Time Out for Women Highlights

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Time Out For Women this past weekend in Long Beach, Ca.  It was the second of such events that I have been able to attend and it didn’t disappoint.  If you ever have the opportunity to go, you should definitely take advantage of it!  As a result of taking Mason with me and having to walk him around during the majority of the speakers, my note-taking was nearly nonexistent.  However, the messages are still fresh in my mind today so I figured that I would take a moment to record my thoughts and impressions of the event before it leaves my mind and goes to the mysterious place where all of my other lost memories have disappeared to.

I really wish that I would have been able to take notes as I would have been able to remember more of the specifics, but it just wasn’t going to happen this weekend.  The ironic thing is that I have a feeling that when I’m older and able to attend these events without a baby in my arms, I will be wishing more than anything that I had a baby to walk around. 🙂  I am simply going to accept the fact that I had an enjoyable time, despite the fact that I can’t remember everything.

Here are the highlights of what I actually do remember from this weekend.  It may not be much, but it’s what I’ve got! 🙂

Friday Evening Session

Speaker:

Laurel Christensen

Highlights:

Among other things, she spoke on the subject of waiting.  We are all waiting for something.  Waiting to get married, waiting to get pregnant, waiting for a pregnancy to be over, waiting to graduate, waiting to lose weight, etc.  Laurel focused on the fact that we need to wait happily.  We need to trust that God knows of our situation and that we are exactly where God wants us to be.  When you pray for something to happen, God is capable of granting you your desire immediately.  However, He waits too.  He waits to give you what you want for the precise time in which you would benefit the most from it.  He may need you to learn certain lessons first so that you can fully appreciate the certain blessing that you are asking for.  God has his reasons for withholding certain blessings and we simply need to trust Him.  We need to allow God to mold our lives because, ultimately, He is the only one who knows what we need to experience in order to become the person that He wants us to be.

Speaker:

Brad Wilcox

Highlights:

Brad spoke about the importance of a name.  He talked about how each of his children received their names.  He spoke the majority of the time, however, on the various names that Jesus is also referred to along with their meanings (Jesus the Christ, Messiah, Son of Man, The First Born, The only Begotten, Son of the Blessed, Jehovah, I Am, the bread of life, the living water, etc.)  By the way, I don’t have that great of a memory.  This was the only talk that I was able to jot down a few notes! 🙂  Jesus is also known as the “King of Kings”.  Brad expanded that particular thought a bit and discussed the fact that Jesus is also the “King of Queens“, referring to women.  He told us that we are Queens and that when we look in the mirror, that’s exactly what we should see.  He then went on to say that if you happen to look in the mirror and don’t see the Queen that you are, try to remember the fact that God does see the Queen in you and He simply isn’t finished with you yet.  We all have the potential to be a Queen.  God is molding our lives and placing us in the exact situations that we need to be in order to help us to ultimately become the Queen that He knows we can be.

Musician:

Macy Robison

She was amazing!  She basically told her life story using music.  I bought her CD for only $10 and so I have the opportunity of listening to it over and over again if I so desire! 🙂  She talked about how when she was a child all that she wanted to do was a be a mother.  Life, however, didn’t turn out exactly the way that she had planned.  She got married to a man she referred to as “Rusty Armor” who didn’t allow her to have children for some reason.  They ended up getting divorced after seven years.  Anyway, to make a long story short, her Mom passed away, she was a music education teacher for 13 years, she ended up getting married to an older man and became a step mother of two adult children, and then she ultimately ended up having two children of her own with her new husband.  That was a very condensed version of her life story, of course.  She told it so well and the music was awesome!

Saturday Session:

Speaker:

Chris Williams

Highlights:

He started out his talk by showing this video, which you may have seen before.  He basically talked about the car accident and the days following the accident in more detail.  His story is one of incredible faith, hope, and forgiveness.  What an amazing man!  For those of you who are curious, he ended up getting remarried to a woman (who also had two children) who had lost her husband to cancer.  He and his new wife have since had two kids together.  Such an inspirational story!

Speaker:

DeAnne Flynn

Highlights:

You know what?  I feel horrible but I just can’t seem to remember very many things that she spoke about.  Perhaps this was the talk when everyone in the Mother’s room was laughing and talking really loudly with each other.  Who knows.  I do remember that she showed a video of a number of women saying the things that they always forget (forget where they parked their cars, forget the names of their grand kids, forget birthdays, forget to read their scriptures, forget to send thank you notes, etc.).  Ironic, isn’t it, that I just happened to forget her talk? 😉

Speaker:

John Hilton

Highlights:

This was another talk that I am having a hard time remembering due to the lack of notes.  I do, however, remember that he focused his talk on the fact that the Book of Mormon asks 543 questions.  He spoke about various questions and the importance of them.  Particularly the question “Have ye inquired of the Lord?”  He talked about how when we have a question in our lives, although we could easily ask an intelligent person and receive an answer, we need to work at finding the answer on our own by studying the scriptures and inquiring of the Lord.  I know that in my life I need to do this more often.  My husband is so knowledgeable when it comes to so many things (I swear he’s a walking dictionary and triple combination) that I often take the easy way out and simply ask him.  I need to make more of an effort myself to inquire of the Lord.

Speaker:

Julie de Azevedo Hanks

Highlights:

I really enjoyed her talk.  She is a social worker/psychologist and focused her message on various myths about Mormon women.  I really wish that I had been able to take notes on this talk! 🙂  She discussed the fact that Mormon women seem to always say that they are “fine”…when really they aren’t.  She emphasized the fact that it is okay to feel emotion! 🙂  It is perfectly normal to feel upset and angry and any other emotion.  Feelings are not good or bad.  The key is learning how to manage and communicate your emotions effectively.  She also emphasized the fact that we, as women, need to learn to take care of ourselves.  Make time in our lives to do the things that we enjoy.  We can’t help others unless we help ourselves.  We need to try to be our authentic self (the person we were when we were born added to our individual experiences equals our authentic self).  Doing things for ourselves does not make us selfish.

Speaker:

Emily Watts

Highlights:

This was by far the most hilarious talk of the weekend.  I don’t think I can begin to do justice to her talk!  She discussed a few swimming analogies.  One of which really stuck with me.  She talked about how when she was young she took swimming lessons and struggled with it quite a bit.  At the end of her lessons she had to participate in a sort of  “recital” and show off the different strokes that she had learned.  What ended up happening, however, was that she did a cannon ball off of the diving board and simply tread water in the deep end.  She saw the end of the pool in the shallow end but she just couldn’t make herself swim there because she thought that it was too far away.  She thought that it would be too hard.  What she didn’t realize, however, is that she was exerting just as much energy by treading water in the deep end than it would have taken for her to simply swim to the other side of the pool.  So she ended up exerting a lot of energy, yet staying stagnant.  She compared that to our lives.  Where are we exerting our energy?  Where are we putting our best efforts?  Are we refusing to step out of our comfort zone because it looks too difficult?  I know that I need to put forth more of an effort to step out of my comfort zone.

Musician:

Hilary Weeks

For those of you have heard her CD’s, you know that she’s amazing and inspiring!  She sang a number of songs and talked quite a bit as well.  She told one experience in which she had heard a statistic that stated that people think 300 negative thoughts per day.  She decided that she wanted to see if that was the case in her life so she bought herself a clicker to keep track of her negative thoughts.  She used this clicker for an entire week.  At the end of the week, all of her negative thoughts were accounted for, but she also felt extremely depressed.  She realized that if you focus on the negative, you will feel negative.  She determined to focus on the positive instead.  The next week she used her clicker to document the number of positive thoughts that she had.  It turned out to be a much better experience.  If you focus on the positive in your life rather than the negative, than you will be happier.

Anyway, that was the gist of my weekend!  I can hardly wait until next year!  Anyone want to go with me? 🙂

Advertisements

Have A Little Faith

So far on this blog I have shied away from talking about my faith.  It wasn’t purposeful, but it wasn’t accidental either.  I had a lot of other things to say, and I didn’t want to offend anyone.  But my relationship with my Savior is a big part of me as a person and a mother so I’m going to share an experience I had.

A few weeks ago I was doing my daily scripture study when I was reading in Mark 4: 36-40:

36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, aPeace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great bcalm

40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so afearful? how is it that ye have no bfaith?

It was one of those nights when I was blessed enough to be able to read a scripture and I felt like it was written just for me.  This doesn’t happen everyday, so when it does, I pay attention.

I felt like my Savior was asking me, why don’t you have any faith?

There are times when being a mother is simply overwhelming.  When I overcome my doubts that I am qualified to raise children to become not just  normal, functioning adults, but intelligent, serving, Godlike individuals, I still feel like the storm is raging around me.

When I’m up alone in the middle of the night with my teething baby and I can’t get him to go back to sleep and I’m so tired from these endless nights of no sleep, after endless days of going, going, going….I feel like I’m sinking under water and can’t get up to catch a breath.

I find myself saying, God?  I can’t do this.  Why do you think I can do this?  Carest thou not that I perish?

And no, I really don’t think I’m going to die from lack of sleep.  It’s really not that bad.  And I won’t be injured physically or mentally from having a long to-do list and boys who disrupt it whenever they get the chance.  But sometimes I feel like it’s so hard in that specific moment, that I just need it to be over.

I’m sure there are many reading this blog that have it harder than me.  I don’t have any serious problems in my life.  All my family is healthy and alive.  I have not gone through any serious trials in my life.  I am not trying to sound like I am complaining that my life is so hard.  I am not trying to sound ungrateful for the blessings that I have.

I am saying that when I am tired, everything is harder and everything seems worse, and I cry like a baby to my Father in Heaven, begging him to make thing easier.  I would like to think that everyone does that at some time or another, with any problem whether big or small.

I’d also like to believe that motherhood makes us turn to our Father in Heaven a whole lot more than we would otherwise.  Sometimes to complain.  Often times in gratitude.  Always turning.  Always praying.

I know that I can’t get through a day without praying to God to help me first.

I used to pray that my child would nap at this certain time and we’d get to such and such a place safely and everything would go perfectly and just as I saw it in my head.

I had to learn that I could pray for safety and for things that I was hoping for, but I had to submit to God’s will and ask that if anything does go not according to plan, that He would help me adjust and get through whatever the day brought to me.  That He would make everything that did happen be okay.

I believe this logic applies to all things, big and small, that may be happening in our lives.

I know that God was hearing me asking Him if He cared that I was having a hard time.  I was asking where He was when this storm was threatening my sanity.  He was on the boat with me, but He was sleeping, so I thought He didn’t care.

But He does care.

As I flail about life, panicking and wondering what is going to happen, He is standing there all along.

He will issue the command and all that is bothering me will calm and disappear and He will look at me and say, I was here all along.  Why were you scared?  Why would you think I didn’t care?  Where is your faith.

When I read that scripture, my heart swelled within me.

I knew my Heavenly Father was telling me that He was here with me.  That He knew some things were hard on me but that He controlled the tempest.  When it was time, He would calm the storm, and everything would be all right.  The wind and the waves obey Him.  He would never give me more than I could handle.  He would never let my ship sink.

I need to remember this daily and have the faith that He will help me overcome.  He can help me work and grow to become the mother I want to be for my children and the person I want to be for myself.  All I need to do is have a little faith.  My faith will help me to calm my storms.

(I love this picture, because it’s different from the first.  It’s not His disciples in the boat with him, it’s all of us.  We are scared, but He will help us.  He knows each and every one of us individually and he is calming our storms.)

Easter Sunday

The Easter Bunny came.  My house is full of candy and games and children all hopped up on sugar.  We are a happy bunch.  But the previous list is not the reason why.  Today we think about our Savior.  He is why we are happy.  Because He suffered for our sins, we have a chance to repent and live again.  As He does.  This is what Easter is about in my house.

(click on picture to see one of my favorite videos)

Flannel Board Scripture Stories

When Lizzie turned two, she started becoming really interested in scripture stories.  I searched the web a bit and found this website.  It was a dream come true.  Instant (well, after a bit of work) flannel board scripture stories.  My kids love them and they are easy to whip out for a quick FHE lesson, or (my kids favorite) just on a regular old afternoon when not one of their gazillion toys are capturing their interest.

I didn’t take any pictures of the actual process of me making these, but here’s the basic instructions:

1.  Go to the above website and copy the pictures (and text) into Word.  Print them out and color the pictures.  Yes, it can be somewhat time consuming…ask your older to kids to help, I’m sure they would jump on the opportunity.

2.  Laminate the pictures.  You can either go to staples, or you can do what I did (the much cheaper, but much more time consuming option) and that is to simply use packaging tape.

3.  Attach sand paper, or felt, to the back of the pictures.  I used my hot glue gun to attach my felt.  (If you want, you can also attach the pictures to Popsicle stick’s to make little puppets.  Or, you can put stick-able magnets on the back and use a cookie sheet rather than a felt board).

4.  Insert the printed out story and the flannel board figures into a plastic sheet cover.

5.  Store all of the stories in a big binder.

 

That’s it!  It does take some time, but it’s worth it.  Good Luck!

 

 

Simply Love Yourself

I have realized, especially since becoming a mother, that women seem to have a difficult time loving themselves.  One mother that I have recently conversed with hesitantly admitted that she even hates herself.  Now, hearing that just plain breaks my heart!  Seriously.  I can feel my heart muscle tearing to shreds!  It is beyond my capacity to understand how a women who is clearly beautiful, thin, extremely talented, and a brilliant wife and mother can’t find even one positive thing to say about herself.

Why are women so hard on themselves?  Why do they expect incessant perfection in every facet of their lives?  Why do women often allow a simple number on a scale determine their worth?  In my opinion, scales should be banned from existence.  Too many times women have become depressed because the number on the scale fails to meet their lofty expectations.  Simply put, numbers do not determine the worth of a soul, yet  modern society has somehow managed to ingrain in our minds that if we don’t weigh a certain amount, we are of no value.

Woman come in every shape and size.  They are all different and they are all beautiful.  Apples are delicious and so are oranges.  There are some similarities between the two fruits, but everyone knows that you can’t change an apple into an orange.  Likewise, you can’t force your body into looking  like another women’s body.  You can simply be the best that your body will allow you to be, based on your genetics, bone structure, and various other factors.  This can be achieved with a balanced diet and exercise.  Being healthy is a life-long process, not a mere destination.   Some women feel constant guilt because they fail to achieve the impossible.

Technology and the social media have unquestionably inflicted their damage on the confidence of women.  What would it have been like to live in a time period where it wasn’t custom to be preoccupied with weighing yourself, or to continuously be bombarded by entirely unrealistic photo-shopped pictures of movie stars?  In fact, even the simple reality that mirrors are found in nearly every room of a person’s house (and inside purses and diaper bags) has been proven to decrease self-esteem and to facilitate obsession with body image.  In the world today, people are expected to look good.  Period.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Well, at least it shouldn’t.

Satan is attacking woman.  He is fully aware of their potential and of their significant role in Heavenly Father’s plan.  As such, He deems it necessary to cause them to feel discouraged and to attempt to decrease their feelings of worth as much as possible via the various media outlets.  We can’t let him win!!!

We need to “be strong and of good courage” and simply love ourselves.  We can’t achieve perfection over night.  We need to simply take each day at a time and do the best that we can at the moment.  If that means locking yourself in the bathroom for a second and screaming at the top of your lungs to get out your frustration, so be it.  If it helps you stay sane and it isn’t inflicting pain on you or your children, I am all for it!

We need to put forth all of our brain power to try to feel of infinite worth, despite the fact that we can’t squeeze  into our skinny jeans (or that our chest sags, or that our hair is turning gray, or that we have a gigantic zit on our chin).  Although we may look in the mirror and see an ugly duckling, our Heavenly Father looks beyond our faults and sees nothing but a beautiful swan.   And really, isn’t that all that matters?