This blog is filled with all kinds of tips, handouts and ideas that can help to motivate and fulfill your calling as a Visiting Teacher, and more because it is filled with helpful ideas for Relief Society related topics. We hope you will visit often, and don't forget to check out my other blogs too at:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Being more like Christ this Christmas

I have had some very deep thoughts about some very difficult subjects over the past few days.  I finally acted on two of them, and I have a burning inside of me that what I did was what Christ would do.  I would like to share a couple experiences with you.

I have a family member who over the past 7 or so years, has become a totally different person.  She looks, acts and is so different from the sister I knew in prior years.  It has been an emotional roller coaster for my entire family, and her actions have dug deep holes into our once happy relationships.  She has estranged herself from our family and though she won't admit it, avoids every possible encounter with us.  Our mother is so troubled by the drastic changes in my sister both mentally and physically, that she has put up blinders and lives in an altered state of reality because it hurts her too much to believe who her daughter has become.  As a result, Mother is always on the defence with all the rest of her children who try to get her back into the reality and acceptance of how life is now.  Without going into any more detail, just know that our once close family isn't anymore, other than some siblings have maintained relationships with each other. 

This situation has troubled me immensity for years.  I too have been hurt just as much as my brothers and sisters and Mother, but I know that no matter what our sister has done, and who she has become, my Heavenly Father still loves her dearly and wants her back with him in his arms, one day.
Yesterday, I took the opportunity to extend an invitation to her to come back.  I invited her to spend Christmas Eve with my own family and children, in hopes that she will feel wanted, loved, and stir some feeling that she has long since shoved behind her heart.  I told her that I love her no matter the changes she has made, and that above anything in this life and the next, family is the very most important thing we have.  I told her that though I don't embrace and support the changes she has made, that I still love her because she is and always has been my sister, and we all need to move on and get to a better place.  We need each other and I basically extended to her the olive branch, that i believe that Christ would want me to do.  I did this for Him, but mostly for myself. 

I don't know if she will come and join in our family for the evening.  If she doesn't choose to come, she will be missing one great time, filled with joy, and marvelous food, games, laughter, and the warmth of family.  Free agency is alive and well, so I don't know whether or not she will choose to accept my olive branch, but I pray that she will.  I pray that she will come home, and join back with our family and hopefully mend some broken hearts.

Another story:

A couple nights ago, my neighborhood had the annual neighborhood Christmas Progressive dinner.  We have had this for 5 years now and it is still looked forward to and has become a fun tradition in our neighborhood.  This year, as in years past, I volunteered to host part of this dinner, and 50 people came through my door, and ate salad at my tables, and enjoyed great conversation, friendship and the warmth of my home.  It was time for the group to go to the next house for Soup, so after they had all left, my husband and I and my Visiting Teacher and her husband, stayed and cleaned up.  Before we had much cleaned up, there was a knock on our door, and standing on our porch was the familiar face of a woman who lives with her mother, just up the street.  We welcomed her in and invited her to dish herself up a hearty plate from the salad bar that we had just hosted.  She happily accepted, and all of us sat down and chatted with her as she enjoyed her meal. 
She was delightful, friendly, and I know she felt comfortable coming to our home, even though she waited until the rest of the neighborhood crowds had left.  She came at a time where she didn't have to face the rest of the neighborhood, and we chatted and enjoyed her visit for about 45 minutes.  My Visiting Teacher and her husband, who happens to be our Home teacher, had never met this woman, and I believe because she keeps to herself.  My guess is that most of our neighborhood has not met her either.  She has, much like my sister, chosen a lifestyle that is outside the typical role of a woman.  She is never seen with anyone but her dogs that she walks every day, and my guess is that she is lonely, however whenever I see her, she warmly welcomes conversation or waves.  

After she left, my thoughts were on what a wonderful and good hearted person she is.  I also realized that she finally reached out of her own comfort zone, and came to a dinner in our house, where she knew she would be welcome. My husband is the Bishop of our ward, and she knows from friendly in conversation in the past, that he is welcoming and non judgemental.

These two stories are very similar in that both women, have chosen paths that are unique to most women, but one thing for sure we have in common, is a loving father in heaven.  I know that many times we imperfect people, will judge others, and that estranges them from us.  They don't feel welcome, and sometimes others feel uncomfortable having them around but if we want to be more Christlike, we will remember that Jesus spent most of his ministry with the outcasts, the lepers, the sinners and those who most of the population shunned.  Jesus didn't judge any of them, but loved them and blessed them, and encourage them to follow Him. 

I pray that we as sisters of Christ, and daughters of our Heavenly father, will extend ourselves, and even go out of our own comfort zones, to be more kind, and considerate, provide service and give love, to all of those who need it..... The lonely, the infirm, the aged, the widows, the sick, and those who have gone astray.

A scripture come to mind and though it is specifically talking about missionary work, it can apply to the message that I share as well.  I am going to alter it a bit but it still has the same meaning  It is found in D&C 18: 15,16  "And if it be so that you should labor all your days crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my father....and if your joy will be great with one soul, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"  Going on to verse 19.." And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing". In verse21 is the last part of what I would like to share because it says this..."Take upon you the name of Christ, speak the truth in soberness."

Sisters in this Glorious Christmas season on joy, I pray that we can all think about those who really need us in their lives, even if we have never reached out to them in the past, it is time that we do it now.  It is time that we invite them back, in genuine friendship and love.  God loves them every bit as much as He loves you, so remembering that, imagine His gratitude when one day you are with Him again, and He brings to your remembrance your deeds.  He will be so grateful for loving the lost souls, and will count you among those blessed children. 

Remember this at Christmas, and remember this all year thought. May the Lord bless you in your efforts to serve Him and to be more like Jesus Christ, who is Christmas.  Much Love, Katie G

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Visiting Teaching, a work of Salvation, and The Good Shepherd

This past month, I helped my husband with a message that he gives out in tithing settlement to all the members of our ward.  With this printed message, we give each ward member a small gift or treat for their family.  This year, we decided to focus on "The Good Shepherd", and of course our treat was to give a nice candy cane out to everyone who came into see the Bishop.  It is also a small gift from "US" and not just the bishop and I signed it as well as he. 

It is such a wonderful message, I wanted to share it with you.  It relates to all of us, as Visiting Teachers, and home teachers alike, along with everyone else who accepts calling in the church, to Shepherd over others or their children in different capacities.  I hope you will enjoy the spirit of this message and feel the love of our "Good Shepherd". 

I will probably be taking a break from posting for a couple months, as I am getting a complete knee replacement surgery after Christmas.  I feel pretty certain that I won't be clear headed enough for a while to post, do any graphic design or much of anything besides sleep, and do the physical therapy that will get me back on my feet, so please don't give up on me, because I will be back.  For now, here is a wonderful message for all of you!

Have a wonderful and joyous Christmas season.  Remember Jesus, and honor him through all that you say and do.  Best regards!  Katie G

The actual Visiting Teaching message from the church for December can be found here:http://www.lds.org/liahona/2012/12/visiting-teaching-a-work-of-salvation?lang=eng
When I read this message, I felt that the Christmas message that I am inserting went so well, with this message, I just had to share it with you.  May the Lord bless you as you faithfully shepherd your sisters. 

General Conference Talks

Hear the words of the living prophets.
General Conference Reports
Proceedings of Recent General Conferences
There is no question in my mind, that we who call ourselves Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are indeed Christians. Those who would say otherwise remind me of the words my Savior, Jesus Christ spoke as He hung upon the cross... "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." This same Jesus Christ attoned for my sins, and died that we all might live.

What shall we give?

<>Other wonderful Christmas Videos, go to \http://www.lds.org/topic/christmas/christmas-videos.html

An Apostles Easter Thoughts on Christ

"This Easter and throughout the year, may we have uppermost in our minds His divine teachings, the unparalleled example of His pure love, and His willing sacrifice of self to accomplish the holy purposes of God, the Eternal Father." The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints"

This short video is an Important message from the mouths of our Prophets!

My sister sent this to me today and I feel like it is an important enough message, that I wanted to share it with all of my blog readership. The words spoken are directly out of the mouths of our Prophets, past and present. Hear them, heed them. Love, Katie G. You can find this at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehD390q9G3k

July 24th - Pioneer Day

July 24th - Pioneer Day
Click on the picture and it will take you to the last post. Did you get your Visiting Teaching done by today? If not, just keep on trying, just like the pioneers. I would love to hear what you have learned from these wonderful Pioneer Women's stories. I know that I have learned alot about sacrifice, and persecutions of the early saints, and of a strong testimony that these Pioneers had to have to endure all that they did, and gave in establishing zion. Once again, I say, Blessed, honored Pioneer! If you would like to comment, please email me at ktgauger@gmail.com or click on the link and comment on the last story. Happy Pioneer Day! Love, Katie G.

July 22 -Maggie Anna Ferrell Orr

July  22 -Maggie Anna Ferrell Orr
Copy and paste into your address bar and this will take you to the story of Maggie Anna Ferrell Orr, another of the wonderful Pioneering Women.

By now you should be alittle curious about your pioneer heritage.

By now you should be alittle curious about your pioneer heritage.
Do you want to find out if you have Pioneer ancestry. This site is most useful to those who have had members of their family tree that belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the Mormon migration period of 1847-1868. By the way, the goal for this Pioneer Women Journey is about to reach it's end. You only have one more day to do your Visiting teaching, before the 24th of July, which was the goal. You still have time to push the proverbial handcart up the hill, so get out and get it done. Share a pioneer story with your sisters, and you have pleanty to choose from right on this site.

My broken wagon wheel, hath bit the dust!

My broken wagon wheel, hath bit the dust!
Wo is me, I am so behind on my own treck of keeping up wonderful Pioneer women posts. Actually I have a great excuse, and almost made it when I realized how little I have to complain about. Ok, so I am going to tell you anyway. My air conditioning has been off for 6 days now, and I am having to live in my basement, though my computer in upstairs. It is ten degrees cooler in the basement, but my main floor has been up to 92 degrees inside my house. Wo is me.... and what do I have to moan about. I began thinking about the pioneers in their covered wagons, crossing the hot, hot prairie, and their only hope of relief from the blazing sun is the cool shade of a tree, or a stream, or night time if it cooled off enough for them to actually sleep. I have not slept well until I decided to go in the basement. Wo is me. What do I have to complain about. I have been so sick from the heat and a medication change that I have been nauseated all day long. So what do I do... hop in my car and go to Walgreens and get some acupressure wrist bands that took away some of my nausea. Wo is me, but what do I have to complain about.... the pioneer women suffered without any relief. If herbs didn't work for them, or if they didn't have access to them, they just suffered. I feel so blessed to live in this day and age where even if I have to be inconvienenced by having no air conditioning, I still can go in my basement, or hop in my car and turn up the air full blast, or just drive down to a store and walk around and shop, or even go to the pool and cool down that way. You know that poem.... "Father forgive me when I whine, I have two legs, the world is mine"? I have no reason to complain, but you still didn't get the updates on the Pioneer women because I am still too sick and hot to stay upstairs long enough to do them. Count this one as an update and count your blessings along with me. The wagon might be broke for a bit, but once the wheel is back on, the wagon will keep on rollin. Now, I am going to hurry back down stairs and try to replenish the sweat that is pouring off my face and body with gatorade. Don't give up on me, I will be back! Love, Katie G.

July 17 - Handmade by the Pioneers

July 16 - Margaret Alice McBride

July 16 - Margaret Alice McBride
....You know the drill... click on the photo and it will take you to the story of Margaret Alice McBride. Enjoy! Katie G

July 15 - Julia Ann Chapman Lee

July 15 - Julia Ann Chapman Lee
This story is told through the eyes of Julia's husband. It is a short but touching story, all to familiar to Pioneers. Click on the image and you will be directed to the story.

July 14 - Louisa Miller Belleston

July 14 - Louisa Miller Belleston
I thought it was important to realize that not all pioneers only traveled from Missiouri, Ohio or other Eastern States, but many were converted to the church and traveled from overseas. This story tells of the Church Emigration fund, and Louisa's family traveling first by boat and then on to Utah. Their travel took them 8 months to get there, with their fair share of challenges. Click on the picture and it will take you directly to the story.

July 13 - Mary Ann Payne

July 13 -  Mary Ann Payne
This is a cute little story about Mary Ann Payne that I found, and I know that you will enjoy reading about her. She is the top right photo. Click on the photo and it will direct you to the link that has the story. Enjoy!

July 12 - Margaret McNeil (Ballard)

July 12 - Margaret McNeil (Ballard)
Click on the picture of Margaret and you will be taken to the link that you can read about her.

July 11 - Jane Jenkins Howe

July 11 -  Jane Jenkins Howe
Please click on the photo to see the history of Jane Jenkins Howe entitled - A WIDOW SUPPORTING HER FAMILY

July 10 - Julia Anne Phippen Eldredge Evans

July 10 - Julia Anne Phippen Eldredge Evans
Click on the photo and it will take you to the link to read about Julia Anne Phippen Eldredge Evans

July 9 – Camilla Dorothy Jacobsen Corbett

July 9 – Camilla Dorothy Jacobsen Corbett
Click on the photo and it will take you to the link to read about this amazing Pioneer woman

July 8 - Catherine Gougar Goodman

July 8 - Catherine Gougar Goodman
This is a short story of a non-Utah Pioneer woman, who was taken by the indians as a little girl, and to read the rest of the story, you will have to click on the picture and it will take you to the link you need.

July 7 - Elizabeth Case Miliam Wheeler

July 7 - Elizabeth Case Miliam Wheeler
The life of this marvelous Pioneer woman can be found by clicking on the photo which will take you directly to the link. This woman is classic Mormon History as her story tells of her being apart of so many of the historical accounts in Nauvoo, Hauns Mill, handcart pioneers, and so much more. I found her story so interesting that I couldn't stop reading until it reached the end. It was also interesting to me that she was given 3 Patriarical blessings in her lifetime, and she was truely a wonderful woman. I know you will enjoy reading about her as I did. Love, Katie G.

July 6 - Pioneer Cooking

Since all of us cook, I thought it might be interesting to find out what Pioneer Women cooked, how they did it and recipes they used. I found quite a few recipes, but I would like to open this one up to you and if you have any authentic pioneer recipes, please send them to me and I will add them to this post. My email is just to the right of this page.

Click on this link to take you to the Pioneer Recipes:
http://visitingteachingsurprisedocuments.blogspot.com/2009/07/pioneer-recipes.html

I was also thinking that if you were to copy some of these recipes and print them off, that might be a fun handout for the Sisters you Visit Teach!

July 5 - Ann Parker

July 5 - Ann Parker
Sorry I am so late posting this story, but click on the photo and it will take you to the link where her story will be told.

July 4 - Margaret Ann Howard McBride (My Ancestor)

July 4 - Margaret Ann Howard McBride (My Ancestor)
I had to post about someone very special to me on this day. I chose one of my ancestors whose trek took her with the other ill fated pioneers of the Martin Handcart Company. I could not locate her photo, so I substituted one of her son's wives photos. Click on the photo and it will take you to the account given by two of her sons, of what she and her family dealt with after joining the church.

July 3 – Elizabeth Simpson Haigh Bradshaw

July 3 – Elizabeth Simpson Haigh Bradshaw
I hope that you are enjoying so far, the stories of these wonderful Pioneer women. I hope too that your testimony will strengthen as you read about those who came before us and the unimaginable things that they had to do to pioneer the way for us to have what we do in our wonderful church. My gratitude and love for them has deeply increased, and I would echo the words in the hymn..."Blessed, honored, Pioneer!" Click on the photo of Elizabeth and it will take you to her history and for more reading about Elizabeth, you can go to http://students.ou.edu/G/Erin.R.Ging-1/story3.html Also there is another account of Elizabeth found in a book that you can read by going to this link... http://books.google.com/books?id=rzkAcWtngX4C&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=BRADSHAW,+Elizabeth+Simpson+Haigh&source=bl&ots=UJEtgTZ4Sf&sig=2h_qWhKeYEiK6hM8ev95tiRuu2M&hl=en&ei=kHE-SpW4JpDosQOe94n0CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4

July 2nd - Diana Lucina Spicer Block

You can find the posting of a marvelous Pioneer woman, whom I have chosen to spotlight on my other blog that is located at http://visitingteachingsurprise.blogspot.com/ and just click on the link and it will take you there! I hope you are having some good Pioneer fun!

July 1st - Anne Eliza Leavitt Baker

July 1st - Anne Eliza Leavitt Baker
Did you think I forgot? Actually my life became so hectic today, that I am just getting some time to make my first Pioneer woman post. I hope you will enjoy reading about these marvelous women who came before us. I hope that you can feel their courage and understand that we too have a purpose for living in our generation. We are the generation that lives to prepare for the second coming of Christ,though none of us know when that will be.... and with that I will just say... Keep your wagons rolling along in good works, do your Visiting Teaching, strengthen your sisters through your testimony and determination to get your visiting Teaching done. Click on the photo and it will take you to the link where you can read about our Anne, who is most likely the woman in the middle front of the photo, holding the baby.

Visiting Teaching Tips, handouts and Ideas
For many years, I have been creating very cute and fun things to take to the ladies I Visit Teach. I have shared from time to time, my ideas with others and they have really appreciated them. I decided that since I do these anyway, I would start doing one every month and then post it on this blog to share with anyone for their Visiting Teaching. I do need to make a disclaimer.... the ideas, thoughts, stories, graphics etc. used are created by me and they are not in any way official LDS Church quotes, handouts or ideas. They are my creations or others as noted, except for the quotes that will come directly from the Monthly Visiting Teaching message found in the Ensign. Also, many thanks to the talented designers of the digital paper and elements that I use to create the beautiful artwork, and handouts you see on my blog.

You can go to http://www.lds.org/ and look up and even print the monthly message if you do not have your own Ensign magazine subscription in English or to choose to read the Liahona or Ensign in a different language go to http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=03103c7ff44f2010VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD&locale=0.
For Spanish you can go to http://www.sud.org.es/

I highly recommend you get your own subscription because you will find a wealth of really good & wholesome, moral reading, that you can't find anywhere else. If you go to http://www.lds.org/ and click on "Gospel Library" then click on "Magazines" you can order your own Ensign, Liahona, New Era, or Friend magazines.
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Downloading

When you click on the pictures or ideas that I have on my site for you to download, sometimes the picture ends up really large. What you need to do to size it is to go to the "page button" then click on zoom. Take it down to 50% and that should fit better on your screen for viewing . Also, if you right click "save picture as" then save it to a file on your computer, you can size it using your own desktop publishing program and then print it off with my compliments! Enjoy!

A February Enrichment Idea

A February Enrichment Idea
"The Hearts of Angels" dinner & program. Click on the picture and it will take you to where you can find the entire program written out. Once you get to the site which is my Visiting teaching surprise, make sure to scroll down a ways because there are alot of other great ideas, printables and handoust before you will find this wonderful "Angelic' program. Enjoy!

Enrichment Ideas Anyone?

Enrichment Ideas Anyone?
I have also been enrichment leader from time to time as well as have been asked to do many projects for Enrichments. I am not sure if anyone would be interested in some of my ideas, but if you are, please leave me a comment and I will respond. One thing that relates to Visiting Teaching that I wanted to share is something I have taught for many years, and in fact my Daughter in her Park City ward just used this idea in their Super Saturday last week for the second time. It is Glass etching and it is really pretty easy and turns out to be a great project. The etching I do is etching glass casserole or platters with the name of the person who will receive this gift or for whomever is signed up for the class. I have given etched casserole dishes as wedding gifts and have taken many casseroles, rolls, cakes, and all kinds of goodies to people, and always get my dish back, because it has my name etched in it. Go to http://visitingteachingsurprise.blogspot.com/ to get instructions.

Gardening with Kids

Gardening with Kids
Read the idea below

"Returning to the Past" A Relief Society Activity Idea

This is an email I received from a wonderful sister as well as a new Relief Society President about an idea that they will be doing as a theme for their activities for this year. (if you have a great idea to share, please email me at katie1956gauger@mindspring.com and we can add it to all the other terriffic ideas!

Dear Katie,
I just found your blog. It is so great. I love the idea of the Hearts of Angels. I am trying to figure out how we can use it for our VT conference and incorporate some of the things for our VT interviews. I am a new R/S president and all these things we have to do throughout the year are a little overwhelming. I love all of you ideas. So much work involved, thank you for being willing to share with all of us! I would love anything else you could pass my way.
WE had the thought earlier to use a theme of "Returning to the past" for our activities this year. So all of your old-fashioned pictures will be great to use as invites and handouts.
You might be interested in the idea we had for our B-Day dinner. We always have a progressive dinner in December to the homes of different sisters. We divide them up into about 5 smaller groups and go around to the different sisters homes in the ward. Because of the weather we cancelled it and had it at the church. We decided to do it for our B-Day dinner instead when the weather would be better. We are having the women bring a sack lunch with them and to wear something old, like a grandmothers broach or shawl, or to dress up in the time of the 1800's, and to bring a pint jar with a lid. We will have the sisters make lemonade at the first house and take with them in the jar that they brought, and then go to the next house. At the last house we will have and old fashioned cake to serve like apple walnut cake or something like that.
We still have some details to work out but at the end each member of the presidency will be at a different home and will share a prepared script. It will be written as if they were at the very first R/S meeting when the prophet Joseph Smith organized the R/S with just a handful of women.
Anyway, thank you for sharing what you have! You have a great talent!
Stacey McClellan - Blackfoot, Idaho


SELF RELIANT SISTERS BLOG HAS A GREAT ACTIVITY ABOUT GARDENING WITH KIDS - go to http://selfreliantsisters.blogspot.com/ It is well worth the time and a terriffic idea as Spring is just around the corner! Here is a tiny bit of information that you will see at the site.....

Gardening with Kids has great tips on getting kids started with gardening. Give your child some space; literally! Kids loving having spaces that are all their own, whether it`s their own desk area in the house, or the tent they've created with chairs and blankets in the family room. The same is true for gardening. Dedicate a small plot of the garden just for them. Put a fancy border around it, perhaps purchase one of the stepping stone making kits found at crafts stores in which they can mold their name and make their hand print.
Let them join you at the nursery. Let your kids know you value their opinion. Ask them which kinds of plants, flowers, and vegetables they like. Explain what will work well in your garden and what won't.
Give them (limited) choices. While you're at the nursery, ask them if they'd like pansies or petunias, marigolds or zinnias. This will give them the feeling of power without letting it get out of control.
Remind them money doesn't grow on trees. With older children discuss the budget. Let them help select seeds and blossoming plants at the nursery - and turn it into a math lesson. Let your child do the money calculations; they can tell you when the money runs out.
Let your child do what he will (especially if you have a preschooler). Let him dig, explore, play with bugs. You may be tempted to steer your child in another direction (like actually watering or weeding his garden), but this is a great way for your child to explore this exciting new universe.
Plan, plan, plan. If you have older children, say 8 or 9 or older, let them plot out their own garden on paper. Provide him or her with graph paper, pencils and seed catalogs. Give them a group of flowers and vegetables from which to choose, and then let them draw out their garden.
Get them their own gardening tools. Nothing will motivate your little gardener more than having her own little shovel, her own gardening gloves, and her own watering pail. And don't forget those bright colored rubber boots.
You need to go to the site and explore all the rest of the links and ideas.