Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Scripture Power

I love the song "Scripture Power" that my kiddos learned in Primary a few years ago. It gives me goosebumps each time I hear them sing it, and more than once I was brought to tears sitting behind the piano trying to play while the Primary kids sang it. It has so much "power" in its words. So how do I bring that power home with them and with me? Well, as Relief Society Meeting coordinator that has been part of my calling this month. As a committee, we decided this would be a fantastic way to start off the year. We need to strengthen ourselves before we can strengthen others. How do we do more than just reading but actually study? How do we make family scripture study something our children look forward to and then will want to dive into the scriptures on their own? Well, in my research and preparing for tonight, I believe this night was just for me. I have found so many fun and new ways to help spice up scripture study and bring its power into my life and my home.

Our plan for tonight it to have a panel/group discussion. We don't want it to be like another church class but more like a friendly discussion like happens among friends when you get together to just socialize. We have asked 4 wonderful sisters in our ward that come from different stages of life to be on our panel and share their successes and their failures (we all have them) with personal and family scripture study. We hope this will in turn get the wheels turning in the rest of the sisters' heads, and we can have a wonderful evening filled with new "armor and weapons" to attack the adversary with scripture study. I just pray that our vision is caught and the night is successful. I have a good feeling that it will be and continue to pray for the sisters to come with the right spirit and that the Spirit will guide how things go tonight. I know I have already had many promptings as to how to have tonight begin to fall into place. Today has been a wonderful day - not stressful like most preparation days - because so many promptings have come that seem to be tying everything together.

I wanted to share some of my ideas I have found and am eager to try. As this is my journal for my children, I hope they will be able to look back someday when they are struggling and maybe find something that will help them. (Disclosure: I am in no way a scriptorian, perfect at scripture study, or saying I have done any of the things. I am saying that I am trying to work harder at being better and am excited to try new things!!) My mind is racing with so many thoughts and ideas and things I have learned. I am going to add those I can remember right now and will probably add more if I remember later on.

What I have learned:
1. It is about quality not quantity when it comes to studying. If it was about quantity, it would not be studying but merely reading.
2. It is ok to change things up especially with family scripture study. What works for one week may not work for another, and that is ok. Consistency in studying is the most important way and how you go about it is up to you and the answers you get from the Spirit.
3. Scripture study does not have to be boring!!
4. It will take some time and preparation on my part before family scripture study to skim ahead and come up with a plan for the night. If nothing else, the plan is making sure I understand what we will be reading so we can have a good discussion at the end. But it may also involve some fun attention getter too.
Personal Scripture Study:
1. Choosing a specific time and place is essential to being consistent.
2. Prayer before and after is the key to receiving inspiration while reading
3. Keeping a scripture journal to record thoughts and impressions will help to remember the things we learn

-reading straight through and using study guides like institute manuals or Book of Mormon made easier and the good ol' topical guide/bible dictionary is great
-studying by topic can vary things up
-using the student guides for Sunday School is a wonderful idea (after having taught Gospel Doctrine I have a testimony of coming to class prepared and being able to be a part of the discussion)
-Preach my Gospel is a wonderful book to follow and use for scripture study (this is my method right now)

Family Scripture Study
1. Like personal scripture study, choosing a specific time each day and sticking to it helps children know what to expect
2. Different ages and stages need to be adapted to
3. Teaching children the language of the scriptures is important

-try surprising the kids with a fun treat that goes along with a scripture story you have just read -use the Primary manuals as a guide for each night's scriptures to study
-change up how you read at night (i.e. change readers at a certain key word for instance "the," assign each person a number and roll the dice to see who reads next or use a spinner)
-let younger children look at the picture scripture stories while the older kids and parents read out of the scriptures
-have a fill-in the blank ready to do after reading your planned section to see how well you all listened
-read and then act out what you just read
-use activities to keep their attention (i.e. dig up the gold plates and then sit down to read at the place they were found, build a tower of Babel and take turns sitting on top to read the story)

The ideas go on and on!! The most important thing I learned was to take advantage of being able to stay at home with my children and make part of "work day," preparing for family scripture study at night. It doesn't have to take long. A quick skim of the upcoming verses, a prayer for guidance as to how to have a successful night, and then listening to the Spirit as I go throughout my day for the promptings I need for the night.

I know I will fail. I know things will not always go as planned. But I am committed to do better. I will try harder each day!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

California Day 2 Part 1

We love you Grandma Enid!! We will never forget the heritage you left us!
(Pic taken in April 2010 when we visited Grandma in Utah - watch for jounral entry about this trip)

Dec. 2, 2010 - Today was the whole reason we went to California. We drove from our motel in Anaheim to Burbank to meet the rest of Andy's family for Grandma Enid's funeral. It was fun to get to show the kids where Grandma spent the majority of her life. It is so very different from the slow paced life in Wyoming. The kids were very excited to get to be back together with their cousins Isaiah and Iyanna (Andy's cousin's children). The church building was a very interesting building. It was not a "church" plan. They bought the building from someone and renovated it to be a church. The kids enjoyed exploring the building when we returned from the cemetary for the family dinner.

The viewing before the funeral was very nice. It was another chance for us to teach our children about Heavenly Father's plan. We were able to talk again about how it was only Grandma's body and that her spirit was in heaven now and would come back together again after the 2nd resurrection. It seemed to be an easier discussion with them when it was a wonderful woman who had lived a very full life of 96 years. It was not so much of a sad day as it was a happy day of remembering the wonderful legacy she left us. (This in comparison to the funeral we missed at home the same day of a sweet 4 year old girl in our ward.) It was nice to let the children have the finality of saying good-bye to Grandma. The funeral service was beautiful - full of music that I am sure Grandma was singing and humming right along with. What talented people Grandma had as friends! (Too bad I had to sit in the foyer with Ashlee for most of the services but I could hear everything at least.) After the dedication of the grave at the cemetary, we returned back to the church for a delicious meal provided by Grandma's ward. It was so fun to meet the people called her friends. They were so kind and gracious and patient with us. It was really the only place we could all go and be together so we were there for quite awhile and not once did they act impatient. We finally had to say our parting good-byes and we all went our separate ways. Well, a few of us did go to the Los Angeles temple after making a brief stop to show the kids where Grandma's condo was (which they were not so impressed with - they thought "nice. we can't even go in so what is the big dea.") We followed Clark and Juleen to the Los Angeles temple and visitor's center. Oh my!! What a wonderful thing to get to experience. The grounds were decorated so beautiful for Christmas!! The lights were just incredible. Our pictures just don't do it justice. We spent a few hours on the grounds and in the visitor's center and then decided we should head back to Anaheim. (We thought we would have missed rush hour traffic, but we came to the conclusion that there is always rush hour traffic in LA, even at 5:00 in the morning). Going to the temple grounds was the perfect ending to the day. A great reminder that this is where families are sealed together forever. I hope and pray that my children will continue to build their testimonies of their Savior Jesus Christ and understand the importance of forever families and one day be able to be sealed to their best friend for time and all eternity.

All of the family that made the trip.

Grandma's sons and their wives (Uncle Kent and Aunt Barbara and Andy's parents: Jeff and Kathy)

Grandma's grandchildren: Melinda, Dan, Randy, Juleen, Edie, Andy, Sara, Amy, and Tom

Grandma's beautiful casket and flowers - classy and elegant just like Grandma

(Yes, my pics are a little out of order) Grandsons and Grandsons-in-law

A few of Grandma's great-grandchildren patiently waiting (Iyanna, Aidan, Isaiah, Aaron, Megan, and Kenna)

Our family outside the Burband LDS chapel

One of the trees outside the Los Angeles temple - it was just amazing!!

Los Angeles temple and the beautiful Christmas lights

My sweet kiddos posing by the palm trees

California Day 2 part 2

The rest of the pics from the Los Angeles Temple and visitor's center.

The palm trees all decorated were just gorgeous! It was so fun to be on the temple grounds with all my kiddos. I am so thankful to be able to have the chance to have an eternal family if we live worthy in this life. Family is what it is all about!!

Inside the visitors center. They had these fun places the kids could sit and draw pictures and then publish them to the tv screen that off to the right (you can't see it). We had to pry them away from this. They were loving drawing temples, families, etc.

Meg working on her temple picture.

Kennie coloring in a a pre-drawn picture.

Aidan - I don't remember what he was drawing but he did plenty of drawings this night.

Another fun interactive station at the visitors center. This had lots of fun games on it. Aaron was building a temple here.

The kids loved all the beautiful fountains and flowers and lights.

Poor Kennie inherited my eyes that go almost closed when you smile.

Kennie wanted to man the camera.

Just another view of the temple.