Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Sharing Time - The Church of Jesus Christ Has Been Restored

Okay, first I have a confession.

I'm not exactly following the Sharing Time Outline. 

I read through it a while ago, read through some General Conference talks and got really inspired.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Then I read through the outline again and realized I'd remembered it wrong.  My idea covered a lot of the same information, but in a different way. 

After thinking about it, I decided that my original inspiration is what my primary needs this week.  As it does cover the same information, just formatted a little differently, I'm sharing it with you, too.

I'm going to open with a quote from Elder Tad R. Callister, of the Seventy:

"A few decades after Christ's Resurrection, His Apostles were killed, His teachings were corrupted, and the priesthood was taken from the earth.  But Paul, seeing our day, prophesied "that in the dispensation of the fulness of times [God would] gather together in one all things in Christ."  He would restore Christ's true Church to the earth once more."

We'll talk about what exactly that quote means by discussing things like:  How was the priesthood taken from the earth?  How were His teachings corrupted?  What does it mean to restore? 

After that, I'll read another quote from Elder Callister's talk to introduce our activity (with all quotes, whether I read them verbatim or summarize depends on how I feel the kids are doing and which they'd listen to/hear better).

"In many ways the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  When Joseph Smith came on the scene, perhaps 100 pieces were in place.  Then Joseph Smith came along and put many of the other 900 pieces in place...  As for Joseph Smith's role in the Restoration, the Lord defined it clearly: "This generation shall have my word through you" (D&C 5:10)."

I really like that quote for a couple of reasons.  Probably the biggest is that it brings home the FACT that we are not the only church to have truth.  There were already pieces here.  There are still pieces of truth in places outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  BUT (and it's a big but), we are the only church to contain every truth that has been revealed so far. 

With only one piece of a puzzle, it's hard to tell what picture it will make, what the end product will be, but once we put them all together, we then can see.  Line upon line, truth upon truth.  God did not just pour all knowledge into Joseph, he spent years training him (the four years before he was allowed/prepared to receive the golden plates) and then God let Joseph learn, ponder and ask before providing him with more truth.

To help us learn (or remind) of some of the truths Joseph learned and restored for all of us, we're going to put together our own puzzle.

The front is a picture of the First Vision where Joseph learned several of the truths we'll be talking about.

The other side shows some of the truths brought back to us through the Restoration.  All of these I got from two great talks, Elder Callister's (which I've been quoting from) and Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge's from our most recent General Conference.  Most are direct quotes and the few that aren't, I summarized. 

I thought about restating all the truths in a language more easily understandable by all the primary children, but I decided not to.  I want to stop after each piece and talk about what it means, both dictionary definition wise and for our lives today.  I'm hoping we can have some really great discussions.

I'm going to print out each, laminate or glue them together (or both), cut them out and hide them around the primary room.  If you don't want to hide them, you could stick them in a basket or all over a chalkboard mixed up.

I'm going to close with another quote.  My favorite of the day, from a talk by Elder Robert D. Hales, he said:

"I exhort you, I pray for you - if you do not know these things for yourself, follow the example of Joseph Smith and the pattern of the Restoration.  Turn to the scriptures.  Kneel in prayer.  Ask in faith.  Listen to the Holy Ghost.  Learn that your name and needs are known by our Heavenly Father, just as Joseph's were.  Live the gospel with patience and persistence.  And in the name of Jesus Christ, I promise, "If ye will ... ask [Heavenly Father] in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping [the Lord's] commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you."

If you want to download the puzzle I made, you can get it from Google Docs (JPG: First Vision, Truths; PDF: both together).


Sunday, June 29, 2014

What We're Reading This Week

We are reading The BFG as a family right now.  It's pretty darn great.  Both the book and how much we all love family reading time.  My kids all look forward to it and, so far, have been willing to try out any book I want to read.

I first read The BFG in third grade.  Well, actually, it was read to me by my third grade teacher.  I can't remember her name, I do remember she was from the south and had a wonderful accent.  I loved reading time. 

So far my kids favorite chapter is "Frobscottle and Whizpoppers."  If you haven't read it, you really should, I guarantee that chapter will get a few, if not more than a few, giggles.

Makenna wants to make a giant dictionary when we're finished reading it, the Big Friendly Giant's vocabulary is unique.  And awesome. 

When I was younger, I would spend lots of time wandering around the library.  I loved to look at the spines, randomly pulling off books that looked interesting and finding new authors/series to read. 

After not doing it in years (lots and lots of years), I started perusing again a few weeks ago. 

It's been a lot of fun and while not every book I pull off has been a winner, I really enjoyed this one.  Thistle and Twigg is about two older women who, after becoming friends, discover a dead body and proceed to uncover the mystery surrounding it.  In the process they befriend an eccentric elderly man and his dog, shoot a lot of different guns, and save a beautiful forest.  It was definitely fluff, but good fluffy fun.

What have you been reading lately?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Homeschooling in the Summer?

My first few years of Homeschooling I had big plans for the summer.


We were going to continue with some subjects, do some extra things (fun things, of course), and go on great field trips. 

Every year, summer would come and we would all have so much fun doing absolutely nothing, I'd put it off. 

Just until the next week.

And then, before I knew it, school would be starting again.

What I've learned is that we just need down time.  To put our school books away, close the door to the schoolroom (metaphorically, we took the door off to give more room for our white board), and PLAY.

So, what do we do in the summer?

I change up my kids chore charts, giving them the opportunity to learn new skills (aka, a few more chores).

We go and do fun things.  We hike, visit museums and play at the park.  But not every day.  We really spend most of our time playing in and outside our home.  Free play.

One thing we do continue from the school year is reading a book together as a family.  I am amazed at how much we all love it (okay, my 5 year old mostly tolerates it).  They ask everyday when we're going to read and if we're too busy, they're disappointed.  I love it.

And that's pretty much our summer.  It's pretty wonderful.

What's your favorite thing to do while not in the midst of schoolwork?


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hiking this Summer

One of my summer goals is to go hiking each week. 

There are so many trails in my area, minutes from my house actually, it seems a shame not to check them out.

Plus, it's good for us in a variety of ways.  It's healthy to be together, get exercise and be in nature (usually...see death defying picture further on).

My favorite kind of hikes are those that have something to see at the end (or even along the way) and one of our first hikes didn't disappoint.

Beautiful views.

And a gorgeous waterfall.

Even though my sister (who still lives in Oregon where we grew up) told me I need to come back to see what a real waterfall looks like.  Love you, Brea!

There were rocks all over at the base of the waterfall and the kids had fun scrambling around and over them.

My mom came down for a visit and went with us.  Okay, okay, actually, the hike was her idea.

And yes, I know, she doesn't look old enough to be my mother.  But she is.  I'm really hoping that that is one of the genes she passed down to me.

Does that look as terrifying as I think it does?  Like almost not death defying?

I try really hard to let my children be children.  To run around, fall down and get back up again.  I don't want to over-mother them and keep them from figuring out how to fail and keep on moving.

But, I also don't want them to FALL TO THEIR DEATHS!!

I saw this, took a quick picture and then told them to get down.  Now.

We all have our limits, right?

This is one of my favorite pictures of the falls from that day.  I love the light at the top.  It somehow fills me with happiness, just looking at it.

What's one of your goals this summer?  I'd love to hear about them!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June Sharing Time - Family History Work Connects Me to My Ancestors

Okay, I know that technically, the 4th Sunday (and this lesson) have already passed, but I'm guessing there are a fair number of you who took the 2nd Sunday to talk about fathers (or do some kind of Father's Day activity).

So I thought I'd give a few ideas for the week.  The good news is, if you've already done the lesson in the Sharing Time Outline, maybe you can still use some of these ideas for your 5th Sunday Sharing Time.

In a fantastic talk, Elder David A. Bednar talks about how our children's hearts can be turned.  In it he quoted Russell M. Nelson when he said,

"Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that the Spirit of Elijah is "a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family."  This distinctive influence of the Holy Ghost draws people to identify, document, and cherish their ancestors and family members - both past and present."

Isn't that awesome?!!

I love that as we learn more about our families, we love them more.  We cherish them, and not just those from long ago, but our family today!

In the Sharing Time Outline it asks you to tell a story and sing "Family History - I Am Doing It."  I think I'd make up a sign the kids could do to stop me telling the story (instead of spurtily starting to sing), something like the sign language letter F, for both families and family history.

If your primary knows the song well, just have them sing it, adding one line at a time.  If they don't (or your not sure how well they remember it from the last time they learned it), I would write the lyrics on a board, poster board or print them out.

I adapted a flip chart by Delani Mason I found on sugardoodle dot net to have the right number of pages so you'd add one page each time they hear the word sing or singing (for the first verse).  If you write your own, cover up the lyrics and then slowly uncover the lines as you progress through the story.  You can download mine on a link just above a picture of the handout I made.

After you finish going through the song, ask the children if they've been passed down anything from their families (a love of reading, sports, church...).  Talk about all the different ways our family can influence us for good, and how we can in turn influence them.

Another fun activity centers around talk about the ancestors of members of your ward.  This can be done in a couple of different ways.

If there is someone in your ward who love family history, you could ask them to come in, bring some pictures and tell the kids some stories about their ancestors. 

Or, It would be even more wonderful if some of the primary children could share about some of their ancestors.

Or, you could tell about yours.  Experiences you've had doing family history, learning about or meeting your ancestors.

I also like the idea of getting pictures of various ancestors from different primary children and/or teachers, putting them up on the board and then having the children guess which ancestor belongs to which person.  This would require a little work, but would be a lot of fun. 

In that same talk, Elder Bednar speaks to the younger generation, "I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah.  I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead ... As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives."

There are even more blessings mentioned in the talk, it's a great read.  

I made up this simple handout based off the "Encourage Application" section in the Sharing Time Outline, you can download it and the lyrics from google docs.
We are so blessed to have knowledge of this great gospel filled with peace, hope and love.  I am so thankful.

Have a wonderful week!


ps. If none of those ideas work for you, you've already done the 4th week, or just want to branch out and do something different, last year I made up a jeopardy to do the 5th Sunday in June

Monday, June 23, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

If you hadn't noticed by my total lack of posting (of course, in the month I've been trying to post daily), I've been out of town. 

I mentioned earlier that I was getting ready to go camping.

Well, we went. 

My kids had tons of fun.

I had fun and I survived.

Can you guess where we went (and by the way, yes, that is snow...and yes, we were camping...like, in tents)?

How about now?  Yep, you got it, Yellowstone National Park.

I did a bunch of research before I went that I'll be sharing with you over the next few weeks and what our very favorite activities were.

Plus, a bunch more fun pictures.  We took over 800. 

Don't you love digital cameras?

I certainly do.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pedometers are AWESOME!

Okay, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 years ago, I really wanted a pedometer.  My husband, being the wonderful husband he is, went out and bought me one. 
I looked at it with glee, took off the strip protecting the battery from being drained, and then stuck it on my dresser.
Not too long later it ended up inside my dresser.
And that brings us to last week.  I know, terrible, right? 
The battery was drained and I'd never even used it!
Last week, while making plans for this summer, we decided it would be fun to take it hiking with us, see how many steps all those trails really are.  I just had to go get a new battery (darn).
This week, I put in the batter and figured out how to use it (really not hard) and then, the most important step, I put it on.

Want to know what I discovered?  PEDOMETERS ARE AWESOME!   

I check it over and over.  How many steps have I gone this morning?  How many steps does it really take to walk all through the grocery store buying enough food for my family for the next two week?  How many steps to the park?  Out to my garden?  And anything else you can think of. 

It might be getting a little silly.  But I'm okay with that.

This is what I see when I pull it up to check.

No, that's not 8,000, it's upside down.  That means at the time this picture was taken, I'd walked 5, 118 steps.

It's quickly becoming addictive.  Very.  I'm taking it hiking tomorrow.

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