Let Your Light Shine (FHE plans)

With the start of a new school year I have been thinking of the lessons that I want my children to remember and take with them as they head out into the world. One important lesson I wanted them to understand is the concept of letting our light shine. I was thrilled to discover today that the First Presidency message in the August 2015 Ensign was focused on this theme. My daughter and I put together a FHE lesson that drew primarily from President Monson’s words, along with the great scripture from Matthew 5:16.

Lesson Plan

Share and discuss the following quotes from President Thomas S. Monson, “Stand as a Light”. August 2015 Ensign.

I would like all of the youth of the Church to know that they are children of light. As such, they have a responsibility to be “as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). They have a duty to share the truths of the gospel. They have a calling to stand as a temple beacon, reflecting gospel light to an increasingly dark world. They have a charge to keep their light aflame and burning brightly.

“In order for us to be “an example of the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12), we ourselves must believe. We must develop the faith necessary to survive spiritually and to project a light for others. We must nurture our testimony until it becomes an anchor to our lives.

Among the most effective ways to gain and keep the faith we need today is to read and study the scriptures and to pray frequently and consistently. To the youth of the Church, I say, if you haven’t done so, develop now a habit of daily scripture study and prayer. Without these two essential practices, outside influences and the sometimes-harsh realities of life can dim or even extinguish your light.”

Discussion and Personal Reflection: Do I have a daily habit of scripture study and prayer? Encourage everyone to work on this habit!

Scripture: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

“As you follow the example of the Savior, yours will be the opportunity to be a light, as it were, in the lives of those around you. When you are a light to the world, people around you will feel a special spirit that will make them want to associate with you and follow your example.”

Activity: Complete the worksheet included with the Ensign article, discussing ways that we can each shine our light.

Surprise: Present each child with a small flashlight to help them remember to let their light shine.

Conclusion: Remind the children how much they are loved!

“To our youth, I say, our Heavenly Father loves you. May you feel also the love which Church leaders have for you. May you ever have a desire to serve your Heavenly Father and His Son. And may you always walk in truth and stand as a light among God’s children.”

Other resources

fr11mar10_posterBright Idea Scripture Poster

Listen to “Child of Light” by Mindy Gledhill (find it here).

“Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations” (D&C 115:5).

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Back to School: Traditions and Plans

The start of a new school year is an exciting time. This year I have a 5th grader, a 2nd grader, and a kindergartener (plus a sweet baby at home). We have already been reading Back to School books, but here are my plans to make the first day of school a special occasion.

Back to School Feast (Sunday Night Dinner)


  • Nice tablecloth and silver set
  • Centerpiece: Mason jars filled with new pencils and/or colorful magnetic letters
  • Chalkboard placemats (black paper as shown here)


Introduce ABCs and 123s for the school year

ABCs to remember each day

Always try your best and learn everyday.

Be kind and helpful.

Choose happiness.

After School 1-2-3 (inspired by this post)

1) Have a Snack

2) Complete your daily list and enjoy some free time

3) Share 3-4 things about your day at dinnertime: What did you learn today? What good did you do for someone today? What did you struggle with today? What was your favorite thing about today?

Father’s Blessings from Dad

Back to School Breakfast

Recording Memories

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Favorite Book Series, or a Reading Log of a Seven-year-old girl

My seven year old daughter (starting second grade) has turned into a bookworm this summer! She has discovered the joy of a good book series, and thankfully we have been able to keep her well-supplied in books from the local library. Here are the book series that she has enjoyed reading this summer:

Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater

Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

Rainbow Fairies by Daisy Meadows

A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy

Capital Mysteries by Ron Roy

Calendar Mysteries by Ron Roy

Ivy+Bean by Annie Barrows

Sisters Eight by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

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Quick Quotes from the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles (April 2015 General Conference)

It is a great blessing to have a living prophet and apostles on the earth today. Their messages given at General Conference every six months are inspiring, and constitute as modern scripture and the Lord’s word for us in this day. I have made studying their words an active part of my life, and I am working to share their messages with my family also. We quite often have FHE lessons that are based from conference talks, and we review their themes and key scriptures during breakfast. I recently went through the conference talks and pulled out the key quotes and scriptures from each talk that stood out to me. I made them into a poster and laminated it for durability; now we have a quick reference guide to remember the important themes of the apostles. You might focus on entirely different aspects of their message, but this is what stood out to me.

If you would like a pdf of the poster I made you can download it here: 2015 Apr apostle highlights

President Monson
The blessings of the temple are priceless.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

President Eyring
Is not this the fast that I have chosen?

When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor Him.

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40).

President Uchtdorf
With the gift of God’s grace, the path of discipleship does not lead backward; it leads upward.

God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly.

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25: 23).

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).

President Packer
The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed for eternity.

Elder Perry
The family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness.

“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, paragraph seven).

Elder Nelson
A sacred Sabbath truly is a delight.

No other work transcends that of righteous, intentional parenting!

“Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then … are ye sanctified in Christ.” (Moroni 10:32)

Elder Oaks
Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival.

We have the seed of the gospel word. It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful. We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We achieve this conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us.

The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:3-8)

Elder Ballard
Balance your life with spiritual experiences that remind and prepare you for continued, daily ministering to others.

What we need now is the greatest generation of young adults in the history of the Church. We need your whole heart and soul. We need vibrant, thinking, passionate young adults who know how to listen and respond to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit as you make your way through the daily trials and temptations of being a young, contemporary Latter-day Saint.

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;”(D&C 58:27).

Elder Hales
How we live our religion is far more important than what we may say about our religion.

4 Cornerstones of religious freedom: freedom to believe, share our freedom and our beliefs, form a religious organization, live our faith.

What can we do to safeguard religious freedom? 1-become informed 2-join with others
3-be a good example

Elder Holland
That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Elder Bednar
Fear is dispelled through a correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Look to Christ- Build upon the Foundation of Christ-Press Forward with Faith in Christ

“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23).

Elder Cook
Like the young sunflower, when we follow the Savior of the world, the Son of God, we flourish and become glorious despite the many terrible circumstances that surround us. He truly is our light and life.

It is vitally important that our children know they are loved and safe at home.

We can thrive and bloom if we are rooted in our love of the Savior.”

The Church has never been stronger.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
(Psalm 27:1).

Elder Christofferson
A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive.

“We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

Elder Andersen
We see God’s miracles in His wondrous work and in our own personal lives.

Can you see the hand of God moving His work forward? Can you see the hand of God in your own life?

“Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).

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The Fall of Adam and Eve (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Holland)

My husband taught our Family Home Evening lesson tonight about the Fall of Adam and Eve. He based the lesson on Elder Holland’s April 2015 General Conference talk.

Doctrine: The Fall of Adam and Eve

Scripture: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Story: two brothers rock climbing, “brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins”.

Quote: “That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet”. April 2015 General Conference.

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Books for Back to School

School starts for us in just over a week, so we are reading the following books to put us in the mood!

I Don’t Want to go to School by Stephanie Blake

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg

Mondays at Monster School by Ruth Louise Symes

Mr. President Goes to School by Rick Walton

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

It’s hard to believe my little boy Zach is starting kindergarten! We are reading a few books that are especially focused on kindergarten, to help ease the transition.

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing

Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson

On the Way to Kindergarten by Virginia Kroll

Kindergarten Countdown by Anna Jane Hays

Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis

If you are looking for more book ideas, check out 31 Books to Read About School.

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Celebrate the Sabbath as a Family

This article was posted on lds.org and it gives lots of practical ideas for families to make their Sabbath a delight. I have copied out the main points of the article for reference. 

Five Ways to Celebrate the Sabbath as a Family
by E. Jeffrey Hill (Professor of Marriage, Family, and Human Life at BYU)

“As individual members of the Church of Jesus Christ, it’s easy to generate a list of things we can do to keep the Sabbath day holy. It takes more creativity to think of what a family with children of different ages can do to make Sunday a special, spiritual day. Most families try and fail and try again. It’s hard. But those families that stick with it until they find their own ways to successfully celebrate the Sabbath will reap blessings of stronger family relationships, kinder communication, spiritual depth, and more family fun.”

Worship together as a family
• Get to bed early on Saturday night.
• Pray and read together.
• Give priesthood blessings.
• Fast as a family.
• Proclaim the gospel.
• Redeem the dead.
• Don’t take a vacation from the Sabbath.

Make the Sabbath different
• Sunday should look different.
• Sunday should sound different.
• Sunday should feel different.
• Sunday may not be the best day for children to play with friends.
• Sunday should taste different.

Build Family Relationships
• Celebrate marriage
• Create a shared family history
• Read and walk together
• Keep in touch

Plan for Family Happiness
• Set couple and family goals
• Hold family councils

Serve Others
• Perform family service

I thought these images found in the article were helpful in illustrating how the Sabbath should be different from any other day. 


Print Print Print Print

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Hushing Fears (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Bednar)

Lesson Plan

Share and discuss the following quotes from Elder David A. Bednar, “Therefore They Hushed Their Fears”. April 2015 General Conference.

Elder Bednar shared an experience when he was very afraid when he was a young boy:

I remember vividly an experience I had as a small boy. One day while playing with my friends, I accidentally broke a window in a store near our home. As the glass shattered and the security alarm blared, a paralyzing fear filled my heart and mind. I realized immediately I was doomed to spend the remainder of my life in prison. My parents eventually coaxed me out from a hiding place under my bed and helped me to make amends with the store owner. Fortunately, my jail sentence was commuted.

Do you remember a time that you were really afraid? Share stories.

In our world today there are lots of things that can cause fear: criminal violence, famine, wars, disease, destructive weather, etc.

Elder Bednar taught that “fear is dispelled through a correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Share the story of Alma and his people.

In the land of Helam, Alma’s people were frightened by an advancing Lamanite army.

“But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but … should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them.

“Therefore they hushed their fears” (Mosiah 23:27–28).

Notice Alma did not hush the people’s fears. Rather, Alma counseled the believers to remember the Lord and the deliverance only He could bestow (see 2 Nephi 2:8). And knowledge of the Savior’s protecting watchcare enabled the people to hush their own fears.

Introduce scripture of the week.

“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23).

Elder Bednar taught three basic principles that central to receiving the blessing of hushed fears.

1) Look to Christ: story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter walking to him (Matt 14:27-31). Show the Bible Video: Wherefore Didst Thou Doubt?

2) Build upon the Foundation of Christ: firmly establish our desires and deeds upon the sure foundation of the Savior through our ordinances and covenants. (Helaman 5:12)

3) Press Forward with Faith in Christ: learn and live gospel principles and press forward on the covenant pathway. 2 Ne 31:20

Further Study: The Fear of the Lord

“As the scriptures certify, godly fear “is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), “the instruction of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33), a “strong confidence” (Proverbs 14:26), and “a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:27).”

“If our desires have been for righteousness and our works good, then the judgment bar will be pleasing.”

“Godly fear dispels mortal fears. It even subdues the haunting concern that we never can be good enough spiritually and never will measure up to the Lord’s requirements and expectations. In truth, we cannot be good enough or measure up relying solely upon our own capacity and performance. Our works and desires alone do not and cannot save us. “After all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23), we are made whole only through the mercy and grace available through the Savior’s infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice (see Alma 34:10, 14). Certainly, “we believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).

“Godly fear is loving and trusting in Him.”

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Project Complete: Create a printed memory book for our first ten years of marriage

This month I am happy to cross off another project from my big list: Create a printed family photo book for our first ten years of marriage.

I have been debating for years how to best organize our family memories. I have photo albums from the first two years of our marriage, and a photo album/scrapbook for our wedding. I have family emails that serve as our written journal (which haven’t been printed since 2005, but they are saved on the computer–that’s a project for another day). I also update our family blog regularly with photos of family events and activities. My children love to get on the computer and look back through family photos and videos, but I wanted to have a book that they could hold in their hands to look at.

Last summer I was inspired by a book that my sister-in-law Eliza had created. She used an online publishing company (like Shutterfly or My Publisher) to create a hardbound printed book of their family photos for the first ten years of their marriage. It looked great, and I realized that format was just what I was looking for.

So in January I started going back through our photos and organizing them into a photobook. My plan was to complete the book before Baby#4 arrived in April, but a large belly and swollen feet eventually made it too difficult to sit and work at my computer, so the project got put on hold. With the motivation of a coupon for half off photo books at Shutterfly, I finally finished the book in July!

My book covers the first ten years our marriage. Since I already have a wedding scrapbook and photo albums from the first years of our marriage, I didn’t bother to overlap. Our engagement photo on the front cover, my favorite wedding photo for the inside title page, and a two-page spread covering 2002-2004.

After that each year got a two-page spread. That forced me to limit myself and just pick the very best photos and memories of the year. The years that we travelled to Utah and Disneyworld for family vacations got an extra two-page spread.

At the end of the book, each child got one page to show their growth over the years.

I am really happy with how the book turned out, and we have all enjoyed looking at it. There were lots of choices for page layouts, so each page is varied and interesting. This book will be a family treasure for us, and I have a few years before I need to make the next one!

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