Saturday, April 12, 2014

General Women's Conference - Spring 2014 - Part 1

Here I am, only a week later than planned, blogging about the March 2014 General Women's Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In my defense, I take lousy notes and the transcripts of the talks were not available until Friday. And every Mormon knows that there are 2 weekends of the year when absolutely nothing gets done. But that is another posting for later this week.

I was extremely glad to watch the Conference at the Meeting House with other women in our Ward. We had a potluck beforehand and then went into the Chapel to watch the conference streamed live. I was extremely uplifting.

Besides the yummy food and the warm fellowship, the best part of the conference was ....

Over at Daughters in His Kingdom we learn that this song was written in an effort to remind all of us that all women are Daughters of God no matter their age and to provide a greater understanding of our role as faithful women. 

As boys become men they have all kinds of rites of passage that they grow thru and celebrate but the rites of passage for girls and women tend to be more private and less celebrated. Celebrating a son joining the priesthood is a lot easier than celebrating a daughter getting her first period. Plus it easier to plan for a specific date with the boys. Anyway, this lack of preparation and ceremony  has left many girls feeling adrift and undervalued. When you add in all the time spent talking about Priesthood responsibilities but not Relief Society responsibilities, it leaves the girls even more confused. Our role as adult women is to remind our girls that they are valued in their own right for their own contributions and not just for the children they will bear. This song is one way to do that. 

Now, on to the meat of the meeting ...

First up, Primary General President, Rosemary M Wixom with Keeping Covenants Protects Us, Prepares Us, and Empowers Us

Summary: Pres. Wixom told several stories of covenant keeping women she has met thru the years. As women members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we make many covenants with Our Heavenly Father. The first we make at baptism and when we participate in sacrament each week we renew those covenants. Additional covenants are made in the Temple and we must strive to remember and keep these covenants and in return, God will bless us. Nephi taught us that we must stick to our promises even when it gets hard and all seems lost for it is only in enduring to the end that we will receive our full blessings.

Take Away/Plan of Action: Well, I got that message loud and clear. Especially since I have been asking myself if I was in fact keeping my covenants to the best of my ability. I need to find a way to get to the Temple so I can remember my promises and improve my follow thru. I also need to make more of an effort to get to sacrament each week even if I am unable to stay thru 2nd and 3rd hr. During sacrament, I need to reflect not just on my baptism covenants but also my temple ordinances. 

Next up, Young Women General President, Bonnie L Oscarson with Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other

Summary: We are all Daughters of God which makes us sisters. As sisters we need to forget our differences and stand together. Women of all ages have much to learn from each other and to teach to each other. No matter our individual circumstances, we are all blessed with the power of the priesthood as long as we hold fast to our covenants. As Mormen women, we are all members of the oldest and largest, women's service societies in the world. I like how Pres Oscarson puts it, "This combined assembly is, without a doubt, the most glorious sisterhood upon the face of the earth!1"

Take Away/Plan of Action: I have been singing this song for several years. It is what attracted me to Wiccan/Pagan ideology even though other aspects did not strike me as right with a few things actually screaming out how wrong they were. I am so glad that I have found God's true church on earth and that He feels women and sisterhood are as important as men and brotherhood. When the end comes, it will be the women who hold families and society together. We need to learn to love and support each other now so we can rely on each other in our moments of greatest need. I need to overcome my natural shyness and insecurities to reach out to all women around me. I also need to encourage and nurture those connections across age and culture barriers where ever I can. That means that as the Relief Society Other Meeting Coordinator for our ward, I need to find ways to include the Young Women and even Primary girls in some of our extra meetings. This also needs to be taken a step further to include women of other faiths. We are all daughters of God and sisters together no matter what our individual deep held convictions might be.

To Be Continued ... after the granddaughter goes home ...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Visiting Teaching Message - April 2014

Each month, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints provides a lesson for active church members to share with less-active or in-active members and investigators. I decided to go one step further and share my thoughts with anyone who cares to read them. I am Mormon and I am proud of it. You do not have to be Mormon to appreciate the lessons taught. The Book of Mormon is not a replacement for The Bible, it is a supplement and provides clarification where transcription and translation errors may have caused confusion.

This month's message can be found at

As I read this month's lesson the song I Know That My Redeemer Lives came to mind. Through Christ's Atonement I have been redeemed. My heart sings to know that Heavenly Father loved me enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die so that I may know true happiness and return to my Heavenly Parents one day. Christ died and then rose again. He lives today in the hearts of righteous men and women across the globe.

That's the easy part. The hard part is believing that I am worthy of the love of The Father and the sacrifice of His Son. I could spend hours, days even, listing all my flaws, both real and imagined. And yet, I remain a beloved daughter of God. How is this even possible?

When my work here is done, I will return to my Father's side where I first made the decision to follow Him and grow according to his plan. I know this to be true. And yet, I still doubt my worth.

I love the story that Linda K Burton, Relief Society General President relates " One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill - crumpled, torn, dirty, abused and scarred. But ... I am still worth the full 20 dollars."

I could be that woman. There has been so much pain and misery. In a single heartbeat my fairytale marriage and my entire life shattered. The physical pain I suffer today is nothing compared to the emotional pain I suffered then. If that single pain caused me so much suffering, how much worse was the pain that Jesus suffered in the garden of Gethsemane? How can I ever make it up to Him and Our Father?

By living up to my greatest potential and proving my true worth. I am not perfect. I make mistakes every day. I am still learning. If I stick to the path God has shown us and I hold tight to the iron rod, I will one day return to Heavenly Father. Until that day, I will keep reminding myself that I am a beloved daughter of God.

In fact, God loves me so much that he brought a wonderful man into my life to help me heal from the inside and to teach me how to love and trust again. I am so blessed to have him in my life and overjoyed that I will be able to spend all of Eternity at his side. With a reminder like that, how can I ever doubt my own worth?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bubblegum Blessings

This isn't the blog I've been promising on Facebook but it is the one I felt inspired to write today. Mostly because the transcripts for the Women's Conference are not available yet. I am waiting until I can actually read the talks before posting my thoughts and the inspirations I received.

So last night I was whining to my poor suffering hubby about all the things that are going wrong and how I don't know what God wants me to do. I want to raise Nigerian Dwarf Goats, volunteer at the Family History Center and drive the sister missionaries around on their visits. These are the things I feel most inspired to do. Various factors make any of those activities extremely difficult. He told me that I needed read the article in the current Ensign about bubblegum blessings. I assume this is the article he meant: Beyond the Bubblegum Machine.

The writer compares prayer and keeping the covenants to dropping coins in a bubblegum machine and getting a prize. When she didn't get the prizes she wanted, her anger and pain caused her to turn away from the church. It was only after realizing that God answers in His own way, in His own time that she was able to build a stronger testimony on a firm foundation.

I trust that God will provide. I don't expect instant gratification. I just want to know that I am on the right path. Lately, I've been questioning how well I am doing keeping the covenants I made with God. Am I truly doing my part? Where exactly am I falling down and what do I need to do to pick myself back up again?

Some of it I have already figured out.

I need to be better about actually setting aside a time to pray. While I still feel the Holy Spirit with me, I really haven't actually sat down and poured out my heart to God. If I can not dedicate myself to asking the question, how can I actually hear his answer? This is hard for me as I never really learned to pray on a daily basis. This also applied to preparing for Sunday School. I need to get my lessons organized earlier in the week. Not Sunday morning while I am still debating if I am actually going to be able to get of bed. Maybe if I plan an awesome lesson ahead of time I will feel more motivated to get out the door and to church.

I need to start taking care of the chickens and the dogs myself. I have been relying too much on Daughter #2 and when she does not take care of the animals for whatever reason, the animals pay the price. Instead of me taking up her slack, I need to do the work myself and hope she is available to take up my slack. This will provide me with a reason to get off the couch and prove to myself that I do have the strength and energy to care for some goats. Maybe once I show that I can do physically handle the work, the money for the 4-legged kids will appear.

I need to get dressed every day.  Yeah, the scrubs are comfy but I need to take better care of myself. Plus there are the temple covenants involved that I have not been following as closely as I should. Those who know the ones I mean will understand.

I need to spend more time each day caring for my home and my husband. This is truly an extension of caring for myself. Keeping a clean home and cooking healthy meals provides for both our needs. Having a peaceful and loving environment at home makes it easier to deal with the stresses of the outside world. Also, we are a team, a single unit, if I keep my covenants and encourage the hubs to keep his, we will both benefit from God's blessings.

Last, and perhaps most important, I need to better fulfill the callings I already have before I start looking for more callings. Writing is just one way for me to organize my thoughts and be a better person. Even when I am writing about something mundane, I still feel the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The more I channel that inspiration, the more I will be able to teach my Sunday School students and help with Relief Society.

I testify to you that God is alive. Heavenly Father loves all his children and we will be blessed if we keep our covenants. If we take the time to search for and listen to that still small voice, we will be instructed and inspired to fulfill God's plan for us.

I leave these things with you in the Name of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.