Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Of Words and the Way We Say Them

Of the several General Conference messages that have been on my 

mind since the weekend, this talk has had the most opportunity for 

application so far. Why is that? Oh, maybe because I'm a mom and

in any given day I talk to my children about a dozen different things. 

Some as ordinary as what they want for lunch and others as serious 

as what they are overhearing at school.

I've found myself reviewing and reflecting what I say, when I say it 

and probably most importantly, how I say it. 
I've made "perfect mildness" my new mantra.
Here's why:

"We can learn from that voice from heaven. It was not loud, scolding, or demeaning; it was a still voice of perfect mildness, giving firm direction while giving hope." 
"How we speak to our children and the words we use can encourage and uplift them and strengthen their faith."

~Rosemary M. Wixom , The Words We Speak, April 2013 Conference

This is a video of the full talk.

And then I came across this article:  10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling

I appreciate the author's honesty and candor and # 6 about missing out on 

life moments made me stop and think. So here's to taking deep breaths and 

using a mild voice.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Conference Packets and How I Get Schooled . . . By My 7 Year Old

A tradition that started out (I think) as a single Conference activity page my children received in Primary once - has become a 553 page printable packet. Okay, I'm exaggerating. But that is how it felt the first time I tried to print one. I don't even know when I discovered what mother's were making for their kids. Cue the guilt. Fast forward to the day after Conference weekend where I see the discarded paper (and ink) and have to wonder, did it help?

This year, this week, it's been a little busier than usual so here is how the following conversation unfolded between me and my daughter on the morning of conference:

Me: Conference is about to start, do you want to print a conference packet?
Her (emphatically): No!
Moment of silence.
Me: What will you do during the conference sessions?
Her (exasperated): Um, listen!

So this brings me back to how I felt when I discovered the varied and novel-length packets, activities, games and three-day scavenger hunts through crocodile infested waters that some parents  provide their children as a way to help them 'get more out of Conference.'

Though I feel like I'm speaking blasphemy, here goes - could what we do to 'help' our children be a distraction from what they need most?

Let me explain. When I attended General Conference with my family, we drove 30 minutes to the Stake Center, listened by radio for two hours (until the year we had satellite) and then drove home. This was in the days before, well, everything. So what did I do? I listened. What it hard? Maybe. Did I understand everything I heard? I'm sure I didn't. But you know what? What I did hear and understand,  I liked. And I remember wanting to go back. In fact, I'm astounded at how much I did understand and remember.

So maybe this: don't underestimate your children. Don't print 30 page packets unless the Spirit prompts you in that Ensign-story-like way. Let them listen.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Three + Things I Learned Meeting the Governor (and Driving with my Daughter)

I never thought I'd have a reason to meet the Governor!
It turns out every year the Arizona Governor graciously meets the honored women from American Mothers Inc. This year AMI also honored Governor Jan Brewer with the "Mother of Accomplishment in Government" Award.

Once again, I felt honored and humbled to be there. Ironically, I felt a little less nervous than when we were introduced in the House and Senate a week prior. Maybe less nervous because my bio was not read out loud this time? Actually, I think it was because I was able to bring my daughter as a guest. (I could have brought her on the other visit, but she would have missed an entire day of school rather than just one class.)

Three things I realized:
1. My daughter is a great navigator. No wrong turns and we got there on time!
2. A long drive + no siblings = perfect way to find out what is happening in 9th grade.
3. Wanting her to have a good experience is a much better focus than me not wanting to do/say the wrong thing! In fact, when it was all said and done, I loved hearing her impressions of the visit.

Three more things I learned:
1. The Governor is gracious and witty.
2. She got involved in politics out of concern for her children's education.
3. The Executive Tower at the Arizona State Capitol  has a breathtaking view of Phoenix.

And as evidence that I haven't imagined all of this--
Here is the Governor's Press Release and pictures:

 Me (Tamara Passey) & Governor Jan Brewer 

Mari Goodman, Judy Ward,
Governor Jan Brewer, & Tamara Passey
Mr. & Mrs. Bond, Diane Matthews, Judy's Son, Judy Ward, Governor Jan Brewer, Susan Ray, Karen Miskin, Mari Goodman, Tamara Passey, Marissa Passey

Governor Receiving her award from AMI
Diane Matthews, Governor Jan Brewer, Susan Ray

View of Winged Victory & Phoenix & a bird mid-flight!

Marissa & Me

Just for fun, I've included a little trivia about the copper dome and white statue.
It's like we're living in the wild, wild west or something!

"The white statue that has been a permanent fixture atop the State Capitol dome in Phoenix for more than a century goes by several names.
She is called the Goddess of Victory, Statue of Justice and Winged Victory, but for a time the nickname Bullseye could have also been applied.
The zinc goddess was cast in Ohio and purchased by the Territory of Arizona in 1898 for $150. When the Capitol building was formally opened in 1901, the 17-foot sculpture was placed on top of the copper dome to serve not only as a symbol, but also as a weather vane. But it frequently didn’t get the respect it deserved because of the cowboys who regularly visited Phoenix at the time. After a hard night in the local saloons, the cowpokes often amused themselves by riding to the Capitol and firing their six-guns at the winged icon to make it spin. Years later, during a restoration, workers found bullet indentations on her wings." ArizonaOddities.com


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