General Conference Book Club Week 8: Elder Oaks

05_01_oaksElder Oaks is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  I’m excited to read his talk this week for General Conference Book Club.  It’s week 8 already; can you believe it?  We already studied Elder Christofferson’s talk a couple of weeks back, and I think this week’s talk is an extension of that message.  It is called “Unselfish Service,” and teaches us that we must be engaged in the work of building the kingdom of God and offering service to those around us.  I look forward, as I always do, to reading your comments about this great talk.

If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it. You’re welcome to join us at any point along the way.

>>Click here to read the talk “Unselfish Service,” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks<<

Here is a lovely video where Elder Jeffrey Holland teaches how we can serve by showing true love to one another.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

I’m an empty nester!

Don’t worry, you didn’t go to sleep last night and wake up 15 years later.  All three of my own children are still living safely (well, that’s debatable) under my roof.  But, I really AM an empty nester after the exciting events at our house today.  When I went to Women’s Conference last month, I came home and found this right next to my back door:

DSCF2026Eleven duck eggs.  So “Mama Duck”, as we’ve called her for the past month (yeah, we’re really creative that way.  You’re lucky we didn’t name all my children Baby, Kid, and Girl), has been sitting on that nest faithfully in our back yard.  She’s slowly gained more and more trust in us as she realized we had no intention of harming her or her eggs.  I was super protective of the little Mama, and once my boys got in big trouble for trying to pick up the eggs and hide them behind the air conditioning unit.  Luckily, they were all replaced safely.  Two of the eggs disappeared during the four-week wait, but my children swear they had nothing to do with the kidnapping. This morning, when I went out to check on her, I found this:

DSCF2048I was so sad because I thought I must have missed the whole coming-out party that we’d so been looking forward to, but when I wandered around the side of my house, I saw this adorable little scene by my fence:

DSCF2035Nine fluffy little waddling ducklings.  After I got all giddy like a little child, I called out my own children.  We opened the gate so that Mama and babies could escape, and we followed them along on their little journey.

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It was great.  Clark declared it “a grand adventure.”  I was so excited for Mama Duck, and my kids told everyone who would listen.  The poor check-out lady at the pharmacy had to hear all three of them gabbing breathlessly about it at once.  When we got home, for the rest of the day, I got a glimpse into what it might feel like to be an empty nester.  I missed her.  That sounds dumb, but I loved protecting her and anticipating her moment of glory.  Whenever I walked out the back door the rest of the day, I felt a twinge of sadness that she’s no longer right there for me to check on.  And yet, at the same time, I was so happy for her and her little ducklings, making their way out into the real world and all.

I can’t imagine what it will be like when I let my own children go like that.  I bet many of the same emotions will be there.  Just bigger.

I think we’ll have to go visit the ducks soon at their pond.  For old time’s sake.  And because I’m kind of like a grandma now, and that’s what grandmas do.  Well done, Mama Duck, well done.

(p.s.  If you missed my last post, I had a little tidbit of kind of exciting news.  Check it out and then go do everything it tells you to do. :))

Irony, maniacal laughing, and a pathetic plea

Don’t laugh.  I’m already laughing, and if you start, then I might not be able to stop.  So, am I the only person who thinks it’s ironic that the day after I write my whine-whine-my-life-is-too-busy-and-I-feel-overwhelmed post, I got an email from Motherboard informing me that I’m in the running for the June Spotlight on Mormon Mommy Blogs?  First of all, I didn’t even know I’d been nominated.  But Shantel, who always tries to give me way more credit than I’m due, threw my blog in the mix.  Then sweet Kimberly seconded the nomination.  And apparently it’s a dry month for nominations at MMB because somehow that landed me in the finals.  So now, all these random people are going to be dropping by Diapers and Divinity looking for hilarity and genius (or some other ridiculously exaggerated things my nominators claimed), and what will they get?  A post about how I’m an uninspired schlump, and then my faithful and wonderful readers lick my wounds with all their brilliant ideas and gentle reassurance.

Wow, I can taste the victory already. :)

Oh, I almost forgot the pathetic plea part.  Go vote for me.  (The poll is halfway down the sidebar on the right.)  Please.  Thanks.

p.s.  I really DID like that part where my faithful readers lick my wounds and reassured me.  I loved reading all your kind words and great ideas.  Really.  But enough about you, go vote.

How do people who are REALLY busy do it all?

I’m just keeping it real here.  I am feeling way overwhelmed lately.  And it makes me feel like a whimp.  I have been trying for several days to catch up on blogging my Women’s Conference summaries.  I think I only have one or two left, but I can’t seem to get it together.  I’ve felt so busy that it’s left me a little uninspired.  The ridiculous thing is I can’t figure out what I’m so busy at.  My oldest child is in kindergarten and he plays on a baseball team.  I have Sunday responsibilities.  Other than that, I’m not calendared out to the max.  And yet, I feel like I’ve been running full speed for a couple of weeks and I can’t seem to catch my footing and approach things rationally.  I’m doomed when my kids have full schedules and I get some real responsibilities.

Here are a few of the things that I know I should be working on, and their deadlines are looming over me like a great weight…. but at the end of the day, I want to crawl in bed and sleep my worries away because I don’t have the energy to think through them like I know I should.

1.  In less than two weeks, I’m teaching 8 classes for EFY at Brigham Young University (actually only 4 classes, each one taught twice).  I am so not ready right now.  I’ve only taught one of the classes before and all 4 of them need a lot more preparation before I will feel comfortable and ready.

2.  This weekend I am in charge of a quarterly Activity Day for my Primary kids.  Anyone have any brilliant ideas I could use for an “Article of Faith Field Day”?

3.  I still have so many thoughts floating around in my  head from Women’s Conference that I feel like I need to turn into tangible goals.  I want to make a plan, a strategy really, to help me incorporate those promptings into action in my life and in the life of my family.  I feel an urgency to think it all through and plan it all out before I lose the ideas and the ambition.

Well, that’s it I guess.  Those are kind of the big ones that keep drumming around in the back of my mind while I hash out all the details of the day-to-day.  Laundry’s going.  The sink is full and needs some attention.  I refuse to look at my play room right now.

So say something to inspire me.  Go.

Add Reptile Surgeon to my resume

Clark got a toy frog from his Grandpa this weekend.  It’s one of those gummy, stretchy kind of toys that is perfect for a boy with an overactive and slightly destructive imagination.  He stretches the arms and legs out as far as they go, flips it around several times, then releases it to watch it spin itself back to original position.  This is, of course, more fun with sound effects of what a frog would sound like if it were forced to ride the Vomit Comet at the local amusement park.

Unfortunately, Clark and said frog were a little careless in their adventures this morning.  He thought it would be funny to wind up the frog and then put it on Natalie’s head.  The result:

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That thing was all wound up and twisted in and out of Natalie’s locks.  After much apologetic wailing by Clark, it was determined that drastic measures must be taken.  I amputated the frog’s arm.

DSCF2032The rest of the arm was stretched out and twisted a hundred different ways in Natalie’s hair.  I would free one small section at a time, and then surgically remove it.  Final results:

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Dr. Oz and Sanjay Gupta have got nothing on me.  I am mother.  Hear me roar.

General Conference Book Club Week 7: Sister Lifferth

01_03_liffeWe must . . . cultivate in our homes and classrooms respect for each other and reverence for God.

This week’s General Conference Book Club selection is a talk from the Saturday morning session, and our first female speaker for the the GCBC.  Sister Margaret Lifferth is the first counselor in the General Primary Presidency, and she talked about important things that our children must know and be, so it’s a great thing for us, as a group of sisters, to study and implement in the way we teach our children.

If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it. You’re welcome to join us at any point along the way.

>>Click here to read the talk “Respect and Reverence,” by Sister Margaret S. Lifferth<<

Here is a video I saw recently with a story from President Hinckley in a message called “Lessons I learned as a boy.”  I was very moved by this story, and it is a great example of the lesson that Sister Lifferth is encouraging us to teach our children.  I pray that my boys can be as compassionate as the sweet boy in this video.

Have a great week!

“I love meatloaf.”

droppedImageThese are the words that warmed my heart after the kind of day that made leftover meatloaf a luxury. My day was no different than the kind millions of moms better than me pull off everyday: cousin sleepover, pancake breakfast, zoo with 4 kids, meet your kindergarten teacher open house, and the Mt. Everest of motherhood: taking your children with you to IKEA. (Okay, I’m being overdramatic, but it really is in one of my least favorite outings with kids.) So, when we staggered into the house at the time I would really like to be getting them ready for bed, my weary mind thought through all of my pathetic, one-day-left-until-payday-and-no-groceries-in-the-house options for dinner. Finally I remembered some leftover meatloaf from a more ambitious day earlier in the week. (Yes, for some of us moms, meatloaf is an ambitious meal.) So, knowing it would not be well-received, but at least it’s better than nothing, I microwaved my way to dinnertime. I called up the kids who squealed “hooray!” on their way to the table until they saw what was actually served.

Grant asked “Is this meatloaf, mom?,” and Clark piped up and said “I love meatloaf.” I wanted to hug him for being forgiving on a long, exhausting day. It made me think that this is why Heavenly Father wants us to be like a little child, “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father [or mother or a bad dinner].” Maybe I should try to be some of those things next time we go to IKEA.

(This entry was originally posted on August 28, 2009.  I’m still rebuilding my lost archives.)