Friday, April 13, 2018

Ministering (Again)

A shock rippled around the world on April 1, 2018. During the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference, President Nelson announced:

We have made the decision to retire home teaching and visiting teaching as we have known them...'

It's amazing how many thoughts went through my head during the short pause. My first thought was, “Oh my goodness. I finally have a shot at making it to the Celestial Kingdom!

My next thought was, “Those programs are how the Church works. I can't see them being abandoned. What's coming?”

President Nelson continued:

 ...Instead, we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as “ministering.”

Following President Nelson, two talks given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Sister Jean B. Bingham expanded upon the meaning of ministering and shared some of its new administration details. One sentence in Elder Holland's talk jumped out at me:

“In an effort to move us closer to that gospel ideal, this newly announced priesthood and Relief Society ministering concept will include, among other things, the following elements, some of which the Relief Society has already put in place with wonderful success.

 A memory of a tag I created 6 years ago for this blog popped into my mind (above). We've  been preparing for some time to make this change. Posting these tags again, I remembered the early excitement I felt. The following are still good resources about the definition of Ministering and how to minister to others until the Ministering website is fully expanded. (Of course, the administration parts about reporting, etc., in these old sources are now obsolete.)
April 2, 2012 Blog Post
This isn't a new concept, but a continued focus on the word, "ministry", was new for me. One early focus on ministering comes from the book, Daughters in My Kingdom, chaper 7, ‘Pure Religion’: Watchcare and Ministering through Visiting Teaching.

This topic was followed up in the March 2012 Ensign:

The April 2012 Visiting Teaching Message continued to address ministering and Sister Beck mentioned it in her April General Conference address.

I believe the Visiting Teaching messages for the remainder of 2012 also covered aspects of ministering. December 2012 does...

For me, the irony is that while we are ministering to others, we are actually ministering to ourselves. In the process of ministering, we are also strengthening, growing, and hopefully becoming more like the Savior. Ministering is truly our best shot at becoming worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom. But best of all, by ministering to others, we are also ministering to our Savior, who has done everything for us, and without whom we would have nothing and be nothing.  

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I am still retired from this blog, but wanted to share these resources with those who are teaching the 4th Sunday Relief Society classes on Ministering in about a week!

Thanks for visiting,


Monday, October 7, 2013

That Ye Would Remember...

VT printables for the new VT message emphasis

There's an almost invisible phrase in Moroni 10:3. (At least it sometimes feels like it from my experience.)

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.)

I think everyone has this scripture memorized, but here is the missing piece just in case it's a little fuzzy:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.)

Have you noticed how many times the Book of Mormon follows this pattern? Nephi, attempting to build faith in his brothers reminds them of the times that God helped Moses (1 Nephi 4: 2), and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (1 Nephi 17:40). Ammon, teaching King Lamoni in Alma 18: 36 "began at the creation of the world, and also the creation of Adam..." Aaron, teaching King Lamoni's father, "began from the creation of Adam..." (Alma 22: 12). There are many more examples. 

This principle brings to mind a promise we make when we partake of the Sacrament: 

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

If our hearts are open, spiritual strength can come from learning about and remembering how God and His son, Jesus Christ have blessed those who have gone before us. It builds our faith that they will do the same for us. They keep their promises. I guess that's why I am so excited about this VT emphasis. These messages will have the spiritual power to build our testimonies, change hearts, and also to strengthen and sustain us in our trials and difficulties.

I wanted our sisters to be able to save these VT messages together in one place, to help them to grow, to renew and build strength as they review the messages. I bought an inexpensive album for 4 by 6-inch photos and created a cover for it.

Cover for 4 by 6-inch photo album
 I also created an inner cover to explain the "why" behind this VT topic:

Inner cover--the "why" as explained in September 2013 Ensign
And while caught up in designing frenzy delirium, I found myself creating a second October printable. Either one of my October printables will fit inside a 4 by 6-inch photo album:


Click on any of the above images to enlarge it, then right click on the resulting image to save it to your computer. Print the image yourself or send it out to a photo center. 

Carpal tunnel has begun exacting revenge on me again (wonder why?), so this might be my last entry for a while. If I don't have a 4 by 6-inch printable ready for you in the future, there are many other sites that will. Check out Sugardoodle's VT listings here. Have a great October!

Thanks for visiting,


Friday, October 4, 2013

New VT Topic Reveal

New Visiting Teaching Topics Begin in October 

"Beginning in October 2013 the Relief Society Visiting Teaching Messages will focus on the divine mission of Jesus Christ and His many roles and attributes.

By studying and focusing on the roles and attributes of the Savior, the sisters in the Church will learn to be like Him and will be able to discuss with the sisters they serve how the teachings and example of the Savior can influence their lives." [Emphasis mine.] From the September 2013 Ensign.

When I found out about the new VT emphasis, I didn't want be left behind. I had to create a printable for it!

The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Creator

For this month's theme, I felt that the image of the world should look like a gift to your sister because the earth is the most beautiful, personally-crafted gift ever created, made with us in mind. We take photography like this for granted now, but I remember how awed I was by the beauty of the first photo ever taken of the earth's entire surface. It was jaw-dropping gorgeous!

The Blue Marble Photo, first photo of entire earth

One of my favorite scriptures fits so well with October's message, I included it as a tag on the printable. My heart soared the first time I read D&C 59: 18, 19 because I recognized that God's love is even in the smallest details around us.

18. Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the  use of man, both to please the eye and to  gladden the heart;
19. Yea, for  food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to  strengthen the body and to enliven the soul 

Creating the printable is almost intuitive. Download, print and cut everything out. The tan tag is folded in half where indicated. "X" marks the spot you'll punch the tan tag (when folded) with a 1/4" hole punch. You'll hopefully see four tiny notches on the edge of the world to snip. These hold the string in place when you wrap it around the earth. I used about 28 inches of natural/black baker's twine on the sample. Card stock is the best weight for this printout, or you can glue stick the earth to a scrap of poster board and cut it out. If you'd like, you can also bring your sister some of the harvest bounty that's available this month--the best visual aids out there for D&C 59:18, 19!

Download printable here
Another October printable here

Thanks for visiting! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

General Conference--Drink It All In!

Yes, technically, this is still not an active blog. (If it were, I would have to fix all the broken links that were created by Google's changes. Carpal tunnel is actually wonderful thing on unwanted occasions like these.) But I can't stay away any longer--this Saturday and Sunday is my favorite weekend. General Conference. I can't think of anything better than to listen to inspired messages while sitting alongside the ones I love most. It feels like a beautiful dream is ending when the final session winds down to the closing hymn and prayer, and we have to return to reality again.

It wasn't always that way. One day, back in high school, my lukewarm Conference attitude changed when I went out to get the mail. As I pulled the Conference issue of the Ensign out of the mailbox, something on the cover caught my eye: "Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." My heart soared and I thought, "Of course!" I have loved Conference ever since. When Steve and I were dating, he earned major points because 1. He knew who Neal A. Maxwell was (My favorite apostle at the time. I was surprised how many guys had no clue.) and 2. He appreciated the wordsmithing of Elder Neal A. Maxwell enough to own most of his books. From that point on, it wouldn't have mattered if Steve had had 3 arms (he doesn't) or if he didn't like pizza (he doesn't). The rest was history.

So, to celebrate my favorite weekend, I planned to create a General Conference Kit from A Bushel and a Peck for my VT sisters:

Or maybe a spinoff based on it, VT General Conference Gifts at Babblings and More:

But I kept thinking about living waters. And I finally decided it might be easier to create my own handout than to create a new password at Scribd for the Conference Kit download. The design is strongly influenced by something you might have seen somewhere recently before:

Download the free printable here.
Print the photo. Cut the tags out, layer them with the scripture tag on the bottom, the turquoise tag in the middle, and the circle tag on top. Punch a hole and tie the tags to a bottle of water.

(Hmm. Looks like I might have to pull out my carpal tunnel excuse again for the bad photo!) Have a wonderful Conference this weekend--drink it all in.

Thanks for visiting,


Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Accidental Post

It's the last day of the month, and I hadn't planned to post anything, but it's a hazardous world out there today and posting gives me a good excuse to stay home for now. By 10:00 this morning, my car was almost hit twice. Even though I feel lucky to come through it unscathed, that's all the close calls I'd like my heart to handle for the next hour or so!

I know...everyone has already completed their VT this month, but maybe this idea will come in handy at another time.  Practically everyone who posted a handout for January quoted the Elder Uchtdorf selection. And most of us were particularly taken with this part of it:

"Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone's life for eternity."

This got me thinking about people who feel hesitant to share testimony because they don't have an earth-shattering-faith-promoting experience to share. That's not the point of bearing testimony. The point is to give the Spirit an opportunity to bear witness of truth. He can do that through any declaration of truth, even short and simple.

And so, here's a short and simple handout that you can tie to a little bag of Hershey's Kisses, along with a full copy of the message.:

 Click on the image, then right-click to save to your computer.

Thanks for visiting today!



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Visiting Teaching, A Work of Salvation, the Christmas Version

Click on image, then save full-sized file (4 by 6, 300 dpi) to your computer.
I love tying the Visiting Teaching message to a holiday or to an event in the month. This month's message, Visiting Teaching, A Work of Salvation contains a wonderful quote for Christmas, the season the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

 "We are 'to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite [others] to come unto Christ." [D&C 20:59]. --Spencer W. Kimball

In the 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, President Henry B. Eyring gave a talk titled, The Gifts of Christmas. I feel that it complements this month's message extremely well. He said,

"The lesson is that God knows our every need, that He loves us, and that He watches over us.

He gave us the gift of a Savior, His perfect Son, the Lamb without blemish. By personal appearance of the Father Himself and of the Son, and through angels, He has restored the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. He has called prophets and apostles to guide us to safety in this life and eternal life in the world to come. Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected that we may live again, that we may be purified and cleansed from sin, prepared for the glory of eternal life.

Those are gifts to us that we can offer to others for Him. We do that by remembering Him and trying with all our hearts to do what He would do and love as He loves.

There was a song in a film years ago with the line 'Have yourself a merry little Christmas.”  Well, you can give a great and wonderful Christmas if you remember the gifts God has given you and, as best you can, offer them to others as He would. That is the spirit of Christmas and of true happiness every day.'

A conclusion I drew from his talk is that Visiting Teaching, as a Work of Salvation, is the spirit of Christmas and of true happiness every day! What a gift to us as Visiting Teachers and those we visit teach!

Wishing you and your sisters a very Merry Christmas!

Thanks for visiting!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All's Well That Ends Well!

"All's well that ends well". Who am I to argue with the wisdom of Shakespeare? (Especially when there are colder, less forgiving platitudes out there like "Time and tide wait for no man" or "It is what it is".) So, in the spirit of ending the year well, I'm posting a 4 by 6 image that can be used as a tag, a card, a print; fulfilling every possible VT printable need you have--except actually printing it out!
Click to access full-sized 300 dpi version, then save that version to your computer. Upload to a photo processor for best results.

For those who have read Daughters in My Kingdom, this quote by Eliza R. Snow will be familiar. It's a perfect thought for the chilly month of December: "Win back those who have gone astray [and] warm up the hearts of those who have grown cold in the gospel." Optional little tie-in gift possibilities are numerous: dollar store mittens, hand-knitted scarf, (and now we're getting to the really good stuff) hot chocolate mixes, hot chocolate stirring sticks, and these...

Chocolaty Melting Snowmen Cookies from BHG

Christmas Hot Chocolate Cupcake
Abbreviated Hot Chocolate Cupcake instructions from Catch My Party here.

Easy Snowman Marshmallows from Sweet Sugar Belle

You catch my drift!

Wishing you and your Sisters a wonderful Christmas! Warm them up! Until next time--(Who knows when that will be--maybe next December?)

Thanks for visiting,


P.S. Please see this post for another December 2012 Visiting Teaching printable!