General Conference Book Club Week 19: Elder Scott and President Packer

To ensure we get through all the talks before the next General Conference (which, by the way, is in SEVEN weeks!), I decided to double up some of the messages.  These two seemed like a good pairing to study together, with a common theme of receiving spiritual answers and direction.

Elder Richard G. Scott gave a talk in the Saturday morning session called To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” where he teaches that guidance will be gained “by careful practice, through the application of correct principles, and by being sensitive to the feelings that come.”

In President Boyd K. Packer’s talk from the Saturday afternoon session, Prayer and Promptings,” he asserts that both these communications are still available to all of God’s children.  He says, “You can know the things you need to know. Pray that you will learn to receive that inspiration and remain worthy to receive it.”

I’m looking forward to studying the two talks together and finding the common threads.  Simply the fact that two talks on a very similar topic were given in Conference on the same day is an alert that it was a principle worth addressing.  What do you think the “action items” for these talks are?  What are these brethren both trying to encourage us to do more/do better?

You can find both the audio and video versions of these talks here.

Motherhood Mad Libs

Let’s play a little game, shall we?

Just respond in the comments below, and come next week, your words will weave a hilarious story.

Ready, set, go.

  1. adjective
  2. adjective
  3. adverb
  4. number
  5. thing
  6. 3 food items/ingredients
  7. verb
  8. animal (plural)
  9. 3 verbs
  10. adverb
  11. adjective
  12. verb
  13. number
  14. Interjection/Exclamation
  15. adjective
  16. plural noun

(Here’s a cheat sheet if you’ve forgotten all your grammar terms.)

Lazy eye

I’m no vision expert, but I believe a lazy eye is when one eye is misaligned, doesn’t focus simultaneously with the other eye, and loses its ability to see details.  It’s an analogy for how I’ve felt ever since I got back from our vacation.  February here is quite bleak, especially compared with Florida.  Part of me knows exactly what I should be doing around the house and in pursuit of my own personal goals.  Another part of me– the lazy eye– just doesn’t feel like it, and would rather do lots of other non-productive, low-effort things.

My back yard has looked a whole lot like this the last week or so:

And all I want to do is sit by this:

And watch or read this:

I KNOW I should do this (except with more clothes on):

and a lot more of this kind of stuff:

But I’ve felt so lazy, and I’ve been allowing myself to become distracted.  It’s easy to be distracted– sometimes by my own cares and moods, sometimes by lesser things.   But it’s a yucky feeling because I can do so much better, and it’s much easier when I’m consistent about doing the things that inspire me.  So, I’m recommitting myself to this (fast forward video to about 5:30 for the most applicable points):

So, yeah, February kind of bites, but I’m powerful.  God has asked me for “an eye single to His glory,” and when I focus on what matters most, especially with BOTH eyes, He makes me fit for whatever life requires of me.  Anybody else out there struggling with focus right now?  Let’s reclaim our wandering eye together.  I declare today the last day of my funk.

Late-night brain argument

I came home late tonight from a meeting at the boys’ school and everyone in the house was asleep except for Natalie, who was wandering around the house by herself.  (No comment.)  I gave her her medicine and tucked her in, jumped online to renew some library books and shoot off a few overdue emails, switched over a load of laundry, and went back upstairs to see if there was any dinner left.  I stared at the pile of dishes in and around my sink.  I groaned. This is the conversation that happened in my head:

I should probably clean these dishes.

(Rolling eyes.)  I’m too tired.

But if I don’t do it, I’ll start out the day with things already undone.

I put away all the perishable food; that’s good enough.

It still looks like a mess though, and it will only get worse tomorrow when the kids get up.  Look how quickly everything went downhill just today.

Sigh.  I KNOW, but I really just don’t want to.  Oh good, Matt cleared the table.

Man, I’ve got to get on top of this stuff.  How can I have the Spirit in the home if I can’t keep it clean?

Let it go.  You don’t need the Spirit in the kitchen sink.

So I decided to write a blog post and go to bed instead.

(Despite the color coding, I’m still not absolutely sure which one was the angel and which was the devil.  It’s debatable.)

General Conference Book Club Week 18: Elder Perry

Today in Sunday School, we talked about Noah, and how people lacked the faith to act on prophetic advice that would prepare them for dangers that were coming, dangers that they could not see nor anticipate.  The teacher made an analogy about his high school football days when the coach would have them watch game film of their upcoming opponent to prepare them to compete against them.  I thought about the analogy for a while and raised my hand (I’m one of those really annoying can’t-keep-my-mouth-shut kind of Sunday School participants):  “The game film is actually much like the scriptures.  It shows us patterns from the past and gives us the examples of what works and what does not.  A living prophet, then, would be like if the coach watched a film of what WILL happen and explains to the team exactly what should be practiced and prepared in order to meet the opponent and all that will occur.”  And I mentioned this talk that I only vaguely remembered, but now I want to study.

The talk is “The Past Way of Facing the Future” by Elder L. Tom Perry, from the Sunday morning session of the October 2009 conference.  He said, “The lessons of the past . . . prepare us to face the challenges of the future.” Upon reviewing the talk, it wasn’t quite what I had remembered, but he relates some specific accounts from the lives of pioneers and other historical events, and then harvests important lessons from them that we should learn and remember.  And as living apostle, sustained as a seer, he must speak of principles pertinent to our future.

You can read the talk herelisten to it here, or watch it here.  Visit here to learn more about General Conference Book Club.

Referring back to Noah, what things to you find in Elder Perry’s talk that would help us to build our own arks or be protected from the coming floods or calamities?

Triple Scoop

Three delectable bite-sized posts.  Well, kind of bite-sized.  If you have a big appetite.

1. I may be solely responsible for the superbacteria phenomenon.

Many of you think I am organized.  After all, I have all those charts and schedules and semi-compulsive planning habits.  I don’t know how to break this softly, but they are an illusion.  A mirage.  I have and do all those things BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A BRAIN.  I’m forgetful, scatterbrained, often unfocused and usually off-schedule.

SO. I am entirely incapable of following the instructions on the prescription bottles.  When the paperwork says, “Administer this antibiotic twice a day for ten days and MAKE SURE YOU FINISH THE WHOLE TEN DAYS or you shall be thrown into a pit of lions who have communicable diseases,”  it might as well say, “Every time you give this medicine, make sure you catch two electric eels and harvest their organs.”  It’s THAT hard.  I forget at least one dose a day.  Then after about 4 or 5 days, when the kid is better, I forget they’re even supposed to take it.  Then I remember a couple days later and give them one or two doses that should hold them over until I remember again.  (Just last week, I took all but 5 Amoxicillan pills for my own strep throat.  Then I forgot to pack them for my Disney trip. So about 10 days later when I could feel a sinus infection coming on, I started retaking my last five pills.  Now they’re gone.)  I KNOW.  I totally agree there’s something wrong with me, and that is why I’m apologizing for making the world unresponsive to antibiotics by using them incorrectly.  (As a side note to calm any rage you might be feeling –especially if you have a medical background– I looked up some multi-alarm timers online yesterday that old people use to help them remember to take their pills.  Yes, it’s come to that.)

2. What did you call me?

I have never been a terms-of-endearment girl.  Even as a wide-eyed single adult, I hated hearing couples calling each other “sweetie” and “honey” and don’t even get me started on names like “peaches” or things that end in “-poo”.  Seriously?  I’ve softened up over the years and use some of these with my children, especially the -poo ones if I really want to get their eyes rolling.  But Matt has always been Matt.  And I’ve always been Steph.  And I’m TOTALLY fine with that.  However, lately –and I don’t know if this has to do with his new light-hearted look on life since he graduated from law school– he’s started calling me “Momma,” or “Mama,” but really does the spelling matter?  Um, what?  Since most of my readers are women, I don’t really need to get into why this might be an unwanted nickname.  So, I gently broke him the news the other night when he said something like, “Hey, Momma, you wanna bring up my cell phone charger when you come upstairs?”

I tried to make him understand that his little pet name made me feel like this:


So he wants to know what he should call me.  I guess Steph is getting old.  I told him I’d blog about it and ask my wise readers.  If you suggest anything with -poo in it, you’re henceforth banned from my blog.

3. P90X and the family effect

After 3 1/2 years of work by day and law school by night, Matt put on a few pounds.  Now he’s determined to get them off and bought that P90X system, which is an intense 90-day workout plan accompanied by nutritional advice.  So in an effort to be supportive, I went and bought all the ridiculous groceries on his list (soy sausage patties?  Really?) and we’re all trying to eat more healthy.  One night we had chicken breast with honey chile sauce and mixed vegetables.  Last night was island pork tenderloin with baked asparagus.  Well, I think the whole program will have quite a transformation in our family since our children won’t eat ANY of it.  I think P90X should use this picture on their next before-and-after ad.  What do you think?



The problem with princesses

Natalie put on her leotard and admired her ballerina self in the mirror.  She twisted a little to watch the fancy sway of her sheer skirt.  She looked at the flower barette in her hair and grinned at herself.  I saw her grab her sleeves and tug on them.  First one side, then the other.  She was trying to make the neckline stretch out over her shoulders.  She would uncover one side and the other side would snap back into place, so she tried with both hands to make the neckline wider and more revealing.

“What are you doing?,” I asked.  She shrugged.

Then a lightbulb went off. “Are you trying to look like Belle?”

Natalie smiled and nodded, a little embarrassed that I had discovered her thoughts.

“Oh,” I said, understandingly, “Belle is very pretty, isn’t she?  But Belle’s dress is not very modest.  We know we shouldn’t show our bodies, right?”

She nodded yes, remembering and understanding, and pulled her cute little sleeves back into place.  After admiring herself for another few seconds, she pranced off to play.  I was surprised by how impressionable these little ones are, in ways I hadn’t quite expected.  Just a few days ago, I thought this was adorable:

Now I’m feeling a tiny bit cautious.

Ezra Taft Benson said to young women around the world:

“Remember who you really are and the divine heritage that is yours. You are literally the royal daughters of our Heavenly Father. . . . You have been born at this time for a sacred and glorious purpose. It is not by chance that you have been reserved to come to earth in this last dispensation of the fulness of times. Your birth at this particular time was foreordained in the eternities. You are to be royal daughters of the Lord in the last days. You are the youth of the noble birthright.”

Silva H. Allred gave these great reminders:

The Lord has commanded us to teach our children important truths, and teaching modesty and virtue is one of our most vital responsibilities.

Some of the important concepts we should highlight in our teaching include the following:

  • You are a child of God.
  • Your body is a temple. It is a gift from God.
  • Modesty in dress, thought, attitude, and behavior invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost and reflects your personal commitment to the gospel.
  • The way you dress and behave sends messages to others about your attitudes and how you feel about yourself.
  • You can be attractive without being immodest.

As parents, we need to speak frankly about these natural tendencies but also about the importance and value of self-discipline that Heavenly Father requires us to learn as we overcome the “natural man” (see Mosiah 3:19). In this case, that refers to dressing and acting in a modest manner.

I realize that the infraction is small, but it got me thinking.  I just wish that, even in the cartoon world, princesses understood that with royalty comes responsibility.