Even though Mother’s Day is over, I’m going to keep blogging about the power of moms. I had hoped to do more blog posts of mother stories before Mother’s Day but only got two done. Story #1 in my countdown is here, Story #2 is here. Yet I don’t feel done blogging about the power of moms. Moms wield so much unsong power in this world, both throughout history and currently. So I’ll keep blogging about moms for the month and of May. Now I’m calling this series “May 2022 Stories of Ordinary and Heroic Moms.” Here’s Story #1.
This story is about a remarkable woman, Rebecca Swain Williams. Copied and pasted below is the first paragraph from the story published over here.
“Born in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1798, Rebecca Swain was the youngest of 10 children. When she was about nine, her family moved to Niagara, near the United States–Canada border. They were close enough to Fort Niagra that they could hear the gunfire when the fort was attacked during the War of 1812. Even as a young girl Rebecca showed her fearlessness. Once, while traveling alone through the woods, she met a bear face-to-face on the trail. Having a parasol in her hand, she opened and closed it several times in the bear’s face, and it ran away.”
That’s just the beginning of the story of her pluck and resourcefulness. She learned about the restored gospel alongside her husband Frederick Granger Williams, when missionaries taught them in Kirtland, Ohio in 1830. She got baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the same month. The story says she was like Eve, in that she was the first in her family to take a courageous first step into a new world.
Here are some remarkable gems about her:
-she protected Joseph Smith from mob violence by dressing him in her cloak and bonnet and sending him out the door to walk into the mob. They didn’t recognize him in the disguise, and he safely got away.
-she and her husband were the ones who comforted Joseph after he was tarred and feathered, by removing the feathers and washing off the tar. Because of their care, Joseph was able to preach the very next day
-she stayed true to the gospel even though her dad sent her several letters, threatening to disown her, which he eventually did
-she resisted her father’s persuasive efforts to get her to leave the Church. She testified that she had heard the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon (see quote in image below).
-she stayed true to the gospel even though her husband, who was a member of the First Presidency, lost his faith in the church leaders, including Joseph Smith, and got excommunicated. He later came back into the Church.
-her example ended up working on someone whom we can presume she wasn’t expecting to persuade, her sister, Sarah Swain Clark. Sarah got baptized in Michigan in 1832.
In short, Rebecca was amazing! I do hope you read the story here and watch the video below. Prepare to be inspired!
Last week’s video on the Latter-day Media YouTube Channel with Rhonda and Farrell Pickering was SOOO AMAAAAZING! It goes with last week’s Bible study of Come, Follow Me. That study involves Exodus 35-40, Leviticus 1, 16, and 19.
Have you ever wondered what the connection is between the tabernacle of Moses’ day and the temples of today, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If so, you will want to watch this video at the bottom of this post. I wish it could be required watching before anybody went to the temple for the first time. It shows so many wonders and connections! The picture of a map above shows a connection between today and the past. If you superimpose the map of the tabernacle on a specific earth map, you see that the distance between the altar of burnt offerings and the Holy of Holies is the same as the distance between Jerusalem and Jackson County Missouri. So cool!
Rhonda declares that we can’t understand the book of Revelation by John, with its prophecy, unless we understand the foundation it is built on, which includes the symbolism and ritual of the tabernacle. She says that most scholars believe that John was a priest in the temple, so that’s why he set up his book this way.
I’ve put some screenshots of the video below to tantalize you to watch it. Rhonda and Farrell share so many wonderful truths in it. The tabernacle and temple teach us about the plan of salvation, with Christ at the center of it all. I love that they talk about Hebrew connections as well.
Rhonda shares that entering the door of the tabernacle’s courtyard is symbolized by baptism today. Then the altar of the burnt offerings reminds us of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. That’s just the beginning. She walks you through the tabernacle, comparing the different places to different places of the Salt Lake Temple. Every piece of furniture and action in the tabernacle symbolizes a part of the plan of salvation, and we see these parts in temple worship today. It’s all so beautiful and wonderful!
Then I also loved these videos shared below too. They also show elements of the tabernacle. We are so blessed to have so many resources to help us understand the scriptures. In the one just below, David and Emily take us on a tour of a tabernacle replica. So splendid! It’s about at the 11 minute mark.
Did you watch the Season 9 Finale of Relative Race last Sunday? I did! If you’d like to watch a debrief of the season with all four teams, watch below! I was so sympathizing with Tiffany of Team Red when she rode the roller coaster. Oh boy! I would have closed my eyes and told my teammate to find the letters. I won’t say who won, go watch it over here if you haven’t already, then come watch the debrief above. If you haven’t seen the show at all, go over here to see why I love the show so much!
Today’s story as I countdown to Mother’s Day is that of Abigail May Alcott, mother of Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women. Most people don’t know her story as she is not as famous as her author daughter. She was amazing! I reviewed a biography about her, pictured below, over here.
Then this other book, My Heart is Boundless, is a compilation of her letters and journal entries. Abba, as she was known, was full of love, pluck, determination, and wisdom. Her great niece, Eve LaPlante, found a trunk full of Abba’s writings in an attic and compiled them in the book below.
She constantly recognized her daughter Louisa’s writing talent and encouraged it. She worked tirelessly to keep her family fed, clothed and sheltered. For whatever reason, her husband had a hard time providing for his family. (I’ve often wondered if he was mentally ill.) She went through so many difficult times with him. For sure, she was the “wind beneath the wings” for Louisa.
I am positive, that without her, we would not have the book Little Women, and the other books by Louisa. It just makes me wonder, what other mothers, both in the past and present, do we owe gratitude to for inspiring greatness in their children and others? I am sure that the number is countless.
Forget the flowers and chocolate. The flowers die and the chocolates get eaten. They are delightful, I’ll grant you, although transitory pleasures. OK, so better yet, for upcoming Mother’s Day, go for the flowers and chocolate, but add a board or card game into the mix! How about a flower-based or chocolate-based game? Those last forever!
If you still have some shopping to do for Mother’s Day, or a wishlist to make for your husband and kiddos to give to you, I hope this list gives you some ideas. If you want an idea for a holistic mama that’s not a game, check out wellnessmama.com’s gift list here and mommypotamus.com’s list here.
If you or a mama you know love games, I think you will find a game here that is just right!
I love these types of games. It’s for solo play, to exercise your logical thinking and reasoning skill. Some of the rest of the games I’ve listed below can be played solo as well, or with more players. If you want a game that has a chocolate theme but involves more strategy, check out the one below on Amazon, where I got the image below. See if you can do better as a manager of a chocolate factory conveyor belt than Lucy and Ethel did.
The above game, created by Paola Brown, teaches homeopathy. Perfect for the Momeopath (trademark of Paola) in your life! I’ve played it a few times and love it. The mechanics remind me of the Sleeping Queens card game. I love that as you play, you are learning what homeopathic remedies cure corresponding ailments. Go here to buy!
I haven’t played the one above but it looks super fun! I love the herb theme. It looks educational as well so you can learn to identify herbs.
If you or the mama you are giving to love Dixit, you’ll/she’ll probably love Stella too. It’s like Dixit on steroids. Video on how to play and a review is below. I love the art! It seems less creepy than Dixit’s art, and definitely more cute.
Many moms love word games. If your mama does, I think she’ll love these next two games.
First is Letter Jam. It’s co-operative. You’re playing for everyone to guess his or her mystery word. If everybody guesses his or her word right, you all win. Otherwise, you all lose. The chips with the numbers on them that look like fruit slices feel so good. I love that they are thick and heavy.
Next is Letter Go! If she loves Scrabble, your mama gift recipient will probably love this. Watch the review below.
Everdell is so gorgeous! I haven’t played it yet but it’s upstairs, waiting to be unboxed. Here’s hoping I’ll get to play it this weekend for Family Game Night!
I saw the review below and decided to get it. It’s a worker placement game so if your mama doesn’t like those, avoid it. If she’s into strategy, beauty, and cute forest animals, she’ll probably love it. You get to create a tree as part of the board game setup. although in the review below, Mr. Zee says the tree will get in the way if you have more than 2 people. Watch the review below. Some say it’s even better than Wingspan.
I love Calico! Read my review here. Get it for your favorite mama into quilts and/or cats!
How about a little romance and adventure in your board gaming? The Princess Bride board game brings back all the magic of the movie. The game play involves going through the chapters of the book, as if you were the grandpa telling the grandson the story, like the frame story of the movie. Fun and romantic at the same time! Another one that’s upstairs waiting to be unboxed.
We got this game for Christmas a few years ago from my sister. I didn’t like it at first but it’s slowly grown on me. Players take a journey in Japan and gain points along the way for different experiences. The illustrations are gorgeous! It’s supposed to be relaxing, but if you completely relax, you won’t win. I actually won the last time we played this, a few weeks ago. So now I like it more :-).
Wingspan is such a beauty! Perfect for any mama who loves birdwatching, IF she also loves strategy games. Read my review here.
It’s also educational but not in any heavy-handed way.
I love Azul! My son gave us the original Azul a few years ago for Christmas. The components are so beautiful! I love the little tiles with the pretty designs. In this version, you have pretty tiles again, but this time you get to build a queen’s garden, with tiles, plants and trees. If your mama loves strategy and puzzles, she will probably love this game.
Speaking of gardens, here’s another game about that: Cottage Garden. So cute! Review is below.
What about a game for the artist mom in your life? She can chill with Bob Ross!
See review below. As the video tells us, it’s a set collection, hand management game. You get to take turns collecting paints and paintbrushes to make paintings that Bob actually painted. It’s for beginning level gamers, as the strategy isn’t super sophisticated.
Last but not least, we have Meadow. Another gorgeous game for the gorgeous game-loving mom in your life.
If your mama loves nature and strategy, she will probably love it. See the review below.
Last but not least, a game about honey and beehives…Honey Buzz! One of my close girlfriends just got some beehives with bees so I thought of her when I saw this.
If you want to go all out and give a superbly wonderful game, get this one. At over $100, it’s pricey, because it’s a super deluxe kickstarter version. It looks so adorable and fun! Watch the review below.
That’s it! I shared more than ten games. I hope at least one delights the game-loving mom in your life. Many of them offer solo play if mom can’t find other players or just needs chill time alone. Honey Buzz, Meadow, Wingspan, Calico, Everdell, Princess Bride, Herbaceous, and Floriferous all have solitaire options, in addition to being able to be played by more than one player. Chocolate Fix is strictly solo play. If you’d like to get a picture book, instead of a game, for the favorite mother in your life, go here for ideas. That’s where I share several picture books about the power of mothering. And again, only get these games if you know your mama loves games. See the top of this post for links to non-game gift ideas. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
Just like I’ve done for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, I’m going to share some stories as we approach Mother’s Day. I just love the power of mothers. This power is not always seen right away, it sometimes won’t even bear fruit until the eternities. But it’s there. It’s such a fiercely protective love. Think of a Mama Bear and how she protects her cubs.
Today’s story is called “Will You Be Our Pastor?” by Elder Hugh B. Brown. You can watch it below or read it here. Be sure to read it even if you watch it because the text of the story gives more back story. The back story involves parting, loving words from Elder Brown’s mother.
I love that Elder Brown’s mother prophetically planted a seed in his mind that when the symbolic nightmares would come on his mission, he would need to reach out and pray to his Father in Heaven for help. When they did come, would he had so readily prayed and asked for God’s help if his mom hadn’t taught him to pray?
We never know as mothers when the seeds we plant in our children’s hearts will take root and bear fruit. We can’t control that. All we control is the sharing of the seeds of truth.
If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know how much I love board games. I love to use them for homeschooling, to teach so many topics: language arts, math, art, music, science, geography, history, logic and reasoning, strategy, and so much more.
Years ago, I found the term “gameschooling” was around and fully embraced the concept. “You mean playing board games can count as school?! Heck, yeah!!!!” was basically my reaction. “I’m all in!” Ever since then, gameschooling has helped make homeschooling so much fun for me. I will say it’s gotten easier as my baby of 7 children left the preschool years. I don’t have to worry about locking up games to keep tiny fingers away from pieces and strewing them everywhere. So if you are in that stage, know that it does end, and getting board games out will get easier :-). In the meantime, keep them locked up, and when you do get one out, follow these tips here to play games and keep the toddlers happy.
For a few years now, my sustainable goal, which I do most of the time, is to read one picture book and play one board game a day with my son who is transitioning from a “love of learning” to “scholar phase.” (Go here to learn more about these phases). I’ts called the #abookandagameaday challenge. My other children are either scholar phase or pursuing their mission as adults, so they aren’t available for day to day homeschooling. Most are out of the nest anyway. We do play games when they are home, we just don’t homeschool together or gameschool together because they aren’t home. Although we do sometimes play games remotely through Zoom for family game nights. Anyway, yeah lately it’s been just the 12 year old and me.
Soooo, I’ve blogged a lot about playing games for school. It’s just so much fun! You can go here to get some free resources on that.
I’ve never, however, dived into this specific topic. Let’s talk about gospel-based board games, specifically for playing on Sunday. When I say “gospel” I am referring to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, as promoted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I could extend my love of board games and continue the challenge of a game a day to Sunday! The bonus thing about playing games on Sunday is that more people are home and available to play, especially if my married son is over with his wife. Often my mother-in-law is here for Sunday dinner. Like I say, we don’t play a game every Sunday, as I like to see what organically unfolds sometimes as conversations get going. But if there’s a lull after everyone helps with Sunday dinner dishes, I will often pull out a game.
On Sundays, I like to play gospel-themed games to help us focus on the Savior and His gospel. For a few years now, I’ve been on the lookout for Bible and Book of Mormon based games at thrift stores. I’ve been pleased to find a bunch. Bible Scattergories is probably my favorite out of those. I found it at he Layton UT Deseret Industries for $1.50! One of my best bargains ever!
We don’t do a game every Sunday, and sometimes we play games that aren’t specifically gospel-themed. Like one day back in February, we celebrated Child #3’s birthday on a Sunday and he requested Ticket to Ride after dinner, so we played that. His wife creamed us all, getting over 200 points. I found out she’s really competitive, which I love!
Anyway, here are my Sunday games to encourage “Sunday School Gameschooling.” The idea is to learn more about the gospel or more about each other. Bonus when you do a little or a lot of both!
Druthers: this is my absolute favorite Sabbath Day game. It’s such a terrific getting-to-know you activity. It involves terms that members of the Church are generally familiar with, like “calling,” “bishop,” “Young Women,” etc. You take turns picking a card with questions on it. You get points if you can correctly guess what the person holding the card answers. The questions on the card always have four answers printed on the card plus the fifth answer is a totally “fill in the blank” answer where the answerer can provide his/her customized answer. We pulled this out when my daughter and son-in-law were here for Christmas. One of the questions my son-in-law got was “What power would you exercise if you became the bishop?” I laughed when I read the choices given, such as “Give people I don’t like hard callings,” and “End church early.” My son-in-law did created his own customized answer by saying he would “Work to create better relations with other denominations of religion in the community.” Yeah, what a great guy he is! That just totally warmed my heart. If you ever see this at thrift store, snatch it up. It will be the best $2-3 you ever spend! You can see some card questions below.
Bible Scattergories This is so fun! My second favorite Sabbath game. It’s really fun when I can play with my adult children as they generally come up with super creative answers. I felt so blessed to find this at the Layton UT Deseret Industries for $1.50 last summer. So awesome!
Bible Pictionary. It’s so fun to see what people draw and how easily or not-so-easily people guess the words. To make the game more fun and move faster, I like to have it be “All Play” on every turn.
Bible Tribond. Often I’ll just grab the cards and toss out the word prompts and skip the mechanics of using the board. This game definitely challenges your brain to make connections and increase your knowledge of the Bible. Maybe someday some creative person will come up with some Book of Mormon Tribond cards.
SWAT– a Book of Mormon trivia game with a twist, where you get to “buzz in” by swatting a flyswatter on the table. It’s great fun, as long as people feel somewhat confident in their Book of Mormon knowledge.
Other scripture trivia games. I’ve seen different variations. So many are out there at thrift stores, at least in Utah. When I was a kid, it was Celestial Pursuit, a take-off of Trivial Pursuit. Nowadays, you can find Seek, Super Key, Bible Trivia from Ideal, Book of Mormon Challenge, and Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites, for starters. Not everybody likes trivia or quizzes so play accordingly.
Bible Outburst. This gives your brain a workout and it’s fun to use the cardholder thing-y to be able to read the answers and then move the switches.
My DIY Gospel Timeline Game that I give instructions over here.
General Conference Jeopardy! Courtesy of Monterrat over at a gospelcenteredhome.com. She comes out with a new one within days of every General Conference.
Stupor. This is a restored gospel version of Anomia. For some reason, my 17-year-old always wins at Anomia and I think this one too.
Wits and Wagers gospel themed This isn’t available commercially, just buy the regular game and then come up with gospel questions. I see this game all the time at thrift stores. You can read how to play a General Conference variation here and a Book of Mormon themed version here, to get ideas. Play those then come up with your own gospel-related questions, using this resource here.)
Mormon Mouthful (like Gab but with gospel phrases). This isn’t my favorite. You’re not really learning anything, it’s just fun to see if you can guess the phrase. This is one of those games I want to pull out at during a meal if the conversation lags. It’s not really worth it to me to go through all the mechanics of playing it as a “real game” after clearing the dishes.
Then some games are out there aren’t specifically gospel themed, but you can play them with a gospel twist.
If you can find the Generations game at a thrift store, grab it! I’ve seen a bunch lately. It’s such a great game to encourage family discussions and sharing of family memories.
Generations. No gospel twist needed. This is a great game to increase knowledge of family members. It’s kind of like Druthers in that you try to match the answer to a question, but when it’s your turn you get to pick who you ask the question, and what family unit or generation you are referring to. A sample of the questions are above.
Encore. Like Spontuneous, this game involves knowledge of songs. Use the same two song resources above. For younger children and new-to-the-gospel people you could have it be an “open book quiz.”
Bananagrams. I heard a speaker in a church meeting mention that she likes to play this with her grandson and they work together to make the words they recently read in the Come, Follow Me lesson.
Gospel Taboo. This plays like the Taboo card game but you can use gospel-themed cards here.
So many more games can be adapted to have a gospel theme: Linq, Password, Name that Tune, and so forth. I’m not listing Settlers of Zarahemla here because it doesn’t increase your knowledge of the gospel or each other. It’s just Settlers of Catan renamed with a Book of Mormon name. 🙂 Still fun though, but doesn’t increase your knowledge of the gospel.
Happy Sunday gameschooling! I hope it makes your Sabbath just as delightful as it does mine!
I am in love with the Calico game! It’s the perfect solitaire game for moms! In this game, you are pretending to be a quilter. Your job is to get the most points possible by arranging quilt pieces that attract cats to lie on the quilt. You can also get points by getting buttons. You get cats to lie on the quilt if you put 3, 4, or 5 pieces of the same patterned pieces touching.
You get buttons if you get three of the same-colored pieces touching. Then you also get points if you accomplish the design tile goals. Watch the video below to learn all about what I’m talking about. This game may look sweet and fluffy, like the cat on the box lid, but it actually gives your brain a real workout!
I give this game five out of five stars! This game is so versatile. You can use it to learn/teach logic and reasoning. That can count as math! So it’s a great game for gameschooling, for I would say, ages 10 and up. Advanced 8-year olds might enjoy it, too. Younger kids would find it overwhelming. It helps you learn how to accomplish more than one goal at once so it’s great for learning goal-setting, executive control, and balancing goals.
You can also use it for date night, playing with just two people. It works for up to four people. So I’m definitely bringing it to my next friends’ retreat. On top of all that, you can play it alone, as a solitaire game.
Lately I’ve liked to play it after I’ve been on my feet for hours. It does require quite a bit of brain power, so if you want a game that is completely relaxing, this isn’t the game for that. If you like spatial puzzles you will love it! Play it when you want your body to relax but your mind is up for a challenge. As I play I listen to the soundtrack of movies like Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, or the live action Cinderella from 2015. It’s just a fun way to take a little break and put a dazzle in my heart, as Ramona Zabriskie talks about. When I’m doing it, I’m building my brain as well! It’s the perfect game if it’s wet and drizzly outside and you want to feel warm, cuddly, and snuggly inside.
I just love the gorgeous patterns, the bright beautiful colors, and the cat illustrations. The pieces are all high quality, thick cardboard. The purple and white drawstring bag to hold the tiles is adorable with thick fabric and ribbon. If you are looking for a Mother’s Day gift to put on your own wish list or give to your mom or mom-in-law, this just might be the perfect gift! Just make sure that person likes puzzles. If someone is overwhelmed by puzzles or divergent thinking, it probably wouldn’t be a good gift. If she likes puzzles, cats, and quilts, she will definitely love this game! Hmmm….that makes me think of a certain someone who I want to give this to. Happy quilt-making and cat-attracting!
Did you hear? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released Saints Volume 3 last Friday. This book covers the history of the Church from 1893-1955. It involves the Church entering the modern age, going from horse and buggy to cars, jets, and a worldwide church, with temples outside of the United States.
You can listen to or read it in the Gospel Library app on your phone. Go here to learn where to get that. Or you can read it on your desktop PC here.
I just listened to this podcast here that tells a bit of the back story about producing it, most of which happened during Covid. I loved hearing about how the writers discovered the documents to tell the story of Helga Meyer, a faithful Saint from Germany. Now I want to read her whole story in the book below.
You can listen to this podcast here to hear more of the back story behind Saints Volume 3.
I love this talk by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin shown below, called “Sunday Will Come.” It gives me great hope. Whatever trials we may be going through right now, because of Jesus and His power, His atoning grace, shown in Gethsemane and on the cross, we know things will get better. Sunday will come!
If you haven’t yet watched Rob Gardiner’s “Lamb of God” I highly encourage you to watch it! What a beautiful testimony of our resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You can see it here.