Month: May 2013

Thoughts on Mothers Day Part 2

So each week I have to send out an email to the sisters in my ward updating them on the events of the week and leave them with a spiritual thought to encourage them throughout the week.  Usually I try to get this out on Wednesday but we had an activity Thursday and I had the writing conference yesterday so I hadn’t gotten it out and it was Saturday.  (They are used to me being late on this.  Sigh…)

Now many of you read my recent post on Mothers Day and how the day challenges me.  https://smilingldsgirl.com/2013/05/06/why-mothers-day-is-hard/ .

With those thoughts still swimming in my mind, I was tasked with saying something inspiring to women on Mothers Day.  This was quite the dilemma.    I hope you have all gotten the impression from this blog that I am not a disingenuous person and I am not about to put pen to paper on anything that is false or preaching doctrine I don’t believe or struggle with.

If I’ve learned anything in my life it is that honesty is the only thing that matters and the sharing of true experience is always more impactful than the privatizing of who we are and what life has taught us.  Sharing my heart with all of you through this blog and my friendships is my gift to the world.

Giving our heart is the only thing we really have to give.

So what should I write? What will be an authentic expression of my views of Mothers Day and mothering while also being helpful to others?  How can I write what I feel? Interesting question for a girl at a writing conference…

Here’s what I came up with. I’m immensely proud of it. I rarely can think of a moment when I have as effectively put my heart on the page:

“So Sunday is Mothers Day.  Please come and help us celebrate womanhood.  To be frank, sometimes Mothers Day can be a bit of a downer.  I’m not only unmarried but I’ve struggled to relate to the often ‘ooey goey’ version of womanhood that seems to be presented as the ideal at church particularly on Mothers Day.

I know I am not alone in feeling this way.  In fact, this week we were talking as a presidency about how pretty much everyone we know walks away from Mothers Day feeling inadequate, guilty or at least frustrated.  There are women in my life who refuse to attend church on Sunday because they are so wracked with guilt over their own perceived failures as women in Christ.

How can we fix this problem? I know Heavenly Father wants His daughters to be happy but does he accept our efforts when the standard seems to be so high and our output less than we wish it was?  Here’s something to think about:

“See that ye look to God and live.” The ultimate source of empowerment and lasting acceptance is our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They know us. They love us. They do not accept us because of our title or position (or I’d add marital, familial status). They do not look at our status. They look into our hearts. They accept us for who we are and what we are striving to become. Seeking and receiving acceptance from Them will always lift and encourage us.” (Elder Erich W.  Kopischke April 2013 Conf, http://www.lds.org/general-conference/print/2013/04/being-accepted-of-the-lord?lang=eng)

So, tomorrow on Mothers Day let’s try to remember that the Lord accepts us for the women we are striving to become.  He knows our hearts.  He loves us.  We are His daughters.  Perhaps we can turn Mothers Day into a day of sharing and fulfillment instead of lost expectations and thwarted dreams? I’m going to try and I hope you will all join me.”

So how did I do?  Thoughts?

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LDS Storymakers Conference Day 1

So it is late and my last post got erased so I will be brief.  I went to the first session of the LDS Storymakers Conference today and it was fabulous!  First of all, I got the day off work (pretty much the best thing ever…).  Then I was able to attend lectures all day on writing (and pretty much when you are discussing writing, you are discussing life).

The day started out with a lecture on pacing in writing, then my favorite was on romantic literature, then we had lunch and I was able to meet up with my Aunt Chris and Cousin Elizabeth King.

chris elizabeth and me at storymakers
Eating lunch with Chris and Elizabeth King.

They are both avid writers and have written multiple books over the years.  The amount of material Elizabeth generates is amazing.  She completed Nanowrimo while taking a full load at BYU.  Impressive. It was a fun treat to spend time with family and nice to know someone at the conference.

Next I went to a lecture on grammar, revision and proofreading.  It was a little dry but included a lot of good material.  Next up was a lecture on writing memoirs which I found interesting as I recently have been poking at a true memoir version of the events I have penned in my novel.

My notes on the lectures can be found here:

Pacing notes

Lecture notes on writing romance In that lecture I loved the quote ““Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others and the delight in that recognition” Alexander Smith

Grammar notes

Memoir writing notes

At 4 we had the treat of hearing from the keynote speaker novelist Anne Perry and I loved her words.  She spoke about how are greatest gift we can give the future is by writing the stories in our hearts.  I loved it.  One of my favorite quotes of the day was when Perry said:

‘Each of us leads one life but if we read well we can empathize with many stories’.  What is reading well?  Ponder on that a sec.  I believe it is not settling for mediocrity in life or in reading.  I have argued tooth and nail with people that feel ‘any reading is good reading’ and I don’t agree.  There is reading well and reading’.  I believe it is the responsibility of all adults to encourage ‘reading well’ to our students and friends.  Do not just be satisfied with the bare bones.   Clearly to Anne Perry it is too important.  In fact, reading and writing are what distinguish man from the animals.

https://smilingldsgirl.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/anne-perry.mp3

Finally we went to a mass book signing and I bought a bunch of cool new books (figured I had to if I was going to a writing conference)

storymakers 1
Got to get some books at a writing conference!

Seems like a pretty good day to me!  I’m looking forward to tomorrow! Happy writing

Now I am exhausted and off to bed!  More fun to come tomorrow. I feel inspired to work more diligently on my book.

The Village School System

Loved this refute to the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.

A Homeschool Mom

Here is a guest post written by my husband… enjoy!

Power, authority, and responsibility go hand-in-hand. Authority implies responsibility and the power to fulfill such responsibility. Responsibility presupposes possession of authority and power. Without authority and its accompanying responsibility, power is tyrannical. Finally, one can have no responsibility for something over which one has neither power nor authority. The point is, these concepts are inextricably linked. Let’s apply this to the problem in public education or what I’ll call “the village school system”.

Supporters of the failing village school system insist that more money will solve all of its problems. When one points out that private schools perform better with far fewer funds, village-school apologists will quickly point out that such success is largely due to parental involvement. Here’s precisely where collectivist ideology has a negative effect.

We’re all familiar with the modern mantra on the political Left, which insists…

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Why Mothers Day is Hard

So today I cried after church.  I cry a little bit after thinking about it.  Why you ask? It’s silly really but I missed my old singles ward and particularly my old bishop.  I almost always had a good relationship with my singles bishops.  Not anything too clingy but just they knew my struggles and I could go to them when I was hurting for advice and counsel.

I have found that to be almost impossible in family wards, both that I have been in.  They’ve been kind but not the sense of ownership and stewardship over me that I saw in singles ward.  As someone who doesn’t have much priesthood in my life I really miss that presence.  My father is really my only source for guidance and he is in California which sometimes works, sometimes not.

Today I wanted to talk to the bishop about Mothers Day.  Last year I went to the singles ward for Mothers Day and it was so fabulous and uplifting.  Mothers Day in family wards is rightfully a celebration of mothers.  Normally that is a good thing.  I also don’t think that everything should be about me.  The Moms deserve their moment in the sun.  No doubt about it.

Here’s where I struggle.  First, you hear on Mothers Day a million talks about how nurturing and motherhood is an innate part of womanhood.  This makes me feel like we all have to be what I call ‘ooey and gooey’.  I’m just not that way and it is certainly not natural.  I know God accepts me but that doesn’t stop me from bristling when I hear those kinds of talks.

Second, it is a fact of my faith that you must get married and have a family in order to reach the highest level of exaltation.  That is true for both men and women, so a righteous married woman is further down that path to be with Heavenly Father than me, a righteous single woman.  You can say no, no, you can make covenants later.  Well, that is later and they get to make those covenants now.  Sigh…

Third, I know the chances of me being able to have a baby on this earth are extremely small and the older I get the smaller they get, so the talks about how great it is to have children can be painful.  I’m not the most baby-yearning person in the world but it does hurt sometimes that the option probably won’t even be available to me.

Fourth, Mothers Day is a day where you have to hear over and over again ‘look what righteous thing you don’t have’ and I can only take so much of that.  We basically put motherhood on the same level as the priesthood; however, a man can progress in the priesthood through their own righteous activities; where a woman can only get so far.  This can be very frustrating.  It is true but frustrating.

Now, no need to panic.  I know the church is true but that doesn’t mean my life doesn’t feel discouraging at times.

So, today I felt sad.  Sad about Mothers Day and I wanted to talk about whether I should come next week to do my calling or go to singles ward again like I did last year.  I wanted to talk to the bishop and get some counsel on how to deal with this week every year.  When a meeting proved impossible, I felt sad.  I think that’s ok to be sad. Its part of life.

Luckily I have a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me and an earthly father who is ALWAYS behind me 100%.  Still, Mothers Day is hard and I miss my old singles ward and my bishop.  No getting around that.  Missing is a natural human reaction and I am oh so human.  I am not like Moroni and able to cope without both Godly and human support.  Sigh…

Btw- I have the best Mother a girl could have. Happy Mothers Day Mom!

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Nora Ephron

I so want to see Nora Ephron’s new play Lucky Guy but in the meantime I will reblog my post on her passing. If I could write like anyone it would be her. Favorite quote:
“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

I am woefully late on my tribute of Nora Ephron, one of my favorite modern authors.  While she wasn’t really  a novelist her scripts and essays had a way of commenting on life in a funny and charming way.   Some people might claim her to be a soft writer, overly nostalgic and romantic but to me this is part of her charm.  She gave us something familiar, something to smile at and taught us a lesson along the way. She passed away from leukemia on June 26th. My condolences go out to her family and friends.  I loved her work.

For example, in You’ve Got Mail she taught us the different ways human beings absorb conflict:

One character, Joe Fox says,

“Have you ever become the worst version of yourself. That a pandora’s box of all the hateful things, your spite, your arrogance, your condescension has sprung open? Someone upsets…

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War on Kids

I think everyone should watch this movie and discuss it.  I’m not saying it is right about everything but I do think it brings up some important points.  And yes, I realize this will ruffle some feathers but I think it is worth it to start a discussion.  (It is a long feature film but very compelling)

In my high school they closed down all the bathrooms during lunch hours, which with 3 lunch hours was most the day, and had 2 teachers in front of the 2 open bathrooms checking you in.  If that isn’t prisonlike I don’t know what is.

That’s not to say there weren’t great teachers.  It’s the system that is the problem.  Too quick to medicate, too afraid to listen to children’s needs, too quick to thwart individual opinions and thought.  Many of the good teachers are frustrated like this teacher in Rhode Island

Last year I sat down with my sister and helped her with her math homework and was amazed at how much of it she had to do.  Surely the concepts could be taught with a few problems thoughtfully done, not page after page of mindless reading and then sheets of figures. I was bored and I’m an adult.

My friend Megan is a wonderful teacher and I was blown away at how she integrated plays, science projects and other creative activities into her curriculum.  Sadly I fear she is the exception not the rule and many teachers want to be like Megan but are repeatedly discouraged.  I had one teacher in middle school who taught science with his guitar through songs and other creative measures and he was a constant annoyance to the administration, eventually being fired after a few years.

I was bullied as a kid and the teacher’s refused to do anything.  This was not just mental bullying but physical abuse such as being shoved into water fountains and my underwear exposed to all the students.  This was done with teachers supervising. Finally my parents had to take me to a private school to save me from the ‘little angels’ the teachers defended.  Its ridiculous.

And yes, I’m single and can have a strong opinion on this topic. So there.