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Family Trifecta

Family is Central to God's Plan

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Family is Central to God’s Plan

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and … the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”).

Junior Primary:

How many people are in your family?

Every one of you is part of a family.

Why do you think it is so important to have a family?  There are lots of ways it is important during our lives here on earth.  Let’s make a list on the board.

(Some examples are safety, comfort, friendships, love, learning, etc.).

Those are all great reasons.

Heavenly Father gave us a family.  Not only did He give us a family but also he made family “CENTRAL” to his plan.

Who can tell me what CENTRAL means?

Have 8 kids come to the front and stand in a circle – then take one of the kids and put them in the middle of the circle.  Explain that everyone in the circle is looking at that one person in the middle.  That means that they are the center of the circle.

Most of you are looking at the circle, some of you have looked for a minute and some of you haven’t looked at all.  That circle is just like the plan of our Heavenly Father.  It should be every one’s focus, but some times we get distracted or we don’t realize it is there.

So we have Heavenly Father’s plan that is Central to our existence.  And then we have Family right in the middle of it.

So let’s talk a little more about “Central” and what it means to us.

According to Elder Cook (from an article in the Ensign),

“The family is the most important unit in time and in eternity and is ordained of God. Living in loving family relationships not only brings us great happiness, but it also helps us learn correct principles and prepares us for eternal life. In addition, family relationships help us know, love, and understand the Father.”

When one of Heavenly Father’s apostles states that it is “THE MOST IMPORTANT UNIT” what do you think that means?

It means that everything that we do, we should be to strengthen our family.

What are some things that we can do to make our family better?  We’re going to write this list next to the list of why we have family.

(Some examples are play together, read the scriptures, pray together, help one another, etc.).

All of these things are really important.  And all of these things help us better live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to talk more about our roles in the family, our parents’ roles in the family and how to show love to our family.

Close with testimony

Senior Primary:

How many people are in your family?

Every one of you is part of a family.

Why do you think it is so important to have a family?  There are lots of ways it is important during our lives here on earth.  Let’s make a list on the board.

(Some examples are safety, comfort, friendships, love, learning, etc.).

Those are all great reasons.

On the Mormon.org site, we can read more about the importance of family.

It’s no stretch to say that a person has a serious advantage in life if they come from a loving, supportive home. Many people still succeed though they come from less-than-ideal family situations, but having our basic needs met, knowing that our parents love us and learning life lessons at home make all the challenges of day-to-day living that much easier to face.
 
God organizes us into families so that we can grow up in happiness and safety, and so that we can learn to love others selflessly—the key to true joy. Within the family is the best place to learn to love others the way Heavenly Father loves each one of us.

I really like that a supportive and loving home gives us an advantage in life, but even those of us that may not have an “ideal” situation at home we are still being able to have our basic needs met and that alone makes life easier.

Even when we have a less than perfect situation at home, we are learning important lessons about how to love and how to be loved.

Heavenly Father felt families are so important.  So much so that He made family “CENTRAL” to His plan.

Who can tell me what CENTRAL means?

Have 8 kids come to the front and stand in a circle – then take one of the kids and put them in the middle of the circle.  Explain that everyone in the circle is looking at that one person in the middle.  That means that they are the center of the circle.

Most of you are looking at the circle, some of you have looked for a minute and some of you haven’t looked at all.  That circle is just like the plan of our Heavenly Father.  It should be every one’s focus, but some times we get distracted or we don’t realize it is there.

So we have Heavenly Father’s plan that is Central to our existence.  And then we have Family right in the middle of it.

So let’s talk a little more about “Central” and what it means to us.

According to Elder Cook (from an article in the Ensign),

“The family is the most important unit in time and in eternity and is ordained of God. Living in loving family relationships not only brings us great happiness, but it also helps us learn correct principles and prepares us for eternal life. In addition, family relationships help us know, love, and understand the Father.”

When one of Heavenly Father’s apostles states that it is “THE MOST IMPORTANT UNIT” what do you think that means?

Do we sometimes forget that family is more important than anything else?

Have you ever picked spending time with friends over spending time with your family? Have you ever yelled at your siblings?  Have you teased them and laughed when they cried?  Have you gotten upset when your younger siblings have copied you?  Do you ever tell your siblings or your parents to just go away and leave you alone?  Do you ever ignore your mom and dad when they ask you to do something?  Do you separate yourself from the family when you are doing something with them because you would rather be playing with your friends?

Raise your hand if any one of the things I just listed is something you do.

Family is the most important part of Heavenly Father’s plan.  So if we aren’t working our hardest to make those relationships the best they can be, how do you think we are making Heavenly Father feel?

What are some things that we can do today and every day to help make our family stronger?  What can we do to help make our siblings our best friends for now and forever?  What can we do to have our parents be the first person we think of when there is something great in our lives and the first person we think of when we need help?

(Some examples are play together, read the scriptures, pray together, help one another, etc.).

Not only will each of these items help us have a closer family but all of these things help us better live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Do you think that is a coincidence or is it part of Heavenly Father’s plan?

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to talk more about our roles in the family, our parents’ roles in the family and how to show love to our family.

Close with testimony

_________________________

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father decided to make family such an important part of His plan.  While we may get frustrated with our family and we may at times argue, I know that they love me and I love them unconditionally.  It is challenging being a mom and seeing our children make choices that may not line up perfectly with what we wish they would do, so I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for God to see each one of us, daily, make choices that may or may not align perfectly with His Plan.  I am eternally grateful for the example that my parents have set for me within my own little family.  I’m grateful for the example that Scott’s parents have provided us.  And know that the choices that both sets of parents made were to strengthen their family and build eternal relationships.

I pray that Jade and Ivy will always be close and will always be comfortable turning to me and Scott with any struggles and triumphs that they have throughout their lives.  I also pray that they will always know that no matter what choices they make or direction their lives take them that Scott and I will love them with all our hearts.  Always and forever.

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Winter Fun

For Christmas this year, we found a great deal on a cabin in Bear Lake.  So that is what we decided to give our siblings and parents.  So far we’ve redeemed one of the weekends and couldn’t be happier about how things turned out.

The cabin was much better than we expected (based on the deal we got).  It had granite countertops and plenty of space for us all to spread out and enjoy our time together.  Plus it was clean!

My favorite part of the weekend was the perfect day to go sledding.  There was fresh snow but the sun was shining.

Climbing Up

I love getting to see the kids work their way up to the top of a hill and in some cases work to get up the nerve to head down the hill.

But there is nothing better than catching that moment of pure joy!  That moment when they realize they are okay and that it is actually really fun.  Of course that moment is often followed by tears because the snow sprayed into their faces or they toppled over and rolled through the fresh powder.  Luckily no one got hurt, despite the occasional tears.

Jade and Harry were the dare devils that climbed the hill twice as high as the rest.  The two of them figured out how to lean back and pull the front of the sled up just enough to get them flying.  That also meant that their wrecks were the best of everyone’s.  But each time one of them bailed they came up smiling and got right back on.

After spending the weekend with my family up in Bear Lake, I am hungry for us to have our very own cabin.  Now to get me and Scott to agree upon where we want it to be so that we can start dreaming in color.  After all, you only have one life to live and love your family so you may as well do everything you can to make it fun.

If you were to get a cabin, how far from home would you want it?  

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Cake Boss Birthday Party

Ivy is eight years old.  And in our family we get to have a friend birthday party every even year and a family party on the odd years.  Lucky for me it means that I only have to plan a birthday party once a year.

Invitations

This year Ivy picked a “Cake Boss”  theme.  She has loved that show and will choose to watch it whenever she gets the chance.  After the hurricane hit the set she was so excited to tell me all about it and all that they did to recover from the damage.  For a while I think she thought she was part of their family.  I’m not sure if she likes the show for Buddy or for the cake decorating.  But either way, she loves it.

So here are some pics from the party.

January 2014 - Edited

It wins for the party that required the most prep time of any party we have done.  For her tenth we’ll be bowling for strikes!  That is way easier.

The kids all decorated their own aprons (purchased them at Hobby Lobby) with fabric pens.  It was fun getting to see the personalities of her little friends while they decorated their aprons.  The only instructions I gave them was that they had to put their names up on the top.

My mom made a great big cupcake that they had to pin the cherry on.  Since the cherry had to go on the tip of the cupcake, the kids used the border of the poster board to their advantage.  We ended up spinning them and making them do somersaults before they could walk towards the cupcake.  Even then they were all pretty darn close to the tip.

Cupcake

After the cupcake game we moved on to the fun and oh so messy part of the night.  Each of the kids had a two tiered 6 inch cake to decorate.  I made several different kinds of frosting – some of which didn’t really turn out so well.  Luckily some of them were delicious and worked for the kids.  It was hilarious to see how they kids expressed their creativity.  The boys piled on the frosting and candy while the girls were far more meticulous.  (We learned during the party that Jade has quite the natural talent for cake decorating.  I’m thinking she and I will be going to Orson Gygi for a butter cream class one of these days).

We ended the night watching a “Cake Boss” and then some family home movies of little 2-year-old Ivy.

Ivy was thrilled with the party.  And I was so grateful to have my mom’s help through the whole thing.  And equally grateful to a wonderful husband who had them all giggling uncontrollably.

Three years ago I shared photos from Ivy’s first friend birthday party (that’s what you get when you turn five).  It was a “Bubble Gum Princess” party.  And from Jade’s “Alice in Wonderland” party for her eighth birthday.

What has been your favorite birthday party theme?

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Sharing my Faith

Faith is an interesting concept.  It is one that I struggle with and I watch friends and family struggle with as well.  But faith is something very personal.  Your faith is something that no one can argue with nor understand.  But there are times when we feel the need to share our believes as well as our struggles.  Now is that time for me.  I’ve been debating whether or not I write this post for quite a while.  Now that it is written, I’m sure I will sit on it for days before I hit the publish button.

A year and a half year ago, my sister-in-law (who was always more of a sister to me than an in-law) passed away after a two year battle with cancer.  She was given only answers of doom and gloom from the doctors but she fought it and won the battle. TWICE.  Together with her family, she relied on her faith and belief that “in God all things are possible”.  I was among those that held on to that faith and belief.  And today I still firmly believe that in God all things truly are possible.  But what I also believe is that God has a plan for us and sometimes there is nothing we can do that will change when He needs us to return to Him.

Since then, I have heard of a number of friends that struggle with their faith.  And I understand that. I do.

This past year during General Conference, President Uchdorf shared a talk called “Come, Join with Us”.  Many think that this talk is directed to those that have left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  But I believe that it is also meant for those in the church that are struggling and those that are not struggling, and those that may struggle.  It served as a reminder to have faith in our God no matter what is going on in our life.  ”First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”

Doubt your doubts

What I have learned through these trials is that we don’t need faith if we have all of the answers.  And the fact of the matter is we don’t have all of the answers.  We can’t expect to have all of the answers while we are on the earth.  We won’t understand why our loved ones are taken from us – sometimes decades before we believe that should.  We can’t get frustrated when we seek for an answer that just isn’t there.  I know that if we are expecting to have all of the answers and for everything to make sense we will be disappointed.  That is why we have faith.  Faith is meant to fill the gaps between our knowledge.  It is faith that acts as the mortar holding up all of our bricks of knowledge.

I know that we will return to live with our Father again and that our families will be together forever.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Redeemer.  And I know  that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the Word of God.

I hope that each of you will look at your faith and doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.  

 

**Image from Mormon Mommy Printables – Love the site especially for Visiting Teaching messages.

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First Science Fair Project

Wow, the science fair is A LOT of work!!!  No matter how much of it you make your child do on their own, you are still wrangled in to doing a ton to help.

Jade’s first science fair project is on balance and how our sense affect it.  For her project she had to write a 1-2 page research paper and guess what, there is not a ton of information out there about her topic.  I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.  Most of what is out there about balance has to do with the inner ear and how your vestibular system helps you balance.

To test Jade’s theory that seeing and hearing affects your balance, we had 7 dancers (including Jade and Ivy) test it out.  We timed them balancing in posse 5 different ways.  The first was the neutral test where they could see and hear.  Then we eliminated their hearing.  Then we eliminated their sight.  Next we had them blindfolded and with their ears plugged.  And finally we had them spinning with their eyes covered and their ears plugged.  It was fun to watch these girls who are generally pretty good balancers topple over with giggles.

Balance

Now she’s got a lot of work to do to create her board with photos, times and her conclusion.  She’s not even going to compete with hers and it is still a ton of work!!

How on earth do moms with more than two kids manage all of the school projects and assignments?  

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