General Conference Book Club Week 17: President Uctdorf

Take two.

(Apparently if I try to rattle off some GCBC post from Disney World on my husband’s Blackberry and come off as an illiterate hack, no one will read or comment on the talk for the week.  So now I’m back, and we’ll try again.)

The Saturday morning session of Conference was my favorite, and President Uctdorf’s talk, “The Love of God,” is one of the reasons why.  Look at the questions he answers as he speaks:

How Do We Become True Disciples of Jesus Christ?

Why Should We Love God?

Why Does Heavenly Father Love Us?

How Can We Increase Our Love of God?

How Can We Hear the Father’s Voice?

Why Is Love the Great Commandment?

I was fascinated with how all our actions, thoughts, motivations, and desires can and should be traced back to love.  Even the simple things we do that don’t seem to mean anything to anyone–even to ourselves–appear more glorious when viewed as manifestations of our love.

Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.”

It’s a great talk, definitely worth reading.  I’m excited to study it again and read your insights as well.

You can read the talk here.  You can also  watch it here or listen to it here.

If this is your first visit to our weekly book club, welcome!  (You’ll find details about GCBC here.)


Mothers, cathedrals, and invisibility

I lived in Spain for three summers.  I love Spain.  I love the art, the architecture, the language, the culture.

What surprised me was how much I loved the cathedrals.  They’re beautiful.  One time I heard a concert of monks singing Gregorian chant that echoed inside the large spacious chambers of a cathedral, and it was so lovely that it reverberated inside me and almost brought me to tears.  The WORK behind those buildings is simply magnificent to behold and nearly impossible to imagine.

I came across this video clip on some deserving (but not remembered) blog, and it makes the most poignant comparison between cathedrals and mothers.  I really liked it.  I hope you do too.

If I worked at Google search, I’d think I was the only normal person in the world.

According to my stats, these are phrases that people typed into search engines (like Google) and were then directed to my blog.  I’m a little confused about what’s going on in people’s minds.

what lipstick to use to conceive boy

shriveling kidney ultrasound

shock treatment lullaby

keyboard chastity

lindt truffles are unhealthy

my mommy’s going to jail

play games for hate mothers

rhyming diaper advertisments

diaper pee final exam

i totally ignore my appearance

diapers during electro shock

urinary tract infection comics

And I’m a little more confused about what this says about my blog.  Maybe I’m a little more dysfunctional than I thought.

If you have a stats program, what are some of your favorite queries that have landed on your blog?  And if you don’t, what kind of Google search terms do you think would direct people to your posts?

Etc., Etc., Etc….

Today feels like a day of miscellaneous business.  I’ll try to be efficient as I cover it all.

  • My blog has a new look because I just felt like shaking things up a little bit.  I did it a few days ago and no one’s said anything, so I’m wondering if it was more of a makeunder than a makeover.  Maybe I’ll start from scratch.
  • I picked a winner for the poetry contest.  I know I said I’d pick a few and we’d all vote, but there were only a few entries (which were all fun and wonderful, by the way) and I just picked my favorite.   The winner is Charlotte of Memories for Later.  I loved her “Ode to the Snow Day” and it will soon be honored on my sidebar.  This lovely crown?  It’s ALL YOURS, Charlotte.  Congratulations! 

Snow Day.
Beloved of my childhood.
How I did yearn for thee then!
Praying for thy presence
With lazy days and snow to play.

Age hath unmasked thee,
O’ cruel day thou art!
Disruptor of Routine!
Deliverer of Cabin Fever!
Creator of Summer Makeup Days.

How I should dread thee,
And yet thy place of magic
Still holds sway,
And my heart flutters
At the thought of thee.

  • Just wanted to let you know that I have a guest post up today over at Mormon Women.  It’s called “Obedience Buffet,” wherein I pontificate about my love of restaurants and tendency toward pick-and-choose in other areas of life.  Head on over to check out their site, and ring the comment bell if you feel so inclined.  :)
  • Miss Wonder Woman gave me a Happiness Award, and asked me to list 10 things that make me happy.  So I did (click here). I’m supposed to tag 10 people, but I’m not feeling very rule-hardy right now, so I hereby bequeath this award to any of my readers who were born in July (because you must be cool).  If you choose to accept it, write your happy list on your blog and leave me a link so I can go read it.  Thanks, Wonder Woman!
  • Okay, (deep breath) last thing.  It’s been a while since I’ve honored some of my favorite posts that I’ve tripped upon in the blogosphere.  So without further ado, the current Post-It award recipients …..  (click here if you’re a winner)

  1. Annie Valentine blogs at Regarding Annie and she feels like a kindred blogger to me in many ways.  (I mean, her blog tagline says: “Sometimes I want to kick my man in the shin and sell my kids on eBay.”  *snort*).  She also writes a column in her local newspaper and I absolutely loved this post/article she wrote.  Made me look at the way I talk about people in a whole new way.
  2. I always love That Girl over at Pensievity, but she wrote two posts recently about marriage (one crash course and one down-to-earth chuckle) that just reeked of right.  She’s a smart cookie, That Girl– all full of priorities, and cuteness, and wit and such.
  3. In this post called “Death Doulas,” Terresa at The Chocolate Chip Waffle weaved a lovely tale of death and hope and wonder.  It’s quite beautiful.
  4. I really loved this sweet, humble testimony, “God is There,” over at Mormon Women, too.
  5. And finally, Momza wrote a guest post at Mormon Mommy Blogs called “Mothers Don’t Have to Be Everything to Everyone,” in which the title itself preaches a lovely sermon, but it was the last line of her post that hit me like a ton of bricks (the Holy- Ghost,-that-is-so-true kind of bricks.)

Whew, that’s it.

And I love my readers, really I do.  This past week you’ve given some great advice, and said some of the sweetest things that really made me feel great.  So thank you.

Be not weary: the paradoxical commandment for mothers?

You know how Eve got those commandments in the Garden of Eden that contradicted each other?:  Don’t eat the fruit, and oh, be sure to multiply and replenish the earth. I’m sure there was some genuine and well-deserved stupor on Eve’s part.  Luckily, she’s smart and she got it right in the end.

Nowadays, things are only slightly less complicated.  The proclamation on the family teaches us that the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth is still in force.  In other words, have children.  And then there’s that little scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that tells us to “Be not weary in well-doing.”  Is it really possible to have children and not be weary?  In fact, if I died right now, my tombstone might accurately say, “Weary do-gooder.”

I chuckled a little inside when I heard that scripture read in church a few weeks ago (and probably made some witty comment under my breath about the impossibility of compliance when, for example, you have a newborn and a potty trainer at the same time– which I don’t at the moment, but I remember.).  I mean, telling a mom to not be weary is like telling Mike Rowe to not get dirty.  So, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks, because, let’s face it, if I ever have a snarky reaction to a scripture, I’m probably dead wrong.

Here’s what the scripture says: 

D&C 64: 33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Do you think weary is supposed to mean tired and exhausted?  If so, this commandment escapes the realm of possibility because I don’t care how much faith a mother has, she’s still not going to get enough sleep.  Perhaps there’s more to it than that.

Dictionary.com defines “weary” like this:

wea⋅ry

/ˈwɪəri/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [weer-ee]

–adjective

1. physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.; fatigued; tired: weary eyes; a weary brain.
2. characterized by or causing fatigue: a weary journey.
3. impatient or dissatisfied with something (often fol. by of): weary of excuses.
4. characterized by or causing impatience or dissatisfaction; tedious; irksome: a weary wait.

Perhaps the Lord is asking us to adjust our attitude more than our physical or mental state.  He’s asking us to not get dissatisfied with our work, to not become discouraged.  We may give up sleep, but we should not give up hope in what we’re doing.  This is what I’ve decided.  With absolutely no authority whatsoever, I’ve rewritten the scripture to read what I believe it actually means:

“Don’t get discouraged in your very important responsibilities.  They are tedious, but they are an important part in my eternal plan.  What seems ordinary and insignificant to you actually has infinite and eternal influence.  Believe in it, and keep going.”

Looking at “weariness” in a new light, and with a specific twist toward my job as a mother, I loved reading these scriptures (my thoughts are in red):

Gal. 6: 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint notKey word:  in due season.  The fruits of motherhood are slow growing, but fainting is not an option if we hope to ever harvest.

(The footnote next to the word weary leads to this scripture:) Luke 8: 14 (14-15) And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. So interesting that it cross-references a scripture about distraction.  It’s easy to feel discouraged in the labors of motherhood if we give too much importance to the cares of the world.  And yet, if we choose thorny paths, we are kept from the development of perfection– both our own and that of our children.

Isa. 40: 28, 30-31 ¶ Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. . . . But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Did that say there is a cure for weariness?  Yes.  And it’s in the Lord– waiting on Him.  Consistency and patience.

Jer. 31: 25 For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. The Lord heals, invigorates, and blesses those who come to Him.

And, of course, Elder Maxwell says it best in an awesome talk called “Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds” :

The urgings for us not to weary in well-doing contain prescriptions to avoid such weariness. (See Gal. 6:9; 2 Thes. 3:13; Alma 37:34.) We are to work steadily, but realistically, and only expect to reap “in due season.” (Gal. 6:9.) We are to serve while being “meek and lowly” (Alma 37:34), avoiding thereby the wearying burdens of self-pity and hypocrisy. We are to pray always so that we will not faint, so that our performance will actually be for the welfare of our souls, which is so much more than just going through the motions. (See 2 Ne. 32:5, 9; D&C 75:11; D&C 88:126.)

And that my friends, is how I was wrong.  Because with faith in and help from our Savior, even us mothers can move past weary and keep doing the work we were called to do, just like Eve did, invigorated by the knowledge that we’re truly doing “that which is great.”

Calling all Mouseketeers!

Matt graduated from law school this month (YES! YES! YES!) and we’re going to celebrate.

We’re going to Disney World!

Other than my own visit as a teenager, we’ve never been.  I’m so excited, and a tiny bit overwhelmed by how to navigate the big wonderful world of Disney.  I need help from you experienced Mom travelers.

Stats:

  • We are staying off-site in a condo that has a kitchen, 1.5 miles from Disney World.
  • We will have a rental car/van.
  • We will be in Orlando for 6 full days (including one Sunday)
  • Three children:  ages 7, 5, and 3.
  • We have a behavior plan currently in place where kids can earn “Disney dollars” they can use to purchase snacks or trinkets at the park.  Good behavior earns dollars, bad behavior loses them.  Pretty simple.

Questions: (answer any or all of them.  I’m “all ears.”  Get it?)

  1. How should we divide up 5 days between the 4 parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios)?  Please consider my kids’ ages and recommend what they’ll like the most/least.
  2. I don’t think we can afford to eat at Disney restaurants and such.  How realistic is it to eat off site or bring a lunch?  Could we “run home” and eat or is that really a 2-hour round trip?  Suggestions?
  3. I know about the “Fast Passes” you can use to come back later and not wait so long in line.  How does the “Ride Sharing” (thing where you and your husband can take turns going with/without children) work?
  4. Any great insider tips?
  5. What about must-see attractions, events, sites to see within the parks?
  6. Natalie is 3 and never uses a stroller any more.  Should I take one anyway?
  7. Anything I should pack that I probably haven’t thought of?
  8. Should I pay the upgrade for the park-hopper passes or is any one park going to easily occupy the full day?
  9. Anything you thought your kids would love and they didn’t?  I don’t want to waste my time.  I know for a fact they won’t like things like walking tours (for example, the Animation studios tour).
  10. I can’t think of another question, but name anything random you want me to take a picture of while we’re there and I’ll do my best.

p.s.  Don’t forget to join us in the Winter Poetry contest.  Entries due by Tuesday night.