Happy Mother’s Day!

You think I’m a little early, but I know what I’m doing.  I’d like to share a little strategy with you.  Every year for Mother’s Day, I buy myself a plane ticket and a ticket to Women’s Conference at BYU.  It’s two days of refueling, encouragement, escape, and girl power.  I just say, “For Mother’s Day, I want to go to Women’s Conference.”  And Matt, relieved that he doesn’t have to think of or buy any gift on his own, heartily consents.  (Plus I come back a better person.)

So, this is an invitation.  Come join the fun.  Let me know if you’ll be there and maybe we can coordinate our own bloggy-friends luncheon or dinner.  Click on the banner for more information.

And Happy Mother’s Day.

Book report

I wrote a post about a month ago declaring my rediscovered loved for reading and asking for your recommendations.  Since I have the coolest little group of readers ever, your response was phenomenal.  So, here’s my report.

Since then, I finished reading:

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, which I liked more than I thought I would, but would have appreciated a less detailed description of some things, one in particular.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  I 90% loved this book, but it makes me feel yucky inside when people swear at children, and the narrative voice felt forced to me.  I loved the overall character development and the historical setting.

Mother Teresa:  A Complete Authorized Biography by Kathryn Spink, which I actually still haven’t quite finished and I’m not sure I will.  M.T. did and said so many amazing things, but the book is very slow moving and spends way too much time on her organizations and their administrative details.  I find myself scanning to find more about her and the details of her daily life.

I went to the library and checked out these books, which are currently on my nightstand: Continue reading

GCBC Week 2: Priesthood and Handmaidens

General Conference Book Club Week 2:

It’s time to get this party started. In an effort to simplify my life a little bit, we’re going to go through the talks this time in order, from Saturday morning session all the way through to Sunday afternoon session.  (As much as it pains me to skip them, we’ll leave out the Priesthood session and the Young Women’s Broadcast –which was SO great– so please make time to study them on your own.  You won’t regret it.)  I’m actually starting off this round with two talks.  It’s only because there will not be enough weeks to fit in every single talk by the next General Conference in October, and it seemed fitting to begin with a little extra “umph” while we’re still riding high off of our Conference momentum.  Plus these two talks fit so harmoniously together– each focuses on the potential power that men and women have as they fulfill their individual roles with righteousness.  I loved both of these talks, and many of you mentioned in the comments how touched you were by Sister Beck’s message.  Hers is a fantastic talk for mothers.  So come on, everyone.  Grab your testimony by its britches and study and ponder these talks this week.  Share your thoughts, insights, questions, and testimony below.

Go here to find the media versions of the talks (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, you’re just in time.  Click here to learn how it works, and welcome.

Why children’s prayers are better than adults’ prayers

Since I am a horrible person, I sometimes roll my eyes at the “prayers” I hear given over the pulpit.  They are sometimes sermons, sometimes poetic declarations, sometimes dramatic presentations, sometimes obviously scripted, and sometimes downright over-the-top long.  (Notice the abundant use of sometimes.  I’m not trying to make a sweeping generalization about all prayers.)  I remember a few years back in General Conference, Elder Cree-L Kofford got up and said a one-sentence prayer asking the Spirit to be with us.  It was awesome.  It may have been right after Elder Russell M. Nelson taught “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers:”

A closing prayer in a Church meeting need not include a summary of each message and should not become an unscheduled sermon. Private prayers can be as long as we want, but public prayers ought to be short supplications for the Spirit of the Lord to be with us or brief declarations of gratitude for what has transpired.

So it’s about a thousand levels of refreshing to hear my children say their prayers at the end of the day.  Sure they seem super short, and perhaps even a little thoughtless, but take a close look at one of my recent favorites from Clark:

Dear Heavenly Father, Please bless me that I won’t have any bad dreams.  But if I do, I won’t be mad.  But please bless me that I won’t have bad dreams.  Please help us that our days will be great.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

There’s much to learn in that prayer.  Children just get it sometimes.

Another installment of “Dear Wise Readers”

Dear wise readers,
This is a post where I temporarily stop pretending that I have all the answers to all the questions in the universe, and I direct some of the more important ones to you, because even General Conference didn’t answer all of my questions (and I was so sure one of the apostles might have tips on muffin pans).  Let’s start there, shall we?

  1. I hate my muffin pans.  The “no-stick” stuff isn’t, and the pans get rusted where it scrapes off, and they’re impossible to clean and keep clean.  Does anyone have a recommendation for muffin pans that they love?  I would prefer for them to be dishwasher safe, but maybe there’s no such thing.
  2. I’m having a little bit of a blog identity crisis.  My entire blog (including the title) is built on the premise that I’ve been changing diapers every day since 2003, and now that’s . . . well, it’s not true anymore.  (Knock on wood.)  All of my children are now potty trained, and only the youngest wears pull-ups at nighttime.  This new development makes me want to sing the Hallelujah chorus to strangers on the street, but as far as blogging goes, it kind of makes me feel like a fraud.  I’ve thought about changing the name of the blog, but that doesn’t seem right because the whole point is the juxtaposition of our daily, menial tasks with our greater, divine mission of motherhood.  What do you think?  (Anyone who suggests that I should fix this problem by having another baby is hereby banned from my blog.  Banned! You hear me?)
  3. Right now I’m feeling a deep love-hate relationship with Cadbury.  That’s not really a question, but I needed to get it off my hips chest.
  4. Do you feel as much joy as I do that Spring is actually in the air?  There’s something so exhilarating about sunshine and warmth after a long cold winter.  (This excitement is counterbalanced by a lovely reminder that soon my body will have to wear a swimsuit.  Probably in public.  Refer to #3.)
  5. All joking aside, I’m anticipating that I will soon experience something I like to call “post-Conference depression.”  It’s the point where a few weeks after General Conference, you realize that you are still the same, lazy person you were before you got all pumped up and energized by the talks.  Anyone who reads my blog knows I love General Conference.  I love it.  I feel like it’s half pep rally/half spiritual boot camp— a veritable showering of truth, encouragement, reproach, exhortation, and Spirit.  I feel brought down and lifted high at the same time.  My heart and my mind have a continual dialogue at Conference, and where they come together in harmony, they leave goals and hopes and iron-clad intentions.  And then a few weeks later, I feel much like the man who asked President Uctdorf for some advice:

I wrote back to him and lovingly suggested a few specific things he could do that would align his life more closely with the teachings of the restored gospel. To my surprise, I heard back from him only a week later. The essence of his letter was this: “I tried what you suggested. It didn’t work. What else have you got?”

Wisely, he entitled this particular section of his talk “The Path of Patience,” and he then explained:

“Brothers and sisters, we have to stay with it. We don’t acquire eternal life in a sprint—this is a race of endurance. We have to apply and reapply the divine gospel principles. Day after day we need to make them part of our normal life.

So that’s my question:  How do you do that?  How do you take the long list of great things you want to do and actually PUT them in your daily life?  I recognize the reality that Sis. Beck alluded to in this Saturday’s talk: (paraphrased) “There is not time to do all the things your heart desires to do,” and her counsel to seek the direction of the Spirit to identify your priorities (SUCH great advice!), but even then, I need some tips to transition me from the “decided” stage to the “doing” stage.  Come on wise readers, lay it on me.

p.s.  I’m back from Spring Break now, and hope to drop in on more of your blogs soon, where I’ve been obviously (or serendipitously) absent.  🙂

General Conference Book Club Week 1: Favorites

 “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled,  Whether by mine own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38)

Easter is a time of new beginnings, a symbol of renewal.  What better than General Conference to help us shake off the “old self,”  invigorate us with the Spirit, and begin us on a path of spiritual rebirth?

With that, a new round of the General Conference Book Club begins.  Next week, we’ll begin studying one talk from this conference.  For this week, leave in the comments below some of your favorite highlights from this conference.  Favorite talk?  A stand-out quote? Most memorable moments?  Share what you loved and learned.

For those who are new to the General Conference Book Club (GCBC), we’d love to have you join us in our study and discussion.  Here’s how it works:

The goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”

(If you’re not familiar with General Conference or the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, go here and here and here for more information.)

A new talk will be posted each Sunday.

You don’t have to do anything to “join” the club– You can just visit the Sunday post at any time during the week and share thoughts, findings, favorite quotes, applications, even questions from the talk of the week. Personally, I think it would be a good idea to subscribe to comments from the post so that we can read each other’s insights and have a “real book club” conversation.  (There are two ways to do this:  1. Below the actual talk post, click on Comments RSS below the “Actions” list to subscribe to an RSS feed for comments, or 2. click the little box under the “Submit Comment” button so that comments are emailed to you.)   Or of course, you can just check back often to see what folks are saying.

My own plan is to try and use the talk as a guide for my personal scripture study throughout the week.  First I’ll read the talk all the way through, then look up and read all the scripture references he quoted, and then break the talk down into segments to study them carefully and try to find other related scriptures that help me understand it better.  Feel free to share any ideas of how you plan to study or apply the talks we read.  (You’re allowed to do this however you want.  You can simply have a goal to read the talk before the week is over, and that’s good, too.)

Here’s a little button you can put on your own blog if you’d like to.  Feel free to invite friends (the real kind and bloggy kind as well) to participate.  The more the merrier.  You can link it directly to this page or to the host page at https://diapersanddivinity.com/gcbc since it has all the instructions for the Book Club challenge.


And try to comment when you’ve read each article, even something as simple as “I did it.”  Then we have a certain motivation/accountability to each other to meet our goal of reading all the talks from the previous General Conference. The objective is to read the words of the living prophets and learn from them.  Our book club community is for sharing and encouraging, but please don’t feel pressure that you have to come around and make profound insights or write eloquent summaries.  Just show up and be counted!