Sunday, May 15, 2011

Women's Conference, 2011!

This year, I wasn't sure about going to Women's Conference.  I just didn't know if I could justify it with everything going on in our lives, and all of the problems, and all of the stress.  I'll tell you, though, it worked itself out so that I could go--and I am so grateful to a loving Heavenly Father, and a loving husband who made it possible, because I REALLY needed that time away this year.  Sometimes, it seems that everything just falls into place when you really need to do something, and this was one of those times!  It was a whirlwind trip this year, since we only had 4 days, since I wanted to make it home on Saturday morning for Emie's Molten volleyball tournament.  We really crammed A LOT into those 4 days!  Wednesday, we got up at 4 a.m. to make our 6:20 flight.  What was I thinking?  We were so TIRED!  We got into Salt Lake, and my sister Shelly picked us up at the airport.  I was so glad she could make it this year!  I have missed her so much!  We headed over to Costco to do a run for my sister Wendy, and load up their pantry with some yummy Costco food and treats.  Also, some Costco muffins for breakfast (I don't mind at all if I do...).  Next, we headed over to see my aunt Cheryl in Draper, then down to Provo to see my Grandpa Epperson, his wife, Sue Ellen, and my other aunts and uncle.  My grandpa, is my mom's dad--who's 96? I think this year.  They were over at his condo cleaning out the rest of his things, since he has moved in with some cousins just to be safe, since he isn't quite all there right now.  He suffered a stroke a few years ago, and has been a little out of it since then, he is remarried, since my grandma died in 2002, to a very sweet lady, Sue Ellen, but she suffers from diabetes, and has a hard time taking care of him herself.  Although he is pleasant, and sweet, and as kind as ever, he doesn't really recognize many people anymore, and can't really carry on a conversation.  I really miss him.  He was always one of the kindest people I knew.  We just love him.  It was fun to see some of the old things they had, and see some of the old pictures. It's really amazing just how fast life goes.  If I'm not careful, I'll blink, and miss it!

Women's Conference started on Thursday morning, and it was just AWESOME!  I really went there this year seeking answers, and it seemed as if each class I went to was just for me, and had just what I needed to hear.  One of my favorite classes was a panel with blogger, Stephanie Nielsen, (her blog, Nie Nie Dialogues is HERE and you will LOVE it!) and her 3 sweet sisters.  They were funny, and down to earth, and shared some of their experiences.  She is just an amazing example to me of someone who is courageous, and brave in her trials.  She has inspired, and continues to inspire so many people to face their trials head on, and continue to fight.  You also come away with a feeling of guilt when you see the trials that she is facing--and then look at the things that I complain about.  Shame on me for having a pity party for myself!  I just need to remember to think of people who are facing far worse trials than I am, and take courage that if they can fight through health problems, and life threatening challenges--our money problems, and stupid lawsuit are really nothing.  It makes me grateful just to be alive, and WELL.  You really don't appreciate what a blessing having your health is until you see someone who struggles with an accident, or cancer, or some other life threatening situation.  Money is not a struggle.  We can live without money--or things--or a nice house--or possesions.  I need to be grateful for my BLESSINGS.  And my health is one of those blessings.  Do you know that we gave up our health insurance (it was one of the first things to go when we cut the budget $700/month is NOT cheap), and we didn't have even a COLD in this house all winter long?  What a tender mercy from Heavenly Father.  He is aware of my struggles--and He blesses me daily.

On Friday, Wendy was able to come down and join us.  I was so glad she could get away.  My sister Wendy amazes me.  Her family went through almost a year of unemployment last year.  Her husband lost his job when Obama cut the NASA program, since he worked at a factory that made parts for the space shuttle.  Almost 4,000 people were laid off in his company over the last year.  Most of them are from the area, Brigham City, that my sister lives in.  This created a problem finding even the minimum wage jobs, much less a good paying job.  After a few months, he decided to go to school, and at least keep busy while looking for a job.  He has been going to Culinary school for the last few years, and will graduate this fall!  She has been working her BUTT off for her family!  Even though she has had very low paying jobs, she has been able to work two or sometimes three jobs to try to support her family, and keep her house.  She is really an example of dedication, and hard work, and she AMAZES me.  It was so fun to have ALL of my sisters, and my mom there, and also some of my sister-in-laws were able to make the trip.  It was fun to see them too!  We met up at the Concert on Thursday night, and we had such a Blast!  I think it's hilarious that a concert of gospel music could be so fun for us women.  Only Mormons right?  We had such a great time!

We also were able to participate in the Humanitarian service night on Thursday.  We went to a station making Newborn Baby Caps.  When we sat down, they gave us very specific instructions on how to make the caps.  They had to be folded a certain number of times, and then tied a specific way, or they had "Quality Control" ladies who would take them apart, and make people do them over.  After sitting there for an hour or so, and having the ladies come over multiple times, and say people were doing them wrong--and ignoring them, since we all thought we were not the ones doing them wrong--we found out that 3 out of 4 of us WERE actually doing them wrong--(I won't name any names...I will just say it was NOT me!  :)  So I'm not sure how much we helped--since many of ours were probably taken apart and done over, but it's the THOUGHT that counts...right?  (Those Quality Control ladies might not think so...but if you were a mom in some 3rd world country receiving a newborn baby cap would you care if there were 3 folds instead of 4 on your cap...or if it was tied in a square knot or not?  Me either.)

Elder Bednar was the concluding speaker this year, and I just LOVED what he had to say to the women.  He talked about doing Small and Simple things--to make great things come to pass, which was our theme this year.  He also made an analogy that was great--he said we need to be like a "Drip Irrigation System", with focused, small drips of water, that go right to the roots of the plant to nourish it consistently.  He said too many of us, instead, are "Spiritual Spurters", we have spurts of spirituality, but we are not focused, or consistent in our study, and our habits.  He hit the nail on the head for me.  I have spurts all the time, where I will really focus on my scripture study, or my journal (blog), or making family night more meaningful, or really focusing on my calling, and making it better.  The problem?  Life gets in the way, and gets busy, and distractions creep their way in and get in the way of what's really important.  I really need to focus in on what really matters, and buckle down and make sure I am doing the basics of the gospel.  He really touched on what I needed to hear.  I am so grateful for an apostle of the Lord, who took time to speak to us, and help us realize how we can become more like our Savior.  I am so grateful that I could be at Women's Conference, and hear the talks and feel the spirit, and know that my Heavenly Father is indeed aware of ME, and my family!  What a blessing.

P.S. Want to know the biggest miracle that happened?  I LOST 2 lbs. at Women's Conference!  I managed to stay IN class, and OUT of the Creamery!  Wow!

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