Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How Can I Make My Prayers More Meaningful?

Get this week's lesson here.

I am SoOoOoOo excited for the lesson this week.
To introduce the topic I want to ask all of the young women to stand up and recite the YW theme again.  Have you ever noticed how everyone sounds like monotone zombies when they give the theme?  I'll ask them to truly think about the words as they're saying it so they are able to deeply ponder it.
Sometimes our prayers can go through that same repetition.  I'm guilty of falling into a rut and hurrying through my prayers without being in the right mind frame at times.  

Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to communicate with Him through prayer. When we pray, we should tell Heavenly Father what we feel in our hearts. We should not repeat meaningless words or phrases. Through sincere, heartfelt prayer, we can feel the nearness of our Heavenly Father.  

“As you feel the need to confide in the Lord or to improve the quality of your visits with him—to pray, if you please—may I suggest a process to follow: go where you can be alone, go where you can think, go where you can kneel, go where you can speak out loud to him. The bedroom, the bathroom, or the closet will do. Now, picture him in your mind’s eye. Think to whom you are speaking, control your thoughts—don’t let them wander, address him as your Father and your friend. Now tell him things you really feel to tell him—not trite phrases that have little meaning, but have a sincere, heartfelt conversation with him. Confide in him, ask him for forgiveness, plead with him, enjoy him, thank him, express your love to him, and then listen for his answers. … Answers from the Lord come quietly—ever so quietly. In fact, few hear his answers audibly with their ears. We must be listening so carefully or we will never recognize them. Most answers from the Lord are felt in our heart as a warm comfortable expression, or they may come as thoughts to our mind. They come to those who are prepared and who are patient”
-Bishop H. Burke Peterson
I was browsing Pinterest for some prayer quote ideas I could use as handouts and as I was searching I thought to myself, "There are so many great pins!  I wish everyone could just make their own Pinterest board for my lesson this Sunday."  LIGHTBULB!  BRILLIANT JESS!
They can...

For part of my lesson I'm going to bring glue sticks and print out all the prayer quotes I can find.  Each of the girls can have their own "Prayer Board" and "Pin" the quotes that are most meaningful to them.  We can each go around and share the ones that stand out the most to each individual and explain why it's significant to them.

Seriously, if you search for "LDS prayer quotes" you will be pinning for hours without even realizing it.  I found SO MANY.

As a class, sing or read hymns about prayer (use the topical index at the end of the hymnbook to find an appropriate hymn). What do the young women learn about prayer from these hymns?

I love this suggestion.  If we ended up spending the entire time singing, I wouldn't mind a bit!

 For my soul adelighteth in the bsong of the cheart; yea, thedsong of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
-D&C 25:12

Monday, April 28, 2014

Why Is It Important To Listen To And Follow The Living Prophets?

Get this week's lesson here.

Once upon a time, my husband and I were team teachers for the ward's Sunbeam class.  It was one of the funnest callings I ever had!  I remember us giving a lesson about following the prophet and finding a big, ugly beard from our Halloween costumes, a cozy robe, and a towel for a shepherd's hat.  Each Sunbeam took a turn being dressed up like and old, biblical prophet as we sang "Do as I'm Doing" and "followed" the prophet.

Not sure if the girls would appreciate wearing beards, so we'll probably skip it as an activity, but I needed to reminisce in the memory for a moment.

But here's an activity that I DID want to share:
  Let me tell you something.  When Pinterest and my amazing cousin, Katrina, come together... magic happens.  She stumbled upon this pin one day...

If you click the picture, it takes you to a quiz that tests the girls with uplifting quotes.  Their job is to decide whether the quote comes from a general authority of the church or a Disney movie.  Katrina's twist on the activity is to have each girl hold a princess crown in one hand and a church tie in the other.  Then they can silently raise one of the items to show what their guess is for each quote.  So adorable, right?

Invite the young women to think of and share a story from the Book of Mormon that illustrates the need to listen to and follow the living prophet. Some examples might include stories about Lehi, King Benjamin, Abinadi, or Samuel the Lamanite. What do they learn from these stories? What experiences can the young women share in which they followed the counsel of the prophet?

Going back to the Book of Mormon Battles website where you can find these lovely pictures of scripture heroes, I might get some super cheap glass frames from the dollar tree and blow these portraits up, having them scattered on the front table.  Each YW can grab a picture with an assigned scripture on the back to read on their own.  Then everyone in the class can take turns sharing stories of the prophets and the counsel they gave the people to follow.






Show pictures of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (such as those in the conference issue of the Ensign or Liahona). Bear your testimony that all of these men are prophets, seers, and revelators. Invite the young women to make a list on the board of counsel given by the living prophets (bring copies of the most recent general conference issue of the Ensign or Liahona to help them remember). How does following this counsel bless their lives and the lives of their families?

For this activity I made the girls a worksheet to quiz them on how well they paid attention during General Conference.  I made a list of all the topics given by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles along with pictures of each individual.  They can then match up which topic belongs to which speaker and see who has the most correct at the end.  

Click here to download.

Here is the answer key to see how everything matches up...

Friday, April 11, 2014


I have my first blog topic request!  Thank you Aunt Jill for making me feel special.  Her group of young women have a great activity planned to go and visit the Fresno temple.  For part of the activity they will be focusing on Modesty.

Memories.  Being a teenager.  Modesty.  Parental units.  
It was a challenge I may or may not have struggled with.  To this day, my dad's voice echoes in the back of my subconscious.
"But dad!  Technically these shorts do drop down to my knees!  Why can't I wear them???"
"Because, Jess, boys are PIGS!"
Ha ha ha!  That was always my dad's go-to trump card to end all wardrobe discussions when he didn't want to argue anymore.

We all know part of the reason to dress modestly is to not attract the wrong kind of attention.  But forget about boys for a second... Take that entire argument out of the equation and I will tell you why it is important to be modest in appearance.

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? ... The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

 More than the little details about shorts to the knee or covering your shoulders because the prophet tells you to, being modest is about showing respect and love for your body and realizing this amazing blessing you have truly been given.

I mean... sit down and really THINK ABOUT IT for a second.  We can run and feel the burn in our muscles.  We can taste the tingling sensation of sweetness on our tongues.  We can shut our heavy eyelids and drift into wondrous worlds of dreams.  We can experience the shock of jumping into a pool of cold water, or soak in the warmth of sun rays in the summer.  Our stomachs twirl with delight on roller coasters.  Goosebumps rise off of our skin when we are touched by powerful experiences.

Can you imagine someone in the preexistence who still hasn't been blessed yet with the gift of a body?  This beautiful, sacred creation your Father in heaven has given you?  We were in their position once, excited and restless to come down to this earth and experience the union of body and spirit creating a soul.  Do you appreciate it and look towards your mirror's reflection with love and gratitude?  Do you respect it by taking care of it and dressing it in a way that is uplifting?

Think of a gift you put a lot of effort into and then watched the person who received the gift not show any appreciation for it.  How did it make you feel?

I have given up on getting gifts for my husband.  He has his specific Amazon wish list of gadgets and gizmos a plenty.  When I try to get him something from the heart, it is usually returned and upgraded for his preferred model.  LoL.  I love that guy's bones.  But when it comes to gift-giving, he doesn't make it much fun for me.

Let's show our Heavenly Father how much we appreciate this wonderful gift he has given us!!

Here is a pin from Pinterest that I fell in love with!  I get so excited finding things that are both modest and cute.  Click HERE for tips to elevate your summer outfits.

If there is ever a question about whether or not something is appropriate, I love this quote from the YOUTH STANDARDS booklet:
Ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?”

Elder Robert D. Hales said, "Just as the temple grounds portray the sacredness and reverence for what takes place inside the temple, our clothing portrays the beauty and purity of our inner selves."

PERSONAL PROGRESS: Dress and appearance are emphasized in the following experiences and projects

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