Sunday, April 3, 2016

Super Short General Conference Summaries (April 2016)

Last conference I challenged myself to take notes and summarize each talk in general conference.  It gave me a new purpose in my note taking and proved to be a meaningful exercise.   Here are this year's Super Short General Conference Summaries.    

Links and  titles to the actual talk have now been added.   

Saturday morning

Henry B. Eyring:  Where Two or Three Are Gathered 
HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM GENERAL CONFERENCE
Pay attention to the Holy Ghost, pray for the speakers and the choir.   Pay special attention to the testimonies borne.  

Mary R. Durham:  A Child's Guiding Gift
IMMERSE OURSELVES IN THE WAYS OF THE SPIRIT
1. point out times that children are feeling the spirit  
2. prepare our homes to be a place where we can immerse ourselves in the Holy Ghost
3.  help our children understand how the spirit communicates with them

Donald L. Hailstorm: I am a Child of God
I AM A CHILD OF GOD
Do we truly understand in our hearts, minds, and souls that we are children of God?   We should remember our divine heritage in our daily lives, in the midst of trials, and in the way we treat others. 


PRIESTHOOD KEYS = BLESSINGS
Just a like car keys  unlock the doors and ignition to unleash the full potential of the car, the keys of the priesthood  unlock the way to access the atonement and reach eternal life.   

CHRIST WILL HELP US FORGIVE
Atonement is not just for those who seek repentance, but also for those who seek forgiveness.   We must try to see others as God sees us---without regard to the "color of our jerseys" or to our political affiliation--but with eternal potential.  Not forgiving others is allowing yourself to be a victim twice    

Steven E. Snow: Be Thou Humble
BE THOU HUMBLE
Ether 12:27:  Humble yourself before God and he will help you overcome weakness
Be constant, worshipful, and prayerful.   Humility is essential for increasing peace and contentment in our lives.  

COME UNTO GOD AND AVOID SPIRITUAL ENTITLEMENT
The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the greater the sense of entitlement that develops in the receiver.   Heavenly Father and Christ are the ultimate givers and when we distance ourselves from God, we can develop a sense of spiritual entitlement (wanting things YOUR way with YOUR timing).   It's better to be a repentant sinner than to be proud and think that you don't need God.   Life on earth is not fair and we should not expect it to be so, but in the eternities every wrong will be made right.  

Saturday Afternoon

SUPPORT EACH OTHER IN FAITH
We can't afford to be casual in our faith.  Let's support each other in our faith.  Reach out and take the Savior's hand, which is always extended out to us.  

REACH OUT TO THOSE OUTSIDE THE FENCE
Families are very varied and we need to be sensitive and loving to those who are different.  Embrace those who may feel that they are "outside the fence". 

Mervyn B. Arnold:  To the Rescue:  We Can Do It
WE ARE CALLED TO RESCUE OTHERS
1. Do not delay going to the rescue--it's easy to get too caught up in doing it "right" that we can miss the window of opportunity to rescue
2.  We must never give up.   No one is beyond reach. 
3.  Great is the worth of every soul. 
4. We are all called to go to the rescue.  

JOSEPH SMITH WAS A TRUE PROPHET
Do not give up.   When you seek for truth, God will provide (James 1:5).   Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  

ORDINANCES ARE ESSENTIAL FOR OUR ETERNAL SALVATION
Always retain a remission of our sins.   Ordinances are sacred acts with eternal consequences.  

M. Russell Ballard:  Family Councils
COUNSEL WITH THE LORD:   HAVE FAMILY COUNCILS
Family councils are eternal and will counteract the effects of modern technology.  Make the walls of our home to be a safe haven from the world.  Counsel with the Lord in all our doings (Alma 37:37).

SUNDAY MORNING

Thomas S. Monson: Choices
CHOICES WE MAKE DETERMINE OUR DESTINY
Repentance allows us to correct our course settings.  The doors of history turns on small hinges. And so do people's lives. The choices people make determine our destiny.   May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

Bonnie L. Oscarson: Do I Believe?
TRUE CONVERSION IS MOVING THE GOSPEL FROM OUR MINDS TO OUR HEARTS
The church is the same as when Christ was upon the earth.  True conversion comes over time with the deliberate consistent exercising of faith.  Choose faith over doubt and don't be swayed by the voices of mockery coming from the great and spacious building. 

W. Christopher Waddell: A Pattern for Peace
GREAT  IS THE PEACE THE GOSPEL BRINGS
We may not understand everything, but through our deliberate exercising of faith we can find peace.   
LEARN + LISTEN + WALK = PEACE
Many good church members have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life and are still influenced by those in the great and spacious building. 

D. Todd Christofferson: Fathers
FATHERS SHOULD LEAD WITH LOVE AND THE HOLY GHOST
Fatherhood requires sacrifice, but brings great satisfaction and joy as they turn the hearts of their children to Heavenly Father.   Fathers should lead out in making teaching the gospel a high priority in our homes.   

Quentin L. Cook: See Yourself in the Temple
SEE YOURSELF IN THE TEMPLE
Happiness, fulfillment, and peace come to those who live the gospel.  There is no more important goal than for us to strive to be worthy to go to the temple.   

OBEDIENCE IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF FAITH
Just as ruined cities can be rebuilt to an even greater grandeur, our ruined, abandoned lives can be rebuilt through Jesus Christ.  Lift up your heart to the Savior and He will rescue you and carry you home.  If our faith/beliefs do not change/affect the way we live our lives, it does us no good.  

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Robert D. Hales: The Holy Ghost
THE HOLY GHOST WILL TESTIFY OF TRUTH
The Holy Ghost will help us discern between truth and those who seek to lead us astray.   Pay attention to the promptings of the spirit and ACT ON THEM!

Gerrit W. Gong: Always Remember Him 
ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM
1. Have confidence in his promises and covenants.  2. gratefully acknowledge the Lord's hand in our lives.   3. trust when the Lords assures us that our sins are forgiven  4. remember that he always welcomes us home 5. remember him when we take the sacrament  6. remember that he always remembers us! 

Patrick Kearon: Refuge from the Storm
REFUGEES NEED OUR HELP
Mormons were refugees too.  Jesus Christ was a refugee.   We need to do our part.   
We need to increase our awareness of world events and stay in tune to what we can do.  
iwasastranger.lds.org   

Dallin H. Oaks:  Opposition in All Things
OPPOSITION IS A CENTRAL PART OF FATHER'S PLAN
Opposition comes in many forms and is a central and necessary part of the plan of salvation.   Satan wanted perfect equality, without tests, or faith, or growth, or choice, but "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7)


Kent F. Richards: The Power of Godliness
BLESSINGS OF THE TEMPLE ARE PRICELESS
Real power of the temple found in its ordinances.   Find a way to serve in the temple, whether as a patron or a worker.  Young people can be temple workers too.  

FINDING HOPE IN THE RESURRECTION
Through the resurrection we can find hope and a fullness of joy.   There is no salvation without the resurrection.  We are made whole through the power of the resurrection. 

GOD LOVES US AND WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US
Keep loving, trying, trusting, believing, and growing.   Divine love and unfailing help will be with us always; but especially when we struggle.   God's love is the foundation stone of eternal life.   God will never desert us!  

Click here for my October 2015 Conference summaries.  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

8 Quotes on Faith




Quote #1 “It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel.”  Pres. Henry B. Eyring


Quote #2  "Immersing oneself in persistent doubt, fueled by answers from the faithless and the unfaithful, weakens one’s faith in Jesus Christ and the Restoration. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” Elder Neil L. Andersen


Quote #3 “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel and is more than mere belief. 4 Faith is a “hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” 5 “Faith always moves its possessor to … physical and mental action.” 6 “To have faith in Jesus Christ means to have such trust in him that we obey whatever he commands. There is no faith where there is no obedience.”  Elder L. Whitney Clayton


Quote #4   “Your faith will grow not by chance, but by choice.      How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith. Prayer, obedience, honesty, purity of thought and deed, and unselfishness increase faith. Without these, faith diminishes. Why did the Savior say to Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not”? Because there is an adversary who delights in destroying our faith! Be relentless in protecting your faith.” Elder Neil L. Andersen


Quote #5 “No matter who we are or where we live, there is much about our daily lives that is routine and repetitive. As we go about this dailiness, we must be deliberate about doing the things that matter most. These must-do things include making room first for the minimum daily requirements of faithful behavior: true obedience, humble prayer, serious scripture study, and selfless service to others. No other daily vitamins strengthen the muscles of our faith as fast as these actions. We also must remember that genuine fasting fosters strong faith. This is especially important as we faithfully seek to fix deeply embedded character flaws which go “not out but by prayer and fasting.” Elder L. Whitney Clayton


Quote 6:  I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed”  Bishop Richard C. Edgley

Quote 7:  “When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual’s life from maudlin, common everyday activities to a symphony of joy and happiness. The exercise of faith is vital to Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness. But true faith, faith unto salvation, is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in His doctrines and teachings, faith in the prophetic guidance of the Lord’s anointed, faith in the capacity to discover hidden characteristics and traits that can transform life. Truly, faith in the Savior is a principle of action and power.”  Elder Richard G. Scott


Quote #8 “Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today’s world, I wish to suggest a single choice—a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. Be aware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. The Savior said, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28) and “Knock, and it shall be [given] you” (Matthew 7:7). These are action verbs—come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism.”  Richard C. Edgley

Sunday, March 20, 2016

7 Quotes on the Atonement



Quote #1 “For some reason, we think the Atonement of Christ applies only at the end of mortal life to redemption from the Fall, from spiritual death. It is much more than that. It is an ever-present power to call upon in everyday life. When we are racked or harrowed up or tormented by guilt or burdened with grief, He can heal us. While we do not fully understand how the Atonement of Christ was made, we can experience “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.”    Elder Boyd K. Packer  
Quote #2   “Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient and worthy and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully.” Elder David A. Bednar


Quote #3  “It is my testimony that many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today. If we have sinned or made mistakes—if we have made choices that we now regret—there is the precious gift of Christ’s Atonement, through which we can be forgiven. We cannot go back in time and change the past, but we can repent.”   Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Quote #4 “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely… He Loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.”   Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Quote #5 “The Atonement has practical, personal, everyday value; apply it in your life. It can be activated with so simple a beginning as prayer. You will not thereafter be free from trouble and mistakes but can erase the guilt through repentance and be at peace.”  Elder Boyd K. Packer

Quote #6 "The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. Help from the Savior is available for the entire journey of mortality—from bad to good to better and to change our very nature."  Elder David A. Bednar

Quote #7 "The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did."  Elder David A. Bednar 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How to Print Temple Names on FamilySearch

Have you been doing family history work and want to know how to print off the names you've found to take to the temple?     

Here are step-by-step directions for you:   

1.   Go to FamilySearch.org.   

2.  Click on the "Sign In" button.  


Sign in using your LDS log-in info.  


Click on  the "Temple" tab.     

In the pull-down menu click on "All Reserved"

This is what it will look like:  

Go to the "Ordinance" button and select the ordinances that you want to print off.  In our case we were wanting to print some off for the kids' upcoming temple trip, so we selected only those who needed baptisms.  

Now all of the names needing baptisms will be listed at the top.  

Select (by checking the box) the names that you would like to print off  

Go to the print button and select "Print Family Ordinance Cards"

This screen will pop up and you will need to click "Continue". 

Click "continue" again.  


You should now see this page, from which you can just use your browser's "Print" function (from the pull-down menu on "File").   If you don't see this page, look in another tab or in your download section.  On my computer it was in another tab. 


And now you have these cards that you just need to cut out!   

VOILA!   You're all ready to take your own names to the temple!  








Monday, February 8, 2016

YW in Excellence with a Nautical Theme

I was just going through old pictures and came across these pictures from our YW in Excellence program this past fall.  In keeping with "Embark in the Service of God"  from last year's mutual theme, we decorated in a nautical theme.  

See below for some of our pictures and ideas:  

We dressed as cruise ship directors. 


We decorated the lobby to look like an entrance to a cruise ship.


We served nautical theme foods (that also happen to be super easy to make):








We have 33 girls in our YW program, so the only space big enough for us was the gym.  We used portable chalkboards to partition off the back half, then decorated the one half to look like a cruise ship.


All posters and  decorations were made by the girls at a mutual activity before YWIE.

 These posts were made from painted shipping tubes, cardboard, and paper chains.  The life preservers were made with posterboard and cardstock.


The girls also rolled these cute silverware place settings.


This mural was purchased.









It was a great night and although the girls helped make all the decor, they were definitely still wowed when they walked in the door and saw it all come together.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Using Binders to Make Youth Lessons More Effective

I never was the kind of student who could skip the lecture because "everything was in the book".  I had to read the book AND go to class in order to really absorb the material.   So a few months after I was called as YW president, I started to really feel like we needed to add that one more thing to help our Sunday lessons to be more interactive.    After a discussion with my presidency, we decided to provide a binder for every young woman that would be kept in the YW closet and handed out before each lesson.  The binder would provide a place for them to take notes, keep handouts, draw charts/illustrations from the lesson, and answer questions asked during class.   

We've been using them now for three years and I think they've played a very valuable  role in helping our Sunday lessons to be more meaningful.   They give the girls that "extra" way to learn the material  and make it less likely that the lesson floats in one ear and out the other.   The part that I've liked most about them is that I feel like their effective use (which takes a concerted effort) has facilitated better discussions.    When the girls have the opportunity to write an answer to a question in their binders first before answering, the answers are invariably more well-thought out and  original, since they wrote their answer before hearing everyone else's answers first.   I also like that they have a sort of spiritual journal for them to go back to.   When a girl moves from the ward or graduates to Relief Society, the binder is given to the girl.   


What do you need?  
1-inch binders with pockets (one for each girl)
pens (one for each girl)
loose leaf paper (to keep in each binder)
a couple of sheet protectors per binder for hand-outs 
3-hole punch to keep in the closet (or use the one in the library)
OR 
1 composition notebook and pen per girl


Why Use Them? 
1. The binder provides a place for the girls to take notes, which helps them remember what they've learned better.  It also provides a place for them to go back and review what was taught another week.

2. The binder provides a place to write down answers to questions asked during the lesson.   When a moment of quiet is provided to write the answer down, then girls are asked to share their answers; the answers are invariably more well thought out and original, since they've written their answers before they've heard anyone else's.  I also feel like it definitely reduces the whole copying the same train of thought as the person before them that often occurs in lessons. 

3.   A lot of the girls really, really like the way the binders help them to better absorb the lessons and  learn the gospel more effectively. 

4.  I think that creating an outline or "worksheet" to go along with the lesson (see picture below), sometimes helps me to better prepare the lesson and helps the girls to have something to follow along with. 


Some Hurdles/Tips
1.  A small percentage of the girls (about 5 of our 33 girls) really do not care to use them.  We do not force the issue.  

2.  If you don't consistently hand them out and/or encourage their use, they will not be as effective.  I'll often chime up in class (when I'm not teaching) and say things like, "That would be a great thing to write in your binder." 

3.  You need to collect the binders at the end of class, so they do not get lost at home.  We rarely see a binder again that has been accidentally taken home.  



We have 33 YW in our ward, so the binders take up an entire shelf (plus a little) in our closet, but in my opinion they are worth the space and time they take up.   


  This year for our binder covers we had each girl watercolor their own background, then when they were dry, we printed this year's mutual theme onto it.  


 Here's a printable graphic I made of this year's mutual theme that you are welcome to use:  


If you use a binder or notebook in your youth class, I'd love to hear your ideas for what works and what doesn't with them.   What other ideas do you have to make your lessons more effective?  



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Apostle Tabs for General Conference Journals are Updated

I just wanted to let you know that the post containing the apostle tabs for the General Conference Journals are now updated with the newest three apostles!  


Click here to see the UPDATED post with pictures and directions!




Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!




Merry Christmas from our house to yours!   

I hope your Christmas season is filled with love, joy, and a remembrance of what the Christmas season is all about.    This year we are celebrating Spencer being in remission from leukemia (AML) for 3-1/2 years, Cami being home from her first semester at BYU, but mostly we're just happy to be all together this Christmastime!  











Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How can I find solutions to my challenges and problems?

I created this lesson and worksheet for a YW lesson, but easily adapted it to a Family Home Evening lesson for my family as well. It ended up being a very meaningful lesson for both groups.    


How can I find solutions to my challenges and problems?  
( from the Come, Follow Me YW curriculum)


Purpose: to teach us to turn to God when we face challenges and problems in our lives

Preparation: 
*read through 1 Nephi 16 (the story of Nephi and the broken bow) and refamiliarize yourself with the details
*prayerfully study one or all of the following talks: Like a Broken Vessel (Elder Holland), Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority (Elder Scott), We Never Walk Alone (Pres. Monson), Of Things That Matters Most (Pres. Uchtdorf)
*make copies of one or more of those talks
*think of a story from your own life when you faced a problem. Be prepared to tell about the problem and some of the process you went through to resolve it. (Remember that you're looking to engage the student and help them to see themselves in that situation, so take care not to make the story too long or or too grandiose. I recommend about 3-5 minutes for this.)

Opening Song: "I Need Thee Every Hour," Hymns, page 98

Opening Prayer:  

Share a personal story about when you faced a difficult challenge and what you did to overcome it. I shared about when I was so poor as a college student I didn't know if I could continue going to school.

Ask the students (or your family) to each think of difficulty or challenge they've faced in their life and write it down on the worksheet.

Tell them that you're going to look at the story of Nephi and the broken bow in a minute, but ask them if they can think of any other examples from the scriptures where someone was faced with a difficulty. Take a few minutes and discuss their answers, which may include Joseph in Egypt, Moses, Nephi and his brothers going back for the brass plates, Abinadi, Joseph Smith, Samuel the Lamanite, Moroni, etc. In the discussion, focus on the process they went through to solve their problem. For example, if they say Abinadi as their answer. Ask what was the problem he faced? What did he do to solve it? (he went to the Lord and fulfilled what he was asked to do, then knew that beyond that it didn't matter what became of him)  

Review the story of Nephi and the broken bow (or have a student retell it), then have them list and share with the class first the things they can learn NOT to do when facing difficulties, then have them list the things the story teaches them they should do. Expound on answers as you feel inspired.  

WHAT TO DO
1. Ask for help from trusted sources--like Nephi went to his father for guidance, sometimes we need to turn to trusted people in our lives to help us
2. Pray for answers 
3.  Be prepared to ACT on those answers 
4. Do something  productive (facing difficulties requires action) 
5. Be faithful


WHAT NOT TO DO
1. Let discouragement overwhelm you into not doing anything
2. Complain
3. Blame others
4. Harden your heart and get angry at God and others
5. Give up or run away from the problem


Have someone read QUOTE #4
  “Being self-reliant does not mean that I am alone as I try to finish and endure. It means that I have studied, prayed, and pondered as I work to gain confidence in my ability to gain wisdom (both spiritual and temporal) and that I use that wisdom to know when to rely on my own strength and testimony and when I turn to resources outside of myself to continue to grow and progress"


Share this story from Pres. Uchtdorf about ballpoint pens not working without gravity:  

"For example, it wasn’t long after astronauts and cosmonauts orbited the earth that they realized ballpoint pens would not work in space. And so some very smart people went to work solving the problem. It took thousands of hours and millions of dollars, but in the end, they developed a pen that could write anywhere, in any temperature, and on nearly any surface. But how did the astronauts and cosmonauts get along until the problem was solved? They simply used a pencil." (Pres. Uchtdorf)


Ask: Do we look too hard for complicated solutions or getting paralyzed by things that don’t matter? 

Have someone read QUOTE #3: “Solutions often come at us sideways. We don't often find solutions. They find us while we are doing some other task. If we are living the Sunday school answers, scripture study, prayer, service... (and allowing others to serve us) change happens. Your burdens can become manageable, as long as you don't wallow in a pity party. When in doubt serve others.” paraphrased from Jeffrey R. Holland
  
If you have time, pass out copies of some of the talks you read in preparation to teach this lesson.  
Have them briefly skim the talks for answers of what our church leaders teach us about facing our problems--prayer, scripture study, attend the temple, have FHE, go to church, etc. (have them write the answers on the worksheet)
(NOTE: If you don't have time to complete this exercise, summarize it for them. Tell them how all those talks, from all those church leaders essentially had the same simple guidance for us.)


Conclude: (DON'T SKIP) Just as a newborn baby recognizes the sound of its mother’s voice, because of its proximity to her while in the womb, we should be living our lives in such a way that God's voice is familiar to us. We gain this familiarity when we live those simple "PENCIL answers" we've known our whole lives. We don't need expensive, fancy answers, we simply need to draw near to God and listen.