A few years ago, in December, I was wrapping gifts and– with the melancholy that sometimes visits during the holidays– letting tears slip down my cheeks as I mourned things that hadn’t happened that year, carefully crafted plans come to naught (primarily, a baby). I continued to wrap and cry, grumbling a bit that I wasn’t getting the gift I really wanted, when I remembered the friend who’d handed me tickets to a Christmas concert the week before. One by one, I began thinking of all the good things in the past year that happened without my planning, without my goal-setting. Joys, successes, new friends, small victories…handed to me with no effort on my part, wrapped up beautifully and tied with a bow. I ripped a piece of wrapping paper, turned it over and wrote down everything that had surprised or delighted me in the previous months. Continue reading your best surprises of 2014
I’m looking for a vibrant group discussion today. I hope you’ll contribute your thoughts.
Lately I’ve been ruminating on and talking to my friends and family about Elder Bednar’s message to “sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth.” His message is full of excellent guidelines, but putting his words into actions seems to be creating a lot of confusion. I’ve interviewed some very savvy young people to initiate our discussion.
Let’s start with my 22 year old son Ben, a student and Italian 101 teacher at BYU:
“I had to go to a training for my stake’s digital mission today. The idea is to improve the church’s presence on social media in size and quality. Some of it seems pretty cool, like creating blogs, but other actions seems pointless: liking church stuff and trolling for comments that mention missionaries. I’m still kind of at odds with social media. I’m totally fine with other people using it and I’m actually kind of interested in what some people post, but a lot of the time it seems superficial and fake and even damaging. Think about the way it’s changing our definition of social? How is working for “likes” changing the way we express ourselves? I’m still trying to understand how the church is so on board with all this stuff. Being encouraged, at a church meeting, to “live your life openly on social media” (that’s a real quote) just seems kind of funny. Live your life on social media? How about live your life in the real world? I’m still processing it all. Continue reading Let your light so shine or do your alms in secret?
When my ten-year-old Mary, made the goal to climb Mt. Timpanogus this summer– a trek of 15-18 miles– I promised I’d stay with her every step of the way.
On practice hikes with her brothers, I’d noticed Mary hiked slowly but steadily until she was rushed. When someone insisted she walk a little faster or denied her a rest, she froze, became insecure in her abilities and more than once, turned around and went home before reaching the top. Continue reading at your own pace
Recently, I talked with a friend about her 19 year old daughter Kate who just departed on a mission to Mesa, AZ. I know Kate well. When it was time for girls’ camp everyone wanted Kate in her tent, every newly called Mia Maid or Laurel’s president wanted Kate as her counselor, when Kate sat down each chair around her filled in moments. With her easy laugh, fresh faced beauty and complete lack of pretensions, Kate brought a flood of light when she entered a room.
“From the time she was a toddler,” her mother told me, “Kate’s possessed an amazing self-confidence. Because Kate knows she’s a daughter of God, she recognizes everyone else as a child of God. She never worries about herself, Kate always thinks about other people.” Continue reading Confidence and courage and all good things
Before a baby ever rests in our arms, most of us seek out parenting role models– people who have climbed the mountain ahead of us and can offer a few bits of wisdom. In books and in person, I’ve modeled my parenting after dozens of other families a few years or a few decades ahead of me.
Now, my kids are getting older (ages 10-22) and I still seek out families a few steps ahead of me (I’ve already targeted some fantastic mother-in-law and grandparenting role models) but I also make an effort to step back, spend time with younger families and learn from them. Continue reading parenting reboot