Our Family’s Song Bag

To help my children become familiar with the Primary songs, I filled a bag with items representing the songs. My children take turns pulling out an item, and together we sing the related song. I keep about 12 items in the bag and rotate them for variety. For instance, I’ve included yellow papers held together with three rings to represent “Book of Mormon Stories” (Children’s Songbook, 118) or “The Golden Plates” (p. 86). A small piece of quilter’s batting represents clouds for “I Lived in Heaven” (p. 4). Another idea is to include a picture of your children or an illustration of the Savior with children to remind you to sing “I Am a Child of God” (p. 2). You can download images from the Gospel Art Picture Kit from LDS.org. Click on “Gospel Library” and then “Image Libraries.” Janele Williams, Utah

[illustration] Illustration by Joe Flores

Help for Those with Visual Impairments

In 1999 I underwent the last of a series of eye operations that, unfortunately, left me blind in both eyes. Among the many life changes I suddenly encountered, I really missed reading my scriptures and the priesthood and Sunday School lessons. I also longed to volunteer to read aloud in class again or join in singing all the words of the hymns.

Fortunately, I learned to read braille at a local center for the blind. This skill opened up a new world for me. I soon learned that Church magazines, as well as priesthood and Relief Society lessons, are available on cassette tapes for the visually impaired. I also ordered several Church materials in braille: scriptures, a hymnbook, and a Teachings of Presidents of the Church manual.

Later, I was called to be an elders quorum instructor. A braille manual and lessons on tape helped me prepare for and lead class discussions. I also blessed the sacrament using a braille copy of the sacrament prayers. Now I am working with the young men and have studied several manuals and guidebooks that have helped me understand my calling and responsibilities.

I am grateful for the Church curriculum materials that have helped me to progress despite my visual impairment. Because of them I more fully enjoy the light of the gospel. Donald Peters, Nevada

Note: A variety of materials for the visually impaired are available at LDS distribution centers or online at www.ldscatalog.com. Click on “Materials for Those with Disabilities.” U.S. and Canadian residents may also call the Salt Lake Distribution Center at 1-800-537-5971.

What’s in It for You?

Maybe you’re not in the habit of reading to the back of your New Era magazine. But you may want to start. As a leader in the Young Women program, I have found a valuable resource toward the back of the magazine titled, “What’s in It for You?” In planning activities with the girls, we have implemented several of the ideas shared in that section. You can also use these ideas to instruct the young men or enhance your family home evenings. The ideas shared may also help youth fulfill Personal Progress and Duty to God requirements. Shelley Nash, Idaho

Needs or Wants

During our marriage, we have managed to stick to a budget through a variety of methods. We carefully track our finances with budgeting software and have designated one person to be in charge. This doesn’t mean that person has to become the “money police” and approve all purchases. It just means that person informs the family if we’re going over budget in any areas.

It’s also important to adequately designate “needs” and “wants.” To remedy unnecessary spending, we first ask ourselves some of the following questions:

  • Am I spending this money just to impress someone else?

  • Is the old item worn out or beyond repair?

  • Can I do this project myself instead of paying someone to do it?

  • Do I have money to pay cash for this right now, or will it require going into debt?

  • Is a gift necessary, or should I just send a card?

Rebecca Swegle, Arizona

Family Home Evening Helps:

For Beginning Learners

Did you know that the Church has a CD-ROM and videos that can help you teach beginning learners or intellectually challenged students? The Beginning Course Kit is a useful resource for classroom or home instruction. My children have developmental delays, and we have found the “Teaching the Topics and Themes” information to be a valuable resource. When I first bought the kit, I used its various hard-copy pictures and simple story outlines. (Now you print them from the CD.) I then organized these and other lesson resources in a file drawer according to the kit’s suggested topics. These simple, structured lessons are key to helping us teach our children the gospel in a way they can understand.

Alberta Frey, Alberta, Canada

Note: The Beginning Course Kit CD-ROM (item no. 50178000; U.S. $5) and set of two videocassettes (53178000; U.S. $10) are available at LDS distribution centers or online at www.ldscatalog.com. U.S. and Canadian residents may also call the Salt Lake Distribution Center at 1-800-537-5971.

[illustration] Illustration by Beth Whittaker