You’re not as boring as you think.

woman-book

Everyone has a story.

Everyone.

And the longer I live, the more I realize that those stories are fascinating. Yep. All of them. I went through a phase when I loved watching TV shows like StoryTrek, Who Do You Think You Are?, and The Generations Project because it turns out that regular, run-of-the-mill people like you and like me have stories inside of them that make me awe, wonder, cry, and think. Why aren’t we all telling more of our own stories? One of the reasons I blog is because someday when my children are grown and have children of their own, I want them to know the real me. I know a blog is selective and doesn’t reflect every aspect of my life, but I try hard to keep it real, and if nothing else, I have recorded some stories.  I hope those stories will make them feel close to me and maybe even learn a few life lessons.

This spring, I am participating in a conference that is all about telling, finding, and recording real stories– your own and your ancestors’. I’m even teaching a class about “Recording Life Authentically,” but that’s only one of many, many workshops and resources available to help you learn how to write your own life story, do genealogy, discover the stories of generations past, and use all the cool technology that’s available to fuel and find our stories.

I think you should come.

Here are the details: March 21-23 in Salt Lake City at the Salt Palace Events Center.  (If you’re old like me, you used to go to Jazz games there.)  Guess what organizations are involved? Well, it was originally called the Story @ Home conference, a team effort with Cherish Bound and FamilySearch, and that conference has a specific track for bloggers. THEN, they merged with RootsTech conference, which is sponsored by a few organizations you might be familiar with: BYU, Ancestry.com, and National Genealogical Society to name a few. Basically, it’s going to be big and awesome.

slpalace

Go here to learn a lot more about it and to get pricing. There are options as low as $19/day, with full-conference passes ranging from $39 to $149, depending on how much of the conference offerings you want access to. Notice that there’s a full-conference Story@Home track available (which includes the blogging classes) for $79.

For any of you photographer types–amateur or otherwise– check out this Instagram contest:

Prize: Full-conference Story@Home pass ($79 value)
Dates: February 20th-24th
 
To participate in the contest:
  • Snap a picture you think tells a story. Examples include family, friends, places, events, mementos–anything that has meaning for you.
  • Upload the photo to Instagram and share with us what story your photo tells. Include the hashtags #tellyourstory and #storyathome.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on the Story@Home Facebook page Monday, February 25th. “Like” the Story@Home Facebook page to find out if you’ve won.

So, listen. You have a story. And it’s a lot more interesting than you think it is. Come learn how to tell it and record it and save it so that someday, your stories will be alive even when you’re not. Your children and grandchildren will love that. I promise.

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10 Reasons I Have Become a Terrible Blogger

BrokenKeyboard

I’m sure there are deep, meaningful reasons behind my decline in blogging, but until I can figure those out, these are the best excuses I can come up with:

  1. My desk. Papers, papers, and more papers. Everytime I sit down at the computer, I am surrounded by the skeletons of unfinished projects.  For example: There are still stacks of Christmas card envelopes that I need to update addresses for. Also, receipts to file, notebooks full of random thoughts and lists that I need to determine if they’re worth keeping or not. Plus lots of stuff for …
  2. Teaching. I’m teaching a Doctrine and Covenants class at BYU right now. I love–absolutely love– preparing for the classes, but I’m not going to lie. It takes a lot of time, a lot of books, a lot of notes, and … a lot of ignored other projects. Oh, and I also teach Sunday School at church.
  3. Homework. Not my own, not my students, but my children’s homework. It will be the death of me. Every day from 3 until 7, I wage a treacherous battle of wills, wits, and unsharpened pencils. When it’s all over, I usually want to hide under my bed with a bag of chocolate chips.
  4. Crazy ideas. When my brain needs a break, I usually write some ridiculous status on Facebook or try to implement some long-desired project in my house (you know, as a distraction from the truly pressing projects). Just last night I decided to paint my pantry door bright blue. Sounds cool and fresh, right? Wrong. It looks terrible.
  5. The Book. This whole book-writing business is not for the faint of … time. I honestly think that the whole post-submission production process has required as much of a time commitment as actually writing the book. It’s okay, though. I am proud of it in a I-set-a-goal-and-actually-finished-it-all-the-way-done kind of way. And do you want to know something cool? It’s already available for preorder at Deseret Book! Seriously, like it’s a real book or something.  Go check it out.

So, there you have it. If you have asked yourself the question I have asked myself, “Stephanie’s blog used to be so cool; I wonder what happened?,” now you know. Well look at that, I don’t even have 10 reasons. That was only 5. I rest my case; I’m losing it.

GCBC Update

So the countdown is on.  24 hours until General Conference.  So. Excited. (We got tickets to the Saturday AM session, and I can’t wait to take my boys.)

In case you missed it, you still have time to make your guesses for the General Conference guessing game contest.

This Sunday marks the beginning of the SEVENTH round of our semi-annual General Conference Book Club.  It is such a great opportunity to study and review all the talks from our prophets and apostles.  I have been hosting the GCBC here for three years. But because I’m taking a little sabbatical, Becca will be adopting and hosting this next round of GCBC at her blog:  My Soul Delighteth.

She will do a great job with my “baby” and I hope that all of you that have been so faithful in participating will continue to make your contribution there.  I also hope that those of you who keep thinking and trying to participate will take this chance to jump in and be a part of a great discussion and powerful study material.  So starting this Sunday, almost as immediately as conference is over, hop on over to week one of GCBC.  The first week will be a place for you to share your favorite conference moments, thoughts, quotes, topics, talks, etc.: a forum for celebrating what you heard.  Then starting the next Sunday, you’ll go through all the talks one by one.

It’s awesome.  Do it.

And have a FANTASTIC weekend!

Breaking News (and other earth-shattering announcements)

This post is a COPY of Sunday’s.  When I did two posts in a row, I think this one got buried, and I just wanted to make sure it was out there.  If you’ve already seen it, it’s old news.  Sorry.

[image credit]

Forgive me while I wax administrative for a day, but there are a few news-items I need to communicate.  Get your mouse-clicker finger ready because I’m sending you all over the place.

1.  For the sake of pure anticipation, I need to let you know that in September, I will be teaming up with  Montserrat of Chocolate on my Cranium, Jocelyn of We Talk of Christ, and the mysterious Middle-aged Mormon Man to host a Family Proclamation Celebration.  It’s exactly what it claims to be: a two-week star-studded gala honoring the timeless principles of Family: A Proclamation to the World.  And by star-studded, I mean a cohort of guest posts that will knock your socks off, including but not limited to:

Shawni at 71 Toes
DeNae at My Real Life Was Backordered
Michelle at Mormon Women
Allison at Simple Inspiration
Melanie at Write Stuff
Ken at The Craig Report
Some other dear real-life friends that predate my blog,
and Matt (my husband, who puts the stud in star-studded),
plus even more, because that doesn’t even include guest posts at the three other blogs.

Also, in association with the celebration, Montserrat is putting together a video of families around the world reading phrases from the Proclamation.  It would be really helpful if you would do a little webcam project and submit it to her. (I’m sure it will bring you lots of fame and fortune.)  You can get more information here.

There’s really nothing else you need to do about this now except get excited.  And get your kids all ready for back-to-school in late August so that you can spend September 17-30 basically reading blog manna around the clock.

More announcements.  I’ll be brief.  (I’ll try.)

2. I’m taking a blog sabbatical.

sabbatical:  any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

I know I’ve tried this before and failed, but this time I really mean it.  🙂  I just accepted a very-part-time job to teach a Doctrine and Covenants class at BYU that starts in a few weeks. (Thrilling and terrifying at the same time.) It has become clear to me that in order to make this work and still keep my focus on my family, I need to adjust my juggling act, so I’ve picked the blog as a plate to drop.  I’m sure I will pop in occasionally because loud people don’t shut up well, and obviously I’ll be up and running again by September (see announcement #1).  Other pre-determined exceptions are listed below.

3. General Conference and GCBC.  This week, I will still do a few fun posts about getting ready for general conference.  I have been hosting the General Conference Book Club here for three years.  I can hardly believe it.  It’s my “baby,” and I love it, but it doesn’t fit well with sabbaticals, so I’m handing it off like a faith-filled birth mother.  Becca will be adopting and hosting this next round of GCBC at her blog:  My Soul Delighteth.  I’ll post more information this week, but I wanted to give you a heads up.  It will be the same deal, same system, and I really hope you will still use it as the gospel-study tool it was intended to be.  I plan to still participate, but I’m just not going to host it for a season.

4.  My Pretty Darn Funny Video.  I posted yesterday about this video contest I entered.  Turns out that, after reading all the small print, I’m still confused about when the votes actually count.  The real promotion period starts on March 31st (I think), so I may come out of my sabbatical once or twice to do some shameless self-promotion and ask you to vote again.  I really, really want to win that Caribbean cruise.  Forgive me in advance?  Thanks for all your votes so far, and feel free to drop by right here at random and leave more votes pretty much any day between now and the end of May.  🙂

5. “I love you, man.”  I just want to say thank you for all your kind support here on the blog over these last few years.  This isn’t a funeral speech, and you’ll be hearing from me periodically, but really, thank you.  I’ve loved your comments, participation, and virtual friendship.  You make a sabbatical feel really hard to do.

Breaking News (and other earth-shattering announcements)

[image credit]

Forgive me while I wax administrative for a day, but there are a few news-items I need to communicate.  Get your mouse-clicker finger ready because I’m sending you all over the place.

1.  For the sake of pure anticipation, I need to let you know that in September, I will be teaming up with  Montserrat of Chocolate on my Cranium, Jocelyn of We Talk of Christ, and the mysterious Middle-aged Mormon Man to host a Family Proclamation Celebration.  It’s exactly what it claims to be: a two-week star-studded gala honoring the timeless principles of Family: A Proclamation to the World.  And by star-studded, I mean a cohort of guest posts that will knock your socks off, including but not limited to:

Shawni at 71 Toes
DeNae at My Real Life Was Backordered
Michelle at Mormon Women
Allison at Simple Inspiration
Melanie at Write Stuff
Ken at The Craig Report
Some other dear real-life friends that predate my blog,
and Matt (my husband, who puts the stud in star-studded),
plus even more, because that doesn’t even include guest posts at the three other blogs.

Also, in association with the celebration, Montserrat is putting together a video of families around the world reading phrases from the Proclamation.  It would be really helpful if you would do a little webcam project and submit it to her. (I’m sure it will bring you lots of fame and fortune.)  You can get more information here.

There’s really nothing else you need to do about this now except get excited.  And get your kids all ready for back-to-school in late August so that you can spend September 17-30 basically reading blog manna around the clock.

More announcements.  I’ll be brief.  (I’ll try.)

2. I’m taking a blog sabbatical.

sabbatical:  any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

I know I’ve tried this before and failed, but this time I really mean it.  🙂  I just accepted a very-part-time job to teach a Doctrine and Covenants class at BYU that starts in a few weeks. (Thrilling and terrifying at the same time.) It has become clear to me that in order to make this work and still keep my focus on my family, I need to adjust my juggling act, so I’ve picked the blog as a plate to drop.  I’m sure I will pop in occasionally because loud people don’t shut up well, and obviously I’ll be up and running again by September (see announcement #1).  Other pre-determined exceptions are listed below.

3. General Conference and GCBC.  This week, I will still do a few fun posts about getting ready for general conference.  I have been hosting the General Conference Book Club here for three years.  I can hardly believe it.  It’s my “baby,” and I love it, but it doesn’t fit well with sabbaticals, so I’m handing it off like a faith-filled birth mother.  Becca will be adopting and hosting this next round of GCBC at her blog:  My Soul Delighteth.  I’ll post more information this week, but I wanted to give you a heads up.  It will be the same deal, same system, and I really hope you will still use it as the gospel-study tool it was intended to be.  I plan to still participate, but I’m just not going to host it for a season.

4.  My Pretty Darn Funny Video.  I posted yesterday about this video contest I entered.  Turns out that, after reading all the small print, I’m still confused about when the votes actually count.  The real promotion period starts on March 31st (I think), so I may come out of my sabbatical once or twice to do some shameless self-promotion and ask you to vote again.  I really, really want to win that Caribbean cruise.  Forgive me in advance?  Thanks for all your votes so far, and feel free to drop by right here at random and leave more votes pretty much any day between now and the end of May.  🙂

5. “I love you, man.”  I just want to say thank you for all your kind support here on the blog over these last few years.  This isn’t a funeral speech, and you’ll be hearing from me periodically, but really, thank you.  I’ve loved your comments, participation, and virtual friendship.  You make a sabbatical feel really hard to do.

Sharing

Just a couple things I wanted to pass along.

Today at 6:00 p.m (corrected!). MST, Sister Elaine Dalton will be doing a live webcast with Voices for Virtue via Facebook.  If you’d like to watch or participate by asking questions, that link gives all the info.

Montse and Jocelyn will be hosting a celebration of The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  In preparation for that event, they are inviting people from all over the world to submit video clips of themselves/their families quoting snippets from the Proclamation.  Check out all the details at either one of their blog links (Click on their names above).

Also, you know that recently I shared some of my feelings about fighting pornography.  I’ve since come across a few more ways to do that, but one simple way is to go sign this petition to Congress about enforcing the laws related to the pornography industry.  It’s a quick way to make a difference.

Have a great weekend, everyone.  I know I will.  🙂

Need to get out more?

Personally, I go back and forth between needing to get out more and wondering if we should go in public less.

But that’s not the point of this post.

I just wanted to remind you of a really cool, legitimate reason to get out and mingle with, you know, adults.

All of my grandparents have passed away.  (I know it seems like I just abruptly changed subjects, but stick with me.)  I have a book about their lives that was written from memories of their children– my dad and his siblings.  I am amazed by their lives, but there’s one part that always makes me get a little choked up when I read about it.  My grandparents had nine children and not a lot of money.  I bet it was a hard living, and it must have been, because at one point my grandma had what was called at the time a “nervous breakdown.”  She was temporarily institutionalized and received the modern treatments that were acceptable then, like electro-shock therapy.  (Have you seen A Beautiful Mind? The thought makes me shiver.)  No one knows much about what that was like for her.  She returned home and resumed all her responsibilities and life went on.  I knew her as a loving, talented, spunky grandmother that made great pies and good hugs.  I loved her and I miss her.

And now here I am, two generations later, raising three little children of my own in the suburbs.  And some days I feel like I might “lose it” too.  The noise, the to-do lists, the finances, the responsibilities, the laundry, the cooking, the carpooling, the [fill in the blank with etceteras… you know what I’m talking about].  I think of her often and how much better I have it than she did, and I wish, just wish I knew more about her real feelings and what life was like for her as a young and inexperienced mother.  How did she make it past those dark moments and just move forward and become so . . . majestic and wonderful?

And in part, my friends, that’s the reason I blog.  I hope that by writing down my stories, my own truth, that someday my daughters or granddaughters will read it and sigh.  Sigh for relief, sigh for camaraderie, sigh for hope.  You know, feel a connection that gives them strength.  I really believe that stories have that kind of power.

So. (Tangent complete.)

There’s this conference coming up that celebrates the power of story.  Even simple stories, like the day-in-day-out details of our families and our ideas and our feelings.  Like our BLOGS.

It’s called the Story @ Home Conference, co-sponsored by FamilySearch, Cherish Bound, and the Casual Blogger Community. The conference is March 9-10, 2012 at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  Two days of workshops, lectures, and entertainment, all about telling your stories, tracing and creating your family history, and all the wonderful technologies available to make it easy and fun.  And the December discount package is still available!  Some people I know and admire will be presenting there, so I know it will be worthwhile. Check out the website, and make yourself a date to get out of the house and learn more about telling your own story.

Facebook link
Conference link
Conference registration link