Saturday, 26 January 2013

Stake Conference Activity Sheet

For anyone who is interested, last year I made a Stake Conference Activity Sheet. It's tailored for our times and area, but you could modify it for your needs. My son especially enjoyed it!


Let me know if it doesn't work!

Mood swings and dishes

I've found a connection between my moodiness and the state of my kitchen. It turns out, the dirtier and messier it is, the more depressed I get!

This cute little wall sign is just not true for me:

See the artfully "messy" display? That sort of a mess breeds in my house, turning into something like this:

Only my kitchen is probably about half the size of this one, with twice as many bowls and cutlery stacked up perilously high.

I once got published at a comedy site and they came up with this info-graphic to match my words. This is how I feel about doing the dishes most of the time:

It really is strange how my mood changes so significantly while I'm doing the dishes. We don't have room in our kitchen for a dishwasher -- and I'm not entirely convinced it would cut down on my work load anyway -- so it's just me standing there for a half an hour, at least once a day.

Once I get over my disdain for STARTING the job (see above), I actually don't mind it all that much. It's a bit meditative, doing repetitive tasks, and I have frequently received flashes of insight or inspiration while washing bowls and spoons. The feeling of satisfaction after a job well done is also nice.

I have this tendency to think that once I've cleaned something, it should STAY THAT WAY for a really long time. HA. Ridiculous, I know. I have four kids, for goodness sake.

But I just can't get away from the fact that my mood is linked to the number of dirty dishes in the house, or just the general cleanliness of the kitchen itself. I don't require it to be sparkling (the oven needs to be seriously scrubbed soon and the floor is always covered with something crunchy...) but I need enough space to prepare food and it needs to be clean enough to avoid contamination.

My standards are really high, I know.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Thoughts on Violence

Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. (source)

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have agreed to live to a certain code of values, one of which is described above.

Too often, I self-limit this set of values and focus only on the vulgar, immoral or pornographic side of things. If a movie, tv show or song describes/shows/infers sexual activities, I tend to turn away from it and put it out of my mind.

Am I as diligent when it comes to violence? Have I accepted violent behaviour as normal or even desirable?

After re-examining my viewing habits, I've had to conclude that violence permeated these forms of entertainment far more than I realised at first. I watch crime shows with images of dead bodies in gruesome circumstances, the characters showing little to no reaction to the scene and often banter or flirt while standing over the kind of gore that would make me vomit in real life. But hey, they are cops and "professionals" so it's all in a day's work to them. There are spy shows that frequently have characters hitting, shooting, and blowing other people up. All in a days' work, right? Besides, they were the "bad guys" and had it coming to them.

Or what about books? I have recently read a book that discusses violent behaviour over and over. The descriptions run along the line of "I hit him several times until he fell unconscious to the floor" or "I buried my sword into his chest up to the hilt". These aren't direct quotes, but you get the idea. There wasn't a graphic description of blood and guts, but I was still able to imagine a pretty detailed scene in my head and knew that the death count of the main character was disturbingly high (the character himself didn't seem particularly perturbed, however).

After I'd read the book, I considered watching the movie -- it's fun to see a story come to life! But after reflecting on all those fight scenes I had just finished reading, I realised that I didn't actually WANT to see it.

Is it odd to be so used to violence in our media? Is it better or worse to see violence, to imagine violence, or to play a violent video game? Are there shades of grey? Does it affect our psyche?

I suppose everyone has to come to their own conclusions. I myself have found that when I turn away from violence in the media, over time, my ability to consume it is lessened. I can't seem to cope with it as well and it can actually turn my stomach. I regret reading that book, and have decided to be a lot more careful with my choice of reading material.

I sometimes consider the reason given in the Bible for the Flood:

 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all aflesh had corrupted his bway upon the earth.
 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with aviolence through them; and, behold, I will bdestroy them cwith the earth.

It wasn't corruption through greed, tyranny, sexual perversion.... it was violence. People were violent, and God found that unacceptable.

That's an interesting thought.

Friday, 11 January 2013

What to Wear on the Plane; a Plan to Survive Jet Lag

In a few weeks, I'm flying out to visit family and friends in the USA, my country of origin.

Excitement abounds! I haven't been to the States in five years (almost exactly!) and I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and finally meeting my little nephews!

Today I've been thinking about what to wear on my flight. I'll be travelling for many hours - about 12 or 13 - and want to be comfortable but still look half decent.

Last year I stopped wearing trousers/jeans entirely, so I figured I'd just wear a comfy skirt with a nice top.

That's all well and good, but most of my skirts wrinkle easily or have waistbands that I wouldn't really want to sit in for hours on end (buttons/zips/etc). After reading other people's advice online, I wanted to do a bit of layering so I can keep warm or cool off as the temperature fluctuates. I have two jackets - a denim one, which is nice but not something I'd want to wear for long periods of time in a confined space (it's not stretchy enough) or a cute short-sleeved jacket that isn't really suited for keeping me warm!

After a bit of on-line shopping, I settled on Matalan (sale! woohoo!) and came up with a few nice items that should travel well.

The blazer is on sale for five pounds! Total bargain. The top (described as navy, so hopefully will go okay with the navy blazer, but I'm no fashionista, so who knows) is also five pounds

The gold maxi skirt supposedly has a slit up to the knee (it's very hard to tell, but I think it's that high), so I'll probably sew it up a bit. But for five pounds again, I am okay with that slight flaw. The waistband is elastic, so it should be comfy to sit in for a long time. Also, the nature of the fabric means that a few extra wrinkles won't look out of place!

I already have a yellow pashmina (extra warmth/layering), black leggings and black flats. I think it's a cute little outfit, and the clothes are all something I can wear with other items in my wardrobe. 

In fact, right now I'm wearing a long skirt with leggings underneath (gotta love the layers), a long sleeved top and jacket. I guess this is my "style."

Also on my traveling list:

MP3 player
neck cushion
warm socks
toiletry items: toothbrush, gum, deodorant, hairbrush, talcum powder
spare clothes just in case my luggage gets lost!

Is there anything else that would help?


My time in the States is super limited, and there is a lot of stuff I want to get done and many people I want to see while I'm there. So I've decided to try a certain trick to overcome jet lag: fasting. 

Apparently, our body clocks reset faster with mealtimes than they do with sleep times. My plane takes off at 9am, and lands in Newark at noon, local time. I'll have a three hour layover while I'm there, so my plan is to eat a super light breakfast before I get on the plane, and abstain from food until I land, eating lunch alongside everyone else in the airport.

There are lots of nay-sayers to this plan, saying that it's too hard to fast for such a long time and in such close quarters to other people who are eating freely, but I have plenty of practice fasting for my religious beliefs. I think I'll be okay! Hopefully I'll be able to distract myself with good books and snoozing. 

I think it's worth the sacrifice to allow me the ability to overcome jet lag as fast as possible, without resorting to over the counter drugs or caffeinated drinks. 

To be quite honest, although I'm not necessarily looking forward to being cooped up on the plane for such a long time, the prospect of reading a book with no interruptions certainly appeals!!