Monday, April 27, 2015

The Lord Is My Light FHE Lesson Plan

I love any cause for celebration! (Celebrations usually involve Sugar. Sugar is an ingredient in Cake. Cake is usually followed Ice Cream.) #majorwin

This month marks 100 years since the Family Home Evening program was established! While I wish I could somehow send cake and ice cream through the interwebs to commemorate this momentous day, that technology still awaits development. In the mean time, I've teamed up with some awesome bloggers to create Family Home Evening lesson plans based on the April 2015 sessions of General Conference. Read on for my FHE outline based on The Lord is My Light by Quentin L. Cook.

Opening Song Ideas: Hymn #89 The Lord is My Light, Primary Songbook Pg. 88 On a Golden Springtime, Hymn #304 Teach Me to Walk in the Light.

Ask children to think about an experience where something was hard for them. Discuss how they felt during their time of difficulty. Explain that in General Conference, Elder Cook taught us how we can find joy even during the hard times of our lives.

Read Elder Cooks' account of the sunflowers near his Grandparents' home:
My wife, Mary, has always loved sunflowers. She rejoices when they, in quite improbable places, appear on the roadside. There is a dirt road that leads to the home where my grandparents lived. When we started down that road, Mary would often exclaim, “Do you think we will see those amazing sunflowers today?” We were surprised that sunflowers flourish in soil which has been impacted by farm and snow removal equipment and the accumulation of materials that would not be considered ideal soil for wildflowers to grow. 
One of the remarkable characteristics of young wild sunflowers, in addition to growing in soil that is not hospitable, is how the young flower bud follows the sun across the sky. In doing so, it receives life-sustaining energy before bursting forth in its glorious yellow color.
Watch the following video of a sunflower bud following the sunlight:

Discuss the following quote from 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.
Brainstorm ways we can "Follow the Son". (Examples include reading the scriptures, praying, attending church, going to the temple, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, etc.)

Bear you testimony of the importance of staying near to God through both the happy and trying times in life. 

Flashlight Follow: Turn off all or most of the lights in your house. Ask an older sibling or parent to hold a flashlight and walk to another room where the treats are being kept. Explain that the family is going to pretend to be sunflowers and follow the flashlight to find nourishment, just like real sunflowers do with the sun. (Make sure to clear the pathway of any obstructions before hand. Note: Teeanger's clothing-laden bedroom floors may not be the best place for this activity.) ;)

Gardening: Plant sunflowers together. Through the coming months, be sure to notice how they follow the sunlight while they grow.

Coloring Page: Download the coloring page from Google Drive, here. Have family members write or draw one way they can follow Jesus Christ in each flower petal. 

Click here to download this free coloring page.

Sunflower seeds are always divine! Roasted, salted, plain, or even chocolate covered . . . Mmm my mouth is watering!

You could also try making some sunflower cupcakes,

Image/Tutorial Source
Or whip up a sunflower cake!

Image/Tutorial Source
And of course ice cream is always a good idea.

If you'd like more inspiration, visit these other bloggers to find more great family home evening lessons based on a talk from the April 2015 General Conference! Be sure to leave them comments thanking them for their hard work in putting the lessons together.

Family Home Evening 100th anniversary blog event

Whitney @ Southern Hope | Jocelyn @ We Talk of Christ | Montserrat @ Cranial Hiccups

Happy Monday, and here's to another wonderful hundred years of FHE!
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Note: The original image for the sunflower coloring page was found on MormonShare, here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

God's Will and a Haircut

Image Source
As I've mentioned before, I have an irrational fear of the hairdresser. It all starts with my poorly planned hair cutting regime comprised of the following steps:
1. Pore over unattainable haircuts on Pinterest. Decide getting a lob is a great idea.  
2. Realize that my hair is too thick and curly for a lob. Cry. 
3. Gather courage to get back on Pinterest, search for a haircut for naturally curly hair. 
4. Find examples only for African American-type curly hair, which while lovely, is not what graces my frizzy head.
5. Give up on Pinterest and forfeit all dreams of getting a haircut. 
6. Look in the mirror and realize my slip-ends are far too crazy to procrastinate any longer. 
7. Procrastinate for another month anyway. #hairrebel 
8. Finally get fed up with the whole lifeless-hair game and run to Great Clips on a whim. 
Last December I gave in to such a whim and found myself nervously squirming on a shiny black salon chair. (I have to admit those chairs are the one ray of sunshine in that oh-so-girly storm of hair-ruining grey. I could ride up and down in them for hours.) Channeling all of the knowledge I gained from my Pinterest wanderings, I carefully outlined how I wanted my hair (hairs?) to be cut.
      "Just a little of the ends, please", I stuttered. "Oh, and if you could shape my side bang a little that would be great!"

All seemed well in the world as the hairdresser clipped away. At least all was well in her world -- she happily hummed to herself and did a kind of prancing dance around my chair as she worked.

To my horror, about halfway through my haircut (you know, the part where your hair is as wet as a dead rat and one half is two inches shorter than the other), the door chimed and in walked the pack of popular boys from my school. <insert dying sounds here>

I, by no means, had any desire to impress those large-egoed beasts children of God, I just didn't want to give them any ammo to throw at me during their next teasing session. Basically, I figured that my hair had already caused me enough grief after forcing me to endure steps 1-8 of the aforementioned cycle and didn't need to interfere with the social environment of my English class.

As the happy salon worker snipped and snipped, I prayed she would go faster. The second she handed me the little mirror to check the back of my head, I paid for the cut and bolted for the door as fast as I could without so much as a glance at the length of my layers or cut of my bangs. (Yeah, I'm calm, cool, and collected like that.)

My anxiety-driven haste proved to be my downfall. I'm ashamed to say that when I got home and gave my locks a good blow dry, I cried like a baby who'd just lost its favorite blanky. Tragically, the side bangs I was used to styling now had no angle to them, but hung straight across one half of my face in a way horribly reminiscent of the haircuts four-year-olds give themselves when they decide they want to have hair like Cinderella's.

I should have listened to this meme:

Image Source

Unfortunately, my bangs did not look even close to dear Cinderella's (or even the poor girl's in the photo above). Desperate for a fix before a family dinner (note to self: never get a hair cut on an important day), I anxiously walked into the hair salon yet again and begged the stylist for mercy.

"How would you feel about a straight-across bang?" she asked. Seeing it was my only option, I reluctantly agreed. And I'm actually glad that I did.

To my great surprise, unlike the side-bangs I had come to cherish, my new do took very little straightening and even hid my forehead acne. #win It was fun to mix life up a little bit (and pretending I was Taylor Swift on her Red album cover didn't hurt either).

Were the bangs something I would have chosen for myself? No. But did I like them? You betcha.

As I've thought about this experience more, I realized that my bad-to-beautiful bangs are kind of an analogy for life. A lot of times we ask God for side-bangs -- you know, the avoidance of a certain trial, the prevention of a loved one's death, the gift of healing from an illness, etc. --  thinking that's what we want, but being the all-knowing and loving Heavenly Father that He is, He gives us something better.

Sometimes that something is painful. Sometimes that something requires wading through deep waters and enduring a trial one did not desire to face, but nevertheless, the struggle is always worth it.

In the words of Ezra Taft Benson:

If we let Him, God will be the master stylist of our lives. He will shape us, refine us, and even clip off our split ends until we become like Him and His son, Jesus Christ.

May we trust in Him and find joy even in the awkward-banged times of our lives,
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

25 Ideas for Faith Personal Progress Value Projects

Need some inspiration for your Personal Progress Faith Value Project?* 

Here are 25 of my favorites to get you started:

1. Write your testimony in Books of Mormon and deliver them to friends and/or give them to the missionaries to hand out to investigators. 

2. Gather family stories that strengthen your faith and upload them to the memories section of (You could also make a scrapbook or family blog.)

3. Write a song or poem that represents your testimony. 

4. Create a work of art, video, collage, etc. that depicts your faith. 

5. Make a quiet-book with pictures of Christ to help a child focus on the Savior during the Sacrament. 

6. Be a news reporter for a day and interview someone whose faith you admire. Edit a video or write a transcript of the interview. 

7. Write about a time your faith was strengthened and submit the article to the New Era

8. Learn how to bake bread and donate a batch for use in Sacrament meeting. 

9. Bear your testimony through music by volunteering to play hymns at your local hospital or nursing home. 

10. Plan and carry out an activity such as New Beginnings or Young Women in Excellence. 

11. Find quotes about faith and design memes/edits to share online through Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Don't forget to add #sharegoodness to your posts. :)

12. Choose a favorite scripture hero and prepare/present a Family Home Evening lesson about how their faith helped them fulfill their divine role.

13. Learn about the faith-filled lives of early Pioneers by watching 17 Miracles, reading stories from General Conference, or by using the Family Search Pioneer Ancestor Search Tool. Record how their examples can help you have strength to carry on. 

15. Strengthen your faith in the atonement by memorizing the words to your favorite sacrament songs, The Living Christ, or a compilation of scripture verses about the Savior. 

16. Conduct the music or play the organ during the the sacrament hymns for one month.

17. Exercise your faith by overcoming one of your fears. Get better at talking to people, take swimming lessons, or even intern at a local dentist office. (Am I the only one who's afraid of his pointy drills?) Note: Be sure to seek counsel from your parents/leaders to ensure you don't do anything too dangerous.

18. Make hair bows, flower clips, embroidered towels, bowties, scripture bookmarks, or other small gifts for the Primary Presidency to give to the children being baptized in your ward. 

19.  Sew a baptism dress for a sibling, convert, or child in need.

20. Prepare to share your faith with others by going on splits with the Sister missionaries and studying Preach My Gospel.

21. Share your faith with others by participating in a missionary related activity such as hosting the missionary discussions in your home, assisting with an open house, or organizing a seminary social.

22. Read Alma 32 and learn about how faith is like a seed. Explore this principle by researching, planning, and  planting a garden, flowerbed, tree, etc. for yourself or someone in need.

23. Increase your faith in God's love for you by maintaining a daily journal. Look for ways the Lord's hand is made manifest in your life. (For guidance, see this talk from Pres. Eyring)

24. Teach a child how to bear their testimony. (This Testimony Glove Activity is super fun!)

25. With permission from your bishopric, decorate one of the bulletin boards in your meetinghouse with inspiring messages about faith in Jesus Christ.

What ideas do you have for Faith value projects?

P.S. For more great ideas, check out these posts from other fab blogs around the web:

I Belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Sugar Doodle
The Personal Progress Helper

* Personal Progress is part of the youth program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is similar to an Eagle Scout award but is aimed at strengthening the faith of Young Women. Participants complete a series of value experiences and one ten-hour project for each of eight values (Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works, and Virtue). For more information, please visit

Monday, April 20, 2015

Warning: HTML Construction Zone

Hey y'all,

I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that things might look funny around here for a bit. I am working on re-vamping the blog design, so the good news is it should end up awesome, but the bad news is le blog is going to look weird for a while. It should be up and running in a few hours. :)

Thanks a million!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

10 Quotes to Help You Stay Motivated & Combat Senioritis

Wowza! Long time, no post. No me gusta.

First off,  I would like to take a moment to thank Juniors across America for taking the SAT on Wednesday so the other grades didn't have school. This Senior really needed a day off so she could return to the bloggy land she has come to love. (Also, she needed to do laundry. Desperately.)

Can we just talk for a second about how close we are to summer? As of today, there are only 28 days until I'm done with school. 28 days!!!

But alas, all is not well in the kingdom. Before summer's nearing bliss, a fiery dragon of doom and sleep deprivation must rear its ugly head at students across the nation. 

The monster? Senioritis. Its achilles heel? Graduation.

Until the caps, gowns, and Pomp and Circumstance (apparently that's the name of the never ending graduation song), ride in on white horses and save the day, here are 10 quotes to help you fight that terrifying beast. (That is, if you can get out of bed and switch your sweatpants out for some armor.) #realclothesareoverrated

Note: These quotes can also apply to a host of other situations. (Doing chores, sticking to that run-a-marathon New Years Resolution, finishing that carton of ice cream, etc.)

Image Source: He and I

Image Source: Deseret Designs

Image Source: All Things Bright And Beautiful

Image Source: Brooklyn Active Mama

Image Source: The Silver Pen

Image Source: Be Fair Be Funky

Image Source: Typographic Verses

Image Source: LDS Share

Image Source: Mental Models
Image Source: Like Success

Be strong, my friends! Summer is closer than ya think.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 2015 General Conference Re-Cap

General Conference and Easter all in one day? I am over the moon (for reasons other than the fact that I got to eat my Easter candy while going to church in my PJ's).

I absolutely loved all of the talks! The messages on family and faithful endurance were profound. And three new temples? That was an awesome surprise.

As per usual, here are few of my favorite quotes from the sessions. Please feel free to pin and share as your hearts so desire. <3

What were your favorite parts of General Conference?

Happy Easter, everyone!

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