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FHE: Finding Joy

Conference Talk: For more information on this topic read "Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?" (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, Nov. 2007, 18-21)

Thought: We all go through different life experiences. Some are filled with joy, and others with sorrow and uncertainty. . . . I testify to you that the gospel of Jesus Christ has the divine power to lift you to great heights from what appears at times to be an unbearable burden or weakness. . . . The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news, glad tidings, and much more. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 18-21)

Song: "Now Let Us Rejoice" Hymns #3

Scripture: But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. (Psalms 5:11)

Lesson:

Have each family member make a list titled "Three things that make me happy." Take turns sharing the lists. Ask your family why they enjoy these things. Have everyone scan through 2 Nephi 11:4-7 and find the phrase that Nephi uses four times to express what makes him happy. Have family members write things in which Nephi delighted next to their "happy list" and discuss how Nephi's list compares with the lists made by family members. Ask why the doctrines on Nephi'slist would help make a person happy. When have you experienced happiness because of one of Nephi's teachings?(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 64.)

Story: 

Mary Johansen Even as a child I loved to sing. I would go into my room after church on Sunday and draw pictures and sing and sing, until my mother came to the door to say, "Mary, please don't sing so loud in there. It's not that we don't like to know you are happy, honey, but you know you just can't carry a tune." Singing was in my heart, though, and I would go up into the woods behind our house and run through the woods singing all the songs I wanted to. When I married and had my first child, I would sit and sing the loveliest songs to him. Songs I made up from my heart to tell him how much I loved him—how special he was to me. And he would smile and cuddle closer to me and fall asleep in my arms as I sang my songs of joy. Each child, then, received his or her own special song, made up just for that child, telling of my feelings and love for him. I sang only when there was no one around for my husband agreed with my mother: "I'm sorry, honey, but you sound just awful when you sing." The children didn't seem to mind my off-tune voice at all. In fact, we sang wonderful play songs together, laughing and playing and enjoying the sound of our voices. Many happy hours were spent sitting, marching, walking, and playing games with sing-song instructions. Because everyone had always told me that my singing voice left much to be desired, I hesitated to sing for anyone except the babies. In church, even though I knew the Lord loved to hear us sing, my "noise unto the Lord" was a very soft noise. And at home, I always made sure the house was empty before I picked up my hymnbook to sing my favorites. One evening after the children had all gone to bed and my husband had duty at the Navy base, I picked up my hymnbook and began to sing "How Gentle God's Commands." I sang and felt the great love of our Heavenly Father who loves us so much."O My Father," I sang, aching to go back to His home where I could be with Him again."The Lord is My Light"—my favorite—I sang with all the love I felt in my heart for the guidance He had given me in my life. Finishing my singing, I put my head in my arms and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father thanking Him for the love He had for us, and for the great feeling of peace that came to me when I could sit and sing to Him and talk to Him, escaping from this mortal world for even a few minutes. Then I turned out the lights and went upstairs to my room. I noticed a sheet of paper on the dresser that hadn't been there before. I picked it up, and tears came to my eyes as I read:

"Mom,

I don't care what any one says about your singing voice. But I think it was so butiful the way you sang them songs. I was crying in my bed wile I was lisenning to you sing, and I love you very much.

love from your daughter

Barbara."

I found her with tears in her eyes in her bed. "Oh, Barbie," I said, "you are the only person who has ever told me she likes my singing. Thank you, honey. She hugged me back and sobbed, "Mommie, I just couldn't let it go. I had to get out of bed and write that note to you. I was crying listening to your beautiful singing." I thought later that if our Heavenly Father loves my voice so much He inspires my daughter to write a lovely note and share her feelings with me, He must love to hear us sing more than I realize. The next Sunday when we sang the opening song, I sang out just as loud as the rest of the people did. My Heavenly Father liked my voice, and that was all that mattered to me! (Good Deeds, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 139.)

Activity:

Have each family member "earn" their treat by telling something interesting or funny about his or her day or by sharing a new joke, an experience from the past, or something nice about someone else in the family. (David C. Dollahite, editor, Strengthening Our Families, [Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 2000], p. 297.)

Refreshment:
Snowballs

These snowballs will light up the night with merriment.

- 1 (14 oz.) bag flaked coconut

- 1⁄2 gallon carton vanilla ice cream

- Chocolate sauce

- Small candles, for garnish

Place coconut in a shallow bowl. Remove ice cream from freezer and thaw at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Peel carton from ice cream. With a knife, cut ice cream in half and then in fourths, making 8 slices. Quickly shape each slice into a ball and roll in coconut. Place Snowballs on a tray. Freeze until very hard. On day of serving, place individual serving bowls in freezer to chill. At serving time, remove bowls from freezer. Place about 2 tablespoons Chocolate Sauce in bottom of each bowl. Remove Snowballs from freezer. Place one Snowball in each frosty bowl. Place a small candle in each. Light candles. Makes 8 Snowballs. (Julie Badger Jensen, Essential Mormon Celebrations, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005] p. 7.)

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