General Conference Book Club Week 24: Bishop Burton

Two more weeks until Conference and I’m almost this excited.

Almost.

This week we will study the talk “Let Virtue Garnish Your Thoughts” by Presiding Bishop H. David Burton.  He spoke during the Sunday morning session and highlighted a list of characteristics that he called the “-ity” virtues.

“Virtuous traits form the foundation of a Christian life and are the outward manifestation of the inner man. The spelling in English of many individual virtues concludes with the letters ity: integrity, humility, charity, spirituality, accountability, civility, fidelity, and the list goes on and on.”

If virtues are lost, families will be measurably weakened, individual faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will soften, and important eternal relationships may be jeopardized.”

Share your favorite parts and insights in the comments.  You can go here to find the links to watch or listen to this talk.  And here you will find more information about the GCBC– We’ll start over again in a couple weeks and would love to have you join us.

Open mouth, insert cork (to keep the foot out).

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing a tempting moment.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

I sometimes think I’m kind of funny.  In fact, I’ve long thought my wit was one of my more attractive qualities.  I can make a quick, snappy comeback to most situations and usually elicit some laughter.  I hate fighting and contention, but I love clever banter.  In fact, I often use humor as a way to diffuse a potentially volatile environment.  This will make sense to any Austen fans out there, but one of the reasons I love Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice is her gift for smart and funny conversation, like the time when she and Jane are both lamenting her single status right after Jane and Mr. Bingley became engaged:

Jane Bennet: Oh, Lizzie, if I could but see you happy. If there were such another man for you.
Elizabeth Bennet: Perhaps Mr. Collins has a cousin.

I love that kind of laughing away an awkward situation.  There’s obviously a place for humor:

“Find happiness in ordinary things, and keep your sense of humor.”  ~ President Boyd K. Packer

“There is certainly no defence against adverse fortune which is, on the whole, so effectual as an habitual sense of humor.”~ Thomas Wentworth Storrow Higginson, quoted by President James E. Faust

However, in the last couple weeks my “humor” has made a couple of bad situations worse.  My attempts to make a witty comment left some people offended, and upon reflection, in both cases I realize they thought I was making light of their struggle.  So, I’ve been eating a little humble pie Continue reading

Any basketball fans out there?

I’ve always loved March because I’m a basketball fan, and college basketball is the best of all.

The first time I ever did a March Madness (NCAA tournament) challenge was with my older cousin Todd and all his roommates and buddies.  I was 19 and they were all returned missionaries.  They each put some money in the pot and the winner took all.  Boy, were they embarrassed when they all got beat by a GIRL.

I remember sneaking out of my Latin American History class in March to run home and watch some of the Final Four games.  I even left all my books and papers and backpack at my desk to make it “look” like I was just running to the bathroom or something, but I really went off campus all the way over to a friend’s apartment to watch the game and then went back later to recover my items.

I love to challenge friends to make bracket picks, and I’m competitive about it.  It’s fun. I love it.  Especially if I win.  And even though I don’t watch any of the regular season games anymore (Children seriously altered my TV watching habits), I still love to make tournament picks and watch the March Madness tournament games as much as I can.

So, anybody want to play along?  The NCAA brackets were all just announced and the first round of games starts on Thursday.  I created a group at CBS Sports.com called Cyber Moms.  Go in and make your picks.  Trust me, it’s fun, even if you have no idea who the teams are.  I’ll come up with some awesome prize for the winner.  (Let’s be honest, it will probably be chocolate and some of my favorite books, but I’ll try to spice it up a little.)

Go to this link, create your own user name and make your bracket picks.  You’ll automatically be a part of the CyberMoms group.  The password is momsrule.  C’mon, it’ll be a blast!!  I’ll try really hard not to trash talk anyone.  Please?

(Matt, you’re invited, too, of course!  And my brother, and anyone else who wants to play along even if you’re not a mommy blogger.)

Budgets and other things that make me want to throw bricks

Goals are good things because they help you measure success.  They also help you measure failure.

I logged onto my bank account this weekend and I saw that I had earned $4.12 interest in my savings account.

For the entire year of 2009.

*banging head on computer desk*

We have maintained a very strict budget for several years.  In fact, it’s so tight, it’s almost impossible to comply with, but the striving for it keeps us much closer to our goals.  If I could only list the many areas in which I feel we have measured great restraint (would you like to see my wardrobe? or our dinner menus the last week of the month?), and yet . . .

Sigh.

The good news is, we’ve managed to steer clear of consumer debt (and pay off any minor lapses in judgment before falling prey to interest and fees) and always pay our bills.

The bad news is . . . well, we’re not rich.  And I’m ticked.

I just wrote that because that’s how I feel sometimes, and writing it out makes me realize how stupid it is.  My version of “rich” is this:  to have money piled up in savings so whenever I really want to buy something (or travel somewhere— that’s usually the big one for me), there are funds just sitting there waiting to be used.  And I’m not kidding when I say that there are about eleventy-billion times that I have wished I could anonymously help someone out or bless someone’s life with money.  I would love to be some secret benefactress and go about stealthily doing good while still living the most normal lifestyle and never being suspected.  Is that weird?

Anyway, money stuff makes me crazy.  Not because things are horrible (Good heavens, we’re blessed!),  but because it seems so HARD to get to that place where you feel “ahead.” And the fact that Matt’s law school student loan payments start kicking in this month pretty much seals the fate on $4.12 interest for a few more years to come.

So maybe I should change my focus to the fact that we are lucky to have all we do have and we are able to pay our bills.  Maybe I should realize that sticking to our budget has prevented us from a lot of pain and worst-case scenarios rather than squelching all my dreams.  Maybe I just need to take a deep breath and eat a Toblerone.  🙂

This is a dumb post.  It doesn’t even really have a point or ask any specific questions.  But I already spent too much time typing it, so it stays.  And I’m not a bitter or unhappy person, I promise.  I just kind of unleash a little monster inside of myself when I start thinking about budgets.

The end.

p.s.  Your response to my post for book requests ROCKED.  Man, what are all you educated people doing reading my blog when you have so many books on hand?!  I am so excited to add them to my request list at the library and get reading.  I shall probably finish your recommendations in the Spring of 2017.

General Conference Book Club Week 23: Elder Clayton and Elder Renlund

THREE weeks left until General Conference!!  Only two more GCBC weeks to go, and then we’ll start all over again.  Woo hoo!

(Is anybody up for that?)

We have five talks left to read, so we’ll look at two of them this week so that we can finish up on time.

Both of these talks address trials:  the first focuses on the why of burdens and suffering, and the second discusses how to endure well.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke at the Saturday morning session of conference.  His message was That Your Burdens May Be Light.”

“Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection.”

No matter the burdens we face in life as a consequence of natural conditions, the misconduct of others, or our own mistakes and shortcomings, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth as part of His eternal plan for our growth and progress. Our unique individual experiences can help us prepare to return to Him.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy spoke during the Sunday afternoon session of conference, and he taught how preserving our faith and maintaining our obedience is the best way to endure our challenges well.  He also cautions us against complacency.  His talk was Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change.

“Enduring to the end can be challenging because the tendency of the natural man is to reject the spiritually changed heart and allow it to harden.”

“To endure to the end, we need to be eager to please God and worship Him with fervor.”

So, enjoy these talks.  Just share some of your thoughts and insights as you read and study them.  I always love to hear what stands out to you and how it is meaningful in the circumstances of your lives.

You can go here to find the links to watch, or listen to these talks.  And here you will find more information about the GCBC if you’re curious how it works.