Cell control

Last night we had a discussion. Sam, Jeff, Bryson and I. Sam left shortly after it had begun. Jeff started pulling at his shirt as if the room was getting warm.

“Jan, haven’t you noticed where my cell phone is right now?” Bryson asked.

I looked at his hand, half expecting it to be clutched safely where it could securely be retrieved at the moment it was needed. It wasn’t there.

“Haven’t you noticed I’ve been putting my phone down when you come into the room and want to talk to me,” He implored.

“What is the hangup with me,” I wondered. Ever since attending conferences on technology use and abuse and reading the ever increasing articles about our 24 /7 connection to the world around us I’ve become aware and a bit sensitive…maybe even hyper sensitive about the virtual world takeover and I’m not sure I like it.

Let me interject this EXCELLENT ARTICLE if you are or aren’t sure that media is never nuetral.


What can cause consternation is the time it claims on an already full day (maybe you’re wondering right now how you’d rate the time I’ve required from you in reading this article). And then there is the weather report, campaign shenanigans, news, emails, tasks, and responsibilities interrupting my time or the time I think my husband ought to be directing to me when he is home from work. I’m even skeptical about that office (his cell phone) he brings into our room each night and puts on the night stand to charge. I’m not happy when it is the last thing to grace his eyes before he goes to sleep or when he awakens in the night. Sound like a jealous wife worried that technology is edging me out of a place of priority?

My husband is not the only one in our family to deal with balance. I’ve come in on my family gathered in the front room and wondered if I’d get better response if I just sent a text to each one instead of addressing them collectively with my voice.

And I, yes I, am not without fault.

I’ve had to catch myself at church (of all places) glancing at my app that lets me see the directory of the congregation and then try to learn names of my fellow congregants rather than focus on the speaker’s message.

We get to constantly make decisions about the good, better, best usage of our virtual multitasking and the value we place on where we are and the people we are with.

I’ve decided I’m a much more observant victim than self aware director.


The Next Step to a Better Life


This family looks like any ordinary Mom and Dad with 3 little daughters. But they are not ordinary. Both parents grew up in outlying areas of Chiapas, Mexico. Both are indigenous, which interpreted means in the caste system in Mexico, still either consciously or subconsciously adhered to today, they garner less respect or standing in their community than a slave. They are on the bottom rung on a societal ladder they need to climb to get out of a hole of poverty and prejudice.

Around 20 years of age Armando served an LDS mission where he was forced to talk to people, look them in the eye, develop confidence in his ability to communicate and practice speaking Spanish. His wife also served a mission. He returned to his community afterwards and studied in the local University. He would like to secure a job with the federal government translating Spanish to Tzotsil, his native language. Meanwhile, he does part time work as a promotore for Escalera and has a business raising chickens.

He stands in the shell of the cement home he proudly is building for his family in San Cristobal. He took Bryson and me to a remote village to attend church a couple of Sundays ago where after the worship services we met with the local leader to ask “Are there young people here that would like to serve a mission?” We’d like to help create more families like Armando’s.

I know where I am and I know how to get back

Yesterday was Sunday. My favorite sermon of the day came from my 6 year old grandson. He was playing with his sister and cousin on the front porch below our veranda. We couldn’t see them but could hear them. My daughter, concerned the little one was ok called down. “Do you have your sister with you?”

“I know where I am and I know how to get back.”

My daughter explained there had been a traumatic experience this summer when Sam took her 6 year old to Lagoon. They had seen a little boy that was lost. After returning home, he told his mother about the incident and she used that as an opportunity to teach him what to do if he was ever alone and needed help finding his way back.

I hope I have done my motherly duty. I hope my children can recognize where they really are and when they are lost are courageous enough to admit it and sensitive enough to remember what I have taught about repentance, the Spirit so that they and will not only know the way back but return.