Trying Again After Trauma: My decision to have another baby

I frequently see women asking in online forums how other women who have faced traumatic pregnancies and births have decided whether or not to try again.

I was that woman after I had my second child.

Growing up, I legit wanted 8 kids.  When I didn’t get married and start popping them out at 20 I pedaled back to 6.  When my singleness continued a few more years and then I married a student we decided to wait a little longer and figured we’d go for 4 and then see.

But then there I was at 29 with 2 kids and really really unsure if I could handle another pregnancy.

I won’t go into all of the details here, but if you’re interested in knowing the whole backstory to my pregnancies and births here’s my birth stories post.

Here’s the highlights reel:

Pregnancy #1:

  1. I struggle with anxiety, it gets worse while pregnant especially considering that my mother, on top of multiple miscarriages, lost a baby at 38 weeks.  So I don’t feel better once I get to the “safe zone.”
  2. Overall the pregnancy was pretty normal, nothing too crazy.  Started experiencing symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) at 36 weeks- I wasn’t expecting to be comfortable, but it was pretty bad.
  3. I went 10 days past due, and had an excessively long labor and ended up with a level 3 tear that was really awful to heal from.

Pregnancy #2

  1. We moved away from a good group of friends 3 days after I found out I was pregnant, I struggled with finding a group of friends in the new area.
  2. My thyroid was being mismanaged which resulted in excessive fatigue and depression.
  3. SPD (or as I have come to refer to it- Hell Crotch) started at 10 weeks.  Literally I went straight from morning sickness one day to extreme pelvic pain the next.  Being in constant pain certainly didn’t help the depression.  I spent hours crying multiple days a week.
  4. My doctor was the worst. I told him I was in pain, he shrugged it off- “yeah, you’re pregnant.”  I finally opened up about the depression, which was really hard for me to do.  He responded, “I don’t treat pregnant women for depression, go for a walk.”  I CAN’T WALK!!!!  I’M IN CONSTANT PAIN!!!!!
  5. My doctor also told me he would induce me early because he didn’t want me to have another big baby and risk tearing again.  I was ok with this because I super hated being pregnant and wanted to be done the moment it was safe for her to be out.  And then he decided not to with no explanation.
  6. Due date rolled around- I was DONE, I couldn’t take it anymore.  The pain was unbearable, and other joints beside my pelvis had started to kill as well.  I was not ok mentally.  I was not suicidal by any means, but I would have gladly accepted a tranquilizer and then have them wake me up when it was over.  I went in on a Monday begging for an induction.  He said no.  Here’s how the exchange went:
    Dr: Maybe we could do Wednesday, wait no, Friday
    Me: Or Wednesday
    Dr.:  What’s 2 more days?
    Me: That’s not 2 days, that 5 days (in my head- “clearly you’ve never been in constant pain if you think it’s ok to put someone through it for extra days- I’m not going to be ok if I’m in pain another 5 minutes!”)
    Dr.: We’ll do Friday but I can see about sweeping your membranes today to try and get things moving.
  7. He swept my membranes with my consent, but he did not warn me of the risk of contamination especially considering I was Beta Strep positive.  He did however tell me that I would bleed a little but definitely shouldn’t go to the hospital until I knew I was in labor because triage gets mad when doctors strip membranes and women show up and have to be sent home, and if I did go in I most certainly shouldn’t tell them that he stripped my membranes.  Yes, I consented, but this was certainly not INFORMED consent.
  8. I bled a little and passed a lot of mucus the next day as expected.  I also started to feel a little gross but didn’t think anything of it because I was overdue and hadn’t felt particularly great in 9 months.  So I was obedient and didn’t go in until I knew I was really in labor.  The thing is that because I was passing blood and mucus I had no idea that I was also leaking fluid all day.  Long story short my uterus had basically turned into a petri dish for Beta Strep.  When I arrived at the hospital I was running a fever, my baby was in distress, I had a very traumatic unplanned natural delivery (still waiting on that epidural!), I didn’t even get to see my baby right away so I didn’t get the rush of endorphins immediately following the pain of delivery, and my baby had contracted Beta Strep so she spent the next 10 days in the NICU on IV antibiotics.

In the months that followed I developed symptoms of post traumatic stress- along with post partum depression.  I would have dreams where my OB was the “bad guy.”  I would have waking nightmares reliving the delivery.  And to make everything worse, my pelvic pain did not resolve.  The thought of ever being pregnant again had me shaking and crying.

About a year and a half later I learned more about Beta Strep.  I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it could be FATAL for the baby.  That brought back all of the trauma and then some.  Around this same time my pelvic pain had improved through physical therapy, but I would still have flare ups each month with my cycle and if I pushed myself too much physically.

I began to really resent that platitude, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”  Because in my experience I was finding that that which didn’t kill me just gave me post traumatic stress.

How on earth could I risk putting myself through more constant pain that might result in permanent damage to my body?  Would it be wise to put myself through another potentially huge bout of depression?  Was that fair to my family?  And how could I make sure that I didn’t pass Beta Strep to another baby?

I’m a planner by nature.  I like to know exactly what I’m doing.  I am not Elsa, I do not long to go into the unknown.  When people asked if I was going to have another kid it was actually really painful because I didn’t know, and it’s hard for me to say, “I don’t know.”  So here’s the first thing I had to learn:

Get Comfortable with the Unknown

There was one other big point in my life where I had to accept moving forward into the unknown, maybe that helped prepare me.  When I was about to come home from my 18 month Latter-day Saint Mission I didn’t know what (more like who) was waiting for me.  I had taken off from my teaching program which followed a very specific set of classes each semester.  While I was returning in January, I couldn’t restart the program until the summer.  I was getting home 2 weeks into the semester but could still enroll in fluffy fun classes if I wanted to (think water aerobics and history of the hymns!).  I hadn’t heard from my boyfriend in a while, so I had no idea what I should be expecting there.  I got permission to start looking through courses on my Preparation Day and kept trying to put together a schedule but nothing was coming together and it was super bugging me.  Finally one day while I was reading in my scriptures, I wasn’t even thinking about my situation and what I was reading was not related at all, out the blue a very clear voice came into my head, “Be flexible.”  I responded, “I don’t do flexible.”  And the voice reiterated, “You need to be flexible.”

I decided not to take classes and figured I could get a job as a substitute teacher because that’s pretty darn flexible.  And as things unfolded, that’s exactly what I needed for that semester.

That all played out over the course of a few months, however, the baby question hung in the air for a couple years.  I didn’t get clear answers when I prayed about it.  Ultimately I had to accept that I didn’t know and had to be comfortable with the unknown.  Keeping options open, but not making plans.

Accepting Agency

Ready for another mission story?  This one is from before the mission instead of the end.  I almost didn’t serve my mission because I almost got engaged.  It was a crazy and very confusing time.  I believe strongly in seeking personal revelation, and I had received a very straight forward answer that I needed to submit my application to serve.  But then life happened and another door opened and I wasn’t sure what to do.  I prayed a lot, I read scriptures a lot, I pondered, I made pros and cons lists, I went to the temple, I did all of the things so that I could get an answer from the Lord.  And here’s the answer I finally got, “These are both good choices.  Make one.”

Lord, I am willing to do EXACTLY what you tell me to do, why won’t you TELL me!!!!

I got to the point where I wished that if I was supposed to go I would get a clear sign and if I was supposed to stay then maybe I would just like break my leg or something just enough that I wouldn’t be able to report to the Missionary Training Center.

One day I was telling a friend my thought process and she gave me some of the wisest words I have ever heard:

“Yes, but what you’re asking Him to do is take away your agency.”

Sometimes the Lord does have very specific instructions for us and we need to use our agency to decide to follow (like when he told me to submit my mission papers, and later when he told me to be flexible).  But I feel like, at least for me, he frequently leads me to a place where I have to make a choice.  God has to make a lot of really difficult decisions between GOOD things all the time.  If we’re going to become like Him, then we are going to have to learn how to do the same.  Ultimately, they were both really good choices, neither would lead me down a bad path they were just different paths, and the Lord wanted me to take ownership over my decision.

When I started actually seeking an answer about whether or not to have another baby, here’s what I got:  “Wanting to take care of yourself and the family you already have is a righteous desire.  You will also be blessed if you have another baby.”

He wasn’t going to tell me what to do, he wanted me to own this decision too.  Thanks.

The Tipping Point

A few months after my little girl turned two, Santa brought her a big girl bed.  Apparently the sleigh didn’t have room for a whole bed so Santa just dropped off some boxes from Ikea and let us disassemble the crib and put together the bed ourselves.  Santa’s real nice like that sometimes.

As we took down the crib I lost it.

My husband tried to comfort me and said, “I know it’s hard when they grow up.”

The thing is, I wasn’t crying about her growing up.  I was crying because there wasn’t another baby to put in the crib.

A lot of my childhood dreams were obviously naive and they’ve changed or I’ve moved on from them.  Others I’ve just had to let go of and that’s ok.  I love my life and in so many ways it has turned out how I NEEDED it even if it wasn’t what I thought I WANTED.  I have no desire to have 8 or even 6 kids anymore.  But never in any reworking of my dreams and plans could I have fathomed only having 2 kids and suddenly I was facing that reality and it hurt at the core of my identity.

In the days that followed I realized I had hit a point where my sadness about being done outweighed my fears of trying again.

I realized I really did want to try again, but I was still really scared, however I was finally ready to face those fears and do something about it.

Take Time to Take Care of YOU

I was rather overweight after my daughter was born- it’s been a lifelong struggle really, but it had gotten really bad.

When she was coming up on a year old I finally found the right doctor to take care of my thyroid disorder.  Amazing how having enough thyroid allowed a lot of weight to melt away (and improved my anxiety and depression dramatically!).

But, I hit another plateau and was doing a lot of yo-yoing.  While SPD is not necessarily based on weight, (it’s more of a hormonal issue- you can be very overweight and not have issues with it, and you can be very fit and still have issues with it) being overweight definitely doesn’t help anything.  And since I was still having regular pain flare ups, getting pregnant on top of that didn’t sound like a good idea.  I knew I needed to lose a substantial amount of weight as well as strengthen my core and maintain it before I would feel comfortable getting pregnant.

I started looking into programs and stumbled upon Noom.  I could write a whole blog post advertising Noom.  It was an AMAZING experience and exactly what I needed.  While it uses calorie tracking it focuses in on sustainability and getting to the root of why you eat the way you do.  It improved my health in ALL aspects of life- physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual.

I lost a lot of weight, but more importantly I built a lot of muscle and was actually sustaining the weight loss.  About a month in to the program my pain flare ups went away.  I had hoped to get back to my wedding weight.  I didn’t quite get there, I got back to pre-first pregnancy weight but was also much healthier at that weight than I had been before my first pregnancy or even 10 pounds lower than that at my wedding weight.

Find the Right Doctor and Make a Plan

I knew I needed to find a doctor I could trust but wasn’t sure how.  My really awful doctor, that you know- could have killed us- he was very highly rated online.  One day a friend of mine opened up about her struggles with depression during her recent pregnancy and how her doctor had helped her so much.  I disclosed that I was considering trying again but needed to find a good doctor and she encouraged me to go talk to her doctor.  I set up a well woman visit to establish care, but was expecting to have to go back in to discuss potential pregnancy related questions.  But the doctor was awesome and talked to me about my questions during the well woman visit.

I gave her the (even more) brief history of trauma I had experienced and amazingly she listened.

When I asked her about depression in pregnancy she responded, “I absolutely treat pregnant women for depression, there are several pregnancy safe meds, but I might encourage you start with counseling.”  Ummmm……besides the pregnancy safe meds, why on earth didn’t my other doctor ever refer counseling???  Certainly can’t argue counseling being dangerous for the baby at all, but you know what IS dangerous making people suffer through depression unassisted and making them feel like their concerns are invalid.

When I talked to her about my issues with SPD she told me that she had a chiropractor that she highly recommended and would absolutely refer me to an Obstetric Physical Therapist if needed.

Based on my prior physical and mental trauma she recommended a c-section.  I told her I had considered that or an induction at 39 weeks because the thought of going into labor naturally was too scary for me because of the risk of passing on Beta Strep again.  And you know what she did, she listened, she agreed we could keep both options open, she didn’t try to push her plan.

She had a few more recommendations of things to do before I started trying again and she talked me through some of the precautions she would take during my pregnancy.

These doctors, they do exist, unfortunately sometimes you have to sift through some crummy ones to find them.  If you don’t like your doctor- fire them!  Find someone who listens and cares.

Keep Taking Care of Yourself!

You are as important as the baby.  I think that’s part of my trauma from my last doctor.  It felt like MY health and MY needs didn’t matter at all.  Of course there are precautions and sacrifices that are required due to pregnancy, but there is so much help available.

Since getting pregnant my SPD has come back.  I got to 14 weeks instead of 10 this time.  Overall it has not been nearly as bad.  I also started seeing the chiropractor she recommended who specializes in pregnancy, and HOLY COW!!  It has been amazing and so helpful.  I also respect my limits and take it easy.  The pain isn’t gone, unfortunately because it is more of a hormonal issue they can’t really solve it, but it’s so much more manageable.

My mood has been so much better, I think mostly due to my thyroid being managed so much better but also not being in debilitating pain all the time goes a long way.  I haven’t needed to be medicated or seek counseling at this point, but knowing that it’s an option if it comes up is probably another key to preventing anxiety.

My husband has been amazing and so supportive through all of this.  Before we started trying again we had several discussions about what would be necessary as far as home maintenance and the kids and he’s been right on board.  I told him if the pain started again that he was either going to have to do most all of the cleaning or we’d have to hire someone.  Being on the same page and having a supportive partner is a really important key.

 

If there are first time or soon to be moms out there reading this- I hope you can learn from this and avoid some trauma.

To those that are in that deciding place- hugs!  I hope this helps you work through some of your trauma and questions.  And if your decision turns out to be no, good for you!  I was talking with a friend about this a few months back and when I told her about how I realized my sadness was greater than my fear she told me about how she actually had the opposite experience.  She had thought about trying again and realized her fear and reasons to be done outweighed her sadness and pain of being done.  It’s so personal, there’s no right or wrong decision.  Like I said before, taking care of yourself and your current family IS a righteous desire.  If you’re on the fence, don’t be afraid to hang out on the fence for a while.

 

 

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- January 2020

Did we all survive the holidays???  Whew!  Ready to refresh, renew, re-evaluate and read the Book of Mormon?!

What do your New Year’s Resolutions look like?  If one of them is about engaging more in Come Follow Me especially having FHE with the kids, then you have come to the right place!

I’ll be posting monthly with simple ideas to teach concepts from Come Follow Me to young kids.  My own kids are 5 and 3 and I’ve got one more coming in May!  I used to teach special education so I have a passion for breaking down concepts and making them more concrete.

You’ll find a month’s worth of FHE ideas, including materials so hopefully you can get those prepped once a month and not have to worry about too much throughout the month.  Periodically there will be free print outs available.  I will also be posting corresponding Children’s scriptures to go along with the assigned readings each week.

Here’s the Children’s books I’ll be drawing from:

  1.  Book of Mormon Stories (this is the one you can get from Church distribution and on the Gospel library app)
  2. Book of Mormon for Young Readers (available on the Church website and through the Gospel library app)
  3. Scripture Stories from the Friend
  4. My Book of Mormon Friends by Alexis Merril (available on Amazon or Deseret Book)
  5. My First Book of Mormon Stories by Deanna Draper Buck and Jerry Harston (available on Amazon as a Board Book or for Kindle and at Deseret Book) *there’s a second addition with more stories from the Book of Mormon, but I don’t have it…yet.
  6. Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Strong Women from the Book of Mormon by McArthur Krishna, Bethany Brady Spradling, and Kathleen Peterson (available on Amazon as a Hardback Book or for Kindle and at Deseret Book)
  7. Heroic Stories from the Book of Mormon by Shauna Gibby and Casey Nelson (available on Amazon and Deseret Book) This one is a flashlight discovery book, similar to the Usborne Shine a Light books

 

Dec 30- Jan 5 Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Corresponding Readings: Book of Mormon Stories chap. 1, My Book of Mormon Friends intro pages

Song: Book of Mormon Stories pg 118

Materials: Gospel Art book

Get your kids excited about reading the Book of Mormon this year.  Play or sing the Book of Mormon Stories song using the corresponding pictures from the Gospel Art book.  Show them the different sets of scriptures you’ll be using- a quad, your phone, the Book of Mormon stories book, and any other books you have.  You may want to get them a little pocket sized Book of Mormon to have for themselves as well.

 

Jan 6-12 I will Go and Do

Corresponding Readings: Book of Mormon Stories chap 2-5; Book of Mormon Stories for Young Readers Journey to the Promised Land; Friend Magazine Nephi gets the Brass Plates; My Book of Mormon Friends– Nephi and Sariah; My First Book of Mormon Stories– Lehi was a Prophet and Nephi had Faith; Girls Who Choose God– Sariah, the Matriarch; Heroic Stories- Lehi

Song: Nephi’s Courage (vs. 1) pg 120

Materials: Tasks to complete

Read 1 Nephi 3:7 together, explain that Nephi said he would go and do what Heavenly Father asked and he knew that Heavenly Father would make it possible even if it was hard.  Have a few tasks to complete around the house that are a little difficult for the kids to do on their own- reaching something high, reading something, finding something, etc.  Remind them how Nephi approached things that were difficult for him so when they are asked to do something they say, “I will go and do!”  Let them get started and then help them complete it so they can see that Heavenly Father will help them.

 

Jan 13- 19 Come and Partake of the Fruit

Corresponding readings: Book of Mormon Stories chap 6

Song: The Iron Rod Hymn 274

Materials: rope or pvc pipe, a bin or something similar to hold icky water, a cardboard box or lego building, a tree (or a picture of one), a yummy white treat (white chocolate macademia nut cookies, marshmallows, donuts with white frosting, etc.)

Use a rope or pvc pipe to represent the iron rod leading to a tree- maybe a tree in your yard or just a picture of a tree in the house.  Have it lead past some murky water and a “great and spacious building” made out of a cardboard box or legos and maybe some other obstacles.  At the tree have some sort of yummy white treat.  Have the kids follow the “iron rod” to the tree, have one parent at the tree beckoning them and the other trying to get them to let go.  Enjoy the treats together at the tree.

 

Jan 20-26 Armed with Righteousness and with the Power of God

Corresponding reading: Re-read Book of Mormon Stories chap 6

Song: The Iron Rod Hymn 274

Materials: Same as last week, Tree of Life Interpretation Printable

Use the same course you set up the week before or just a picture representing the Tree of Life Dream.  Use the Tree of Life Interpretation printable to label the aspects of the dream.  Enjoy treats again 🙂

 

Jan 27- Feb 2 I will Prepare the Way Before You

Corresponding reading: Book of Mormon Stories chap 5, 7-9; Book of Mormon Stories for Young Readers– Nephi’s Family Crosses the Ocean, My First Book of Mormon Stories– The Liahona and Nephi Builds a Ship; Girls Who Choose God– A Strong Wife Calls on God, Heroic Stories– Nephi

Song: Nephi’s Courage (vs. 2-3) pg 120

Materials: Scavenger hunt prizes, directions, compass

Set up a scavenger hunt with simple prizes- a few toys and treats as well as picture of Christ, scriptures, a picture of the Prophet, etc.  Give the kids instructions on what they need to do to find them.  They would probably enjoy holding a compass and pretending to use it- or if you are super ambitious you could actually use the compass to find things (if you’re into geocaching you could plan a geocaching adventure).  If the kids stop listening then take away the compass and stop giving instructions.  Once they start listening again get them to their prizes.  Explain that the Liahona only worked to show them the way when they were listening to Heavenly Father.

 

Consolidated Materials list:

Gospel Art book

Tasks to complete

rope or pvc pipe

bin or something similar to hold icky water

cardboard box or lego building

tree (or a picture of one)

yummy white treat (white chocolate macademia nut cookies, marshmallows, donuts with white frosting, etc.) x2 weeks

Tree of Life Interpretation Printable

Scavenger hunt prizes

directions to prizes

compass

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

 

 

Light your Family to Light the World

In my last post I talked about how a few years ago I had a Christmas breakdown when I got super overwhelmed by Christmas festivities and thought, “This isn’t about and Jesus and it’s not even fun.”

That post gave ideas on how to shop to avoid the overwhelm and keep the fun things actually fun.  This post is going to focus on how to keep the season about Jesus.

I’m by no means anti-Santa (or as my husband said it, “You’re not antee Santee.”)  But I feel very strongly that I need to make sure that Jesus is getting much more focus.  My kids will learn about Santa with no effort on my part, but learning about the real miracle we are celebrating is going to take some effort on my part.

The past few years I have been posting a daily activity count down and have tried to align it as much as possible with the Light the World campaign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This year I decided to stray a little from that pattern because I’ve realized recently that I just can’t keep up that daily level of activity.  Between my current energy level, figuring out how to fit everything in with a kid in full day kindergarten, and my husband having a significantly longer commute than in the past, I’ll be honest, my daily Thanksgiving activity plans have kinda tanked and I’ve realized that I need to simplify more and more.

Also, this year’s Light the World suggestions are smaller and simpler and someone already did the work of creating one specifically for kids.  So if you are looking for a simple thing to do every day then I would definitely suggest checking out A Year of FHE.  She’s got a really great calendar going on!  Although admittedly I did chuckle a little when I saw that the activity on the church produced calendar was, “Think of someone for whom you’ve had negative feelings lately.  Try praying for them.”  And the corresponding kid activity is, “Pray for your parents or care-givers today.”

But, I did want to give some suggestions of a few larger activities to try and fit in, or how to take things you already do and tie them in to Christ, as well as a few of my own ideas for incorporating kids and this year’s Light the World campaign.

 

Activities:

Christmas parties– we’ll have at least two just for fun parties this year.  Explain that the scriptures say that we should have joy.  Also Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to have good relationships with our friends and family so having fun with them is a great way to prepare for Christmas.

 

Light displays– No Mesa Temple lights this year 😦 but we like to get over to Glendale Glitters- explain to the kids that Jesus is the Light of the World so when we see the Christmas lights we remember Him.

 

Live Nativity– Dec 6-7 at Grace Lutheran Church in Glendale, they do a hay ride that will pick you up from Glendale Glitters then take you back

Dec 13- we’ll have a live nativity and petting zoo at our church building at 325 W Coral Gables Dr. in Phoenix

Dec 13-15- First Baptist Church in Chandler has a huge event that sounds really neat

 

Movie Nights– there are tons of Christ-centered Christmas movies to enjoy together as a family this season.  Pop up some popcorn, make some hot cocoa, and sit back for a low energy but Christ-centered activity!  Here’s some faves:

  • Veggie Tales! (You can buy DVDs from their website, or most can be found digitally on Amazon)
    • Little Drummer Boy
    • Saint Nicholas
    • It’s a Meaningful Life
    • The Toy that Saved Christmas
    • The Star of Christmas
    • The Best Christmas Gift (haven’t actually seen this one yet, but I’ve never met a VeggieTales I didn’t like)
    • Beauty and the Beet (not specifically about Christmas, but winter themed and has Christmas music)
  • The Star
  • Joy to the World
  • So many short clips on the Church website!

 

Petting Zoo– if you can’t make it to a Live Nativity with a petting zoo, I definitely encourage you to seek out a petting zoo somewhere.  A couple years ago we started this tradition, I explained to my son that we would see some of the animals that were there when Jesus was born.  He hopped out of the car at the farm and immediately started calling out, “Jesus, where are you baby Jesus?!”  It was absolutely adorable.  I explained that we wouldn’t actually see baby Jesus, we would just see animals LIKE the ones that were there, but I think seeing the animals really helps make things more concrete for little ones.

 

Gingerbread Stables– this is a fun twist on gingerbread houses, and my kids love it.  We use sour patch kids for the people, a peach ring for the manger, and I get animal crackers for the animals.

 

Service Project– find a larger service project that your family can participate in together.  Here’s some ideas:

  • Treats and cards to the NICU or another group that is meaningful to your family (my 3 year old spent 10 days in the NICU so this is important to us)
  • Pick a Christmas tree angel or family to provide presents to.  Have the kids help pick out and wrap the gifts
  • Kits for asylum seekers and recently arrived refugees- my kids have loved helping to buy some of the items, putting them in a back pack and delivering them to a local assistance group.  We go through Gathering Humanity.
  • Food, coats, etc. to a homeless shelter

 

Christmas Eve– I like to make Middle Eastern food (lamb meat, goat cheese, pita bread or naan, olives, and baklava for dessert) and we eat by the light of an oil lamp similar to the ones they would have used in Christ’s time (admittedly I use a little tea light candle instead of oil).  Then we read and act out the Christmas Story from Luke 2.

 

Light the World activity ideas:

Here’s a few additional ideas to incorporate younger kids into the Light the World activities:

  • If you’re in an area with a Giving Machine– get over there!
  • Invite someone who might be lonely (like a widow, or someone living far away from family) over for dinner and/or one of your movie nights
  • Take treats and carol to some of your neighbors
  • Make cards for your primary teachers
  • Make cards and maybe a small gift* for school teachers
  • Set New Year’s Resolutions using the categories from Christ’s life- wisdom, stature, favor with God, and man.  I love this from the Friend to help younger kids set goals in these areas.

 

* I’m going to get on a little soap box about teacher gifts for a second- if you want more info on gift giving this time of year read my last post.  As a former teacher and the daughter of two current teachers, let me talk to you about teacher gifts.  As I said in the other post, I do not want this to come off as ungrateful, of course we are so grateful for students and their families thinking of us.  But at some point it can turn into a burden instead of a blessing.  So before you grab lotions, a candle, a knick knack, or a water bottle, etc. consider how well that would work if you got 30 of those a year every year.  For my mom, she can’t handle scented lotions or candles at all, so while it’s kind and sweet, she feels bad because she turns around and re-gifts, donates, or eventually just has to throw them away.  Candy, again, think 30 kids giving you sweets- ain’t nobody need that much sugar in their life.  Crafts made out of school supplies- I have heard unanimous agreement from teacher friends that rather than receiving a wreath made out of crayons, they would prefer just to receive the crayons.

So stick to a note from your kid, school supplies, and/or gift cards to places like Target or Amazon!  Because a note on gift cards, if you get small amounts to random places, you end up spending more of your own money, so at least with Target or Amazon, most people just shop there regularly anyway so even if it’s a small amount, it’s helping reduce their cost, but also they will probably get them from other people as well.

 

 

Photo by javier gonzalez from Pexels

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

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

Can you believe we are just about half way through the year? Is it starting to feel normal yet? 2 hour home based church? I’m sure once it starts to actually feel normal they will change something up again. Which is good, gotta stay on our toes!

I’ve been finding that it can be difficult to coordinate the New Testament Stories book with the lessons each week as they don’t go in the EXACT order and you have to look through each story to see what book and chapter it corresponds with. So I’m going to start figuring that out a head of time instead of while I’m trying to get the kids to bed. Additionally, while it is more thorough than a lot of other books, I regularly find stories that got skipped over that other resources did include so I’m including other resources I know of, but we do primarily use the New Testament Stories published by the church. The New Testament Stories for Young Readers were originally published in the Friend magazine in the Friend Jr. section but are now available as their own section online and in the gospel library app.

June 3-9 Continue Ye in My Love

Children’s Scripture Resources: New Testament Stories– Chapter 50. New Testament Stories for Young Readers Jesus Loves Me

Song: Love One Another pg. 136

Materials: Construction paper hearts, service coupons, foot bath

Read John 13:34-35 and discuss things that you love about each member of the family- write them or draw them on little hearts. Then talk about how we can show love for each other. One big way is through service. Tell them about Jesus serving his Apostles by washing their feet. Wash each other’s feet in a foot spa or bath tub then think of other ways you can serve each other in your family and make service coupons. You may want to plan a small service project outside of your home as well.

We have washed each other’s feet as part of our Easter prep a couple years in a row and the kids really enjoy it. For ideas on service projects that get little ones involved see my Light the World post.

June 10-16 Not as I Will, But as Thou Wilt

Children’s Scripture Resources: New Testament Stories- Chapters 49, 51, first half of 52. New Testament Stories for Young Readers Jesus Gave Us the Sacrament. My First Scriptures Stories– The Last Supper, The Atonement. Usborne Book of Bible Stories pg 186-191

Song: Before I take the Sacrament pg. 73

Materials: Sacrament printables

Show the children the picture of Jesus at the last supper giving the sacrament. Lay out the printables with the bread, water, and kid (or their own picture) face up. Ask them if they know what the bread represents, turn it over to show Jesus’ body. Then ask what the water represents, turn it over to show his blood. Then ask what they should be doing during the sacrament. Turn it over to show a children sitting still with the thought bubble of Jesus. Talk about why it is important to be reverent during the sacrament. Practice sitting still and pretending to take the bread and water- you could even turn it into the quiet game and have a competition to see which kid can sit still and quiet the longest!

For the printable, print and then fold each page in half to put body, blood, and children thinking about Jesus on the back. I created a page with generic children on the front and then the children with thought bubble on the back as well as one that is blank for the front so that you can add actual pictures of your children if you want. If you want super extra credit you could get a picture of your child sitting still with a thought bubble for Jesus as well. As part of my Special Education teacher training we discussed research that shows that it can actually really help children to see themselves performing desired behaviors whether as a picture or a video. The nice thing about a picture is you only need them to sit still for like a half a second 🙂

June 17-23 It is Finished

Children’s Scripture Resources: New Testament Stories- Chapter 52 (second half), 53. My First-The Crucifixion. Usborne pg 192-195

Song: He Died that We Might Live Again pg. 65

Materials: Sequencing Activity

Talk through the events leading up to the crucifixion, then use this sequencing activity from the Teaching Mama to have your children put together and tell the story.

June 24-30 He is Risen

Children’s Scripture Resources: New Testament Stories- Chapter 54. My First- The Resurrection. Usborne 196-198

Song: Jesus Has Risen pg. 70

Materials: Stuffed animal flock, play food

Pull out those sheep (or other stuffed animals) again. Remind them of the other activities we did with the sheep and play a few rounds of wolves and robbers and finding lost sheep again. Then read or summarize the interaction between Christ and Peter in John 21:15-17. Use play food to feed your little flock of sheep. Talk about how we can help “feed” each other the gospel (being nice to each other at church, answering questions in Primary, taking people food when they are sick, sending people notes, etc.) Plan something simple your family can do to “feed sheep” around you. Make cookies together and take them to a family that is struggling with a trial, or color a picture and mail it to a home bound member of your ward.

Materials:

Construction paper hearts

service coupons

foot bath

Sacrament printables

Sequencing Activity

Stuffed animal flock

play food

Image by TC Perch from Pixabay