Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pioneer FHE Lesson {for Newlyweds}

Ok first of all... I know this seems really long.  I promise it isn't as bad as it appears.  It is just spaced weird (with some of the bullets being really far to the left--don't ask... I'm not in the mood to fight with bloggers formatting) and I copied the stories/ quotes instead of having links for most things.  If you don't have time to go through EVERY thing though, pick the characteristics you want to focus on.  Or divide it out and use this one lesson for mulitple weeks! :) 

The reason I made this family home evening is because with us living in Utah, celebrating Pioneer Day (July 24th) is pretty big.  I wanted to have an FHE lesson where we both could learn and grow.  All of the Pioneer FHE lessons I found were teaching little kids about pioneers.  Well, my hubby and I have grown up hearing those stories our whole lives.  I didn't really know how applicable that was at this time in our life.  Instead, I thought about why the pioneers traveled west.  Why.  To go to Zion.  Well, fortunately everyone is not called to leave their homes today and gather in one place.  But that means that Zion should be where ever we are.  That is the point of this FHE--to help establish Zion in our own homes {while we are just newlyweds}.

Opening Song: Hymn #30 Come, Come Ye Saints (especially verses 1 & 2)
Opening Prayer:
Scripture:  D&C 59: 2-3

·         Questions to Discuss (with answers I thought of—if you don’t like any, use your own)
o   What is a pioneer?   (Define:  A pioneer is a person who opens a way or prepares others to follow.)
o   What sacrifices did the pioneers have to make?  (leave homes/ families, physical trials, travel to Zion, etc.) 
o   What sacrifices do we make that are similar? (leave our families and establish our own, move often, learn to get by with little money, establish Zion in our home, etc.) 
o   What sacrifices do we have to make that are entirely different?  (attend college, save money for a family, etc.)
·         President Monson said, “We honor those who endured incredible hardships. We praise their names and reflect on their sacrifices.
“What about our time? Are there pioneering experiences for us? Will future generations reflect with gratitude on our efforts, our examples? You young [people] can indeed be pioneers in courage, in faith, in charity, in determination.
“You can strengthen one another; you have the capacity to notice the unnoticed. When you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel, you can reach out and rescue others of your age” (“Pioneers All,” Ensign, May 1997, 93).
·         We can be pioneers for our (future) children and our children’s children’s children.  The Mormon Pioneers gave up everything to come to Zion.  So tonight, let’s figure out how we can make our home become Zion.
·         How to build a Zion with just two people (or more if you already have kids):
o   Read Moroni 7: 45—although this talks about charity, I’m pretty sure it is a good “Zion” list too.  In place of the word charity, have the wife read the scripture with her hubby’s name and then vice versa.  Are all of these things true?  The following short activities will help strengthen these areas of your life to help build Zion.
o   Suffereth Long
§  The Savior was the perfect example of someone who suffered.  Have each person find and share his/ her favorite scripture about a time when the Savior was suffering.
o   Kind
§  What things can your spouse do to be kind to you and show you his/her love?  Make a list of at least 5 simple things he/ she could do for you then share lists.  (For example: I love getting a text/ phone call from my hubby during the middle of the day.  When he does that, I know he is showing me his love.)
o   Envieth Not
§  Have each person use the camera and find three things that you love having.  Use this to focus on what you do have instead of being jealous/ wanting other things.  Share the pictures with your spouse.
o   Not Puffed Up
§  Read and discuss the following story from the Jan 2008 Ensign.
§  “Putting My Marriage before My Pride”
By Irene Eubanks
“Like any couple, my husband and I have had disagreements during our marriage. But one incident stands out in my mind. I no longer recall the reason for our disagreement, but we ended up not speaking at all, and I remember feeling that it was all my husband’s fault. I felt I had done absolutely nothing for which I needed to apologize.
“As the day went by, I waited for my husband to say he was sorry. Surely he could see how wrong he was. It must be obvious how much he had hurt my feelings. I felt I had to stand up for myself; it was the principle that mattered.
“As the day was drawing to a close, I started to realize that I was waiting in vain, so I went to the Lord in prayer. I prayed that my husband would realize what he had done and how it was hurting our marriage. I prayed that he would be inspired to apologize so we could end our disagreement.
“As I was praying, I felt a strong impression that I should go to my husband and apologize. I was a bit shocked by this impression and immediately pointed out in my prayer that I had done nothing wrong and therefore should not have to say I was sorry. A thought came strongly to my mind: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?”
“As I considered this question, I realized that I could hold onto my pride and not give in until he apologized, but how long would that take? Days? I was miserable while we weren’t speaking to each other. I understood that while this incident itself wouldn’t be the end of our marriage, if I were always unyielding, that might cause serious damage over the years. I decided it was more important to have a happy, loving marriage than to keep my pride intact over something that would later seem trivial.
“I went to my husband and apologized for upsetting him. He also apologized, and soon we were happy and united again in love.
“Since that time there have been occasions when I have needed to ask myself that question again: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?” How grateful I am for the great lesson I learned the first time I faced that question. It has always helped me realign my perspective and put my husband and my marriage before my own pride.”
o   Seeketh Not her Own
§  Instead of focusing on you, focus on your spouse.  Think of something you could do to serve him/ her in the next week.  Ask him/ her for ideas.
o   Not Easily Provoked
§  Read the what/ if scenarios out loud and talk about how you would honestly respond.  Then decide what you could change to help you be a more Zion-like person.
§  Diner is almost ready.  It is in the oven and the timer is going to go off in 2 minutes.  You just finished setting the table and even got out the candlesticks and cloth napkins to make it a special evening.  You go invite your spouse to join you for dinner and they say they will be right there.  You go back to the kitchen and take diner out of the oven.  You then sit and wait at the table.  10 minutes pass and your spouse is not there.  Diner is getting cold.  What do you do?
§  You have the day off from work.  You are so excited because it has been a busy week and the most important thing to you is to catch up on your sleep.  You told your spouse this the night before and he/she agreed to be as quiet as possible in the morning and to turn the alarm clock off as soon as it went off so you could keep sleeping.  You have now heard the alarm clock go off 6 times and your spouse is still in bed.  Finally he/ she gets up and realizes what time it is and frantically gets ready and turns on all the lights trying to find everything.  What do you do?
o   Thinketh No Evil
§  Read the following quote by Robert E. Wells.
§  "Control your thoughts because they become the words you use.
Control your words because they become the actions you perform.
Control your actions because they become the character you reflect.
Control your character because your character becomes your destiny.
Control your destiny by becoming what your Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, want you to be."
§  When bad thoughts come into your mind, replace them with your favorite hymn or primary song.  Have each person pick their favorite “go to” song and then practice singing them together.
o   Rejoiceth not in Iniquity  (this means basically means you are happy when someone else does well)
§  Take turns telling your spouse something he/ she did well and that you were so excited for them doing so great.  Shine the spotlight on him/ her.
o   Rejoiceth in Truth
§  Take turns sharing your testimony with your spouse.  It doesn’t have to be your whole entire testimony that encompasses everything you know.  Simply testify of the truths.
o   Beareth All Things
§  Write in your family journal (or a personal one or write a letter to yourself if you don’t have either) about a trial you are currently going through and write about what you have learned.
o   Believeth All Things
§  Take turns reading each of the 13 Articles of Faith out loud.
o   Hopeth All Things
§  Write a letter to yourself in where you hope to be in 5 years (or 10).  Seal up both letters in the same envelope and read them in 5 (or 10) years.
o   Endureth All Things
§  The only way to endure is by doing the daily “simple” (prayer, scriptures, etc) things.  Evaluate how you and your spouse are doing both personally and together and make a commitment to improve.
·         Commitment: just like the pioneers were willing to give all they had to come to Zion, I hope we will be willing to do the same in our own home.  Have each person commit to working on establishing Zion between the two of you this week.

Closing Song: Primary Song # 213 “To Be a Pioneer”
Closing Prayer:
Activity: Watch “17 Miracles” if it is showing in a theater near you.  Or watch “Legacy” together at home.  This is available on the “Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Visual Resource DVDs.”  (It is the 4 disc set put out by the church about fairly recently.)
Treat: The July 1975 (old school baby) Friend magazine has a List of Pioneer Recipes.  (Click that and pick one.)  Or make your favorite treat.  Surely Zion will consist of all our favorite foods. ;)  --I wanted to try some of the pioneer recipes but didn't have time.  So we went with the favorite and had Reese's ice cream with caramel.  Yum!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Eternal Blessings of Marriage"

Yesterday, I was blessed to be able to attend my first Relief Society activity in my new ward.  I was excited to go (1) to learn and be spiritually uplifted and (2) to meet new friends and feel more comfortable with those around me.  I'm happy to report that both of my objectives were accomplished! :)

We talked about ideas for FHE, even as newlyweds.  I have written about this before and my strong conviction to have FHE because we are a FAMILY.  Find my testimony and why FHE is important to me in "The Blessings of and Ideas for FHE."  This post is also a great resource because I listed off countless ideas at the bottom!!  I hope some of them will work well with your family!  Another great FHE idea to check out is "Looking For The Good."  I loved doing it at the time.  I just went back and watched the video I made again and love it even more now that we have moved.  We have record of our previous apartment!  300% recommend EVERYONE have this FHE lesson sometime!

Anyway... I just realized that Family Home Evening may not look like it is super important in our lives.  I haven't posted about it in a while.  (We have had other things on our mind--like applying for jobs, loosing weight, moving, etc.)  And although we have continued to have it week after week, writing about what we have done to help inspire you hasn't been happening.  I'm going to get better at this.  I promise! :)

So my idea for today comes from the past General Conference by Elder Richard G. Scott.  His talk called "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage" is PERFECT for newlyweds!  Perfect.  (As well as perfect anyone with a spouse--and maybe even hoping to someday have a spouse.  It is just a great talk!)  I have a few ideas for the lesson--pick what works for you!

First off, let me just say that his conference address is very similar to the CES Broadcast he gave on September 10, 2010.  Casey and I had the opportunity to watch that address live in the Marriot Center.  We were sitting really close and loved it!

Lesson Ideas:
1. Read the Conference talk together.  Look for ways he was able to show his wife love and then try to follow his example.  (You can read the talk online by clicking HERE.)
2. Instead of reading, watch the Conference talk together.  (Click HERE for the video.)
3. My FAVORITE idea.  Assign one person to read/ study the conference talk before hand and assign the other the CES Broadcast talk.  Then present them together in FHE and compare and contrast how they are similar and different.  (The text for the CES broadcast is found HERE and the video is available HERE and then click on the movie stream.)  --As a note: the CES talk is much longer.  Assign this to whoever will have more time/ reads faster/ etc.

Activity Ideas:
Write a letter to your spouse.  Instead of reading them, seal both letters in an envelope and write on the outside of the envelope the date (or event) when you will open the letters and read them.  Example of when to read the letter--1 year from today, 5 years from today, on your next anniversary, when you come home from the hospital after the birth of your baby, night of graduation, etc.
P.S. We enjoyed this lesson.  It was a good reminder.  We were so busy that night though that we didn't have a chance for the activity.  We still need to write letters to our future selves.  I'm excited for this because it will be fun to read them eventually.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Glimpse of Eternity

Ok... So first of all, this picture is from 2 months ago--I'm behind on blogging... I know.  Casey and I went to BYU AstroFest.  It would be SO much fun for little kids but we still enjoyed it without little ones running around! :)

I love this though because as we sat in the BYU Planetarium, I caught a glimpse of what eternity will be like.  Beautiful and without end.  It is amazing to sit there and watch all that surrounds us in the universe and to know that this was all created for us.  It didn't just happen out of nowhere but instead with a plan and for a purpose!

Another place that really helps me glimpse into eternity is when we spend time in the temple.  (This picture was taken yesterday.)  With all the moving and boxes and cleaning and sorting and boxes--everywhere (sidenote: we really are working to unpack all the boxes.  We are making major progress but wow we have A LOT of stuff housed in several boxes.), it is nice to take a break and to go somewhere clean and orderly.  I want my home to resemble the temple--beautiful and peaceful.

But anyway, as we take the time out of our super busy lives to attend the temple, I am reminded of all the blessings that await in the next life.  It is glorious and I know it is real.  It sometimes seems hard to think that there is anything after this life or to get caught up in the craziness of the moment, but the temple is a gentle reminder that eternity does exist and it is just waiting for me.  I love little moments like this that remind me who I am and what we can become! :)
P.S. As a sidenote, I just mapped how long it takes to drive from our home to the Jordan River Temple.  It is under 20 minutes.  But here is perspective for you.  Yesterday while we were on the freeway, I sighed and then stated "Gee we sure live far away from the temple.  It takes a long time to get there!"  Keep in mind, before we moved, we lived maybe 4 minutes from the temple.  Maybe--only if you had to stop at the lights.  And so I miss our less than 4 minute weekly commute but am grateful to now have 4 temples under 30 minutes away! :D