Friday, May 7, 2010

Women's Conference

The plans were set: rooms reserved, wardrobe selected, children cared for. Sorry, no casserole in the freezer. I was off to join my family for our annual pilgrimage to Women's Conference at BYU. The weather did cause some last minute wardrobe changes and necessitated some shoe shopping once we arrived. Oh darn... I met Mom and Dad and Sally at the mall and then we met up with Lindsay later for dinner...Brick Oven of course. It was all so familiar and something I look forward to each year. This year, for me though, I seemed to have a delayed reaction to what I learned and received. Maybe because of my own personal struggles....I don't really know. But as I have read through my notebook this week and tried to recapture the moments, I realize just how much I learned. My notebook was full of stars, meaning that I felt the Spirit a great deal. So with a little nudge from my niece, I will embark to share some of what I have gained. This is mostly for me, but if it happens to help another, I will be happy.

After the opening session with President Julie B. Beck, I felt that I could go home, having received everything I needed to come for. The theme for the Conference came from Moses 6:33-34: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me. How do we walk with the Lord? What does it mean to serve the Lord? What is my mission? We are here to develop ourselves and build the kingdom of God. Taking care of our posterity takes precedent over all things. Sister Beck spoke about Rebeca as one of the most important and pivotal people in her generation. She knew how to get revelation. Each of us is as important to our time and family as Rebeca was to hers.

What is the Lord's spirit? It is the power to know and do his will. Go to the temple and pay attention. Receiving and acting on revelation is the most important skill we can develop. We cannot navigate this life without it. If sisters of God know and do what they have covenanted to do, the world will be okay.

How do we choose to walk with the Lord? We need an increase of faith and personal righteousness. We need stronger homes. We must seek out and help others. We have individual and group responsibilities. Women are like a lioness at the gate of the home. She guards her home from evil influences. We must prepare our children to go out and serve the Lord. This takes power.
There must be priorities or we lose power.

Sister Beck developed a system that she has tried to live by. It involves three categories of priorities: Essential, Necessary, and Nice To Do. She gave a list in each category but asked us to seek to develop our own list by revelation. Essential: seeking revelation, spending some time in the scriptures everyday, personal prayer with pen and paper, time to ponder and fast, keeping covenants, repenting and partaking of the sacrament weekly, going to the temple frequently, sharing the gospel, expressing testimony often, giving service. The essential things are necessary for our salvation. Necessary: attention to home and family; making a home where the Spirit can dwell; having a house of order; cooking meals so that we can have a place to gather and teach; smiling!; teaching our children through family home evening, playing and recreating; being a support and comfort to our husbands; becoming self-reliant (which is going to become even more important in the times to come); avoiding debt; loving one another. Nice To Do: crafts, lunch with friends, movies, reading, hobbies, "time-out". These are nice but they won't save us. It takes personal revelation every day to order our priorities.

Now this is a mighty long list and we absolutely can't do it all. We must make our own list and prioritize to walk with the Lord. We can't do it all. We can't work every shift. For mothers with children at home, we must be at our best at the swing shift! Safeguard that time--meals, teaching, time together.

She shared a scripture in D&C 84:106: And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also. The single sister are strong! They don't belong to a "single" or "family" ward. Just a ward where they are needed and can strengthen others.

Visiting Teaching has great power when it is done correctly. We need to be a true friend, not an assigned one. It is an opportunity for daily service. Visiting teachers are the "first responders" when there is trouble. We truly all belong to a "relief" society, patterned after the order of the priesthood and functioning like a quorum.

She gave a suggestion for scripture study: obtain a new paperback Book of Mormon and write three questions on the blank page in front: 1) Who am I? 2) What are my responsibilities in the house of Israel? and 3) How can I fulfill my responsibility? Write the answers to these questions in the back of the Book of Mormon as we read and discover our answers.

One final scripture: D&C 133:57-59: And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fullness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity--To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord's errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight. And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit. I truly believe and testify that as women we represent those weak things of the earth that are being prepared for the Lord's errand. We shall confound the wise and thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit. We have a great work that the world would tell us is unimportant. There is nothing farther from the truth. Satan would have us believe that womanhood and motherhood are of lesser value. The opposite is true! But we must walk with the Lord to have the strength and power to fulfill our divine missions. I know this is true.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Family Fun Fourth!

This past weekend was the Hales Family Reunion. We were based at Mom and Dad's house and went on many great little excursions. I will say that this was one of my favorite family reunions. I felt so much love for my wonderful family. Thanks to everyone for being the BEST!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Haley's Mini-Man Dance

Haley is running for Junior Class V.P. We worked hard all weekend putting this skit together. I don't know how it will come across on the video, but in real life it was HILARIOUS!! My camera kept shutting off so you will have to watch it in 3 segments. She'll find out this afternoon the outcome of the election. I'll let you all know. You'll have to scroll down to the bottom of the blog and pause my music first.

Monday, April 20, 2009

He Is My Joy and My Song

We were late. Again. A last minute decision sent us running to another chapel across town. As we stood waiting to enter, we were warned that there were no seats available. I didn't want to make a grand entrance and parade to the front row. The special guest has now arrived! Let the meeting begin! As the doors swung open, three people on the back row made their exit and we quickly squeezed four bodies into the three places. I greeted a familiar face next to me and took a moment to scan the room for more. It felt so familiar. The same families on the same benches; some bigger than before and some smaller. Families have a way of doing that. They grow and then they shrink. A wave of homesickness washed over me as I looked to the front left pew where my own family had always resided. How I miss the Milton Ward. I quickly spotted my special friends and exhaled in relief. Friends have a way of bringing comfort just in knowing that they are nearby.

The meeting proceeded. The first speaker began in a sing-song voice. She spoke with enthusiasm about friends as if we were all five years old. We all need friends. True. I listened with anticipation for the end to come. Not that I didn't enjoy what she was saying, but the purpose for my visit was next. I fidgeted in my seat. It was time. My heart jumped as I watched the two nervous 17-year-olds walk to the pulpit. My best friend followed them and sat at the piano. Her beautiful daughter sat with her. I knew her job would be turning the pages. She spotted me on the back row and gave me her warm, familiar smile. I was glad she knew I was there. The piano began the familiar notes that only weeks before had not existed until I carefully arranged them on the page. The inexperienced boy and girl stood nervously waiting for their entrance. They began. "The Lord is my light. Then why should I fear?" That first phrase brought peace. I relaxed and let the music float toward me and around me and finally into me. "The Lord is my Light! He is my joy and my song!" I thought my heart would literally burst as I felt the reality of those words. Tears streamed down my cheeks. "He is my Redeemer, my Savior and King. This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring." I was filled with that assurance. "By day and by night, He leads me along." It felt a little like giving birth but without the pain. Joy, joy, joy! That's the only way to describe it. My friend looked for me as she walked back from the piano. Our eyes met for a moment and I knew that it was good.

Whether I share it in word or in song, I must declare that Jesus Christ is my Light! He is my salvation from sorrow and sin. He is my strength. I know in His might I'll conquer at length. He leads me along and I willingly follow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Bit Of A Review

My thoughts are not focused in the least this morning, but I miss blogging so I will proceed unprepared. Let's see, I will start with this weekend and work my way backwards. General Conference...AMAZING! We enjoyed the family time and ate too much great food. I was excited to see that Haley and Collin had their favorite talks and are growing in their love for the Gospel. Did I have a favorite? So hard to choose. Elder Bednar's talk on the temple was one of my favorites. Elder Christopherson's talk on covenants was also very meaningful to me. I am so grateful to led by a prophet of God in these troubled times.

I was able to attend the General Auxillary Leadership Training last week with the General Young Women's Presidency. It was just what I needed to hear. I've been feeling a little trunky in my young women's calling, but it was clear to me within the first 5 minutes of Sister Dalton's message that I still have a purpose and a mission to fulfill as a young woman leader. I have found a renewed love for my calling and more specifically for "my" girls.

In connection with this, I decided to work on the Virtue value in personal progress. I have been learning some amazing things connected to virtue such as more about the kind of woman I want to be, the connection between virtue and the Holy Spirit, and where I personally stand on this path of virtue. I intend to complete this project and re-earn my Young Womenhood Recognition. A great project!

From my last post, you can see the fruits of my labors of the past 2 weeks: Haley's prom dress. We had a great time designing and making her dress together. It was a lot more work than I had imagined and made me appreciate my own Mom. She was also a great help with this project. I'm sure I called her at least 2 or 3 times a day. I don't know if we really saved money by making the dress if you include time. But Mom reminded me that as mother's, we don't count our time. It is truly a labor of love. I learned more about sacrifice and motherhood with this project than I have in a long time. What a wonderful blessing to be a mother!

Prior to the prom dress project, Sally asked me to speak at her Relief Society Birthday Pary. Sally is an amazing planner and the party was spectacular! There was a "Zen" theme with bamboo, rocks, sand, and gorgeous fresh flowers. The food was delicious. I spoke about the symbolism of bamboo: it is strong and resilient, it adapts to difficult environments and bends with the wind without breaking. Then I talked about my own life experiences that have required me to bend and adapt and most of all, trust in the Lord with all my heart. I wrote an arrangement of "The Lord Is My Light" for that night and Haley sang it with me. It was a tremendous growing experience for me. I learned so much and realized that I have a message to share. My life experiences have more meaning when they can be of help to someone else. Thank you, Sally, for a life-changing experience.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Prom!!

Prom Pictures!!

I could write pages about the last two weeks, the dress, etc. Later...