Happy Easter friends! I hope you are having a lovely time with your family and friends. Not only is Easter a great candy holiday (seconded only to Halloween) but it … Continue reading Happy Easter and New Prophet and Apostles
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Here is the press conference on the topic if you had any questions
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!
As I mentioned in my last post the General Conference of my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is this weekend. We have one session left and it has been a wonderful 2 days of spiritual feasting. One thing that has made the experience more powerful for me is twitter. There are 2 twitter handles #LDSConf and #twitterstake that so far has been 99% faithful Saints pointing out quotes and insights as we all listen to talks.
Some of you might say ‘how can you concentrate on the message while focusing on twitter. I would argue that I focus on the message more because the learning experience is expanded. When I was a little girl I went to a special school- Reid School- in Salt Lake. As part of their curriculum my teachers at Reid always used more than one learning method to teach concepts. For instance, when studying multiplication the teacher spoke the sums, wrote them on the board and then we repeated out loud the answers. This created a visual, auditory and tactile learning experience.
I only attended Reid School for 6 months but it had a profound effect on my intellect and educational development. I always try to learn in multiple ways. When I was in college I used to call my mother and say ‘I just need to explain this to you’. Simply reading a textbook or listening to a lecture was not enough for me to absorb information, but speaking it out loud kept it in my mind.
When I follow General Conference on twitter I am reading, typing, listening and watching. Plus, with DVR I can go back and listen again to anything I might have missed. This is also just the first of many viewings. Sometimes I will have a pen and paper and other times nothing at all. Each time I learn something different; however, the twitter interactive experience can only happen while watching live and I think it is worth taking advantage of.
@Stan_Way on twitter posted this photo of his set up for watching Conference. I think it is awesome.
By the way #LDSConf was the 2nd most popular twitter handle yesterday. Sounds like I’m not the only person to get on the bandwagon!
Its amazing how quickly the videos from Conference become available. Yesterday I mentioned this talk by Elder Holland and it is already up on youtube. It is an instant classic and touched on many topics that I’ve been pondering lately. I also appreciated Elder Holland’s explanation of the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard- something I’ve always wondered about.
This talk by Elder Scott was also very moving. So touching how he thanks his wife who has passed on for her continual inspiration.
I would also like to say a public thank you to the recently released presiding bishopric and relief society presidency. Bishop Burton has served as presiding bishop since 1995. Sister Beck has been in either the Young Women’s presidency or Relief Society presidency since 2002. I’m grateful for their service.
I am particularly sorry to see Sister Barbara Thompson getting released. As a single member I always looked forward to her talks and perspective. She is also a terrific speaker and her talks have helped me in many ways.
Well, one more session to go!
Had such a wonderful morning! With my family being in town I decided to host a little brunch before the Saturday morning session of my church’s General Conference. This is an event put on by the leadership where we hear talks, beautiful music and inspiring words from the prophet and apostles. I look forward to it every 6 months, but with all the challenges lately I was particularly anxious for the guidance of my leaders.
The first session was wonderful with an emphasis on families and on enduring trials. President Eyring’s talk especially moved me. He said “Trials aren’t always for punishment, but rather for polishing”. I’ve felt polished lately! He also said “If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts the power to endure will crumble”. This a sobering reminder that without studious watch-care my faith could erode. I will not let that happen. I will do whatever it takes.
So, back to the brunch. I love to entertain and make things beautiful and appetizing. It was a pitch-in (or potluck) but I made 4 quiches and an Easter Cake.I also got some daffodils and have a few other Easter decor pieces. All and all I think it turned out pretty well.
I’m getting my freezer in a few hours so it will be a great to store my leftover quiches in it right away! Hurray for appliance purchases.
What a great day!
Last week in the midst of the chaos of my race I got to enjoy my church’s General Conference. This is a meeting held twice a year in April and October and it is a chance for the prophet, apostles and other leaders to share messages that both inspire and clarify doctrine. I look forward to conference each year but with the struggles of this year I have felt particularly fed by it.
I feel so fortunate that I have a faith to lean on when times get rough. Sometimes I wonder why I need certain challenges but it is always comforting to know that God knows the reason. I know that I am in His hands, and as I seek to follow Him, I will find happiness. I have read and prayed and have gained my own testimony of Christ’s love for me and the validity of His Church.
So here are four talks that I particularly liked at Conference. Each of these talks display the love of God for his children and how that love is expressed in the lives of good people. For some reason I needed to hear that this month:
President Uchtdorf on service and worthy sacrifice
President Uchtdorf on overcoming loneliness and despair.
President Eyring on service
Elder J. Devin Cornish on tender mercies of God- I love the story about wanting a quarter and finding it.
This weekend has been a delight. On Friday my family (minus Ben and Megan’s families) came into town. They are here to visit us (Anna and I) and to attend General Conference for our church. General Conference is a massive meeting where we get to hear from our prophet, apostles and other leaders. I look forward to Conference every 6 months. It builds me up and inspires. Sometimes I just watch it on TV but with my family in town we made the effort to get tickets. My family went to Sunday morning, and I went with them to Sunday afternoon. All of the talks were excellent and encouraged me to be a better person. One of my favorites was Elder Holland this afternoon. It was a stirring testimony of the Book of Mormon. I wish I could show it to all of my investigators/converts on my mission. I will post some videos once they are available. Here is the audio of the talk:
A big theme from the conference I noticed was preaching about the love of God. With all of the challenges in the economy and around the world it was comforting to hear the prophet and apostles teach about God’s plan for us and His love for us. The music was also wonderful- with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing some of my favorite songs. Everyone should hear them sing at least once in person. It is great.
Meanwhile, I have been enjoying the time with my family. We have all been up at our home, the Anna. It has been fun to go hot tubing, play games like psychiatrist (we can play that for hours), talking and eating together and just having a nice time. My only regret is that Megan and Ben aren’t here. That would make it perfect. At least I get to see Megan next week. I haven’t been able to work much this week but its ok. I am doing alright. We had a fun surprise work-wise on Saturday. A woman who has stayed at our homes 3 times called and said she needed a place that same hour. Luckily, the Alpine house was available and we got her checked in. That was $477 we wouldn’t have earned otherwise. Not too shabby! I felt like it was a little blessing allowing me to have fun and put work on the back burner just a little bit. Believe me- it is impossible for me to completely turn off work but I did pretty good this weekend. It was great!
Here is President Monson’s main address. I loved the part about his birthday and all the service which had been done. I wish I had known about it and we could have done something for enrichment. Oh well! Next time.