Mothers: Symbols of the Savior (+CD giveaway)

What has motherhood taught you about Jesus Christ?

That’s the question I asked Whitney Permann of MERCY RIVER because it’s the central theme of my blog– finding the divine among the daily details of motherhood.  MERCY RIVER is a musical trio of LDS women (Brooke, Whitney, and Soni).  With thirteen kids between them, they understand how busy a mother’s life can be, and they also juggle being recording artists and inspirational speakers.  Check out this video for a peek of them rehearsing and entertaining seven kids at the same time.

Here is Whitney’s answer:

What has motherhood taught me about Jesus Christ?

Motherhood has taught me many things. I’ve learned that patterned shirts hide snot and spit up better than plain shirts. I’ve learned that cell phones don’t work correctly after they’ve been sucked on too many times. And I’ve learned that I should always check for stray pull ups before I throw a load of laundry in.

I’ve also learned about polar bear habitats, all five signs of strep throat, and the name of every member of the BYU football team.

But most importantly, motherhood has taught me a lot about Jesus Christ. As a mother, I’ve learned about justice and mercy, faith and prayer, joy and sorrow, and deep, intense love. Each of these things connects me to Him.

We are taught that as mothers, we are “partners” with Christ. We offer ourselves as vehicles through which spirits can come to earth. But perhaps we are more than just “partners” with Him.  Take a look at Moses 6:58:

“As ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit…even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten.”

Isn’t that stunning? Physical birth (from a mother) is symbolic of spiritual re-birth that will take place later in life (from Christ). So, as mothers, not only are we partners with Christ–

We are symbols of Christ.

We offer our physical bodies in pregnancy and childbirth to provide life for our children. Jesus Christ offered His physical body in death, to provide life for God’s children. And both involve water, blood, and the Spirit.

But it doesn’t stop there. A mother’s offering does not begin or end with her body. Yes, a mother offers her body through sleepless nights, weary arms, a well-worn lap, an aching back, and a listening ear. But what a mother offers most is her heart. Her entire soul. And isn’t that what Jesus Christ has offered us as well? Just as we see it symbolized in motherhood, He offers us His body, and His heart and soul.

So I ask, how does this knowledge–that we are symbols of Christ–change the way we view motherhood? Does it change the way I see myself or my children? Should it? And what is the meaning of it all? Why has He chosen to use mothers in this beautifully symbolic way?

I think it means He thinks we’re pretty special.

I think it means that mothering should be reverenced and protected.

I think it means that by daily nurturing, loving, teaching, and sacrificing for my children, not only am I coming to know more about Him, I am coming to be more like Him.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love that, Whitney, and I absolutely agree.  Perhaps no other calling on earth can give more opportunity to become like Christ than the calling of a mother.  Thank you!

MERCY RIVER has just released a new album, “Higher,” and they are offering a free copy of their CD to one lucky reader.  There are some beautiful songs on this album.  I think my favorites are two songs I was already familiar with from the Christian radio station I like to listen to:  “Blessings” and “Better than a Hallelujah.”  This is great Sunday music, but it’s also upbeat enough for any day at home or in the car.

If you want to hear a song from this album, you can go to their Facebook page here and listen to “Beautiful Life.”  You’ll also find more information about their current blog tour and any upcoming performances.

So, you wanna be a winner?  It’s simple really.  In just one or two sentences, answer the same question Whitney did:  What has motherhood taught you about Jesus Christ? (Your answer doesn’t have to be original, just true to you.  It can be longer, too, but no pressure.)  Each person who comments before midnight on Friday will be entered in a drawing to win Mercy River’s new CD.

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General Conference Trivia Answers and Winners!

Reminder:  If you haven’t added your voice to General Conference Book Club: Week 1 yet, you still can.  Don’t be shy.  🙂

Well, you people deserve little general conference trophies or something.  Man, you were good listeners!  There were 28 questions.  Everyone who answered at least 27 questions correctly was entered into the prize(s) drawing– also known as Random.org.  (There were 11 people in the high-scoring category!)  Rest assured that I was not a tyrant grader; there was plenty of wiggle room when someone obviously had the right idea about an answer.  All the talks are available online to watch and listen to, so if you have issues with any of my questions and answers, feel free to submit a complaint form through the mail.  (All complaint forms must be accompanied by a handling fee of one bag of peanut butter M&Ms.)  Anyway… the winners!

Congratulations to KIMBERLY T. who won the temple print and SIERRA A. who won the Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD!  Send me an email with your mailing address by Sunday, and your prizes will be in the mail by … well, definitely by the next general conference.  I’ll do my best.  Thanks also to Lesa at Notes About Music who helped me host all this conference craziness and donated the CD for the trivia contest.  (If you don’t remember what these lovely prizes look like, go back here to peek.  I’m feeling a little too lazy to upload photos today. It’s been a busy week on the blog, people.)

Would you like to see the answers now?  Drumroll………..  Ta Dah!

GENERAL CONFERENCE TRIVIA CONTEST

 SPOKEN WORD

When President Monson addressed the congregation for the very first time in this conference, what was the first thing he said?            HELLO!

How many new temples were announced?  And which one does President Monson want to dedicate himself?      5-6: (PROVO TABERNACLE,COLOMBIA, SOUTH AFRICA, CONGO, WYOMING, +PARIS);  STAR VALLEY, WYOMING.

Finish this clever rhyme from President Uctdorf’s talk.  “The Lord doesn’t care if we work in marble halls or      (?)     .      STABLE STALLS

What kind of bird did President Packer refer to when teaching youth to learn from their elders?       CROW

Elder Perry spoke about the Church in the media.  He asked us to share the church and the gospel with the outside world the same way that volunteers do at what kind of event?      TEMPLE OPEN HOUSE

What did Elder Scott give his family as a Christmas gift in 1991?       AUDIO RECORDING OF HIMSELF READING THE BOOK OF MORMON

According to Elder Scott, what endeavor/achievement is “like forging a new friendship”?      MEMORIZING A SCRIPTURE

Elder Bednar suggested that young people are gifted in technology for a purpose.  What does he encourage them to do instead of video games, Facebook and surfing the Internet?            FAMILY HISTORY

Elder Christofferson said that we should smile when we speak about what principle?      REPENTANCE

Which apostle quoted a mommy blogger who said, “Motherhood is not a hobby; it is a calling.”?      ELDER ANDERSEN

 In Sister Thompson’s talk, she told the story of a woman during WWII who was asked how she kept a testimony through all her suffering.  Complete the woman’s response:  “I didn’t keep a testimony, …….”      A TESTIMONY KEPT ME.

Elder Whitney L. Clayton was able to go into the presidential palace that he had once taught in front of on his mission.  In what country?      PERU

Elder Ian Ardern gave a great talk about managing our time.  Finish this wise piece of counsel:  “Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to _______.”      TEXT

Elder Carl B. Cook found himself riding in an elevator with President Monson when he was feeling very discouraged.  What was the prophet’s advice?  IT’S BETTER TO LOOK UP.

What did President Monson lose as a child that helped him gain his testimony of prayer?      $5 BILL

What are the three points that President Eyring reminded us are part of our baptism covenant?      1. BE CHARITABLE   2. BE A WITNESS  3. ENDURE TO THE END

According to Elder Ballard, what 9 words explain exactly who we are and what we believe? THE CHURCH  OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

According to Elder Tad Callister, why are there so many Christian churches?  THEY INTERPRET THE BIBLE DIFFERENTLY

On Sunday morning, we were taught about fatherhood in one of the best talks on the matter I’ve ever heard.  Who was the speaker?      SISTER DALTON

Elder Russell M. Nelson said that the greatest compliment that can be given in this life is to be known as a    (what?)   ?      COVENANT KEEPER

 Brother Richardson told a story about mountain hiking with his children.  What did he do when they wanted to know how much further they had to go?      THEY TURNED AROUND AND LOOKED HOW FAR THEY CAME

  What happened to Elder Randall K. Bennet when he ignored a warning sign?      HE ALMOST DROWNED

When Elder Cornish wanted to eat a piece of chicken, how was his prayer answered?      HE FOUND A QUARTER ON THE GROUND

 MUSIC

Where was the children’s choir from?      PleasantView and North Ogden, Utah

What primary song did the Tabernacle choir sing during the Saturday morning session?      I am a child of God

During the Saturday morning session we were asked to sing the congregational song with full hearts. What was the name of the hymn? Redeemer of Israel

The women in the tabernacle choir wore two dresses during conference.  What colors were they?      BLUE AND PINK

What Hymn did Sister Dalton refer to in her talk?            RISE UP, O MEN OF GOD

Thanks for participating.  It was fun!

In case you missed it, the general conference photo contest winners are up now, too.  Go here to vote for your favorite.

General Conference Photo Contest– Vote for Your Favorite

One of the (many, many) cool things about General Conference is how it gathers a family all together for something that really matters.  And any kind of successful family gathering requires one really important ingredient– an intentional mother.

I love these photos because they witness that there are mothers who have prepared the way for their children to hear and experience the word of God from living prophets.  And they’ve done it in way that build lasting memories.  This is the kind of influence that Sister Julie Beck is always talking about:  mothers who know, lionesses at the gate, disciples of watchcare and ministering– it’s all there in the small efforts we make to bring our families to Christ.

So, the contest.  Here are the Honorable Mentions.  Thank you so much to everyone who sent me photos.  I loved looking at all of them. Click on any of the photos to see them larger.

Carrie.  Watching from his tent with a Lego temple.

Amy. Reaching for treats when they hear the keywords.

Cheryl.  All prepared and ready to roll.

Crystal M.  Basking in the words of the prophet.

Brooke.  Her children painted on canvas during one session.  So cool.

Kimberly.  Baby loves the prophet.

The FINALISTS.

Please vote for your favorite.  You’re welcome to write in another if your favorites were different from mine.  The winner will receive Hilary Weeks’ book, Believe in What You’re Doing.

Lara.  Concentrating on the task at hand.  A beautiful image.

Diane. Sustaining the Lord’s Annointed.  Over donuts.  I love it.Amanda. A session-long’s effort to create a prophetic masterpiece.  Isn’t that a great First Presidency?Vote here:

Poll will close at midnight on Friday night.  The winner will be featured on Sunday’s GCBC post.  🙂

General Conference Trivia Contest and Photo Contest

Good heavens, this has been a busy week on the blog.  After all this conference hooplah is over (I love it), I might crawl under a rock for a while.  Send chocolate.

Anyway, this is the third post in the last 24 hours.  And frankly, it’s all fantastic stuff, so don’t miss week one of General Conference book club or the chance to participate in a General Conference blog-share.  Today however (This is the last thing, I promise), Lesa from Notes About Music and I are hosting a general conference trivia contest.

GENERAL CONFERENCE TRIVIA CONTEST

It is kind of a long list of questions, but I hope you have fun doing it.  Send me your answers via email at dd.stephanie@gmail.com.  Submit your answers by Wednesday night at midnight.  Winners will be announced on Thursday.  All the high-scorers will be placed in a drawing to win one of these two prizes (So, two winners).:

An 8×10 temple print by Brighter Side Art and this Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD


Clickety-Click right here to get the trivia questions.

And finally, the GENERAL CONFERENCE PHOTO CONTEST!

Here are some photos of my family during general conference.  Please do not click on the photo of me wearing my pajamas.  (You’re totally not going to obey me, are you?)

If you took a photo of your family or children watching/participating in conference, email it to me at dd.stephanie@gmail.com.  I will post them all and select a handful of favorites to go up for a vote.  The winner of the photo contest will receive the book Believe in what you’re doing…  by Hilary Weeks.

Submit your photo by Tuesday night at midnight, then all photos and finalists will be posted some time Wednesday for voting.  Please put the word PHOTO in the subject line of your email.

General Conference Contests

In addition to all the warm fuzzies and innumerable blessings that you’ll receive for watching General Conference, here are a couple other incentives.  Lesa from Notes About Music and I are hosting a general conference trivia contest.

GENERAL CONFERENCE TRIVIA CONTEST

We will post the questions on Monday morning and see who was really paying attention.  You’ll type up your answers and email them to me at dd.stephanie@gmail.com.  All the high-scorers will be placed in a drawing to win one of these two prizes (So, two winners).:

This 8×10 temple print by Brighter Side Art

and a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD

(I don’t know if it will actually be this very CD, but definitely a MoTab CD.  This prize will be donated by the generous Lesa.)

Also, one more contest:

GENERAL CONFERENCE PHOTO CONTEST Continue reading