You’re not as boring as you think.

woman-book

Everyone has a story.

Everyone.

And the longer I live, the more I realize that those stories are fascinating. Yep. All of them. I went through a phase when I loved watching TV shows like StoryTrek, Who Do You Think You Are?, and The Generations Project because it turns out that regular, run-of-the-mill people like you and like me have stories inside of them that make me awe, wonder, cry, and think. Why aren’t we all telling more of our own stories? One of the reasons I blog is because someday when my children are grown and have children of their own, I want them to know the real me. I know a blog is selective and doesn’t reflect every aspect of my life, but I try hard to keep it real, and if nothing else, I have recorded some stories.  I hope those stories will make them feel close to me and maybe even learn a few life lessons.

This spring, I am participating in a conference that is all about telling, finding, and recording real stories– your own and your ancestors’. I’m even teaching a class about “Recording Life Authentically,” but that’s only one of many, many workshops and resources available to help you learn how to write your own life story, do genealogy, discover the stories of generations past, and use all the cool technology that’s available to fuel and find our stories.

I think you should come.

Here are the details: March 21-23 in Salt Lake City at the Salt Palace Events Center.  (If you’re old like me, you used to go to Jazz games there.)  Guess what organizations are involved? Well, it was originally called the Story @ Home conference, a team effort with Cherish Bound and FamilySearch, and that conference has a specific track for bloggers. THEN, they merged with RootsTech conference, which is sponsored by a few organizations you might be familiar with: BYU, Ancestry.com, and National Genealogical Society to name a few. Basically, it’s going to be big and awesome.

slpalace

Go here to learn a lot more about it and to get pricing. There are options as low as $19/day, with full-conference passes ranging from $39 to $149, depending on how much of the conference offerings you want access to. Notice that there’s a full-conference Story@Home track available (which includes the blogging classes) for $79.

For any of you photographer types–amateur or otherwise– check out this Instagram contest:

Prize: Full-conference Story@Home pass ($79 value)
Dates: February 20th-24th
 
To participate in the contest:
  • Snap a picture you think tells a story. Examples include family, friends, places, events, mementos–anything that has meaning for you.
  • Upload the photo to Instagram and share with us what story your photo tells. Include the hashtags #tellyourstory and #storyathome.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on the Story@Home Facebook page Monday, February 25th. “Like” the Story@Home Facebook page to find out if you’ve won.

So, listen. You have a story. And it’s a lot more interesting than you think it is. Come learn how to tell it and record it and save it so that someday, your stories will be alive even when you’re not. Your children and grandchildren will love that. I promise.

So… Whatcha doin’ in February?

I will be speaking at the Story@Home conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 1-2. I’m sorry I didn’t post about this sooner. You will have the chance to register for quite a while, but today is actually the last day for early-bird (discounted) registration.  What is the conference, you ask? It is co-hosted by FamilySearch and Cherish Bound, and here’s what it’s about:

No matter how you tell your stories – through your family history, at your child’s bedside, on your blog, or from a stage – your stories matter. Join us for a conference that will change the way you see your stories and the world, and help you connect in new ways with those you cherish most.

Workshops and performances by award-winning storytellers, performers, and speakers will help you explore ways to use the power of story in your home. You’ll be able to record your own story, start on some research to learn more about your family’s history, get started on a blog and learn how to tell your story through social media.

I’d love to have you join us. I will be teaching a workshop called “Recording Life Authentically,” plus I have two other friends speaking there who I know are phenomenal teachers… so I’m saying I can promise quality.  Here is the website for more information and registration. If you think you’re interested, jump on it today for the discount. :)
p.s. Happy Halloween.  May the force be with you.

Need to get out more?

Personally, I go back and forth between needing to get out more and wondering if we should go in public less.

But that’s not the point of this post.

I just wanted to remind you of a really cool, legitimate reason to get out and mingle with, you know, adults.

All of my grandparents have passed away.  (I know it seems like I just abruptly changed subjects, but stick with me.)  I have a book about their lives that was written from memories of their children– my dad and his siblings.  I am amazed by their lives, but there’s one part that always makes me get a little choked up when I read about it.  My grandparents had nine children and not a lot of money.  I bet it was a hard living, and it must have been, because at one point my grandma had what was called at the time a “nervous breakdown.”  She was temporarily institutionalized and received the modern treatments that were acceptable then, like electro-shock therapy.  (Have you seen A Beautiful Mind? The thought makes me shiver.)  No one knows much about what that was like for her.  She returned home and resumed all her responsibilities and life went on.  I knew her as a loving, talented, spunky grandmother that made great pies and good hugs.  I loved her and I miss her.

And now here I am, two generations later, raising three little children of my own in the suburbs.  And some days I feel like I might “lose it” too.  The noise, the to-do lists, the finances, the responsibilities, the laundry, the cooking, the carpooling, the [fill in the blank with etceteras… you know what I’m talking about].  I think of her often and how much better I have it than she did, and I wish, just wish I knew more about her real feelings and what life was like for her as a young and inexperienced mother.  How did she make it past those dark moments and just move forward and become so . . . majestic and wonderful?

And in part, my friends, that’s the reason I blog.  I hope that by writing down my stories, my own truth, that someday my daughters or granddaughters will read it and sigh.  Sigh for relief, sigh for camaraderie, sigh for hope.  You know, feel a connection that gives them strength.  I really believe that stories have that kind of power.

So. (Tangent complete.)

There’s this conference coming up that celebrates the power of story.  Even simple stories, like the day-in-day-out details of our families and our ideas and our feelings.  Like our BLOGS.

It’s called the Story @ Home Conference, co-sponsored by FamilySearch, Cherish Bound, and the Casual Blogger Community. The conference is March 9-10, 2012 at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  Two days of workshops, lectures, and entertainment, all about telling your stories, tracing and creating your family history, and all the wonderful technologies available to make it easy and fun.  And the December discount package is still available!  Some people I know and admire will be presenting there, so I know it will be worthwhile. Check out the website, and make yourself a date to get out of the house and learn more about telling your own story.

Facebook link
Conference link
Conference registration link

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’.