Monday, March 31, 2014

Scripture Study With the Moss Family

Another favorite blogger of mine is Jenifer Moss.  She blogs at .  She is the mother of eight adorable kids.  Her testimony, even in the face of incredible challenge is a strength to me daily.  I appreciate her letting me share how her family studies the scriptures together.  

Here she is:
scripture time.
remember this is 6:30 in the morning, so they are all still tired!
i LOVE the perspective that other families bring to my life.
it helps me to feel better about what i am asking my family to do.
and, it helps me reevaluate some things.
i like the balance that my family has.
BUT-- i did need to change some things.
I started with SCRIPTURE TIME.
our scripture time had morphed into scripture lounging, playing, corralling of wild horses, time of day.
children listening sometimes, playing and laughing other times, and parents trying to fit in a small ounce of devotion into the morning.
it was planned for Monday through Friday, but was probably achieved only 3 or 4 times a week.
casual was the name of the game.
things are still casual-- but my focus is shifted.
i believe scripture time is a time for reverence, obedience and pondering.
i had focused much on the FEELING, but i had missed an important ingredient.
it is important that i teach my children to happily obey.
scripture time is GREAT practice!!
the beginning of the school year is a great time to move up a grade.
i'm sharing with you the changes we made and HOW we changed...
i'm not saying your scripture time should look like ours-- just giving you another example to have in your hat.
It is IMPORTANT for children to learn to sit quietly for a time during the day.
I spend much time entertaining my children and trying to make things fun.
(that IS something good that i do, but it is OK for me to expect just plain compliance sometimes.  even when it might be boring.)
we did a major REVAMP of scripture time.
having a REVERENT scripture time is ESSENTIAL for having children who behave well at school and can sit quietly at church or Sunday school.
it is GOOD for children to learn to sit in their seat, take turns reading, and follow directions.
we did this before-- but, after reading how some other families operate, i have UPPED my game and my expectations.
my kids are age 13,12,10,9,6,4 and 1.  they can ALL sit for 30 minutes a day.

Our Routine.
We start by calling everyone to scripture time (at 6:30am).  They come dressed for school and bring their baskets (see below).
They sit on the couches in the living room and we talk about our schedule (i have a big paper calendar that i have written their events on.)
We recite a memorized quote or scripture if we have one.
We go from youngest to oldest reading from one or two verses of scripture each.
We read a whole chapter.
Then we sing a few songs for eve-- itsy bitsy spider, hokey pokey, if your happy and you know it, and some songs from church.  SO FUN!!
We kneel to pray, todd calls on someone to pray.
And we say our family cheer, "family, forever!  family, forever!  DOOOO GOOD!"
we end with a big family hug, that usually ends with someone crying because the older boys were too rough.
(just keeping it honest.)

2.  read EVERY DAY!
i am not a fan of consistency.  (you know that.)
i like to change things up-- read book of mormon, change to bible, memorize scriptures, sing hymns and scriptures that go with them, follow their sunday school lessons, etc, etc.
but, i'm CONVERTING.
consistence and routine are what is BEST for scripture study.
seriously.  i can FEEL it.
and, if i'm loving a routine you know it is inspired.  (Ha!)
THIS is what works BEST for us.
Pick a book of scripture.
COMMIT to read one chaper a day-- NO MATTER WHAT.
Don't skip weekends!!  Don't skip Sundays!!  (In fact, read TWO chapters on Sunday!)
We mark the chapters that we read on our monthly calendar with a heart.
Our goal is to get 100 days in a row.
My friend Amy said the last time her family missed scripture reading was last year on her birthday. 
She said when she woke up the next morning and realized that they had missed SHE CRIED!
Her kids are just as excited about never missing a day as she is.
wow!!  that example inspired me... we are going to be CONSISTENT with this.
and, the funny thing is it is EASIER to be consistent than it was not to be.

I told my kids that story and, my kids are competitive.
They are LOVING our new consistency.
Many times we read in the CAR!!
We have missed some days this summer-- but we are SO MUCH better than we were when i thought a few missed days was OK.
anna was cranky about SOCKS the morning we made our labels.
i think i may have accidentally, and teasingly, called her a weirdo?!  (oops)
i loved the note her sweet father added to the bottom of her label.
i was not a fan of everybody read a verse.
BUT, i have been converted.
we start with lily, todd or i read and she copies line for line.
then we take turns through our whole family until we have finished THE WHOLE CHAPTER.
When i want to go fast and so i just read a whole bunch of verses, my kids get bored and zone out.
When they know there turn is coming, they pay attention more.
There is power in kids being AGENTS.
When they use their agency to read the scriptures, or even repeat the scriptures, they learn a humility and open themselves up to feeling the spirit.
since we have returned to this basic way of having scripture study i can feel a PEACE and REVERENCE in my home that was NOT there before.
i love it!!
4. Playpens?  Caging the baby!!  
many of the ladies i read about have time where they put their baby in a play pen with toys while they are teaching the other children.
that was new to me and a bit extreme.
i'm not a play pen mom...
my BABY is the worst distraction to everyone (myself included) during scripture time.
that seventh child is CONSTANTLY the center of attention.
she has eight people who clap and smile and praise her every moment of the day.
i decided to try out the playpen-- convinced i could make it fun for her.
playpen time was a BIG change.  it was good for a few days to help change things up.
Yes, i did keep the pack and play out for a week while we were formalizing scripture time, but my goal was not to have her in the playpen.
my goal was to teach her to play quietly or look at books and teach the other kids that they CAN NOT play with her for one half hour of the day.
the playpen helped the other kids to understand i was serious about NOT playing with the baby.
she is MINE during scripture time.
i gave her snacks, books, and toys to play with. 
she did great!
5. Baskets.
i made up individual baskets that we keep on our book shelf.  
one per kid.
it has their scriptures and marking pencils, their journals, and other things.
i LOVE the baskets MOST for my younger kids.
i put some paper and pencils in there for them, and a few Friend magazines.
they color their scriptures or in their journal and have things to look at while we are reading.
it keeps them happy and quiet.

Even the baby has a basket!  
Hers is filled with books.
she is learning to sit quietly and play by herself during this time.
i think this will also help her when we go to church-- she is learning there is a time for quiet.

Yup!!  For the first week, i bought brand new, yummy popsicles!
everyone who came quickly, sat nicely and participated respectfully got a great treat afterwards.
if my kids didn't come to scripture time quickly when we called, or got out of their chair, or were sassy, or looked at me wrong (hehe), or played with eve, i would say, "that's one."  
if they got to three they had to sit on a chair and did not get a treat afterwards.
the first two days, we took the best kids to McDonald's for ice cream.
the other kids were shocked.
we had pretty consecutive rewards for great scripture time behavior.
it was summertime and i didn't mind daily popsicles anyway.

i was looking around at our scripture time this morning and i was amazed at how far we've come.
we can actually talk about scriptures because we don't have to spend each morning talking about BEHAVIOR.
it is lovely and RIGHT.

Scripture time is important and a great way to start the morning.
But, this is not a post about the importance of a morning devotional.
this is a post about teaching your children to obey and sit quietly.
{i still have a long journey ahead of me with this one!!}
Honor your Father and Mother is one of the ten commandments.
when you obey the commandments, you are blessed.
my children are blessed when they learn to obey.
AND scripture time is GREAT PRACTICE!!

and, lest you misunderstand-- our scripture times are NOT quiet.
but they are FOCUSED.
as we read, we are able to discuss and ask questions and not focusing on the silly behavior of the kids who are not paying attention.
it is good.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Family Scripture Study with the Wadsworth Family

Family photo July 2013
One of my favorite blogs is  .  The author is a mother of ten, an incredible writer and was recognized as Nevada's Mother of the Year.  She inspires and blesses with her blog.  I am excited to share how her family studies the scriptures together.  

Here she is:

There's a Primary song my children love to sing, Scripture Power.

Because I want to be like the Savior, and I can,
I’m reading His instructions, I’m following His plan.
Because I want the power His word will give to me,
I’m changing how I live, I’m changing what I’ll be.

I’ll find the sword of truth in each scripture that I learn.
I’ll take the shield of faith from these pages that I turn.
I’ll wear each vital part of the armor of the Lord,
And fight my daily battles, and win a great reward.

Scripture power keeps me safe from sin.
Scripture power is the power to win.
Scripture power! Ev’ryday I need
The power that I get each time I read.

The power that I get each time I read. Don't we all seek for and want that power? Don't we want that for our children too? We can have that, you know. It takes some work, and LOTS of patience, but it is attainable.

One Sunday, many years ago, I witnessed an inspiring moment. My then 4 year old daughter, Marie, was singing 'Nephi's Courage' (Children's Songbook, pg.120) with the rest of the primary children. "I will go; I will do the things the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way; he wants me to obey." As the song ended Marie picked up her Book of Mormon, turned to 1 Nephi 3:7, and showed her teacher saying, "That song comes from this scripture."

Her teacher was amazed. "How did you know that?"

Marie pointed to her scriptures where I had drawn a green circle with the word GO written inside. "I learned it at school!"

As a family we try to hold regular scripture study every evening, but I felt I could do even more with my children by incorporating study of the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, in their daily school schedule.

Why the Book of Mormon? President Ezra Taft Benson said: "Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the single greatest tool which God has given us to convert the world." (A Witness and a Warning, by Ezra Taft Benson, pg.11) This challenge and promise includes our families. Don't we want our children to be converted to the gospel?

I'd like to share with you what we do in our home to build our children's faith and clothe them with the armor and power of God.

It's nothing earth shattering. We call them our Scripture PJ's.

Scripture Picture and Journal Study

We read each morning before doing any other school subjects. If you don't homeschool this could easily be a morning devotional before sending everyone off to school. We each take a turn reading out loud. Sometimes we read just a few verses, sometimes a chapter or more. We are more concerned with how much is retained than with how much is read.

Depending on the reading levels of your children, the Book of Mormon Stories reader published by the Church can be very helpful, but I recommend reading straight from the scriptures. At first it may be hard, but from personal experience with my own family, even young children are not too young to understand the scriptures! Reading the beautiful language of the scriptures greatly increases a child's verbal, reading, and comprehension skills. Also, do not forget that reading the scriptures invites the Spirit. And there is no greater teacher than the Holy Ghost. 

We have purchased the inexpensive copies of the Book of Mormon for each child. When we get to a scripture or story we would like them to remember, we draw simple figures or pictures in their scriptures to help them locate the scripture faster and see at a glance what the scripture is about. The green circle with GO inside is one example. Here are other picture suggestions:
  •  a sheep on Alma 17:25 for the story of Ammon tending King Lamoni's flocks
  •  children's faces inside a circle of fire on 3 Nephi 17:25 to mark when Christ blessed the Nephite children
  •  a tower on Mosiah 2:8 for the story of King Benjamin's address to his people
  •  a CTR shield for 2 Nephi 2:27 to remember that we are free to choose
The possibilities are endless. Just remember to keep the pictures simple. Colored pencils work the best. They don't bleed through and you can still see the words. You will find that the pictures act as visual cues for younger children. My older children mark their scriptures differently using a variety of colors for different gospel principles. These markings and pictures have helped my children find stories in the scriptures quickly, sometimes even faster then their Primary teachers. More important than speed, though, they are learning to mark their scriptures; they focus on what the scriptures are saying. Thus, their minds are being infused with the word of God. 

After we read, my children (the ones that can write anyway ages 4 - 16) write in their scripture journals. These are just regular composition notebooks. At the top of the page they record the date and scripture references that we read. Then they summarize what took place. They also jot down a gospel principle they learned and how to apply that principle in their life. Any other thoughts and impressions they received while reading are recorded as well.

The four year old draws a picture and then dictates to me or to an older sister what he wants written. We love to review previous entries and see how their understanding of the scriptures has increased. Can you imagine what precious keepsakes these will be for them?

That's all we do - read, draw pictures, mark scriptures, and write. It only takes 15- 20 minutes each day. But, oh, the rewards that have come from studying the Book of Mormon daily!

Promises fulfilled

The promises made by Pres. Marion G. Romney are literally being fulfilled. He said, "And so, I counsel you, my beloved brothers and sisters and friends everywhere, to make reading in the Book of Mormon a lifelong practice... I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness." (Conference Report, April 1960, pp. 112-13) Could your family benefit from these blessings too?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Family Scripture Study at the Savage's

Cheryl is an internet friend that I adore.  Her blog is honest and real.  She is the mother of 6 kids. You can find her at .  

I'm grateful that she would share how her family studies the scriptures together!  I love it when families adapt family scripture study to their individual family and situation.  I hope that you will be encouraged by her post!

Here she is:

We read scriptures every weekday morning as a family. We read at 6:30AM because #1 and Brandon need to be out the door by 7:30AM (the elementary-aged kids don't need to leave until 8:20AM). This morning, I thought it would be nice to record what it looks like!

Since I'm married to a technology lover, we read them through the Apple TV via Brandon's iPad (or my iPhone when he's traveling). It looks like this:

I'm not entirely sold on the way we do this, since I want our kids to know how to navigate their physical scriptures, but using them in FHE and Church will help. What's nice is that nobody ever loses their place, and everyone can follow along at the same time (well, when they actually pay attention). We each read five verses, except for #4, who read one. #5 repeats one verse, as well. After we're done reading (it takes about 15-20 minutes or so), we kneel down and say a family prayer. Then I turn on Pandora to the Mozart station (Classical music) and it's off to get ready for school!

Right now, we're reading in Alma in the Book of Mormon. We just finished reading Alma's teachings to his sons and started reading about the wars.

The kids are usually cold and tired, so there are a lot of blankets (may change come summertime). #6 is the only child exempt from family scripture study at this point. I'm sure it will change by the next school year, but since he can't even repeat a verse, yet, we just let him sleep. The older kids sometimes wish we'd let them just sleep:

The cat joins us:

#3 reading out loud:

It snowed last night, so we have a nice dusting outside:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thousands Will Follow

A Mother with her Children 1870 - Agnes Nicholl -

Today was Stake Conference.  I prayed this morning for a bit of direction, peace, or encouragement.  In some of the last words of the conference our stake president told of a woman he taught on his mission. When the invitation to be baptized was extended to her she said, "I can't be baptized until I am certain it is true, because thousands will follow me".  Our stake president said that she was a quiet woman, living a quiet life alone and he couldn't understand this statement.  She repeated it again later when she was invited to be baptized.  Finally she was certain, and entered the waters of baptism.

Years have passed now.  Children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren have come.  They have served missions, they have served in the church, they have shared the gospel.  Thousands have been influenced by her careful decision to join the church.  Thousands have followed.  Our stake president mentioned that looking at the situation now perhaps "thousands" was a conservative estimate.

"Thousands will follow" was the message that the Spirit burned into my heart today.  I am strengthened to handle all of the menial tasks associated with motherhood with the reminder that thousands will follow me.  My children will teach their children the lessons I have shared with them, their children will teach their children, and in not so many generations thousands will be blessed to know the love that comes from their Savior, and His plan for our salvation!

If you doubt the influence of mothers consider the following story, told by Julie B. Beck in her talk titled Remembering, Repenting and Changing:
My next story is about a woman I will call Mary. She was the daughter of faithful pioneer parents who had sacrificed much for the gospel. She had been married in the temple and was the mother of 10 children. She was a talented woman who taught her children how to pray, to work hard, and to love each other. She paid her tithing, and the family rode to church together on Sunday in their wagon. 
Though she knew it was contrary to the Word of Wisdom, she developed the habit of drinking coffee and kept a coffee pot on the back of her stove. She claimed that “the Lord will not keep me out of heaven for a little cup of coffee.” But, because of that little cup of coffee, she could not qualify for a temple recommend, and neither could those of her children who drank coffee with her. Though she lived to a good old age and did eventually qualify to reenter and serve in the temple, only one of her 10 children had a worthy temple marriage, and a great number of her posterity, which is now in its fifth generation, live outside of the blessings of the restored gospel she believed in and her forefathers sacrificed so much for.
Motherhood is an important job and today I was reminded to choose carefully how I spend my time as a mother, because thousands will follow.

***edited to add***
I hit publish on this last night and went to bed.  All night the Spirit nudged me to add the truth.  This year, as I have studied the Plan of Salvation I have been strongly impressed that the Plan isn't in place so we can merely return to live with Him, it is there so that we can one day live like HIM.  The Plan of Salvation was put in place so that we can become Gods.  It is such a beautiful truth, so strongly evidenced through nature.  A seed becomes like the plant it came from.  To think that *thousands* will follow is thinking too small, WAY too small.  There lies in me, only possible through the Atonement of Christ, the promise of posterity more numerous than the stars.   Such a blessing is worth every effort!   How great our God!

Mother To Many, #53 of 85 8x8s,
©2009. KmBerggren ~

Message from the Artist:
I have connected with several foster mothers, recently. These women offer something that I can’t even imagine having the energy to offer – a home, a hug, a heart ~ a shoulder, a safe place, a helping hand ~ to children who have come far and have far to go.
Credit Here