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:

http://parental-time-control-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

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.)

http://www.sofotex.com/download/Security/Parental_Control/

(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!

General Conference Book Club Week 3: Elder Christofferson

I chose Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk, “Moral Discipline,” this week because it has been on my mind the last few days.  I don’t know if you saw this recent devotional by Elder Oaks, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how our society honors wickedness and belittles efforts for righteousness.  Morality is the new minority.

o2009pulpit_5_7_chris

“Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard.”

“Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin…”

“Moral discipline is learned at home.”

“At a minimum, moral discipline will be of immense help to us as we deal with whatever stresses and challenges may come in a disintegrating society.”

Elder Christofferson’s talk was delivered during the Sunday afternoon session of conference.  You can read it here, or watch it here or listen to it here.

I’ve considered this message in context of Elder Bednar’s talk and our call to be people of integrity who live what we know, and I realize that the missing piece for me (in most cases) is discipline.  I look forward to studying Elder Christofferson’s talk this week and reading more of your insights and applications.

If this is your first stop at our book club, click here for more information.  And welcome.

(In other news, today is the last day to vote for the lullaby contest winner.)

General Conference Book Club Week 12: Elder Hales

dnews halescesfiresideThis week’s talk is the first talk that was given in April 2009 Conference.  Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about relying on the Lord and taking steps to overcome any addictions, excesses, or patterns that can harm our spirits and our relationships.  This was a great talk, and oh, so timely.

>> Click here to read “Becoming Provident Providers Both Temporally and Spiritually” by Elder Robert D. Hales<<

This talk was the topic of our Relief Society lesson at Church today.  Most of the talk appears to focus on finances and staying out of debt and such, but our teacher did an excellent job of encouraging us to look at all of that counsel and figure out what the spiritual application is.  The title, after all, suggests that message is there.

I think so many of us have some kind of addiction or excess that keeps us from greater success and happiness, even if it is negative patterns of thought or mood, so I loved reading the article in that light and realizing that we have been given tools to overcome those challenges.  Great article.  I’m anxious to hear your thoughts as well.

If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it. You’re welcome to join us at any point along the way, and we’d love to welcome back many of you that we haven’t heard from in a while.