Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Time...



We had a wonderful Easter season...We really enjoyed "being like bunnies!"  I made sure to tell my children when they were being helpful or good like bunnies and praise them for it.  It was easy to remember to look for the good in my kids because Scarlett wrote "be like a bunny" on a little sign and hung it on the wall.  So sweet.  And they were sweet, helpful, wonderful bunnies.

So now with Conference over and Easter past (we had a wonderful trip to visit family), I'm cleaning up the aftermath of celebrating and crafting and learning together. 

Honestly, I'm not quite ready to say good-bye to my bunny decor, but I managed to freshen up our "General Conference Wall" which changes with the various seasons and holidays.  It's now transitioning into a Family History Wall and letter-writing station.  (You can click on the photo above if you want to know more about any of the things on our wall.)

Anyway, I'm just laughing right now about how often "whirlwind" was mentioned by speakers during Conference, because my kitchen (which is really my workroom) sure looks like a whirlwind hit it!!  So although that corner in the photo looks nice, you don't want to see what my counters look like at the moment.  My tiny "office" just exploded or imploded.  I am working on getting organized again, because the end of school and summer will be another whirlwind, I'm sure.

I helped Autumn register for Kindergarten today, and shed a few tears about it last night.  Why does this life move so fast?  Just another reminder, I guess, along with the gray hairs that creep in, that this life is not our ultimate destination.  Time keeps moving on...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Easter Bunny FHE


I think that I've mentioned here a time or two how I am really in to bunnies this Easter. 

I've been collecting bunnies where ever I can find them inexpensively.  These two are my latest find from a thrift store and a local yard sale.  Kids who come to my house have a hard time believing that the brown one isn't really chocolate! :)  One girl actually tried to scratch off some chocolate for herself!  I had to laugh because that's something I would have done at her age/just yesterday.


We love using symbols in nature to teach our children more about the gospel, so I was excited when I stumbled on this cute idea from Happy Home Fairy for using bunnies as a reminder for how a true follower of Christ should act and live.  (Ha!  Bunny collection....justified!!) It's called "Real Easter Bunnies..." and you can print it here.  I used her printable during our family home evening last night.


First, we sent the kids on a scavenger hunt around the house to count ALL of the bunnies they could find.  We came together and shared our answers.  

Then we talked about how there are a lot of little miracles that happen in nature in the Springtime that can remind us of the miracle of Christ's resurrection.  We said that in The Book of Mormon we learn that all things denote that there is a God and all things testify of Christ.  So what things can we observe about bunnies that can help us remember ways to follow Christ?


Using post-it notes, I covered the scriptures referenced on HappyHome Fairy's printable and had the kids come up one by one and reveal to us the attributes of "Real Easter Bunnies" or "true followers of Christ."


Some of them include that "real Easter bunnies" have big feet to go tell others about Jesus.  Real Easter Bunnies have big ears that are quick to listen and obey the word of God (and their parents.)  Real bunnies have no voice for arguing or complaining and are quiet in prayer but hop with thanksgiving and rejoicing in the glad message of Easter.  And so-on.

There are all things that our family needs to work on, so this lesson was perfect for us and a perfect way to say "let's work together and let the symbol of the Easter bunny remind us to become more sincere followers of Jesus Christ this Easter season."  It's also fun that my 17 month old has recently discovered the magic of animals, so this is a lesson that can appeal to children of many different ages.


We ended the lesson on a chocolatey note.  They each got a card that says "No bunny loves you like Jesus," and we enjoyed eating chocolate bunny suckers.



If you are looking for more Easter fun to have with your family, check out my page of
Christ-centered Easter Ideas.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Small but Mighty

Do you know what is cool?  Looking on Facebook and seeing all these kids getting way in to General Conference! 


So many people spoke directly to youth during their talks yesterday, I lost count.  

Just as the Lord gathered in his daughters during the Women's session last Saturday, this weekend, He is gathering the rising generation around Him.  Gathering them, teaching them, loving them, smiling down upon them, strengthening them...and giving us the tools to bring them to Christ.

He is doing it through his prophets and apostles, through church leaders, through parents, mothers, fathers, and siblings.  

Children are precious to the Lord, and that is clear to me in what was said yesterday, and in how I saw children responding to the spirit of General Conference.






My children have been enjoying their homemade doodle books.  So much that Guy and Scarlett took time this morning to create doodle books of their own.  Guy asked me to share his with you.  I'm sure there's got to be some little boy out there who would appreciate Guy's Clash of Clans and other boy-related artwork!!  He drew half of the picture.  You finish the rest yourself!  (Or your kids can make doodle books of their own!  Try it!  It's fun!)



Saturday, April 5, 2014

General Conference Note-taking Banner



Every morning for a week now, Autumn has come into my bedroom announcing the number of days left until General Conference.  Today, she pounced on me and said, "Today is THE DAY!  It's time for General Conference!"  

So, at 6:30am this morning we were up getting ready(ier) for Conference.


Luckily, while I was at Michael's yesterday, I spotted this neat chalk board banner set. 

When I saw it, I thought, "I can use this somehow!"


So, in the morning, using chalkboard markers, the kids made a banner that reads "We love General Conference."

As we listen to the apostles, we write their teachings on our banner.  Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, we will have a banner declaring the most recent teachings of our church leaders.

Since it's erasable, we could potentially use this banner over the years, but you could easily make a similar banner using construction paper or card stock and yarn.


Another note-taking game we have going on this weekend is below.
We are listening carefully for any of the scriptures that we have memorized together as a family.  If any of those scriptures are referenced during a talk, then we write it down on this poster.  It's so fun for the children to recognize their memorized scriptures during General Conference!  We also count teachings of the prophets that we have memorized.  So far we have heard two!


The first is the "theme" of this blog, and the second was a reference to President Monson's teaching from last General Conference.

When Elder Andersen started elaborating on exactly how enduring storms helps strengthen trees, my kids enthusiastically and loudly chimed in with pride, yelling out "The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees!!

We all laughed and in that moment, I felt a lot of love for Elder Andersen.  So thankful for living prophets!




You can still download a free General Conference Doodle Book here.


Friday, April 4, 2014

A Word about General Conference Prep


Guy and Scarlett received letters in the mail yesterday from their Primary teacher.  (They are both in the same class.)  The top of the letter said, "What do you do to make General Conference special?"  It went on to give ideas of things to watch and listen for and asked them to answer a list of twelve questions over the course of General Conference, because they would be using the answers during a game in their class next Sunday.

I am so amazed time and again by the love of this great woman, who my children have had as a Nursery Leader and last year as a Primary teacher.  She goes the extra mile to show love to her children...to all children!  What an example she is to me.

Now, I just want to say something about General Conference prep.  We go out of our way to do special things around General Conference, because we have the time and the means and the desire to do it, but that is not always necessary, nor is it everyone's way.  Only you know what is needful for your family and your current situation.  When we follow the spirit in what we do, it is always good enough.

My husband started telling me about a friend of ours last night.  He lives basically in squalor.  It brings tears to my eyes just to think of it.  Life did not deal him a desirable hand. He has so many challenges, and in our opinion, is often taken advantage of.

So when Steve brought him up, I said, "No, please don't, I just can't take it."  His circumstances, I think it's safe to say, no one reading this blog has ever or will ever have to endure.  Nor could you imagine what his life is like.  Trust me.

So, he said, "No, listen.  I just want to tell you, after every General Conference, someone loans him their Conference CDs, and he sits there in his trailer and listens to General Conference all day."

Of course, I wanted to cry now, but I didn't.  I just felt humbled by his desire to hear the word of the Lord, minus the comforts of a soft couch or a warm home, or delicious food, prepared by a loving mother (or even a friend), minus doodle books or candy or a big-screen TV.

I wonder how willing are we to drink in the messages of Conference...even if all of the luxuries and beautiful celebrations were stripped away?  Hopefully, we all realize how blessed we are to be able to attend General Conference...how lucky we are to have the freedom just to talk about it still without backlash.  So many blessings to stop and notice and thank God for.

The funny thing is that yesterday as I was preparing meals ahead of time for the General Conference weekend, I thought, "I should double this recipe."  But who would I give it to?  I thought of my friends, the sisters I visit teach...who?  I thought, no worry, the Lord will help me figure that out.  It's very easy for me to double.  Well, I know who will get that meal now.

I don't mention that to toot my own horn, I was simply following orders.  I have been abundantly blessed, and have no room to brag of my own merits.  I mention it as a testament that the Lord knows his sheep and cares for us individually.  We might not all have the same things or need the same things in life, but like the lilies of the field, God takes care of each one of us individually and is aware of us.  I can feel the love that Heavenly Father has for this friend of ours and for his willingness to turn to the words of His living prophets without any fanfare.  And I am thankful for his example to me.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Easter Books About Bunnies



This Easter season, I am in love with bunnies!  

It started with one set of bunny decorations that my Mom passed on to us, and it has grown from there.

So, in honor of my bunny obsession, I give you my Easter Book List 2014!  

I love EVERY book on this list!

.....It's all about bunnies, but with some lovely messages of love, hope, faith, family, giving, seasons, silliness, wonder, and yes, Easter.  Some of them will surprise you.  Many will delight you!  So please enjoy with a child near you!

1.  A Tale for Easter by Tasha Tudor

2.  The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

3.  So Many Bunnies by Rick Walton

4. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

5.  Ready for Easter by Laura Rader

6.  The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward

7.  Richard Scarry's The Bunny Book

8.  Little Bunny's Easter Surprise by Jeanne Modesitt

9.  The Little Duck (a Golden Book)

10.  What is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams

11.  The Easter Story by Patricia A. Pingry

12.  Jesus Loves Me by Laura Logan

13.  If Jesus Came to My House by Joan Gale Thomas

14.  Look & Find Bible from Copenhagen Publishing House

15.  Happy Easter by Kurt Wise

16. Hopper by Marcus Pfister


If you are looking for my other Easter Book List 

 


Free General Conference Doodle Book

I tried my hand at making a General Conference Doodle Book for our family, and thought I'd share.  

Here it is...The trivia on the right-hand-side is specific to what we've studied as a family in our General Conference Review Lessons, so don't feel badly if a few of the answers allude you.

You can access the download below.

Just print. Cut in half.  Hole punch.  Tie with ribbons.
(I tied the ribbons loosely so that the kids can turn the pages of their doodle books easily.)
Enjoy...or don't...whatever...the laundry calls!!!

Also, I saw on Montse's blog that there is a Book of Mormon Reading Challenge starting April 7th.  That is the day after General Conference...check it out!



Why We Love General Conference


Thanks to everyone who shared these special moments and blessings experienced by watching General Conference!  I am sharing them here so that other readers can be as inspired as I am by your testimonies of General Conference and living prophets!

The winner of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD
"He Is Risen"
(chosen by Random.org)
is comment #3 Terra!
  1. So many ideas come to mind but a few years ago I went to the special broadcast for Institute and Seminary people and I am not gonna lie, I was having a tough month, I was feeling down. I sat in that meeting and thank goodness they turned down the lights because Pres. Eyring started to talk and my tears just flowed. His love and concern for us. His encouragement he offered, it was just what i needed. I am so thankful for those moments when God lets me know He hears me, and loves me and the prophets are definitely one of the ways he accomplishes that task!
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  2. Last October during the Saturday morning session, when President Monson was telling about the now 80,000+ missionaries serving, I just bawled. Now is truly the time for missionary work. I'm not good at it, but I need to open my mouth and invite!
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  3. I loved Elder Bednar's talk a few years ago. My kids were young, and I felt like FHE and scripture study was an epic failure most weeks. Usually I ended up in or near tears by the end of each night since no one seemed to be paying any attention or were being silly and irreverent during my well planned lessons. Elder Bednar talked about similar situations in their home when their children were young. He said the important part was that we were holding FHE and studying the scriptures. He told us that our children wouldn't remember specific evenings as much as they would remember that FHE and scripture study was important in their home. After having a particularly frustrating experience the week before, I felt like he was talking specifically to me. I can't describe the peace and comfort his talk brought me. When I start to get frustrated during FHE and scripture study since then, I remember his conference address and it helps bring my focus back to what is truly important.
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  4. Like Terra I have been studying Elder Bednar's: More Diligent and Concerned at Home. It tied in well with some things we have been discussing in High Council. I have a firm witness of his counsel about consistency. Little ears are listening and eyes are watching, even when they are climbing the walls and seem disinterested. Like most everyone our daily scripture study, FHE and meetings are imperfect, squirmy and bouncy, but I know my family will be blessed by our genuine love and consistency.
    Jocelyn, your zeal for Conference is awesome, and it seems to show in the genuine desire your children have for it too. It is easy for parents to incorporate the doctrine from GC into their own lives, but to have the consistent patience to work with your children and their participation rather than say "they'll get it into it someday" is stellar. It reminds me so much of father Lehi longing for his family to partake of the fruit.

    I'm lucky enough have to be near Salt Lake this week and to have tickets. Wish I could take the Christensen family with me.
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  5. So hard to narrow that one down because I feel like every Conference there is SO much I get out of it. I was just talking with a friend about this but I think in general I really appreciate lately their UPLIFTING spirits and messages. There is so much going on around the world that is evil and progressing away from the ways of the Lord, there is so much ANGER and RAGE against people who believe in Christ. So when the Prophet and Apostles come to speak to us during General Conference and they are so UPlifting and not so gloom and doom, it is really inspiring. I have really gained a lot from them as they have talked a great deal about our roles as women and how inside us is the gift of nurturing. I love having that reminder because it makes me realize that I need to always be developing my nurturing side.
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  6. I was really impressed last conference by Elder Holland talk on depression sharing his own experiences and how to overcome this common problem of many.
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  7. In 2005, President Hinckley gave a challenge to members to read the Book of Mormon by end of the year and we would be blessed. I knew after President Hinckley gave us the challenge and if we obeyed that our prayer for a child would be answered. My husband and I did finish reading the Book of Mormon together in December...we did receive our first greatest blessing (we know have 3 :) ). After 7 years of being married, we found out that I was pregnant with our first child in January 2006.
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  8. Just tonight I was listening to Elder Scott's talk from April '13 about peace and it was just the soothing that my heart needed. Life feels very, very difficult to me right now and I am so grateful for the comfort I felt hearing his words.
    BTW, I have been reading your blog for years now, and you are one of my most favorite. :) It was cool to recognize your kids in the Friend before I even read their names! Thank you for sharing your strength and testimony with all of us.
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  9. Saturday, while listening to the General Women's Session, I was having a pity party for one, when the exact thing I was pity partying about was talked about...!!! Duly noted...duly noted...
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  10. I was inspired by your blog to start my own general conference book club. It has had such a wonderful effect on my home, so thank you! I really love elder soares talk from October about being meek. It guided me to change my attitude and even the way I speak and has brought increased peace to our home.
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  11. Many years ago I really struggled with decisions regarding the use of my time, and what responsibilities I should take on... When the Proclamation to the Family came out my life was changed. I had been struggling and praying so hard for help that it seemed to have come out - just for me (or at least, a part of it seemed just for me). It has been a guiding light and inspiration and direction for me and my family ever since! :)

    Thanks for posting...
    Corine :D
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  12. you do remember that song, In the Garden, was my mom's fav. When does the prophets' voices speak to me...in just about every talk.I feel a kinship with Elder Holland everytime. There has to be some connection there. He has my back and he knows my mind/heart.
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  13. The talk "Safety for the Soul" by Elder Holland is an all time favorite. I remember the power I felt listening to that talk. He has the ability to make you feel like you were there witnessing things and I love how he doesn't mince words. He always inspires me!
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  14. I love that the prophet's voice recorded in the General Conference Talks can be heard everyday as we diligently search them. Even if i have heard it many times, each time i do read or listen to the prophet's voice it always gives me the feelings of assurance or reassurance that what i am doing is right and that i am heading the right way. And I love your analogy of the tree falling in the forest and the prophet of God speaking...good job Jocelyn!
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  15. I remember sitting down watching the October 2010 General Conference. My daughter was a newborn with upcoming heart surgery and has Down syndrome. I prayed right before the opening speaker that I would get some help and comfort. The first speaker was Elder Holland and he talked about how much he loved and appreciate us. Then he said how loved and appreciated were those who were parents to children with special needs. It was just what I need.
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  16. So many times come to my mind but the one I will write about here is Elder Bednar's talk on Family History. I have four children, three of which are old enough to attend the temple and participate in baptisms for the dead and next year my baby will turn 12 and all of us will be able to go as a family. We love Elder Bednar's words and his promises are sure. My children love going to the temple and I have found their hearts changing and thinking about their ancestors. My favorite was last month for my daughter's 13th birthday "party" she wanted to go to the temple to do baptisms for her family.
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  17. I always love listening to conference. I have felt the words of L. Tom Perry about his mother and how she taught him. His messages are a wonderful example of what I am striving for. 
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  18. Oh I love Conference! Every year there seems to be a talk that really sticks out just for me. Last Fall it was Elder Hale's talk!
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I will be back (maybe) later today with more to share, but I wanted to let you know that the April 2014 Fantasy General Conference Bracket is ready to download and print.

And be sure to follow Fantasy General Conference on Facebook!