Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Using Sign Language in Primary

While we were in Utah, we attended church in a deaf ward.  

It was so neat to watch my brother-in-law bless his child using sign language, to sing hymns as the congregation signed, and to watch the Sacrament being blessed with signs. People prayed with their eyes open to see what was being said.  :)  And everyone helped each other.

I especially enjoyed watching a little Primary child pray using sign language.  I could feel the spirit as I watched the music leader lead the children in songs all sung with sign language and to watch my sister-in-law tell a story to the primary children about a time that she felt the spirit as a little girl.

I immediately noticed Autumn trying to imitate the signs.  She told me she didn't want to go back to our primary because it was too boring.  Why?  Because we don't use signs!

Lots of the hearing cousins picked up signs just from attending primary, even my older nieces came home from Young Women's having learned signs like "covenant" and "ordinance" and proudly showed them to us.

I loved how welcoming the ward was and how they tried hard to make sure we understood what was being said.  It made me wonder if we are doing enough in our hearing wards to make sure that children (and others) who are deaf or have other disabilities are able to participate in church lessons.

Sign language is not just for kids with hearing impairment.  Signs can be used by hearing children to simply engage them more in the lesson and allow them to be "active" while learning.   

While we were visiting, the children were learning a song about baptism.  We learned the sign for baptism and whenever we did that sign, we were asked to stand.  This made the lesson very fun and interactive...and I will probably never forget the sign for baptism!

I would encourage anyone who is serving in the Primary to look into learning basic signs to help all children learn and to help children with disabilities participate more actively and to feel included in their Primary family.

Here are a list of basic signs that might be helpful if used in a Primary setting:
baptism, pray, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, please, thank you, help, blessings, family, always, scriptures, prophet, commandment, Amen.

You might think about matching just one sign with each month's theme and teaching it to your Primary children.  And if you have a child with disabilities of any kind, you might approach the parents of that child and discuss signing or other special ways that their child might communicate with you and others in Primary.

Click here to learn how to sign all of the Primary songs.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Time in a Bottle

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty, except for the memory of how
They were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with...

Borrowing the words of Jim Croce today as I reflect on the wonderful family reunion we just had for the last two weeks in Utah.  Missing my family again, and as my kids open their teacher assignments today, I'm thankful for these wonderful days we've had together...and for the promise of eternity of days like these...

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple

A few weeks ago, Guy asked me when "our" temple--The Philadelphia Temple--would be finished.  I wan't to know too, so I pulled up the Philadelphia temple website on my laptop, and we learned a lot of things about the temple.

One of the best things we learned is that visitors to the temple construction grounds are welcome, and they even have a pair of missionaries to give you a little tour.

So on our way to the airport on Wednesday, we stopped by the temple site and had a wonderful experience learning about the construction and then splashing in the beautiful parks nearby.  

We are Pennsylvania "proud and true" and we are so excited and feeling blessed to finally be getting a temple in our great state...the State where this country was born.

Of course, we hopped on a plane and upon landing in Utah immediately saw two temples at once.   What a place. 

Here are some more facts and photos we took to give you an idea of how progress is coming along on the Philadelphia temple:

The Philadelphia temple was announced at General Conference in 2008.  I cried when I heard and thought of my Grandpa who was born and raised here.  He would be so happy.

The temple is scheduled to be completed in 2016 and is being built to last through the millennium.  A granite building has not been erected in downtown Philadelphia in about 100 years, so the crews are being carefully trained to do the job right.   

The temple is being built in a very urban area, right downtown, near some really cool parks and other large churches.  They are building an underground parking garage, a maintenance building, a chapel/cultural center across the street, and a large apartment building.  Who knows what else will be added to the plans before they are finished?  Hopefully, they will include a small visitor center as part of the church building.

The interior furnishings are meant to harken back to the days of the founding fathers of the United States and to match the colonial architecture of the city.  While we were there, we heard that the windows had just arrived, so maybe when we get back from Utah, we will drive by and see more progress!

We are looking forward to having a temple here in Pennsylvania very much...It'll just take a few more years!  For more information on the temple check the Philadelphia Temple Site.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

50,000 Indexers Can't Be Wrong

We're in Utah right now for a family reunion/baby blessing and having such a wonderful time.  But I wanted to take a moment to let you know about the Family History record-setting event that is taking place this weekend.  

The goal is to get 50,000 indexers to submit at least one batch in one 24-hour period.  You can help make history by joining volunteers from around the world on Sunday, July 20th and Monday, July 21st and index just one batch of family history records.  

As I have mentioned before even my children can help with indexing.  You can help spread the word and get others involved: Organize an indexing party; create a family challenge, or email this information out to your friends and family..  

 No matter where you live or what language you speak, you can lift where you stand and add to this historic worldwide achievement. You may choose to work on any project you prefer. However, it is suggested that you work on the following projects in your native language:
  • US-Obituaries, 1980-2014
  • US-Passport Applications, 1795-1925
  • US, New Orleans-Passenger Lists, 1820-1902
  • UK, Manchester-Parish Registers, 1787-1999
The record-setting begins at 00:00 coordinated universal time (UTC) on July 21, which is 6:00 p.m. mountain daylight time (MDT or Utah time) on Sunday, July 20. It ends 24 hours later, at 23:59 UTC (or 5:59 p.m. MDT) on Monday, July 21. Check the FamilySearch Facebook event page for your local start time and status updates. 

One batch is all it takes. Don’t miss your chance on July 20 and 21 to be part of this history-making event! Plan now to get involved and add your name to the record-setting legacy! 

Let's get to work helping to hasten the work of salvation!

*New indexers can visit https://familysearch.org/indexing/ to learn more about how to join the FamilySearch indexing effort. 

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Preparing Children to Make and Keep Covenants

When I wrote my first post, I shared this picture of me getting ready to enter into the covenant of baptism.   That was a happy and cherished day.  This has become a beloved photo, and looking back, was the perfect way to start this blog.
Since then, I've gained new insights into the covenants that I have made, and I've turned my attention to helping my children place their feet squarely on this path as well.
What is the covenant path?:  Bishop Gary E. Stevenson has said, "In our lives...certain things are absolutely essential...These spiritual markers are the essential God-given...ordinances of the gospel," which include: baptism and confirmation, priesthood ordination, and temple ordinances.
Someone in a recent General Conference suggested that we make a list of the upcoming essential ordinances that are needed by our family members in order to help our children progress in the gospel.
Being more of a visual person, I thought it would be fun to have a visual reminder of the covenants that our family has made over time.  So I decided to start a "Covenant Path Wall" in our home.
So far, I've only gathered two photos for my wall (Guy's baptism and mine).  I just got it started today, but I already love it.

Soon, we'll have Scarlett and Autumn up there, and hopefully a photo will surface from Steve's baptism day as well, in addition to photos from our special days in the Lord's temples.  
Even with just two photos, it makes my heart smile every time I walk by this wall, and I can tell that it will help us all to focus on and rejoice in the covenant path that we are so blessed to be traveling on together.

Last fall, Sister Burton shared some lovely hints about helping to prepare children to make and keep temple covenants in her talk "The Power, Joy, and Love of Covenant Keeping."

I am including her list here as a reminder to myself of her suggestions:

What are some ways we can create such a home to prepare our children to make and keep temple covenants?
    We can discover together what it means to be worthy of a temple recommend.
    We can discover together how to listen to the Holy Ghost. Because the temple endowment is received by revelation, we need to learn that vital skill.
    We can discover together how to learn through the use of symbols, beginning with the sacred symbols of baptism and the sacrament.
    We can discover together why the body is sacred, why it is sometimes referred to as a temple, and how modest dress and grooming relates to the sacred nature of temple clothing.
    We can discover the plan of happiness in the scriptures. The more familiar we are with Heavenly Father’s plan and the Atonement in the scriptures, the more meaningful temple worship will be.
    We can learn the stories of our ancestors together, research family history, index, and perform vicarious temple work for deceased loved ones.
    We can discover together the meaning of terms such as endowment, ordinance, sealing, priesthood, keys, and other words related to temple worship.
    We can teach that we go to the temple to make covenants with Heavenly Father—we return home to keep them!12
Let us remember the concept of “good, better, and best” as we teach.13 It is good to teach our children about the temple. It is better to prepare and expect them to make and keep covenants. It is best to show them by example that we cheerfully cleave to our own baptismal and temple covenants! 
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Washington DC Temple Drone Flyover Video

Ten years ago this May, Steve and I were married in this temple.  It is the temple of my youth.  Our family drove eight hours to get there every time we went.  I still remember clearly the first time my Dad took me to see it at night on a youth temple trip.  We came around the corner and this stunning window into heaven is what greeted me.  

When I lived in DC, it is where I was trained to serve as an ordinance worker.  It is still beautiful and amazing to me, and one of my very favorite places.  I love this unique representation of the temple and it's wondrous spirit.  Hope you enjoy and share it, and your testimony about temples, with others.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Personal Progress for Leaders

So the other night, I was checking on on my Personal Progress.  I was having a good time watching those little rectangles change color as I filled in my value experiences on my online personal progress record.

Then I realized, I'm more than halfway to earning my Young Womanhood Recognition again (the first time was when I was a youth.)  Yippee.

Then I thought I'd better check the back of the Personal Progress book to make sure that I am indeed following all of the guidelines and getting the correct people to pass off my work.

That's when I read this:

"Personal Progress Requirements for Leaders:

 - Serve for a total of one year as a Young Women leader.
 - Complete the required value experiences in each of the eight values
 - Complete three value projects, including the project for virtue."

What?  I had no idea leaders could earn their medallion using this abbreviated list of requirements, either that or I knew and just forgot, but either way that is really good news.  

So all you Young Women leaders out there who think you can't possibly earn your personal progress award along-side your girls, think again.  And all you other ones who are trudging along slowly doing all of the required value experiences: you don't have to be a hero! (Or be a hero and do all of the requirements, I won't stop you!)

But whatever you do, remember this from Personal Progress (pg. 91):

"Leaders are encouraged to work on Personal Progress along with the young women.  Those who participate in the Personal Progress program themselves understand the program better and set a favorable example for the young women to follow."

The Young Women need your example.  

You don't have to be Noelle Pikus-Pace with a silver medal hanging around your neck to inspire your youth.  But what an example she set and what volumes she spoke to the youth by wearing her Young Woman medallion as she stood on the medal stand to receive her Olympic medal.

Yes You, regular ole Sister Young Women leader, can be a hero to somebody, just by making personal progress your priority.  Every value experience that you complete says to your girls, "I can do it, and so can you."

For those who asked about requirements for other adults to receive their YW Recognition award, here they are:

Participation of Mothers

Mothers are welcome to participate with young women in earning the Young Womanhood Recognition. Mothers work from their own Personal Progress book and may earn the recognition along with their daughter. It is recommended that a daughter earn her recognition before or along with her mother.
Mothers may complete the same requirements as their daughters, including:
  • • 
    Attend sacrament meeting regularly (where possible).
  • • 
    Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth.

  • • 
    Complete the value experiences and value project for each of the eight values.
  • • 
    Keep a personal journal.
  • • 
    Read the Book of Mormon regularly.
  • • 
    Record her testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Mothers may select different options for the elective value experiences and the value projects from their daughters. The experiences and projects may be signed and dated by their daughter, their spouse, a Young Women leader, or another adult. The bishop verifies that the requirements have been completed. Recognition and the purchase of recognition materials should be coordinated with Young Women leaders and the bishopric.

Personal Progress Requirements for Others Who Desire to Work on the Program

Other women who desire to participate in and complete Personal Progress may do so by completing the same requirements as young women and by assisting a young woman with a portion of her Personal Progress. (See requirements for mothers on page 92.)
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

And a little child shall lead them...

Just bringing their friends to church, but when I sit back and look at this picture or when I think about any of the youth of the church, I can see how the Lord has plans in place to hasten His work.

What has your child done recently to lead your family in righteousness?

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Elder Christofferson

In his talk "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Elder Christofferson spoke of the reality of the Resurrection and everything that flows from it.  

In the scriptures we read that many witnessed the facts of Christ's resurrection, some believed and some did not.  

"Even so today, some believe in the literal Resurrection of Christ, and many doubt or disbelieve.  But some know," says Elder Christofferson.

In this church, we are blessed to be lead by prophets who know!  

And those same prophets promise that each can and should seek their own personal witness of the Savior.

For "In due course, all will see and all will know; indeed, 'every knee shall bow and every tongue confess before him," (even those who currently will not believe.) 

I am reminded of Elder Neal A. Maxwell's 1974 quip, "If you sense that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Lord, why not do so now?  For in the coming of that collective confession, it will mean much less to kneel down when it is no longer possible to stand up!"

When I first heard Elder Christofferson's talk, I was immediately impressed by his train of logic.  He lists a great many things that follow, that are possible, that are true, and that we can count on "because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ."  

I thought it would help to put Elder Christofferson's "logic chain" into a paper chain for our kids to see "all that follows because of Christ's resurrection."

For our lesson, I wrote, "Because of the resurrection..." on a piece of paper and asked my kids to listen for all of the things that are true because of the resurrection as we watched the talk together.  

When they heard something that finished the sentence, they wrote it down on a piece of paper, which we later cut into strips and constructed into a paper chain.

I liked the paper chain, but it was hard to read all of things we listed.  My kids love paper chains and we usually use them to count down to something.  So they naturally started taking links off of our chain as we normally do, but instead of throwing them away, we taped them under our sign that read "Because of the Resurrection."  That way, every day we are reminded of something that is possible because of the resurrection.

Here are some of the things we listed from the talk:

We can trust Christ.
What he taught is true.
The miracles he performed were real.
He was the creator of the earth.
He will come again and reign upon the earth.
There is a resurrection and judgement for all.
The grace of Christ is real.
Our doubts in him are unfounded.
Jesus Christ is the only name by which salvation comes to mankind.
Death is not permanent.
No injustice in permanent.
Heaven and hell are real.
He is divine.
He lives forever.
His priesthood power is real.
He rescued us from extinction.

There are so many truths to be gleaned from this great talk.  What truth did you hear, that follows from the facts of the Resurrection that you especially liked?

Here are our most recent General Conference Lessons:

Following Up - Elder Ballard
Spiritual Whirlwinds - Elder Andersen
Roots and Branches - Elder Cook
I Have Given You an Example - Elder Scott
Grateful in Any Circumstances - President Uchtdorf
Let Your Faith Show - Elder Nelson
A Priceless Heritage of Hope - President Eyring

Check out the rest of them at our General Conference Lessons page.
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