October 2022 General Conference Highlights

My ingenious 13-year-old used one of my yellow squashes harvested from my garden to help prop up our TV screen in the living room.

Here are some thoughts on this past weekend’s General Conference. If you don’t know what General Conference is, go here. It’s basically a meeting where we get to hear from prophets and apostles of God, on the first Saturday and Sunday every April and October. This one was probably the easiest one I’ve ever enjoyed.

If you are a mom like I am, you know that Sunday, the Sabbath Day, isn’t completely a “day of rest.” Maybe unless it’s Mother’s Day. On General Conference Sunday it’s even less of a day of rest. If you are a mom like me, on Sunday, you still get to fix food, or get people to help you fix food, then get people to help you clean up, or do it all yourself. You still have to watch the clock to make sure things happen. You can’t just lie down to the wild abandon of a nap whenever you want on that day, unless you are OK with certain things not happening. I like certain things to happen after church, like the following: home church with the Come, Follow Me curriculum, a bountiful Sunday dinner, some kind of visiting with extended family or friends, which may include Sunday gameschooling, listening/watching Relative Race while putting together a puzzle, some parent mentor/child meetings, and some kind of planning meeting with my husband to talk about the family’s needs, the family’s schedule, and the budget. (Needless to say, I can’t fit all that one on top of the four hours of General Conference on GC Sunday.) All that being said, and I hope that didn’t sound too whiny, I do get a break from some regular weekday duties on the Sabbath. I hope you as a mom do too.

When I was a young mom, General Conference was always a tricky time. I never got to take notes what with the baby or toddler always wanting to grab my pen. It was a battle to keep the seven kids quietly engaged in something not harmful while we were watching the sessions on TV. I always got out General Conference packets full of coloring pages and General Conference Bingo and such things, but that usually lasted only maybe 10 minutes for some of the children. The break in between sessions was never long enough to feed the family, put the baby/toddler or toddlers down for a nap and clean up after the meal. I often ended up feeling frustrated by the time Conference was over that I didn’t get to just sit, relax, and listen or that the baby didn’t sleep for all six hours from 10 AM until 4 PM. The solution: I hung in there and eventually my children grew up! I’m sorry the solution was not something magical. Five out of my seven children are out of the nest. It’s been a while now that I can take notes and not have someone grabbing at my pen or pulling on me.

This past General Conference Sunday, my daughter-in-law fixed a pumpkin pancake dinner for the family to eat between GC sessions. With that, plus the leftover charcuterie board items from brunch, and the snacking people did after the last session, nobody was hungry for the chili supper I had planned for 5 o’clock. I saw people snacking at 4 and asked if people would still be hungry for chili in an hour and they all said they were OK with not having it. So I ended up not fixing the chili like I had planned. Hooray, I finally got a true General Conference Sunday day of rest from fixing dinner.

Here are my favorite quotes from the 2-day General Conference. These aren’t exact quotes, but paraphrases. The text of the talks is not out yet for me to get the exact quotes. I’m not putting quote marks around these sentences, so know that I’m not quoting exactly. You will get the gist of what they said, even though I’m not quoting them word for word. I did find some graphics with quotes from the Instagram page of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which I am sharing as well.

God is using more than one person to carry out His work. -Pres. Dallin H. Oaks

We need to be aware of others not of our church who are in the service of others. -Pres. Dallin H. Oaks

They who wait on the Lord will be renewed with the Lord’s strength.–Elder Uchtdorf

Before I share any more paraphrased quotes, I’ll share a few more random musings:

Someone besides Elder Uchtdorf did an airplane metaphor! It was Elder Dale G. Renlund. I love that he compared taking off on a runway that is not yours like receiving revelation for people outside your stewardship.

I’m going to get out my continent puzzles every time we have General Conference to keep learning the placement of different countries, so we can have a reference when different countries are mentioned, especially when new temples are announced. These puzzles are a lot easier to do than the world puzzle I sometimes get out.

Speaking of which, 18 more temples were announced! Yay! The list is here!

I love that Pres. Nelson invited us to focus on temples in ways we never have before. So I’m pondering on how to do that.

I am definitely going to see if we can hang out with my sis and bro-in-law at least once every Conference weekend, to watch it together and eat yummy food. They moved to live within 30 minutes of us this past May. So we got together for the first time this past Conference and had so much fun. It felt like Christmas! We had super easy meals of a yogurt sundae bar for brunch and pizza for dinner. Now that between the two of us couples we only have 3 kids left at home, it was very manageable to do this. Back in the day when all of our combined 13 children were at home, it would have been a zoo. Oh how life seasons change when one is a mother!

It is wonderful to have the brunch during the AM session, then go outside between the two sessions. We went to the park with my sis-in-law’s dogs during the break. The boys got to go “dog surfing” with the dogs pulling the boys on skateboards. So fun! I loved seeing the dogs so happy, running around so joyfully. See photo below. That dog in the foreground shows the picture of pure happiness.

OK back to the scheduled sharing of parphrased quotes.

Bless your children, whether they are 5 or 50!–Elder Hugo Montoya

Revelation is not like a nonstop flight, it’s done incrementally, line upon line.– Elder David A. Bednar

Let the standards of Jesus Christ be your new normal.– Elder Rafeal Pino

In marriage there should be no superior or inferior partner. Spouses are to be full, interdependent partners.–Elder Ulisses A. Soares

Nurturing and providing are opportunities not exclusive limitations.–Elder Ulisses A. Soares

As our church membership becomes more and more diverse, we as a Church must be more and more welcoming. –Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Christofferson told of a story from author Rod Dreher who wrote Live Not By Lies. So cool!

Compensatory powers come to those who keep their covenants. –Elder Neil L. Andersen

The reward for keeping covenants is heaven’s power. –Pres. Nelson

With keeping our covenants in Jesus’ name, we can overcome this sin-saturated world, because of Jesus’ power. This includes overcoming: arrogance, pride, immorality, greed, jealousy, hatred, and anger. –Pres. Nelson

Growing to love God, and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ is more important than anything else.

The Savior blesses us with kindness, generosity, peace, rest, and self-discipline. –Pres. Nelson.

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General Conference Resources

General Conference is coming! It’s this Saturday and Sunday, October 1-2. I invite you to watch it! It is a twice a year event where you can watch and listen to prophets and apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Watch it here.

Here are some resources to enjoy the event and make it seem like a holiday. I love the idea of having special food, decorations, and activities to make it extra special. Here are some ideas for that, which I wrote up a few years ago.

Then here are some new things:

-an October 2022 General Conference packet

a General Conference packet from Jocelyn Christensen in scribd.com

General Conference Wits and Wagers game

Happy Conferencing!

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Debrief of Relative Race Season 10 Episode 1

Image Credit: Relative Race Instagram Page

Who watched the Relative Race Season 10 premiere last week? It was wonderful! Go here to watch it, then watch the debrief below. Episode 2 was today!

I watch this show every Sunday (reruns in the middle of the day) and work on a puzzle after our church meetings. I love it so much! You can watch a debrief of last week’s episode, Episode 1, in the video below. Thanks to Cheri Hudson Passey for creating these debriefs of each episode.

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Inviting Angels Into Your Life

Image Credit: amazon.com

I firmly believe in angels, because I have felt their power. I can’t prove that they exist, but I ardently believe that they are real. My core book says that “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, wherefore they speak the words of Christ.” (2 Nephi 32:2)

So this tells us two things. It tells us how they speak to us and what they speak to us. Whenever you feel the whispering of the Holy Ghost, it could be that an angel is on the other side, using the instrument of the power of the Holy Ghost to deliver a message to you. That’s the how. And what do they speak? They speak the words that Christ would speak to us if He were with us. These are words to comfort, direct, warn, and save us.

Angels exist on both sides of the veil. They can be spirits who have died or spirits yet unborn. They also exist on the earthly side of the veil, as they can be mortal beings who speak to us and help us with gifts or acts of service after being prompted by the Holy Ghost.

I have had many instances where I believe that angels whispered by the power of the Holy Ghost to people around me to say the words that Christ would say to me if He were right by me. Or people have been prompted by the Holy Ghost to give resources to me or do acts of service for me. These angels have done for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I have been richly blessed!

Between Heaven and Earth by Annie Henrie Nader, image credit: bookofmormoncentral.com

Here are some true stories that have happened to me that I believe have involved angels.

  1. My son avoided getting hurt in a car collision where I totaled my car, going 45 mph, because I did not notice a stop sign. Just five minutes before this happened, my older son was prompted by the angels speaking to him by the power of the Holy Ghost to look around at everyone in the car and tell whoever didn’t have his or her seatbelt on to put it on. The younger son obeyed his brother, with the result that he did not get injured in the car accident. If he had not put his seatbelt on, the impact of the collision would have caused him to go flying over the dashboard into the windshield. He would have been seriously injured or killed. God preserved His life with the speaking of the angels, both his angel brother and an angel on the other side of the veil.

2. During my years of financial struggle when I was a younger mom with a lot more children at home, it was October. I was in the midst of feeling frustrated that we had a lot more month left when the money ran out. I also desired a bigger home, but there was no way we could afford to move into one. My husband had lost a contract at work that reduced our income by two-thirds. A man in my church congregation came up to me and asked me to help him with a project. He said he was hosting a self-improvement seminar. He needed someone to speak about nutrition for an hour at the seminar. He told me he would pay me $500 if I would do it. I had never spoken to this man. How did he know that nutrition is one of my passions? By angels speaking to him by the power of the Holy Ghost. He even told me that the Holy Spirit told him to ask me. This cash paid in large part for our Christmas gifts that year. I was so grateful to him!

3. Just last week, on Thursday, I went to the natural foods store to buy raw milk. Lately it has gone out of stock on the two days a week that it is delivered to the store, Monday and Thursday. More and more people are getting the great news about raw milk! Hooray! That means, however, that it’s harder to get it, at least at this store, until they get more cows supplying the milk. Before I left to get the raw milk, I had been sitting on the couch, reading aloud a picture book to my son for our homeschooling. I was in my clothes that double as pajamas but are nice enough for me to wear outside the house. I didn’t even have a bra on. All of a sudden, in the middle of reading the picture book, I felt the Spirit whisper to me to call the store to see if the milk had been delivered. The employee said yes, just 10 minutes ago. She suggested I come right away to get some or it would be gone soon. So I left after running a brush through my hair, without even putting a bra or makeup on. (Ugh! I hate that feeling, I just feel so not put together without a bra.) Anyway, I got to the store within 15 minutes of the phone call, and sure enough, the milk was all gone. I stood there staring at the milk’s refrigerator case thinking that if I stared long enough maybe I would notice some milk appear in a corner. I finally decided it was time to go, without any milk. As I was walking to the door, a young cute mom with her little boy in tow saw me. She instantly offered me one of the jugs of milk she was holding as she stood in line to pay for it. I thanked her profusely for her generosity and gratefully received the milk. I believe an angel whispered to her to look over and see me, then prompted her to offer some to me. I believe an angel whispered to me when I was sitting on the couch, to call the store. Then an angel whispered to me to prompt me to leave without even putting a bra on. If I had done that, I would have been delayed about 5 minutes and then the mom probably wouldn’t have noticed me. I would have had to wait another week to get the milk since I can’t go on Mondays.

4. The same day that I got the raw milk, a Thursday, I couldn’t find my debit card. I had gone to bed the night before not knowing where it was, wondering if I should call my bank to report it lost. I had last seen it at Costco when I bought gas the day before, Wednesday. I had called Costco and another store to see if if had been turned in, and no luck. I had also looked through my purse twice with no result. When I woke up, I prayed and asked God about calling in to report it lost. I felt the answer was no. I asked my husband if he thought I should call the bank to report it lost. He said no as well. He asked me to look through my purse again thoroughly. So I did, and this time, I took everything out. If you are a mom like me you dread doing this because you know it’s going to take at least an hour as you have to decide what receipts to throw away and what to keep and what else to throw away and what else to keep. Then I have to vacuum out the whole thing because I find lots of lint and crumbs. Ugh. Well, I had just gone through the whole dreaded process, including vacuuming, with no card showing up. I was putting everything away, including some cards for a political organization that I keep to promote it. As I was pulling the cards apart I noticed my debit card was in between the cards. Success! I felt as happy as the woman in the Bible who finds the lost coin! Once it was lost, and now it is found!

I invite you to notice the times in your life when it’s more than a coincidence that people come along your way to help you with their words, gifts, or acts of service to bless your life. Angels could very well be behind those actions. As you do more things to invite light into your life, you will invite more angels to help you. That’s not to say that when bad things happen, it’s because you didn’t have angels helping you. It could be that angels are still right there, mitigating the effects. Perhaps conditions could be worse if the angels weren’t there.

Image Credit: latterdaysaintmag.com

What are the things that invite angels into our life? Seeking out the good, the true, and the beautiful both in what we consume (media) and what we produce. Being kind. Loving and serving others. Standing as a witness for Jesus Christ and doing what He would do.

I’d love to hear any true stories you have that show angels could possibly be involved. Please comment below if you care to share.

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How to Homeschool Children 3-12 years old With Less Stress and a Lot More Fun!

After homeschooling for over 25 years, I am sharing the best system for how to homeschool children 3-12 years old. By “best” system, I mean the most versatile system that is adaptable by almost anyone, for less stress and more fun. Oh, how I miss this season of homeschooling! My “baby” (youngest of 7 kiddos) is now 13 so I officially don’t have anyone in this stage anymore. Sob! At least I can keep interacting with young children at my weekly homeschool co-operative meetup, and with my grandchildren, when they visit from out of state.

I learned precisely how to implement this wonderful system after I had been homeschooling for over 14 years. If I had done this from the start it would have made homeschooling a lot more fun and easier to boot.

May I introduce to you..(drumroll, please!)…

the Spark Station System! (Otherwise known as “The Closet” in Leadership Education circles.)

First of all, it’s important to know that The Spark Station is best used in a home that is based on the Thomas Jefferson Education Philosophy (TJEd). These books pictured below elaborate the TJEd Philosophy in detail. A basic overview is here. A one sentence summary of TJEd is that it honors the child as an individual genius with educational needs that change as the child goes through natural seasons of learning. I explain what the seasons of learning are over here.

Image Credit: tjed.org
Image Credit: tjed.org

So basically, in a TJEd home, the parents are focused on teaching children ages 0-8 the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, and good and bad through work and play, mostly at home, with lots of love, according to Oliver DeMille. Then during ages 8-12 parents focus on fostering a love of learning in the children. These two phases prepare children with a solid foundation to build intense academic work on during the teen and 20s years.

The Spark Station is the name Mary Ann Johnson gave to the “closet” which is Ingredient #20 in the list of ingredients to make a successful TJEd homeschool, as outlined in Chapter 4, pages 108-109 of the Leadership Education: Phases of Learning book by Oliver and Rachel DeMille, pictured above.

What is the Closet or Spark Station? It’s anywhere that you keep a collection of learning materials, to be used during your family’s structured learning time, or dedicated “school time.” In the Phases of Learning book this time is called “kidschool” (Ingredient #4, p. 70) The Spark Station can be a closet, but it doesn’t have to be.

Photo Credit: Mary Ann Johnson’s website home-school-coach.com

It can be a suitcase, a set of drawers, a set of shelves, a trunk, a chest, a plastic bin, or even a cardboard box. It’s ideally a closet that you can lock up when not in use, but if you don’t have a closet to dedicate to this, use one of the other options I just named. If shelves, they can be shelves that are too high for the children to reach. If it’s a box, bin or suitcase, it doesn’t come out unless you, the mom, gets it out.

To repeat, the #1 rule is that you only let it be used during your family’s “school time.” All other times, it is locked up or put away. So if all you have is a cardboard box, you might have to put it behind locked doors, even if that means putting it in your car or garage. Or in the case of shelves, the shelves are high enough that the kiddos can’t access them without your help. So if the children want to use the Spark Station when it’s not school, you just kindly let them know that they have to wait until school the next day. This, plus adherence to the rule that you rotate the items according to your children’s sparks of interests, keeps interest and anticipation high, so that your kids beg for school time.

Photo Credit: Mary Ann Johnson’s website home-school-coach.com

What do you put in the Spark Station? Anything your children have a spark of interest in using or learning more about, within reason of course.

Suggested items for the Spark Station are the following:

  • crayons
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • musical recorder and how to play recorder book
  • lap harp
  • Tangrams with a book of tangram designs
  • pattern blocks with a book of patterns
  • picture book about whatever your child is interested in learning more about
  • gyroscope
  • materials to make puppets
  • origami book and origami paper
  • paper airplane book
  • puzzles
  • globe
  • maps
  • compass
  • rock specimens and a rock identifying book
  • educational card games like Set, Sleeping Queens, 24, Timeline, or Reverse Charades
  • educational board games like Scattergories, Cash Flow Jr., Scrabble Jr., Taboo, or Trekking the National Parks
  • binoculars
  • field guides for identifying birds, trees, flowers, etc.
  • magnifying glass
  • science experiment kit
  • how to draw books with sketch pads and quality sketching pencils
  • microscope
  • quiz games like the Professor Noggins sets
  • flash cards to memorize the times tables, constellations, U.S. state capitals, and other facts
  • wipe erase boards or handwriting books to practice handwriting
  • magnets
  • even a bag of chocolate chips with a recipe to make cookies on days when you feel ambitious, especially if you anticipate the baby having a nap time during cookie making time 🙂
  • a read aloud book that generates high interest, that you can read aloud while the kiddos engage in quiet activities from the closet. Go here to get read-aloud book ideas, and see below to get quiet activities
  • Klutz activity books
  • Usborne books

The next three sets of images below, from readaloudrevival.com, show quiet activities that can be done while you read aloud a book you get from the closet, to your children.

Image Credit: readaloudrevival.com
Image Credit: readaloudrevival.com

The sky is the limit! I had soooo much fun playing with my kids with our Spark Station. Moon dough with little molds to make replicas of fruit? Yes! Magnetic pattern blocks with designs to make animals and vehicles? Yes! Lacing cards? Yes! A mini sandbox with a bulldozer and tools? Yes! I even put cap guns and ammo in my closet along with library books about the history of guns for my little boys.

The next important thing, after having certain times when it’s available, is to put things in there that you suspect will spark your child’s interests. So it’s important to observe what they like to do, scout out materials that go along with the interests and stock the closet. You don’t have to be fancy. Even a picture book about amphibians from the public library will do if they are asking questions about such creatures. You don’t have to find a frog to dissect it with a scalpel, but if you want to, by all means, go for it! It’s also OK to put things in there that you want to help your children master, like phonics games (I highly recommend Diane Hopkins’ Happy Phonics kit) and math materials, even if they aren’t begging for such things. (It is OK to have daily math and phonics lessons if they are developmentally ready at this age, another post for another day.)

The supremely important thing is to be present. Be there with them when they use the materials. Show them how to use the adult tools (things like the compass, microscope, binoculars, etc.) if they ask questions. Let them experiment with the materials and don’t rush in to “help” unless they ask. Take note of what sparks interests, and change out weekly, taking things out that aren’t being used. Yes, that means you have to find a separate space that is your homeschool storage place, but it will be worth it.

You can get all the rules for using the Spark Station over here. Mary Ann Johnson has created 5 rules for the Spark Station. I’ve covered some of them here but you will want to check out her resources to get all the rules. Scroll down to the bottom of the PDF and you will see all the rules. Watch the video below to get an intro and use all the materials in the PDF too, and you will be having one happy homeschool time!

If you think the closet is a new idea, I have news for you. It’s not. Louisa May Alcott shows her characters using it in her book Little Men, illustrating what Jo did with the “little men” on Sunday afternoons. In the italicized quote below, just substitute the words “homeschool time” for “Sunday,” and “conveyor belt education” for “common study and play,” and “conveyor belt school” for “school.” Then you will have a perfect vision of the results of homeschooling using the Closet/Spark Station.

“This is my Sunday closet,” she said, showing him shelves filled with picture-books, paint-boxes, architectural blocks, little diaries, and materials for letter-writing. “I want my boys to love Sunday, to find it a peaceful, pleasant day, when they can rest from common study and play, yet enjoy quiet pleasures, and learn, in simple ways, lessons more important than any taught in school. Do you understand me?” she asked, watching Nat’s attentive face.

“You mean to be good?” he said, after hesitating a minute.

“Yes; to be good, and to love to be good. It is hard work sometimes, I know very well; but we all help one another, and so we get on. This is one of the ways in which I try to help my boys…”(Little Men, Chapter 4 “Sundays.”)

Now, if you want to keep reading, I will tell you all the mistakes I made with the Closet/Spark Station early on before I learned the rules for using it.

#1. I didn’t have a dedicated space with boundaries to close off the materials. When I first started homeschooling I lived in my in-laws’ home while they were away serving missions for our church. All the closets of this home still stored my mother-in-law’s stuff. So I didn’t have a spare closet to store my educational materials, and I didn’t want to pack up her stuff to replace with my stuff. I ended up putting all my educational materials in plastic crates that I had arranged on the long table in the informal dining room. We ate at the kitchen island bar and didn’t use the table for meals, so that seemed to work OK. The result from this mistake, however, is that the kids saw the stuff all the time and didn’t ever get wowed and didn’t really engage when it was school time.

It’s such a mess with all the educational materials I owned in the same closet all at once!

#2. I had all the educational materials I owned in the closet all at once. When we moved from my in-laws’ to our own home, I finally got a closet where I could stash all my homeschool stuff and close a door on it all. No more open crates on the dining room table! But…the same result came as with Mistake #1. The kids had access all the time and got bored of it.

#3. I didn’t lock it. Same result as above.

#3. I never rotated out the materials. Same result as above.

#4. I never took notice of their sparks. I put in stuff that only I thought was interesting. Same result as above.

Are you seeing a pattern? So when I heard Mary Ann speak at homeschool conference AND applied the rules, things changed. By this time, the three oldest kids were scholars so they didn’t get to benefit from my new-found knowledge. Oh well. The four youngest have never been to Disney World, like the older ones have, and I am not as strict about food with the youngers as I was with the olders, so I guess it all evens out, :-). Anyway, I started changing stuff out.

My decidedly Pinterest-unworthy, humble “Closet/Spark Station” that I learned to lock. And yes that is a child’s scribbling on the wall, with painting smocks stuffed between the closet and the wall. Oh what days those were for me as a busy mom of 7 all at home!

I locked the closet. I opened it every day during dedicated school time, which was usually 10 AM to 12 noon. I added new stuff often. I was present with them as they used it. Then I started hearing the words every homeschool mom wants to hear, “OK, well, we just better have school tomorrow!” My then-10-year-old-boy actually said that as I was locking the closet up so we could go have lunch. Those days were truly magical!

What about if you have a baby that you don’t want “getting into everything.” I finally learned with my last baby, that if I woke him up when we had family scripture study, early at 6 AM, the baby would be ready for a nap just when I wanted to start our Spark Station time, at 10 AM, after breakfast dishes were done. That was a game-changer for sure. If the baby stays awake, such is life. Just remember, as Diane Hopkins wrote, that the baby IS the lesson.

Happy homeschooling with the Spark Station! This is definitely a HUGE way to foster of love of learning in children. It works and it’s so much fun!

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Best Resource for Understanding Isaiah

Image Credit: Latter-day Media Come Follow Christ YouTube Channel

We are exploring Isaiah in the Come, Follow Me study guide for September. So awesome! If you are like me, you know that Isaiah is HUGELY important, as Jesus said to search his words, “for great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1). But, and this a big BUT, you struggle to understand him because of his heavy hand with poetry and other literary symbolism. At almost every verse, if you are like me, you are wondering, “What the heck is going on here? I have no clue!!!!”

Image Credit: Latter-day Media Come Follow Christ YouTube Channel

It helps to understand that the Bible uses symbolic names for Jesus. See above. Isaiah follows this symbolic pattern and uses symbolic names for a tyrant and a servant. See below. The tyrant is the bad guy and the servant is the good guy.

Image Credit: Latter-day Media Come Follow Christ YouTube Channel

I appreciate all the abundant resources out there to understand Isaiah. They all have their place. So far, the best resource I have discovered for clearly getting Isaiah is the videos from Rhonda and Farrell Pickering over here at propheticappointments.com.

Image Credit: Latter-day Media Come Follow Christ YouTube Channel

First, start with this video below that gives an overview of Isaiah 1-12, which is what we covered in Come Follow Me last week. This video also gives the Bifid Structure, to give you an overview for the whole book of Isaiah. A bifid is a leaf structure that Isaiah’s book resembles.

Image Credit: Latter-day Media Come Follow Christ YouTube Channel

You can download a colorful handout of the Bifid structure here (click on “can I download the handout from the Isaiah workshop?”) Thanks to Rhonda and Farrell for all these great resources, and for the pioneering work of the supreme Isaiah scholar, Avraham Gileadi, the Pickerings’ mentor.

Image Credit: Latter-day Media Come Follow Christ YouTube Channel

Then I recommend you dive deep with all the Isaiah videos, under the tab “Classes” over here at propheticappointments.com. For some reason they are listed backwards, with Class 1.1 B over here. I don’t know why there’s not a 1.1 A. The visual below shows a summary of Isaiah 1-12. Happy studying of Isaiah everyone!

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Two Fun Things to Celebrate Your New Homeschool Year

Image Credit: flandersfamily.info

I know a lot of families have been back in school for weeks, but over here, we are trickling into it, thank goodness. Our homeshool co-operative starts next week. I’m so grateful the board members of the co-op agree with me that the proper time to start school is after Labor Day. I’m holding onto summer as long as possible, just because I know that before I know it I will be pining for warm weather in the doldrums of winter. We got to have a cabin retreat last weekend with my parents that helped me somewhat emotionally close out summer and move into fall, despite the continued heat wave we are in that still feels like July. My baby will be taking classes all of his older siblings have taken, the two LEMI Scholar Project classes of Key of Liberty and Shakespeare Conquest. I’m excited to see how he engages with the projects. I love new school years with all the hope and anticipation of what will unfold! To celebrate the new school year, I’m using the resources above and below. They are fun, free resources from Jennifer Flanders over at flandersfamily.info to celebrate back to school time. First, check out the banner above. Then below are some fun prompts to get dinner conversation flowing about school days, especially for your kiddos to hear from their relatives and friends. Go here to download. Thanks to Jennifer Flanders for creating these resources. I’m going to put these under people’s plates for Sunday dinner this weekend when Grandma joins us. Then I will record her answers and upload them into FamilySearch.

Image Credit: flandersfamily.info

If you want more conversation starters, go here.

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Attention Homeschool Mamas! Listen to this Podcast with Andrew Pudewa and Sarah Mackenzie to Launch a Great New School Year!

Image Credit: readaloudrevival.com

I got to meet Andrew Pudewa 16 years ago in person at a homeschool conference. I had several conversations with him that day and found him totally delightful. If you homeschool, you will want to absorb his decades of wisdom he has gleaned as a homeschooling dad, former Suzuki instructor, and guru of teaching language arts to children. His company, Institute of Excellence In Writing, can be found here.

In this podcast episode from readaloudrevival.com, he and Sarah Mackenzie answer “The 10 Best Questions We’ve Been Asked.” It is recorded from a session they did at a Great Homeschool Conference. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope you do too. You can listen to it here.

And…if you want to binge watch more of Andrew and Sarah, just go below.

Here is the very first podcast episode Sarah and Andrew did together, which also happened to be Sarah’s first ever podcast episode, over here. Then here is Episode #89, where she welcomed Andrew back.

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A Tender Mercy from the Lord for My Friend

I have a friend who, over this past spring and summer, experienced heartbreak because her 18-year-old daughter moved out and away and refused to keep in contact with her. The daughter had told her mom not to talk to her about religion. She also said that she didn’t want to go to the college close by, but she would be moving out to attend a college that was further away and cost more. The mom missed her daughter terribly and worried about her. She wondered how she was paying her bills and surviving physically and spiritually. Anytime she reached out to her daughter, the daughter wouldn’t reply. So my friend, the mom, started praying that someone would cross their path, either the mom’s path or the daughter’s, to help the situation somehow.

After months of praying, the blessing came! My friend was at a public building in a small town, miles away from her hometown. Who should walk in but someone in a leadership position associated with this college where the daughter was attending. This person talked to my friend and found out her daughter was going to college there. This person offered to reach out to the daughter and help her find a job. My friend said that after she told her daughter about this person and the offer to find a job, her daughter started talking to her again. Now they communicate back and forth often. My friend bore testimony to me that God indeed loves us and watches over us. He answers our prayers. He sends people to cross our paths to help us. I know this is true too as I have experienced it as well. Praise God for these tender mercies!

To quote President Spencer W. Kimball:

“The Lord does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other. The righteous life is achieved as we magnify our view of life, and expand our view of others and of our own possibilities. Thus, the more we follow the teachings of the Master, the more enlarged our perspective becomes. We see many more possibilities for service than we would have seen without this magnification. There is great security in spirituality, and we cannot have spirituality without service!” (source)

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Gospel Wits and Wagers

Before I explain how to play Gospel Wits and Wagers, I just want to share something so wonderful. This week I felt an amazing blessing come into my life. It had been almost a year since we had an appliance break down. I was reveling in our good fortune when, what do you know, the washing machine broke. Ugh. So I called and made an appointment for a repairman to come. The soonest that his schedule meshed with an opening with my schedule was Wednesday next week. Double ugh.

On Saturday last week I had just finished writing out my schedule, with all these grand plans to sunbathe and then run errands in the afternoon. (I sunbathe for heliotherapy, which I explain here.) Then the Holy Spirit whispered to me, reminding me that several days prior I had made an appointment to go to the temple on Saturday afternoon. Even though I had to change my plans, I decided the temple was more important than my errands. I also realized that if we were to have clean clothes, I needed to go use my ministering sister’s washing machine. I had just enough time to run over there to start a load, come back and eat, and then change clothes to go to the temple.

The temple visit was so wonderful. There’s a temple worker there who interacted with me. She just oozed unconditional love. I interacted with her last week as well. That’s when I first noticed this unconditional love. I was happy to see her again and feel this incredible love again. When I was done visiting the temple, I went to my car to come home. I noticed two text messages on my phone that had come in while I was inside the temple. One was from the appliance repair business. One was from my husband.

The message from the appliance repair business: “Our repair technician was involved in a four wheeling accident today. We don’t know yet how serious his condition is. We are cancelling all his appointments for next week. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

The message from my husband: “The washing machine works now. I don’t know why. I didn’t touch it. It just started working. We are using it now.”

Wow! Before I even had time to stress about the canceled repair appointment, I found out I didn’t have to stress. Of course I can’t explain why this happened. I can’t prove why it happened. I believe, however, it was a result of my sacrifice to do temple work. I believe angels on the other side were rejoicing in the work I did for them and somehow influenced the washing machine to work again.

I love doing family history research work and temple work. The blessings are innumerable. I feel the blessings come temporally and spiritually, as so beautifully elaborated in my absolute favorite story about temple and family history work told here by Sister Kim Crenshaw Sorenson, told here.

OK, on to how to play Gospel Wits and Wagers.

First go here to read what I wrote on how to play Book of Mormon Wits and Wagers.

Now that you’ve read that, just expand the questions you use to include other gospel-based questions. Just remember to always have the answer be a number, either a quantity or a year.

The photos I’ve included in this post are pictures of pages I found from the Ensign and Liahona magazines that show facts and figures about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in different areas of the world. Use these questions for a Gospel Wits and Wagers Games. You can also turn to the magazines online or other places to find more facts and figures. We played this game today for a Sunday gameschooling round with my mother-in-law, husband, children left at home, and my married son and daughter-in-law. It’s so interesting to learn about the kingdom of God building up around the globe.

Other Sunday gameschooling games can be found here. Enjoy! May your Sabbath Day be even more of a delight with Sunday School-based games!

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