GCBC Week 5: “Doing the Right Thing…” by Elder José L. Alonso



What I remember the most from this talk was the story about losing their son in Mexico City.  I’ve lost my son Clark before at Disney World, the Minnesota Zoo, and Mall of America, so I could understand their panic, and their desperate reliance on prayer.  This is a great talk to go back and read again. What most stood out to me was the concept of acting quickly to do what we know we should do.  I also was struck by the importance of reaching out to others in rescue.

Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time, without Delay by Elder José L. Alonso

“I know that our Heavenly Father is loving, understanding, and patient. His Son, Jesus Christ, likewise loves us. They render help to us through Their prophets. I have learned that there is great safety in following the prophets. “The rescue” is still going on. President Monson said: ‘The Lord expects our thinking. He expects our action. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies. He expects our devotion.’”

What stood out to you in this talk?  Please share your insights in the comments.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

Find-A-Friend Friday: Starring You!

I had a gap in my scheduling today, so I think it’s your turn to be spotlighted.

Write a Find-a-Friend Friday post all about you on your own blog and then come put the link to the post in the comments below.  It’s like a super-blast, friend-finding Friday.

Instructions below:  Cut and paste on your blog.  Copy the little graphic above if you want, too.

Hi! Paragraph:  Basic Stats– name, age, location, family, etc. …. as much as you’re comfortable sharing.

History paragraph:  Name a few key elements of your background…. Where from, family you grew up in, education, (past) career, mission, etc.

***Questions: There are 20 random questions listed below.  Pick at least five, but up to twelve you’d like the answer the most.  (I prefer that you include #4 and #12, but I’m not the boss of you.  :))  You can do it in any order.

1.     What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

2.     What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

3.     Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)

4.     Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

5.     What are you loving lately?

6.     Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

7.     What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

8.     Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).

9.     What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?

10. If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?

11. Friends are great for venting.  What’s been frustrating you lately?

12. What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

13.  Desert Island Question.  If you were stranded on a desert island (most moms would actually crave this) and could only take 3 items with you, what would they be?

14.  If you were awarded an “honorary degree” in something, what should it be and why?

15.  Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal?

16.  What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?

17.  Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.

18.  What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?

19.  If your life had a theme song, what would it be and why?

20.  If you could make a pie chart (graph) of your thoughts during the last week or so, what would take up most of the space?

Write away.  Remember to come leave a link to the post in the comments. I’ll read every one for sure.  Looking forward to it.  Ready? Set. Go!

The Power of Story, or the Day My Journal Heart Died.

I had a Hello Kitty Diary when I was 10.  I wrote in it on and off until I graduated from high school.  When I got to college, I was a little better about writing stuff down because I think I began to realize that I was at an age where all the little details of my relationships and activities had possible implications for my future. Once I started getting ready for my mission, my journal became more important.  I had excitement and fear and lots of fun going on in my life, and I wanted to capture it.  I was a meticulous journal-writer during my 18 months in Argentina.  I was having the time of my life, and I didn’t want to forget.  When I got home, I was involved in so many things, and my life felt so busy, but the mission habit was still there, and I kept a detailed record of the ups and downs of friendships, college living, school and work responsibilities, but especially dating.  There was much drama to behold.  I met Matt (almost 5 years later) and my journal was a place to capture all the magic of the miracle called falling in love.

I love– really, really love– these journals.  I pull them out and reread them on occasion, and sometimes that results in several nights of marathon reading my life, chapter by chapter.  I started a new journal when Matt and I got married, and it included our life as newlyweds, my first real job, his graduation followed by job offers, our move across country, our first house, and a couple years later, the news we were expecting our first child, Grant.  I wrote about my transition into motherhood and all the adventures and adjustments, and tried to capture the essence of our little family’s life.  18 months later we welcomed baby #2, Clark.  I was really busy now, the kind of busy that rarely allows you to sit down and write it all out, but I tried. Almost 2 years later, I was expecting again, this time with our little girl, Natalie, and we moved from North Carolina to Minnesota.  Amidst all the boxes and unpacking, I put my journal and my scriptures on the bed in our new master bedroom, thinking it would help me remember where they were and find a special place for them.  I do not know what happened, and I still don’t until this day, but my journal disappeared.  I can only imagine that it somehow got tossed out with some packing materials.  I just don’t know, but, oh, how I mourned it.  It had my entire married life up to that point.  My journey to motherhood– lost.  The story of my boys’ births– gone.  I was sooooo sad.  And bitter.  And my journal heart died.

I didn’t even try to write anything down any more.  It was spite.  Natalie was born.  She sat up.  She crawled.  Almost a year had passed, and still no record-keeping.  Then I went to a sacrament meeting where the speaker was talking about Elder Ballard’s mandate to use technology for good, and I got stabbed with a message for me.  I could do that.  I should.  So I called up my brother-in-law, who is a graphic designer, and he walked me through the step-by-step of creating a blog and how to interact in an online blogging kind of world.  I was very, very green.  And on August 17, 2008, I wrote my first blog post, and by default, my first journal entry in over a year.

   So my oldest child, Grant, just lost his first tooth and I’m thinking to myself, “It wasn’t that long ago that he got his first tooth!  And he’s already losing them?!”  Other moms (the ones who had toddlers and preschoolers a long time ago and actually lived to talk about it) always say, “they grow so fast.  Enjoy it while you can,” and you know how inside you say stuff like “yah, whatever…  I’ve already planned in detail the first 3 weeks of activities once my youngest gets into school, and don’t even get me started on retirement…”?
Well, this tooth thing has made me think that maybe I do want time to slow down a little.  I mean, come on, kids are just never as cute once those big ol’ crooked horse teeth start growing in.  And now he’s starting kindergarten in a few weeks, and even though I’m thrilled about the tiny dose of “freedom” it might offer me, I dread the influence of “bad kids” and elementary school Darwinism once he’s out of my watchful eye.
I find comfort in the scripture in Ecclesiastes that says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Then it talks about things like dancing, crying, etc., but I think that it really does mean every thing, like losing teeth, going to kindergarten, and retiring.  I can’t help but think that God wants me to take in each season and actually live it through, the same way I must live each season of the year . . . I can’t just skip ahead or pause or rewind the calendar.  So, I’ll just start to enjoy the toothless years in one child and the teething years in another and just take the moments as they come.  (But, seriously, don’t you think God must laugh a little when he puts those ugly big adult teeth in little kids’ mouths?)

So Diapers and Divinity was born, and the rest is history…. actually herstory, or MY story.  It is a record of my family, my feelings, my testimony, and the things that matter most to me.  My blog is the continuation of my Story, and it made my journal heart live again.  In the last general conference, Elder Bednar testified of the wonderful marriage of technology and family history.  I like to imagine that someday, my children’s children and theirs, too, will click through the pages of my blog and meet me… hopefully even like me, and learn what makes them who they are.  I hope something I’ve said or written will help them understand their own testimony and challenges even better, and give them courage to fight the good fight.  I’m a little ambitious, perhaps, but I want to be a piece of family “scripture” someday.

So, with all this in mind, I want to personally invite you to what should be a fantastic, meaningful event: The Story @ Home Conference.  It is an event to help all of us create stories in the spirit of family history in our own way– whether it’s a high-tech blog with ads and polls, or a pile of family group sheets and name extraction cards.  All of it creates a story about who we are and where we came from.  Here’s some more info:

  • The dates are March 8-10, 2012.  I think you can do the whole thing or pick and choose the dates and times that work for you.
  • The event will be held at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building  and the LDS Conference center, both in Salt Lake City on Temple Square.
  • This is hosted by FamilySearch, but this is not a strictly LDS event.
  • Presented by Cherish Bound, a company that helps people create stories.
  • Tickets are just $79– quite reasonable, folks.
  • Go “Like” their page on Facebook so you can stay apprised of developments and enthusiasm.
  • FamilySearch has pre-reserved some tickets specifically for bloggers, because we are, after all, a very special kind of story makers.  There’s even a special conference track for bloggers.  Go grab your tickets soon, before they get released to the general public.  How fun would it be to have a little army of us mommy bloggers there, just giggling together on the back 10 rows?  :)

Above all, keep writing your story somewhere.  And don’t leave it sitting on your bed while you’re moving.  Just sayin’.

Mid-week Mind Dump

Just some stuff that’s been filling up my brain:

  1. I stay up too late at night.  It hurts the next day, but I love the quiet time after the kids are in bed. No matter how disciplined I try to convince myself to be, I never go to bed early.
  2. Getting children out the door for school in the morning is really like herding cats, only more slow-motion.  Maybe everyone needs an earlier bedtime.
  3. I do not want winter to come. Curses to cold weather.
  4. Natalie and I watch Cupcake Wars together.  Yesterday she told me her strategy for making a cupcake for a particular challenge:  mixing seaweed with cotton candy flavoring and pulling sugar to make a box car to put on top.  She’s 4.  I’ll start saving now for culinary school.
  5. Speaking of saving, I have a lot of great ideas for Christmas gifts this year.  Unfortunately, I have no money to buy any of them.  That whole thing about “it’s the thought that counts” is totally bogus.
  6. Yesterday was my mother’s birthday.  My mom is a wonderful woman.  You should meet her because everyone who does automatically has a better chance of getting into heaven.  Happy Birthday, mom.  I love you.
  7. I did something yesterday that I don’t remember ever doing before in my life– JOG for 40 minutes.  It wasn’t pretty, and I think I walk faster than I jog.  Cue the apocalypse.
  8. I need to drink more water.  Like going to bed early, I’ve been telling myself to do it for years.  But I don’t.  I’m surprised all my innards haven’t shriveled up by now.
  9. I really like the Preach My Gospel manual.  I’ve been studying it for an ongoing Relief Society activity/class I teach, and it’s been a great way to fuel my scripture study.
  10. I decided I’m going to start re-memorizing all the scripture mastery scriptures.  Between this website and a scripture mastery app for my phone, it’s pretty easy.  I’ve only done 1 Nephi 3:7 and 1 Nephi 19:23 so far, plus 2 Nephi 2:25 and D&C 10:5 with my kids, but I’m feeling it.
  11. Does anyone have a perfect bread machine recipe for whole wheat bread?  My sister sent me one, but I’ve ruined it twice.  It’s me, not her.  Recipes for Dummies are recommended.
  12. Tuesdays are my crank-out-the-laundry days, which means I get to watch lots of TV while I fold and sort clothes.  I’m pretty much all caught up on my shows now, which currently include The Biggest Loser, The Sing-off, Cupcake wars, Sweet Genius, Top Chef: Just Desserts and Chopped.  Um, all but one are food shows, mainly desserts.  Do you think they cancel out a 40-minute jog?  Great.
  13. I’m in charge of Grant’s Halloween class party, but I delegated out the entire thing, and all I have to do is show up.  That rocks.  I really did try to help out, but all the volunteers were so dang ambitious, and hey, more power to ‘em.

Dump complete.

GCBC Week 4: “The Time Shall Come” by Elder L. Whitney Clayton


On a few occasions, I have served in callings in the church where I worked closely with committees.  Sometimes I have been frustrated about how inefficient and misguided some of the planning seems to be.  One time I got a little fed up (admittedly in a self-righteous way, which I’ve since tried to repent of) and took my concerns to the Lord.  I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants one day and I read some passages that humbled me and gave me new insight.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s, not mine.  And if He trusts regular, flawed people to do His work, I should too.  And even though this sounds a little tongue-in-cheek, I also realized how TRUE the church is, and must be, if it continues to roll forth and fulfill prophecy despite the foibles of its human workers.  For this reason, I really loved this talk by Elder Clayton.  It reminded and reinforced that lesson I learned:  The Church is true.  It will continue to flourish and grow and prosper, and no human hand– either inside or outside of the church– can keep it from fulfilling its destiny.

The Time Shall Come by Elder L. Whitney Clayton

“This work of the Lord is indeed great and marvelous, but it moves forward essentially unnoticed by many of mankind’s political, cultural, and academic leaders. It progresses one heart and one family at a time, silently and unobtrusively, its sacred message blessing people everywhere.”

What did you like or learn from this talk?  Please share your insights in the comments.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Kim

Is it still Friday?  Ack, I’m sorry to be so slow to get this posted.  I was away from my computer today and wasn’t able to get enough signal on my “smart” phone to get this post up and running.  Luckily, Kim is family, so she’ll have to forgive me.

Kim is really great person, and someone I’m happy to introduce you to.  She has a lot of amazing skills and talents, most of which fall into categories of things I’m really not good at, so that makes me really admire what she’s able to accomplish.  Anyway, I’ll let her tell you more about herself.  Meet Kim:

Introduction

Hello my name is Kim.  I’m 32 years old.  I’ve been married almost 12 years now…and Stephanie has known my husband longer than I have because they are cousins.  Does that make us cousins-in-law?!  Anyways, we have 3 beautiful little girls: Kaiya- age 8 (shy & reserved), Emiko- age 5 (loud & dramatic), and Mina- age 3 (stubborn & independent).  We have been living overseas in Perth, Australia since January 2010.  Being overseas is a great, unique experience- I highly recommend it!  It makes me so much more appreciative of the freedom & luxuries of America…I really miss college football, drive-thru banking, garbage disposals, thick milkshakes…but I digress.

I lived in Pennsylvania, Washington, and Virginia growing up.  I’m the oldest of 4 kids- 2 girls, 2 boys.  I went to school at BYU and after changing my major several times finally settled on social work.  After graduating with my master’s degree I worked for 4 years as a clinical social worker in a local mental health agency- doing individual, group, couple/family therapy.  It was a tough job.  I loved it.  After my husband graduated law school we moved to Houston.  (I miss Texas.)  By then I had just given birth to our 2nd baby and I was ready to start my journey as a stay-at-home mom.  It’s a tough job.  I love it.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

Yikes, I really don’t have a favorite part- I love it all.  My youngest had a bout of diarrhea this week and when she couldn’t make it to the toilet in time…well, I ended up in the shower with her scrubbing it all off.  Obviously I was thinking “ugh this is disgusting- breathe through the mouth.”  And then I remember thinking, “isn’t it amazing how much I love this little girl that I’m willing to do this?!”  I love the unconditional love I have for my children (does that make sense?)- through the good times and the crappy (literally) times…the love doesn’t ever change.

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

If you would’ve asked me this even just a few months ago I would have said potty training.  Cleaning up after accidents, cleaning poop out of the little potty- it’s disgusting and I hate it.  But now that my youngest is toilet trained…definitely the cooking!  I hate cooking.  But someone has to feed the kids (my hubby can fend for himself) and so I cook.  Don’t worry I let the hubby eat too.  Believe me, I’ve tried to cooking.  I mean, I love eating…and you would think that translate into a love of cooking.  No.  It doesn’t.

Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.” 

Live somewhere in the UK or Europe, swim with whalesharks, learn to play another instrument (I already play the piano), and go on an African safari with my family.

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

I’m pretty smart.  I was the BYU School of Social Work valedictorian the year I graduated with my bachelor degree.  Then I graduated w/my master’s degree at age 22 with a 4.0 GPA.  I’m also friendly and outgoing.  We have friends over often and invite new families over for dinner several times a month.  Since moving to our current ward, I’ve made a conscious effort to invite every new family over to our home to welcome them.  Oh, and I’m really good at celebrating non-holidays…like National Frozen Food Day, National Root Beer Float Day, half-birthdays, un-birthdays, and our made up family holiday- Dibb Saltwater Crocodile Day.

What are you loving lately?

Aussie beaches.  Aboriginal art.  Designer fabric.  The Kindle app.  America.

Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson (Nelson Mandela also used this quote in his inaugural speech)

I love it- it’s so powerful.  It reminds me of my infinite worth & that I have a great work to accomplish on this earth.

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

Reading.  Sewing.  Crocheting.   I realize this makes me appear nerdy…or grandma-ish.  Oh well.  It can’t be helped.

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).

When your kids are going through that “why” stage- asking all of those questions that you don’t have an answer to- I find that replying “because Heavenly Father made it that way” works really well.

What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?

I greatly dislike when people are late…especially when I’m normally on time.

Friends are great for venting.  What’s been frustrating you lately?

Moths.  Seriously.  They have invaded my bedroom.  We (when I say we, I mean my husband) killed 7 just the other night.  I realize moths are harmless but I swear these guys have superhero strength.  We flushed one down the toilet and it swam back up and I found it flying around my toilet when I lifted the toilet seat up a few minutes later.  They always start flying around when I’m about to fall asleep (are moths nocturnal?) and b/c these moths are big I can easily hear them buzzing around, running into my walls (they’re strong, but still stupid).  Anyways, I want these moths gone.  Gone, I say!

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

I know that my Heavenly Father knows me and is mindful of my needs/wants.  It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, if it’s important to me then it’s important to Him…and He will always be there. I also have a strong testimony of families- we have families so that we can support one another.  Lately when someone in our family has been struggling we’ve made an effort to pray as a family for that person.  It is amazing how unified our family has become just by simply praying for each other.

Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal?

Probably food I crave that I can’t find here: a yummy bagel w/cream cheese or a Tex-mex meal washed down with some diet root beer…then Samoa Girl Scout cookies for dessert.

Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.

Newlywed: The adage “don’t go to bed angry” is hogwash.  I think the later you stay up arguing, the more likely you are to say things you’ll regret b/c your brain is turning to mush from lack of sleep.  Most of the time I go to bed angry I wake up the next morning realizing it’s really not that big of a deal and we can work out a solution really quickly.  And sometimes I wake up not even remembering why I was mad (yeah, this happens more than I’d like to admit).

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?

Moving to Australia was very unexpected.  I’m generally an optimistic person but I got into quite a funk the first 6 months of living in Australia.  I wasn’t depressed but was more in that feeling-sorry-for-myself mood.  I won’t go into all the details of why…but my husband finally pointed out that I was focusing on all of the bad things about living in Australia rather than the good.  I had to choose to look for the good. So with a little help from Heavenly Father and an attitude adjustment I finally started enjoying life here.

Tell us about your blog.

I have 2 blogs.  The first one is my family blog so that friends/family can see what we’ve been up to down under.  www.dibbsdownunder.blogspot.com

The other one is my random, crafty blog.  I’m embarrassed to admit this blog is rather neglected at times.  www.igotdibbs.blogspot.com

 

Hooray, Kim!  Thank you.  I really hope my family (at least Matt and I) can come visit you soon.

Please visit Kim’s blog or give her a quick hello in the comments here. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Can of Worms: A Mormon Woman’s View on Womanhood

Occasionally, I wake up in the middle of the night with something in my head that my brain starts blogging about.  After I mental draft for 30 minutes or so, I give in, get up, and get on the computer.  So, it’s 4:18 a.m., and you’ve been warned.  :)

Facts:  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The church has been spotlighted quite a bit in the media lately.  Such attention leads to a lot of online “chatter,” including long comment threads on national media sites.  Even though my better judgment tells me not to read those threads because they are crawling with trolls, I sometimes do, and good grief, people are ignorant.

Anyway, people sometimes use these forums to voice their concerns about “Mormons” and what they believe.  An informal calculation in my head tells me that about 75% of these critics are just dead wrong, and about 25% almost have it right, but they’ve severely misunderstood some point of our doctrine.  Simply stated, they are simultaneously misinformed and sure they’re not.  It’s frustrating.

One of the common threads I’ve seen running through these “discussions” is that Mormons are oppressive to certain populations (women, blacks, homosexuals, etc…).  All of these claims make my brain rattle and I want to yell at the universe, “Come on!  Have you ever met a Mormon?  Have you been to a worship service?  Or watched a faithful Mormon family in action?  Or read our scriptures (including the Bible)?  It would not take long at all to figure out that those claims are preposterous!!!”  But, you know how the universe ignores all that fist shaking and pointless yelling, so here I am venting on my blog.  I could not even pretend to tackle all those “issues,” but I’ve just got to address the women one.  I probably won’t do it justice (and frankly, internet trolls scare me to death), but it is with a small dose of trepidation and a large dose of fire in my bones that I must express what womanhood means to me, and what I believe it means to my church, and in short:  to God.

Let’s start with an anecdote, shall we?  Approximately one hour ago, my daughter woke me up to tell me she peed in her bed.  Her sheets were wet, her clothes were wet, and she was cold.  I helped her change out of her clothes, washed her body with a warm washcloth, stripped the sheets, started the laundry, and tucked her into a new bed.  She asked me to wrap her in the blankets “like a burrito,” and I did.  I kissed her on the head, she snuggled down into the mattress, smiled, and said “good night.”  As I walked out of the room, I turned off all the lights, and in the dark journey back to my bed, I was given some thoughts.  (Sometimes thoughts are given, not just thought.)  I reflected on Continue reading