….. And he’s off….

Can’t believe Turtle is off to high school already. But today is the day. He has been a little apprehensive, high school is a big step. But I have every confidence that Turtle will be just fine.

I am so very proud of him and the fine young man he is growing into. He has a strong moral compass and he is compassionate. He makes me laugh with his own special brand of humour. Last year at the yr 6 farewell the school chaplain described Turtle as the school’s big brother, who with quiet leadership set an example to others. I’m sure those traits will help him in high school.

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do you hear the music?

Imagine learning the jive or the waltz, or the paso doble or even zumba. Imagine learning the steps and performing the dance without music. Envisage how mechanical the movement would be if you were learning to dance by going through the motions without the music in the background to add meaning and richness to your dance. I’m thinking that in addition to being more complicated, it would also be awkward and boring!

Yet, it this what I am teaching my children to do with the gospel? Are they learning the motions but not feeling the Spirit accompanying them, tutoring them, lifting them? Attending Church without feeling engaged?
What about lessons I give to the YW at church?

Some time ago I stumbled across this talk given at BYU Education Week in 2009 by dr A Lynn Scoresby on the “Crisis of Unbelief” among the youth of the church. As a mother and a YW leader this topic is extremely pertinent. The talk covers the importance of belief as a step on the path to faith, testimony and conversion. It covers reasons for loss of belief as well as how to help children and youth nurture belief. You can watch the talk here

Since October Gen Conference in 2011, I have been studying and pondering the importance of teaching by the Spirit. I listen to a lot of talks online and have another whole lot of talks and audiobooks downloaded to my iPhone so that I have access to inspirational and uplifting material any time. It seems that everything I have read or heard since then has brought me even more things to ponder and learn in that area.

I have to say that when they announced the new mission ages and the new youth curriculum in the October 2012 GC I had an overwhelming feeling of “rightness”,  it made everything click into my place in my heart. I knew why I had been prompted to focus on this and to understand how vitally important it is to having the Spirit guide us as we prepare lessons, and to ensure we are truly teaching by the Spirit in. Both at church and at home. My children need me to arm them spiritually, to pack their luggage for their missions spiritually speaking, and also to arm them for the times ahead. This means that I need to prepare myself spiritually in order to be receptive, I need to study the scriptures, learn, strengthen my own testimony to put myself on ever higher ground. I have work cut out for me πŸ™‚

 “Our children are learning to dance without hearing the music

stranded on a desert island

 Turtle completed Primary school last year, and the school held the annual yr 6 dinner. I was on the committee of parents organising the dinner and we decided on a tropical island kind of theme for the evening. 
Planning was fun, putting it into action was laborious at time…. like carrying a dinghy into the function room at the RSL….. don’t think they’d ever had a boat in there before.
Every tropical island needs juicy drinks with little umbrellas….

The entrance had lanterns and palms

The table settings had a treasure chest for each person filled with mementos from their school years as well as some chocolate gold coins (couldn’t have a chest without treasure!)

Enos – a lesson in gospel parenting

The special edition of the Ensign on the Book of Mormon had an article by elder Neil A Anderson on how to use the Book of Mormon in our families. Having read through the Book of Mormon last year for Sunday School (and my Personal Progress!) I have started a study of the Book of Mormon again this year keeping an eye out for the truths that I could learn that are important for me as a parent raising children in the gospel.

This week I have been time studying Enos. This book has long been a favourite of mine. Only 27 verses long, but so much to learn. In the past this book is where I have learned about developing faith, about repentance, forgiveness and conversion to the gospel, and the effect of this on a person’s life. This time around, I was reading looking for counsel for me as a parent given from another parent, ultimately my Heavenly Father.
verses 1 and 3 held the truths I needed to find this time:
1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just manβ€”for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lordβ€”and blessed be the name of my God for itβ€”
 3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
We don’t have much information about Enos before time in his life. We don’t know whether he was rebellious, or whether he had just arrived at a point in his life where he was seeking an independent witness and testimony. But at the time he needed it, what he needed to know came to him in the form of his father’s testimony. His father had often taught and (I assume) born testimony – words which had travelled with Enos like a seed waiting to sprout.

It reminded me of the importance of having regular gospel conversations, of teaching diligently and with the Spirit, bearing testimony often. As I do so I hope that the Spirit will carry eternal truths to the hearts of my children. I can’t predict when or how the moment of conversion will come to my children, but I know what my role is.

new beginnings

haha… as I started to type the title, typo struck and I typed in “biginnings” – how appropriate now that I contemplate starting up a healthier lifestyle πŸ™‚

I haven’t updated the blog for awhile but will start off with a short cavalcade of snapshots from the past month

dismantling and selling the jungle gym which went to another family with 2 boys and a little girl. We trust that they will love it every bit as much as we did πŸ™‚

playing in the hammock – this time setting off on a voyage across the ocean. “Life of Pi”? 2 people and a carnivorous ladybird makes for a great adventure.

Turtle and his friend went busking in our local shopping centre to earn themselves some money. I think their hourly rate works out almost as much as mine, so I am considering a change of career πŸ™‚
(although, I think half their earning capacity is due to them being so very handsome… I don’t think I have as much style as them)

Holiday Luxury 1
Stopping for icecream. Why buy little bars of icecream when you can get a great pot of your favourite and just share?

Holiday Luxury 2
French toast made from ciabatta served with fresh strawberries and maple syrup

Holiday Luxury 3
Burgers at the Wholly Cow cafe in Sawtell. Nuff said.

Hanging out with cousins at the blowhole in Sawtell.

Reading and generally relaxing. Beach a bonus.
It was lovely.

The Greatest Story – a school play

Every 2 years the school puts on a big production, and this year they did
“The Greatest Story”
The Nativity with a few bonus numbers
Turtle is a Roman soldier
Little Possum and her friends getting some last minute instructions before going back stage before their number. They performed “Money, money, money” by Abba as a special song and dance number.
Wondering how it fits in with The Greatest Story? I did too….. but the reference was to
Caesar and his greed, wanting to do a census to find everyone he could tax.

Caesar and his devoted servant….  Doodlebug
Meanwhile, in downtown Bethlehem, these ‘men’ were dancing to the Havah Nagilah
(Turtle having transformed from Roman soldier to Jewish man)

Feasting on the word

I loved Pres Uchtdorf’s message in the Ensign this month about General Conference, particularly the story he relates in the first part: A member talked to his neighbour about how God speaks to us through His prophet and apostles, and how at General Conference we get to hear these special messages. When asked what God had communicated through the prophet at the last conference, the member couldn’t remember. 
(I had to admit to myself that I also cannot remember what was said. I remember how I felt, but not the particular message.)
The neighbour was shocked – “You mean to say that God speaks to man today, and you can’t remember what He said?!?”  
Oh yeah, it sounds bad when you say it like that, doesn’t it?
“I’ve found… that when you’re trying to learn from the Lord and you feel an impression from the Spirit… it’s important to make a note so it will note be forgotten. The more you not only hear but abide by what you’ve been told, the more the Lord will give you. It will come more and more rapidly and you will begin to hear and feel those impressions of the Spirit more quickly than you have previously done”
Elder Gene R Cook


“The prompting that goes unresponded to may not be repeated. Writing down what we have been prompted with is vital. A special thought can be lost later in the day through the rough and tumble of life. God should not, and may not choose to repeat the prompting if we assign what is given such a low priority as to put it aside”
elder Neal A Maxwell
(“Press Forward” p 122)

I am going to Feast on the Words of Christ when I attend conference…. in fact I am going to use it as a value project for My Personal Progress, and I have made myself a notebook. Normally I would scribble in my journal, but I have thought that if I have a separate notebook, it will be easier to refer back to over the next 6 months until the next Conference.

And then, as I prepared for my YW lesson on Scripture Study today, I felt the Spirit teaching me several times, bearing testimony to me and guiding me in my preparation. One of the things I felt strongly about is the need for a scripture journal for the girls, somewhere for them to write down their questions and impressions. So I while in notemaking mood, I covered some exercise-books with scrapbooking paper.
They proved popular in the lesson. I hope they get put to use!

YW M3 L29 A Change of Heart handout

I had a lot of fun making these. I used the same tutorial as for the heart in the post below, but I changed the dimensions of the paper ever so slightly to a 8×4 cm rectangle. I made 2 different handouts, haven’t quite decided which one to use yet. Instructions can be found here.

The first handout has a quote by Marvin J Ashton:
An honest heart will lead to a change of heart. Spiritually speaking, a change of heart is not only desirable, but essential for eternal life. The Book of Mormon describes the conversion experience, which all of us must have, as a “mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to good continually (Mosiah 5:2)”

The second handout has a quote by elder Dallin H Oaks: “Testimony is to know and to feel. Conversion is to do and to become”