One of the people I want to be when I grow up


Photo by Scot Facer Proctor

I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.

I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn.

I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.

I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.

I want to be there with the children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.

I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Music and dinner and contests. Oh my!

This is one of those random I’ve-got-several-things-on-my-mind-but-not-enough-time-to-do-them-real-justice posts.  Please forgive the mess as I simply spit it all out on my computer screen.

1.  Did you know that you can download mp3 files of all the songs from General Conference?  Well you can. I love loading up my iPod with this stuff and playing it in the kitchen on Sundays.

2.  I stumbled across this video today on another blog.  I LOVE this hymn.  It is a prayer, a plea for God to bind us to Him and keep us safe and bring us to Him.  It is SO beautiful.  I’ve seen this arrangment a few times on BYUTV and it moves me everytime.  Seriously, give it a listen and let the spirit of it just pour in, because it will.

3.  Later this week, I’ll be going to Women’s Conference at BYU.  Some of us bloggy-type-friends are going to try to get together for dinner on Thursday night in Orem.  If you’d like to join us, email me (dd.stephanie [at] gmail [dot] com) and I’ll send you the details.  I sent an email to the people that have expressed some interest already.  If you didn’t get one and wanted to, it was an ACCIDENT.  Tell me and I’ll send you one right away.

4.  Um, Spring started and I forgot to do a Spring poetry contest.  I don’t have to, of course, but I like to do one every season because they’re fun.  And I find out how creative and talented you are.  So here it is (oooh, look at the fancy prize):

Spring Poetry Contest

Write a limerick about laundry.

See how easy that is?  Just leave yours in the comments here.  You can write as many as you’d like.  Click here if you don’t remember how limericks work. Next week, I’ll put my favorites up for a vote, and someone (squeal, it could be you!) will get a coveted spot of honor on my sidebar and that bee-yutiful sparkly crown blog button.  Here, I’ll write one just to give an example.

I’m warning you, don’t go in there.
The piles will sure give you a scare.
The dungeon of doom?
Nope, it’s my laundry room.
I’m a hostage of kids’ underwear.

Um, yeah, you can definitely top that.  Have a great week!

GCBC Week 4: The Rock of Our Redeemer

What I love about Elder Andersen’s talk is the juxtaposition of broken hearts and strong spirits.  He declares:

I testify that those who keep His commandments will grow in faith and hope. They will be given strength to overcome all of life’s trials.

It is easy to fall victim to the line of thought that when our current trials or concerns are over, we will be in a better position to do what we should do. In this talk, we are reassured that “hope, with its attendant blessings of peace and joy, does not depend upon circumstance.” It is possible to find strength and power even in, maybe especially in, the hard spots of life.

How has your testimony of the Savior rescued you from dark times?  What stands out to you from this talk?

Go here to find the media versions of the talk (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club,  click here to learn more about it.

Turning the game up a notch

Often my children play “rock, paper, scissors” to resolve disputes among themselves.  It’s an arbitrary mediator that I resort to whenever I have to “choose” someone for a certain task or privilege, etc. because they can’t moan about it not being fair (as much).

A little while back, I overheard Grant and Clark “problem solving” in the hallway:

“Ready?  . . . Rock . . . paper . . . God!”

Apparently they changed the stakes a little.  Hmm, I wonder who won.

Time to come clean: Let’s talk about Internet addiction.

The Lord knows that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so when He wants me to learn something, he hands it to me in small, digestible pieces . . .  EVERYwhere I turn for days and weeks, even months at a time.  (He’s really so patient while He waits for me to get it.)  I will give an inventory of his subtle messages just in the last 10 days or so.

  1. Elder Bradley Foster in General Conference:  ” . . . a distraction doesn’t have to be evil to be effective.”
  2. Sister Julie Beck:  “There is much distraction and not enough peace and joy. . . But with personal revelation, [a mother] can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently. . . . mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention,  . . . Being in the right places allows us to receive guidance. It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks.”
  3. Elder Robert D. Hales:  “Mother, Father, are you in there? Grandpa, Grandma, are you there? Being there means understanding the hearts of our youth and connecting with them. And connecting with them means not just conversing with them but doing things with them too. . . . I would hope that we would bear our testimonies so that our children will know where our hearts are and that we love them. The greatest love and the greatest teachings should be in our homes.”
  4. My house needs attention.  When I resurface from the office and look around at the messes, I know my time could have been better spent.
  5. A friend gave a wonderful talk at church about time management that really resonated with me.  (Hi, SP!)
  6. I remembered this post that I wrote almost seven months ago, (and it was a good one) but it’s a lesson I still have not completely learned.
  7. I stumbled upon this post.
  8. I caught myself having only half-attentive phone conversations because I was trying to read email at the same time.
  9. I want to start exercising regularly again, but I  feel like there’s not enough time in the day.  Why is that?  (pause for burning self-reflection)

Tell me I’m not the only one who sees some of myself in this cartoon.
I don’t even own all those gadgets, but still. At some level, there’s a sad truth in there.

I’m pretty good at monitoring my children’s screen time, but when I get online, it’s kind of a chain reaction of “tasks*” and before I know it, I’m not proud of how much time I spent.

*Any blog comments?  I need to check email and see if they wrote me back about that fireside assignment.  Oh, let me see if Matt transferred my budget into my account yet.  And . . . a quick look at Reader to see if any blog friends have posted anything new.  Ha ha.  Better comment on that.  Okay, that’s good.  Before I sign off, I’m just going to check Facebook really quick.  I don’t think I’ve updated my status for several days.  Oh look, one of my old young women is engaged.   Check out her fiancee’s page to see if he’s a loser.  And all his photos.  Hey, he’s friends with a girl I taught at EFY; I wonder what she’s up to these days.  . . .  Oops, forgot to do my status.  Type-ity type type:  “Avoiding laundry.”  Check email ONE more time.  I don’t think I ever read that attachment that Shantel sent me yet.  Whoa, newsflash: there was an earthquake in Utah?  Better check that out.  And I forgot I wanted to look at the menu for our date night restaurant so I know how much to budget for dinner . . . .

I think you get the idea.

So I’m going to be proactive about this little, ahem, problem.  I found this link, and it reviews the top ten internet controls software.  These are programs that control not only content, but also let you set daily and weekly time limits for individual users, including YOURSELF:

http://parental-time-control-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

It looked like this one was really good, but it doesn’t have a Mac version that I can see:  http://www.kidswatch.com/ I also found this one that has a Windows and Mac version:  http://www.netnanny.com/

And here’s a link for some free downloads for simple timers and filters.  (As with all free shareware, make sure you have a good anti-virus program in place, just in case.)

http://www.sofotex.com/download/Security/Parental_Control/

(A special note for my mother, mother-in-law, and any other concerned relatives:  Don’t worry.  I don’t spend all day on the Internet and I’m still feeding and bathing my children.  Really.  My life would just be a lot more efficient if I spent less time on the computer, so I’m working on it.)

And that’s it.  I’m just admitting my own willpower might not be enough to keep me constantly focused on the things that matter most, so I’m going to use tools and rules and accountability and such to help me.  And friends like you, who I’m betting will get this and will offer great advice.  So thanks.

GCBC Week 3: Our Path of Duty

General Conference Book Club Week 3:


This week we’ll study Bishop McMullin’s counsel about duty.  He stated:

Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal; it is what is virtuous.

I’m fascinated with the relationship between duty and integrity.  I’ve been thinking also about how when it comes to our reasons for doing what is right, duty is not necessarily a replacement for love, but a companion for it.  Our adherence to duty can be seen as evidence of both our love and our integrity.  But enough of my own “talk,” study Bishop McMullin’s — it’s much better.  Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments.  We learn as we discuss together and see new ways to apply the principles in our lives.

Go here to find the media versions of the talk (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club,  click here to learn how it works, and please join us!