Update.

I am alive.

My brain feels like this:

My drivers license is expired, and I grew a zit on my chin today.  There are probably more important things to report, but please refer to the previous picture.

I have looked at so many houses that I will dream about opening closet doors all night long probably.

I like to look at this:

And eat this:

(Except mine was one of those “sharing size” packages, and I didn’t share with anyone.)

That’s all I’ve got.

How are you today?

GCBC Week 16: That Our Children Might See the Face of the Savior

General Conference Book Club Week 16:

In the Sunday morning session of General Conference, Sister Cheryl Lant taught a message called  “That Our Children Might See the Face of the Savior”

“None of us will be the perfect example for our children, but we all can become worthy parents and leaders. Our striving to be worthy is an example in itself. We may feel as though we are failing at times, but we can keep on trying. With the Lord and through Him, we can be strengthened to be who we need to be. We can do what we need to do.”

It’s a great reminder to put more focus on the Savior– in our families, with our children and in our own personal role as a parent.  Please share some of your thoughts as you study this talk by Sister Lant.

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.

Seize the day.

I’m staying at my parents’ house for a few weeks in an attempt to keep my own house clean for longer than 3 or 4 hours while it’s on the market.  The good news is that we’ve had several showings in the first week.  The bad news is that the real estate market bites right now if you’re a seller. (Read:  everyone who’s buying a house thinks you should sell it to them for $1.99.)

On the 1,100 mile drive down, I somehow managed to read a book.  (I also managed to get a raw spot on my neck where the seatbelt rubbed it 100 times from turning around to solve a problem, hand out snacks, or pick up dropped items.)  I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which has apparently sold millions of copies worldwide and been life-changing for many people.  It was a very nice story, and I applaud any book that makes its point without resorting to trashy subplots, but I didn’t find it excessively inspirational.  Perhaps that’s because it felt like a lot of philosophical embellishment about simple principles that I already believe to be true. It reminded me a lot of the French novel The Little Prince, only less cheesy. So, while I didn’t love, love, love the book like many people seem to do, I did like it.  There were a couple of quotes from the book that were stand-outs for me, maybe just for where I am right now, but I thought I’d share:

“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

“The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.”

Isn’t that a lovely way to say Carpe Diem?

So, I’ve been trying hard to just live more in the moments of each day and to do things like play games with my children and not wish they were over so I could do something else.  (What? You don’t do that?)  Here are a few other thoughts I love about the right way to live in the moment:

“The past of each of us is now inflexible. We need to concentrate on what has been called “the holy present,” for now is sacred; we never really live in the future. The holy gift of life always takes the form of now.” ~Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“You have “today” within your grasp. But unless you “seize” it, it will slip through your fingers like quicksilver and be gone. Oh, certainly, the sun will come up each morning throughout your life, and each day will present an opportunity of sorts for good works and happiness. But no other “today” will ever again be quite like the one that is now in your grasp.” ~Elder Lance B. Wickman

“Learn the true value of time. Seize, snatch, and enjoy every minute of it, for it is limited unto each individual. Live today! Jesus pointed the way when he said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” (Matt. 6:34.) We must resolve to live one day at a time, and live that one day to the full. Resolve also that we will extract from every experience of this day something that will make us wiser, happier, more efficient.” ~ Elder Hugh B. Brown

So what about you?  What good things came with the sunrise this morning?

Dear “Not Feeling It”…

I posted yesterday about the email I got asking for advice.  Thanks to you readers who already left comments with your ideas and suggestions. I knew you were wise.  Feel free to add more to the discussion, since I’m sure there will still be some holes left to fill after my answer.  Here’s the original question:

Stephanie,

I feel like something is missing in my life.  I’m taking care of the kids, exercising, reading — I don’t know what it is, but I just feel pretty empty.  I’m kind of going through the motions, but I don’t have a sense of direction.  So it makes me wonder if moms like you feel fulfilled.

Do you?  Do you feel complete/ whole?  It probably sounds dumb.  I don’t know that I necessarily need something else in my life, but that I need to figure out how to find the substance in the life I already have.  Do you have any perspective on this?

Thanks,

“Not Feeling It”

Dear “Not Feeling It,”

(Warning:  I tend to go overboard on this advice thing.  Get a comfortable seat.  It may take a while.)  :)

Fulfillment is an elusive thing. Women are multi-faceted creatures, and while we can usually multi-task quite well, it’s kind of impossible to nourish every side of ourselves at once.  This is especially true for mothers because we have so many demands on our time and attention, and often those demands don’t line up very closely with our own “wish lists.”  I’m beginning to learn that “fulfillment” is fool’s gold.  Magazines, talk-show hosts, self-help authors, and other mothers at the playground tell us we should seek fulfillment and that our lives are incomplete without it.  However, I think that if we spend too much time looking for it, we’ll find ourselves none the richer, and in fact, even when we go to great lengths to fill all our personal “needs,” we still come up empty because the focus of that kind of treasure hunt is simply too self-centered.  Perhaps this is a little controversial, because while women are meant to be nurturers, we obviously must nourish ourselves enough to function properly.  Elder Ballard said, “Water cannot be drawn from an empty well,” and we serve best when we have reservoirs of energy, talent, and Spirit. I’m learning to work less toward fulfillment and more toward contentment.  Contentment, by definition, implies a certain sense of satisfaction and happiness on a very simple level.  It is independent of circumstance.  After briefly mentioning that the Phillipians had failed to take care of him, the apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Happiness, joy, and deep satisfaction all make appearances on the stage of motherhood. They do. Some days and weeks are better than others. My own experience has taught me that Continue reading

The post where I finally get to be Dear Abby but I’m not nearly as good as I thought I’d be

There’s something you should know about me.  I give too much advice.  I love to give advice.  Some might think it’s arrogant, but it really stems from a deep desire to help people.  (And maybe a teeny, tiny feeling that I might possibly have a morsel of wisdom to share.)  When people start telling me about a concern or a struggle, my brain automatically makes a list of my favorite talks, quotes, scriptures, life experiences, etc. that seem to be a perfect fit, and those things totally bulldoze their way from my brain to my mouth. I swear it’s a little involuntary.  So if my siblings are reading, please know my unsolicited advice-giving compulsion comes out of LOVE (and maybe a little chemical imbalance in my brain).

Given this gift/defect I have, I’ve always kind of fantasized about being a Dear Abby type person, kind of like the bearded guru who sits on a mountain and answers people’s deepest questions (but more like an unshowered housewife who sits on an office chair with chocolate chips and Pringles while her kids watch Super Why and makes up answers for people who somehow thought she might have a modicum of insight.)  What can I say?  I dream big.  Well, Continue reading