A couple people suggested that I re-post my own interview –about me– here on my own blog (Thanks, Allison, for making me answer the questions in the first place). So I did. Down there below. In the meantime, are you enjoying Find-A-Friend Friday? I think the questions are good questions to really get to know someone, but maybe it gets a little boring to read the exact same interview every week? Anyway, if you have any suggestions for good interview questions, toss them into the comments below and I’ll try to rotate a few different things for variety’s sake.
Hello there, I’m Stephanie. I’m (gasp) 38 years old and a mother of three. That age may shock some of my readers because my children are young (8, 6, 4), but hey, what can I say? I was a late bloomer. I’m married to Matt, who is the best thing that ever happened to me. . . . except for the part where he went to law school for 4 years and made us move to Utah when he was done. (That wasn’t totally his fault though, but I give him a hard time because it wouldn’t be right/wise to tease God about it.) I’m a stay-at-home mom who spends my time hopping from one glamorous task to the next– you know, like laundry, grocery shopping, scraping boogers off the walls, packing school lunches etc. — and I go back-and-forth between the opinion that I never get anything done and the realization that I accomplish quite a lot. I’m learning motherhood day by day and I’m surprised over and over by how much miracle is wrapped up in the dreary details.
I claim Atlanta, Georgia as my home, but I actually also grew up in Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri, and Indiana. I graduated from high school in Georgia and my parents have been there ever since, so for all intents and purposes, it’s home. I am the oldest of four children and my siblings are still my good friends. In my pre-motherhood life, I got my masters degree in Spanish Teaching and taught Spanish classes at the high school and university levels. I served a mission in Argentina, and I still have a deep love for the Hispanic language and culture. In the summers, I teach at EFY (just a couple sessions a year), but that’s in English. In my eleven years of married life, we’ve moved from Utah to North Carolina to Minnesota and back to Utah. It’s been a little crazy, but I would not trade the good friends we’ve made along the way for anything . . . except maybe an all-expense paid trip to everywhere cool I want to go, especially if I could take my friends with me.
1. What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
I love the quiet moments. (I’m convinced that old people can’t hear because their children were so loud for so long.) I love hand-holding, real conversation with questions and answers, and one-on-one time with my children. I love to read them books. I love to see something I’ve taught them come alive in the way they act or speak. I love the anticipation of who they will become.
2. What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?
Bedtime. I would pay someone to get them all the way ready for bed and tucked in, so I could just step in and do the fun hug/kiss/scriptures/bedtime story part when they’re already tired and tucked in and snuggly and warm. That’s not all, though. I would also subcontract out putting away laundry, unloading the dishwasher, getting all the right things into the right backpacks in time, and cleaning the floor around the toilet in my boys’ bathroom.
3. Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.” (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)
Oh, gosh. My bucket list is huge. I’m going to pretend that when I read that question, it asked for 23 items. Visit all the Spanish-speaking countries in the world (5 or 6 down, about 25 to go), write a book, publish a real article in the Ensign, serve missions (plural) with Matt, finally finish my Protecting Innocence Project website, take a one-on-one trip with each of my children, actually read all the books on my “to-read” list on Goodreads.com, paint and decorate and buy furniture and “finish” decorating my house, finally label all my digital photos and print books for my children of their childhood, get my Ph.D. and maybe someday be a professor, know the scriptures so well that they’re just “in” me . . . . Mostly I want to discover what God wants me to do with my life, and then just do it the best that I can.
4. Brag for a minute. Do it. What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?
I’ve been told that I’m a good teacher/speaker and a good writer. I think I’m just a good communicator. I also think I’m a good and loyal friend. I have lots of great ideas for projects, but I’m not always great at following through. It’s kind of joke with people who know me well, but I make lots of signs to hang up around the house with reminders and quotes and goals and chores and stuff like that. I have a good memory for some things, mostly people’s names and their stories, plus the scriptures or general conference talks. It’s pretty easy for me to draw on those things in conversation or teaching. I also think I have a knack for making people laugh, which has been really helpful in otherwise awkward or tense situations.
5. What are you loving lately?
Reading, going out to lunch with old girlfriends and also meeting new people, wearing boots a lot so I don’t have to shave my legs, the view of the temple out my front window, the view of the mountains out my back window, my Kindle, MyJobChart.com and the new fire in my children’s bones about doing chores, scouring travel websites for great deals and planning fantasy vacations (that I never really take), this song, and the hope that I’ll get my husband back after the Bar exam next week.
6. Do you have a favorite scripture or quote? Why?
Favorite scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on thine own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all thy ways and he shall direct thy paths.” Because it works. And he does direct your paths. My favorite hymn (that goes along with this scripture) is “Be Still, My Soul,” especially this part: “Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake to guide thy future as He has the past…”
Favorite quote: This is a tough one because I have a million. Here are two that I find myself thinking of or falling back on a lot.
1. Because I am not patient:
“Throughout scripture we encounter the need for us to remember that the Lord has His own timetable for unfolding things; it will not always accord with our schedules or our wants. When, in our extremities, we urgently call for a divine response, there may be, instead, a divine delay. This is not because God, at the moment, is inattentive or loves us less than perfectly. Rather, it is because we are being asked, at the moment, to endure more for the welfare of our souls. The blessed meek understand that God loves them even when they may not be able to explain the meaning of what is happening to them or around them.” Neal A. Maxwell”
2. Because this guides my philosophy about teaching children and youth:
“President (J. Reuben) Clark described youth as “hungry for things of the Spirit [and] eager to learn the gospel.” He said: “They want it straight, undiluted. They want to know … about our beliefs; they want to gain testimonies of their truth. They are not now doubters but inquirers, seekers after truth.” President Clark continued: “You do not have to sneak up behind this spiritually experienced youth and whisper religion in [their] ears; you can come right out, face to face, and talk with [them]. … You can bring these truths to [them] openly. … There is no need for gradual approaches.” Since then I have taught young people in the same way that I teach adults.” — President Boyd K. Packer, April 2009
7. What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?
A lot of times it’s the Internet–blogging, emailing friends, working on projects. I struggle a little to find a good balance for that because I want to have other healthy outlets too. I just started the process of writing a book and I’m trying to make more time for that. After the kids are in bed asleep, I like to read books or watch shows on my DVR while I fold laundry. I like to make phone calls and check up on friends.
8. Tell us some of your best mom-tricks (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).
Once I give my child an answer, I don’t back down, no matter how much they complain or try to make a scene (unless I realize that I’m wrong.) I don’t make threats without following through; If I tell them we’ll leave a place if they don’t improve their behavior, I actually leave. I apologize to my children when I make a mistake. The very best mom-trick I can think of is teaching them the scriptures because you can draw on them often in conversation, both to correct and to praise behavior.
9. What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?
I love to talk to people, and I have to admit that when I’m in an excited conversation, I have some habits I’m not proud of, namely: interrupting, talking too loud, and sometimes even talking with my mouth full. (Good grief, Stephanie, can’t you just wait long enough to chew?) I cannot multi-task well when children are involved– I either have to ignore them completely to accomplish the task at hand, or do it haphazardly with a large measure of distraction. When I talk on the phone, I literally pace back and forth and back and forth in and out of rooms in my house. I have no idea why. I also complain a little bit too much about silly things, and I admit sometimes it’s just for dramatic, comedic effect. (I’m a teensy bit sarcastic.) And if you’re going to be my friend, you need to know that I have a low tolerance for casual, blatant disobedience, especially when it’s laughed off or shrugged away. I guess that makes me judgmental. I’m working on that.
10. If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?
Well, that’s easy. See here.
11. Friends are great for venting. What’s been frustrating you lately?
(Deep breath.) My oldest boy has started to be sassy with me and I do. not. like. it. I’ve been frustrated with the schools since our move, and I’m still trying to figure out the right thing to do about that. I never feel like I get enough sleep, which is ironically hampered by also feeling like I don’t get enough “free time.” My daughter (age 4) has had several medical issues, including a recent surgery, and I was just made aware that she has another (unrelated) potential health concern. I’m feeling a little anxious about that. I’ve been frustrated in a tired way while Matt’s been studying for the Bar and I’ve been kind of single-parenting. (This is the part where you real single moms are allowed to roll your eyes.) I’m still trying to figure out why I had to move to Utah and what that means for me. It’s been a hard adjustment, and it hasn’t been easy to form new friendships. And, the hours from 4:30 – 8 p.m. every day are basically a non-stop exercise in frustration. How’s that for a long answer? See? I told you I complain too much.
12. What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
I am absolutely certain that Jesus Christ lives, that He is my Savior, and that he knows me and loves me. I know that God blesses us far beyond what we deserve, especially when we’re trying. I know that the teachings of living prophets are scripture; they guide me, strengthen me, and protect me. I know my Heavenly Father can do more with my life than I can. And I know that obedience brings power.
My blog is Diapers and Divinity. (Duh. You’re here.) Like the title hints, I write to explore the miracles and the mundane that are juxtaposed in the journey of motherhood. I try to look for the divine in all the dreary details, and when I can’t see it, I try to laugh about it.
11 thoughts on “Me, recycled.”
Love it! Love it! Love it!!! You would think becuse I know you so well that would have bored me to tears. But It didnt – I liked reading about you. Great Job!!! I wiah I had something witty to say. I am mad at Joel,(more like irritated) so my wit it short lived to day. I will call you this afternoon.
Thanks for sharing this. It’s so fun to get to know you even better. I absolutely adore you! I would have loved to participate in your GNO that you organized but I couldn’t organize free time that night. Maybe next time. 🙂
What do you mean by a low tolerance for casual disobedience? Are you talking about when kids are rotten and the parents shrug? Or when an adult is like, “Yeah, I know it’s breaking the Sabbath, but it’s more convenient to do it this way today”?
Yeah, I was wondering that, too.
That’s a good question. Although the first example you offer IS annoying, that’s mostly a lack of parenting, not a lack of obedience. Your second example is more on point. I get easily annoyed when someone totally understands a commandment or a principle and chooses to shrug/laugh it off, and even more annoyed when they’re proud of their smug disdain for obedience.
I’m with you on the lack of sleep but lack of free time too. I think I just need to choose one and forget about the other. At the moment sleep is winning.
I know some gals asked a question about this: “I have a low tolerance for casual, blatant disobedience, especially when it’s laughed off or shrugged away. I guess that makes me judgmental. I’m working on that.” Whatever you are referring to, I think that I get annoyed by that too… whether its someone thinking that they’re disobedience is not a big deal or if their kids are being naughty and the parents don’t do anything about it. I usually try my hardest to not let it show on my face that I wouldn’t tolerate that if that were my kid (of course, this is all theory… since I’m not a mom, and I realize all kids are different, and I won’t know for sure what it will be like until I actually have my own kiddies). But I still do it in my head. My mom had an iron fist, so when I see people let their kids get away with stuff, or when they do stupid things themselves, my spirit is shaking its head, while my physical head just sits there while I put a stupid smile on my face.
I know I’ll understand it better when I’m a mom someday.
Also, if you ever get around to interviewing non-mom people, you could throw in other stuff not relating to being a mom. But you could also ask them about their mothers and what they want to repeat, or change about how they were raised by their mothers. I think a lot of my non-Church member friends always worry about losing their identity in being “just a mom” but I know that defines a lot of my friends (since I’m one of the few people that I know without children). But I know there is more in there besides the mom. Everyone was “not-moms” once upon a time 🙂
Maybe the pacing while on the phone thing comes from your side of the family. Greg does it, too.
Where in NC did you live? I LOVE your family picture! It is so perfect. I feel your pain in the “single” parenting area. My husband is back in school full time and working 3rd shift…I don’t know how single parents do it! I am so excited to hear you are writing a book! I will be first in line to buy it!!…This whole interview just reminded me how much you rock! I am so glad that you are older than me (not much) so I can say I want to be just like you when I grow up!
I think the pacing on the phone thing is a trait from your dad’s side of the family. My dad does it, my brothers do it, and I used to do it a lot, when I felt better. I don’t remember about my sisters, probably because I am usually on the other end of the phone with them. 🙂
I like the questions because while they are the same each time, there are so many ways to answer each one. I should answer them, just to think more about what my answers might be. I wonder how differently I’d answer them a year, 2, 5, 10 (you get the picture) years from now. Certainly some answers now are different than they were when my children were your kids’ ages. (And even though we do know each other, I’d be willing to be a Friday friend if you run out of other takers.)
(Please excuse this novel size comment which may or may not be caused by medication-induced insomnia.) 🙂
I meant to comment here or over on the other blog to tell you that now I sure we’d make great friends. Most of my answers would probably be very similar to yours. I actually don’t have time to read the whole interview again now, but glancing through the comments I remember about the disobedience thing. That’s one similarity.
Although, I sort of thought it was being judgmental for awhile and I felt awful about it, but now I realize that it’s okay SOMETIMES to make assumptions about the size of someone’s testimony, at least on a certain subject, by the way they live. The sabbath breaking thing, yes, that person does not understand about the Sabbath. But I guess you’re talking about those who kind of do understand but still disobey. Anyway, I would love to have a discussion about this. I actually did with my sister recently and I felt a lot better about how I view other people. I know now that it’s not always judging, at least not in the wrong sense. Not like, “that person is bad” kind of judging. More like “that person is wrong” kind of judging.