask each person what they found. Each selection is good, because it brings happy memories, even if it doesn’t focus on the Savior.

Discussion: Ask the family why we celebrate at Easter time. The responses will turn towards focusing on Jesus, but get the family to think even deeper. Emphasize the word Celebrate. Easter is about Jesus’ death and all of the pain and agony he felt. Why, then, do we celebrate?
We celebrate Easter because Easter is about Jesus’ final triumph in that he overcame death, both spiritual and physical. Easter is Christ’s final victory! We celebrate Easter because of the Atonement! Explain to the family that the Atonement has two parts: the first part is when Christ suffered for the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane. The second part came when he was resurrected after he died on the cross. Both sin and death are part of the mortal experiences we came to earth for; both were part of the plan for us to learn and progress. But both, without the atonement, would keep us stuck and unable to return back to Heavenly Father.

From the New Testament: Read the scriptures involving the last week of the saviors life listed in the suggested scriptures. Or read any of the following summarizations:
·         Easter Week from the April 2013 Ensign
·         Easter Week from the April 2011 Friend
·         Easter Footsteps from April 2012 Friend
Activity: Many people find it convenient to explore the last week of the savior through another Easter egg hunt. I discuss a few of my favorite examples on my blog.

Further discussion: Read the following statement from the Family Home Evening Resource Manual. It sums up the entire lesson in 2 lines. Then talk about the importance the atonement has in your life.
“Without the Atonement, it wouldn’t matter how good we tried to be; we would not be able to return to our Heavenly Father or regain our bodies. We would all be lost.”

Challenge: Challenge your family to memorize the 3rdArticle of Faith as they celebrate Easter this week.

Resources:   Behold Your Little Ones lesson 29;Sunbeams Manual Lesson 45;  Come, Follow Me lessons on the Atonement; Family Home Evening Resource Book lesson 36; Easter Weekfrom the April 2013 Ensign; Institute manual on The Life And Teachings Of Jesus Christ, section 5; Easter Weekfrom the April 2011 Friend

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring cleaning

Sorry I've been MIA. It's spring cleaning at our house! It's taken me since Monday and I've gotten 3 rooms and a hallway done. Only 3 rooms and a hallway! Gah! But that's progress. And it will get done! It's been sorely neglected for ... Too many years.

There's no new FHE lesson. I'll catch them up soon. I've been too busy. Sorry for those that check them. Monday afternoon is the goal.

Otherwise, I'll blog more soon.

Hasta luego.


The Man Behind Easter

While working on FHE lessons that focus on the Savior, as well as thinking of all the things I just didn't have time for this Easter, I wanted to keep track of some of my favorite Easter activities that discuss the last week of the savior's life. Some start 14 days early, some a week, some are all contained into one lesson. I found them all too good to forget about.

I found this one at Prepared Not Scared.

 This is from Missionary Mail
Here is a nice thorough 14 day walk with Christ that includes activities to go along with it. It is more than Christ's last week, like I was considering, but it's AMAZING! 

 My mom always did something along the lines of this next one. That makes it dear to my heart. It is from What These Hands Do.

I know that all of these are done in Easter egg form, but I've also seen a punch-through tissue paper version (though the link is gone, so I don't want to post the picture).

And of course, there is a simple version provided by The Friend at LDS.ORG

Easter Printables


There are really some nice Easter printables available. I confess, though, that the coolest one I've found is not available online. My friend made it herself.

This one takes a close second, however.
It's available in multiple colors. 

Here is something a little more simple.
It can be found at

And I really like this one, even though I really try to keep Easter about Christ.
It's kind of funny, and I'd love it if I didn't have something better to celebrate at Easter. 
It's found over at Landee See Landee Do

I also like the cuteness factor on these cards. I know it's cliche, but "somebunny" still seems cute and childlike to me, for some reason. 
Bloom Design has it as a pay-it-forward goody basket, but honestly, I just like the card/tag.

As far as a good, all-around printable goes, I like this one from Darling Vintage. 

And I love these little chickies, but they're not free. 
They are $4.80 over at Mibo Studio. Honestly, they're pretty cool. Almost (almost) worth the price. Maybe I'll find away to make my own. 

There's a ton of printables at
I can't make up my mind as to whether these two are my favorites I've found there.

And after all that craftiness, there's still time for a matching game.
Something just speaks happiness to me in this particular matching game. I found it at Modern Parents Messy Kids. Exactly how many matching games is too many? Because I've probably exceeded it...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Inspiration for Treat Baskets


Easter this year has been chaotic and I haven't done as much as I'd like to, but let's face it, there really was very little time between Easter and St. Patty's Day this year. And this isn't my year to have my daughter here for the holiday. But I did want to share some clever treat baskets with you. Maybe next year, I'll make them and tweak them my own way.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day! I've had a wonderful day full of beautiful messages of comfort and inspiration meant just for me and now I get to spend the time surrounded by Ranger's family.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Jesus Came to Earth FHE

Purpose: To share, as a family, special experiences in Christ’s life. To draw closer as a family to the Savior who came to Earth and lived among his brethren and sisters.  We cannot have a testimony of Jesus Christ if we do not know Him. 

Possible scriptures:Spend this week studying the scriptures contained in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, paying close attention to Luke 2:40;  

Possible Songs: When Jesus Christ Was Baptized, Children’s Songbook page 102; Jesus Loved the Little Children, Children’s Songbook page 59; I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus, Children’s Songbook page 78; Jesus Once Was a Little Child, Children’s Songbook page 55; Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, Children’s Songbook page 57; Come Follow Me, Hymn 116; Our Savior’s Love, Hymn 113; Master, the Tempest is Raging, Hymn 105; Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains, Hymn 212

Possible Materials: I think this bookmark is pretty perfect! Also, any pictures from the life of the Savior as found in the New Testament. I highly suggest watching Finding Faith in Christ. If it will help your family, consider making a timeline of Christ’s life, including events such as his birth, fleeing to Egypt, his trip to the temple, the wedding of Cana, when he began his ministry, when he called his disciples, his triumphal entry, the last supper, the atonement, and the crucifixion.

Preparation: Begin with prayer. Ask yourself ­­­­­how you would have felt to be alive at the time of our Savior and see Him in person. Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources.
Children: Print off the bookmark found above, and assemble it to use as a guide to teach your family about Jesus and his Life. Make sure you know the stories. Then watch the videos about Jesus as a boy and any other videos you’d like to learn more about involving Jesus’ life on earth.  


Introduction: Ask the family who is Jesus Christ? What did he do and why was he important? How did he come to earth? What did he teach? Have the family share their favorite stories of when Christ was alive on Earth. Ask the questions “What think ye of Christ?” and “But whom say Ye that He is?”

Discussion: Discuss how every prophet before Christ testified that he would come and that every prophet since Christ has testified that he did come.

Ask the family if Jesus ever made any mistakes. Discuss that Jesus was always doing the work of Heavenly father. Remind them of the story of the boy Jesus at the temple, and discuss how Jesus was baptized even though he had never done anything wrong, because he wanted to keep ALL of God’s commandments.

Then talk about how Jesus loved everyone, even those that did not love him. He taught us how we can love other people and serve them. He loved those that other people didn’t like, and spent time with them.
·         Read John 3:16.  Talk about how Jesus loved us so much he came to earth in order to help us.
·         Read Matthew 22:36–39. Discuss that Christ summed up everything we need to do into 2 big rules: Love God and Love the people.
·         Read Matthew 25:35–46. Talk about how Christ performed miracles out of love, and then said that if we serve other people, we also show love to God.
·         Read Matt. 5:3–12. Talk about how Christ loved us by teaching us about love.
·         Read Luke 23:34. Talk about how Christ also loved those who hurt him.
·         Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:16. Discuss how Christ suffered for our sins out of love.
·         Read John 15:13–14. Discuss how Christ paid the ultimate price and died for us that we may live again.

From the scriptures: Due to the nature of this lesson and its magnitude, pick your favorite story (preferably saving his birth, death, baptism, the atonement, and his parables for other lessons, as they are already included therein) from the New Testament and share it with your family.

Further discussion: For older children, discuss what it means to be the only begotten, how Christ was both mortal and divine, and how that allowed him to suffer for our sins.

Bear your testimony of Jesus Christ and how you feel about His time on Earth.

Challenge: Throughout the week, find opportunities to serve and love others, in the name of the Savior. For younger children, you could give them a token that they can leave in as a sign that they served (it also acts as a visual reminder that they are challenged to serve others).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's harder that way

This morning we were having rice for breakfast (there was much rejoicing from my visiting brother and much weeping and wailing from my pancake-loving kid). I got a nifty little cinnamon sugar grinder a while back and we never remember to use it, so I decided it'd be a nice treat. The pancake-lover was having some difficulty, though. She asked, "Mom, what way am I supposed to twist it? Nothing comes out." I told her she was twisting it backwards. And she says, "but Mom, it's harder that way." I couldn't help but think that was profound. How many times in life do we crank the grinder the wrong way in hopes that something will come of it, just because the other way actually takes work? We can twist and twist things the wrong way, exhaust our energy and motivation, and still get nothing, all because it is easier to twist it the wrong way instead of the productive way.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My day

Our Internet is still on the fritz. My dear sweet husband said just wait and he'll get to it. A week ago. I'm going stir crazy! You don't know how much you miss it until its been a week without it and the data's all gone on your phone. But I wanted to share my bits of beauty today.

The first signs of spring, upside down A's in hangman, and Rain by Hillary Duff (I've been going through my CD's, in case you haven't noticed. Trying to make a good running mix).

P.S. this post will haunt me until I can fix it properly at a computer. Bear with me. I will also publish a post that should have posted on the 6th, but will only let me publish it on the 3rd, because that's when I started writing it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Jesus Created the World for Me FHE

Purpose: To help the family learn about the creation and gain respect for the world around them because it is a gift from their Heavenly Father.

Possible scriptures:Moses 1-3; Abraham 3-5; Moses 1:39; Moses 6:63; Moses 7:28, 32 (the whole chapter is beneficial); Genesis 1-2 (include JST); John 17:3; Colossians 1:16; 1 Nephi 17:36; 2 Nephi 2:14; Jacob 4:9;  Mosiah 3:8; Mosiah 4:9; Alma 30:44; Mormon 9:11,17; Doctrine and covenants 29:31; Doctrine and Covenants 38:1-3;  Doctrine and Covenants 59:14-21Doctrine and Covenants 76:24; Doctrine and Covenants 104:13-17;

Possible Songs: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow, hymn 242; All Glory Laud and Honor, Hymn 69; O My Father, Hymn 292; If You Could Hie to Kolob, hymn 284; I Am a Child of God, Children’s Songbook page 2 and Hymn 301; My Heavenly Father Loves Me, Children’s Songbook page 228; Thanks to Our Father, Children’s Songbook page 20; The World Is So Lovely, Children’s Songbook page 233;

Possible Materials: Visuals for the story of the Creation;

Preparation: Begin with prayer. Ask yourself again if you feel God’s love for you. Do your family members know? With a feeling of God’s love comes a sense of safety and personal confidence, as well as the feeling that someone cares even when no one else knows. This is so important that it cannot be neglected. Take a moment to think over the creation and how it is evidence of God’s love for you. Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources. If you are able, attend the temple.
            There are many different focuses to take in a family where everyone knows the basic creation story. Pray to know what is the best direction to take for your family, but some of the areas of focus include: why we have so many creation accounts, That all things were created spiritually before they were created physically, . The article by Keith Meservy is incredibly helpful. There are many different focuses to take in a family where everyone knows the basic creation story.
Children: Watch the video on Creation.


Introduction: take an imaginary nature walk with your family (If it’s warm enough, you could ACTUALLY take a nature walk). Imagine what you see. Have the family describe what is “around” them. Start with the basic senses. Ask the family what they feel. Then ask the family HOW they feel. What does thinking of the world around us remind us of our Savior and Heavenly Father? Why do we have an earth to live on (to have a place to be tested so that we could return to God because He loves us and wants us to become like Him)?

From the scriptures: Read Moses 1-3, Abraham 3-5, and Genesis 1-2 (along with the Joseph Smith Translation). Discuss the order and blessings given in the creation accounts, that Jesus Christ acted by God’s direction, and that the earth was created for man.
            Activity: Use the visuals or create hand symbols for each day of the creation account.

Further Discussion: Express gratitude for God’s love and that he created such a beautiful world for us to live.  Discuss ways we can show God we are grateful for this world.

Challenge: Challenge each family member to look for ways God loves them throughout the week. At dinner each night, have each family member share what they noticed that day. Invite the members of your family to make sure those things end up in prayers as well, focusing all week on only expressing gratitude in prayer. 

Resources:   Behold Your Little Ones lesson 7; Sunbeams Manual Lessons 8-13;   Gospel Principles Chapter 5; Family Home Evening Resource Book lesson 6; Four Accounts of the Creation by Keith Meservy