Light the World with your Kids!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the church’s Light the World campaign each year and have had so many wonderful experiences finding ways to keep the kids involved. They love it and have become very service oriented because of it. I also like to find ways to focus on Christ through any activity we participate in throughout the month.

This year is obviously going to look very different, but I think with some creativity we can make it even more special and meaningful this year.

The calendar produced by the church this year is very social media heavy in order to promote safe socialization which is a little hard to involve little kids in so here’s some ideas to bring it beyond social media and on the kids’ level. Take pictures and videos of what your kids are doing and share them as you are comfortable on social media or just with family and friends, and then at the end of the month look through the pictures and videos together of everything you have done to light the world.

1- Giving Tuesday- choose an organization you want to donate to. Use physical cash or money if possible so the kids can actually see it. You could use a physical donation slip and envelope at church for the humanitarian fund and have the kids put the money in and hand it to the Bishop. Or if you can find one of the fun coin drops (you know the ones where the coins circle around until they drop in) gather whatever change you can find and have some fun while you donate.

2- Hero Highlight- write letters/ color pictures to send through Operation Gratitude.

3- Peace on Earth- learn about another culture (or a few cultures) that has a celebration this time of year. There are tons of children’s books available on Youtube. Here’s two that I really like:

The Story of Hannukah

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns

4- The Christ Child- watch The Christ Child then make gingerbread/ graham cracker stables. We typically use a peach ring for the manger, sour patch kids to make the Holy Family, and animal crackers for the animals.

5- Pay it Backwards- make a Thank you card for someone

6- Fast Relief- depending on age and other health factors- consider having your kids fast in a way that is appropriate for them and for your family. While a traditional fast suggests we go without food for two meals you could shorten that to one meal, or only eat very simple and plain foods. Then select food items to donate to a charity. (You could also do a typical fast offering- however for young kids they will understand better if they see the actual food being donated.) Tonight is also the First Presidency Christmas Devotional

7- Signs of Christmas- decorate someone’s door or do sidewalk chalk in their driveway.

8- Health Caring- decorate disposable masks with Christmas stickers so the kids can have a festive mask when needed. Discuss how we can show appreciation to health care workers and help keep everyone healthy.

9- Words of Love- read some Christmas books together, then pick a book to send to a friend or charity (or both!)

10- Light the Family Tree- Print pictures of your family as far back as you can (I have a set that goes back to mine and my husband’s great grandparents). We use them regularly for family home evening so they are worth having and laminating. You could put them on your actual Christmas tree, get a mini tree (or rosemary bush!), or make a fake tree on a wall or fridge.

11- Treats Times Two- make (or buy) treats to drop off

12- Shop with Care- find a small local business to support- we love going to petting zoos in December to remind us of the animals in the stable. You could also just find a small business to buy some Christmas presents from, or find a small restaurant.

13- Serene Sunday- try to get out and spend some time in nature or just enjoy your Christmas tree and talk about how Heavenly Father and Jesus created the earth for us to enjoy.

14- Social Sing and Serve- more info will be coming about an online event this day so check out LightTheWorld.org/sing but if that event doesn’t work out with the kiddos just gather the family and sing your favorite Christmas songs. Some from the hymn book, some from the Children’s Songbook, and some just for fun. If you can convince your kids to sing on camera you could do some virtual caroling to loved ones near and far!

15- Love Mom and Dad- make cards or crafts for grandparents/ or adopt some grandparents in your neighborhood or see if you can drop off something to a local nursing home.

16- Shining Star- make star frames out of popsicle sticks and let the kids pick whose picture they want in their star.

17- Christmas Dinners- Donate more food to a food bank, or make some freezer meals (or sides) and take to someone who could use some help (either financially or timewise) with their holiday meals.

Green Bean Casserole is easy (and pretty inexpensive) to put together in bulk then divided into disposable pans to be frozen. Or there’s a lot of breakfast foods that can do the same so they can just pop them in the oven the day of!

18- Christmas Stories- snuggle up for a Christmas read-a-thon and movie marathon. Some of our favorite Christmas movies:

  • The Star
  • VeggieTales- Little Drummer Boy, Saint Nicholas, Christmas Star, etc.
  • The Grinch (great for talking about repentance)

19- Letters of Light- write letters/ draw pictures for missionaries you know in your family, serving in your ward, or serving from your ward/stake.

20- Looping Luke 2- Use one of these sequencing activities to help your kids learn and tell the Christmas story. Film them telling the story. You could also take turns telling part of the story.

This page has a 3 part (great for really little ones) and a 4 part sequencing coloring pages.

This page you have to sign up for the newsletter to get the free printable. It’s a 6 part (good for right around kindergarten) that comes pre-colored and in black and white to be colored (great for the older kids to get more involved!)

Even older kids could get involved by drawing their own or using pictures from church magazines to make a collage.

21- Together Time- Continue your Christmas story and movie marathon- there’s plenty to go around! Invite friends or family from far away to watch at the same time so you can feel connected across the miles and talk about your favorite parts of the movie after.

22- Sharing Light- find a light display to visit

23- Gifts from God- wrap a box in paper that can be written/ colored on (most gift wrap won’t work super well). Have everyone write or draw pictures of the gifts they have received from God on the outside of the box. Keep it under the tree as a reminder.

24- Goodwill to Fam- Have a special family dinner (we eat Middle Eastern food to get a taste of what Jesus would have eaten and use an oil lamp like those that were used in Biblical times) talk about why you love each other. Write down what the kids say to each other so they can look back on it down the road.

25- Light of the World- Put mini flashlights or glowsticks in the kids’ stockings. Read John 8:12 together about Jesus being the Light of the World. Look at all of the pictures and videos you made throughout the month as you worked to Light the World!

26- Light 2021- Use the printable below to set goals for how you can continue to Light the World throughout 2021. We like to use this dice activity from the Friend to help us set goals.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I Will Show Unto You a God of Miracles

This is a talk I gave in church on 11/8/2020. The prompt came from the weekly Come Follow Me Lesson.

In all the craziness, uncertainty, and inconsistency of this year, I’m grateful we have had studying Book of Mormon as our constant.

As we wind down our reading of the Book of Mormon, this week we studied the last few chapters in Mormon, however most of it was actually written by Moroni who was finishing his father’s life’s work.

Additionally, Moroni was granted a vision of our day so he would know what we needed to know and focus on so that we could endure the last days.

Here’s how he discusses one of these areas of focus:

“Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?

Behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles.” (Mormon 9)

Why of all things that we are faced with in our day would he want us to focus on miracles?

There are many in our day who deny God’s existence, deny his miracles, or claim that miracles ceased after the New Testament times.  We need to know that he continues to be a God of miracles because:

“If there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.” (Mormon 9)

Our understanding of the nature of God is a vital part of our doctrine and our testimonies.  To deny miracles is to deny the nature of God as being unchanging.  And yet:

“For every infirm man healed instantly as he waits to enter the Pool of Bethesda, someone else will spend 40 years in the desert waiting to enter the promised land. For every Nephi and Lehi divinely protected by an encircling flame of fire for their faith, we have an Abinadi burned at a stake of flaming fire for his.” (Elder Holland)

The same God who provided manna in the desert for the Israelites made Nephi hunt for his own food.

The same God who gave Hannah a son, lets others struggle through indefinite infertility.

The same God who visited Joseph Smith lets some of us struggle with deep questions for years, potentially our whole life.

The same God who protects faithful armies let the people of Ammon die.

The same God who makes weak things become strong would not remove Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

The same God who led the Prophet Samuel to anoint David a ruler by looking on his heart asks us to individually research and vote for our leaders.

Does this mean that God changes?

Mormon warned:

“The reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.” (Mormon 9)

But was that Nephi’s problem?  Was that Abinadi or the People of Ammon’s problem?

Four years ago, the last time that we were studying the Book of Mormon as a church, a dear friend of mine was struggling through a fertility battle.  She was in her early 40s and had tried so many different fertility avenues as well as adoption, nothing was working.  When we studied this portion, she had just received more bad news, and when the Sunday School teacher said, “If you don’t have miracles happening in your life it’s because you aren’t righteous enough,” it crushed her.  She texted me after church needing to talk through what was going on.  She asked if the reason she wasn’t seeing this miracle come to pass was because she was doing something wrong.  But she felt like she was doing everything she could.

Has anyone else ever felt this?  And wondered where is my miracle? 

As I reflected on her questions and concerns two things came to me:

Timing and Type

Maybe the miracle just hasn’t come YET- and in her case that was what it was.  She now has a 2 ½ year old little miracle girl.

But what if it’s not just timing.  What if it’s one of those Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego “But if not…” moments.  Are we back to this question of if the day of miracles has ceased.

Where does our mind typically go first when we talk about miracles.  Insert special musical number from Fiddler on the Roof– Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.

We like to think about the lion’s den, the parting of the Red Sea, the Walls of Jericho coming down, people saved from fiery furnaces, and other miracles of biblical proportion.

But what if the issue isn’t timing or the ceasing of miracles, what if we just need to look for a different type of miracle.

The Bible dictionary says: Miracles should not be regarded as deviations from the ordinary course of nature so much as manifestations of divine or spiritual power.

While the miracles that DO deviate from the ordinary course of nature are the easiest to recognize, they are not the only type.  Any time divine or spiritual power is manifest it is a miracle no matter how big or small.  The Bible dictionary goes on to say:

“Some lower law is in each case superseded by the action of a higher.”

I think what we need to do in most cases is think outside the miracle box.  After all, if miracles are a manifestation of God’s power and his higher laws- then let’s not box him in by the constraints of our lower lawed minds.

Let’s consider a few of the examples I brought up earlier.  Joseph Smith was granted a remarkable vision in response to his question- he certainly got one of those deviations from the ordinary.  When I have questions that’s not how it goes for me- anyone else???  In fact, Heavenly Father rarely actually gives me a straight answer.  He likes to play jeopardy or something and responds to me in the form of a question for me to contemplate.  So let’s play that question game right now…

What if the miracle of the Restoration isn’t just about the vision, what if it’s not just about the answer?  What if the bigger miracle is that a 14 year old boy was so concerned about the state of his soul that he poured himself into the scriptures all on his own?  I don’t know any of the 14 year old young men here, but I have two brothers and I taught high school for a little while, and I can tell you that this is not typical 14 year old boy behavior. 

And what if part of the miracle was also being led to ask the right question? 

Throughout the scriptures we read about groups who were protected in war because of their faithfulness.  However, the People of Ammon converted then made a covenant with the Lord that they would never fight again and buried their weapons of war in order to keep that covenant.  It was within God’s ability to keep them safe, and yet the Lamanites came upon and killed them- unarmed.  Where was the miracle?  What if the miracle wasn’t about their lives being spared? What if the miracle was their strength to keep their covenant at all costs.  What if it was that more people were converted that day than were slaughtered?

In the Oct. 2007 Women’s broadcast Pres. Monson said “My dear sisters [and brothers], do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.”

 Early in my mission I developed what I have coined as my “angel complex.”  Maybe it’s a sister thing, maybe it’s a Southern thing, but people called me an angel all the time.  And I know it was meant as a compliment, but I felt like a fraud.  I was no angel.  I struggled with a bad attitude and disillusionment from the awkwardness and constant rejection that came from tracting.  If I were an angel then people would actually listen to me instead of shutting me down.  Then to make things even more frustrating, when I was studying in Alma and came across the familiar “Oh that I were an angel” verse it had never dawned on me before that a few verses later he says, “But I do sin in my wish.”  So I already felt like a fraud being called an Angel.  Now Alma’s telling me that it’s a sin to even wish you were an angel.  And I was like, “Seriously Alma, it is not a SIN to wish you were an Angel!!!!”

So this sort of boiled in the back of my mind for several months until I hit a particularly rough day and I thought, “I just want an angel to come down and tell these people…..”  And then it hit me….but I do sin in my wish, because if God wanted to send an angel, he would, but instead he sent me.  What if the miracle of my mission was less about getting all of Florida to listen?  What if the miracle of my mission was me?  That maybe, not in spite of, but perhaps because of my weaknesses the Lord chose me.  That like the Brother of Jared and his ordinary stones made to shine in darkness, the Lord took ordinary me and used me to light people’s way.  And so while I still struggled with accepting being called an angel, if you operate under the definition of an angel being a messenger from God, then to a select few- but very important and amazing people, that’s what I was.  And they were my miracle, and I was theirs.

And you, each and everyone of you can be a miracle every day.

This week has been collectively stressful as we have watched and waited for election results.  Especially here in AZ, where last I checked we were still too close to call.  There are good and faithful people on both sides of this election who have been hoping and praying for the outcome they think is best.  For those who will inevitably be disappointed by the results- will it seem that miracles have ceased?

But what if the miracle is less about who ends up in the white house?  What if the miracle is more about us looking deep down inside to determine what we can do individually to heal and unite our nation?  What if the miracle will be found in following the recent counsel of our leaders to love our enemies, to forgo the anger and hatred with which political choices are debated or denounced in many settings, to avoid anger and hostility toward those with whom we disagree and even be willing to learn from them, to peacefully accept the results of the election, to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice, and to choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives? [Taken from Pres. Oaks’ Love Your Enemies and Pres. Nelson’s Let God Prevail.]

In closing let’s bring it back to Moroni.  He doesn’t actually discuss very many specific miracles in this passage, the ones that he does are the Creation, the Fall, Redemption, Resurrection, Judgment, and our final reward.  Let us remember and keep in perspective that the most important miracle is the Plan of Salvation.  So when All You Need is a Miracle and it seems that it isn’t happening- consider the timing, look outside the miracle box, and then look forward with hope in Redemption and Resurrection through Jesus Christ because he is the miracle and then you will also be a miracle.

Photo Credit to Laci Gibbs

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening For Little Ones Sept 2020

Quick update- despite having taught for an online school for two years, doing virtual school with my first grader is kinda kicking my butt.  I might be (definitely am) going pretty crazy.  Please send Dr. Pepper and ice cream, that’s about the only thing standing between me and day drinking right now.  So definitely need to keep up with Home Church to keep me away from happy hour…..joking……mostly…..

Aug 31- Sept 6 Glad Tiding of Great Joy

Children’s Scriptures- Book of Mormon for Young Readers Samuel Teaches about Jesus; Book of Mormon Stories Chap 40; My First Scripture Stories Samuel the Lamanite; Heroic Stories from the Book of Mormon Samuel the Lamanite

Materials- Samuel the Lamanite Script

Song- Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus pg 36

Acting out Samuel the Lamanite on the wall getting things thrown at him but missing has always been a favorite activity.  And don’t get me wrong, you should definitely get some soft balls, nurf products, etc. to use for this activity.  But…I also created a picture script for the kids to give a summary of what Samuel said on the wall before they started trying to kill him.

It’s interesting what sticks out to you when you’re trying to take something down to a kid level.  I had never really thought about the verses in Helaman 15 that talk about hiding up treasure and what they actually meant much less how they applied to today.  I didn’t have time (see above about virtual schooling) to dive into institute manuals etc. to see if anyone has explained this so if you have the time and want to do that, please point me in the direction of what you find.  But, based on what I could glean from it and how it might apply to today I likened it to paying tithing and living on a budget.  If you think I’m crazy- you’re probably right- you could totally just skip them or come up with your own interpretation.

 

Sept 7-13 Lift up Your Head and Be of Good Cheer

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon Stories Chap 41My First Scripture Stories Jesus is Born

Materials: Christmas Decorations, treats, etc.

Song: Your favorite Christmas Carols

Think Christmas but Palm Trees.  Go as crazy or as simple as you want with decorations just mix some of your Christmas traditions with Tropical Ancient America.  Tell or read the story about the night without darkness.  There’s actually a beautiful children’s book that I love called A Night Without Darkness: A Nephite Christmas Story.  Make sure to create a new star!

 

Sept 14-20 Arise and Come Forth Unto Me

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon Stories Chap 42-43Book of Mormon for Young Readers Jesus Visits the AmericasMy First Scripture Stories Jesus is Crucified, Jesus Visits the Promised Land; Girls Who Choose God Girls and Boys Blessed by Jesus

Materials: Easter stuff you might want to incorporate

Song: I Know that My Savior Loves Me

I gave links to some beautiful videos that depict the Savior coming to America back in April for Easter.  I would suggest watching those again.  Maybe include a few Easter traditions as well!

Before you get started turn off the lights and talk about the big storm that happened and ask the kids how it feels to be in the dark during a storm.  Then watch one or both f the video and ask them what it would be like to sit on Jesus lap and what they might say to him.

Sept 21-27 I Am the Law and the Light

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon for Young Readers  Jesus Visits the Nephites

Materials: Treasures on Earth and Heaven Printable, treasures in Heaven objects

Song: If With All Your Hearts pg 15

Have the kids help decorate boxes to be treasure chests.  Put the picture of the Earth from the printable on one and the picture of the Sun to represent the Celestial Kingdom on the other.  Cut up the pictures and gather other objects to hide around the room.  Have the kids pick them up and then sort them together between the two boxes.

Have the kids do another activity (like watching a church related video or color etc.) for a few minutes while one parent goes and hides the treasure boxes.   While hiding them take out all of the papers from the treasures on Earth box and dispose of them- make sure the kids don’t see you!  Create a treasure map and have them go find their two treasure chests, open them up and see that the treasures in Heaven are still there but the treasures on Earth disappeared.  Emphasize that while the Earthly things aren’t necessarily bad, we just have to remember we can’t take them with us and focus more of our time and energy on the things that we can.

Ideas for items for the Treasures in Heaven box:

I made pictures for some that might be hard to get a tangible item, but if you have one to substitute I think tangible items would be a better example if possible.

  • Love
  • Family
  • Knowledge
  • Talents
  • Strong and healthy bodies
  • Service
  • Scriptures
  • Prophet
  • Ordinances (you could do a piece of bread/sacrament cup)
  • Missionary work

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay 

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening for Little Ones- Aug. 2020

Sorry I missed July, we were in the middle of moving into our new house!  I’m going to try really hard to keep up the next couple of months, but if you see my last post, we made the very difficult decision to do online school for first quarter so….. I’ll probably have tons of time and not be crazy at all….Please send prayers, chocolate, and some Dr. Pepper.

July 27- Aug 2 The Great Plan of Happiness

Materials: Bury Swords, Showing and Strengthening Faith, Baptismal Covenants, 10 Commandments, People of Zeniff Preparations, Natural Man-Saint Printable, Straight and Narrow Path Printables, Manner of Happiness Printable, Fruits of the Spirit, Righteous ammo

One of the suggestions for this week is to go over the law of chastity.  This discussion needs to happen repeatedly, I’ve already posted a lesson plan for it in the past so you can go over that again and use the videos they suggest in the manual.

Here’s another fun activity for this week:

Print out some or all of the old printables I linked above, cut out the pictures and spread them around the room.  Set a timer and have the kids pick up as many as they can in the time given (you could repeat the activity with a few different times set on the timer).  Then talk about Alma 42:4.  We have been given a certain amount of time in this life and we’re supposed to use it to improve ourselves and serve Heavenly Father.  Talk about the pictures and how each of them helps us be better and serve.

 

Aug 3-9 Stand Fast in the Faith of Christ

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon Stories Chap 31- 33; Book of Mormon for Young Readers Captain Moroni’s Flag; Heroic Stories from the Book of Mormon- Captain Moroni; My First Scripture Stories- Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty; My Book of Mormon Friends- Captain Moroni; Girls Who Choose God- The Maidservant Spy

Materials: fabric, paint/ markers

Make your own Title of Liberty using pieces of fabric (if you sew you probably have a closet full of random fabric like my mom, but you could also cut up an old worn out sheet, pillow cases, old towels, etc) or large pieces of paper.  Pull out fabric paint or permanent markers.  This is great for varied ages because everyone can draw or write on their own level.  For little ones the pictures can be super simple like a heart for love, stick figures for a family, the Sun to remind us of Jesus, a rectangle with squiggles for the scriptures, etc.

 

Aug 10-16 Preserved by His Marvelous Power

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon Stories Chap 34-36; Book of Mormon for Young Readers The Stripling Warriors; Heroic Stories from the Book of Mormon- Helaman; My First Scripture Stories- The Army of Helaman; My Book of Mormon Friends- A Lamanite Mother; Girls Who Choose God- Mothers of the Stripling Warriors

Materials: Pin the Shield to the Stripling Warrior

Use the shields from the printable to talk about different attributes of the Stripling Warriors.  Then post the picture of the Stripling Warriors on the wall and play pin the shield (like pin the tail on the donkey).

 

Aug 17-23 Rock of Our Redeemer

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon Stories Chap 37; My First Scripture Stories- Nephi and Lehi

Materials: Rock, sand, house materials (legos, cardboard, etc.)

Build two little houses.  Put one on some sand (or sugar) and one on a rock (or brick) in a large plastic container.  Then read Helaman 5:12 and create some of the storm conditions it talks about and see which house is able to stand.  (You might need to use tape or something to ensure that the house on the rock doesn’t move.)

 

Aug 24-30 Remember the Lord

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon Stories Chap 38-39

Materials:Prophet Counsel Printable

Show the kids a picture of President Nelson, explain that he is the Prophet.  Prophets warn us and tell us what Heavenly Father wants us to know.  Use the printable to go over his counsel from last General Conference. Maybe tape the pictures around a picture of Pres. Nelson.

Note: I did leave out fasting which was a major point he made, but because fasting is generally not recommended for young children I did not include it (my kids would LOVE an excuse to not eat meals).

Mask and social distancing– General Conference April 2020 Opening Message “…as part of our efforts to be good global citizens and do all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Church Newsroom Follow public health agency recommendations for using a face mask. Maintain at least six feet (two meters) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

First Vision- Opening Message This year, we commemorate the 200th anniversary of one of the most significant events in the history of the world—namely, the appearance of God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith.

Hear Him– Now as we contemplate this significant time in the history of the world and the Lord’s charge to gather scattered Israel in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles, issue the following proclamation.

(The video of him reading the Proclamation is embedded in the talk, I would suggest watching that with the kids).

Silos- Opening Message The Lord has told us that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”1 Of course, we can store our own reserves of food, water, and savings. But equally crucial is our need to fill our personal spiritual storehouses with faith, truth, and testimony.

Church Name- Opening the Heavens for Help As we commemorate the event that was launched in 1820, it is important to remember that while we revere Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, this is not the church of Joseph Smith, nor is it the church of Mormon. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. He decreed exactly what His Church should be called: “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”2

I have spoken previously about a needed course correction in the way we refer to the name of the Church.

Picture of Christ- Hear Him However, messages from our Heavenly Father are strikingly different. He communicates simply, quietly, and with such stunning plainness that we cannot misunderstand Him.  As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional. It takes conscious and consistent effort to fill our daily lives with His words, His teachings, His truths.

Temple- Hear Him We can also hear Him in the temple. When these temporary COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, please schedule regular time to worship and serve in the temple. Every minute of that time will bless you and your family in ways nothing else can.

Family History- Hear Him While worshipping in the temple is presently not possible, I invite you to increase your participation in family history, including family history research and indexing. I promise that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him.

Dove- Hear Him We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now.

First Presidency- Hear Him And, finally, we hear Him as we heed the words of prophets, seers, and revelators. Ordained Apostles of Jesus Christ always testify of Him. They point the way as we make our way through the heart-wrenching maze of our mortal experiences.

Home- Go Forward in Faith make your homes true sanctuaries of faith, where the Spirit of the Lord may dwell.

Gavel- Go Forward in Faith In every country, this Church teaches its members to honor, obey, and sustain the law.5 We teach the importance of the family, of being good parents and exemplary citizens.

Blessing- Go Forward in Faith (Read the whole blessing) Dear brothers and sisters, I express my love for you. During this time of tension and uncertainty, and invoking the authority vested in me, I would like to confer upon you an apostolic blessing.

I bless you with peace and increasing faith in the Lord.7

I bless you with a desire to repent and become a little more like Him each day.8

I bless you to know that the Prophet Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.

Should there be illness among you or your loved ones, I leave a blessing of healing, consistent with the will of the Lord.

Heart- Go Forward in Faith I so bless you, adding once more my expression of love for each of you, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Photo credit

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening for Little Ones- Feb 2020

Sorry this is coming out a little late again.  The plague came through our house, ok, that’s a little dramatic, but that’s what it felt like.  We all took turns being sick and being sick while being pregnant meant I basically stayed in bed for a whole week.  Add on top of that the kids have not been sleeping well…and you get the picture.  I might also just be hitting that point in pregnancy where naps become a necessity rather than a luxury.  But I swear, January was longer than November and December COMBINED!!!!!!

Luckily this month is pretty simple on the Family Home Evening front.  If you have followed my blog for a while most of these activities are going to be repeats of old ones, but kids thrive on repetition, it’s a big part of how they learn.

I’m continuing to include coordinating children’s scriptures, however, unfortunately the resources for 2 Nephi are limited.  It’s less story and we don’t meet a lot of new characters.  For a list of the books I’m using this year see last month’s post.  Also, the Friend for January has a reading chart with selected verses that is really helpful.  There’s also this page in the February Friend for even more simplified reading selections.

 

February 3-9 We Lived After the Manner of Happiness

Children’s Scriptures: Book of Mormon Stories Chap 9

Song: Happy Song pg 264

Materials: Construction paper or poster, Manner of Happiness Printable and/or pictures of things that make your family members happy

Explain that when they got to the Promised Land, Nephi said that his family lived “after the manner of happiness.”  Add the things that Nephi said made them happy to a poster then add some extras that make your family happy.  I have created a printable with Nephi’s suggestions as well as a few of my own, but you may want to find your own pictures (especially your own family photo) or have the kids help cut them out of advertisements, newspapers, or magazines or draw their own*.

Nephi’s list:

Family

Commandments

Scriptures

Education

Temples

Work

Church Callings

 

Extra Ideas:

Eating healthy foods

Exercise

Friends

Good media

Listening to mom and dad and teachers

Talents

Creating

Helping others

 

*Here’s an idea on how to differentiate for different age groups and ability levels.  Really little ones will need to just have the pictures available, slightly older ones may be able to help cut things out, and then if you have a few that are school age and/or very interested in coloring they can draw their own.  That way you can do the same activity but the different age groups can benefit, if you’ve got some that are extra older, have them help the younger ones.  So like mom and dad are helping the 3 and unders, 8 or 9 year old is helping the 4 year old select and cut and draws a few of their own, and the 6 year old is cutting and/or coloring more independently.

 

February 10-16 O How Great the Plan of Our God

Song: I Feel My Savior’s Love pg. 74

Materials: construction paper hearts, Blessing from Jesus from The Friend, Valentines for Jesus Printable

So perfect that this falls the same week as Valentines!!!!  This section is all about the Plan of Happiness and Christ’s sacrifice for us.

Use the Printable from the Friend to talk about the ways Jesus shows his love for us.  Glue the pictures on paper hearts and explain that these are like his Valentines to us.

Then using the Valentines for Jesus printable (or printing/coloring their own ideas) have the kids select ways they can show love to Jesus and make a Valentine for Him.

Take it a step further and have the kids make Valentines for people in your ward and or neighborhood who are struggling and could use some extra love.  Deliver them with treats or flowers.

*Last year I bought one small daisy bouquet from the grocery store and then some plastic cocktail glasses (they were like extra tall shot glasses) from the dollar store and just cut off 3 flowers to put in each little glass and delivered them to the sisters I minister to and some homebound/widowed sisters.  They LOVED them- it was super cheap, went a long way, and nobody had to feel guilty throwing them out after a few days, but it was just enough to help them feel loved in the mean time.

 

February 17-23 We Rejoice in Christ

Song: I Love to See the Temple pg. 95

Materials: Pictures of Temples

Explain that in Second Nephi we learn that before Christ returns there will be many temples.  Show pictures of temples around the world, maybe highlight some that are special to your family.  Explain that in the temple Heavenly Father teaches us His ways so we can walk in His path.  If you live close enough, go to the temple grounds, if not just keep looking at pictures of the temples.  There’s a fun temple matching game on the church website.

 

February 24- March 1 A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

Song: We Are Different pg. 263

Materials: Eggs in a variety of colors, clear cups, optional supplies to make a treat

I’ve done this activity every year with my kids for the last several years.  They really enjoy it and I feel like it works well to teach the concept.

Get eggs in various colors.  At the grocery store you can typically at least get brown and white, but if you happen to know someone with backyard chickens (I am quite lucky to have a few suppliers!) then they typically will have several different colors including light green, various shades of brown, speckled, etc.  Also you could color eggs with Easter Egg dye if you want to have even more colors.

Read/ summarize 2 Nephi 26:33 with the kids.  He invites everyone to come unto Him, no matter what they look like or their back ground.

Show the kids the eggs and ask them if they all look the same or different.  Then crack each egg individually into its own clear cup.  Point out that even though they looked very different on the outside, on the inside they were the same.  Heavenly Father said that all are alike unto Him.

Then if you want to take it a step further, explain that when we listen to each other and all work together we can do great things then use the eggs to make a yummy treat!

 

*Funny story-  A couple years ago after doing this activity with my son we were playing at a park and there was an African American girl playing there as well.  My son got my attention and said, “mom- she has dark skin!”  I responded, “You’re right, she’s very beautiful, isn’t that cool that we all have different colors of skin.”  He thought for a second then continued, “Yeah, like how the eggs were different on the outside but the same on the inside.”  Me, feeling proud that I had taught and he had listened, patting myself on the back, and then he asked, “Can we make cookies with her?”

 

Consolidated materials list:

Construction paper or poster

Manner of Happiness Printable and/or pictures of things that make your family members happy

construction paper hearts

Blessing from Jesus from The Friend

Valentines for Jesus Printable

Pictures of Temples

Eggs in a variety of colors

clear cups

optional supplies to make a treat

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening for Little Ones- Dec 2019

One year down!!!!  Sorry this post is a little late, I’ve been busy on the blog lately with Christmas stuff.  Check out my Have a Merry Kondo Christmas and Light Your Family to Light the World posts, both are intended to help you simplify this season and focus on Christ.

I really hope your family has a wonderful Christmas season and am so excited to start studying the Book of Mormon together in the New Year!

 

Dec 2-8 God is Love

Song: Stars Were Gleaming pg. 37

Materials: Christmas light display

Take your kids into a room with only a small amount of light (maybe your Christmas tree).  Explain that Jesus and His love light the world.  But if we are mean to people then we end up in darkness- turn off the light or unplug the tree.  Talk about how dark it is, how sad it is, and how hard it is to move around without the light.  Then explain that when we show love to people it brings that light of Christ into our lives- turn the light back on.  Then if possible load up in the car and go for a drive to see Christmas lights in your neighborhood or other nice light displays.  While you drive talk about nice things you could do for people.

 

Dec 9-15 Glory, and Power be Unto the Lamb Forever

Song: Have a Very Merry Christmas pg. 51

Materials: Picture of Jesus knocking at the door, treats for neighbors

Show the kids the picture of Jesus standing at the door knocking (in the manual at the end of this week’s lesson) and read them the verse “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Talk about how people need to wait until we open the door before they can come in our house, and we do the same when we go to other people’s houses.  Explain that Jesus is the same, he can’t come into our house and our lives unless we open the door for him.

Take turns knocking on the door and letting each other in.  Then take treats to neighbors and knock and wait for them to answer.  Carol to them if that’s something your family feels comfortable doing!!!  (Unfortunately my husband doesn’t sing and my kids don’t sing on command, and somehow it’s less cute for me to solo on a doorstep- but MAYBE I can convince them this year!!!)

 

Dec 16-22 Glad Tidings of Great Joy

Song: Picture a Christmas pg. 50

Materials: Christmas videos (see my list in my Light the World post)

Movie night!!!!  Sit back and watch a few Christmas videos!  You might want to include the newest video the Church produced this year.

 

Dec 23-29 He That Overcometh Shall Inherit All Things

Song: When I Am Baptized pg. 103 (emphasize vs. 2)

Materials- Goal Dice from Friend (scroll down),Goal setting sheet, Jesus Learned and Grew, Plan of Salvation Printable

Review the Plan of Salvation using the printable above or other pictures.  Explain that in the Book of Revelation, John tells us more about the Celestial Kingdom and how we get there.  John said, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things.”  Inherit all things means getting everything Heavenly Father and Jesus have in the Celestial Kingdom.  In order to get there we need to overcome, or always work to improve and do things better.  The best way to do that is by setting goals or resolutions.

Read Jesus Learned and Grew from the friend.  It leaves out wisdom, so explain that he also grew in wisdom which means he learned important things.

Roll the dice and set a goal for each area.  You could write the goals down on the charts that the church has recently created for the new Children and Youth program, or you can use the goal setting sheet I created- I like it better for little ones because…pictures!!!!  I also like to add a picture to correspond with each goal.

 

 

 

Image by monicore from Pixabay

 

 

Stinky Armpits- An Awkward Look at the Church as a Body

Recently in our Come Follow Me studies we read 1 Corinthians 12 in which the church and its members are likened to the body of Christ.  It goes through the hands and the feet, the eyes and the ears, etc.  About a year ago in Relief Society we discussed this same passage, as we discussed it I had a humorous (albeit sarcastic and perhaps slightly irreverent) thought- “I wonder who is the stinky armpit?!?”

I chuckled to myself for a moment, and leaned over and shared it with a good friend who also tends to have a slightly irreverent since of humor.  But then the spirit taught me some things about the church and stinky armpits.

All of us come to the table with different talents, blessings, and opportunities to contribute.  Some members are great at the administering side of things, they thrive on accountability and reports.  Others are quick to observe and minister to needs but may be lacking on the paperwork side of things.  Some have amazing gospel knowledge, while others may not be on top of scripture references but have a heart full of pure charity.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be the fingers of the church through sharing my talents on the piano and the feet of the church when I was a missionary.  I’ve been the hands of the church when I have made meals for new moms and newly arriving refugees.  I’ve seen others be the arms of the church when someone needed a blessing or simply a hug.  Recently the same friend I mentioned earlier was the ears of the church as she listened to me express some pain and frustrations.  I’ve watched Relief Society Presidents and Bishops be the shoulders of the church as they bear the burdens of stewardship over their flock.

But have you ever been around someone who it seemed their main contribution was to be bothersome, overly needy, or perhaps just rude; like their whole purpose was to annoy you.  I’ve known a few, and I’m sure I’ve probably been that person at times.  Like that mom who just can’t seem to get her kids under control (guilty!!!), or the person making rude comments about political parties or other groups during Sunday School.  Perhaps they’re spreading gossip, or just constantly taking more resources than they contribute.

These are the stinky armpits.  And yes, they are a part of the body of Christ as well.  While stinky and perhaps awkward, armpits do fulfill an important function in the body.  They connect the arms that reach out to the shoulders bearing burdens.  Our job is to be diligent in our care, attention, and respect for them so at the very least they can be less stinky.  And if someone’s only contribution is to help us learn patience, love, and sacrifice then good for them for helping us draw closer to the Head of the Church- Jesus Christ.

 

 

Photo cred: https://flic.kr/p/Df9TCM

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening for Little Ones- September 2019

Welcome back!  I hope August went well for everyone and if your kids started school that everything is going well.  I now have a kindergartner and a preschooler which means 3 days a week I have almost 2 hours to myself.  It’s AMAZING!!!!

Funny story from last month.  I guess it was the end of July when we did the story about the snake biting Paul, but Paul wasn’t hurt.  The kids have LOVED playing this over and over and over again.  They were playing it together and my son said to his little sister, “I’ll be Paul, and you can be…John.”  She responded, “No, I’m Mary!”  And then they proceeded to bite each other with a snake toy and shout, “Ahh….go away snake!”  As they shake it off their arm unharmed.  We’ve had a few discussion about how we need to make sure we are still safe and careful around snakes in the wild, but it’s so great to see that this is actually sinking in- even though they frequently grump about getting started!

I stopped adding the section with corresponding children’s scriptures.  Sorry about that.  There’s just nothing available 😦  We’ve started just reading either a Book of Mormon scripture story at night, or reading from the friend, or just whatever the kids request.  There is a Friend Jr. story on Paul’s letters in the September Friend so definitely check that one out.

September 2-8 God Is Not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace

Song: I Lived in Heaven pg. 4

Materials:  Plan of Salvation Printable

Explain the plan of Salvation using drawings.  There are a lot of examples online, you can draw as you go, or I’ve created a very simple printable for you.  Emphasize the degrees of glory described in 1 Cor 15:40-41.

Before you get started, have them draw clothes on the blank (physical body) person, and consider putting their picture on the face.

Pre-earth life- Put the little spirit character on the Pre-Earth cloud, explain that we were spirits living with our Heavenly Father, but in order to become like him we would need to gain a body and make good choices.

Earth- Heavenly Father and Jesus created the earth for us so that we could gain a body, put the physical body on top of the spirit character, then explain that while we are here we need to make good choices.  Talk about a few good choices you need to make (baptism, going to church, hands to self, listening to parents, etc.)

Death- Some day we will die and our body will stay in the ground (put the grave next to the earth and the body there) but our spirit will go to the Spirit world (move the spirit to the spirit world) where we will wait to be resurrected.

Resurrection- move the body and spirit back together and explain that when we are resurrected our bodies will be PERFECT!  No more sickness or pain.

Judgement- explain that Heavenly Father and Jesus will ask us how we did listening to them, following them, and fixing things when we make mistakes.  That will determine where we go.

Celestial- if we do the best we can do with Jesus helping us then we can go to the Celestial Kingdom to be with Heavenly Father and our families FOREVER!  It’s so beautiful Paul said it was like the sun.

Terrestrial- this is for people that were very nice but didn’t follow Jesus all the way.  It’s still really lovely there, but not the best.  Paul related it to the moon.

Telestial- this is for people who made bad choices and didn’t try to fix them.  They will still be happy, but not as much as the other two.  Paul said it was like the stars.  Talk about how the Sun, Moon, and Stars give off different amounts of light.

Side note- you can help kids remember the order with Sea Turtle- C Ter Tel

 

September 9-15 Be Ye Reconciled to God

Song: Faith pg. 96

Materials: Blindfold, objects such as toys, treats, scriptures, picture of Christ

Hide a few items around a room- some things just for fun and some things like scriptures, picture of Christ, etc.  Take turns being blindfolded and having the other family members tell the person blindfolded where to go to find the objects.  Explain that while we are on earth we can’t see Heavenly Father or Jesus, but if we listen to the Spirit, and the words of the Prophets then we can find our way back.

 

September 16-22 God Loveth a Cheerful Giver

Song: Army of Helaman pg. 172

Materials: Fort building materials (couch cushions, chairs, blankets, sheets, etc.), Nerf guns and/or other soft ammo (pillows, paper airplanes, crumbled paper rocks, etc.) Righteous ammo printable

Explain that we are in a war against wickedness.  Wickedness is making choices that go against what Heavenly Father wants for us like taking bad things into our bodies, using our bodies to hurt people, hurting our own bodies, not listening to our parents, making things more important than Heavenly Father, etc.  Talk about what we can do to combat the bad things.  Reading scriptures, going to church, serving people, listening, watching good shows, etc.  You can either just show the Righteous ammo printable or cut out the pictures and tape them to your ammo. Build a fort together and talk about how we want to make our home like a fort against bad things in the world.  Gather in the fort together but leave one parent out to be the opposing side.  Use your righteous ammo to defend your fort and take down the “bad guy.”

Additional Activity: To go along with the ammo of helping people, think of someone you can serve CHEERFULLY!  This could be as simple as coloring a picture for someone in the ward who is sick, lonely, new, etc.  Or taking some donations somewhere.  Always good to find a simple service project for the kids!

September 23-29 Walk in the Spirit

Song: The Holy Ghost pg. 105

Materials: 9 pieces of Fruit (try to get a good variety, but you might want to go ahead and double up on some favorites), other ingredients for your fruit salad/pizza/smoothie, Fruits of the Spirit

Use the Fruits of the Spirit printable to label fruit with the different fruits of the spirit discussed in Galatians 5:22-23

Talk through the different fruits and what they mean:

Love- we feel and show love for others when we are kind to them and serve them.  What makes you feel loved?

Joy- joy is happiness and a good attitude when things don’t go your way

Peace- we use kind words without yelling, we listen to others when it is their turn to talk

Longsuffering- we are patient, we wait our turn

Gentleness- we use our hands for helping not for hurting, if you or someone else makes a mistake we let them fix it

Goodness- we keep the commandments from Heavenly Father and follow the rules at home and school

Faith- we believe in Jesus and keep learning about him

Meekness- we are willing to listen and fix things when Mom or Dad or a teacher tells us how things need to be done, even if it’s different than how you want to do it

Temperance- we take good care of our bodies

Now use the fruit to make something yummy like a fruit salad, a fruit pizza, or a smoothie.

 

September 30- October 13 For the Perfecting of the Saints

I’m going to actually post the specifics of this with October, especially since this covers 2 weeks because of General conference.  But you’re going to need some supplies so you might want to start thinking about that now.

This chunk will cover the Apostasy and Restoration- you’re going to need a Jenga tower that you don’t mind writing on.  I found an adorable miniature one at the dollar store a couple weeks ago in the toy section.  So be on the look out, it’s probably something you can find at a thrift store as well.

It will also cover the Armor of God.  I’m really hoping to find a suit of armor to use, which might be easy with Halloween coming up!

 

Consolidated Materials List:

Plan of Salvation Printable

Blindfold

objects such as toys, treats, scriptures, picture of Christ

Fort building materials (couch cushions, chairs, blankets, sheets, etc.)

Nerf guns and/or other soft ammo (pillows, paper airplanes, crumbled paper rocks, etc.)

Righteous ammo printable

9 pieces of Fruit

other ingredients for your fruit salad/pizza/smoothie

Fruits of the Spirit printable

 

Be on the look out for a Jenga tower and suit of armor!

 

 

Image by HeVoLi from Pixabay

 

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening for Little Ones August 2019 (part 2)

August 19-25 Be Perfectly Joined Together

Song: I Love to See the Temple pg. 95

Materials: red, yellow, and green construction paper, pictures of foods and drinks, pictures of the temple, picture of kid in swimsuit, Friend Activity

I feel so strongly about focusing on 1 Corinthians 6:19. It’s related both to physical care of our bodies as well as the law of chastity. I would suggest splitting these activities up into two sessions.

Word of Wisdom/ Physical Care

Find pictures of a variety of foods and drinks from grocery store ads and/or print your own. Also include pictures for bathing, washing hands, brushing teeth, exercising, etc. Use the green, yellow, and red construction paper like a traffic signal. Explain that green means we can have a lot of it, yellow means we should be careful about how much we have, and red are things that we do not touch. Go through the pictures and glue them on the respective sheets.

Law of Chastity/ Consent/ Physical Safety

Explain the difference between secrets, surprises, and sacred or private things.

Secrets can hurt people, we don’t tell or keep secrets. If someone tells you something or does something to you and tells you not to tell mom or dad tell that person that we don’t keep secrets and make sure to tell mom or dad or another grown up what happened.

Surprises are when we don’t tell someone something right away because it will be more fun if we wait. This is like when we buy someone a present, we don’t tell them what it is until they open it.

Sacred or Private are things that we only share with a few people. Show a picture of the temple. Explain that the temple is sacred so you have to have a temple recommend to go there. Show them your recommend if you have one and explain what you have to do to get one and that it is permission from Heavenly Father to enter his house. Our bodies are temples and someone has to have permission to touch your body. If someone wants to give you a hug or a high five and you don’t want to you can say no thank you, if they don’t listen then you can move away from them. If someone uses their body to hurt you, tell them no, get away, and tell a grown up. We have parts of our body that are private. Use correct names and/or explain that private places are where a swim suit covers. We keep our private places covered, we don’t talk about them unless we need to tell mom, dad, or a doctor about something, we don’t show them to people, we don’t look at them on other people, and no one has permission to touch them unless mom or dad is helping you in the bathroom or a bath, or if a doctor needs to check and make sure everything is healthy. If anyone tries to touch you in a private place you yell at them, “No, don’t touch my_____,” you run away, and you tell a grown up right away. If anyone tries to show you their private places or a picture of someone with their privates showing, do the same thing- Yell no, run away, tell a grown up right away.

(Depending on the age and maturity level of your kids you may explain that when you are an adult and married then you may also share your private places with your spouse.)

This month’s Friend magazine is a great resource if you need more help thinking how you will explain this to your kids, there is also a great game!

Aug 26- Sept 1 Ye Are the Body of Christ

Song: Two Little Eyes pg 268

Materials: Body of Christ puzzle

Talk about how our bodies work together to do important things.  Play a game coming up with silly things that your body can’t do without all of it working together.  Try to get across the room without using your feet, try to eat a snack with your hands tied behind your back, try to sing a song with your mouth closed, etc.  Explain that in the scriptures it says that we are the body of Christ.  That means that we all have different responsibilities or things that we are good at, but when we all work together following Jesus we can do great things.  Use the body of Christ printable to show this with your family and with the church (the blank copy is so you can add pictures of your own family).  Cut along the lines to create a “puzzle” and help the kids put it together to create the body.  Talk about how your family can work together and how we can work together at church. 

 

Come Follow Me Family Home Evening for Little Ones- July 2019

This month has a running theme of yummy treats and service! You’ll want to identify two families and/or charitable groups to work with this month. I included some charitable organizations at the bottom to consider.

I included Children’s Scripture Resources again, but I’m running out of chapters in the books I know about. Seriously after this month there is only one more chapter in the New Testament Stories book and one in the My First Scripture Stories book…for the REST OF THE YEAR. Anyone have any bright ideas or other resources to help with the epistles we’ll be starting soon???? I’ll be doing some research this month, but please share if you know of anything!

July 1-7 Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me

Children’s Scripture Resources: New Testament Stories Chapter 55, 56, beginning of 57; My First Scripture Stories– Jesus Teaches the Apostles; New Testament Stories for Young Readers- I Want to Follow Jesus, Jesus Said to Share the Gospel

Song: Give Said the Little Stream pg 236

Materials- ingredients for a treat already measured out

Help children begin to understand sharing and the law of consecration discussed in Acts 4. Prepare the ingredients for a favorite treat by measuring everything out into small bowls or baggies. Give each member of the family a set of ingredients to be in charge of. Divide them out unevenly so some members have large amounts and others have very small amounts (for example one family member might have a few cups of flour and the eggs while another family member only has a few tablespoons of baking powder). Explain that Jesus asks us to give EVERYTHING to Him, no matter how big or small and then he will give us back something wonderful. Ask each family member to give everything they have to make the treat. Once the treat is made ask if the person who had the little ingredients should get less of the treat. Explain that even though what someone gives may seem smaller than someone else, it’s still important to the Lord just like how the small ingredients are still important to the recipe, and that as long as we give our personal best the Lord will give us something equally good.

July 8-14 What Wilt Thou Have Me Do

Children’s Scriptures Resources- New Testament Stories- Chapter 57, 58, 59, 60; My First- The Epistles of Paul (most of the content is actually from Acts)

Song: I Feel My Savior’s Love (vs 4) pg. 74

Materials: scriptures, materials for service project

Tell the children about Tabitha, New Testament Stories Chapter 60 is a good resource. Discuss how Tabitha helped bring people to Christ first because of her service and then because of the miracle performed for her. Talk about nice things you can do for people each day and then plan a small service project you could do in your ward (for the families you minister to, a new family, or someone going through a trial) or community.

July 15-21 The Word of God Grew and Multiplied

Children’s Scripture Resources: This is a stretch, but- Jesus Loves Me

Song: I’ll Walk With You pg. 140

Materials- multi-colored eggs, ingredients for a treat, matching game

Find eggs with different colored shells. You can typically find brown eggs in regular grocery stores, but I also have some friends who raise backyard chickens and they have given me eggs in a whole range of colors- the more colors the better, but at the very least get some brown and white. Or I guess you could pull out some Easter supplies and dye them ahead of time, but don’t boil them.

Show the kids the multi-colored eggs and ask them to describe them. Talk about how people are all different as well, we look different, our skin is different colors, we come from different places, etc. Then crack each egg into it’s own bowl. Each egg looks basically the same on the inside. Help them understand that while we look different on the outside we are all the same on the inside and we are all children of God. He loves all of us the same! You could then use the eggs to make a yummy treat (do you see a pattern here??) and explain that when we all work together we can do great things.

While the treat is baking you could play this matching game of kids from around the world.

July 22-28 The Lord Had Called for Us to Preach the Gospel

Children’s Scripture Resources: New Testament Stories Chapter 61, 62, beginning of 63

Song- your favorite Christmas song

Materials: Christmas decorations, Christmas cookie ingredients, gifts for your chosen person or group, wrapping paper

Christmas in July!!! Yes! Pull out some simple Christmas decorations. Sing some carols. Bake some Christmas cookies (I really don’t know why this month is all about food, but why not???) Maybe even watch a Christmas movie. Then read Acts 20:35 “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Take “Christmas presents” to someone in need (bonus points if you wrap them in festive paper!). Maybe someone in your ward going through a rough time. Maybe to a charity (I’ll list a few below the materials list). A homebound sister or brother. A new family in your neighborhood. Think and pray about who could use some Christmas in July.

July 29- Aug 4 A Minister and a Witness

Children’s Scripture Resources: New Testament Stories Chapter 63

Song: Love is Spoken Here pg 190

Materials: toy snake

No stuffed sheep today- this time you need a snake toy. If you don’t have one- I mean how would you not have one??? But if you don’t, you can find them at the dollar store for, well $1. Explain the promises Jesus made in Mark 16:18 then act out the stories in Acts 28:1-9. Discuss Priesthood blessings for healing and times you have seen the Lord fulfill promises.

Consolidated Materials:

ingredients for a treat already measured out

scriptures

materials for service project

multi-colored eggs

ingredients for a treat

matching game

Christmas decorations

Christmas cookie ingredients

gifts for your chosen person or group

wrapping paper

toy snake

Charities to consider for Christmas in July

Gathering Humanity– AZ based, this group assists recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers. They need household items to set up apartments for newly arriving refugees and back pack kits to give to asylum seekers. They keep a list on their website of needed items.

Maggie’s Place– AZ based, this organization provides housing to pregnant women who have nowhere else to go. They provide them with education, tools, and resources necessary to get on their feet so that they can provide for themselves and their baby. They take moms at any point in pregnancy and allow them to stay in the housing up until the baby is typically about 6 months old, additionally, they continue to reach out to assist alumni moms. They can use women’s clothing (especially maternity and interview appropriate clothing), anything and everything baby related, cleaning supplies and hygiene items (full size not travel size), and toys and books for young children.

Your local NICU- I was only a NICU warrior momma for 10 days, some of those families are there for months. Those 10 days were very lonely and hard so you can imagine how exceptionally lonely and difficult it must be for those with a much longer stay. Each year at Christmas we take treats and a card to the NICU for the current families, but how awesome to get something at a random time of year. Some small things that would mean a lot to NICU families- gift cards to local fast food restaurants (hospital food gets real old real fast- and again I’m saying that after only 10 days), pocket size hand sanitizer (don’t want to spread any germs to the littles!), lotions (be careful about scents as little tiny babies can have super delicate skin), puzzle books or adult coloring books, little treats, etc. You would probably want to call ahead to find out how many families to plan for and to find out specific policies. Know that your children would likely not be able to enter the NICU (when we drop things off my husband keeps the kids where they can look through the window at the babies in the nursery), and you will probably either leave the items with the desk or in the family break room.

For the record my NICU baby is totally fine- she’s almost 3 now and has had no lasting issues. If you want you can read our story.

Image by Melissa Etheridge from Pixabay