Sunday, May 31, 2009


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My Gospel Study in May 2009

Among other things, my gospel study in May included the following:

# Lesson 16: “Thou Shalt … Offer Up Thy Sacraments upon My Holy Day”
# Lesson 17: The Law of Tithing and the Law of the Fast
# Lesson 18: “Establish … a House of God”
# Lesson 19: The Plan of Salvation

Chapter 32: Responding to Persecution with Faith and Courage
Chapter 33: The Spiritual Gifts of Healing, tongues, Prophecy, and Discerning of Spirits

General Conference Addresses April 2009

Elder Robert D. Hales: Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually
"All of us are responsible to provide for ourselves and our families in both temporal and spiritual ways. To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies. When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others."

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”"

Elder D. Todd Christofferson: The Power of Covenants
"Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth his hand to you, saying, “Here am I.”"

President Henry B. Eyring: Adversity
"I have seen faith and courage come from a testimony that it is true that we are being prepared for eternal life. The Lord will rescue His faithful disciples. And the disciple who accepts a trial as an invitation to grow and therefore qualify for eternal life can find peace in the midst of the struggle."

Elder M. Russell Ballard: Learning the Lessons of the Past
"The voice of the Lord is clear and unmistakable. He knows you. He loves you. He wants you to be eternally happy. But according to your God-given agency, the choice is yours. Each one of you has to decide for yourself if you are going to ignore the past and suffer the painful mistakes and tragic pitfalls that have befallen previous generations, experiencing for yourself the devastating consequences of bad choices. How much better your life will be if you will follow the noble example of the faithful followers of Christ such as the sons of Helaman, Moroni, Joseph Smith, and the stalwart pioneers—and choose, as they did, to remain faithful to your Heavenly Father’s commandments."

"You cannot do a Google search to gain a testimony. You can’t text message faith. You gain a vibrant, life-changing testimony today the same way it has always been done. The process hasn’t been changed. It comes through desire, study, prayer, obedience, and service. That is why the teachings of prophets and apostles, past and present, are as relevant to your life today as they ever have been."

President Thomas S. Monson: Be of Good Cheer
“Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.” (D&C 68:6)

"I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.

My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith."

Sister Ann M. Dibb: Be Thou an Example of the Believers

"The small and simple things you choose to do today will be magnified into great and glorious blessings tomorrow. Living each day as “an example of the believers” will help you to be happy and more confident. It will strengthen your testimony, help you to keep your baptismal covenants, and prepare you to receive the blessings of the temple so that eventually you can return to your Heavenly Father."

The Friend, May 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recently Read: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This book is truly a delight to read. Written as a series of letters, it tells the tale of the inhabitants of Guernsey, a British island occupied by the Nazi's in WWII, and Juliet Ashton, a London authoress looking for a topic for her next book. I found myself completely drawn into the characters-laughing at the absurd moments, crying at the horrors of the Nazi regime, and thrilling to the variable emotions. Thanks to Becky for initially spreading the word about this book (and I've only heard good about it from countless others since). Put it on hold at the library today!

Our Favorites for Children's Book Week

In honor of Children's Book Week (I know it was actually last week, but better late then never, right?) I thought I would share a few of my most favorite books to read with my children. I hope you'll leave a comment sharing some of your favorites, too!

At the top of our list has got to be Mo Willems.
We have loved and laughed our way through every one of his books. I've posted about his books before here and here.

Laura Numeroff's "If you give a..." series of books are lots of fun. We've got the latest installment, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, currently checked out of the library, but my favorite has to be the pig.

We went through a stage with the two-year old Ant Bug when her favorite was No, David by David Shannon. Duck on a Bike is enjoyable too.

Every trip to the library ends with one of Lynley Dodd's books in our stack: Hairy Maclary and Slinky Malinky and Scarface Claw and others. The text has such a nice rhythm and the illustrations are delightful.

Don't forget Doreen Cronin! Click, Clack, Moo and Diary of a Worm and Dooby Dooby Moo and Bounce and... Whenever the Ant Bug plays "imaginary farm" the farmer is always named in honor of Farmer Brown.

There are a number of worthy Caldecott medal winners, but I'll save that for another time.

The Sweet Bee is currently enamoroed with Eric Carle's Brown, Bear and Polar Bear books. We read them everyday and sometimes twice in between. And of course, Sandra Boynton will always be a favorite with the little ones.

Looking for some more recommendations? Check out The "Unsung"Favorites of Children's Literature over at Simple Kids. And feel free to browse through my links on the left--there are some good resources there!

Now it's your turn--please leave a comment and share some of your favorite childrens books (I'm sure they'll get added to my library hold list!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Scripture of the Week: John 3:5 and 3 Nephi 12:1

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
John 3:5

Jesus said “Believe in me and be baptized”
3 Nephi 12:1

These scriptures were chosen to go along with our family home evening lesson on baptism, adapted from Lesson 26 in Behold Your Little Ones: Nursery Manual.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Recently Read: My Father's Dragon

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

This is wonderfully imaginative little book. I read it today with the intention to preview it and see if it would be appropriate (and attention-grabbing) enough to read to my 4-year-old Ant Bug. It was great and we read the first chapter together tonight!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recently Read: Have a New Kid by Friday

Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman

I don’t actually want a new kid by Friday. On the contrary, I quite like the two sweet children I have. However, I often find myself lamenting the fact that neither of my children arrived with an instruction manual. So instead I spend a lot of my time reading books and blogs about parenting. This book is my most recent read, and it gave me some things to think about and implement in my home.

Here are my notes from the book:
-If you want your child to take you seriously, say your words once. Only once. If you say it more than once, you're implying, "I think you're so stupid that you're not going to get it the first time, so let me tell you again. (p. 33)
-Today's children need guidance. They need accountability. They need to be taught that there are consequences for their actions (or for their inaction). (p. 35)
-The key to changing your child is changing your attitude (p. 39). The parent should stay calm and in control.

1. Say it once
2. Turn your back on your child
3. Walk away

-Decide if the behavior is a mountain or a molehill. Every child will fail, make mistakes, and embarrass you. But you don't need to hold those failures over your child's head for a lifetime. Correct the behavior and move on. What is most important, in the long run, is your child's character (p. 44).

1. Let reality be the teacher
2. Learn to respond rather than react
3. B doesn't happen until A is completed
(ex. You asked your son to mow the grass. It hasn't been done yet. Two hours later your son wants you to take him to a friends house. You say "We're not going". Then turn your back and walk away. (p. 50)

-Use consistent action, not words. You don't embarrass the child on purpose, you correct the behavior. There is no harassing, no threatening, no warning. There's no reminding, no coaxing. There are no put-downs.

Be an authoritative parent who:
-gives the child choices and formulates guidelines with him.
-provides the child with decision-making opportunities.
-develops consistent, loving discipline.
-holds the child accountable.
-let's reality be the teacher.
-conveys respect, self-worth, and love to the child and therefore enhances the child's self-esteem. (p. 59)

One thing I really appreciated about this book was the author's use of real-life examples to illustrate the principles in action. Your child says he doesn't want pork chops for dinner. As an authoritative parent you would say "I know pork chops aren't your favorite, but that's what I made for dinner tonight. If you want to make yourself something else afterward, that's fine. But thanks for sitting with us at dinner anyway. Dinner as a family is important". (p. 59)

-What's most important is your relationship, and that it is based on respect and unconditional love. So much has to do with you and how you treat your children. (p. 62)

How to Respect Your Children
-Never do for them what they can and should do for themselves.
-Don't repeat your instructions.
-Expect the best of them.
-Don't praise them.
-Encourage them.

3 Pillars of Self-worth
1. Acceptance
2. Belonging
3. Competence

Praise links a child's worth to what she does. Encouragement emphasizes the act. See the difference: "You're so smart. You built that Lego tower all by yourself!" vs. "I love what you built with your Legos. It's very creative and fun, and you did it by yourself. What are you going to build next?"

Top 10 List for getting a new kid (p. 84)
10. Be 100 percent consistent in your behavior.
9. Always follow through on what you say you will do.
8. Respond, don't react.
7. Count to 10 and ask yourself, "What would my old self do in this situation? What should the new me do?"
6. Never threaten your kids.
5. Never get angry.
4. Don't give any warnings.
3. Ask yourself,"Whose problem is this?"
2. Don't think the misbehavior will go away.
1. Keep a happy face on, even when you want something else

The entire second half of the book is devoted to specific action plans for solving typical tough spots from A to Z. He covers a lot, from allowances to chores to music lessons whining.

The biggest take-home message I got from the book was to develop a positive relationship with your child, be consistent, and allow for natural consequences. So...

1. Say it once
2. Turn your back
3. Walk away

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Scripture of the Week: Helaman 3:21

"And it came to pass that he had two sons. He gave unto the eldest the name of Nephi, and unto the youngest, the name of Lehi. And they began to grow unto the Lord."
Helaman 3:21

Our family home evening lesson this week came from this lesson posted on

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Caldecott Books in April

Here are the Caldecott Medal Winner books the Ant Bug and I read during the month of April. The books we enjoyed and will likely read again are marked large.

1948: White Snow, Bright Snow, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin; text: Alvin Tresselt
1958: Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
1965: May I Bring a Friend? illustrated by Beni Montresor; text: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner
1993: Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully
2002: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner

I read this one
by myself and found it to be quite an amazing book.
2008: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Gospel Study in April 2009

Among other things, my gospel study in April included the following:

Lesson 14: The Law of Consecration
Lesson 15: “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts”

Chapter 30: Valiant in the Cause of Christ
Chapter 31: "God Shall Be with You Forever and Ever": The Prophet in Liberty Jail

General Conference Addresses October 2008

"Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. (The Book of Mormon is powerful spiritual nourishment.)

We then remain steady and patient as we progress through mortality. At times, the Lord’s answer will be, “You don’t know everything, but you know enough”—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right. Remember Nephi’s words: “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: Come What May, and Love It
"Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result."

"But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.

If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness."

Silvia H. Allred: Holy Temples, Sacred Covenants

"Let us be worthy to have a current temple recommend. Let us go to the temple to seal our families eternally. Let us return to the temple as often as our circumstances will permit. Let us give our kindred dead the opportunity to receive the ordinances of exaltation. Let us enjoy the spiritual strength and the revelation we receive as we attend the temple regularly. Let us be faithful and make and keep temple covenants to receive the full blessings of the Atonement."

Ensign, April 2009

The Friend, April 2009