Behold, a blog-stuff extravaganza!

We now take a break from deep thoughts to just have a little bit of fun.  It’s like a three-ring blog circus:

  1. General Conference Blog-sharing Activity/Contest
  2. Comment Prize Giveaway
  3. Post-It Awards

General Conference Blog-sharing Activity/Contest

It’s been a long time since I participated in a meme (don’t worry, I had to look it up once, too–it’s basically some kind of questionnaire that you can fill out and pass along to others).  I thought it would be fun to have an extra reason to pay careful attention at Conference.  Here are the meme questions:

General Conference Highlights, October 2010:

1.  Who were your three favorite speakers?

2.  Favorite talk?

3.  Favorite hymn sung during Conference?

4.  Who wore the best tie?

5.  Do you think conference had a “theme”?

6.  Share a few of your favorite quotes (paraphrasing is fine).

7.  Something that made you smile during conference.

8.  Any evidence that your children paid attention?

9.  If you had to give a talk in General Conference (don’t faint, this is hypothetical), what do you think you’d speak about?

10.  What are some of your post-conference goals?

On Monday morning, I’ll post my own answers here on this blog and you can post your answers on your blog.  (You can cut and paste the questions and just fill in the blanks with your answers.)  Then just leave a link to your post in the comments on Monday’s post here.  That way I (and other readers) can check out what you had to say.   And you can invite your readers to do the same thing so you can find out their conference highlights.

Also, on my Monday post, I’ll post a General Conference trivia quiz.  Whoever has the most points will be entered into a drawing for a prize!  (Not sure what yet, but something cool.  Oooh, I know.  How about President Monson’s new biography?)  Monday will be a fun day.

Comment Prize Giveaway

Now, any of you who have a blog know that blog comments are like little Christmas presents.  They make you happy.  My little ol’ blog has been up and running here since last March and I just noticed in my stats recently that I’m eerily close to getting my 5,000th comment!  I know some people get that many comments in a week, but whatever.  I still felt like celebrating.  So whoever makes magical comment number 5,000 will win another prize.  I’ll figure out what after I peruse your blog and think of something fun.  Just wanted to do something to say thanks to my fantastic readers for giving me so many little comment-gifts over the last couple years.

Post-It Awards

Here are some of my recent favorite September posts from BlogLand.  Several of them are from the the September Celebration of Family from Cocoa and Jocelyn‘s blogs.  Enjoy!


What is Real from Chocolate on my Cranium , written by Misfit Cygnet

Eternal Families from Chocolate on my Cranium, written by Allison Kimball

On Women and Men: Can’t We Just Get Along from Mormon Mommy Blogs, written by Braden Bell

Stage Two from Tatro Family

Presence from Mommy Snark

Peace of Mind for Fifty-Eight Cents from Write Stuff

We are where we are for a reason from THE MEANEST MOM

Love from Sweet & Simple Truths of the Gospel

Making Service A Way of Life For Your Family from We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ, written by Misty

Warnings and Forewarnings In The Family Proclamation from We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ, written by Susan

Lucy from Rabbit in the Headlights

Apples to apples, Souls to souls



Women compare themselves, especially mothers.
I know that’s a broad statement, but I think it’s accurate. Even if we happen to be kind of confident about the way we do things, when we see someone else doing something well, we make a mental note on our list of Things Others Do Better.  My own list looks something like this:

hosting playdates
staying on top of laundy
fixing children’s hair and making sure they have on socks
cooking
sewing
gardening and canning
wearing make up
immaculate homes
time management
punctuality
self-discipline
and a million etceteras …..

… which I would like to point out is ridiculous. I could make a list of things I do well, too, but I won’t, because for some twisted reason it’s a lot easier to list our faults than it is our strengths.  I just realized that there is an illogical jump from “others do it better” to “I do it poorly.”  How silly is it to let another person’s strength define our “weakness”?

The universe testifies to us that God’s creations are supposed to be different.  Consider the following, Continue reading

GCBC Week 23: He Is Risen!

Okay, people, only one more week until General Conference. (yay!!)  This week we will study our final talk and then we start all over again. Please join us.

General Conference Book Club Week 23:

I saved President Monson’s talk for last.  We kind of skipped over it a while back when I was in the middle of my move, and it certainly deserves time to be considered.  He spoke at the Sunday morning session, sharing his testimony of the living Savior in “He is Risen!”

“To understand the meaning of death, we must appreciate the purpose of life. The dim light of belief must yield to the noonday sun of revelation, by which we know that we lived before our birth into mortality. In our premortal state, we were doubtless among the sons and daughters of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence. We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials, and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God. Our Father knew that because of the nature of mortality, we would be tempted, would sin, and would fall short. So that we might have every chance of success, He provided a Savior, who would suffer and die for us. Not only would He atone for our sins, but as a part of that Atonement, He would also overcome the physical death to which we would be subject because of the Fall of Adam.”

In the comments, please share your thoughts about this talk, your feelings about President Monson, or what you’re most looking forward to in Conference next week.

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.  Next week will begin a whole new round of GCBC; please consider joining us again.  Invite friends, neighbors, your readers etc. to join us in pondering and discussing the words of God as spoken through our living prophets.

Sleep: a mother’s most valuable resource

Do you love bedtime as much as I do?  Sleep is a healer.

At the end of a long day, the only thing better than three small children tucked into bed is their haggard mother pulling up her own covers, wrapping them around her shoulder, tucking them under her chin and closing her eyes.  Breath flows slow and deep and there’s silence. Part of the reason that I love the time when children are sleeping is because it’s how I refuel in almost every way:  reading, talking to Matt, blogging, watching a show I recorded, talking to a friend on the phone… but I think the most important thing during that block of time is that I get two prayers and scripture study and rest before they’re up again.  That’s some serious mom ammunition.

I remember when I got married, some well-meaning person said “Never go to bed angry.”  I can only assume that 95% of her brain doesn’t stop working at about 7 p.m. like mine does.  If I walk away from stress and tuck myself into bed, I am so much better prepared to face a new day.  Frustration fades, small infractions are more easily forgotten, and I’m just in a better mood all the way around.

Some women have fantasies of shopping sprees or exotic vacations or that the game Candyland might come to life.  Those would all be nice, but when I get overwhelmed or anxious, I tend to fantasize about 36 uninterrupted hours in a hotel room all by myself with a huge comfortable bed.  Sigh.

Anyway, I saw these two quotes the other day, and they helped me see another reason sleep is precious.  It’s a mark of victory, evidence of another day conquered.

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall.  Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.  Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down.  And this is all life really means.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.  ~Victor Hugo

We only have to do our best one day at a time.  Then we rest and start again.  It’s practically like being born again every day.  So go to bed already; tomorrow’s gonna rock.

It’s that time of year: General Conference packets and preparation

In case you’ve landed here via a search engine, for the most recent packets and resources, go here.

The countdown to General Conference has begun.  This coming weekend is the general Relief Society broadcast, and then on October 2-3, we will have the opportunity to hear the Lord’s voice:  “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). I love General Conference, especially when I prepare for it.  I get answers to questions I’ve prayed about, and even insight into questions I haven’t asked, but the Lord knows I have.  General Conference recharges my spiritual batteries.  It deepens my faith in my Heavenly Father, in His plan, and in myself.  Here are a few links to help you begin your General Conference preparations.

The Church has provided this page with some print-outs and computer games to help children prepare for General Conference.

The following are all excellent references offered from Sugardoodle.net, including General Conference Activity Packets for all ages (When you click on them, you can download the documents and print them out.):

Youth Packet
Senior Primary Packet

Junior Primary Packet

Nursery Packet

Check out this Sugardoodle.net page for other General Conference ideas, coloring pages, snacks, activities, etc.

Here’s another site with a lot of packets, cards, and other resources.

Here are also some great articles to help you get yourself and your children in the General Conference mindset:

Neil L. Andersen, “Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets,”

“Preparing Our Children for General Conference,”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,”

Henry B. Eyring, “Safety in Counsel,”

And don’t forget to gear up for the next round of General Conference Book Club.  If you’ve never joined us before, consider checking in this time when General Conference is over and then studying one talk a week all the way until Conference rolls around again.

“Many messages, covering a variety of gospel topics, will be given during the next two days. Those men and women who will speak to you have sought heaven’s help concerning the messages they will give. It is my prayer that we may be filled with His Spirit as we listen and learn.”  [Opening session, April 2010]

“I urge you to study the messages, to ponder their teachings, and then to apply them in your life…. May the messages and spirit of this conference find expression in all that you do—in your homes, in your work, in your meetings, and in all your comings and goings.”  [Closing session, April 2010] ~President Thomas S. Monson

GCBC Week 22: Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

General Conference Book Club Week 22:


Today was kind of a rough day at our house– one of those days where you wonder whether or not your children are going to turn out alright after all.  There were tears and time-outs and lots and lots of reminders of rules and expectations.  It was not easy to do scripture time tonight, and bedtime was a welcome relief.  As I read “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” by Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I felt so reassured of the lasting impact our instruction can and will have on our children.

“If a child is not listening, don’t despair. Time and truth are on your side. At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself. Your testimony will never leave your children.

As you reverently speak about the Savior—in the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, as you kneel in prayer, during scripture study, or in late-night conversations—the Spirit of the Lord will accompany your words.

As you do your best, the testimony of Jesus will gently distill upon your children’s hearts.”

Share in the comments what you love and learn as you study 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.

How to have a bad day

If you’re in the market for the kind of day that makes you want to wake up any moment from the bad dream….

First, go to the DMV.  That usually pretty much guarantees a bad day, but if you happen to wait in line for an hour and then get turned away because you didn’t bring your marriage certificate (?!), you’re well on your way to a doozy of a day.  Apparently, the fact that your social security card and your previous drivers license have your maiden name AND married name on them is not enough evidence that you are truly the person your birth certificate says you are.

Second, drive half an hour back home to pick up your daughter from preschool and then turn around and go half an hour back north again to meet your husband for lunch.  Right after you take the exit, get sideswiped by a State of Utah truck that knocks off your mirror and delays you on the side of the road for well over an hour as you hang out with the recreational crasher, police officer, and a very tired and hungry 3-year-old in your back seat.  Take deep breaths as the officer claims there’s no way to tell who’s at fault, and you’ll just have to leave it up to the insurance companies to decide.

Third, realize that there’s no time for lunch after all if you have any hopes of getting back home in time to pick up one son from the bus stop and take your weekly turn doing a walking carpool to pick up the other son from his new school.  Panda Express drive-thru window.  I now know that a-la-carte does not mean “skip the side dish and the soft drink combo”; it means no rice, no nothing, just a nasty pile of meat in a tiny little carry out cup that will spill grease on one of the few pairs of pants that fit you.

Fourth, get caught in road construction and sit still on the highway in a panic as you realize you will NOT get home in time to claim your children or fulfill your pick-up-the-neighborhood-kids responsibility.  Kick yourself because you don’t know anyone’s phone number in your new neighboorhood.  Call your husband with a desperate plea to help and then hear back from him about 15 minutes later that he wasn’t able to reach anyone.  (!!!?)  Tell him as many last names as you can remember and then fret the rest of the way home that your neighbors probably think you are the most irresponsible dork on the planet.  Try hard not to cry from embarrassment when you apologize to the sweet lady who rescued your orphaned child wandering the streets alone and then went and picked up the walking group and helped them get home.

So, there you have it.  1+2+3+4= really cruddy day, just in case you were looking for the magic formula.

Solution:

Take lots of deep breaths.  Apologize to abandoned children many times.  Give them their new library books and send them to their rooms for a long, quiet reading time.  Flop yourself down on the sofa and watch the finale of Top Chef you recorded yesterday.  Unload the dishwasher, clean the counters, and wait patiently for your husband to come home so you can announce that you are going out for dinner.  Sit around a table of food that you did not have to prepare and laugh and tell stories with your family.  Don’t order a milkshake, but take bites of everyone else’s.  Sit quietly in the car on the way home and listen to all three of your children snoring softly in the back seat.  Count your blessings.  Write it all down.  Go to bed.

“You must not mistake passing local cloud cover for general darkness.”  ~ Neal A. Maxwell