General Conference Book Club Week 21: Elder Stevenson

05_03_steveI have to admit that I’ve been avoiding this talk on purpose.  This was the talk that pushed my guilt buttons at General Conference and I have not felt “ready” to study it quite yet.  (I even posted about it back in May, with a few insights that helped me to understand better my role in an organized temple-home.) But, it’s time.  I need to embrace it, make goals, and reap the blessings.  I’m rambling and I haven’t even told you what the talk is.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Seventy, gave a talk called “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples” in the Sunday Afternoon session of the most recent General Conference.

I knew it was time to study this more carefully when I, myself, taught a family home evening lesson this week about this topic.  I need the kids’ help to make our home more like what it should be.

DSCF0080

Then today, at church, all the talks were about making a Heavenly Home, and I was reminded — by the speakers and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost — how important this is.  One speaker quoted often from this talk by Elder Douglas L. Callister, called “Your Refined Heavenly Home.”  I think it makes an excellent companion study to Elder Stevenson’s GCBC talk for this week.  (There is also an abridged version of Elder Callister’s talk recently printed in the Ensign here.)

I, personally, am going to try really hard this week to focus on this topic… plant the seed, so to speak.  I’ll come back and comment at the end of the week how my experiment goes.  Can’t wait to hear what you have to say, too.

(Are you wondering what General Conference Book Club is?  Click here to figure it out.  Then join us!)

Roll call! Places, everyone . . .

pip logo

Just to be very clear:  This is NOT intended to be any kind of guilt trip or anything close to it.

I just need to give an update on where everything stands with the Protecting Innocence Project, and make sure that I’ve gathered all of the information correctly.  I’m not a project manager by profession, and I’m lucky if I get the dishes done and laundry started and everyone dressed all in one day, so be patient with me as I try to get this whole thing up and running.  I still feel as committed to this project as I was in the beginning, and my excitement only grows as I get your help and input.  So thank you.

I’ve been using a site called GoPlanApp.com to help me organize the project and my master checklist is below.  A red dot means it is not yet complete, and a green dot means it is “checked off.”  Please look and see if your task is labeled correctly. If there is an asterisk by your name, it means that I have a question for you or some follow up to do, so watch for an email from me sometime today (hopefully).  Below the checklist, I’ll mention a few items that I could still use some help with, so if anyone is interesting in joining the P.I.P. team, just let me know (or if you’re dying to have a second assignment.)

Remember that the due date is a guideline.  I know this is a crazy time of year getting the kids back into school and starting to catch up on life in your “free” time.  Just do the best you can and let me know what to expect.    My email is dd.stephanie [at] gmail [dot] com.

(Some of you can’t even do your job yet because I’m still waiting on another assignment to get turned in so that I can give it to you for editing, development, etc.; I’ll pass things along as soon as I have them.  Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you.)

Inbox_full Development Delete

(#25)  View Edit Create Subtask Dele Design Site - David M
(#26)  View Edit Create Subtask Delet e First draft home page due 2009/09/09 - David M
(#8)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Editing content– Mary
(#14)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Forms–  Melanie J/hubby*
(#18)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Sample letters — Becca due 2009/08/31
(#17)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Sample letters — InkMom due 2009/08/31

Inbox_full Publicity Delete

(#2)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Buttons– Becca
(#9)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Search Engine Optimization– Lisaway and Greg*

Inbox_full Research Delete

(#5)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete ABC contact info- Advertising due 2009/08/31 –Joanne
(#24)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete ABC contact info- Programming due 2009/08/31 — Poppy
(#4)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete CBS contact info- Advertising due 2009/08/31 — Lisa B.
(#6)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete CBS contact info- Programming due 2009/08/31 — Jessie L.
(#12)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Congressmen and Senators due 2009/08/31 — Motherboard
(#3)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete FCC regulations due 2009/08/31– That Girl
(#1)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete FOX and NBC contact information- Advertising due 2009/08/31 — Laura C.
(#22)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete FOX contact info – Programming due 2009/08/31 — Jenni
(#21)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Frequent Offenders — Laurie due 2009/08/31
(#20)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Frequent Offenders — Treasure due 2009/08/31
(#19)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Helping Children after pornography exposure due 2009/08/31 — Kristina P
(#16)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Internet filters due 2009/08/31 — Sue Q*
(#10)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete NBC contact info- Advertising due 2009/08/31 — Diane
(#15)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Other related sites due 2009/08/31 — Mindy*
(#11)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Parents Television Council due 2009/08/31 — Amy J*
(#13)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete How to get involved?
(#23)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Research on effects of pornography due 2009/08/31 — Scripture Mom
(#7)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Spiritual effects of pornography on children –  Shantel

Still up for grabs:

1.  Looking up some contact information on a list of companies I have who are frequent ad offenders

2.  Finding any sites that help parents rate/choose appropriate video and computer games.

3.  Finding any sites that help parents rate/choose appropriate movies/DVDs.

4.  Help me find if there are any organizations out there specifically gears towards dads:  fathers fighting pornography, etc.

5.  I would still like to gather links of more sites/organizations etc. that share the objectives of PIP (a collection of resources that you can use to complain and demand change when children’s innocence is threatened by publicly available images and media.)

You can claim a job in the comments section below.  If you don’t want the job, but just have a link or something to help out, feel free to leave that in the comments as well.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who are involved in this project.  And please email me with any questions or if you have any concerns about your assignment or need me to clarify anything.

You rock! (I grew up in the 80s.  Deal with it.)

Does this sound familiar?

bored-kids-park_~IS851-010

I think my children suffer from what I like to call end-of-summer “boring brain.”  We constantly have conversations like this:

“Mom, what can we do?”

“What do you mean?”

“There’s nothing to do.”

“Are you kidding me? There are a thousand things you can do.  You can jump on the trampoline, play on the swingset, play toys, read books, color a picture, put together your car track, make a puppet show  . . .  see?  Lots of things.”

Blink. Blink.

Crickets chirping.

“Mom (spoken in three syllables), there’s nothing to do.”

I don’t get it.  I, for one, am ready for school to start.

———

(and as a little p.s., I feel like a dork about yesterday’s post because I really didn’t mean for it to generate a long list of “wow, aren’t you just so nice!” comments.  I do not always walk around saying nice things to people, and let’s be honest, it’s a good thing I don’t say out loud the not-so-nice things I think about some people.  But I have been trying harder to say kind things, and I had the courage to do it that time, and it scared the basheenus out of me, but I did it and she was delighted and I thought to myself,  I really should do this more often.  I am not a superhero.  The end.)

That’s what I said.

I walked right up to a complete stranger at the swimming pool last week.  She was talking with a girlfriend and I sheepishly interrupted her.  I said,

“This is going to sound really stupid, but I promised myself a while back to never suppress a nice thought.   There are a lot of moms here who are trying really hard to be sexy, supermodel moms, but when you’re out there in the pool playing with your kids and laughing, you’re authentically pretty.”

And I meant it.

kids_mom_pool.s600x600

Image Credit

————-

“The gospel teaches us that true beauty is more than skin-deep. A young woman whose countenance is aglow with both happiness and virtue radiates inner beauty.” — Lynn G. Robbins

“This Light of the Spirit cannot be faked. All of the theater lights and stages and camera trickery and Photoshop manipulation may convince the unaware that artificial light has the same effect. It does not. Artificial light ends with the flipping of a switch. It is merely a backhanded tribute to Light. Christ is the Life and the Light—the Light that lightens hearts through thick and thin.” — Truman G. Madsen


I need your brains; Can you please think out loud for me?

computer_brainTurn on your web-surfing mind and give me some ideas.

I’ve been working more on the Protecting Innocence Project.  (Click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)  Anyway, many of you have accepted assignments to help me out with this project and I could not be more grateful.  Truly.  It’s made an otherwise huge and overwhelming undertaking seem quite manageable and even exciting.  So, thanks again.

Anyway, sweet Lisaway and her husband are helping me out with Search Engine Optimization.  (I know you’re probably way smarter than me and know exactly what that is, but I had to be taught that it’s a systematic way to make your website more accessible when people are looking for related information on Google or another kind of search engine.)  One of the “tricks” is to try to anticipate search phrases and then incorporate them into your site.

SO, I want to know what kind of search phrases would YOU type into Google or Yahoo or whatever if you were looking for what PIP has to offer?

Here’s the scope of the project, if that helps:

Protecting Innocence Project is a website that provides moms with tools to fight children’s exposure to inappropriate media.  It will include the following:
•    Contact information, fill-in-the-blank forms, sample letters and templates that make it easy to file complaints with television networks and/or other media outlets (including magazines, Internet, advertisers, radio, billboards, etc.)
•    A collection of resources, organizations, and research related to fighting the pornography industry as well as protecting children from other indecent and obscene media.
•    A forum where moms can alert and encourage one another to unite their voices in complaint when children’s innocence is threatened by media exposure.



Try to imagine what situations would make you even want to find a site like PIP.  What would you type in your search box to find what you’re looking for?  Go.  Hit me with your best shots.

General Conference Book Club Week 20: Elder Scott

We only have four talks left from the last General Conference; can you believe it?  This week, we’re going to study the talk by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Temple Worship:  The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need.” 02_08_scott

“When we keep the temple covenants we have made and when we live righteously . . . , we have no reason to worry or to feel despondent.”

I’ve only glanced at it so far, but I’m curious about the list of things we can learn as we worship at the temple.  I look forward, as always, to your insights, too.

If you’re new to GCBC, click here to find out what it’s all about.  Jump in now; we’d love to hear from you.

Love Story chapter 7: Epilogue and Acknowlegments

There is no doubt in my mind that Matt and I were meant to be.  However, as I’ve retold this story, it struck me more than ever before how important the other players in the story were.  I need to acknowledge their goodness and influence.

  1. First, I’d link to thank you– my readers/blog friends– who, by your interest and enthusiasm, reminded me how remarkable our story really is and made me enjoy even more the retelling of it.
  2. As strange as it may seem, I need to thank KK.  He and I were perfect together “on paper,” but he recognized that something was missing– something that couldn’t be identified because it had never been felt.  Without that experience, I may not have given Matt the chance he deserved because, on paper, he wasn’t at all what I thought I was looking for.  He was a convert, from a small town and a broken home who loved to ride motorcycles and shoot stuff and had practically never left the state of Utah except for his mission.  Matt likes to say that if my dad had known him in high school, he would have rather had me marry Ozzy Osborne because at least he was financially stable.  But something– the acknowledging and encouraging hand of God (through His Holy Spirit)– was there when we dated, and that made everything more than enough.  It made it right.  I will forever be grateful to KK for knowing what I didn’t, and for teaching me that a “list of requirements” for a future spouse is only secondary to God’s blessing and will.
  3. I so appreciate my mother’s role in all of this.  As I look back through my story from beginning to end, I am amazed by how spot-on all of her counsel and encouragement was.  The advice she gave me when KK broke up with me literally became prophecy fulfilled as the Matt story unfolded.  She was clearly in touch with the Spirit and had a deeper understanding of God’s plan for me than I myself had.
  4. I’m thankful that my dad was as supportive as he was when, truly, this all happened so fast and would have been so easy to doubt.  When Matt asked him for his permission to marry me, my dad said, “You know Matt, we hardly know you at all, but we trust Stephanie.”  (He also said that if Matt ever abused me in any shape or form, he would pursue the full course of justice both within and outside of the Church, but that’s another story.)
  5. How can I not be grateful to Sarah?  She was a dear friend who for many years supported me through turbulent dating and unsurpassed drama.  She had cried with me and been sincerely happy for me, even when it hurt.  While Matt and I were dating, he encouraged a mutual friend of ours to ask Sarah out on a date.  He eventually did, and they were married the next Spring.  They now have two beautiful daughters.  I love how much he cares for her and treats her kindly.  We still stay in touch and see each other whenever our travels allow it.  I’ve probably never told her how much her friendship influenced me during those critical decision-making years of my life, and I should.  I will.
  6. And thanks to my children, who systematically broke me down from the glamorous girl of my dating days to the haggard woman of my profile picture in ten short years, and who have convinced me that I love and need Matt even more now than I did then.
  7. Finally, to Matt.  (Let’s see if he reads this.)  Thanks for having the courage to ask me out and the courage to stick around when things got rocky.  Thank you for loving me almost as much as God does, and for making these ten years as wonderful as I imagined they’d be when we dated.

From my journal, April 24, 1999, written on the plane on my way to Spain:

“Matt always loves me.  He is thoughtful and patient.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster these past couple months, and he has held my hand, and listened to me cry, and offered me support, and told me how wonderful and beautiful I am even when I didn’t believe it was true.  I am amazed that God could ever offer me someone who is willing to love me so much.  I don’t think I’ve ever given enough love in my life to deserve this kind of love in return.  He quietly supports me in everything I do.  It’s amazing to me— truly a miracle. . . .  He loves so unconditionally that it almost surprises me.  It does surprise me; it almost frightens me that I may not be worthy of it.  That, in itself, makes me love him more because I realize that, without asking, he makes me want to be so much better.  I’m so, so lucky.”

(Deep breath. Big sigh.)  Thanks again, readers.  I feel like we’ve all just hung out at a big slumber party and we shared our best stories and gasped and sighed and smiled together.  Thanks for “listening.”  Just in case I decide to turn it into a book someday, I’d love to hear your suggestions for a title.  What should I call our Love Story?  Someday when I’m a world-famous author, I’ll credit you in the acknowledgments.  :)