Object lessons/spiritual thoughts pt. 1

Image result for oranges
Here is a compilation of a handful of object lessons/spiritual thoughts I did on my mission. Obviously there are many, many more and if you have some you'd like to share please post a comment below!↓ Tweak these, change them up, make them your own, let the Holy Spirit guide. I hope you, in whatever stage you are in life, can make use of these spiritual thoughts!

Blind guides
2 blindfolds
Blindfold two people disorient them (spin around, take to another room/outside, etc) and have one try to tell the other how to get somewhere or do something. The point is to show them that it's difficult and risky. Do this multiple times or until the point is made. Note: this can be dangerous be sure to intervene if necessary.
Discuss what happened, what blind guides are, and why we shouldn't listen to them. Discuss Helaman 13 where Samuel the Lamanite talks about false prophets and doctrines in relation to blind guides. Identify blind guides in the world today. Talk about solutions to ridding oneself of these blind guides. Talk about the Spirit.
Share scripture about the Holy Ghost being our guide, our light.
Eliminate the blind guides in their lives, and/or you can challenge them to listen better to the Spirit this coming week. And of course anything else the Spirit may direct.

Oranges(this one is a kid's favorite!)
Oranges, empty glass
Bring enough oranges for each person or child to have one. Lead them outside and ask them to destroy it. Smash it, kick it, throw it, whatever it takes and then ask them to bring back their oranges for all to see. Take whatever is left of the oranges and squeeze remaining juice into the cup.
Ask if they think the juice is still good. Have them try it if they are willing. Talk about how although the oranges are destroyed, beat up, bruised, they still produce sweet juice. Talk about trials and opposition and how we sometimes feel like those oranges,but that what matters is what is on the inside. Will we, through our hard times, turn bitter or remain sweet?
You can use any variety of scriptures or stories. We often used the story of Job or 1 Samuel 16:7
Positivity! Challenge them to pray to be positive throughout the week. For kids, challenge them to be nicer to their siblings and parents (remaining sweet).

Beautiful feet
paper, scissors colors, sparkles, stickers, etc
Trace everyone's feet and allow time to decorate the traced feet. Cut out if you want
Look around at everyone's finished project. Comment on how beautiful the feet are! Share a scripture or two. Have them write one on the decorated feet!
Mosiah 15:14-18
Isaiah 52:7
Mosiah 12:21
3 Nephi 20:40
D&C 128:19
1 Nephi 13:37
Talk about how the most beautiful feet are those that "publish good tidings" or in other words those that do MISSIONARY WORK! Discuss ways to publish good tidings this week.
Do one of the ideas they discussed! (We often gave Mormon.org cards to them and had them give them out)

Glow Sticks (another kid favorite)
glow sticks
Give everyone a glow stick without letting them see the packaging. Ask them what it is (common response: A STRAW! haha nope) Have them crack it. Keep cracking until it is completely glowing!
Talk about how in order for the light to shine it needed to be broken or cracked. The more it cracked the more light it gave. Discuss trials and how they help is to let our light shine brighter. Maybe even talk about the Refiner's Fire.
some options to share:
"Adversity" in the Guide to the Scriptures
D&C 122:5-8
Anything in 2 Nephi 2
Challenge them to pray to recognize the good from their trials and to find ways to share their light with others.

Random Objects (this is great one for spur of the moment lessons)
random objects
Pull out random things from your bag or from things you see in the room.(chap stick, post-it notes, pens, hand sanitizer, candles, etc) the more random, the better. Ask each person to select one and complete the sentence "This ______ is like _______ in the gospel of Jesus Christ because _______" Ex. This hand sanitizer is like the atonement in the gospel of Jesus Christ because, when applied, it makes you clean and pure.
Share the story of Alma and Korihor in Alma 30 share verse 44 and talk about how ALL things testify of Christ.
Challenge them to see Christ in all things this week. Ask them to pray to recognize the hand of the Lord in all things.

Light my fire?
tea light candles
Give everyone a candle and light one of them. Have the person with the lit candle light the next person's candle with his/her own. Then that person will light the next and so on until all candles are lit.
Ask someone what happened to their light when they lit another's. (if done successfully nothing should have happened). Talk about how sharing the light we have may provide light for another without us losing the light we have. Discuss ways they can share their light.
Do one of the things discussed

True Identity
Give each person 30 seconds (or less) to tell the group about themselves.
Point out the kinds of things we use to describe ourselves (hometown, family members, age, schooling, hobbies, etc) Ask them how they think the Lord would introduce them. Would He tell everyone you like to play basketball or went to college? Ask them how they would want the Lord to introduce them. Bring up the times when God introduces his Son. Matt 3:17. Discuss the 4 titles presented in (you guessed it) "4 Titles" President Uchtdorf Priesthood 2013. Explore areas of improvement
Ask them to do one of the things discussed

light the TOP of the tea bag
Trust in the Lord (this one makes an impression)
Cylinder tea bag, matches or lighters
Empty the tea out of the bag and cut both ends so they are nice and clean. Stand the tea bag up so it is a cylinder. Place it on the bravest person's hand and light it on fire from the top. (My companion and I would each take a match and light two sides on the top at the same time to insure the fire moved at the same time down the bag). The bag will burn right down to the hand without burning them and will float into the air. For a visual and more detailed description click here 
Tell the story in Mark 4 emphasizing verse 38 when the disciples ask, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Talk about how when we go through trials in the beginning we are like "okay, this is a little hard" but as the trial progresses and figuratively the fire gets closer to our hand we think "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" But we know the Lord will never give us more than we can handle.
Remember this tea bag during trials knowing the Lord is on our side.



finding media that won't kill your spirit...

So I know that I really worried about coming home and getting back into entertainment and things, because you know... I hadn't experienced a lot of that in the field. I remember thinking before I left that it was going to be super hard not to listen to my favorite bands, or read secular literature, or watch great new movies. Once I got out... I realized how distracted all of those things would have made me. I was grateful that my mission president restricted music to the good ol' MoTab and hymns, because I realized how easily and quickly a good song took my focus.

Once I actually got home, I was really excited to get back into things (music, especially), but wanted to do it relatively slowly, and I wanted to make sure that I was choosing wholesome media (if you're not quite sure what I mean, check out what the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet says about entertainment and music.), and I worried that it would be difficult.


Because I was no longer used to secular entertainment, the first couple of things I watched/listened to were kind of a shock to my system (an extreme example happened when I watched my first movie. When I heard the score begin, literally right at the beginning of the movie, I shed tears. This huge wave of emotion just hit me... The movie was Frozen. Totally irrational.), but I as the shock subsided I realized that I had become more sensitive to how entertainment and media make me feel.

I remember sitting at work, probably mid-November, listening to a Radiohead station on Pandora. I was reading a book or something (I was working as a receptionist) and started to tune it out a little bit as I focused more on whatever it was I was doing. Something started to bring me out of that focus. I couldn't figure it out at first, but it didn't feel right. As I became more and more distracted by the feeling, I realized that it was my music. It was making me uncomfortable. I started listening to the lyrics to see if there was something I'd heard that was inappropriate but the longer I listened the more I realized that the lyrics were probably the least of the problem. The beat, the melody, the instrumentation... The combination of them all. I started to feel physically ill, and finally turned it off.

I sat in silence for a few minutes, pondering what had just happened. I'd experienced it a couple of times before, but I hadn't let it get so far before. My sisters wanted me to watch an action movie week after I got home and I didn't last 5 minutes before leaving the room because of the feeling the violence gave me. This time I'd let it go further and it left me feeling sick to my stomach - all I could think was, "The Spirit is gone."

While this post has mostly been about my experience with finding uplifting media since being home, This absolutely applies to future missionaries, and anyone else for that matter! I plan on doing a series about finding good media, but wanted to preface it with this, because I want you all to remember that the Spirit is the greatest tool we have in our search for uplifting entertainment. He will tell you when it's not okay. I urge everyone reading this to heed those promptings. Follow those feelings! Don't let yourself build any walls against the Spirit - we become more in tune to his whispering when we follow his counsel. And oh boy do we need his help!


Stay tuned for a series of posts on the uplifting entertainment that I have found, as well as how and where I've found it!


Young Adult Years

Today I read an incredible article in the Ensign!

"Making Your Adult Years Productive" by Garth A. Hanson provides 7 suggestions for successful adult years while not denying how difficult these years can be.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Those who handle decisions best are those who make activity in the Church a significant part of their lives."

"The young single adult years are important years. They can be fun and pleasant, but they should include much purposeful activity that involves study, work and service, which can also be enjoyable. There is some urgency in finding a spouse and in being actively involved in education and church."

"Be someone who is going somewhere."

"You are a family of one. You have access to support and encouragement, but YOU MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS-critical decisions, such as education, career, lifestyle, marriage, and Church activity. The Lord expects you to make good, gospel-centered decisions."

Cheers to a more productive life!


Check out the article here :)


who you are

Hey everyone! How about a little pick-me-up? 
Thanks to my lovely roommate Kaycie for showing these to me. I think we all need a reminder every once in a while that we are not defined by what the world thinks of us.

I love these videos! I think one of the hardest things about preparing to serve, resuming life after the mission, and really just life in general, is remembering that even though it's hard, our Heavenly Father loves us SO MUCH. What an incredible thing that is. Happy Friday everyone! :)



5 tips for a returned missionary

Well, I’ve been home for almost two months! Time flies here just like it does in the mission field. Adjusting to so-called “normal life” is hard and awkward, but can be so great! I have gathered 5 tips from my short experience as an RM and from advice from other RMs. SOOO without further ado…

 1.      The big three! You preached it for a 1 1/2 -2 years so DO IT! Daily prayer, daily scripture study (emphasis on Book of Mormon) and weekly church attendance.

Your first weeks home may be hectic but do WHATEVER IT TAKES to accomplish these 3 things. JUST DO IT! As a missionary your entire morning is dedicated to the Lord so it’s hard to forget to pray and to read scriptures, at home it’s harder. Make time, set goals, wake up at a decent time and go to 3 hours of church! 

2.      Talk to people. This was the key in the mission field so why not now?

From the grocery store to the singles ward to your parents' house, TALK! And who knows, maybe it’ll lead to a gospel conversation. Gospel conversation=missionary work!! This has been the biggest key to my day to day happiness. 

3.      I love to see the……..TEMPLE ATTENDANCE, I’m going there every week…

This one is easy to cut out, but you have been deprived of the temple so go and go often.
“And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.” -1 Ne 18:3 

4.      Okay, okay don’t hate. Keep an agenda, set weekly and daily goals, and accomplish them!

The biggest breakdowns I would have when I initially came home were when I knelt down to pray at night realizing that I didn’t have much or anything to bring to the Lord. I couldn’t review my work with Him because I didn’t feel that I had done anything. Setting goals and accomplishing them helps a lot!
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.” (Elder M. Russel Ballard, Preach My Gospel, 146)

5.      Write in your journal!

Guilty. After coming home I didn’t touch my journal and wasn’t planning on it. But I was struggling and I met with one of my old companions and she suggested I write all my feelings and realizations down in my journal. I did and it was amazing! It was healing and became a source of revelation. If possible do it errrday!

 “I haven’t written for a few days, because I wanted first of all to think about my diary. It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I—nor for that matter anyone else—will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. Still, what does that matter? I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart” (Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl [1952], 2).

OBVIOUSLY, there are many more ideas to ease the adjustment period. There are surely more steps to come but I know that these steps help! Good luck!


P.S. Read this talk! The Returned Missionary

What things have helped you or friends to adapt your surroundings to you? Have these tips worked for you? Let us know in the comments!


interview with lindsey stirling

So on Tuesday evening Bonnie L. Oscarson and David L. Beck (young men and young women general presidents of the Church) met with world-renowned (I even met fans of hers in Belgium!) dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling and did this really cool broadcast called a face2face, which essentially just means it was a live interview and that youth from all over the world could ask Lindsey questions.

I watched it and loved it! I love her testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love that she keeps her standards, and that her team calls them "Lindsey rules" on tours. I love that she is real with these kids. She isn't ashamed of sharing her own experiences to help them.

Share this with friends! Share it with family! Her story is inspirational and she has great things to say!

P.S. If you're interested, there was also one with David Archuleta on the 24th of June! You can find that video here.


another idea

So last Tuesday one of my favorite people got home from one of my favorite countries!

On Sunday I had the opportunity to go to listen to Sister Chelsea Elting speak about her experiences in the Netherlands. I even had the honor of preparing a musical number with the lovely and extremely talented Sister Andrea Wood, which went quite well if I do say so myself! Maybe I'll see if I can get the audio on here at some point.

Anyway. As I talked to Chelsea about the struggles of being home and such, we joked about how there should be a returned missionary recovery program. One thought led to another and we ended up deciding that actually... A recovery program would be really helpful. And a blog would be an easy way to start that up.

And thus... An idea was born. In the next several weeks, there will be several changes that go down on this blog! I will be adding Chelsea as a contributor and we will be posting about the things that are difficult about being home and about the things we and others do to cope!

Stay tuned, friends. It's going to be really cool.