Tag: General Conference

3 Conference Sessions and a Funeral

So I’ve had an interesting weekend, full of highs and lows.  It started out yesterday with the first 2 sessions of General Conference for my church.  This is where the leadership speak and give us guidance.  I really felt I needed this conference as the gay marriage debate had been kind of draining and I needed nourishment.

2 talks I loved on Saturday were.

The Savior Wants to Forgive by Elder Cardon

and

I also loved Elder Bednar’s bold teachings on the family, chastity and the sanctity of marriage.  I think it will be a standard for years to come on this topic.

How I watch Conference
How I watch Conference

I had the great experience of tweeting my thoughts along with the LDS twitter community during Conference and found it an enriching, wonderful experience.  I have always benefited from using multiple senses to absorb knowledge and reading, writing, viewing and listening to Conference help me.   This was the first conference where they actually listed the hashtag #LDSConf at the beginning of each session!

Saturday my Mom came into town for my cousin’s funeral and my sister came up to see me.  It’s for a sad reason but it’s still fun to see my family.

mom and sis

Sunday I enjoyed another great session with President Uchtdorf’s talk on hope really comforting me and giving peace.

Finally as my sister, Mom and I were driving to the funeral we heard this amazing address by Elder Holland:

This includes one of my favorite stories in the scriptures where the man hoping for healing for his son says ‘I believe’ and then adds ‘help thou my unbelief’.  Elder Holland used the story to show that starting with what we do know and what we do believe is important and should give us encouragement for the things we do not know.  He said to hold on to those truths and never forget what you have been taught by the Lord.  I was very moved and if I hadn’t been driving I would have probably burst into tears.  The Lord does know and He teaches us line upon line, precept upon precept.

The last few years there have been some tests but I can honestly say I am stronger in my faith than ever before.  No man or woman can take that away from me and I loved Elder Holland’s words of peace and assurity.

So after listening to Elder Holland’s talk I got to hear Elder Oaks and then spent the rest of the day with my family.  I hope to catch up quickly on the speakers I missed.

I’m so beyond grateful to have a living prophet to guide and direct me.  I am so grateful to be a Mormon.  I am so grateful to know the Gospel has been restored.  I love my church!

The rest of the night was spent at my cousin’s viewing.  I have a hard time with viewings and seeing the body.  It’s always felt like they are not there and seeing the shell of the person makes me sad.  I wasn’t particularly close to my cousin but you’d have to be made of stone to not be moved to compassion for her family.  She has 2 little boys who don’t have a mother now and her father and mother have lost both of their children to drug-related problems.  It is tragic.

I was thinking today about my brother and what if his two precious children were to die at young ages.  I can’t even imagine how hard that would be.

Thankfully we believe in eternal families and chances for exaltation for those that choose to follow Christ, even if it is in the spirit world.  This knowledge provides solace for the pain that grief causes in most of our hearts.  That said, the pang of missing a loved one is still there and can be overwhelming.  Eternity can feel like a long way away.

Life is certainly full of surprises and lessons.  Please pray for my family.  Thank you, Rachel.

ps.  The funeral is actually tomorrow.  Not exactly the day off I had hoped for but I’m sure I will learn a lot.  A time to ponder.

 

 

Missionary Age Change- My Thoughts

Any reader to this blog knows that missionary work is very near and dear to my heart. My mission helped me purify my weak layers in every way and become a lot more like my Heavenly Father.  It was a 20 month colossal size jump in testimony, conversion, hard work, a reliance upon God and  a simultaneous overcoming and awareness of my many weaknesses and failings.

More than anything else my mission taught me that I mattered to God and that my life could mean something.  In some ways I wish we didn’t have unpaid clergy and I could do it fulltime still today, as hard as it was, because no job will ever be as important and matter so much until perhaps I ever get the chance at a family.   But even on low days, all these 7 years later, I can look back on it and know that I matter and that God can and will use me to further His work.  How can that not motivate you?

The God of the whole universe needs you!

This is what excites me about the new age change for women (the men I hardly noticed although still significant).  So many more women will have the opportunity to know that God needs them to share the gospel to the world.  Its fabulously important to be a wife and a mother but it can seem constrictive for women who want to have an experience where they see different sides of the church and know that they are needed there too.  It just gives women options and options are empowering.

I cried when I heard of the announcement because I thought of all the girls dying to go and now could.  I thought of the women watching who would have longed to go but the 3 years of life got in the way.  I’m sure their moment of regret and ‘what if?’ must have been tender.  (Listen to President Uchtdorf’s talk that might help! 🙂 ).  I thought of the thousands of people that are now going to hear the gospel as thousands of new missionaries get to preach and teach and become the pillars God needs them to be.

Called to Serve Him. No greater work. No greater chance to become more Christlike (and yes I did wear that pink cardigan every day of my mission)

Even in the last year I’ve thought about my mission many times.  The transition to family ward has felt like a transfer to a new area.  Everything feels different and strange.  You miss your old area but you try to get to work as fast as you can.  I’m still not 100% but I’m trying.  I also think of my mission when life gets hard and I want to give up (and boy can it ever get hard, almost overwhelming)  In those dark hours I often remember my mission and say to myself ‘you made it through with power and strength.  You can make it through this’.  How fabulous that thousands of additional women will now be able give themselves a similar pep talk when facing challenges?  Makes me so excited!

It also makes me excited for scores of more endowment and other temple work that will be done.  When I was 21 I wanted to go to make covenants in the temple but my bishop said I wasn’t ready (which I may not have been), and had to wait until marriage or mission.  I had no prospects on the marriage front and was unsure about a mission.  I believe I needed this so when I went on a mission,  I was SURE, but it was a challenge to my faith at first.  I remember driving by the temple and feeling such a yearning and when I made those covenants it was one of the happiest days of my life.  I’m happy for those girls that don’t have feel that pain, as helpful as it was in my case, and can get right to serving.

I also cried when they made the announcement because I believe the change has an equalizing force in the church.  I love the priesthood and know it is God’s power on earth.  However, sometimes I have yearned for the Relief Society and roles of the women in the church to feel as important.  We always hear of the value of nurturing and motherhood but are never really sure what it  means.  Is it just being nice and comforting others?    Men can do that. Is it just raising children? Some of us can’t do that.   I just see this change as a step in the right direction of putting an equal importance on both gender’s ability to share the gospel and the need the church has for both priesthood and womanhood.

Finally I cried because of the advantages it will give sociologically to the church.  What I mean is men and women will basically be the same age and many have the same experiences during their college years instead of the 2 year, I’ve been on a mission, gap.  A gap in both education and experience that does and is eventually made up by almost all girls.  However, when one perspective dater has done so much and is 2 years older it creates an interesting dynamic when courtship and marriage eventually occurs.  I like the prospect of as equal life experience dating as possible.  I don’t know if that makes sense but it does in my head. Sorry.

In any case, the 19 year old girls should be able to get more life experience one way or another and hopefully marriage age in the church will go up and the long strain of the single experience may not be so difficult.  These are just hopes and projections.  Obviously we will just have to wait and see.

At the very least it gives young women options they didn’t have before.  It gives them the choice all the sooner to be come rocks in the Lord’s church as my mission did for me.  Good luck girls and if anyone wants to mull over their decision with me I’d love it.  I love talking about missions and missionary work!

I do have a testimony that we have a living Prophet, President Monson, and that this change is of divine revelation from God.  Because of that alone, I know it will be a blessing to the Church and World.  Go forth to serve!

Missions are SUPER HARD but they are powerful and profound

Here is the press conference on the topic if you had any questions

Rachel Eat Pray Love Day 2

So after a spectacular day 1 I awoke with great expectations for my Rachel Rehab Day 2.

Its interesting because it couldn’t have been more different than the previous day but still totally great.  (And it was a true Eat, Pray, Love Moment).

Started out at 8 I walked over to Les Madelines Bakery a few blocks down.  I must admit I’m exhausted from all this city walking.  It’s funny I always think I’m in great shape and then I do something I’ve never tried before or done in a while and it kills me!   All the walking I did today my feet are killing me and might have 2 blisters!
(I could only find 1 tennis shoe for half the day…Insanity is starting in).  So flip flops it was and I’m sure that caused more pain than was required.

Anyway I made it to breakfast at the famed bakery Les Madelines.  Everything was delicious but my favorite was the pan au chocolate (or chocolate croissant).  The hot chocolate was super good but very rich.  Almost wished I had someone there to share it with.

I also bought macaroons for my Mom as a thank you gift for her help with my surgery.  Yum!

My favorite pan au chocolate
yummy hot cocoa

How do you decide?
I heart this trip!

After my delicious breakfast I came home and enjoyed conference but to be honest it was hard to totally enjoy it after President Monson’s big announcement-   new ages for missionaries!  I think 19 for women is just about the best thing I’ve ever heard.   It will give so many more women the chance to serve.  To have the experience of a mission to build up their families.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we have whole districts on missions just with sisters.  I think the numbers will increase that much.  Awesome is so overused but fits.

Think of all the great people who will be taught, the service that will be done and the women they will become.  I am a huge fan of the new rule!!  I think it takes one extra step in equalizing the genders within the church which also feels good.

I was inspired (definitely fit the ‘pray’ part of my weekend).  I also loved President Uchdtorf’s talk.  He talked about life’s regrets:

“Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line, that we fail to find joy in the journey. . . we shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available — all the time! Life is not meant to only be appreciated in retrospect. This is the day which the Lord hath made, the psalmist wrote, rejoice and be glad in it! No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there’s something in each day to embrace and cherish. There’s something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy . . if only we will see and appreciate it. . .”

I found this very moving.  I do sometimes think if I had my dream job or a boyfriend I’d be happier. No I need to be happy now.  This weekend has taught me that I have the capability to make myself happy without any other involvement.  That’s power! (Well me and God but no other humans)!


Power to create happiness that’s a profound concept.

So after the first session I went to city creek mall (the new outdoor mall they built in SLC.  Its pretty amazing).  It was a lot of fun and very busy.  Still I got some Lush bath bombs (yum!) and headed off to Deseret Book (they have a lot of sales and things between conference).  To my thrill Alex  Boye was there performing and boy was he great!  He shook my hand and we briefly spoke.  He was so funny and engaging.  Danced, sang and did the splits!   It was such a treat!

Me and Alex Boye.   He’s so cool!

After that treat I walked around some more and then gave up on the City Creek restaurants and found a food cart across near the Harmons advertising tacos.  I love tacos, especially authentic small street style tacos.

$1 each! Delicious tacos.
happy face happy tacos
Taco truck. Just me or is the taco guy kind of cute!

To me street food can be just as exciting as a fancy meal with a paragraph to explain ingredients.  The tacos were prepared with care and full of flavor, presented with kindness.  That’s what matters.

For the next set of Conference my sister Anna came to join me and we cheered to the new announcement!

Mormon Toast. (Apple Cider) Cheers!

After that we went swimming and it was a lot of fun.  They have a great pool here. After all the swims I’ve done in the last year and a half I still find it the most relaxing thing I can do.  That and hot tubs.  I LOVE HOT TUBS!!!! I still have a lot of muscle pain each day and the hot water relaxes them like nothing else.  When my muscles aren’t tense I’m less tense, that’s why I love hot tubs and massages.

swimming= happy Rachel
Love hot tubs

We talked about the higher things of life which to me is actual talking but also some silly stuff too.  So fun. I really appreciated her coming down and spending the day with me.  Its funny how I can have such a fabulous time talking deeply with my best friends and yet enjoy being alone just as much? Seems like an impossibility but its true.

sisters. The thing I like most about Anna is we can both talk about our lives and hearts but not feel a need to solve those problems. Just talking.

She also gave me 2 t-shirts that are cute!  It’s so fun now that I’ve lost weight people can actually give me clothes without me feeling  a sense of panic that it isn’t going to fit and there will be an embarrassing moment.  Hurray!

Surprise gift seemed perfect for this weekend. Thanks Anna!

Next we went to dinner and being an asian studies major Anna loves that type of food.  I do as well but am maybe a bit more picky.  We went to Plum Alley which is minutes from my hotel.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled the last few days because it was good but not great.  There was something in the soup and noodles that tasted strange to me.  It had a spice I wasn’t used to.  Still, liked a lot of it.

My favorite thing was these steamed buns:

These pork bun sandwiches were really good. Honestly if I went to this restaurant again I would just get the appetizers.
Anna enjoying the steam bun!

We had such good discussions and I pondered on where my life is and where her life is starting out.   I envy her and at that same time am grateful I don’t have that kind of pressure.

Once we left dinner my family was in town for Conference so we headed over to my grandma’s and visited with my aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and grandma.   I gave my Mom some macaroons in return for her help with me during my surgery.  They were yummy (she cant have wheat or dairy so one of the few things she can eat).

My Mom
French Macaroons. Yum!

I’ve always had a good relationship with my cousins.  My cousins the Kings are great conversationalists and as a philosophy major, my cousin James is especially interesting to talk to.  I wish he was around more to wax philosophic with because so few will do that with me.  Most people find that annoying. I’m going to try and do better with getting my cousins together.

We actually played the game psychiatrist.  It’s one of those group games like murder in the dark but more fun.  We had a great time together.

Unfortunately my phone was out of juice so I only got one photo of the ice cream bar (Mormon tradition!).   My Dad took a bunch of photos I will post when I get the chance.

Wouldn’t be conference without lots of ice cream! 🙂

Anyway, I would say of the eat pray love days, this was the love day.  I really am so loved.  I am loved by God and Jesus Christ.  I am loved by my family and my dear friends.  I may not have found my true love but I should never complain for lack of love.

So, Friday eat day out of the way.  Saturday love day.  Better get some serious praying today 🙂 .  I think it will be a slower, more contemplative day so it shouldn’t be a problem.

On to day 3!