Thursday, April 28, 2011

Exercises Fot The Soul - Forgiveness

I, the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. -D&C 64:10
Gospel Truth: Forgiveness is using the power within us to overcome anger, feelings of revenge, and unhappy and bad feelings. Oue Heavenly Father commanded us to forgive everyone, and he will help us as we try to keep this commandment. (FHE Resource Book).

Print the letters F,O,R,G,I,V,E, on seven small pieces of paper. Mix them up and give them to family members to make into a word. Give them help if needed. When the word is complete ask each family member to complete the sentence, "Forgiveness is ________________.
Read the above gospel truth and D&C 64:10.

All of us will have to exercise the principle of forgiveness in our lives, sometimes repeatedly or for great injustices. I am thankful that my father showed me the importance of forgiveness in his life.

Personal story: Shortly after my Dad was called to be Bishop when I was a teen-ager, a distant relative called the Stake President and told him lies about my father and that he should not be Bishop.. In my youthfulness, I was livid and thought we should take legal action against this relative. My father calmed me, ignored the claims and showed me the principles of forgiveness. Life went on and this relative faded into the background. I am greatful for his example as I have had to use these principles multiple times in my own life.

Expeience by Cheif Blue of the Catawba Indian Nation: "One day my eleven-year-old son went squirrel hunting with six other Indians. He saw a squirrel run up a tree and cimbed up to scare it out on a limb. After he had done this he called to the others to hodd their fire until he could get down. One of the Indians in the hunting party had always been jealous of me and my position as chief. He and his son both both shot deliberaately at my boy. He was filled with buckshot from his knees to his head. The Indians carried my boy towards home and found a spot where they lay him while they ran for the doctor. A friend came and found me and said, "Sam, run home at once; your boy has been shot.." I ran all the way home and found my boy near death. The doctor was there and said that the boy would not live. He was right; the boy died in a few minutes. The man and son who had done the shooting were in my front yard visiting with members of the crowd that had gathered. They did not appear to be upset at their deed. My heart filled with revenge and hatred. Something seemed to whisper to me, "If you don't take down your gun and kill that man who murdered your son Sam Blue, you are a coward.."
Now I have been a Mormon ever since I have been a young lad and I knew it would not be right to take revenge. I decided to pray to the Lord about it. I walked to my secret place out in the timber where I have always gone to pray alone when I have a special problem, and there I prayed to the Lord to take revenge out of my heart. I soon felt better and started back to the house. But again I heard something inside whisper, again I turned back and prayed until I felt better. On my way back to the house I again heard the voice say, "Sam Blue, you are a coward." I turned again and went back to pray and this time I told the Lord he must help me or I would be a killler. I asked him to take revenge out of my heart and to keep it out. I felt good when I got up from praying. I went back to the house a third time and when I reached the house I went out and shook hands with the Indian who had killed my boy. There was no hatred or desire for revenge in my heart. (See Marion G. Romney The Power of God Unto Salvation, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year[Provo,3 February 1960] pp.6-7.)

Ask: Was it too much to expect Chief Blue to forgive his son's killers - especially when they did not repent? How did Chief Blue's strong desire to overcome hatred and revenge make it possible for him to forgive? Where did he get the strength to forgive?

If desired and if time, you may want to contrast the above experience with the parable of the unmerciful servant. (See Matthew 35).

Emphasize the importance of wanting to forgive, believing we have the power to forgive, and receiving the blessing of having hatred and revenge taken from our hearts.

Possible Hymns: Should You Feel Inclined To Censure, Love One Another (LDS Hymnbook)

Person of the Week: Jacob Hill When he went to meet his Preschool teacher, she asked if he was always as happy as that day. His mother said yes! Conggratulations to "happy boy", Jacob!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Exercises For The Soul - Sacrifice

The greatest sacrifice ever made was that of our Savior, Jesus Christ, when he took upon himself our sins and laid down his life for us. Anciently people were commanded to worship the Lord by offering their choicest animals as a sacrifice, in similitude of the Savior's yet-future sacrifice. As part of his gospel, the Savior instituted a different sacrifice-the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, commemorated at the sacrament table. And in this dispensation, the Lord has added to the law of sacrifice and gospel law, revealing tthe law of consecration. When we receive the law of consecration, we covenant to give our time, our talents, and to offer ourselves-our hearts filled with gratitude, love and humility. (Family Home Evening Resource Book p. 219)

Discuss the following experiences: Experience 1, While getting ready for baseball practice, David overheard his mother on the phone trying to get a baby-sitter so she could visit her sick mother. After two neighborhood girls said they were busy, David volunteered to stay home from baseball practice and tend the baby. During the hours he was with his baby sister, he felt more love for her than he ever had before.
Ask: What made David happy?
Explain: When we make a sacrifice, there is not always happiness immediately. Sometimes we have to wait a period of time before we can feel the resultant happiness or just feel good we have done the right thing.

Personal Experience: At one time in my life I was feeling like I needed to look for more charitable experiences so I began to pray for opportunities to give charity. I felt impressed to call my mom and offer to stay with my great aunt for the day while she did whatever she would like. ( She had been responsible for the care of her aged mother-in-law and my great aunt for about two years). I thought she would want to spend the day shopping at the mall or some such recreational acticvity. When I offered, she said."Thank you. I was wondering how I was going to get to the temple." I was glad I had listened to the prompting.

Relate the following incident to your family: A whole family gave up a comfortable life in a fine city and spent approximately ten years travelling to a new continent where they prospered and found freedom to worship Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Who were they? (The family of Lehi.)
What sacrifices did they make? (Gave up home, wealth and country.)
Why did they leave their home? (They followed the direction of Heavenly Father.)

Read Matthew 19:16-22.

Ask: What did Jesus require of the rich man in addition to following the commandments?
Why did the rich man leave in sorrow?

Assignment: Challenge family members to make at least one sacrifice for another member of the family, relative or close friend during the week. If desired, experiences can be recorded and shared at the next Family Home Evening.

Possible Hymns: Any of the Sacrament Hymns. "As I have Loved You", LDS Hymnal

Person of the Week: Josie Manwaring for organizing and putting on a fun carnival to help raise money for the girls in their ward to go to Girl's Camp.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Exercises For The Soul - Journals

" Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal." - Spencer W. Kimball "A journal is a continuing record of meaningful experiences that affect our lives. Through his prophets, the Lord has commanded each of us to keep a journal. As we record our activities and feelings, we can more clearly see the Lord's influence in our lives." -The Family Home Evening Resource book. WHY KEEP A JOURNAL? Help each family member understand how a journal can bless his life. Personal experience: I am not a very good "journal writer" but I am so glad I have some things recorded. Recently I decided to re-read the only journal I succeeded in keeping for about a year of my life when I was a teenager. There are not wonderful, faith-promoting experiences in it but mostly teenage trivia like a brief description of my 16th birthday, my first real infatuation, and my feelings upon moving to a new school and making new friends after doing the same thing only a year before. There is this tantalizing entry which taught me what not to do. It goes something like this: "I had an interesting day today but I am so tired I'm going to bed. "I will never know about the "interesting day". Still, it is interestinng to me to see that I had many typical feelings of a teenager. Scripture: To help famiily members understand why the Lord and his prophets have asked us to keep records, read and discuss 2Nephi 25:23. HOW DO I BEGIN A JOURNAL? When my children were very small I decided to help each one of them keep a journal. I got an inexpensive folder for each child. I would write what each child wanted to put in their journal. I could also put pictures the children had drawn in them t00 showing something they wanted to include in their journal. The first night I sat down with Ben ((then about 5 years old) and asked him how he wanted to start. I offered several suggestions like, "Dear Diary". He said, "I want to write 'Dear Children'. Since then I have used that perspective when recording events and feelings. As I have mentioned, all my attempts at keeping a journal have been short-lived. Here are some simple ways to keep records: -I kept my first check register after we were married. It is interesting to me what we spent money on and to see that we spent only $11.00 a week on groceries. That included something special for Sunday dinner like a roast. - I would make notes on my calendar of not only activities but things my children did and said that I wanted to remember. Every year I kept my calendar. -When I was in college I began the habit of keeping a notebook which listed my activities for each day. I kept this up most of my married lufe. I even listed phone calls I had to make and menus I planned for dinner. I saved all the notebooks. They not only helped me to be organized but now I am glad to have that record. There are many things I would have forgotten had I not kept a written record. -When there was an important event I would write down my feelings and store them in a box along with other poems and articles I had written. ( e.g. I am glad now to have a record of how I felt when each of our children were blessed.) -Instead of a Book of Remembrance, each of our children has a 'Box of Remembrance". At the end of each school year, each child could save their favorite school project. (I included my favorites as well as certificates and ribbons.) Each child now has their own "Box of Remembrance" and box of memories. -There are certain objects I have wanted to keep. No one will know why they are important to me when I am gone so I have typed up a brief history of each item. ( e.g. my music boxes, and each item of furniture and decoration at the cabin.) This way others will know that the reason we keep the black rocking chair is that it was the chair grandma Kern gathered her family around every morning for family prayer.) WHAT SHOULD I WRITE? Discuss the following suggestion by President Spencer W. Kimball: "Your journal should contain your true self rather than a picture of you when you are 'made up' for a public performance...The truth should be told, but we should not emphasize the negative." ("The Angels," New Era Oct. 1975 p. 5) Discuss what makes a journal entry seem vivid and real. (details, descriptions using the senses and feelings). (See autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 5th edition, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co. 1961, pp. 233-34.) Assignment: At this FHE or at another time, encourage family members to write down an experience or feelings they think would be valuable to their children. Hymn resource: "The Golden Plates", Sing With Me, B-57. Person of the Week: Sam Manwaring for his creativity in making a "Star Wars" book for grandma Kern and a car out of a cardboard box.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Summer Squash Casserole

Stephanie wanted to make this because she got some zucchini in her "Bountiful Basket". The recipe says you can use yellow crook-neck squash instead of zucchini but I never have. Zucchini used to be so prolific in my garden that I was always looking for recipes which used it. I even got a recipe from my sister-in-law for zucchini brownies. When I tasted this casserole this week, it tasted as good as I remember it. Summer Squash Casserole 2 lbs. summer squash (about 6 cups) 1/4+ c. chopped onion ( I have used as much as 1 cup.) 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 c. dairy sour cream 1 c. shredded carrot 1 8 oz. pkg. herb stuffing mix ( or make your own with dry bread cubes and your choice of herbs like poultry seasoning, sage and dried parsley.) 1/2 c. melted butter or margarine In saucepan cook sliced squash ( about 1/4 in. thick slices) and chopped onion in boiling salted water for 5 min. Drain. In a large bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Stir in shredded carrot. Fold in drained squash and onion. Combine stuffing mix with butter. Spread half of stuffing mixture in bottom of 12x7 1/2 x2 in. baking dish. Spoon vegetable mixture atop. Sprinkle remaining stuffing over vegetables. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 min. or until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Exercises For The Soul - Sense of Humor

"Good humor is truly medicine to the soul. Humor can ease tension, relieve uncomfortable or embarrassing situations, change attitudes, generate love and understanding, and add sparkle to life. A properly developed sense of humor is sensitive to others' feelings and is flavored with kindness and understanding." (Family Home Evening Resource Book p. 197) Scripture: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22 In January of 1847 the Saints endured severe trials at Winter Quarters. They had been brutally forced from their homes and were suffering from cold, starvation, and the loss of loved ones. In the midst of their sorrow came a revelation to help prepare them for their journey west. Read; D&C 136:28-29 Explain that the Lord wants us to feel joy even during hardships and trials. Describe: How a pressure cooker works. ( The sealed pot builds up a tremendous amount of steam inside it in order tospeed up the cooking process. As a safety measure, however, it releases excess steam through a safety valve, which keeps the cooker from exploding.) Point out that pressures and problems can build up in all of us until we feel like exploding in anger or tears. One safety valve the Lord has given us is a sense of humor. Discuss: How can humor release frustrations and put problems in a different light? True story: When we lived in Canada, my dad had to have a clean white shirt evey Sunday morning. (He was the Branch President of our small Vanderhoof Branch.) My mother didn't always have one ready which is understandable because we got all our water out of the creek and things had to be washed by hand. One Sunday morning we were waiting in the car to go to church while mom put the finishing touches on Sunday dinner which would cook while we were away. When mom hurriedly joined us in the car we all looked at why she gasped and ran back into the house. There sat my dad in the car with his Sunday suit on, a tie around his bare neck, and no shirt. My mother said it was the fastest she had ever ironed a white shirt and he always had a clean, pressed white shirt waiting for him in the future. I learned a great lesson that day. Using humor, my dad was able to change behavior without nagging or causing contention in the family. Help family members understand that humor must be appropriate to fulfill its proper purpose. Read the following from Elder Richard L. Evans: "There is both dignified and undignified humor. There is loud-mouthed humor, uncouth humor. There is evil, offensive humor. And there is high-minded. delightful humor." (Richard l. Evans' Quote Book p. 221). Discuss what makes appropriate humor. Stress that humor that degrades, embarrasses or is based on sarcasm or indecent situations is inappropriate. We should never make fun of another's physical indirmities or handicaps, ethnic or racial differences, the sanctity of the body or sacred things. Help family members understand that even people in important positions in the Church see humor in serious matters without making light of spiritual things. We, too, can be light hearted without being light-minded or silly. Assignment: As a family, try to find humor in a problem you are facing right now. Encourage family members to help family members see the humor in future problems. Role-play some possible embarrassing situations and let family members find humor in the situations. (e.g. At a party someone points out that you have on one black shoe and one brown. Possible response: "I have another pair at home just like them.") Possible song: Smiles (Sing With Me p. D-5) Persons of the Week: Bella and Maya Kern for making beautiful St. Patrick's Day cards and sending them to Grandma and Grandpa Kern.