Monday, November 30, 2009

Scripture of the Week: Mosiah 2:17

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
Mosiah 2:17

During the month of November we have really tried to focus on serving others and showing gratitude for our many blessings. For Family Home Evening tonight we carried out a family service project. We went to the church building, Clorox disinfecting wipes and spray in hand, and sanitized all of the nursery toys. With all of the flu germs going around, I had heard that our nursery leader was cleaning the toys every week, and I wanted to give her a week off!

This turned out to be a great project for our family, since my small children could easily participate by wiping down the toys. As we discussed the above scripture, the Ant Bug was happy to learn that by helping the nursery children and workers, she is really helping Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Recently Read: Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

This is the second time I have read this book. I saw New Moon at the theater on Friday, and I was in the mood for a little more Bella and Edward. Since it was the holiday weekend I decided to indulge myself by reading this again. Stephenie Meyer gives a great wrap-up to the Twilight series in this book.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recently Read: The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This was an interesting pick for our next book club selection. It is the author's memoirs of a very non-conventional childhood with her unorthodox parents. The poverty that she lives in is appalling, but I was impressed by her drive to make something of her life and be a different person then her parents (in my family science training we call that a "transitional character").

Warning: I could have done without all of the foul language of the father.

Scripture of the Week: D&C 59:7

"Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things."
D&C 59:7

The Ant Bug said that she wanted to teach the Family Home Evening lesson tonight, and I thought that was a great idea. She wanted to talk about Thanksgiving. The only problem was, after we got through the opening song and prayer and turned the time to her to teach the lesson, she burst into tears. She couldn't remember what she wanted to say. So after some consoling, we had a very random "Thanksgiving themed" conversation ranging from things we are thankful for to turkeys to our 6 ancestors who came across on the Mayflower. The funny highlight was when the Ant Bug mentioned "Cilantro" (aka Squanto), the Native American who helped the pilgrims. We ended with a discussion of the above scripture and a reminder to be thankful!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Scripture of the Week: Alma 17:10

"The Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted."
Alma 17:10

We had a pretty low-key FHE tonight, reading and discussing a few stories from the November 2009 Friend magazine. We read Showing Sorry and did the maze on p. 30, then we did the Making Your Home a Holy Place activity on p. 32. We finished off by reading No Bad Dreams (which is where the scripture came from) and the ideas for combating fears in Feeling Scared?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recently Read: My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

One of my friends is a pretty avid Jodi Picoult fan. Her books have come up during a number of "book talks" with other friends too, so when Rachel offered me a copy of this I thought I should give it a try.

This is a very emotional book, with a serious and thought provoking ethical debate at its center. I thought it was well written and it definitely held my attention (I finished it in two days), and I got teary eyed in a few spots. I have to warn that this book should be rated at least PG 13 (maybe even R-yikes!) for language and "intimate moments".

Here's the synopsis:
"Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate - a life and a role that she has never questioned… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister - and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable… a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life… even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less?"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recently Read: Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

This book tells an amazing story of one person's quest to build schools and educate children in some of the harshest situations in the world, in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. He faced a lot of obstacles but also made important contacts and is a true friend to people who are often hostile (or at least assumed to be) toward Americans. He especially promotes education for women, since "If you educate a boy, you educate an individual. If you educate a girl, you educate a community" (African proverb). The long-term solution to terrorism and poverty is education.

As I read this book I was inspired by all that has been accomplished when just one person strives to make life better for another person. Read this book, and you'll be inspired to do something good too!

This was an excellent choice for our book club, and I'm looking forward to discussing it tonight!

Scripture of the Week: D&C 98:1

"Fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks."
D&C 98:1

This week for Family Home Evening we read a story from the November 2009 Friend magazine, My Gratitude List. After discussing the story, we created our own Family Gratitude List. We used a piece of large butcher paper and together we either wrote or drew pictures of some of the things we are grateful for. We also used FHE idea #3 (from the back page of the magazine) and talked about how having a grateful attitude can make our bad days (days that make you feel like saying "Grrrrrrrrr") go away.

Then we enjoyed some homemade lemon ice cream, something for which we are all grateful for!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Gospel Study in October 2009

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

2009 Outline for Sharing Time and the Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation
October Theme (and weekly gospel principles): "The Family: a Proclamation to the World" teaches me about families.

October Scripture: "The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children" ("Proclamation," paragraph 1).

Chapter 41: Becoming Saviors on Mount Zion

General Conference Addresses April 2009

Richard G. Scott, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Ensign, May 2009, 43–45

When a temple is conveniently nearby, small things may interrupt your plans to go to the temple. Set specific goals, considering your circumstances, of when you can and will participate in temple ordinances. Then do not allow anything to interfere with that plan. This pattern will guarantee that those who live in the shadow of a temple will be as blessed as are those who plan far ahead and make a long trip to the temple.

I encourage you to establish your own goal of how frequently you will avail yourself of the ordinances offered in our operating temples. What is there that is more important than attending and participating in the ordinances of the temple? What activity could have a greater impact and provide more joy and profound happiness for a couple than worshipping together in the temple?

*Talk includes an excellent list of suggestions on how to gain more benefit from temple attendance.

Russell M. Nelson, “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers,” Ensign, May 2009, 46–49

Thus, the Lord’s Prayer serves as a pattern to follow and not as a piece to memorize and recite repetitively. The Master simply wants us to pray for God’s help while we strive constantly to resist evil and live righteously.

We too can pray for unity. We can pray to be of one heart and one mind with the Lord’s anointed and with our loved ones. We can pray for mutual understanding and respect between ourselves and our neighbors. If we really care for others, we should pray for them.“Pray one for another … ,” taught James, for “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Richard C. Edgley, “This Is Your Phone Call,” Ensign, May 2009, 53–55

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down,” Ensign, May 2009, 59–62

We cannot and we must not allow ourselves to get distracted from our sacred duty. We cannot and we must not lose focus on the things that matter most.

*I shared some of my thoughts after reading this talk here.

Henry B. Eyring, “‘Man Down!’,” Ensign, May 2009, 63–66

The Ensign, October 2009

The Friend, October 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Caldecott Books in October

Here are the Caldecott Medal Winner books I read during the month of October. I have to confess, I actually only read A Story A Story to the Ant Bug, and she thought it was just okay. I wasn't too interested in the other two, and I didn't think she would be either, but I probably should have given her the option. Now that she is in preschool everyday we have lost some of our regular reading time, so I need to work on making that more of a priority.

1951: The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous
1971: A Story A Story, retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley
1998: Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky

Scripture of the Week: Galations 5:13

“By love serve one another.”
Galations 5:13

President Monson's talk from this past General Conference was one that really touched me and has left me pondering how to apply his teachings. Titled, What Have I Done for Someone Today?, President Monson encouraged us all to ask ourselves that question daily and do something to help another person. His talk was the subject of our FHE lesson tonight, and I also drew a lot of ideas from this lesson at The Family Home Evening Spot.

I shared the story of Dr. McConnell and the question his father asked him every night: "And what did you do for someone today?" Then we discussed President Monson's birthday wish, and how primary children all over the world responded to his hope. We decided to start our own warm fuzzy jar, which we will work on filling up this month as we find ways to serve others. To start us off tonight we drew pictures and wrote a letter to family members who live far away.