Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dinner Discussions

My new goal for this year is to have a Dinner Discussions with family, missionaries and friends. Our first experience was during our Christmas Dinner with the missionaries. It was a success and memorable. One of the missionaries said it was also a reflection night. We talked about Christmas. I made games and questions about it. And discussions were amazing! Just like what we had last new year. I decided to have New Year's Eve Reflection Game from the Dating Divas. 
I chose to have this as one of my goals because I wanted to start this as a family tradition. I feel that good gospel conversation or even personal discussion is important in the family and as well with friends.

How does it works with me?

Here's how I do it. 

1.) INVITATION
Their are two things that I do.
First, how many of my family are at home for dinner. Or if I wanted to invite friends, I only limit to 4 persons. Just like the missionaries in our ward, we have 4 of them. You probably ask why? Because 4 plus us is only we can accommodate in our table, budget, time, and I don't want to be pressure. :-) Also, I intend that this would be a good conversation and discussion where everyone can say their thoughts and feelings. If I invite more, it think it's more of a party.
Second, schedule the date and time. For my family it is easy. What I did with friends, I invite them one month ahead. For me to have time to think what topic, food, and setting I wanted to create when they come. Also, this could help them adjust with their schedule as well. 

2.) SETTING
I always choose to gather at the dining table. In our new house (I will make separate post about that soon.) I consider designing our dining which promote discussions and good conversation. It is where I always imagine that we gather and bond together. 

3.) ACTIVITY
When family or friends gather at the table, their are two scenarios. It's either they started the conversation with so many topic, the dangerous when started gossiping or did not even know what to talk about, when they are quite. So, while my husband and I are preparing the food, I prepare an activity placemat.

Activity Placemat
This depends on topic that I chose. It is actually a paper placemat 
where there are puzzles, quotes and games. So, while we are preparing for food, 
they are going to answer the games that I chose. This serve as preparatory for 
the discussion later. There are words related to the main topic. I give them simple "how to".
Pray
I would give them a cue that after they answer the puzzles, whoever the first to be done will be the one to pray. Having a prayer is really important they we will be guided by the Spirit and our discussion will be blessed with lessons, learning's and inspirations.
Dinner Time
It is eating time. We talk less when eating. Let's give time to savor the food. :-)
Game
I wait that everyone is done with their food. Dessert will be served. And announce that we will have a little bit of game on the table. It does not need to transfer or to stand. Just at the table. It could be charades, guessing games, matching games and more possibilities at Pinterest. :-) The game should not also bring so much excitement but should be fun but not loud. 
Discussion
After the game, dish out the plates and clean the table. It's now time for the discussions.    
I have mason jar with questions in rolled paper on it. I prepare only 10 questions and allow only 4 to 6 questions to be drawn out to control time. Each should draw 1 rolled paper from mason jar altogether. We open the paper so that we can think of our own answer. There is no numbering. Allow who wants to go first. The question will be read and allow all who are at the table to answer the question. The one who get the question will be the last to answer. 
Make each of their turn to read the questions and allow everyone to answer.
Closing Prayer
End with prayer for thankfulness and ask for blessings.  

For this coming February, my husband and I invited 2 couples for Dinner Discussion. Our topic would be about LOVE. Here is an activity placemat that I made. You can use this also. If you want to revised please comment below. I would be glad to send you editable copy.  I got the LOVE puzzleS from PINTEREST. I'll be using the matching game from CREATIONS FROM KARA.

And I'll update you soon after what happened to our dinner discussions.
THANKS!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Christmas Activities

I had enough time to plan for our Christmas activities at home in spite of my busy schedule. I'm grateful that God allow me and helped me with my preparations. I would like to share with you all!

I bought gifts for different group of friends. And the buying time was just so quickly and I was really pondering what should I give. I'm really grateful for all the inspirations that I received.

RELIEF SOCIETY SISTERS

We were three sisters assigned to prepare gifts for all the adult sisters in our church. We have this organization called Relief Society. After discussion with the other two sisters, we decided that each of us will prepare 20 simple gifts. For a total of 60 gifts. surely all the adult sisters including the visitors will have something to receive.


These were the things that I bought for gifts. I'm sad that I forgot to take photos after I wrap each gifts. But anyway, hope this will give you an idea. :-)

Exchange Gift Game

Before the Ward Christmas Party program ends, we requested all the sisters form in a circle. Each sisters will choose one gift from the 60 gifts that we prepared. We included ourselves and choose some one to facilitate.

The facilitator instructed us to pass the gift counterclockwise. The facilitator will decide when to say stop and will tell us again to pass the gift clockwise. This time the facilitator will count from  1 up to when he decided to stop. This time when he say stop, the gift that pass to you will be the gift for you.

The result was exciting and a little fun. I've realized that each sisters choose the best gift they think or the big gift they want. But I was smiling because they thought that would be final gift for themselves. They were wrong. I was pondering the result because as they finally receive the gift landed for them, they all exclaim the what they received was exactly right and what they needed. I felt something a little magical at moment. :-)

PARTY BAGS FOR PRIMARY

I was also assigned to prepare prizes for the children's game. I bought this items and pack into party bags. As usual I forgot to take pictures when I was done because I was in a hurry always. :-)



COMPANY GIVING GIFTS

In our company, we have prepared something for our workers and laborers. I have been so grateful for suppliers who really have extended much for this giving gifts program during our Christmas party. I salute their generous heart.


The gift became more than enough because of our boss generosity and our supplier and sub-con. Really heart warming! I'm so much grateful.



Rule:
Each gift was numbered on the day of our Christmas party. It was displayed near the food. We prepared rolled paper with number on it. After the games, we asked them to pick one paper and after all have picked their numbers, we call on randomly each numbers. They come in front to get their gifts.

With this experience, no matter how bad we feel with workers and laborers with their performances, I think they also have to receive gifts. We learn constant forgiveness of their mistakes and also with ourselves. Their is no place for greediness, hard heart and ungratefulness during Christmas or even not Christmas season. Truly, this is the message of this season, to give with a grateful heart and be a grateful receiver!

CHRISTMAS DAY TREAT

Christmas fall on Sunday. It was a best time to give away simple treats! After much time searching on Pinterest, finally I came a decision to choose this treat. I gave this for Relief Society Sisters for our ward. Our Sunday service was combined with other wards. No other classes. Only Sacrament meeting.




CHRISTMAS DAY LUNCH

I decided not to give gifts on Christmas eve. This time I feel to have our exchanging gift on Christmas day after lunch. I told them in advance what are my plans.

In the morning, we prepare and cook. Afterwards, we have our lunch. We had a simple game. I chose Christmas charades. I thought my family will not cooperate but I prayed in my heart and keep myself happy and positive. We enjoyed our Christmas charades game.

Next was the exchanging gifts which my nephew was excited about. Every one opened their gifts and mine also. They were all surprised and happy. I'm also happy to see them happy.

One thing our family really can't say was to say thank you. I think they are shy but I know they are thankful. You know if we are not used to say, then we courageously say it, we feels something in our heart. I don't know maybe they don't want to be emotional or something. Anyway, to see them happy, makes me happy. It was simple gathering but really remarkable. I wanted to do this next year again. :-)



CHRISTMAS DINNER WITH THE MISSIONARIES

I know missionaries are busy. So, early December I already made an appointment with them to have Christmas dinner with us.
We had simple dinner.

Menu

Sushi
Spaghetti
Make your own burger
Juice

When they arrived at 6:00 pm, I let them answer the Christmas puzzle using this Christmas place mat which I edited. I got this from this great blogger, INKABLINKA.



They were answering while my husband at the back finishing his burgers. :-) Thanks to you husband!


Okay. After that, we had a prayer. They started eating and talking. After awhile, we had Christmas charades and eating.

After the charades, we do ANSWER THE QUESTIONS about Christmas. Questions were:

What is your favorite Christmas Song? Why?

What is your unforgettable Christmas experience?

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

Are we a grateful receiver of gifts especially from God?

I've learn much from their answers. I was surprised. My heart was full. Really had a great time with them.

Here are some of the answers that I like:

What is your favorite Christmas Song? Why? -> My hubby's answer was Silent Night. Elder Morris explained that this was sung during a war. When the Germans sung this song the war stops and altogether with French and Americans sung the song.

What is your unforgettable Christmas experience? -> We became emotional because half of us has good memories and the other has no unforgettable memories. I've realized that the most memorable memories are when family do something special altogether. I think either of the memories, we will be emotional.

What is the true meaning of Christmas? -> I think all of us agreed that true meaning of Christmas is by giving, sharing, caring and loving to our family and to those who needs without having a thought in return. Those shared experiences were really touching.

Are we a grateful receiver of gifts especially from God? -> I shared Luke 17: 11-19. This was really my pondering for Christmas. I thank God but I want to thank Him more often and all the little things that I miss to thank Him.

Elder Espiritu had the final words for closing, but before that he ask me and my husband to say something for each other that we wanted to let each other know. It made me cry because I was touched what my husband has said. I know he was shy. And his message with his emotional voice really touched my heart. I realized we haven't talked like that for many months already. I haven't realized how he feels for me from deep of his heart.

I wanted to continue this kind of gathering because I learn how my family feels and others too!

It ended well! Merry Christmas to all!


Christmas Experience

If you would ask me, when was the most memorable Christmas?

It would be the BEST HEART CHANGING Christmas experience that I had. 

I was in Taiwan in the year 2008. This country does not celebrate Christmas. Everybody was working. It was lonely because I'm far from my family. On the same time, I was quite observant on how it is like to work on the 24th and on Christmas day. All I had to do was to have a merry little Christmas, the simplest. 

In spite of the loneliness and the weird feeling, I was blessed to have the HEART CHANGING Christmas experience before and after the 25th.

BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, held a Christmas party BEFORE the 25th. I was so eager to attend because I wanted to know how do they celebrate Christmas in a place where most of the people do not.

The announcement went on and they give instructions that each member or family should bring potluck. And they announced that the main dish would be a TURKEY. Oh my! I haven't eaten such an animal. :-) I was so excited.

I used my bike to buy "Peking Duck" for my potluck. My friends were kind enough to give me a ride to church. I arrived at church with silent. That surprised me. In Philippines, when we say it's Christmas party, it was never been quite. I don't know. Okay it was quite. I went upstairs at cultural hall. Everyone were seated in front the stage and according to rows. Organized. Silent. Children were reverent. The table for food was organized. (I'm sad I haven't got a picture because that time I can't afford to buy.) Their was a Christmas presentation from priesthood organization and relief society. The play was about a family who haven't gone to church and was having a financial struggle. They were visited by their friends from church. The relief society sisters brought food for them during Christmas. Everyone was emotional and I believed everyone felt the spirit of Christmas that time. I too personally felt the love of God that moment.

While the presentation is going on, their was waiters and waitresses (also members who volunteer) serving the food. So, the members seated will not stand to get food at the back. It was a good idea. Everyone were attentive to the presentation. When you want to add some more, it was the time each member will slowly go to the food display and ask for food.

I'm thankful for this experience. 
I will not forget for the rest of my life. 
After attending this party, I realized it is not about much fun, 
or much laughter and much dancing.
It is not about the food that we are going to eat. 
I realized Christmas is about a feeling in our heart 
about love towards family, friends and other people. 
Christmas is about a feeling towards the Lord Jesus Christ. 

AFTER CHRISTMAS

I was really appreciative that one of our client invited us for a lunch at their house for Christmas celebration. They too were busy at that time but the gesture is really appreciated.

Me and my two Filipino colleagues were invited to their house. It was lunch but we were early. When we arrived at their house, we were toured around the house. It was a two door apartment that they renovated into one house. I could hardly imagine it now but it was a nice house.

After that, lunch was almost ready, everyone prepares the table including us. We helped them. I was shy I don't know what else I should do. I was not close them or have special friendship. I feel it awkward. But then, the head of the family, our client, had the prayer and blessed the food. We had good and healthy food serve for everyone. And the main dish was a turkey also! (I don't know what's in the turkey that is so special. I maybe should try this for my family next year.) While having lunch, their were lots of laughing and chatting. I saw how happy their family was although of course their should be some problems among them but that moment was precious. I became sad in my heart. Oh how I desire to gather my family and do this kind of moment. Anyway, after lunch, everyone were taking their dishes at the kitchen sink. I saw another good attitudes from them. So, I also do the same. Then, they told us to go back and be seated. We had a small games. Maybe an icebreaker. I forgot what was that but the feeling I had before was good up until now. It was fun. I enjoyed it.

So, after we had this icebreaker, we were told to gather at the living room area, where their tall Christmas tree was. An introduction was made first about their Family Christmas Tradition. Every Christmas they do have lunch, game and exchange gift. They are five in their family. Each member of the family prepared a gift for each of the family member. They received 4 gifts each. The wife were the last to giving gifts. She gave her husband, and her children. Also, she did not forget us. We were also given a gifts. I was surprised and touched by this very scene!

I was not jumping with happiness. 
I was not even had so much laughter. 
It was a peaceful happiness in my heart.
After this experience, I have thought that Christmas it is not about 
who receive more and who receive the expensive one. 
Christmas is about our heart towards our family.
Our love and concern for them. 
It is about touching the lives of other people. 
Our lights to inspire them to see God through our example.

After this experience, I have in my heart a huge desire to follow their example and to have a heart that gives, a heart that love unceasingly, a heart that is forgiving and a heart that knows and understand. I have desired to gather my family as well and let them fell this kind of heart changing Christmas experience.

Merry Christmas to all!















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