6 Ways to Belong in Relief Society

Let me start by saying that most of these tips will actually work to feel like you belong anywhere, and certainly anywhere within the church.  Let me also stress that I know that these ideas work because I’ve seen them work.  And in most cases, they have personally worked for me.  It’s really hard for me to feel like I belong.  I’m a back row lurker.  I slip in early and stake out my lonely corner and practice looking down so that nobody feels compelled to join me.

But boy does that get old.  I soon felt like I wasn’t getting anything out of Relief Society.  I felt like I didn’t belong.  I soon realized that what I got out of Relief Society was directly proportionate to what I gave to Relief Socitey, or to my sisters as a whole.

Once I realized that I had some control over the situation, I was able to experiment and finds ways to truly feel that I belong.

  1. Attend Relief Society. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s really not.  If you’re not there then it’s more difficult for you to feel that you belong.  Just ask someone who’s been in Primary for a few years.  Going to Relief Society is the first step in feeling like you are a vital part of it.  For those of us with callings in YW, Nursery, or Primary, there are still ways to feel like you belong.  Ask your visiting teachers or another friend to pick up handouts or to take notes for you.  They’ll be inspired to pay attention, and you’ll get a recap of all that’s happening.
  2. Avoid the back. Now if you have a legitimate reason to be in the back, (screaming toddler, appointment with the bishop, have to leave early) then by all means fill up those seats.  But those of us hiding in the back…it’s time to move up.  Trying sitting just one row ahead next week.  Move up a row each week and see what happens.  I think you’ll find that you’re more engaged with the teacher.  It’s easier to make eye contact, or give a reassuring smile.  It makes you feel braver and bolder.  And you should be bold, you’re awesome and wonderful!
  3. Read the lesson. Finding time to read your lessons will be another post, I promise.  But making time to really read your lesson and ponder it’s meaning in your life goes a long way to connecting you to the sisters around you.  Read it early in the week, and watch as the Lord brings new experiences and reminds you of past ones that fall right into the theme and purpose of the lesson.  Being prepared allows you to be a blessing to others as well.  Maybe there’s another sister hiding in a back corner that will take comfort from your voice and experiences.
  4. Speak up. When your teacher asks for someone to read or begs someone to share an experience, raise your hand and offer up what you have to the sisters around you.  It’s a small thing, but it does so much.  Think of your offer to share as another way for you to sustain the teacher in the classroom.  It’s another way for you to witness of the blessings and help that has come into your life.  Don’t be afraid, the Spirit will guide you.
  5. Attend Enrichment. I have a huge bias here because I’m the Enrichment leader for our ward, but whenever possible attend Enrichment meetings.  Go to learn something new.  Go to provide service to your sisters and others.  Go because you love the Lord and have faith that he will lead you to things that will enrich your home, your family, and you.
  6. Pray. Pray for strength.  Pray to feel the Lord’s warm embrace.  Pray to find friends among your sisters.  Pray to feel that you belong.  He will comfort your heart, lift up your spirits, and guide you.

I hope that these basic things will help you increase your feeling of belonging, because I know that you do.  We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us and we love him!  Each of us is unique, precious, and beautiful.  As we learn to reach out to those around us, we will feel the refiner’s fire molding and shaping us into the women we would be.  How grateful I am for that knowledge and comfort.  I hope that you feel it working in your life as well.

Primary Songs

When I was a lonely convert of just a few months, I was given the gift of a caring visiting teacher.  We were both busy students struggling to manage families, education, and finances, but she came faithfully each month and brought the spirit with her into my home.

On my birthday, she brought another type of gift, the Children’s Hymns on CD.  Because our ward was a student ward, we didn’t have a primary, and I’d never heard most of the children’s hymns before.  I found that listening to them, even though I didn’t know any of the words, brought that same peaceful spirit in to my home.

The children’s songs taught me very plain and precious truths about the gospel and they’ve continued to do that for my children.

My children and I had a rough day today.  They were excited, anticipating the start of school.  I was busy trying to balance my callings, PTA, family, and household management.  It didn’t take long for tensions and tears to arise.

My ten-year-old son went upstairs and retrieved the same CDs that were given to me so many years ago by my visiting teacher.  He placed a CD in the boombox and the atmosphere began to change in our home.

As we listened to the music playing in the background of our day, tension melted away, understanding increased, and peace arrived.

They say that music soothes the savage beast, and I’ve found that these sweet and simple gospel songs can even get through my stubborn bad attitudes, leaving me with a warm feeling of love and calmness.

My favorite hymns from the Children’s Songbook:

Many songs are able to be downloaded from LDS.org.

I’ve actually created a playlist of hymns to help us as we get ready for church.  Or on days like today, when we needed an extra reminder.

What are your favorite hymns?  Do you have one memorized that you hum during hard times or on hard days?

Nursery Blog

I was a nursery leader once upon a time. I had one of 3 nursery classes, with 8 little toddlers to attend to each sunday. I didn’t have this calling for very long, but boy. I wished that I knew more about online resources back then!

Today I stumbled upon a blog that I think would be helpful to the struggling (or not) nursery leaders: No Crying Nursery. Some of the ideas are good for the mothers that have children at home, too. I appreaciate anyone who blogs about nursery ideas…it seems like it would be a tough job to come up with so many activities to keep the kids entertained.

My hat goes off to all the nursery leaders in the world!

Top 10 Reasons to Keep a Journal

Today I received a newsletter from LDS Living with a list of reasons why we should keep a journal. I decided immediately that the reasons are worth sharing  🙂

TOP 10 REASONS TO KEEP A JOURNAL

10. Journaling helps exercise writing skills and explore talents.

9. Journaling is a simple and easy task that provides an invaluable source of history to look back on.

8. Recording life experiences helps to know oneself better.

7. Recording personal trials and emotions can reduce stress and help in the healing process.

6. Keeping a record of daily events, facts, and feelings can enhance intuition and creativity.

5. Recording daily occurrences and personal feelings helps foster personal growth.

4. Looking back at personal experiences can help when analyzing situations and solving problems.

3. Daily journaling sets an example for children and other family members to follow.

2. A journal captures a life story for oneself and for posterity.

1. Keeping a journal helps you see how God has touched your life.

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Monday’s FHE Lesson

The Holy Ghost

Monday’s lesson, provided by LDS Living, is on the Holy Ghost. I giggled when I saw that the activity for this lesson is Hot or Cold, which I often played in my youth. I remember my brother and I hiding things around the house and then giving each other hints of varing temperatures (cold, warm, warmer, hot, very hot, you are buring up…) to clue us into where the item had been hidden. We always found what we  were searching for, but only if we listened to the directions.

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Sunday’s Lesson Links

Confession: I am horrible at reading Relief Society and Sunday School lessons ahead of time. Terrible, awful. I am, however, really quite excellent at reading them during or after the lesson is given. Most of my problem is that I don’t know what the lessons are ahead of time. Sure, the lesson schedules are passed our, or are always printed on a calendar or piece of paper that someone passed out at one point or another…but don’t ask me where that piece of paper is now!

As a reminder for myself, and anyone else interested, these are the lessons for sunday (some wards are on slightly different schedules). There are also links to some additional reading from LDS Living that correspond to each lesson.

SUNDAY SCHOOL Book of Mormon Lesson 31: Firm in the Faith of Christ.  Click HERE for LDS Living’s supplemental reading article.

RELIEF SOCIETY Joseph Smith Teachings Lesson 16: Revelation and the Living Prophet . Click HERE for LDS Living’s supplemental reading article.

LDS Living offers a weekly e-mail newsletter service that will list the lessons for the upcoming Sunday, along with additial articles that aid in our understanding of the lessons. All of the church manuals and lessons are on LDS. org, too, so there is no excuse for not having a manual.

Happy reading!

LDS Link Buttons

I am a fan of creative people.  I admire them, I look up to them, and most of all, I want to be like them.  One of my favorite blogging sites recently came out with a brilliant idea to share the Gospel.  They are free LDS link buttons that go directly to www.mormon.org.  You can find them at:

http://leeloublogs.blogspot.com/2008/05/lds-link-buttons.html  http://leeloublogs.blogspot.com/2008/07/linkidy-link-buttons.html

I have already put one on my personal and professional blog.  They don’t take up too much space, and there are several different styles to choose from so you can even color coordinate if you’re a little crazy about stuff like that. (I did, I’m not going to lie…)  They are so wonderful, I can’t get enough of them!  What an ingenious idea!  It’s simple, fabulous, and every time I think of it I say to myself, “Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?”  I love creative people.