Feeling a little weary today?

If so, you need to go read Montserrat’s post Motherhood–Service of the Highest Order. Trust me.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway by Friday night.

Carry on, mom warriors.

Christmas Gift Giveaways: A Book and a DVD

I’ve got some stuff for you folks that I’m kind of excited about. I’m excited because there’s a book I read that I really liked, plus a DVD I recently watched and enjoyed, too, and I get to give away a copy of each. With Christmas just around the corner, they would make great gifts for someone you love or stocking stuffers for you (because does anybody ever step up and stuff Mom’s stocking with anything cool? No.).

Giveaway #1: The Rent Collector by Camron Wright


I really, really liked this book. I want to use it for my next book club pick. Based on a true story, It tells of a family that lives in a dump–an actual dump–in Cambodia and struggles to survive. When Sang Ly realizes that her belligerent landlord can read, she begs to learn. What unfolds is an unlikely and uncommon friendship that uncovers the secrets of a buried past. I loved the tenacity and grace of Sang Ly. The story proves that love and kindness and the power of literature can exist even in the most unlikely places.

Giveaway #2: The Book of Jer3miah, Season One on DVD

This was developed as a web-series, and it won all kinds of prizes because it really was so well done.  Now the whole first season is available on DVD with approximately twenty episodes that are each 5-10 minutes long. It tells the story of a freshman at BYU who experiences tragedy and intrigue and tries to rebuild his identity when everything he’s always known seems to be falling apart. It’s a suspenseful drama, with a lot of action and even some paranormal elements (not vampire-like, just kind of manifestations of spiritual gifts/superpowers I guess). The whole thing is set at BYU and throughout Utah, so it was actually really fun to watch and connect to so many common settings, plus I even recognized a couple of the actors as people I know! The story draws heavily on some LDS themes, and delves into some well-known Mormon myths and legends. Matt and I watched this together and we both enjoyed it. It led to a lot of conversation when it was over and a lot of speculation about season 2. I think it would be a fun gift for LDS adults, young adults, and even teens.

So, you want one? I have one copy of each to give away. Just leave a comment below. Tell me if you’re interested in the book, the DVD, or both*. I’ll add your name to the drawing. That’s it. Feel free to say anything else in the comments, too, like how your Thanksgiving was, and if you’re still eating pie for breakfast, or whatever. 🙂  Anyway, drawing will close at 10 p.m. MST on Friday, and I’ll announce/email the winner on Saturday.  Good luck!

*Will only ship within the U.S.

GCBC Week 8: “Becoming Goodly Parents” by Elder L. Tom Perry

It’s already late, so I’ll just post up this week’s talk and chime in another day with some of my own thoughts. This was the first talk from the Saturday p.m. session of conference.

Becoming Goodly Parents

by Elder L. Tom Perry

What did you like and learn from this talk? Please share in the comments below some of your insights.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

GCBC Week 7: “Of Regrets and Resolutions” By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone. I know it will be a busy one, but I think this talk might help us keep focused on what matters most.  It’s now week 7 of general conference book club, and we’ll be studying President Uchtdorf’s message– the last talk from the Saturday A.M. session:

Of Regrets and Resolutions

By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 

President Uchtdorf talked about some of the things that people seem to reflect on the most when they are facing death. He pointed out three major common regrets:

  1. I Wish I Had Spent More Time with the People I Love
  2. I Wish I Had Lived Up to My Potential
  3. I Wish I Had Let Myself Be Happier

Which one of these stood out to you? Number 3 was a great reminder to me because I tend to get frustrated with my children when days seem full of setbacks and pushback, and I have a hard time letting it go and moving forward with any measure of cheer. This was a good reminder to me to spend more time choosing to be happy even when things, or even whole days, go wrong.

Because we make mistakes, most days will include something we regret doing or saying. Even though it wasn’t a major focus of the talk, I felt the importance of apologizing, repenting, and carrying on with minimal regret so that we’re not stockpiling regrets until the end of life.

What did you like and learn from this talk? Please share in the comments below some of your insights.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

Why I lay awake at night worrying about my book

[photo credit: image from tumbler.com, quote from Charlie Brown/Charles Schulz]

 

My biggest fear is that people will think:

Author about motherhood = Expert on motherhood

Promise me you don’t/won’t think that.

Just in the last 24 hours, I almost cried when I walked around my house and realized that all the hard work I did with my children a couple days ago has been completely undone, and probably made worse than when we started.

My status today on Facebook was: This morning I made my three children repeat together three times, “Yes Mother, right away.” I figure if it works in North Korea, I should give it a try.

And in an email to a dear friend, I wrote this: The kids are always hilarious. Unfortunately they are also completely unresponsive to any of my wishes, which seriously led me to consider running away at about 7:53 pm last night, but then I realized it would be incredibly embarrassing to publish a book on motherhood and then promote it while in exile.

So, yeah. I’m just trying to be as real as I possibly can. Some days I feel like a fraud, and then my (bad) inner voice says, “Who do you think you are? You’re a mess!”

And then I think about President Uchtdorf when he said, “Stop It!,” and then he said,

“We simply have to stop judging others [ourselves] and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children.”

So that’s what I’m working on today. That, and gratitude, because really, being thankful is a huge healer that can cover whatever seems wrong (and there is so much to be grateful for).

What are you working on today?

GCBC Week 6: “Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!” By Elder Russell M. Nelson

It’s week 6 of general conference book club, and we’ll be studying Elder Nelson’s talk from the Saturday A.M. session:

Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!

By Elder Russell M. Nelson

Elder Nelson repeated the phrase that is the title of his talk so many times that all of my children started paying attention. Every time he started building up to it, my son Clark would say, “Oh no, not again!,” and then Elder Nelson would say again: “Ask the missionaries. They can help you.”  Even now, they remember that specific phrase from conference, so it was definitely memorable.

I thought this was a fun talk in context of the big announcement about the new age requirements for missionary service. We were all already missionary-minded, knowing that we have to get to work to get our children prepared sooner for missionary service, and then Elder Nelson’s talk reinforced why that is so important.

He presented a long list of knowledge and services that missionaries can provide for those searching for truth. I think that list makes a good curriculum for our at-home pre-MTC efforts. At the same time, there are plenty of things he mentioned that I probably couldn’t have helped people with when I was a missionary, which brought to mind two thoughts: 1) They’ve definitely raised the bar, and 2) Missionaries welcome any kind of sincere questions, whether they know all the answers or not. They can always point people in the right direction. (For example, I couldn’t have answered questions about how to find your ancestors, but I could have hooked you up with Stake specialists who could help you.)

Also, I know this wasn’t the point of his talk, but I really love the Preach My Gospel manual that missionaries study and teach. I think if we use that as the curriculum to prepare our own children for future missionary service, they will be remarkably up for the task.

I love missionaries and missionary work. I cannot think of my own time as a missionary without being filled with gratitude for all I learned and felt as the Lord let me serve. I’m so excited for this rising generation and the opportunity they will have to join a royal army and go forth and do amazing things as the Lord is hastening His work.

You may have noticed completely different things as you studied this talk. Please share in the comments below some of the things you learned and felt.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

In which I become a cat lady and say controversial things.

A while back, I was severely sleep deprived and a neighbor found some stray kittens. In my weakened state, I gave into my children’s impassioned pleas, and we became the reluctant owners of “Lizzie” (inspired by Pride and Prejudice, don’t tell my kids). I have never had a cat. I never wanted a cat, and never planned to want one.  I just want to report that it has been surprisingly much more pleasant than I imagined. Lizzie is way easier than any of my children have ever been, so despite all the new expenses required for the care of my “free” kitten, I guess I don’t regret it.  This is the part where I post a picture of my cat and cross to the dark side:

You may not have noticed, but this week there was an election. Some people are ecstatic with the results; some have dusted off their Apocalypse survival kits. Either way, feelings run high, and I’m weary of the discussion of it. (I remind you I hold the power of the delete button in the comment thread.) I will sum up my non-partisan feelings this way:  I love this country. I hope for this country. I’m worried for this country. And I know better than to place all my faith and/or fear into one political candidate. I will not bore you with the scriptures and quotes you’ve all seen floating around the internet, meant to vilify or glorify our current national condition. I will, however, share a quote that I’ve loved before and love today. Barbara Bush said this in 1990, and it puts the responsibility for this nation back where it belongs–with us:

“Your success as a family … our success as a society depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

And that is what I’m feeling strongly. I’ve read several articles lately that statistically show the trends of our nation (break that down to its ingredients: individuals, homes, families) moving farther away from specific Christian principles. The news claims that our country is increasingly more secular than religious. I believe, in the context of prophesy, that we are in danger of losing God’s promised protection if we, individually, do not try harder to embrace truth and righteousness and make our homes into little greenhouses of goodness. I was reading about Captain Moroni today, and these were some of the characteristics that made him “impervious” to the moral decay around him: he gloried in God, he had faith, he protected his people, he kept the commandments, and he resisted iniquity. It was/is a simple and powerful list. The scripture declared that Satan would have no power over the hearts of men if they were all like Moroni.

Faith and family are both consistently losing value in modern society, so we must strengthen them and value them and testify of them in as many ways as we can. I personally feel a battle cry to make my home a bunker– to arm my children with truth, doctrine, faith, testimony, confidence, strategies, and a knowledge of how to use the Spirit in their lives. I am not a doomsdayer; I do not believe that the horsemen of the apocalypse have been let loose, but I DO recognize how confusing our world has become.  It’s a bewildering place if you don’t have foundational principles to cling to and navigate by. If it’s confusing to me and other adults, it must be overwhelmingly distressing for children. So that’s where I’ll start. With mine.

1green·house, noun \-ˌhau̇s\

Definition of GREENHOUSE

1: a structure enclosed (as by glass) and used for the cultivation or protection of tender plants