Thursday, September 13, 2012

YW Back-to School Survival Kit with Scriptures and Quotes

Being a part of a brand new YW presidency, we felt like we needed to pay visits to all of the girls in their homes.  As part of that, I thought it would make the initial few moments a little less awkward if we presented them with a small gift during our visit.  When researching what would be a meaningful and cheap gift, I came across the idea for a back-to-school survival kit.  I found a very cute printable version of a kit over at Apples 4 Bookworms , which I used for the cards (except for two which I designed myself).  I bought all of the supplies for about $30 and was about to start putting them all together, but decided that it still needed a little something more.  In the end I decided that I wanted them  to pack a little more of a spiritual punch, so I decided to add scriptures and quotes to the back of each card.    Here is a glimpse at how they turned out, along with the quotes/scriptures that I used: 

"Remember your great worth!"  (100 Grand candy bar)

"Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.  Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!"  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Stick to your principles even when things get hard!   (a stick of gum)
"When you keep the commandments and follow the Savior’s example, it’s like holding up a light. Your good example helps others to find their way in a darkening world. It takes courage to do what you know to be right even when it is hard, very hard. But you will never lose your courage unless you choose to."  Sister Ardeth G. Kapp


Your Young Women Leaders Love You!  (Hershey Hugs or Kisses)

Be a m&m member missionary!  (pack of M & M's)

"The most effective way to share the gospel is to live it. When we live like disciples of Christ should live, when we aren’t just good but happy to be good, others will be drawn to us because we are “distinct and different—in happy ways,” as President Kimball prophesied (“The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 104). Happy about the way we’ve chosen to live, happy because we’re not constantly reshaping ourselves in the world’s image, happy because we have “the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost” (1 Ne. 13:37), happy to stand tall so that we will stand out....No woman is more persuasive, no woman has greater influence for good, no woman is a more vibrant instrument in the hands of the Lord than a woman of God who is thrilled to be who she is. I like to think of us as the Lord’s secret weapon.”   Sister Sheri Dew


It's important to laugh!  (Snickers or Laffy Taffy)

"...a good sense of humor is a useful quality to have. It will often help you to keep your sanity when life gets too serious or too difficult. If you remember to be honest, considerate, and kind in what you say to or about others, you’ll be on your way to developing a “good” sense of humor. And that’s something everyone can enjoy."   Chris Crowe, Ensign, May 1986


Prayer can be a LIFESAVER when you need help! (lifesavers)
"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."  Alma 37:37


Be a SMARTIE and study hard! (smarties)

"Secular knowledge and spiritual knowledge can complement each other. Because God created the earth and the things that inhabit it, studying geology, physics and biology teaches us more about the greatness of our Creator. Authors and poets can write with heavenly inspiration, so reading their work can give us insight into the nature of our souls and what it means to be human. Sometimes listening to a piece of music can help us feel God's love. Both secular knowledge and spiritual knowledge benefit from dialogue. Both require observation, work, and practice. So although we sometimes think of secular and spiritual as opposites or even as contradictory, a true knowledge of God and the world He created shows us that understanding one helps to understand the other."


You are writing the story of your life...What does your story tell? (a pen)

"My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness. They will teach us to do “all these things … in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength. [But] it is expedient that [we] should be diligent, [and] thereby … win the prize.”  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Remember the cleansing principle of REPENTANCE!  (Individually wrapped hand sanitizing wipe)
"If any has stumbled in his journey, there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Though the path is difficult, the promise is real: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).   President Thomas S. Monson

"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I the Lord, remember them no more."
  Doctrine and Covenants 58:42


The decisions you make will affect you NOW & LATER! 
  (Now & Later candies were hard to find.  I eventually found them at a drug store, but you can also order them here or here)
"Young people, you live in tumultuous times. You have choices to make—choices with eternal consequences. But you are not left unaided in your decisions, however small or however large they may be....Precious young people, make every decision you contemplate pass this test: What does it do to me? What does it do for me? And let your code of conduct emphasize not “What will others think?” but rather “What will I think of myself?” Be influenced by that still, small voice."  President Thomas S. Monson


Everyone makes mistakes forgiving (to yourself and to others)!  (eraser)
"Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  It’s wonderful that you have strengths.  And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.  God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.  ...many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself."  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf


PICTURE OF THE SAVIOR  (I had ordered some from the LDS distribution center, however they did not arrive in time, so I used packs like this and this and this and this (packs of 3x4-inch prints) from Deseret Book that I happened to have in the house)

"Your Father in Heaven knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations. And He knows what you can become through faith in Him. Seek to comprehend the significance of these doctrines.
Cherish your esteemed place in the sight of God. He needs you. This Church needs you. The world needs you."  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

(drugstores such as CVS or Walgreens tend to have the best selection and prices for candy)

  •  erasers (and pencils if desired)
  • Now and Later candies  (They were hard to find around here, but eventually I found them at a family-owned (non-chain) drugstore.  You can also order them here)
  • Individually wrapped hand sanitizing wipes (at a drugstore near the first aid supplies, a box costs $2-$5 depending on brand)
  • Pens
  • Smarties
  • Lifesavers
  • Snickers or Laffy Taffy
  • Snack size bags of M & M's
  • Hershey Hugs or Kisses
  • Snack size 100 Grand bars
  • Gum
  • Cute lunchbags  (Target had 40 colored lunchbags in red or blue for $1)

  • cardstock--colored or white
  • hot glue gun with glue or tape (to attach the candy)
  • glue sticks (to glue the quotes on the back)
  • binder clips, paper clips, or staples (to hold the bag shut)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

YW Manual 1, Lesson 29--Second Coming

As I've recently been called to be the YW president in our ward, I thought I'd use this blog to share some of the lessons and ideas that we use along the way.  This lesson could easily be adapted to a family home evening as well.   Be sure to check out the resource list at the bottom of the lesson. 

Each young woman will recognize the responsibilities her generation has to prepare for the Second Coming.

1. Hide a paper crown under one of the seats or in the room
2. Gather items from the spiritual 72-hour kit (flashlight, roadmap, first aid kit, wipes, water, food, cash, radio) and tape the scriptures onto them. (see below)
3. Find a picture of a young girl (someone from your family preferably) dressed up as a princess
4. Print off quotes so that they can be read
5.  Make hand-outs  for them to take home

Introductory activity: 
Hide paper crown underneath a seat, then have the person find it be the queen for the day.  They get to pick the people who give the prayers, choose songs, hand out items, etc. 
Talk briefly about modern kings and queens and how they don’t do much today.

Briefly mention (or have them mention) some righteous and wicked kings through history. 
Righteous (Benjamin, Mosiah, Limhi, Lamoni, Jehoshaphat, Josiah, Hezekiah)

Wicked (Noah, Coriantumr, Laman)

Summarize Mosiah 29:13, 16-17, 21, 26--when King Mosiah talks about how the ideal form of government is a righteous king, but because the evil that a wicked king perpetuates is so great and they're so difficult to overthrow without a lot of bloodshed, that it's better to be ruled by the people.  

What are the characteristics of a righteous king?

Show picture
Savior at the Second Coming and discuss how he is “the King of Kings”, which means that we are a royal generation. 

Explain that the generation the YW are a part of has been called a royal generation because the valiant among them will help prepare the world for the 2nd coming. 

Read QUOTE #1:

“My dear friends, you are a royal generation.  You were preserved  to come to the earth in this time for a special purpose.  Not just a few of you, but all of you.  There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you…If you will let Him, I testify that our Father in Heaven will walk with you through the journey of life and inspire you to know your special purpose here.”
  Elder H. Burke Peterson

Show picture of a young girl as a princess.  Talk about how most of us come to this earth with an innate sense of our divinity. 

…then we seem to forget.

Royal generation?
  What does it mean?  Who is our king?   What is a generation? 
Kate Middleton

what would you do if she accepted an invitation to come to  lunch at your house?  Would you wait until the last minute to prepare?  Would you put out paper plates and hot dogs?  Would you leave your dirty dishes in the sink? 

Of course not…you’d be
honored and do your best to use your manners, clean your house, and prepare a delicious meal served on your finest table settings. 

Imagine how honored we’d be with Kate Middleton allowing us to serve her lunch.
  Think of the great honor it is to be among the royal generation to usher in the King of Kings. 

Except we don’t know when he is coming.

What are some of
the signs that we’ll see before His coming (don't focus on the signs, keep it positive)? 

  restoration of the gospel, priesthood, gospel preached throughout the world, destruction of wicked, book of mormon . 

Share experience about someone being
scared of the second coming.   

Ask:  Do we need to be scared?
Read Dallin H Oaks Quote:
“We are surrounded by challenges on all sides.  But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments.  We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future.  To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins.  We will continue to go forward “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

Christ is our King of Kings and when we live like we believe it,
  there is No Need to Fear! 

WE just need to be prepared.

Doctrine and Covenants 38:30
—if we are prepared, we shall not fear. 

What do we usually think of when we think of
being prepared
Food storage, 72-hour kits, batteries, etc.

72-hour kit and go through item by item and compare to spiritual preparation.    (see below for items and scriptures to have prepared)

D & C  87:8

Discuss its meaning
Talk about Holy Places
What it is.  What it isn’t. 

Simply put, you are a royal generation and have been held back for thousands of years to come forth in this day.
  You  are the leaders of tomorrow and as we’ve been promised, you are strong enough to withstand any temptation before you.  You are the daughter of a King. 


Here is the front of the handout, you can download it here (I added a text box that said, "You are a royal generation."): 

the back: 

A royal treat:  Greek Yogurt Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting with Princess Cupcake Picks


  • Water – Jesus Christ
    • “Jesus answered and said unto her, if thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. … But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:10, 14
  • Flashlight – The Light of Christ
    • “12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12
  • Radio – The Gift of the Holy Ghost
    • “3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn. 4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
      5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.”- 3 Nephi 11:3-5
  • Map – The Scriptures
    • “3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” – 2 Nephi 32:3
  • First Aid Kit – Faith
    • “22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” – Matthew 9:22
  • Wipes (sanitary/antibacterial wipes) – Repentance
    • “86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.” – Doctrine and Covenants 88:86
  • Swiss-Army Knife or multi-purpose tool – Spiritual Gifts
    • “8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; 9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.” – Doctrine and Covenants 46:8-9
  • Cash – Knowledge
    • ” 19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” – Doctrine and Covenants 130:19
  • Clothes – Priesthood
    • “17 Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years. 18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.
      19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
      20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
      21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
      22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” – Doctrine and Covenants 84:17-22



Tuesday, September 4, 2012


When, recently, I raised my hand and  shared some of the following ideas in a  time management class at Women's Conference, I was surprised at the huge response there was to some of the ideas I shared..... After the class a working single mother told me of her struggles of making sure that she had enough time with her kids in the evenings.  Another told me about how she worried that her grandchildren were being so overwhelmed with evening activities that she was concerned for their family's well being.  In short, I got comment after comment about how overwhelmed their families were with trying to do it all and how intrigued they were with our balanced and simplified approach of helping our kids TO BE instead of TO DO (I love that general conference talk). 

A few years ago we were overwhelmed and running a million miles an hour almost every day of the week.  It was to the point where we were eating dinner later and later in the evening (often fast food),  our scripture study was suffering, and we were all exhausted.  And the weekends were even worse.  Saturdays were spent trying to cram all of our yard work, attending the temple together, doing our chores, and the kids' activities all into one single day.  In addition to dreading Saturdays with every fiber of my being, I would often end the weekend far more stressed at what hadn't gotten done that what actually had. 

Somewhere in that stressed out/ zombie period of my life, I realized that there was one big common factor in all this overscheduling....our kids' participation in community sports.  With five kids, it was taking over our lives.   Not only were the practices right smack  in the middle of dinner hour scattered all over town during rush hour,  but the Saturday games at variable times and places through the day were the main culprit for our weekend craziness as well. 

Finally, I asked myself what it was all for. 

Yes, I wanted my kids to BE fit.  But, seriously,  who the heck grows up to play soccer or tee-ball as a way to stay fit as an adult anyway? 

Yes, I wanted my kids to learn to BE a good sportsman.  But was getting yet another  trophy to clutter up the shelf with after  every single season, no matter the team's skills, really the sportsman message I wanted them to learn? 

Yes, I wanted my kids to have experiences that challenged them and helped them to grow.  But, was it worth it at the expense of having a stressed out family that barely spent any time together? 

No, no, and NO. 

And with that resounding NO in our heads, we simply asked ourselves, what do most adults do to stay fit?   

With the answer to that question...walking, running, riding bikes, rollerblading, going to the gym, and playing tennis...we started simplifying.    It has been a gradual transition, but over time we have moved away from enrolling our kids in community sports very often and have instead sought out opportunities for them that we feel will be far more valuable in helping them to develop into fit, strong, and confident adults  than several seasons of soccer participation ever could. 

How has it gone? 

Two words:  LIFE CHANGING! 

Emma and Adam take group tennis the same time, at a nearby park, with an experienced teacher.    Two kids at once.....AWESOME! 

Emma and Adam also participate in the school's after-school track program.  Not only is it totally free, but it's super fun, excellent exercise, and it's also a great social experience for them running with their friends.   Of course, I also love that I only have to drive one way and since it's at the school, it's very close to home. Once again, I like the two-for-one aspect of it and I love that this is also a bonding experience for them. 

Ellie participates in our ward soccer league.  It's light-hearted, fun, extremely inexpensive ($10 per season vs $100+ for the community leagues) and it's at the same time, same place every Saturday morning.  The varying game schedules of most community sports has always been the biggest stressor in our weekend planning.  This will be Ellie's last year of being able to participate, but I figure that he will follow in Emma's footsteps and be a coach's assistant in the future (another valuable experience in an of itself).   Two for one again. 

We are far more flexible with our  high schoolers' participation in sports and allow them to choose whatever sport that interests them.  Spencer has  participated in football, winter track, and lacrosse.  Cami is participating in  cross country, track, and lacrosse.  Once again, since it's an after school sport it's only one way of driving and it's easier to find carpools.     

Of course, we're still busy, so what made all this  life-changing for us? 

In short, it is because we have reclaimed the dinner hour, we now spend far less of our evenings in the car,  AND  our Saturdays are manageable again.  All that and the kids are still having fun and are gaining fitness and social skills that will benefit them their whole lives.  Oh yeah and their mommy is a whole heck of a lot less stressed in the evenings....and that's got to count for at least double the points.  :) 

 We eat together, we talk together, we bond.   I believe with all my heart that although it's simple, a real family dinner eaten together is powerful and irreplaceable.   And guess what we do after dinner?  The kids jump on the trampoline together, or play a game, or we go on a walk to the local park.    More exercise, more time together, more bonding. 

I love it. 

And I also love what it's done to our Saturdays.  Our Saturdays are often still jam-packed, but they're a whole lot more flexible than they used to be and a lot more of our Saturdays are spent together as a family than they once were. 

Since I'm fully aware of the fact that there are people out there who find our stepping back from enrolling the kids in community sports to be almost heretical,  I just have to put it out there that I have no philosophical opposition to  kids participating in community sports.  My kids have participated in the past and will probably participate again in the future.   I do think, however, that our society places far too high a value on it and that when that participation is getting in the way of family peace and togetherness, that there are less disruptive ways to accomplish the same goals.

 It's been exactly what our family needed to help us focus on the things that matter most


"...we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness. They will teach us to do “all these things … in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength. [But] it is expedient that [we] should be diligent, [and] thereby … win the prize.” 
Brothers and sisters, diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world. That is why “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, … that [we] may know to what source [we] may look for a remission of [our] sins.”  In the complexity, confusion, and rush of modern living, this is the “more excellent way.” " 

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf