Posted in Faith Corner, Scripture Corner

New Year, New Themes

I am a theme person. I just love themes. And with a new year comes new themes. Yay!

The 2019 youth theme for the youth ages 11-17 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is…

If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments

~John 14:15

This theme is significant to me because my youngest son, Marcus, is 16-years old and actively participates in the Aaronic Priesthood organization in our church. Last Sunday he was ordained to the office of Priest. Soon he will be blessing the Sacrament as part of his Priest duties.

I love the inspiring music video that goes with this theme. Check it out here.

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And usually the Primary children (Primary is the children’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for children ages 3-10) have a new theme as well, but this year we have a beautiful new curriculum called, Come Follow Me, and all Primary children will be learning and sharing from the New Testament this year. I guess you could say the Primary theme is the New Testament.

This is significant to me because I am a Primary teacher to a very special five-year old boy who has some special needs. He doesn’t fully engage in Primary lessons and activities but my calling is to help him feel welcomed and loved more than anything else.

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Families and individuals in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will also be studying the New Testament at home and in Sunday School class at church. So the New Testament will be a running theme throughout this year for me and my family. We have a beautiful Come Follow Me manual to help us increase our gospel learning in our homes. Honestly, as a homeschooling mama, I feel as if I’ve known all along that the home should be Learning-Central. I am excited about this new curriculum and its purpose.

It seems to be a sort of new year tradition for many bloggers and homeschooling mamas to give themselves a theme in the form of an inspirational word. In past years my theme words have been Embrace, Trust, and Faith. I’m still pondering if I want a word for this year. I usually blog about my word and then promptly forget it, LOL. I haven’t really made it a part of me yet. But I think the idea is a neat one.

I will share, however, my theme with my SURF Club girls (the little girls in my neighborhood who make crafts with me) for January. Usually our crafts are themed for seasons and holidays and I could’ve stuck with winter crafts for January, but I decided to try something new and base our craft days on select national days. The four national days I chose for January are…

National Trivia Day  (January 4th)

National Hat Day  (January 15th)

National Winnie the Pooh Day  (January 18th)

National Puzzle Day  (January 29th)

♥ Yesterday (Friday) kicked off my craft days for January so next week I will post the results from our National Trivia Day craft when each group (I hold three craft days a week to accommodate all the girls.) has made their crafts. But yesterday’s crafts turned out great and if you want to see those I posted pics on Instagram. Do you use themes in your life? Do you choose an inspirational word to live by each year? Do you ever celebrate national days? If so, I’d love to hear about them! Thanks for stopping by and I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start (and not an expensive start like mine- a new heater for one of our vehicles- sigh) ♥

 

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Posted in Faith Corner

The Sweetest Missionary Ever (8th Month Update)

My daughter has been out on her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for eight months now. She is the third missionary in our family (our immediate family), following in the footsteps of her father who served his mission in Santiago, Chile, and her big brother, Zach, who served his mission in Calgary, Canada. In our church, elders serve for two years and sisters for eighteen months.

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This was taken at Sacsayhuaman. Aren’t these just the cutest group of sister missionaries? Marissa is on the far left. Most of these photos were taken on her weekly p-days (personal days). Since Cusco is full of amazing history and tourist sites, she has been able to experience some of these things as part of her mission. On the other six days of the week she teaches the gospel of Jesus Christ and gives service.

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In July she got to visit the coolest park which I didn’t even know existed in Cusco.

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She “met” Groot and Baby Groot!

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Can you tell what Marissa is holding?

This was taken at a baptism. Marissa and her companion taught the two boys who are dressed in white. In our church, children may be baptized at the age of eight and older. Eight years old is considered the age of accountability. If you’d like to learn more about our beliefs about baptism, especially concerning babies and children, please click here. Our beliefs come directly from scripture and revelation.

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Marissa loves all of God’s creatures and plans to pursue a career with animals after her mission. Her nickname is “Mouse” because of her love for cheese and Minnie Mouse.

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Marissa painted this picture for each boy. She loves to paint so this was a fun way she could use one of her talents on her mission.

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Marissa was actually baptized in Peru because we were living in Arequipa as a family when she turned eight-years old.

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Just a few weeks ago Marissa got to visit Machu Picchu for her third time. Missionaries get to visit once per mission, but Marissa saw Machu Picchu when she was eight and again when she was seventeen.

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Marissa has recently been transferred to Juliaca. She was very excited because she recognized Juliaca from our time spent there when she was a young girl.

♥ Do you know a missionary? Have you ever visited Peru? Thanks for stopping by! ♥

Posted in Faith Corner

Happy Easter

Wishing my readers and blogging friends a Happy Easter.

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Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

(You can skip to 30.02 for the start of the music. It’s just beautiful.)

Posted in Faith Corner

The Sweetest Missionary Ever (First Experiences in the Mission Field)

 

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My missionary has been out for 8 weeks now. She spent the first 6 weeks in the MTC (missionary training center) in Lima, Peru. Now, she’s in her first area of her mission, in Cusco, Peru. Doesn’t she look happy? She reports to us once a week, via email. Despite having some health issues, due to the changes in bacteria, food, and altitude (Cusco’s elevation is approx. 11,000 feet), she is always positive and claims she is right where she belongs. She loves her companions- her companion now is from Bolivia and doesn’t speak a lick of English, so they are teaching each other. Her Spanish is coming along well. She struggled with it in the MTC, but now she has a lot of confidence speaking it.

She shared one missionary story I’d like to post here in her own words-

The other day we got a reference from a member. The member came with us as we went to the store and talked to them. It was this woman and her mother. We gave the older woman a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. Explained what it was, talked about it, and all that. Then we asked her to say the closing prayer and taught her how to pray. I have gotten good at teaching others how to pray. She started to pray and then started crying. She was holding the pamphlet to her as though it was the most precious thing in the world. She came to church with us and I was so happy that the members welcomed her. She was so happy!!! This is why I am here, it’s hard and difficult but so heartwarming and uplifting!

♥ Thanks for reading! If you’d like to read more about Marissa’s mission and see more photos, pop over to the blog I set up for her. ♥

Posted in Faith Corner

Welcome 2018 (Themes, Goals & Inspired Words)

I love the start of a new year because it brings with it new themes; at least it does in my church. For Marcus, and all youth ages 12-17, this year’s theme is: Peace in Christ.

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For the Primary children (ages 3-11), this year’s theme is: I Am a Child of God. I serve in Primary as a teacher to a very special 4-year old boy. For two hours, I keep him entertained and safe. I take him into the Primary room and our classroom where I try to get him to engage. Sometimes we end up running in the hall, which isn’t very reverent, haha, but he’s a fast little cutie who can get away from me if I don’t force him to hold my hand. My husband often asks me before church if I have my running shoes on!

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I bought myself a day planner and I like how it has a place to list three goals for each month. My three goals for January are to create a budget for this year, to develop a daily routine which includes exercise and personal scripture study, and to read more with Marcus. Would you believe, in all my married life, I have never had to live by a budget? So, this year will be a major learning experience for me in that regard. I plan to get back into my Leslie Sansone walking videos, taking advantage of my home gym. My scripture time will focus on The Book of Mormon as well as finishing up the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. Marcus and I are reading Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic, which is the second in a trilogy created by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. We really enjoyed the first book and plan to read the third one next. We’re also finishing up the last book from this series, on audio book.

In church recently, I was inspired by a talk given by a return missionary, and suddenly a word stood out to me that I want to focus on this year. That word is, TRUST. And I realize that trusting in the Lord takes FAITH. So those are going to be my two focus words this year, and I know they will come in handy as I trust God to watch over my baby girl as she serves her mission in Peru (which just had a major earthquake), and as we sell our beautiful home of six years to build a new home, moving to a new town and starting over, because we feel led to care for an aging parent.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

♥ I would love to hear any themes, goals and words you have for this new year. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Welcome 2018 (Sending My Missionary Off)

On Tuesday morning, dark and early (haha), we drove the two hours to the airport, listening to Piano Guys the whole way while the kids slept in the car. It was drizzling rain. As soon as we walked into terminal 2, we saw at least three sets of families, encircled about their young missionaries. We knew they were missionaries, even though they didn’t have their name tags yet (they receive those in the MTC), because they were all young men or women, dressed in their Sunday best and their moms were weepy. And we were in the Salt Lake airport where LDS missionaries fly in and out all the time. (It’s fun to watch the reunions- welcome home posters, cameras out, lots of hugging and laughter.)

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After checking in her suitcases, we gave Marissa our last hugs for eighteen months. Darcie, her big sister, and I, became emotional at that point. We then watched her go through security, losing sight of her from time to time as she wove back and forth. She’s such a tiny person. Finally, we couldn’t see her any longer and had to assume she’d made it through. On the way home, we stopped at IHOP for breakfast. It was a good morning for Red Velvet pancakes. Marissa then phoned us from the airport, using a calling card, and told us she had met three more sister missionaries, also going to Peru. That was very comforting to know.

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She sent me a brief e-mail today letting me know she’d made it and was safe. She told me she directed the other missionaries through the Atlanta airport, which she was familiar with, thanks to all our travels by plane. She also was the only one who expected the humidity of Lima. She said the MTC (missionary training center) was “nice” and that she might get lost. I wonder how big it is? She will be there learning Spanish and being trained in all-things-missionary for the next six to eight weeks. Her p-days (preparation days) are Wednesdays so that will be the day each week when she can write me and others. The sweet thing about being a missionary mom is that we take priority. So if she only has time for one e-mail, I get it! Also, missionaries are only allowed to phone home on Mother’s Day and Christmas Day.

♥ On Monday night, Marissa was set apart by our stake president, with her dad and her big brother in the Priesthood circle. She was given a beautiful blessing and the spirit was so strong in our home. I have a testimony of missionary work and of this gospel. I know my baby girl is going to bless many lives in the next eighteen months as she serves the Lord full time. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Welcome 2018 (Christmas Recap & A Missionary Farewell)

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I hope each and every one of my readers enjoyed a beautiful Christmas. On the 22nd, my family and I spent the evening on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We ate dinner at The Roof (a fabulous restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith building), walked around Temple Square to see the lights and nativities, and then we ended the night at a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert, which was spectacular. My mother and her husband joined us for the night as that was our Christmas gift to them.

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Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent at home, with Grandma joining us (my husband’s mom). The day after Christmas, a very special package arrived from my dearest friend, Audria. She spoiled us! My favorite gift from her was a little teapot and teacup set. She even sent a sweet gift to my daughter for her mission. Such a thoughtful and amazing friend; I feel so blessed. For the rest of the week, we were busy preparing our home for Marissa’s mission farewell. We send her off to Peru next week!

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Kevin, Marissa, Kristine & Kelsey (I snapped their photo in our theater room just before we watched the movie, RED)

Her farewell was on New Year’s Eve Day. She gave a delightful talk in our Sacrament meeting and afterwards, friends, extended family, and neighbors joined us in our home for an open house. We offered a baked potato bar and a variety of desserts which everyone seemed to enjoy. I took a picture of Marissa with each family who came out to support her and plan to send them a copy with a thank you card. One of our favorite group of guests were our long-time friends, Kevin and Kristine, and their daughter, Kelsey (they also have two sons who could not make it). We’ve known this family for twenty years now and have stayed in touch as we’ve moved around. We have even vacationed together. It was so much fun to spend the day with them, celebrating Marissa’s choice to serve the Lord on a mission for our church, and ringing in the New Year together.

♥ On this first day of January, 2018, I have a nasty head cold. Bah! Besides sneezing a few times yesterday, I felt pretty good throughout our festivities for Marissa, so at least it waited a day to hit me full on. Marcus was sweet enough to heat me up some broth to sip and I’ve been resting up as I edit the photos from Christmas and Marissa’s farewell. This week should be pretty relaxed, focused on helping Marissa finish up her packing and enjoying our last week together before she embarks on what I hope will be an amazing adventure for her. I wish all of my readers a Happy New Year. ♥