It was kind of a rough weekend for some friends in our ward! A little girl from our Primary is in the hospital for an unexpected emergency surgery and one of the sisters I visit teach had two trips to the ER. Once blessings and meals were sorted, I started thinking about “Get Better” cards and posters. We put together a poster for my Primary friend and I had it printed as an engineering print at Staples. (Yes, I think they recognize me on sight over there!) The kids from her class all signed it yesterday.
I was thinking how nice it would have been if I had already had a poster designed that I could print off for all the Primary children to sign! So I designed two simple, multi-purpose posters, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
They are both designed with large groups in mind: I thought it would be cute to have children or youth sign an individual rain drop or write notes on the umbrella. The text is all outlined as well, because I think the poster will take on some great personality with a little bit of coloring. A quick note, remember that engineering print paper is quite thin, so if you’re using Sharpies or markers they may bleed through.
I made these available in a few sizes, depending on your needs. They are all black and white PDFs.
I hope you never need these, but if you do, they are perfect for a Primary group, Seminary class, or youth group to sign and share with anyone in need a of a little cheering up from a sick bed.
Remember Scattergories? That board game in the 80’s where you raced to fill a page of the alphabet, A to Z, with words from a particular subject or category. I thought it was fun. This Valentine’s printable is the same idea: the letters A through Z are formatted into a little mini booklet. The “giver” fills out each alphabetical mini page– a compliment for every letter of the alphabet. You know I love this idea because I’ve done it before: click here for a list of 350 alphabetical compliments to help you get started.
It’s nice because the whole booklet only takes two sheets of paper, photocopied front to back. It’s meant to be cut in half twice, collate and then folded. There are 7 quarter pages total (one quarter page is blank). So you’ll cut on the red lines and then fold on the light blue lines. Another note: the PDF comes out of my printer perfectly the way it is designed–it’s a printer that is enabled to print two-sided. You may need to experiment to get the PDF to print front-to-back correctly depending on your gear.
Also, not every letter of the alphabet is at the top left. This makes the alphabet exercise more forgiving–the compliment doesn’t really have to start with the letter, it just needs to be incorporated into the phrase, if that makes sense. There’s plenty of space for your creativity and doodling. I will note, however, that perhaps colored pencils or crayons would be best for a lighter stock of paper (so it doesn’t bleed through).
You might notice up top that I finished off the booklet a piece of washi tape to keep the booklet closed! It stays folded rather well on it’s own, but a cute paper clip, rubber band, or piece of twine would all be cute. I didn’t staple it but that’s another good option.
You might also note that I filled in the name of the recipient on the cover.
I think it’s a sweet Valentine’s for a friend or teacher. It would be really fun to create with a YW class (draw names and fill one out for each other) or for Family Home Evening.
Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly! I put together a fun printable to give to Visiting Teaching sisters, family members, your Young Women or Primary kids. It’s not exactly romantic, so it applies to friends and family. These are two per page, designed to be cut in half.
I thought they’d make cute cards, too. They are designed to be cut in half and folded: they should fit A6 envelopes.
Over a year ago I watched closely as my friend Julie sent her oldest son, Josh, on a mission. She’s a great mom and I really admire her commitment to living the gospel and parenting–she has always been such a good example to me! You might want to read that post first: Becoming a Missionary Mom. A few weeks ago I asked Julie what she would she would have done differently now that she’s has a son who has been serving for a while. She had some really useful thoughts and ideas that I thought I would share here!
First, one of the most important things Julie shared:
I can’t emphasize enough to not fall into the comparison trap or over do it trying to do everything you see and hear about. Personally, I try to take it easy when reading about others and even sharing about my missionary…each missionary is just so different, has unique experiences and expresses themselves in their own way. Some missionaries write eloquent, spiritual letters and some sound like they are texting. Each of them is doing their best to serve the Lord and their people in the best way they know how….just keep reminding yourself of that and be proud of what your missionary is doing. Missionary milestone should be celebrated individually and not stacked in comparison to another’s milestones.
Such great advice and a good reminder for everyone, I think.
Julie has loved being part of a Facebook page specific to her son’s mission. I can totally see how this would be helpful–I *love* the Primary presidents page I’m a part of on Facebook. It’s so helpful. Julie says it’s great to join these pages as soon as you get the call because it’s such a great place to ask questions and get information. As a reminder, Julie notes:
I am not a fan of using these forums to complain, overshare or brag but posting photos and good experiences are great….luckily my experience has been the latter.
One of the ways Julie got organized before Josh left on his mission was by setting up a couple of binders: one for Josh’s missionary supplies, one for Josh’s important info, and one to keep track of Josh’s letters and emails. Julie confirmed that this system has worked really well for her! (Yay! I love binders.) She says:
I am so glad I did the binders as I have referred to them many times throughout his mission. I’ve had questions from other moms about what I bought where, I’ve needed to refer to sizes of clothing for my son and I’ve needed access to passwords for college and bank information. This binder was quick and accessible for getting to this information.
Julie made and keeps preprinted address labels in her binder to make sending a package super easy and quick. She also keeps a box nearby where she stores items for packages. She collects items that are good deals at end-of-the-season holiday sales (socks, gloves, clothing, candy, school/office items) and keeps them in her box to organize for packages.
Julie said a favorite gift for her son was a Shutterfly calendar filled with photos! She included pictures on days of the month, family birthdays, holidays for the country he’s serving in and random messages on various days throughout the year. It was a great, small, light-weight gift which is great for sending to more expensive mail destinations. I love this idea!
She also recommended putting a few items in each package for the companion, especially if there is less family support. Including items like candy, stickers, and other small items can also be easy for your missionary to share with kids and investigators the missionary is serving. And be considerate that if packages are sent to a PO Box or mission home someone needs to pick-up and deliver those boxes, so don’t over do it in size, weight or the number of boxes you send.
There are a couple of things she would have added to her binders:
It may sound silly but I wish I had tracked how much food I served and how much I spent so I can more easily prepare for the homecoming and my next missionary. That being said, I’ve heard that homecoming gatherings tend to be smaller in numbers but this could vary from place to place and family to family.
She also wanted Some sort of pre-printed form to fill in companions and areas…I’ve been terrible in tracking this. Although this can be tracked a number of ways, there are even apps for this. Again, I struggled in keeping up so I’m not sure if anything would’ve have helped me!
Finally, as far as phone/Skype calls! Julie says plan but don’t over do it.
We’ve tried to do something fun each call (one call we all wore his shirts to see how long it take him to notice, another one we borrowed sombreros and maracas and sang Feliz Navidad). Make a list of things to talk about and questions to ask because the time will go quickly and it’s easy to just sit and giggle and not have talked about much. Take a family photo w/ your missionary on the laptop, have sibling play the piano or an instrument, have a family prayer, have them bear their testimony, etc.
Do ask about their health, cleanliness (laundry, housekeeping, etc), work ethic, eating, etc. I think loving reminders to call the doctor when needed, keeping their toilet clean, and writing in their journal can be good….well, at least to make us moms feel better, right? This can also be a good opportunity to ask if they are following the rules or struggling with the rules or work…I’ve heard many stories about missionaries who fool their families into thinking they are having one experience only to have the companion write home and tell his family that is not the case…social media can be a crucible of truth!
A lot of these details are things that haven’t even occurred to me, so I am so glad that Julie is willing to share her experience. Thanks for leading the way, Julie! Great tips.
Whether you’re sheltering through #blizzard2016 or just bummed that you had three overcast days last week (SoCal winter), late January can be a struggle. If you’re in a bit of a January funk, I have a super simple happiness tip for your Monday morning: get some new lotion that smells like summer.
We all know that sense of smell is a powerful thing. There’s nothing that screams summer for me like tanning oil! It’s not even like I spent all summer tanning, there’s just something about that coconut smell that reminds me of warm days and sunshine. So if you can’t add another errand to your day, try digging up your sunscreen and put it on your elbows. I think the smell will make you really happy.
If you have the time, make your way to the Target lotion aisle or Bath and Body Works. I’ve been using Tahitian Island Dream from B&B all week and the smell has been helping me beat back the January blues. It’s delicious. If you’re ambitious, pick up a new shampoo and conditioner as well. Perfume? Whatever. Make yourself smell so good that you can’t smell the defeat of the gray skies above.
A small act of self care can make all the difference.
I just have to share this amazing graphic by Bryan Beach from The New Era. It’s another really fantastic illustration of the concept of The Covenant Path. I cleaned it up a bit to make it easier to print and I thought I’d share this printable version with you. It would be another nice addition to your Baptism Preview booklet if you feel so inclined–the PDF below is in full color, horizontal. I’m thinking about using it as a visual at the program as well.
If you’ve been following along, you know that this year our ward will be doing our Baptism Preview with a slightly different focus. Rather than an “Eight is Great” celebration for the Baptism Preview, I really feel moved to discuss The Covenant Path with the Primary children. A lot of the Baptism Preview will be the same: we’ll still talk about what to expect from baptism, the logistics of when and where the baptisms take place, and what to bring. But all of this will be set within the context that baptism is the gate to the rest of the covenant path. I want the children to leave the Baptism Preview with the idea that they are at the beginning of a fulfilling, lifelong adventure.
With that in mind, I rewrote the booklet we give out to the children at the Baptism Preview. Much of the content is similar to the original version I wrote about 10 years ago. But the focus in this new one is truly the temple and future covenants. Remember: “As we stand in the waters of baptism, we look to the temple.” Primary is the beginning of the covenant path and we have the unique opportunity to be sure the children see a glimpse of the lifelong blessings of covenants in their lives.
I also included a few activity pages–the art is from the Media Library on lds.org. Some of it is from the Family History workbook (which I love) and a few other items are from the coloring pages that are available. It’s all formatted into a 9 page PDF which is easy to print and photocopy. If you’re in a pinch, you could easily use the first page of the black and white version as your cover page. I am hoping you’ll be able to print out the full color version available below as your cover.
Also, please note that the whole PDF is shifted to the right one full inch, intended to be hole-punched on the left.
I love the tradition of spotlighting children at church! My husband always says its his favorite part of the day in Primary. There are lots of really great spotlight forms already out there, but it’s always nice to have a clean copy to download. The first one is based on the spotlight form my secretary has been using all year. I redesigned it and added a few extras. It’s available for you to print below.
The next one is a variation: a “This or That” spotlight. This one is easy to complete on the fly–I don’t even think you need to fill it out before the child comes up front. You can ask them the questions and they can answer right on the spot. Fill it in as you go and then the child has a fun memento to take home.
I put together an All About Me worksheet to use with my family, but I think it would be a great fit for Primary. I made a couple of adjustments to include a spot for “Favorite Scripture Hero.” These would be fun to hang on a bulletin board in the Primary room, too.
And finally, this year we’re doing a question jar in Primary. Last year when the teachers had birthdays, we had them come to the front to sing to them and we allowed the children to raise their hands to ask 3-5 questions. Guess what the first question always was? How old are you! Hilarious. We got a lot of repeat questions and questions that are funny but don’t really focus the attention on the teacher. So this year, we decided to put together a list of really good questions in a jar to use for both the kids and the teachers. This is what we’ll be doing rather than a spotlight. We may occasionally take questions from the audience, too, but at least we’ll have some thoughtful questions to start with!
The first song we are learning this year in Primary is If I Listen with My Heart, found in the 2016 Sharing Time Outline.
I promised I would share worksheets meant to help the kids learn the words–the one for this month’s song is below. It would probably work best for readers, so you might want to share it only with your Senior Primary.
Every Monday I try to post an idea that could help as I try to practice happiness now. I try to keep it very practical, but the idea I want to share this morning is an equal mix of both practical and theoretical. It’s based solidly in the scriptures and it’s something I feel strongly about. The relevant verses, from Mosiah 4:16-21:
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
To be happier, I suggest giving money to people when asked. Yes. I mean to people standing on the corner holding cardboard signs. Yes. I mean to the woman in the parking lot who wanders by your car as you’re loading your groceries. Yes. I mean to the travelers at the gas station who ask for a few bucks for gas. Just give.
You will feel happier if you just give a few dollars (or a few quarters if that is all you have) rather than exercising the mental gymnastics it will take to justify not sharing with them. Don’t worry about what they are going to do with the money. That is just not your problem. Your only job is to “succor those that stand in need of succor.” You will be happier if you worry a lot less about the political implications behind your $2 and just give.
Give because you are a giving person. Give because it is the Christlike thing to do. Give because you are a human being on this planet.
Give because of what it does for you, not because of what it may do for the person who is asking. When you give, you express dependence on the “same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have,” acknowledging a humility and respect for Him. Giving is a way of showing gratitude for all the you have been given.
You may have a chance to give more. You may have a chance to make a significant difference at a non-profit, or fundraise for a charity, or organize a social welfare program on a grand scale. You probably already give tithes and offerings at church.
Even so. When you have a few bucks that you can share with another person you’re interacting with on the street, look them in the eye and hand them the money. I always close with “Good Luck,” and my husband always says “God Bless.” Take your pick.
If you really don’t have the money, don’t burden yourself with worry: just say “Not today.” You know that you are the kind of person who gives when you can. You should feel no guilt. You’ll give tomorrow when you have more to share, or in the days that come after that, because we live in a world of abundance with a God who is generous with His children. You are a giver and you give when you can.
If you’re interested in a more scientific, data based approach to why giving is the VERY BEST WAY TO LIVE, please, please read this great speech by Albert C. Brooks, delivered at a forum at BYU in 2009. Not only does giving make you happier, it also makes families more financially successful. The evidence is compelling and his personal experiences are delightful.