26 April 2015

Today in Primary

Whew!  Today was really rough.  I had all of my six regular children attending plus a visitor.  We started off the same as always.  Everyone taking a potty break and getting a drink before we get started.  I was planning on using the scriptures quite a bit during the lesson so I sent a couple kids to pick up 7 quads from the library.

Because the class was pretty loud and wild today (um...which I guess is the norm?) I decided to start with our personal scripture study just to calm them down and get them quiet.  It actually took a long time to get everyone settled.  (I was super happy to see, though, that I have successfully taught them all to find the Articles of Faith!  They go to the back of the book where the index is and then know that the AoF are the last scriptures before the index.  All of them read in the Articles of Faith during our scripture study.)  But man!  There was lots of talking and people getting comfortable and shouting out that they had found the Articles of Faith and announcing which verses they were planning to read or had read.

But FINALLY we got everyone quieted down and reading silently.  It was actually so nice that I dreaded interrupting them and moving on!  They were content to keep reading.  But they were also excited to tell me what they had done this week.  Some kids like to tell multiple stories and we had so many people.  It was taking forever!

Then I reminded the kids about listening for thoughts in our minds and feelings in our hearts and I mentioned that it might be more difficult today to hear our special message from Heavenly Father and asked them if they could guess why?  They did!  Because there were so many people and it was kind of noisy!  But with that reminder we were ready for the prayer.  It was really awesome, though, when the one boy started out his prayer by saying "Heavenly Father" the spirit just wooshed in there and a feeling of reverence prevailed (momentarily, at least).  After the prayer I asked him if he had noticed it and thanked him for bringing the spirit so quickly and powerfully.

The lesson was on the Word of Wisdom and I had planned that the kids already knew a lot about the Word of Wisdom and so I would have them each stand and take a minute to teach the rest of us what they already knew.  But when I asked them about the Word of Wisdom, no one knew what I was talking about at all!

So I had to scrap that plan and come up with something else. So we broke open the scriptures to the actual Word of Wisdom.  It took us a long time because instead of just telling them where to go, we talk through how to find it.  The Doctrine and Covenants is towards the end of the scriptures.  It's past the Book of Mormon but if you reach the Index you've gone too far.  It's hard for these little ones because I see "Alma" at the top of the page and know that's the Book of Mormon, but they don't know that yet.  They don't know that Isaiah is in the Old Testament and that Luke is in the New Testament.  But it seems like an important skill to know and a great accomplishment for them to begin to become familiar with finding their way through the scriptures.

Finally, everyone made it to the Doctrine and Covenants.  Then we had to find section 89.  And wouldn't you know it?  TWO sets of quads were missing the pages that chapter 89 was on!  So frustrating for me AND for the kids who otherwise would have found it!  So I had a couple kids share scriptures and then everyone took a turn reading a verse.  It was slow going there, too, as even the few kids who are accomplished readers still aren't that great at reading scriptures.  But again, important skill!  So we persevered and I gave as much praise and encouragement as I could.

We stopped every verse or two to discuss what it meant--literally, because the vocabulary was often beyond them but also what the gospel points and principles were too.

It was so hard because the one child who rarely participates was off in a corner making all sorts of noise by banging on chairs and making strange noises with his mouth.  Anytime I asked that child a question to get them participating in the lesson, they answered with something completely off topic.  And this one child's distractions were completely distracting another child who then started to participate in all this noise-making.  Two other children were complaining about how noisy it was and how they couldn't hear me and they were trying to listen.  One poor boy was actually near tears, he was so frustrated.  He suggested taking this other noisy child to his parents.  I was frustrated too.

The best part of the lesson was at the end when we were talking about the blessings contained in the scriptures by obedience to the Word of Wisdom.  We were talking about what "health in the navel" meant.  I explained that their navel was their belly button.  So what kind of health would that be?  We discussed that for a while.  Then we were talking about "marrow in the bones".  As I was explaining the function and purpose of bone marrow, one girl remembered learning about that during an episode of Cat in the Hat so she told us all about what she had learned and what happened on that show.

I asked, "Do you think that those are ALL the blessings Heavenly Father has for us?"  Of course not!  They knew that.  So we kept reading more verses and talked about how there were blessings for our brain and mind, too.  Then we got to the last verse about how the destroying angel would pass by them.  It was awesome.  They didn't know what that verse meant at first and so I was reminding them of the plagues in Egypt when Moses was prophet and then a few of them remembered!  Some of the kids didn't know that story and so I was in the middle of explaining that story to them.  Finally, they were rapt and there was that moment of connection between me and them and between them and the scriptures and I could almost see them knitting together these gospel stories and making links.  But I became aware that we were already over time.  Like WAY over time and things were starting to fall apart as parents and siblings kept opening the door.

So there was nothing left to do but go ahead and have the closing prayer and let them go.  I didn't even really finish that thought.  I didn't finish that chapter of scripture.  I didn't finish the lesson because I had been planning on talking about Daniel and his friends not drinking the King's wine or eating the King's meat.  We didn't even have time to work on memorizing Articles of Faith.

But that's ok.  I feel proud about what we did accomplish and what I was able to teach.  I need to work out a better solution for the disruptions, though.

Give me (the title of) liberty or give me death!

Today I was reading in Mormon chapter 2 and I was struck by these sad little verses 23 and 24.
And it came to pass that did speak unto my people,and did urge them with  great energy, that they wouldstand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for   their wivesand their children, and their houses, and their homes.
And my words did arouse them somewhat to vigor, insomuch that they did not flee from before the Lamanites,but did stand with boldness against them. 

It just seemed like such an emaciated and anemic version of The Title of Liberty that we read about in Alma 46.

And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took piece thereof, and wrote upon it--In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of pole. 
 And he fastened on his headplate, and his breastplate,and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins;and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof  his rent coat, (and he called it the title of libertyand he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should band of Christians remain to possess the land—
When Moroni raised the title of Liberty, it was this huge act that inspired the people to covenant and rend their garments in token of that covenant and to rally around the standard.  It's inspring to read about!  If it were a movie there would be a swelling musical soundtrack and sweeping vistas of crowds of people unified in one great cause!

 I picture that Mormon was familiar with the story of Moroni.  He had the plates in his possession at that time and I imagine he was studying them--especially because he may have felt overwhelmed at leading the armies of his people in the fight for their lives against the Lamanites.  And so I picture him reading the story of Moroni and trying to recreate that event because he knows the task is beyond him.

But because the Nephites were so much more wicked during the time of Mormon than the time of Moroni, he has so much less to work with!  He says the whole face of the earth was wickedness, the Holy Ghost wasn't with anyone and there were no gifts from the Lord among the people.  He was even forbidden to preach to them.

So what could have been this great moment, a throw back to the awesome victories that Moroni had, was instead this sad little shadow.  With the title of Liberty, Moroni had called for the people to remember God, religion, freedom, peace, wives and children.  But Mormon was constrained to inspire his people by reminding them only of their wives, children and houses.  There was some power in invoking these family relationships and home because Mormon says it aroused the people somewhat to vigor and they were able to stand with boldness and fight.

But it was missing the power behind Moroni's words which included invoking the name of God and their religion and caused the people to covenant in the name of Christ.

It makes me think about the world we live in today.  And, at least in the United States, that there seems to be a war on religion.  Religious rights seem to be eroding away and God and religion are mocked.  Atheists and Anti-christs are our revered priests now and those with religious fervor are considered simple, narrow-minded or bigoted because of their faithfulness.

It reminds me of the quote by Joseph Smith:
 “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”
 Moroni was able to invoke God and religion as well as liberty, peace, family and home and this inspired the people to great faith and great deeds.  However, Mormon was cobbled by having to exclude God and religion from the equation.  And there just wasn't enough power left in family and home to inspire the people to aspire to great faith and great acts.  Our communities and countries will also be made more impotent as we remove God and religion from all aspects of life.  If we want to be powerful, we can't continue to deny the source of all power.

25 April 2015


I walked in the front door with my hands full of groceries.  Mack, Pink, and Wink were the only ones home...

Mack:  Come on, you guys.  We have to help mom with groceries. (starts to go outside to get more bags)
Me:  That's ok.  This is all there is.
Mack:  Well, we still need to help you put it away.

Each child took a bag or two from me and by the time I walked in the kitchen, all the groceries were out of sight!  Apparently this is one thing I have taught my children well!


A couple of weeks ago I scored a case of 48 loaves of frozen French baguette dough for only $2!  The downside is that it was a bulk purchase so there are no instructions of any kind.  How long do you let it defrost, rise?  What temperature do you bake it at.  I had to do some serious freezer reorganizing to even get 48 frozen loaves to fit.

And both times that I have tried to make it, I've let it rise for way too long and ruined it.  7 loaves down the drain.  My only consolation is that at least it's only a waste of  less than a nickel per loaf.

From JJ's Camera

These are some photos that JJ took of the little girls when  we went to go see "Meet the Mormons" a few weeks ago.

This was a photo he and Wink took to see whose eyes were darker.


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