Sunday, December 30, 2018

CFM: Be It unto Me according to Thy Word

Family lesson ideas while studying with little ones
Download blank CFM weekly program HERE.

Opening Song: When Someone Cares

With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible
Going through pictures from the Gospel Art Book, we can search for all the scripture story examples where God made things happen that should have been impossible.

A virgin could not conceive.  Nor could a barren woman who was well past child-bearing years.  But God had a plan for the birth of His Son and of John the Baptist, so both Mary and Elisabeth, against all earthly odds, became mothers.

God's Blessings Come in His Own Time
This lesson really hits home for me because of how we struggled with infertility for years before having our first child.  It'll be a great personal story to remind our son how special he is and how we had to trust in God's timing instead of how we felt the timetable should have played out.

As an object lesson we'll get a new jigsaw puzzle the kids have never seen before.  Without letting them see the cover art, they'll get one or two puzzle pieces handed to them at a time and will slowly get to put it all together.  Sometimes we may feel frustrated not knowing what the ending will be like, but through patience we work with the pieces we've been given and slowly watch our life "pictures" form around us.

Knowing Our Family History Blesses Our Lives
After reading about the lineage of Jesus we can talk about our family history and share stories of our ancestors.  Back in October our family started our own Dia de los Muertos family history tradition that could fit in perfectly for a lesson like this.

Closing Song: God Moves in a Mysterious Way

Sunday, December 23, 2018

CFM: We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning

  Come Follow Me--For individuals and Families
Family lesson ideas while studying with little ones

The Books in the New Testament
For our opening hymn we wanted to review what we'll be learning over the course of the year.  I had all the book names mixed and shuffled around on the floor so we could work together to organize the New Testament in order.  I would sing through the song a couple of times because if I learned anything in primary, it's that repetition is magic.

The hymn from the primary songbook can be found HERE.
Download names/lyrics printable PDF HERE.

You're Invited... 

Print and fold a "party invitation" enveloped to the family.  It is an invitation from Jesus to "Come follow me."  It can be a great opportunity to share the scripture story from Matthew 19 of the rich young man who asked Christ what he needed to do to have eternal life.  Explain how we are ALL invited to follow the Savior's example.

Download Come Follow Me Invitation PDF HERE.

What do you feel inspired to do to be more active in learning the gospel?
On New Year's Eve one of our family traditions has been to take pictures with our personal resolutions.  We decided to twist it a bit to fit into our Sunday lesson.  Each family member took the opportunity to reflect and decide what they wanted to work on to grow spiritually or to be more Christlike in 2019.

Download 2019 Resolution PDF HERE.

Parable of the Sower
This idea comes straight from the Come Follow Me manual:
One great way to help your family prepare to learn from the New Testament this year is to review the parable of the sower. Your family might enjoy looking at different kinds of ground near your home to visualize the types of ground described in the parable. What can we do to cultivate “good ground” in our home? (Matthew 13:8).
  My toddler loOoOoOoVes the dirt, so I think we were finally speaking his language.  After looking around the yard at the different ground types, it was a great opportunity to plant a family seed for in the home.  Together we promised to love and nurture it, and watch it grow into a family flower.

"Simon Says" Hearts
What kid doesn't love a good game of Simon Says?  After we played, we referred back to how Christ invited us to follow His example.  We reviewed all the wonderful things Jesus did when He was on the Earth and discussed how we can follow His righteous choices in the same way.

Download Hearts PDF HERE.  Each heart mentions something Christ did during his life that we can follow.  I also left some blank hearts for personal ideas.

Obviously, Come Follow Me had to be the closing hymn, right?

Last one!  Can you tell I'm SUPER excited for this new curriculum?  I made a blank program for each week if anyone out there is like me and loves writing things down to keep my thoughts organized.  

Download blank CFM weekly program HERE.

Happy churching!  What a fun, inspired adventure we all get to adjust to.  I'm excited to work through the bugs and see what works and what doesn't as we strive more to teach the gospel within the wall of our home.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Love At Home

My amazing mom did it again!  As a gift to each of her grand babies, she writes or arranges a special lullaby just for them.  For my sweet Skylee she used the hymn Love at Home.

This song is so appropriate for my girl.  She seals the joy into the walls of our home.  Her smiling eyes, little giggles, and precious cuddles have melted all of our hearts.  She has bewitched us.  I am so, so eternally grateful for this perfect soul that has nestled into our family.

Click HERE for the sheet music and my mom's full post about the arrangement.  

Toddler Sticker Chart

Trekker recently had his third birthday.  The boy is growing into a man.  So it's about time we slam down some responsibilities.  Just kidding.  I've been wanting to make him a sticker chart for a while now and finally sat down to do it.

T's chores and rewards goes as follows:
Clean up all toys before bed for five days = piece of candy
Brush teeth without throwing a tantrum = Day at grandma's house
Potty training = Happy meal
Sleep in bed all night without climbing in to bed with Mommy and Daddy = New toy

My husband was mad at me for adding the last one.  😂  He loves it when Trex climbs in bed and cuddles us at night.  Easy to say when your side of the bed isn't the one being bombarded and you're not being pushed into the corner and sleeping in the fetal position.  Psh!  So over it.  

Download sticker chart HERE.

I'm including a blank chart as well for filling in custom chores/rewards too.  Enjoy, friends!
Download plain sticker chart HERE.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Family History Singing Time

🎶Family history!  I am doing it!  My family history🎶
This week we'll be making a singing family tree for primary.  Each ancestor can be printed on a full-page of card stock paper then pinned up on the chalkboard like on the FamilySearch website.

All the ancestors have their "favorite primary song" on their card for everyone to sing.  I thought it could be fun to hide the relatives under the kids' chairs.  When someone comes up to the front of the room with their card they can make up a funny story about their family member.

"Great-Grandma Harriet loved baking and was known for her famous holiday pumpkin rolls.  She played the Chinese fiddle, trained wild horses, and kept a secret collection of dried-out butterfly wings."
Download Family History PDF HERE.

Download PDF without favorite songs HERE.

Happy singing!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Psalm of Jesse

DEBATING can be a powerful work of art when done correctly.  Anyone can talk loudly about nothing for ten minutes, but when your words support an argument with fist-slamming evidence that cannot be deflated, a moment of rich victory fills the surrounding air, like a beautiful music chord that sends chills down your spine.
            I had one of these debates recently. It was silent.  It took place within the walls of my own mind, but it was stirring and life changing. 
One night, I found myself caught in a classic tug-o-war between the little devil and angel sitting on my shoulders arguing over spiritual matters.
            The funny thing about religion is how it’s a hard playing field for debate.  You can always throw out the trump card that you’re not supposed to be able to prove it and part of being tested in this life is to rely on faith.  You can take Uchtdorf’s advice, “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith” and leave the dispute always open, rendering, ready to wrestle again as life throws you another curve ball to test your current level of spiritual strength.
            But my mini angel must have eaten Wheaties for breakfast or cashed in on a video game power-up or something, because my devil was T.K.O.ed by the end of this imaginary spiritual conversation. It felt amazing and so peaceful. I could feel the Holy Spirit wrapping around my heart like a soft blanket.
            It went something like this….

-If I were ever to write in scripture 😉-

“O God, if thou art nothing, why am I here? If there is no God, then how?
 … How?
How come I feel someone who loves me looking down as I gaze at the stars?
How do I have this perfect infant in my arms with soft, kissable cheeks and a slow, steady breath sliding in her lungs?
How does our world fit perfectly in the galaxy’s puzzle so it can flourish with life?
How come the missionaries showed up at my work eight years ago on the day I prayed for someone spiritual to sit down and talk to?
How come my mother’s friend left flowers on her porch without knowing she had just found out about the cancer?
How did the rifle jam when a kid teasingly pulled the trigger at my grandmother that he didn’t realize was loaded?
How come my dad felt a hand on his shoulder as a missionary pulling him towards the other room to find his companion unconscious and breathing in leaking gas fumes?
How come in the war my grandpa thought of his mother and decided not to shoot the German soldier in his sights seconds before they surrendered with a white flag?
How come my cousin and I could both feel the presence of our deceased Aunt Dorothy in the sealing room of the temple at the same time?
How did Joseph Smith never give up and claim that he lied about the restored gospel so he could avoid mob attacks, family deaths, jail, and persecution?
How come priesthood blessings throughout my life have mentioned things about my thoughts and struggles that I’ve kept secret to myself?
How come my heart and spirit flows with peace when I read the Book of Mormon?
How come all the miracles, the love, the wonders, the impossible, the unexplainable surround our little, insignificant lives…

…if thou art nothing?”

I have had too many blessings, witnessed too many miracles to ever logically doubt the truth that I know.  I am so grateful for that little angel on my shoulder.  So, so grateful for the seeds planted throughout my life that remind me that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and that this gospel directs me towards my Savior.   

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Summer Singing Time

Summer is coming to a heartbreaking end and the school year is just around the corner.  We've had sooooooo much fun this summer, especially welcoming Little Sissy to the family.

Now that I'm trying to get back into the swing of singing time 
 and bringing a new baby to church in general

Don't wear a white skirt with a newborn because they're destined poo all over you

... I wanted to start things out super simple.  

I was kind of going for a game similar to "Ten Fingers" to highlight all of the fun activities the kids did over the summer.  

Everyone starts out with five beach ball sticks in their hand.  I'll have the kids take turns coming up and drawing a slip of paper with a summer activity.  If someone draws "went to the beach" all of the children who went to the beach this summer lose one of their beach balls.  It's nice because if they lose the game they can't get too upset because they are winning at life !

It's easy.  It's mind numbing.  It technically doesn't have anything to do with singing, but it can keep the kids entertained between songs.  

Most of the activity ideas came from my Summer Bucket List post from last year... Here's some slips of paper that can be printed and cut out or you can totally come up with your own ideas!

After cutting out the beach balls, I just hot glued them to the back of some skewer sticks and BOOM! You've got yourself a primary activity.

Click HERE to download the PDF printable

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Life as a Family of Four

World, meet Skylee, the newest member of our family.  The transition going from one child to two has been quite an adventure.  It still feels a little surreal, but it's becoming more and more natural as the days go by.  I feel a new freshness and energy for life (well, as energetic as you can be recovering from childbirth) and I am so excited for this new chapter.

Here's some happy memories of our first week and a half as a family of four!

July 9th: Let's head to the hospital and get this baby outta here!
"A hairnet?!  Really though?" - Mitchell

First picture of Mommy and Sissy

The hospital stay

I have a cool roommate....

Trekker's first time meeting Sister.  He was so shy when he first walked in the room.  But after receiving a "gift" from her with Lightning McQueen car toys, he totally approved.

For those who don't know the story behind this... This cow slept with me in bed every single night from seven years old to college.

Sweetest Daddy in the world

Summer babies are the best.  I love how they don't have to wear a billion layers to keep warm like a winter baby.

Having my mom help out this week has been AMAZING.  
To all the grandmas out there: You are seriously the best!

Love this guy

Can't get over this kid's smile!

Trekker likes to crawl into Skylee's bed with her now and play.  It just tugs at my heartstrings.

So grateful for my blessings!  I love this family so much.  Here's to more memories and adventures!


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Mormon Math

I feel like a person’s faith has its highs and lows like a flowing line chart.  Trickling up and down by small degrees throughout the day and by dramatic leaps throughout our lives based on our surrounding influences or seasons.  I’ve noticed an easy, predictable pattern where the chart goes high when I’m doing the consistent spiritually nourishing ingredients expected of me (reading my scriptures, saying my prayers, going to church, attending the temple, etc) and my faith drops lower when I’m distracted and maybe a bit spiritually lazy.  

It’s been convenient having a reliable church algebra equation that’s always been true for me. When I start to feel my faith dwindling, I can pop in a spiritual vitamin using the tools I’ve always known to perk me back up to where I need to be.  

But recently things have seemed much different.  There was a numbness that shadowed my testimony.  As much as I wanted to feel the spirit, I would leave my ward each Sunday more spiritually hungered than fed.  I longed for that constant companionship of the Holy Ghost that came so naturally in the past, but struggled to find it.

My testimony was still there and strong.  I still KNEW everything in my faith that made me who I was.  I knew the gospel was true, the scriptures were true, my Savior lived, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the works.  It was all cemented inside me, but I lacked the warmth that usually accompanied it. 

I compare it to a new moon.  When the midnight sky is completely dark I don’t logically feel the moon has disappeared.  I simply miss the light.  And this had been my spirit's similar struggle.

I had been thinking lately of a girl I knew who hit a dramatic low point on her testimony flow chart.  I didn't know her well, she was more of a friend of a friend, but I kept remembering the words she said when she looked back at the decisions she made and the loneliness she felt during that dark time in her life.  She said how she wanted God to fight for her.  

It's an interesting thought.  On one hand we think of how Christ will leave the 99 sheep to find the one that has gone missing.  I can understand a soul feeling lost, alone, and faithless and wishing, hoping, waiting for a miracle to swoop in and rescue them from all the confusion.  Yet we all know and have been taught that the Lord is always right there with His arms wide open waiting for us to fall into his embrace.

D&C 88:63
 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

 This scripture has brought comfort to me time and time again, yet during my "new moon" chapter I felt like my knocking was going unanswered.  Over and over again this girl entered my thoughts and I pondered her words.  "I want God to fight for me."

It finally hit me recently.  My influences around me and that "entitlement" attitude that so many people today struggle with was bleeding into my mind set.  I felt like this was some right I deserved that I was the one who could just sit and wait for heavenly miracles to fall into my lap.

I had lost sight of how fortunate I was and the spiritual blessings that I had access to to help my testimony to grow.  I lived in a setting where I have freedom of religion that I at times had taken for granted.  I grew up in a family and loving atmosphere where I was taught that my Heavenly Father loved me.  I had my beautiful religion, scriptures, temples, prophets and apostles to look to for guidance.  I was given the GIFT of the Holy Ghost and had forgotten how lucky I was to receive such a special gift.

It is absolutely the opposite.  I can't wait for God to fight for me.  I am the one who needs to fight for my testimony.  Not just read but FEAST on the scriptures.  Not just pray but CONNECT with my Heavenly Father.  Not just learn of Christ but FOLLOW His example and serve others.  Repent.  Fast.  Study the words of the prophets.  Go above and beyond the mark.  I had to claw out of the darkness and desperately reach for my Savior knowing I was the one responsible for my faith.

It's been amazing.  I've noticed a dramatic change.  Whenever my faith begins to shake and I'm missing that warmth and that light that I love, I tell myself that I need to give it my all and fight for that light.


Fight for your testimony.

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