Comfort Box: The 72 Hour Kit that will save you from becoming a zombie.



Am I prepared? Anytime I am watching a zombie apocalypse roll forth on television I question if my emergency preparedness supplies are sufficient. Would I survive or become a zombie? The ward emergency preparedness guy hides from me the week after an especially violent episode of The Walking Dead. To be fair, he has already helpfully referred me to the CDC guide to surviving zombies.

I don’t have any life experience in surviving disasters of the natural or zombie variety, but another kind of disaster rolls through my life routinely. Emotional earthquakes, fire, tsunami, tornado, or sometimes (on a slow news day) a muddy puddle are enough to knock me out. I am regularly afflicted with unwanted feelings of depression, anger, loneliness, betrayal, sadness, boredom, jealousy, or confusion.  Some days I have no idea what I am feeling. I only know that bad stuff happens and keeps happening. Too often the tornado sets me down in my own emotional zombie apocalypse.

When faced with emotional disaster, my first response is to become a zombie. I was raised in a home without healthy models of how to express and positively cope with challenging emotions. My inclination is to eat my feelings while numbing out on a binge read or a mindless Facebook game. As I compare my response to family traditions of alcoholism, drug addiction, violence, or child abuse; being an emotional zombie doesn’t seem so bad. Unfortunately, the zombie life fails to bring me lasting relief and harms my health through impaired sleep and weight gain. The unwanted feelings remain and eventually demand attention. These are the times when I turn to my emotional 72 Hour Kit: The Comfort Box.

How prepared are you for the next emotional tsunami? Will you become a zombie? Read on to learn how you can get your very own Comfort Box!

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Young Women Lesson: Why are ordinances important in my life AND Why are temple ordinances important?

These two lessons, “Why are ordinances important in my life?” AND “Why are temple ordinances important?” go along nicely with the lessons about covenants and baptismal covenants.  You could easily couple this lesson plan with last year’s post on covenants for two to three weeks of rich discussion.

I think this lesson on ordinances (especially coupled with the one on covenants) has a lot of potential – first, I think it’s important to distinguish the difference between a covenant and an ordinance, as I think we often use the two interchangeably in our discourse.  It’s also an opportunity to revisit baptism and what it means to actually perform baptisms for the dead, especially as the youth are encouraged to both perform these ordinances and research the names of their ancestors to stand in proxy for them. I also think there’s a great opportunity to teach the young women, particularly the Laurels, about the ordinances in the temple in preparation for them going there.  While we want to maintain reverence for the temple and the sacred ordinances performed there, and to not reveal anything that we have covenanted not to, we do our girls a great disservice by not explicitly teaching them about the covenants they should prepare to make.  Especially with the mission age being lowered to 19, our girls need to be studying the temple and the sacred work that is performed there.  Talking about these ordinances and covenants in a reverent and appropriate atmosphere does not violate the sanctity of the temple; instead it shows that we respect the covenants that we hope they will make, and that we desire their spiritual success.  One helpful guide I found for teaching about the endowment can be found HERE.

On that note!  Let’s get this lesson going.

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Relief Society Lesson 13: Baptism

Guest Post by KMeldauc

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français

The last couple of weeks The Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith manual has hit the topic of priesthood HARD. Honoring Priesthood Keys. Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. With priesthood being such a hot topic within the Church right now, I hope we all feel a little more familiar with what it is and how it works. Lets be optimistic and say that we did.

So now that we recognize all this great priesthood power and authority in our midst, what are we going to do with it?

Give Birth.

Wait. What?

Did you think I was going to say baptism? Baptism is the beginning of our new spiritual life. In that way, baptism is a birth.

Baptism is the third principle and first ordinance of the gospel, performed by immersion using the authority of the priesthood. Baptism is a richly symbolic ordinances with beautiful layers of meanings. It is symbolic of not only birth but also death and resurrection. So lets talk about these symbols.

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Earth Mother, Part I

by Alicia

I believe that the earth is a spiritual heavenly body.

I am hungry for feminine divinity. I can’t stop looking for Her. Last summer, I went to Montana, with my mom and sister, to participate in the Sun Dance of the Assiniboine Nation. Respect and protocol requires that I reverence the sacredness of that specific ceremony- there are many parallels to Mormon temple rituals within it. Because of that, I won’t go into specific details here, though the history of the Sun Dance is completely fascinating, and testifies of the gospel profoundly. Photography and recording, even talking about the ceremonial events outside the ceremonial grounds is restricted (again, deeply parallel to Mormon temple practice). The ritual was illegal in the United States until the 1978, seen as a threat to American Christian religious culture. Frankly, participation in the rituals there made me believe in the universality of temple ceremony and endowment practice. It helped me to see the deep down American roots of our Mormon practice.

But I digress. I am constantly searching to see the gospel as bigger than Mormonism, and I learned there that God is much larger than Mormon theological practice. On the open face of the Montana prairie, I think I came closer to understanding God as a whole than I ever have in a chapel, or even in the temple. I learned that God speaks Nakoda (the language spoken by the Assiniboine) just as much as God speaks Western American, or Elizabethan Era, Early Modern English. I saw, for the first time, how deeply and fundamentally the heavens and the earth inform one another.

I can’t not think about the lessons that I learned (and continue to learn) through participation in Assiniboine ceremony in a grove of Cottonwood trees close to the Canada border.

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Guest Post: The Rituals We (Still) Perform

by Liz Johnson

My grandmother is dying.

Her cancer is incurable, and has spread to the degree that she has been given mere months to live. And so, with her mortal time rapidly closing, family and friends alike have flocked to her side to spend a few precious moments with a truly remarkable woman.

There could be no better tribute to a life well-lived than the outpouring of love that my grandmother has received in these past few weeks. Family members have flown across the country to sit by her side. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing with people calling to check in on her and to express their love. Almost every flat surface in her home has a vase of fresh flowers sitting on it, and her freezer is stocked to the gills with soup and other food brought to her by friends and ward members. Her door is being graced several times daily by friends and neighbors, wishing to express their love to her and to hug her at least one more time.

I realize that it’s not an unusual thing for a person to lose a grandparent – it’s the natural cycle of things. I have lost two before her. But yet the impending loss of this woman has affected me so profoundly.

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Youth Sunday School Lesson: How can I use Church music to learn about the plan of salvation?

I substituted for a youth Sunday School class yesterday and wanted to share my lesson.

First, let’s all read the title of the lesson and wonder, “What a strange obscure topic!” While the YW and YM manuals are focusing on the plan of salvation this month, the Sunday School manual is about learning/teaching the plan of salvation.

After I told the class the topic (even the teens did a “Huh?” with the topic), we started talking about how music can help us learn. I would have listed them on the board if I had chalk, but I didn’t. Some ideas that we came up with were:

  • Educational lyrics (they mentioned Sesame Street)
  • Mnemonic devices
  • Listening to music to help you study or accomplish a goal (like cleaning your room)
  • Using music for meditation
  • To evoke emotion
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