Showing posts with label lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lessons. Show all posts

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Coincidence or By Divine Design - Relief Society

            When I'm teaching primary, I'm sitting down.  When I taught RS, I was standing up.  The sisters have decided to put themselves in a circle, which has its benefits.  I thought I might try walking around and pace myself back and forth as I've seen another instructor do - but my voice doesn't seem to carry as loud as hers nor did I have much of a voice on Sunday and so had to stand behind the microphone.

            NONE of the shoes that I wear on Sunday are very comfortable and so my feet hurt as I neared the end of my lesson and later on that night I was experiencing back pain.  I blame the shoes.  I think Roland would blame my weight.  Probably a combination of the two.

            There are posts on either my own or my brother's blog which provide several reference to everything I discussed in my lesson - well almost everything.  

Dear Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin spoke of an occasion when President Thomas S. Monson said to him: “There is a guiding hand above all things. Often when things happen, it’s not by accident. One day, when we look back at the seeming coincidences of our lives, we will realize that perhaps they weren’t so coincidental after all.”

            After I had passed around the photos of my mom and dad found in this post, I shared an experience that Roland and I had while he was a realtor.  He had made appointments for showing clients houses that were still occupied by their owners.  The clients noticed a newly listed house across the street that hadn't been on Roland's agenda because  he hadn't known about it, but as it was also occupied, he might have to make arrangements for another appointment and return at a later date.  As it turned out, the owners were gone and we were able to go inside.

            The interior of the first house seemed to have dark walls in most of its rooms.  No photos on the wall.  Just a couple on a night stand.  I thought it seemed poorly lit. The house across the street was the same exact floor plan except in reverse.  And with brighter walls.  A great big picture of an LDS temple (though I forget which one; the picture was definitely the largest I have seen - exceeding the entire length on the couch) LOTS of photographs and "families are forever" themes. It was roughly 20,000 more than any other house they looked at.  But it's the one that they wanted.  Was it a coinsidence or divine design?

"But remember, He has always used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things" - Ronald A. Rasband,  Oct 1, 2017

            I'm sure that to most people my dad was as ordinary as they come.  He was a very quiet man which I have mentioned in a post I created  the year that I started my blog. Even though we lived in the same house for over 30 years, talking to dad was often like pulling teeth.  Most of what I had shared with the sisters was second or third hand information from sources other than my dad.  I shared a bit about my dad's upbringing and his not having a testimony of the gospel - or perhaps it was just the church itself that he had strayed from.

            He was quite studios and a very good student.  In 1955 he'd been offered a full scholarship to BYU but had turned it down in order to join the navy - which he loathed.  He had joined the navy chori and had enjoyed that.  The nation was between wars and so he was never involved in active duty.  I don't think he had even left the country, but I could be wrong. Overall he really did not appreciate his time in the service.  Since he didn't talk about it, we can only speculate about what we think it was.  I think he may have found the vulgar language and lack of ethics among many of the sailors to be upsetting.

            I think my dad used Church as an escape from the navy.  One fast and testimony meeting he remembers a girl of about ten years of age (this is one of the few sources I have directly from my dad's own mouth) bore her testimony and said she knew the church was true, and he thought  - "If she can know, I can know."  And he devoted more time into finding God and getting reacquainted with the LDS faith.

          One night he was given permission to go to a Church dance.  There he met my mother.  They were married 14 years later.  They were married in Los Angeles Temple and had their wedding reception in the Church in the photo I had passed around where my father had had his picture taken 12 years before.  I don't know if my dad made the connection.  Probably not. I don't remember having seen the photo until my brother Corey posted it.  Had this all come about by coincidence or by divine design?

"Our lives are like a chessboard, and the Lord moves us from one place to another—if we are responsive to spiritual promptings. Looking back, we can see His hand in our lives" - Ronald A. Rasband,  Oct 1, 2017
              I then asked the sisters:  "How many of you have ever made plans about where your life was headed?  You work so many years of your life to stay on that path toward your goal and all of the sudden there is that fork in the road.  God may nudge you to go one way or perhaps you believe you made that choice on your own.  And one day you look over to where you could have been and compare it to where you are on the road right now and think:  "Hey, wait a minute.  I'm supposed to be over there on that path.  I don't think I like where this path is taking me"

            I asked the sisters if any would like to share an example.  When nobody did, I continued. The next example I shared was about Diane Ellingson. I had breifly mentioned her remarkable triumphant found here.  You can also hear her life story in her own words in a two part video fournd here.

"Sometimes life is hard and seems unfair but you are only defeated when you stop trying." - Diane Ellington Smith

" Most often, our good works are known to only a few. They are, however, recorded in heaven. One day, we will stand as a witness of our whole-souled devotion to works of righteousness." - Ronald A. Rasband,  Oct 1, 2017

            I also shared some examples about how often when we ask for blessings, God will send us the tools we need to acquire that blessing.  I used the example of Princess Merida from Disney/Pixar's "Brave"  here.

            I concluded with a poem Corey had written which could be used to desribe almost every "ordinary" person.  His poem can be found both here and here.

            Other references for my lesson include: 

Ronald A. Rasband
                                        talk found here

                my comments from talk found here


Mom &Dad

                                 great pictures here and here

                      dad's service in navy and awesome tribute by Corey/Cody here



                        trailer for Brave here       

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

No Such Thing as Coincidences

            Being in the primary has never been among my favorite of callings - which may be why I've been in it so long.  On Saturday there was a breakfast provided by the Relief Society for those who are visiting teachers.  While there, I was asked to teach a Relief Society lesson on this coming Sunday.  I made an impulsive decision to say yes.  I can still teach my primary class but will be missing singing/sharing time.  I'm certain that the primary leaders would much rather have me there than teaching a Relief Society lesson,  but sometimes I feel the need to be elsewhere.  On Sunday it will be in Relief Society.

            On Sunday I was given the subject of my upcoming lesson.  "By Divine Design" by Elder Ronald A. Rasband.  Hey, I remember that talk.  I had actually created a blog post (here) about it.  I obviously did not go into as much detail as I had felt at the time of the initial talk - but it was at a time when my head was full and my fingers weren't as able to work as quickly as what my mind was saying.

            I have to smile at Elder Rasband quoting Neal A Maxwell's words: "[God] does not do things by ‘coincidence’ but … by ‘divine design " and think of all the many times my brother Corey has said or written that "He doesn't believe in coincidences".  It made me think of these two pictures that he has posted more than once:

            Depending on how the Spirit guides me, I may or may not share this example, but if I do, I have placed the two photos side by side and have highlighted the etching above the arch to illustrate that it is indeed the same building though taken a decade apart. 

The family taken in 1947 are from Utah.  They were touring San Francisco and chose to have their picture in front of the church building.  The other photo is of the youth group who attended MIA (Mutual Improvement Association) and seminary at the Sunset Ward in San Francisco which met in the same building.
            The two circled heads are that of my dad and mom.  They were married in the Los Angeles Temple.  Their reception was at the building which is behind each of them in both photos.  This is one example of Divine Design.  I am looking very forward to giving this lesson.  I hope to have a lot of participation, but if not,  I have more material than I will have time.  Wish I could say the same of primary.

Monday, November 20, 2017

We Need to Work Together

                I guess I could have gone into more detail about Danny's class.  As I mentioned, there were fourteen children in the Valiant class alone - four of them boys.  I have never seen more than two Valiant boys in class since I started attending the ward in Myrtle Creek.  After the opening prayer, Danny passed out scriptures to each child - part of a scripture anyway.  Seven children had the names of a book found in the scriptures.  Seven had a chapter (or section) and a verse.  Danny asked why none of the children had looked up the scriptures she had handed out, what may have been the problem - when it was decided that each of the children had only part of scripture, Danny asked that they check the paper and find a partner that had the other half.

            I was impressed how each of them actually worked together and didn't try to trade scripture pieces in order to sit with those they had sat with initially.  After the seven scriptures were read, Danny asked what they all had in common.  They all had to do with service.  We then watched a short video about some of the things the members had to do to establish winter quarters.  Danny asked what some of the things were and made a list on the chalk board: plant food, chop wood, build cabins, tend children and animals, prepare food, make clothing, blankets, shoes, etc.  There were eleven answers given - including the fort itself.  Danny then passed out paper and told the children they would have a minute to draw all of the things listed on the chalk board.  Ready, GO!

            Now not only am I NOT artistic, but I am such a smart aleck, I would have attempted to draw the fort and tell my instructor that all else listed on the board was behind the fenced area. 

            Most of the children attempted to draw everything in the order it had been written.  One girl said she managed to draw seven and one said she got all eleven of them - but they weren't very good.  Danny then asked the children what would make it easier for them to draw all of the pictures.  Most were in agreement that more time would do it, but Danny reminded them of the scriptures they had read on service and how each could contribute his or her part but that nobody was expected to do all of it.  She then assigned each of the children to draw only one thing from the list - assigning the fort to the last three (as there were more children than suggestions) and that made it easier.

            Her last activity (or object lesson) was quite similar to the one I had mentioned here only instead of kisses she had passed out dumdums and larger rocks. 

            Two of the girls were wearing sandals - as though it is still summer outside.  They had more complications of just trying to keep the rock in their shoe rather than walk on it.  Only half the children were aware of the pain the rock had caused.  Most enjoyed their dumdums and were able to tune out the discomfort.  It was a good lesson.  Danny always gives good lessons.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Substitute Teacher

        Just over two years ago, we moved to Myrtle Creek.  Less than three months I had been called to be a primary teacher - specifically for the sunbeams.  At the time I had heard there were four children in the class.  The most that I ever saw was three.  Usually it was just Emily and me.  It took her about five months before she warmed up to me.
         The following year, I had her cousin Hayden.  Unless there were visitors, he was my only pupil - until they brought Christopher in.  He had turned three in February.  He was in sunbeams for five or six months before the year ended.  The primary president decided to move him up to CTRs along with Hayden so that I could teach team Danny's class - the Valiants.

          Danny was not present for the first two and a half months.  Being able to return has been a gradual thing.  In March and April she was there for an hour and eventually worked up to three.  Between her parents and grandparents, Danny's time is spread as a health provider it seems.  She seems to be in and out and had asked me to teach.  But the CTR instructor has been out as well - traveling, I think.  The primary president had asked me to teach the CTRs as she is more able to find a sub for the older children than the younger ones.

          Last week there were only three: Christopher, Hayden and a visitor named Glen.  Class was not much different than it had been in sunbeams.  Hayden still felt the need to be in charge.  And Christopher was all over the place. Very different from Valiants.  A different use of time.

          When both classes met for sharing time and singing time, I sat in the front row with Glen, Christopher and Hayden.  A stake visitor sat with the Valiants. When Christopher announced he had to go potty (for the second time) I took his hand and escorted him out. 

          I noticed the instructor class was going on.  It's been so long since I've been to one, I'd forgotten.  I really enjoy the instructor classes and wanted to attend.  With only 20 minutes remaining, I opened the door for Christopher and told him to return to his seat, and I went next door to feel inspired.  I need that class!

          I had to return to the primary room to gather my bag of books - which Hayden was holding.  (Remember he thinks he's in charge) and the primary president told me that Christopher had been asking for me, which totally surprised me.

          Last week I read lessons from both CTR and Valiant as I didn't know which class I would be with yesterday.  Danny had indicated that she would not be there. I wasn't certain if the CTR instructor would be there or not.  Turned out she was, but then is gone for a month.  It sounds like Danny could be as well. 

          I teach primary sometimes.  I'm there whether I teach or not.  I am still head chief for the activities committee for Relief Society. We meet possibly four times a month.  I still don't know many sisters.  They used to do a mingle once a month but were told to stop.  Members really liked it and felt that it promoted missionary work.  But they were told to stop.  When I returned to Salt Lake and had gone to my former ward, they announced that they'd be having a mingle.  I wonder why the more geographically challenged one was told to stop and the one in West Valley seems to have an okay?  Weird.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Symbolisms and Parellels

I don’t know how old I was when I was introduced to the parallels between the ancient prophets and Jesus – and how there have been so many symbolisms throughout their life.  For example:

 Pharaoh's orders to slay the male children (Moses) and Herod’s orders to slay male children (Jesus)

Noah and his family in the ark for 40 days and nights as Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights 

Joseph’s brothers (Judah in particular) selling him to the Ismaelites for twenty pieces of silver as Judas Iscariot had betrayed “selling” Jesus for silver pieces.

Or Jonah having been inside a whale’s belly for 3 days before he was spit out or Jesus having been inside a tomb before the stone rolled away

As well as countless others.  As I searched for scriptural references, I found these three links (Moses, Joseph, Joseph Smith) that go into a lot more detail than what I have here. 

As the last speaker in our sacrament meeting yesterday related the account of Mary looking into an empty tomb and weeping, and checking it again to find two angels.  I thought of the story found in 1 Kings, particularly vs. 7 when Samuel asks a woman to prepare a meal for him and she tells him it is all that she has.  But as long as she continues to prepare his meal first and then return to fix meal for herself and her son.  I wonder if she looked on with the same surprise and awe as Mary may have when she found angels where her Savor was supposed to be.

Danny had prepared the lesson for primary.  She had decorated the room in plastic eggs – which excited Thomas to no end.  I just happened to be sitting next to him and did my best to try and control his excitement - and asked why we celebrate Easter.  The lesson was good.  Danny really put a lot of thought into it, and demonstrated our imperfect lives (chewed up gum) to the possibilities of making us whole (none of us were able to put our chewed gum into the wrapper to make it appear as it had before we chewed it)

Afterward, Danny allowed for a match game.  Hidden in each egg were pictures depicting the Savior's life.  24 eggs and 12 pictures.  After all the pics were matched, Danny than allowed the children to put the pictures as they would see them on the timeline of the Savior's life. 

We then sang "I Stand All Amazed" - a hymn I had memorized several decades ago as my eyes are always too blurred to actually see the lyrics.  I was a Spiritual wreck by the time class ended.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Celebrating You - It's All Okay, part 2

As with yesterday, I will use this font for the agenda of the activity, things taught and learned.  I will use this font for my own thoughts and (unfortunately) wandering mind   and quotes that don't have pictures

            Each of the instructors had the option to decorate their room or boards to go with the theme.  I think the next class I had gone was decorated in balloons.  I had enjoyed this class the most. It was taught by Sister Tieger, a kindergarten teacher.  The subject:  Celebrate Failure

            "Failure is not the end of the world, it is the beginning of growth"

            Nobody starts out doing something well. A child who is just learning to walk - there is a reason why we call them TODDLERS

            We don't laugh at their accomplishment.  They may take only two steps before they fall, but we praise them anyway.

       We don't say,           "You're stupid"
                                        "That was really dumb."
                                        "You're just never going to get it."
       We say,                     "Nice try!"
                                          "Good job!"
                                          "Honey, that was great!"

            We don't start out doing things well.  We start out doing them badly. 

Failure is not meeting the Intended Outcome

A picture was shown of a child frustrated with an activity -  he either couldn't stack his blocks correctly, wasn't as fast as some of the other children, or whatever.  

My mind wandered back to a time when Jenna was just a baby.  She was quite persistent at trying to twist a cap off the water bottle and replace it.  She had exceptional motor skills for her age, and was very patient.  I think she must have used up all her self-patience during before she was six.

Continue progress with baby steps.  We are all Heavenly Father's Babies.  When we fall down, He is not going to laugh or call us Stupid.  He is happy to see that we are trying and is rooting for us.

So maybe you can't do 20 sit-ups.  Start with 5 or 1.  Can't clean that entire room in twenty minutes.  Start with what you can do in twenty minute, whether it is just the desk drawer or vacuuming the carpet.

Can't pick up the clarinet for the first time and belt out the tune to "Danny Boy"?  What's wrong with you?  You have to start out with the basics.  You have to learn the notes and practice them.  You have to start out badly before you can get good at it.

            Sister Tieger gave an analogy of tobogganing down hill in fresh snow verses a well-worn path. 

            Sometimes we need to pause at the top of the hill.  Sometimes - though the well traveled path is definitely the fastest, and will give us the biggest thrill - sometimes we need to celebrate the pause before we trudge on.  Sometimes we need to start down on fresh snow to make the path for somebody else.

            I thought about our pioneer ancestors, who really made a lot of sacrifices "forging the way for those who would follow"

last quote of the class

this was her handout, and though the cut wasn't perfect, she
 kept it anyway, because wasn't that the whole point of the class

            The next class I went to was taught by Sister Glad.  I love the way she had decorated the board. 

            She passed out  these pamphlets:

            We spent the class time filling them out. 

            First question:  Think of a problem you're experiencing these days that is on your mind a lot.  Describe that problem in a sentence

2.  What feelings come up for you when you think about the problem?  List several

She read the 3 and 4 to us as we closed our eyes.  She read in a very calming voice and told us to take a few minutes (she actually had changed it to 45 seconds as we were pressed for time) to feel the power of gratitude and allow our bodies to relax.  

As a rule of thumb, I don't do well in silence when there are a number of people surrounding me and we've all got our eyes closed.  I did well while she was talking, but my mind wandered for the 45 seconds.  45 seconds is a long time when it's that quiet.

5. What are you feeling right now?

For the majority of the class, the answers given in number two were pretty much opposite of number five.  Not every sister in the class had changed.  One seemed to have even harsher answers (apparently mine is not the only mind that wanders; she may have used that 45 seconds to go back to her problem - though I don't know)

The last class I attended was taught by a sister from my ward.  Janine Super, who plays piano in the primary and had also taught the gospel essential class when we moved in.
Her theme was geared to Superheroes:

this is how she decorated her room. 

She asked questions about Anikan (who became Darth Vader) and Superman.  What were their strengths?  What were their weaknesses.  I was able to participate only because my brother, Corey, is an avid fan of Star Wars and my husband collects everything Superman related.

 She first asked the class what were some of the character's strengths and what were their weaknesses.  Some weaknesses we can repent of - like a bad decision to go to the dark side (even though there were good intentions to start out with) and others are challenges that they themselves don't require repentance (for example, Superman cannot repent for Kryptonite.  We, who are vision impaired, don't repent for needing to wear glasses;  it's how we deal with our weakness that may give us strength)

Do you allow your weakness to define who you are?  Remember Brittany from my last post?

often guilt has a  productive function - if it makes us have the desire to change.

Can you pray your weakness away?

            I was reminded of a comment my brother Corey had made when he was being interviewed by Mormon Expressions.  There was a time in his life that he saw his same sexual urges as a weakness that he just could not change.  Over the course of many many years, he realized it was a desire that just has not gone away. 

          After decades of struggling and praying for his "gayness to be gone" and starting his own blog and finally realizing that his sexual preference was never going to change, he finally accepted and eventually embraced what some might call weakness, and he has made it his strength. 

          Sadly, he lost his membership as far as Church records go, but at the same time it was a necessary event that had to take place.  And although he did not choose to become a pioneer in assisting to bridge the LDS Community and the Gay Community,  he has really helped a lot of people through his blog.  Kudos to you, Corey.  May you start posting again! (LOL)

For her last four classes, Janine displayed this picture on the table she had set up

Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf, Harrison Ford, Col. Gail Halvarsen aka the candy bomber

I was also reminded of Sandra Bullock's line in "While You Were Sleeping" when Peter (the character) wakes up, and her character (Lucy) says to him that he is a hero because he gives his seat up every day on the train. 

When he comes back with a line that he doesn't see as heroic, she reminds him that he is to the person he gives it up for.  Also another post I created here

Weaknesses turned strength makes us more than we can make on our own.

Ask a child who his or her hero are.  You may be surprised at some of their answers:

George Washington Carver

Jason Silva

Harriett Tubman

Langston Hughes


Mother Teresa


a nurse

Elenor Roosevelt

Helen Keller



Wendy Ulrich

In conclusion, Janine encouraged us to take a minute to read over the lyrics to Superwoman by Alicia Keys found here.

The candy was not included, but the colors used  on Janine's
handouts reminded me of confectionery hearts