An index for our favorite books

We love to read books at our house. My husband and I are both avid readers, and thankfully our children have inherited/developed the same trait. I have posted a number of our book recommendations over the years, so I recently created a reference page that brings everything together in one page for you. At the top of this blog heading you will find a link called “Book Lists“. Go check it out! Some things you will find there include:

-seasonal book lists (books for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, fall, etc)

-family read alouds

-age appropriate recommendations

-favorite authors

– and lots of favorite picture books!

You can keep up with what I am reading by checking out my Goodreads widget on the sidebar.

Maybe this will help you get a jump start on your summer reading! Be sure to check back as I will be updating this page regularly! Happy reading!

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Pray Always (Teachings from President Benson)

“We need the sanctifying influence which comes from devotion in the home–prayer as a family.”

“The differences and irritations of the day melt away as families approach the throne of heaven together. Unity increases. The ties of love and affection are re-enforced and the peace of heaven enters.”

A poem that President Benson memorized as a young boy:

I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His Word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late.
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest.

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5 Fun Book Fair Discoveries

We love to visit the Book Fair whenever it comes to our school. I think books are a great thing for my children to spend their allowance money on! Today I am sharing five great picture books that we have discovered at the book  fair. All five are family favorites to read: clever and funny with great illustrations!

51GwAu5aW8L._AA160_Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack

618ItDVSRrL._AA160_Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell

51TdkdLprML._AA160_The Three Billy Goats Fluff by Rachael Mortimer and Liz Pichon

51z2dnRkbNL._AA160_Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown

51gxyK5ZjWL._AA160_More Bears by Kenn Nesbitt and Troy Cummings

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Pitching our tents (FHE plans and a scripture from King Benjamin)

Coming up this weekend our stake is hosting a family campout. My husband is thinking of attending with the children, while I stay home and snuggle with the baby. We haven’t camped in years, so we need to take stock of our tent and supplies. I thought pitching our tent would make for a good FHE activity, and for the lesson part we will make the connection of pitching our tents toward the prophet, just as the Nephites did in the days of King Benjamin. How do we pitch our tents, so to speak, towards the living prophet, and ultimately toward Jesus Christ?

King Benjamin’s discourse is full of great doctrine and wise counsel. For our scripture of the week I chose Mosiah 4:9.

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”

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On Temples and Peace (FHE plans and quotes from President Monson)

Lesson Plan

Share the following quotes from President Thomas S. Monson, “Blessings of the Temple”. April 2015 General Conference.

“The blessings of the temple are priceless.”meme-monson-blessings-temple-priceless-1447015-gallery

“As we attend the temple, there can come to us a dimension of spirituality and a feeling of peace.”

“As we go to the temple, as we remember the covenants we make there, we will be better able to overcome those temptations and to bear our trials. In the temple we can find peace.”

Scripture of the Week

“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).

Discussion (inspired by this message in The Friend magazine)

President Monson announced the building of 3 new temples. Where are they located? Find them on a map (a helpful online map is available here).

Temple Math: 144 now open +13 being built+13 being designed+5 being renovated+3 new ones just announced=how many total temples?

Which temple is closest to you?

Which temples have we visited as a family (or have special meaning to our family)?

  • Mom visited the Cardston, Alberta temple as a youth.
  • Dad visited the Mesa, Arizona temple as a youth.
  • We were sealed in the Salt Lake City temple.
  • We attended the Provo, Utah temple while going to school at BYU.
  • As a family we visited the Atlanta, Georgia temple open house in 2011.
  • Dad, Mom, and Anwyn viewed the Fort Lauderdale temple dedication in 2014.
  • Our closest temple is currently the Orlando, Florida temple.

How can you prepare to go to the temple after you turn 12?

Another Important Quote

“Now my young friends… always have the temple in your sights. Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of the sacred and eternal blessings there.” (Thomas S. Monson,”The Holy Temple”. April 2011 General Conference.)

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Marriage Matters: Celebrating our Marriage (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Perry)

My husband and I are celebrating 13 years of marriage today, and what better way to celebrate than a FHE lesson on marriage!

Lesson Plan

“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).fh_lt_antique_2_sm

image source

Use photo albums and scrapbooks to share pictures and stories from our wedding day thirteen years ago. 1-wedding_photo

Discuss ways that we can focus on and live the teachings of Jesus Christ in our family.

Celebrate our family with a fancy cake for dessert made by dad!

Further Discussion

Discuss the following points from Elder L. Tom Perry, “Why Marriage and Family Matter-Everywhere in the World”. April 2015 General Conference.

“The family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness.”

“Last November, Elder Perry attended a colloquium, which is an educational conference, at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, with Pres. Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Bishop Gérald Caussé. Explain how the location is honored by the Catholic religion and other Christians. The fact that leaders from our church would also be invited shows that many of our beliefs are honored by other religions too” (source).

Pope Francis opened the first session of the assembly with this statement: “We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. … It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.”-

“It was remarkable for me to see how marriage and family-centered priorities cut across and superseded any political, economic, or religious differences. When it comes to love of spouse and hopes, worries, and dreams for children, we are all the same.”

“What the restored gospel brings to the discussion on marriage and family is so large and so relevant that it cannot be overstated: we make the subject eternal! We take the commitment and the sanctity of marriage to a greater level because of our belief and understanding that families go back to before this earth was and that they can go forward into eternity.”

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Welcome baby

We are thrilled to welcome this sweet baby boy to our family!1-DSC_0055

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

-William Wordsworth

Truly, life is like a little bit of heaven with this wonderful family of mine!2-DSC_0011

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On Fasting (FHE plans and quotes from President Eyring)

After attending a recent stake training meeting, my husband expressed a desire to me that we teach our children about fasting. This is a direction that came down the lines of church leadership to our stake leaders. It didn’t escape our notice that the first talk at General Conference was given by President Eyring on the topic of the fast. With Fast Sunday approaching this week, this is a perfect time to share this lesson with our children. As I am putting it together, I know this will be a topic of discussion for more than just one night.

What is a fast?

Use the points from this Friend magazine article. Cut up the points and hide them around the room, have the children find them and discuss them in order.

  1. Fast Sunday is on the first Sunday of each month. It is a special day to humble ourselves before the Lord by fasting, praying, and attending fast and testimony meeting.
  2. On fast Sunday, members of the Church do not eat or drink for two meals. Children may be encouraged to fast when they are old enough.
  3. Members donate the money they would have spent on food for the two meals to help the needy. This money is called a fast offering.
  4. Members can give fast offerings to one of the bishopric or branch presidency members. The bishop or branch president uses the money to help those in need in his ward or branch.
  5. Fast offerings may be used to help feed the hungry.
  6. Fast offerings might be used to care for the sick.
  7. In each way a fast offering is used, it helps take care of Heavenly Father’s children.

Discussion

Discuss the following teachings from President Henry B. Eyring, “Is Not This the Fast I Have Chosen?”. April 2015 General Conference.

“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).

“So the Lord has given us a simple commandment with a marvelous promise. In the Church today we are offered the opportunity to fast once a month and give a generous fast offering through our bishop or branch president for the benefit of the poor and the needy. Some of what you give will be used to help those around you, perhaps someone in your own family. The Lord’s servants will pray and fast for the revelation to know whom to help and what help to give. That which is not needed to help people in your local Church unit will become available to bless other Church members across the world who are in need.”

“Rich promises are made by the Lord to those who fast and assist the needy. … Inspiration and spiritual guidance will come with righteousness and closeness to our Heavenly Father. To omit to do this righteous act of fasting would deprive us of these blessings” (President Spencer W. Kimball).

Stories of helping others through fast offerings:

-Tropical Cyclone Pam hitting Vanuatu

“Other storms and tragedies will come across the world to people the Lord loves and whose sorrows He feels. Part of your fast offering and mine this month will be used to help someone, somewhere, whose relief the Lord will feel as if it were His own.”

Application

An earthquake in Nepal on Saturday, April 25th, has killed thousands and left many more injured and in great need. How can we help?

Other scriptures about Fasting

“Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting” (Joel 2:12).

“They did fast much and pray much” (Alma 45:1).

“Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer” (D&C 59:14).

Further Study  

“Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful.” (Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 2001, 73.)

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October 2014 General Conference: Key Messages by the Prophet and Apostles

In March I had an assignment to teach a Primary Sharing Time lesson about prophets and apostles. I wanted to prepare the children for the upcoming General Conference, so we spent some time talking about the apostles and some of their key messages from the previous conference. We didn’t get through all of them, but this is a good summary for more personal study.

President Monson: Ponder the Path of Thy Feet
The Savior’s example provides a framework for everything that we do, and His words provide an unfailing guide. His path will take us safely home.

Physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked.

President Monson (closing remarks): Until We Meet Again
May we be people of honesty and integrity, trying to do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances. May we be faithful followers of Christ, examples of righteousness, thus becoming “lights in the world.”

President Eyring: Continuing Revelation
Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He loves you. He knows your name. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and our Redeemer. He loves you beyond your ability to comprehend. God pours out revelation, through the Holy Ghost, on His children. He speaks to His prophet on the earth, who today is Thomas S. Monson. I witness that he holds and exercises all the keys of the priesthood on earth.

President Uchtdorf: Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth
But I suggest that this personal testimony of the gospel and the Church is the most important thing you can earn in this life. It will not only bless and guide you during this life, but it will also have a direct bearing on your life throughout eternity.

God cares about you. He will listen, and He will answer your personal questions. The answers to your prayers will come in His own way and in His own time, and therefore, you need to learn to listen to His voice. God wants you to find your way back to Him, and the Savior is the way. God wants you to learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, and experience the profound peace and joy that come from following the path of divine discipleship.

President Uchtdorf (priesthood session): “Lord, Is It I?”
May I suggest that the holy scriptures and the talks given at general conference are an effective mirror we can hold up for self-examination. As you hear or read the words of the ancient and modern prophets, refrain from thinking about how the words apply to someone else and ask the simple question: “Lord, is it I?”

President Packer: The Reason for Our Hope
If we seek to understand His Atonement, we will come to a deep reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ, His earthly ministry, and His divine mission as our Savior. “Through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved” (Articles of Faith 1:3).

Elder Perry: Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families
The gospel of our Lord and Savior provides a sure and solid foundation.

Jesus is the great Exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.

Helaman 5:12

Elder Nelson: Sustaining the prophets
A prophet has stood at the head of God’s Church in all dispensations, from Adam to the present day. Prophets testify of Jesus Christ–of His divinity and of His earthly mission and ministry. We honor the Prophet Joseph Smith as the prophet of this last dispensation. And we honor each man who has succeeded him as President of the Church.

The living Lord leads His living Church! The Lord reveals His will for the Church to His prophet.

Elder Oaks: Loving Others and Living with Differences
We challenge all youth to avoid bullying, insults, or language and practices that deliberately inflict pain on others.

Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable.

Elder Ballard: Stay in the Boat and Hold On!
The words of the Lord are found in the scriptures and the teachings of the apostles and prophets. They provide us counsel and direction that, when followed, will act like a spiritual life jacket and will help us know how to hold on with both hands.

We should focus on studying, living, and loving the doctrine of Christ.

Elder Scott: Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority
Our Father in Heaven has given us tools to help us come unto Christ and exercise faith in His Atonement:
1) Prayer: Family prayer should be a nonnegotiable priority in your daily life.
2) Scripture study: Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!
3) Family home evening: Make it a meaningful experience for each member of the family. Family home evening is a precious time to bear testimony in a safe environment; to learn teaching, planning, and organizational skills; to strengthen family bonds; to develop family traditions; to talk to each other; and more important, to have a marvelous time together!
4) Temple attendance: Schedule a regular time to be in the temple. Don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from being there.

Elder Hales: Eternal Life—to Know Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ
My own testimony grew as I learned about Heavenly Father and the Savior from the teachings and testimony of my parents, teachers, the scriptures–which I read diligently–and especially the Holy Ghost. As I exercised faith and obeyed the commandments, the Holy Ghost testified that what I was learning was true. This is how I came to know for myself.

Helaman 5:12

Elder Holland: Are We Not All Beggars?
She hath done what she could. (Think of mother Teresa or the widows mite)

I pay a personal tribute to President Thomas Spencer Monson. I have been blessed by an association with this man for 47 years now, and the image of him I will cherish until I die is of him flying home from then–economically devastated East Germany in his house slippers because he had given away not only his second suit and his extra shirts but the very shoes from off his feet. “How beautiful upon the mountains [and shuffling through an airline terminal] are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.” More than any man I know, President Monson has “done all he could” for the widow and the fatherless, the poor and the oppressed.

Elder Bednar: Come and See
Devoted disciples of Jesus Christ always have been and always will be valiant missionaries. A missionary is a follower of Christ who testifies of Him as the Redeemer and proclaims the truths of His gospel.
The Church of Jesus Christ always has been and always will be a missionary church. The individual members of the Savior’s Church have accepted the solemn obligation to assist in fulfilling the divine commission given by the Lord to His Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament.

Elder Cook: Choose Wisely
I encourage everyone, young and old, to review goals and objectives and strive to exercise greater discipline. Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals. We need to rise above rationalizations and distractions. It is especially important to make choices consistent with our covenants to serve Jesus Christ in righteousness.21 We must not take our eyes off or drop that ball for any reason.

Elder Christofferson: Free Forever, to Act for Themselves
I know that beyond desiring His help, we must exert ourselves, repent, and choose God for Him to be able to act in our lives consistent with justice and moral agency. My plea is simply to take responsibility and go to work so that there is something for God to help us with.

Elder Andersen: Joseph Smith
Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is true for every generation. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.

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Strengthening and Defending the Family (Highlights from the April 2015 General Women’s Session)

The April 2015 General Women’s Session was such an inspiring meeting. As a wife and mother, I especially appreciated the focus on strengthening and defending the family, since this is something I think about and pray about everyday. After re-reading the talks, here are the quotes that stood out to me.

Cheryl A. Esplin “Filling Our Homes with Light and Truth”.

“When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us.”

Families are the Lord’s workshop on earth to help us learn and live the gospel. We come into our families with a sacred duty to help strengthen each other spiritually. Strong eternal families and Spirit-filled homes do not just happen. They take great effort, they take time, and they take each member of the family doing his or her part.”

“The answers to our prayers may not come dramatically, but we must find quiet moments to seek greater light and truth.”

Carole M. Stephens, “The Family is of God”.

“As we use our time in mortality to study and apply the Savior’s teachings, we become more like Him. We come to understand that He is the way—the only way—we can overcome mortal challenges, be healed, and return back to our heavenly home.”

Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Defenders of the Family Proclamation.”

“The proclamation on the family has become our benchmark for judging the philosophies of the world”.

“We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places…If it is the Lord’s plan, it should also be our plan!”

“We eagerly teach our children to aim high in this life. We want to make sure that our daughters know that they have the potential to achieve and be whatever they can imagine…Do we also teach our sons and daughters there is no greater honor, no more elevated title, and no more important role in this life than that of mother or father?”

“We need to take a term which is sometimes spoken of with derision and elevate it. It is the term homemaker. All of us—women, men, youth, and children, single or married—can work at being homemakers. We should “make our homes” places of order, refuge, holiness, and safety. Our homes should be places where the Spirit of the Lord is felt in rich abundance and where the scriptures and the gospel are studied, taught, and lived. What a difference it would make in the world if all people would see themselves as makers of righteous homes. Let us defend the home as a place which is second only to the temple in holiness.”

President Monson (from the video):”The home is the basis of a righteous life.”

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