General Conference Book Club Week 24!!!: President Uctdorf

First of all, Hooray!  This is the very last talk in our General Conference Book Club review of all the General Conference talks from the April 2009 General Conference.  I don’t have a good feel for how many of you actually stuck out the whole thing, but thanks to many of you for your intermittent comments and encouragement.  Regardless, I’m quite proud of studying each of the talks, and I’m excited that the October General Conference is just around the corner.  I plan to continue this book club because it helped me to meet a goal of re-reading every one of the talks and trying to make personal and family applications from their messages.  I hope some of you will join me for round two.

04_01_uchtdSo this last GCBC talk was given by President Dieter F. Uctdorf as the very first talk of the Sunday morning session.  It is called “The Way of the Disciple.”  I’m looking forward to it because I used to really like the talks that Elder Neal A. Maxwell would give about the commitments of Christian discipleship, and I’m interested to study President Uctdorf’s take on this same topic.

I was recently made aware of this new video where President Uctdorf testifies of the power of hope.  If you haven’t seen it before, I think you’ll find it really powerful.

Have a great week.  Next weekend is the General Relief Society Broadcast.  I will post a few ideas about preparing for General Conference and how to help our children get the most out of it.  (It’s super easy to participate in GCBC.  Click here to see how it’s worked in the past and join us in a couple weeks when we start all over again.)

This is the part where you’re supposed to validate me.

Seriously.  I need to know if I’m alone in this.

Girl Talk

Do you ever…

  1. Get half way through your shower and can’t remember if you already washed your hair or not?  Or wash your hair and then not remember if you used shampoo or Summer’s Eve?
  2. Spend 50% of your budget in the first two days after payday?  Because you’ve been showing spending restraint for ten whole days and just. can’t. hold. back. any. longer.
  3. Buy something you know is nasty for your kids (like Spaghettios) just in the hopes that they might like it and you will have one more less-than-a-dollar and less-than-two-minutes-to-fix item to add to your list of lunch possibilities?
  4. Stock up on clearance items that are two sizes too big for your kids even though you know it will make your budget tight this month, but you convince yourself it will save you a lot of money in the Spring of 2011?
  5. Have more pajamas and lounge pants than “real” pants?
  6. Carry on imaginary conversations in your mind with people that you don’t even know?
  7. Secretly wish that all your ex-boyfriends had a blog so you could pop in occasionally to remind yourself how lucky you are (and make sure that you’re cuter and more clever than their wife)?
  8. Buy something that is obviously unhealthy (like a small package of Lindt milk chocolate truffles, hypothetically speaking) and eat all of it all at once so you can just throw away the wrapper(s) and eliminate all evidence that you purchased/ate it?
  9. Ignore your children while they ask something over and over and over again because you hope they’ll just give up and think about something else?  (Admittedly, not very nice.)
  10. Just look at your husband, your children and your life, and think “HOW did I get this blessed?”

Because I do.  And I was just wondering if that was normal.

Small victory: Power to the people!

I empowered myself today at the checkout of the grocery store.  I had Clark and Natalie with me and as we checked out, this lovely piece of literature was right at the level of my waist (in other words, right at Clark’s eye level).

cos_cvr-lg

I edited it for you a little.  You’re welcome. Then the same thing happened that always happens:  I got annoyed.  Then I remembered DeNae and how she became like a Las Vegas Lysol wipe.  (Put that on your resume, DeNae.)  I also thought that since I’m spending so much time on this Protecting Innocence Project*, I’d better walk the walk.  So I asked the lady at the checkout to call over the manager.

I introduced myself and then said, “I shop here a lot, but I have a concern.  Some of these magazine covers are inappropriate.  You can see that they are right here at my son’s eye level.  And he can read.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had a five-year-old, but I think you’d agree that this (pointing right at the headlines) isn’t something he needs to see.  What I would like is for them to be moved out of a child’s line of vision like the tobacco products or covered up.  I’m just asking for a little discernment about what is placed at a child’s eye level.”

He nodded in agreement because, really, you don’t have to be a preacher to know that “BAD GIRL es-ee-ex” (I’m trying to avoid the wrong kind of Google hits) is not a headline for a kindergartener.  He agreed that they would cover up all of their Cosmopolitan magazines with a black shield.  It just so happened that the magazine rep/distributor was there and he called her over and asked her to please cover them up every time she restocks the racks.  And that was it.  I thanked him, gathered up my groceries and my imaginary weapons of motherhood, and we were on our way.

It was that simple.

So arm yourselves, moms.  It’s not nearly as hard or as embarrassing as we think it might be.  The checkout lady said to me, “I’m sixty-nine years old and even I think it’s raunchy.”

And if the manager blows you off, get an address for whomever he reports to, and mail a letter like Captain DeNae did.  Fight on, sisters, fight on!

*The Protecting Innocence Project is getting closer and closer to launch.  Check out this draft of one of the logos (we’ve altered the shield a little to make it more obvious.)

ProtectingInnocence_logo

When it’s all up and ready, I really hope you’ll help me publicize it because it’s going to ROCK.  Think form letters and contact information to make it easy for moms to complain, alert forums where we can get more voices to speak out against offensive material, tons of research, resources and links to organizations that promote the cause of protecting children from inappropriate media.  I’m telling you, the devil is NOT going to like this site.  🙂

Why I cried three times today, or how a two-year-old can set the universe right again.

Today has been a hard day.  I lost my wallet, again.  I spent most of the morning looking for it.  My house shows no remaining evidence of the thorough cleaning it received a mere three days ago.  I’ve also been struggling with a silly issue where I’m trying to accomplish something that I know is right, but I’ve felt a lot of opposition and frustration.  That’s been heavy on my mind for the past several days, with my asking myself “Why?” a lot.

I called Matt at work for my daily “hey, have you seen this item I lost?” call, and he even walked out to his car to see if my wallet was there.  No luck.  I felt discouraged, like maybe nothing’s going like it should.  Maybe I just don’t have it together.  Matt suggested to have the kids pray about it (their prayers always help) and he would too.  The boys were at school, so I hung up the phone and looked at little Natalie sitting on the floor playing with her button book.

“Natalie, can you say a prayer for me to help me find my wallet?”

She just kind of looked at me, and then went back to her book.  I turned my head and stared out the living room window.   Feelings of discouragement started to pile up and I felt myself on the verge of tears.  I don’t cry very often, so I just kind of swallowed the feeling and tried to control my emotions.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Natalie looking up at me from the floor.  She closed her book, climbed up the couch on to my lap, and hugged me.  Hard.  The tears slid quickly down my cheeks.  After a couple minutes, she looked at me and said, “Why are your eyes wet?”

I told her I was a little bit sad because I couldn’t find my wallet, and …

She hopped down, walked over to a chair, climbed up into it and looked at me.

“Where is Heavenly Father?”

“Where is he?  He’s in Heaven?”

“Can we see him?”

“No, we can’t see him right now, but he can see us.”

“How can he see us?”

“Well, because he knows everything.”

“Does he have a telescope?”

“Maybe he does.  I don’t know.”

“Maybe he has a periscope.”

“Maybe.”

Something about her words made me remember that despite all His wonder, He watches us individually.  And I remembered a devotional I attended once where the speaker, who I knew personally and admired,  said this:

“I testify that he who will bring about the universal restoration of all things also brings to pass those intimate restorations that heal our wounds, cleanse our sins, and fulfill divine promises.”

I went into the kitchen to get Natalie’s milk ready for her nap, and while I did, a thought came to my mind.  I went and looked, and I immediately found my wallet.  Tears came back as I realized that this was a testimony that God was mindful of me and my simple problems.

I walked down the hall to tuck Natalie in, and she asked me to read her Llama llama red pajama, one of her favorite stories.

llama

It’s about baby llama who goes to bed at night and waits for his mom to bring him a drink.  As he waits and waits, he gets scared, then frustrated, then angry, and cries out frantically to his mother.  I’ve read the book probably a hundred times before, but today I felt like it was a parable for me and my Heavenly Father.  So, the tears ran down my face (again!) as I read this page:

Little Llama, don’t you know, Mama Llama loves you so?

Mama Llama’s always near, even if she not right here.

So, yeah, I cried three times today.  I also got a hug, an answer to prayer, and a little insight that maybe, just maybe, Heavenly Father does have a periscope.

General Conference Book Club Week 23: Elder Pino

02_07_pinoElder Rafael E. Pino gave a talk at the Saturday afternoon session of conference entitled “Faith in Adversity.”  Don’t you think it’s interesting that so many talks at the last conference focused on adversity?  I wonder if there is an increase in adversity?  Or a decrease in our resolve to resist it?  Or a general misunderstanding of the purpose of adversity?  Or a lot more on the way?  Or all of the above?

Whatever the case, I’m sure it’s no accident that the Lord chose to speak to His people quite extensively about adversity.  As I skimmed this talk, this is the phrase (where he quotes President Hunter) that stood out to me as a testimony of my need for patience and an eternal perspective:

“If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong.”

Only one talk left.  And then we get the blessing of starting again.

(Click here for a description of the General Conference Book Club.)