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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sing!




We can't sing in our family.

Being surrounded by a lot of singing {at church and so many talented singers} makes me jealous

Just the other day I saw three kids sing at a function and they were like angels.

I was weeping.

Weeping with sadness that that type of beauty would never come from our family.


Why oh why couldn't singing be one of our talents!

I'd be happy with just sweet passable singing. We don't need to be known for it or anything.


I mean I really can't sing.
When I say I can't sing people always say, "Oh neither can I, don't worry." 
One time that exact phrase was used.  A few weeks later the poor person had to stand next to me in  the Relief Society Choir when we sang at the christmas party.
She came up to me later and said 
"Oh you really meant that you can't sing! You were bad!"
"..erm ....yes. Pretty sure that I said I can't sing"


There was this one time my kids were singing with a group of children. Due to the nature that my kids are short they were pushed to the front. Everyone wants to be able to see you! Unfortunately that meant being pushed to the front right up into the microphone. Sadly for the audience that meant off key bad singing from one kid being projected loudly throughout the hall. After that instance I always reminded my kids to never let anyone push them to the front and if they ever did find themselves in front of a microphone again they were to mime!


There was another time when my kid was chosen to sing a part for their good behaviour. When they found out how she actually sounded, they politely still offered the same piece but she got to speak the words instead of sing. Phew. Nice save!


Out of the blue one day my daughter said she wanted to join the school primary school choir. I was like 'Oh really, what a great idea :/'  I was mortified for my poor child. I even went and approached the music teacher stating that if she wanted I could quietly and politely steer my child to another passion. Of course the teacher said 'No way, we accept anyone who is interested'. And thus began 2 years of primary school choir practice.


Over time I could see improvement. Not earth shattering improvement, but definite improvement. I no longer felt the need to hide in shame and run away.  Terrible off key, tone deaf, flat singing was replaced with just mediocre bad singing. I thanked the music teacher profusely for being caring and spending the time, putting up with that singing, and training my daughter.


This past week after 3 months of practice I got to witness my beautiful daughter perform in a musical. On her second day of high school she decided to try out for the school musical {braver than I was as a child} and she made it into the chorus {so glad for attending a tiny school that was happy to accept anyone who wanted to try} She had several small parts {a tree, a card guard, ribbon dancer} and several songs to sing with the chorus of about 15 kids.


For the most part we are still low singers and not very good.


But oh how my heart soared when I saw her poised elegantly waiting to sing...

Sitting directly beneath a microphone.


And everything was fine.


I could hear her and it was beautiful.



It felt like full circle.

If you keep trying one day your weakness will be made strong.
Not perfect. No.
But stronger than before.



And yet another lesson learnt as a parent.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

FHE Lesson {Plan of Salvation}


A few years ago I read an article about ensuring that you teach the plan of salvation at least once a year. We have done this many times in many ways {usually with the children drawing out what they know of the plan of salvation, or printing and colouring it, laying out all the pieces}
Here are a few other ideas.


Opening Song:  I lived in Heaven #4

Opening Prayer:


Lesson:

The inspiration for this lesson comes via this activity in the
January 2014 Friend Magazine


Choose a method to share the Plan of Salvation:

:: Plan of Salvation Printable or draw up your own on paper/whiteboard.

:: Attach a string from one side of the room to another. This represents your life line.
Using paperclips attach printouts of the stages of the plan of salvation in order along your string. Printout a picture of person and also cut one out of plastic for the 'spirit' of the person. Attach body and spirit together as needed during the timeline representation of the Plan of Salvation. Move your person along in their trip along the plan of salvation timeline.

:: Share this picture: found here


:: Plan of Salvation Colouring Page


Activity:

After sharing an overview of the Plan of Salvation in whichever manner you choose do the activity on page 43 of the January 2014 Friend Magazine . You can print and cut that one or make a similar one of your own.

Draw a path on paper/card and cut and glue the pictures that show milestones in life.
Alternatively using masking tape, tape out your own life road and place the pictures in order.
example of pictures to print/draw or words to write are premortal life, birth, baptism, gift of holy ghost, follow the commandments, temple, follow Christ, my future family, resurrection, live with Heavenly Father again.

Little children may also like to drive some toy cars up and down this road of life/ road of the plan of salvation. The plan of salvation is like a road map to life.


Explain Heavenly Father has a plan for our lives. It is also known as the plan of happiness. We know where we came from, we know why we are here and we know where we are going. This plan is wonderful and is like a guide for us in this life. We were spirits before, we came to earth to receive a body and after judgement in the next life our spirit and body will be reunited and we will live with our families and Heavenly Father again.


Closing Song: I will follow God's Plan for me #164

Closing Prayer:

Treat:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

FHE Lesson {Jonah}






Opening Song:  Follow the Prophet #110  {verse 7 for Jonah}


Opening Prayer:

 
Lesson:

Watch  Jonah Old Testament Video - lds.org

 or Share the story of Jonah. {Jonah 1-4}

Story below from October 2010 Friend Magazine.

Jehovah had told the prophet Jonah to go on a mission to Nineveh, but Jonah did not want to go. The wicked people of Nineveh were enemies of the Jews.
Jonah decided to run away. He went down to the sea to find a boat going to Tarshish—the opposite direction from Nineveh. Then he went inside the ship to rest. The ship sailed out to sea.
While Jonah slept, Jehovah sent a great wind. Huge waves crashed all around. The sailors woke up Jonah and asked him to pray for their safety.
Jonah realized that he was the reason the sea was so rough. “Cast me forth into the sea,” he said. The sailors tried to row the ship back to shore, but the wind was too fierce. At last, they threw Jonah over the side of the ship. Suddenly the sea was calm again.
Waves swirled over Jonah as he sank down into the water. But Jehovah had prepared a great fish to be near the ship, and the fish swallowed Jonah whole.
In the dark belly of the huge fish, Jonah prayed humbly for three days and three nights. He repented of trying to run away from serving people he did not like.
Finally, Jehovah spoke to the fish, and the fish spat Jonah out onto dry ground.
Once again, Jehovah told Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach repentance. This time Jonah did just as Jehovah asked.
Jonah told the people if they did not repent, the huge city of Nineveh would be destroyed. The people listened.
Even the king of Nineveh listened to Jonah. He told the people to turn away from evil and violence.
Because of Jonah’s missionary work, thousands of people in Nineveh repented. Nineveh was not destroyed. And Jonah realized that Jehovah loves everyone on earth, no matter where they live or what they have done.
Jehovah is another name for Jesus Christ. He is Heavenly Father’s oldest son. Heavenly Father asked Him to create the world and to help people return to Heavenly Father’s presence. When Jehovah speaks to people, He is usually representing Heavenly Father. In the Old Testament, Jehovah is usually referred to as Lord. After He was born in Bethlehem, He was known as Jesus Christ.
God, our Heavenly Father, is the father of our spirits. He loves and watches over us always. We worship Him and pray to Him. Hundreds of years later, Jesus explained that just as Jonah was inside the fish for three days, Jesus would be buried for three days and then live again (see Matthew 12:40).


Activities:

Using a blue blanket {or anything you can think of to be a whale!} have one child be the whale/fish and swallow up Jonah. {We may have had each child have to be the whale, and each child Jonah - thus taking 20 mins up! Physical lessons are favourite here} Then after an amount of time have the fish push out "jonah'.

Discuss how we can be like Jonah before { when he was scared, running away, disobedient}
and Jonah After {Repent, try to right our wrongs, humble ourselves, help others}



Jonah Maze - Friend Magazine February 1998

Jonah Printable characters - Friend Magazine October 1990

Jonah Colouring Sheet - Friend Magazine April 1998


Closing Song: Dare to do Right #158


Closing Prayer:


Treat:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day 2014

I feel lucky that most years I manage to squeeze in a little mothers day photo shoot.

Lucky we go to church and are usually dressed nice.

Very helpful indeed. Very helpful.

My most treasured Mothers Day Tradition.





 




and because kids love a silly one :)




Today my eldest gave her first talk in Sacrament and it was great. She did such a good job despite being a little nervous. Her topic was what my mother taught me. At first we laughed because she seemed a little stalled in writing it. I fear it was because she couldn't really think of anything that I have taught her {it's always a little hit to ones ego when kids can't come up with the goods about their parents. But I have to think that it's because their life is just so awesome they just don't realise all that we do, have done, and do teach them. With a  lot bit of prodding though she served it up!}

With some jiggly children and trying not to lose our patience my heart was touched when as daddy's hand reached out to still her she reached out and put her tiny hand in his to measure it up beside it. Playing with his hands and then on to mine made me realise just how tiny they are and that sadly they are only tiny for such a fleeting time. As my last one, the only tiny one left I almost shed a tear over how bittersweet it was to see her tiny hand playing these sweet games in ours.

When I had suggestions for presents earlier in the week it was met with
'It doesn't really matter what YOU want mum. We have plans' which made me laugh.
Then today with a child snuggled up really close in church she says
" I love the smell of your sweat mum' {HA!}
I'll take that she meant my personal smell and not the smell of my sweat! As she often comments she loves my smell. That comment actually made me smile as I've read of sweet comments where people say they know exactly how their mother/grandmother smells and I always thought it would be so sweet to be remembered by scent. My grandma was a good cook and caterer and I always think of her when I smell butter and caramelising onions. That a smell can evoke memories is a true blessing.


For remembrances sake I was a lucky girl and gifted:
 mixing bowls, two blue towels, moisturising cream for a massage from the kids, lindt white chocolates, nail polish remover. Smelly sachet, candle and notebook from school mothers day stall.

And a personalised poem from our resident poet:

My Mother

My mother is everywhere
She makes me smile, braids my hair.
My mother is special and unique
She deserves a little sleep.
Mother you mean well,
You are my gentle shell.






FHE Lesson {Ten Commandments}

Since we are studying the Old Testament this year, trying to keep up with adding lessons from there.




Opening Song:  Keep the Commandments #146

Opening Prayer: Child

Scripture: Exodus 20:3-17

Lesson:

The Ten Commandments were given to Moses for the people of Israel to live by.
The commandments are still important for us to live by today.
Jesus said people should live the commandments through the prophet Moses.
The Prophet today - President Monson wants us to do the same today.
The Ten Commandments tell us that we should:
Worship God only
No taking Lord's name in vain
Keep the Sabbath day holy (maybe list how to do this)
Honor thy mother and father
Shalt not kill
Shalt not steal
Shalt not lie
Shalt not commit adultery
Shalt not covet


We need to try hard to keep God's commandments. They are important to live to be a good person.

Activity suggestions:

Make a "mountain" to act out the story of Moses receiving the commandments

Make a poster in tablet shape and get kids to write on the commandments


Play Simon Says
Mark out roads with masking tape and make little road signs. Have children "follow the laws/rules"
{Explain how these object lessons are similar to following God's laws}


Closing Song:  Choose the Right Way #160

Closing Prayer: Child

Treat Ideas:

Flat bread and/or food from Biblical times
Make Commandment tablets by using frosting/edible pens (black colour) to write on biscuits

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mothers Day Duality




The tale of my two Mothers Day happening simultaneously.


Reality one:

How can it be Mothers Day when woken up at 6am 
Children begging you to eat breakfast in bed even when it is the worst thing in the world
Forced to eat a cold breakfast that's been repeatedly touched
Copious amounts of handmade cards and presents which you are required to love and admire when perhaps you think they should be destined for the bin.
The 5 Ferrero rocher flowers you were given at church were eaten by said kids
Chocolates are a must give present only because the children know that they will get some
Begging children to get themselves ready for church, clean up around the place, go to bed early, ----- insert any preferred behaviour ----- as gift to you.

The holiday itself makes you depressed because it is far from the serene, kind, full of willing helpers to do your work while you laze the day away dreaming of just how perfect motherhood is.
When the best mothers day would be one where you are no where near your children.
We do that mothering thing 365 days a year... how about a No Mothering Day...


Reality two:

Little ones climbing into bed early with squeals over making you breakfast in bed
Happy breakfast laid table sitting around it together 
Beautiful handmade cards with heart melting sentiments with ' If I could wish for just one present it would be you' 'You are the best mum in the world' 'My mum is special because she makes me my favourite chocolate and strawberry cake' (this made me laugh because 1- I didnt know they had a favourite cake and 2- I don't think I've ever cooked said cake ever) 
Presents from the heart, funny things they think you've always wanted, some surprising insightful.
Handwritten signs welcoming those into our house on mothers day.
Tears shed at church from wonderful talks about motherhood
Afternoon tea shared with family.
Lots of kisses and cuddles


A child composes their own song for you and your heart melts.


Just perhaps each Mothers Day is really a little combination of both.
Both are true depending on how you look at things.
Some Mothers Days are hard, some easy and blissful.
An emotional rollercoaster - Just like motherhood really!




I will accept that in life's most simple moments there may always be an aspect of duality.

It all depends which side we choose.



Monday, May 5, 2014

Ode to Mothers {Ghost of Mothers days past}


I nursed the baby at 4am.
I shared my bed with 2 little kids {and the Mr in there somewhere too}
They left to make breakfast and set the table, only to come back 10 mins later {6:25am}to beg me to come and open presents. So much for a sleep alone - 10 mins it is!

A breakfast of burnt pancakes and bubbly maison, my lovely presents displayed on the table.


Then a child informs me they wet the bed. Deal with that.

The Mr leaves for early morning church meetings.

Two older girls have a fight, I yell that they are NOT ALLOWED TO FIGHT on Mothers Day.
There is ONLY ONE DAY OF THE YEAR  you have to be good I say!
ONE DAY!
and that day is TODAY!!

Please!?!


I almost drive off to church minus a few kids, I don't know what was taking them so long but they weren't in the car!! Then we participate in my self imposed torture of keeping four kids still in church alone in the 3rd row.

BUT...


But as I held a sleeping baby, kissing her on the head, and had a 7 year old nuzzle into my side, while patting a 3 year old on the back as she sat upside down on the chair, and looked over to a 9 year old who had the 3 year old on her, I felt joy. Tear sprung to my eyes. I kept my head bowed , emotions getting the best. Listening to the speakers expound on the importance of mothers. A few breaths and I thought I had it together...

But then I had to watch The MR deliver a 20 min talk on Mothers and women in the gospel. He may have started his talk with " A happy wife is a happy Life!....This week I upset my wife" but he won me over in the end with  talk of how much he loved us, and all his crying!

And then I saw it. I knew it to be true.

My family all right there. Four little ones nestled into my side. My husband 3 metres away straight ahead, looking right at me, talking about the sanctity of motherhood.

And I look down to my short bitten fingernails and see chipped ugly 'Barbie pink' nail polish
{polish they chose for my gift and asked me to wear}

The polish reminded me that my Mothers Day might not be perfect {or nice or attractive} but it's mine and they gave it to me. All day I looked at that polish and thought of them. For without those beautiful girls I would not be a mother.

I might leave it on for a few more days.



PS  Mothers day went really uphill after I fell out the door wearing heels and carrying 3 bags of rubbish. I've twisted my ankle bad and had to be carried everywhere the rest of the night :) Well atleast I got a bit of guilt induced obedience. "Get this, Do this, Go to bed, mummy can't come etc as I lay down in agony for half the night.



Leading up to Mothers Day I thought it might be fun to share some of my previous pieces regarding this most wonderful day of the year. A bit of preparation to prepare us to the realities of it all :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

FHE Lesson {Mothers}


Mothers Day is coming up and I think we can all do with a little reminder to love our mothers more.

Opening Song: Mother Dear #206



Scripture:
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying:
We do not doubt our mothers knew it. (Alma 56:48)

 Lesson:
Have your family take turns sharing favourite memories about their mother or grandmother.
What do you love most about your mum?
If you have them, look at photos of the women in your family.

Why do we have mothers?
Why are mothers so special?
Did Jesus have a mother? (Show gospel Art picture kit picture 242)
How did he treat his mother?
How can you (child) show your mother you love her?

What special day is happening in one week?
Go through ideas or plans on how you plan to celebrate.

 How can we act like it is Mothers Day all year round?

Activity
Write/draw on a heart shape something child/husband will do for mother this coming week.

Closing Song:  The Dearest Names #208

Closing Prayer:

Treat:
Heart shaped cookies or MUM letter cookies
Mum's favourite dessert

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