Highlights from the March 2014 General Women’s Meeting

The invitation for all women age 8 and up to view the General Women’s Meeting is an exciting change.  My oldest daughter is now 9 years old and it was wonderful to watch that session together. I hope that she will remember what she feels as she hears the inspired messages, and be grateful to be a woman in the latter-days. The theme of making and keeping our covenants, and finding strength in our covenants, was the prevailing message I took home from the meeting. Here are my notes from the speakers.

Sister Wixom (Primary): *COVENANTS. Review the YW theme “We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love him.” We make covenants. Baptism and the sacrament lead us to the temple. Hold fast to the covenants on the path. “Lift up your heart and rejoice, and cleave to your covenants” (D&C 25:13, revelation given to Emma Smith).1324725-2

Sister Oscarson (Young Women): We are sisters who are united. Sisters take care of each other. When we compare ourselves to others we will always feel inadequate–so don’t do it! Women really need each other. *Be a Primary leader who loves children. Testify to others of the great blessings of RS.*As we look beyond our differences in age and circumstance to nurture and serve one another, we will be filled with the LOVE of Christ. I invite you to not only LOVE each other more, but LOVE each other better.41138

Sister Burton (Relief Society): our work is to be a disciple–come and follow him. Mormon declared “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ” (find scripture reference?) Being a disciple is a gift. The best way to strengthen a home is to keep covenants. *What does it mean to me to be a disciple of Christ? Help Wanted–step forward in righteousness and be a disciple.

“We are cov’nant [daughters] with a gift to give.  We will teach the gospel by the way we live.With each word and action, we will testify: We believe, and we serve Jesus Christ.”

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President Eyring (First Presidency): “Inasmuch as parents teach children in Zion…” (D&C 68:25-27). You are one of the favored few, a daughter in the covenant. Keep the commitment to comfort and serve. Heavenly Father sees not only what you are, but what you may become. Satan is attacking sisters earlier, while the Lord is lifting sisters to higher levels of spirituality. Follow the examples of great women–study Eve. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart…” (Proverbs 3:5-6)1324834

To access full text and video of the General Women’s Meeting, click here.

April 2014 General Conference: Sunday Highlights

General Conference was wonderful. I have much to think upon and am inspired to improve upon in my life. Here is my quick run-down of the talks from today. Note–my children were a little more antsy today (as to be expected for their age of course), so my notes are not as complete as I would have liked. But thankfully modern technology makes all of the talks readily accessible to study again in my own quiet time!

President Uchtdorf: GRATITUDE. Being grateful makes life sweeter. As disciples of Christ we are commanded to thank the Lord in all things. We should be grateful in times of trial, not just when things are going our way. Recognize God’s handiwork in the tapestry of life. *Study gratitude/thankfulness as an attribute of Christ.1329788

Elder Ballard: Preach My Gospel teaches how to invite and follow-up–study this manual. Invite someone to hear the missionaries 4 times a year.

Sister Stevens: Heavenly Father accomplishes his miracles one prayer at a time, one person at a time. The gospel is not a checklist of things to do. It lives in our hearts. “Fear not, I am with thee, be not dismayed” (Hymn, and Isaiah 41:10)

Bishop Stevenson: stories of 3 LDS Olympians. This life is our “4minutes”-our day to perform our labors.  ”Let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Make an action plan for family members and their next essential ordinance (ie. baptism, endowment…)1329810

Elder Bednar: story of the man, the truck, and the load. Bearing a load is part of the Father’s plan. “Come unto me all ye that labor”. Making covenants yokes us with Jesus Christ, he will share our load. Alma and his people-burdens are made light through the load. *INCREASED CAPACITY-pray for this in my roles and responsibility. The atonement is for those who are trying to become better.

President Monson: LOVE is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our exemplar. Other attributes of love. Recognize someone’s need and respond. Everyday we are given opportunities to show love and kindness. “Charity is the pure love of Christ”. *Love should be the very heart of family life. Be compassionate and encouraging. *Rise in the morning determined to respond with love and kindness to whatever may come that day.1329823

President Packer: gaining a testimony.1329908

Elder Walker: every member should know the conversion stories of their ancestors. *Research these stories and compile them for my children-this would be the greatest gift. Stay true to the faith.

Elder Perry: obedience is a choice.1329882

Elder Corbridge: story of Joseph Smith. The truth will always be opposed.

Elder Teh: we need to recognize when enough is enough (in temporal things). “For where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also”. *Where do I devote my time and treasure? *Study and understand the doctrine of Christ.

Elder Aidakaitus: one should not roam through garbage. Revelation is knowledge.

Elder Christofferson: account of Christi’s resurrection. The grace of Christ is real. It is only through him that we are saved.

President Monson: nourish our testimonies constantly that they may be a strength to us. *May we ever be found doing the work of the Lord.

April 2014 General Conference: Saturday Highlights

General Conference so far has been wonderful. I was more conscientious about note taking this time around, so I just wanted to recap a few of my favorites. Note that some of these might not be actual quotes, but what my head and heart heard as I listened today.

Elder Holland: Christlike love is the greatest need on our planet. How do I love as Christ does? Pure christlike love flowing from pure righteousness can change the world.1328737

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Elder Rasband: Love, prayers, appreciation

Sister Reeves: how do we lead children to deep conversion? By “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ…(2 Nephi 25:26). Daily scripture study and prayer and weekly FHE should be the priority-it doesn’t matter in the long run whether the dishes or laundry are done. The Book of Mormon carries power to protect families-how can I study it more and better?1328748

Elder Anderson: challenges will come, but the Lord can strengthen you. The Book of Mormon protects from the world’s whirlwinds. Stand in holy places.1328753

President Eyring: everyday you can choose to make or keep a covenant with God. If you let the Lord be the leader of your family, things will work out.

Elder Nelson: faith is the antidote of fear. Even if everyone is doing it, wrong is never right.1328948

Elder Scott: loving them is a powerful motivation for influencing those you want to help. The greatest example who ever walked the earth is our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Elder Hales: obedience is motivated by true love.

Elder Cook: our doctrinal obligation is to to our own ancestors. Do the work for my family, both the roots and the branches. Our family history centers are now in our homes.

General Conference at our house

It’s General Conference weekend, and that makes me smile for a number of reasons.

1) What a blessing it is that we can hear words of wisdom from a living prophet and apostles. So many talks are exactly what I need to hear, and provide the fortification I need to carry on in my roles as mother and wife.

2)Traditions! How we watch General Conference as a family centers on a few traditions that my children know and enjoy. Traditions are a good thing.

3)The entire weekend with my family! No other meetings for my husband or myself.

4)Good food to eat!

Here is a little peak at what General Conference weekend is like at our house.

In the week prior, we spend some time talking to our children about General Conference and the importance of it. We usually have a FHE lesson about it, and we review the names of the First Presidency and the 12 Apostles. I have a little set of flashcards with their pictures and we sing a little song (to the tune of 10 Little Indians) to help remember their names in order : Monson, Eyring, Uchtdorf, Packer, Perry, Nelson…We keep the cards up all week.General-Conference-Quotes-6

This week I came across some great printables from the Red Headed Hostess about General Conference. We talked about them at breakfast, and added them to our wall with the apostles pictures.General-Conference-Quotes-5

Conference Saturday at our house means crepes for breakfast! Today we ate ours with nutella, strawberries, bananas, powdered sugar, whipped cream, and coconut (well, some just had nutella, and some just had powdered sugar, but we had yummy options!).

We have some very nice friends who invited us to watch a session with them and have lunch with them afterward. That was lovely! We don’t require our children to watch all of the sessions of conference, so it was fun for them to have friends to play with outside when they were wiggly. And the ribs for lunch were fantastic! I wanted to bring something yummy as an appetizer to share, and when in doubt for a new recipe, you can’t go wrong with Our Best Bites. I browsed their index and discovered this Fresh Fruit Bruschetta with Honey Orange Cream.OBB Fruit Bruschetta 1 crIt turned out really yummy and will definitely be added to my regular recipe list. I made mine today with strawberries, oranges, and pineapple, but you can really use any kind of fruit. My crazy kiddos who don’t eat fruits or veggies (okay, they eat a few, but that’s a topic for another day) were happy with the cinnamon toasted bread.

General Conference weekend also means activity packets. Hello, Sugardoodle for a plethora of options! I showed my children some of the options available and let them pick out what interested them. My 9-year-old picked the Mormon Cartoonist packet by Arie Van De Graaff. She is working on listening more and learning how to take notes.  My 6-year-old picked the Ultimate General Conference packet, A to Z by Food Storage and Beyond. There are a lot of activities in there, and it should keep her occupied the entire weekend, plus more Sunday’s to come in the future. My 4-year-old didn’t pick a packet, since that is not really his thing. He played outside a lot today, and will most likely be occupied with cars and trains and legos.

The last step of preparation this morning involved removing the General Authority poster from the most recent conference Ensign. The children get to put a sticker on the picture of whoever is speaking.IMG_1250

I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve for General Conference Sunday. My children love the “Don’t Eat Pete” game, so when I saw this Prophet version by Cookie Nut Creations I had to download it.  We will play it tomorrow (and raid our Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day candy stash in the process).Don't Eat Me-4

General Conference Sunday also means…cinnamon rolls made by my husband! Can’t wait!

This post has focused on more of the fun traditions and activities of General Conference. These are important and nice, but of course the most important thing is the messages we hear by the apostles and through the spirit. What a wonderful time!

Endure to the End (a spiritual analogy for runners)

Elder Maynes makes an insightful analogy between running a race and enduring trials in life. As a beginning runner, his words took on new meaning to me.

Our ability to endure to the end in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion. When our testimonies are strong and we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, our choices will be inspired by the Holy Ghost, they will be Christ-centered, and they will support our desire to endure in righteousness. If our testimonies are weak and our conversion superficial, the risk is much greater that we will be enticed by the false traditions of the world to make poor choices.”

“The Apostle Paul stated, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”5 The race that is set before us on this earth is an endurance race filled with obstacles. The obstacles in this race are the challenges we wake up to each morning. We are here on earth to run the race, to exercise our moral agency, and to choose between right and wrong. In order to honorably and successfully finish the race and return to our Heavenly Father, we will need to pay the price of dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline. We need to get into spiritual shape. We need to develop spiritual stamina. We need strong testimonies that will lead to true conversion, and as a result we will find within ourselves the inner peace and strength needed to endure whatever challenges we may face.”

Elder Richard J. Maynes, “The Strength to Endure”. October 2013 General Conference.

10 steps to success in the Lord’s way

There is a great  article by Elder Richard G. Scott in the February 2014 Ensign, “Living a Life of Peace, Joy, and Purpose”.  He shared 10 specific things to lead to success in following the plan of the Lord for your life.

1.Establish principles to guide your life.

2. Don’t make exceptions to your standards.

3. Be loyal.

4. Live so that the Lord can guide you.

5. Serve others.

6. Smile.

7. Don’t complain.

8. Always have a Church assignment.

9. Worship in the temple.

10. Follow the Savior’s example.

“As an exceptional son or daughter of God, you are sorely needed. There is an urgent need for more men and women like you who will stand for principles against the growing pressures to compromise those very principles. Men and women are needed who will act nobly and courageously for what the Lord has defined as right—not for what is politically correct or socially acceptable. We need individuals who have the spiritual, righteous influence that will motivate others to live honorably. We need statesmen with integrity, businessmen who are honest and morally clean, attorneys who defend justice and the legal system, and government officials who preserve principle because it is right. Above all, we need mothers and fathers who will preserve the sanctity and safety of the home and the integrity of the family in which faith in God and obedience to His commandments are taught as the foundation of a productive life.”

“What is our ultimate priority?” (Wisdom from Elder Oaks)

One theme that seems to always be ever present in my mind is that of priorities. As a wife and a mother, am I really focusing on the things that are of most importance? Am I more concerned about cleaning the house than I am about nurturing my children? I never quite seem to fully answer the question, so I am continuously  studying more on this topic (and this blog is my place to record my research and reminders !). So Elder Oaks talk regarding our “ultimate priority” really struck me. He cautions us “We must never dilute our first priority—to have no other gods and to serve no other priorities ahead of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christi.” It appears that Elder Oaks is one who also continues to reflect on priorities, since his Good, Better, Best talk from 2007 is always a source of inspiration to me. 

“The question posed by the second commandment is “What is our ultimate priority?” Are we serving priorities or gods ahead of the God we profess to worship? Have we forgotten to follow the Savior who taught that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments? (see John 14:15). If so, our priorities have been turned upside down by the spiritual apathy and undisciplined appetites so common in our day.”

“Knowledge of God’s plan for His children gives Latter-day Saints a unique perspective on marriage and family. We are correctly known as a family-centered church. Our theology begins with heavenly parents, and our highest aspiration is to attain the fulness of eternal exaltation. We know this is possible only in a family relationship. We know that the marriage of a man and a woman is necessary for the accomplishment of God’s plan. Only this marriage will provide the approved setting for mortal birth and to prepare family members for eternal life. We look on marriage and the bearing and nurturing of children as part of God’s plan and a sacred duty of those given the opportunity to do so. We believe that the ultimate treasures on earth and in heaven are our children and our posterity.”

“I pray that we will not let the temporary challenges of mortality cause us to forget the great commandments and priorities we have been given by our Creator and our Savior. We must not set our hearts so much on the things of the world and aspire to the honors of men (see D&C 121:35) that we stop trying to achieve our eternal destiny. We who know God’s plan for His children—we who have made covenants to participate in it—have a clear responsibility. We must never deviate from our paramount desire, which is to achieve eternal life.”

“I pray that we will not let the temporary challenges of mortality cause us to forget the great commandments and priorities we have been given by our Creator and our Savior. We must not set our hearts so much on the things of the world and aspire to the honors of men (see D&C 121:35) that we stop trying to achieve our eternal destiny. We who know God’s plan for His children—we who have made covenants to participate in it—have a clear responsibility. We must never deviate from our paramount desire, which is to achieve eternal life. We must never dilute our first priority—to have no other gods and to serve no other priorities ahead of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christi.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods”. October 2013 General Conference. 

Elder Holland’s words on depression

Elder Holland’s talk during the 2013 October General Conference is a talk that offers peace and hope. This is a talk that should be reviewed often for anyone who is dealing with mental illness, and for everyone else to read too! I especially liked the following quotes:

“Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education.”

“So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” 4 Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Broken Vessel”. October 2013 General Conference.

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Image via shan-made

azteccollage9Image via Drab to Fab

A woman’s moral influence in the home is powerful

A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home. There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family, where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children. Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances.”

“In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once asked: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”

“A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career. Some view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans women and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation. They ridicule what they call “the mommy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here.”

My plea to women and girls today is to protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you. Preserve that innate virtue and the unique gifts you bring with you into the world. Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow. ”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Moral Force of Women”. October 2013 General Conference.

Trust in the Lord and align our will with his

Really loving the Savior means that we want what he wants for us!

“But here is the point—rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him, and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him is His goal. In fact, it is His glory as well as His work (seeMoses 1:39).”

“Our Savior wants us to really love Him to the point that we want to align our will with His. We can then feel His love and know His glory. Then He can bless us as He wants to. This happened to Nephi the son of Helaman, who reached the stage where the Lord trusted him implicitly and, because of that, was able to bless him with all that he asked (see Helaman 10:4–5).”

Elder Terence M. Vinson, “Drawing Closer to God”. October 2013 General Conference.