Time to come clean: Let’s talk about Internet addiction.

The Lord knows that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so when He wants me to learn something, he hands it to me in small, digestible pieces . . .  EVERYwhere I turn for days and weeks, even months at a time.  (He’s really so patient while He waits for me to get it.)  I will give an inventory of his subtle messages just in the last 10 days or so.

  1. Elder Bradley Foster in General Conference:  ” . . . a distraction doesn’t have to be evil to be effective.”
  2. Sister Julie Beck:  “There is much distraction and not enough peace and joy. . . But with personal revelation, [a mother] can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently. . . . mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention,  . . . Being in the right places allows us to receive guidance. It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks.”
  3. Elder Robert D. Hales:  “Mother, Father, are you in there? Grandpa, Grandma, are you there? Being there means understanding the hearts of our youth and connecting with them. And connecting with them means not just conversing with them but doing things with them too. . . . I would hope that we would bear our testimonies so that our children will know where our hearts are and that we love them. The greatest love and the greatest teachings should be in our homes.”
  4. My house needs attention.  When I resurface from the office and look around at the messes, I know my time could have been better spent.
  5. A friend gave a wonderful talk at church about time management that really resonated with me.  (Hi, SP!)
  6. I remembered this post that I wrote almost seven months ago, (and it was a good one) but it’s a lesson I still have not completely learned.
  7. I stumbled upon this post.
  8. I caught myself having only half-attentive phone conversations because I was trying to read email at the same time.
  9. I want to start exercising regularly again, but I  feel like there’s not enough time in the day.  Why is that?  (pause for burning self-reflection)

Tell me I’m not the only one who sees some of myself in this cartoon.
I don’t even own all those gadgets, but still. At some level, there’s a sad truth in there.

I’m pretty good at monitoring my children’s screen time, but when I get online, it’s kind of a chain reaction of “tasks*” and before I know it, I’m not proud of how much time I spent.

*Any blog comments?  I need to check email and see if they wrote me back about that fireside assignment.  Oh, let me see if Matt transferred my budget into my account yet.  And . . . a quick look at Reader to see if any blog friends have posted anything new.  Ha ha.  Better comment on that.  Okay, that’s good.  Before I sign off, I’m just going to check Facebook really quick.  I don’t think I’ve updated my status for several days.  Oh look, one of my old young women is engaged.   Check out her fiancee’s page to see if he’s a loser.  And all his photos.  Hey, he’s friends with a girl I taught at EFY; I wonder what she’s up to these days.  . . .  Oops, forgot to do my status.  Type-ity type type:  “Avoiding laundry.”  Check email ONE more time.  I don’t think I ever read that attachment that Shantel sent me yet.  Whoa, newsflash: there was an earthquake in Utah?  Better check that out.  And I forgot I wanted to look at the menu for our date night restaurant so I know how much to budget for dinner . . . .

I think you get the idea.

So I’m going to be proactive about this little, ahem, problem.  I found this link, and it reviews the top ten internet controls software.  These are programs that control not only content, but also let you set daily and weekly time limits for individual users, including YOURSELF:


It looked like this one was really good, but it doesn’t have a Mac version that I can see:  http://www.kidswatch.com/ I also found this one that has a Windows and Mac version:  http://www.netnanny.com/

And here’s a link for some free downloads for simple timers and filters.  (As with all free shareware, make sure you have a good anti-virus program in place, just in case.)


(A special note for my mother, mother-in-law, and any other concerned relatives:  Don’t worry.  I don’t spend all day on the Internet and I’m still feeding and bathing my children.  Really.  My life would just be a lot more efficient if I spent less time on the computer, so I’m working on it.)

And that’s it.  I’m just admitting my own willpower might not be enough to keep me constantly focused on the things that matter most, so I’m going to use tools and rules and accountability and such to help me.  And friends like you, who I’m betting will get this and will offer great advice.  So thanks.


GCBC Week 3: Our Path of Duty

General Conference Book Club Week 3:

This week we’ll study Bishop McMullin’s counsel about duty.  He stated:

Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal; it is what is virtuous.

I’m fascinated with the relationship between duty and integrity.  I’ve been thinking also about how when it comes to our reasons for doing what is right, duty is not necessarily a replacement for love, but a companion for it.  Our adherence to duty can be seen as evidence of both our love and our integrity.  But enough of my own “talk,” study Bishop McMullin’s — it’s much better.  Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments.  We learn as we discuss together and see new ways to apply the principles in our lives.

Go here to find the media versions of the talk (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club,  click here to learn how it works, and please join us!

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.