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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Time Out For Women - Seattle, WA 2011 - Emily Freeman


   Emily Freeman has become a sort of guaranteed feature at Time Out for Women in Washington.  She's spoken here the last three times.  My post on here talk from last year can be found here.

    Again, I'm afraid, my notes are a little short for Emily.  It was the end of the conference and we had had a long night the night prior.  So, once again, I hope what I have will suffice.

    "What does it mean to have the name of Christ written on our hearts?"  "We must become all together committed to the Lord."  I have a lot of work to do before I can fully say I'm "all together committed to the Lord."  Not for lack of desire, but my own human flaws keep me from becoming all His.  I could sit here and say, "I wish I was," or, "If only I could be", but that doesn't get me anywhere.  It takes sacrifice.  We must work hard to join our wants with His and then we can realize that they really are one in the same. 

    "When people look at you, what would they say your sermon is?  And what would they know about the Lord because of you?"  Whoa.  That was heavy.  Sometimes I forget that I'm an example and the responsibility that comes with that.  People look to me to see what the LDS church is like.  Am I showing them what it truly is that we are taught?  Am I taking that time to share with them what I believe?  Definitely not as often as I could be. 

    "Our testimony of the Lord is one we would never walk away from."  I tried once.....it never really worked.  :)  I love my Heavenly Father and I know that He loves me.  No matter what path in life I take, He is watching out for me, has been watching out for me.  Looking back, I can't count the ways I was spared me from harm or made it possible for me to be in the place I am now. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Time Out For Women - Seattle, WA 2011 - Merrilee Boyack


   Merrilee was a new-to-us presenter this year and I must say I just love her.  She was funny and clever.  She's another one of those people that I just want to be friends with.

    The title of Merrilee's talk was "Blaze Your Own Trail."  She shared the statement BECOME U! and assigned a term for each letter.  With each term there was also a story from a woman in her life or in history that blazed their own trail and personified their specific topic.  Unfortunately, I was silly enough to not note the women and their stories so all I have are simple notes of each letter.  If I ever see Merrilee again I'll ask her for them and relay them back to you.

B:  Be Bold

Each of us are great leaders.  Satan will tell us that we are not.  "Tell Satan to pound sand."  :)

E:  Eternally Minded

Focus on the things of eternity.

C:  Creative -

We were meant to create and we are each creative in our own way.

 O:  Outward focus -

We have nurturing hearts.  We are "Keepers of the Heart".  We are the ones who make a difference.

M:  Meek -

We are humble women and we have our ears turned to the Lord to hear His will.  Love the Lord & love others.

E:  Enlightened -

We are women of spirit, who look for light and guidance.

U:  Unique -

This one is pretty self explanatory.

    By doing all these things we become someone better.  Become someone our Heavenly Father would be proud of.  We can blaze our own trail and become amazing women (and men :) ).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Time Out For Women - Seattle, WA 2011 - S. Michael Wilcox


    Last year, due to his wife's urgent illness situation, Michael was unable to speak to us.  However, because each presentation in recorded, we were able to see his previous talk that he had given in Pittsburgh.  You can see my post on his talk here.  Since that time, Michael's wife left this world and our hearts have all gone out to him during this time.

    He began his talk sharing an old Hindu legend.  I wish I could remember it all, but the basic story goes something like a man was out in the jungle and then was being chased by a tiger.  He found refuge in a tree, while the tiger was thrashing at him below and above him were mice gnawing at him.  Sounds like life a little bit right?  The old saying "Stuck between a rock and a hard place" came to my mind.

"In our cumbersome lives with gnawing mice and thrashing tigers it is needful that sometimes we learn."

    Continuing on he also recounted the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10: 38-42).  I was glad because this is a story that has been on my mind lately.  Which one do I represent? 
 38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

    Michael pointed out that Martha said that her sister "left me to serve alone" and he took that to mean that Mary had been helping Martha, but stopped at some point to listen to Christ.  He thought that it would be more appropriate if Mary had a bowl in her hands while she was listening to represent that.  Then, he reflected on how Jesus answered and spoke to Martha.  He would have spoken gently to her, understanding the burden she felt and the worry she carried with her to make sure all these people would be fed.  Then saying that, "Mary hath chosen that good part".  The good part, not the better part.  Mary actively involved in a good work, but Martha simply chose the good part for her.  Maybe it's what she needed to hear right then in her life.  The Lord would not take that from her.  He couldn't and certainly wouldn't.  There will be times where it's more important to learn and grow than to focus on getting things done.

    We never stop learning.  Righteousness leads to Knowledge.  The more righteous steps we take the more knowledge we obtain.

Righteousness-------------------------->Knowledge

Greater Righteousness----------->Greater Knowledge


    Lastly, he shared an analogy of a compass.  The kind they use for naval guiding (like the one for drawing and has two feet.  We plant one foot in the center of the of gospel, the other is the searching foot.  People will place it anywhere because they think nothing is there.  Draw a circle and it encompasses all the truth and good of other religions.  "Never compare your best to their worst."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Time Out For Women - Seattle, WA 2011 - DeAnne Flynne


    DeAnne was a great speaker who had some great stories.  Once again, you'll have to forgive me if my notes don't make a whole lot of sense because I don't remember a lot of the stories.  She spoke a lot about how we can try to do these grand, large things and hope that they are the things people remember the most.  She countered that with the idea that it's the small things that make the greatest impact.  Remember the old widow who cast in 2 mites into the treasury?  (See Mark 12: 42-44)  
"And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing."
    There were many rich men who had brought a large chunk of change, but this woman, who cast in only 2 mites, had put in more than anyone else who cast into the treasury.
43  "....this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 "For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
    Here she was with nothing left, except 2 little mites, and she gave that up.  "The Lord will provide if we give our all."  I wonder what happened to the woman.  Did she find solace in her sacrifice?   Did she continue giving service to the Lord, as well as all those around her, giving all that she could through her actions and deeds?  Did she suffer the rest of her earthly days only to receive a greater reward in the next life?  I'm confident that a woman of her faith must have done all these things and was greatly blessed because of it.

    Mother's Mites:  Small acts by Mother's that are treasured.

    It's fitting that this post should be on Mother's Day.  I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful examples of what a mother is and should be from so many accomplished women.  My own mother has never given up on me becoming the person I am, even when there were times I could have proven her wrong.  She's loved me, buoyed me up, strengthened me through her own sacrifices.  I'm still in awe of the woman who married a man and moved so far away from her family and home country to live in the middle of Nowheresville, Washington, the land flowing with dirt and tumbleweeds (okay we at least have a algae infested lake), not knowing the language very well.  My momma "overlooked" that, though I believe she still misses the luscious color of green from the overwhelming amount of trees she was so used to.  Though many will tell me they love her accent, all I hear is a women speaking English, with the occasional German conversation with family or friends.  She is one of the kindest, friendliest, compassionate women you'll ever give yourself the pleasure of knowing.  Her 2 mites are given every day when she wakes up and takes care that one more person is feeling their greatest.  LOVE YOU MOM!

    (Okay, back to my notes)  How can we make a difference in others' lives?

  1. Be More Aware:
     Paying attention costs nothing, but the dividends are priceless.
     Try to notice something different about them.  Listen, pay attention to the spirit.

     2.   Eliminate plates.  Declutter your life.

     Make yourself at home every single day.  Like remodeling yourself.
     It's much trickier to be your best self at home around those you are most familiar.

    She shared the scripture Titus 2:5.  Here Paul is telling the men and women of Titus what they should do to live righteously.  To the women in this verse he says, "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."  Now I know there are going to be in an upheaval saying, "I can go to work if I want," and so on and so forth.  This isn't saying that you can't.  However, as the matriarchs of our home, we, whether we like it or not, set the tone for our homes.  It's because of this we have such a great duty to our families.  

"By small and simple acts we can accomplish great things."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Time Out For Women - Seattle, WA 2011 - Dean Hughes


    I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to hear this guy speak.  He is the author of some of my favorite book series.  "Children of the Promise" and "Hearts of the Children".  Such amazing stories and I highly recommend them.  Ironically, I don't remember too many stories from his talk, but I gathered a good many quotes from him.  

- "Be better than you are right now."
Members of the LDS faith are probably always concerned with our eternal progression.  We are always striving for perfection.  When we fail to achieve perfection, we also fail to recognize our triumphs.  We are a work in progress.  Let's face it, get EVERY THING just the way it's supposed to be is going to be rough.  I think we need to strive for just a little better than we are.  Each little improvement is another notch.

- "Everybody cuts somebody off sometime." "This is one of those times."
Have you ever been driving along, trying to be courteous to the other drivers (or at least avoiding them all together so as to not get in trouble), and some yahoo cuts you off, or takes the parking spot you clearly had rights to?  Dean pointed out that this is bound to happen.  He has to remind himself, "Dean, this is just one of those times."  Confession:  I had to do it a few times as we were driving out of Seattle.  This sort of goes back to what John Bytheway spoke about with his mother choosing to become bitter or better.  Life will sometimes through you a bunch of lemons.  "This is just one of those times."

- "You're not in a contest....The Lord doesn't run out of love."
- "When we start comparing there is a sense of  ungratefulness."
- "That twinge of envy can destroy us emotionally and spiritually."
I love these.  It's a human dysfunction to be dissatisfied with what we already have.  Always wanting what we don't have.  There's always something bigger, better, more.  We could always be more.  Do you ever think to yourself:  "I'll never be able to be as good as she/he is," or the other side of the coin, "Why did they give that person that calling?  That doesn't make any sense.  I should have it."  Guess what?  The Lord has a plan for all of us and no matter what we think of ourselves or anyone else, he has a never ending amount of love and support for us all.  

- "You're not in that big of a hurry."
 Ummmmm, WHAT?!  ;)  I know, I know.  Like we haven't heard that before.  It's always a good reminder though.  I frequently get so caught up in what I'm doing at the time that I forget I'm not on a time limit.  Even if I am though, the world will not come to an end if I'm not finished right when I planned to be.

- "It's only with the spirit that we can really be changed!"
While trying to become whatever it is that we are striving to achieve, it's important to remember that it cannot be done alone.  If we truly are striving to be better than we are now, we NEED to have the spirit with us.  It's our Heavenly Father's gift to us.  It's like our telegraph with Him.  When we know the code to decipher His messages we can use His help and become stronger and better than we were.

- "When we are meek we are like Christ, and there is nothing better in this world to achieve."
I agree 100% with that statement.  If there is anything in this world that we are trying to become it is like Christ.  It is Him who saved us and gave the ultimate of sacrifices for us.  I don't know about you, but I would have a hard time right now saying I would do that for EVERY person who has ever lived.  Something I clearly need to work on.  Without judgement, He gave to all those who would let Him.  I looked "meek" up in the dictionary (I know, typical LDS talk thing to do) and there are three definitions of the word.  The only one that didn't fit was "deficient in spirit and courage".  Our Savior was the embodiment of spirit and courage.  In my opinion, one would need to have spirit and courage to fit the other definitions of meekness, especially during the times that our Savior lived and really the times we live in today.  There is so much hatred around us and the best way to combat it is with the meekness of Christ.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Time Out For Women - Seattle, WA 2011 - Mariama Kallon


    If you have been reading my blog for at least a year, then you might remember Miss Kallon.  She was a presenter last year at Time Out for Women and was the inspiration for the theme of Hope.  My post about her talk can be found here.

    This is one amazing women.  I love her laughter and the joy she finds in little things.  She shared bits of the story she told last year of her experience growing up in Sierra Leone.  She had always had a strong desire and urge to learn specifically English.  She left home to learn and go to school at age 7.  She would do neighbors chores to be able get a plate of food.  Because of the war and the terror they experienced they were take turns sleeping and keeping watch for the soldiers to come.  They learned to wear 3 or 4 layers of clothes because running through the bush it gets ripped off.  It was great to see her find the humor of running and getting one layer torn off and then running some more and then there goes another layer.  She said that she learned to carry things in her bosom.  This is a habit that apparently has stayed with her she admitted.  : )  Through all of this she now believes that Heavenly Father did all this to prepare her to become who she is today.  Clearly, she has overcome much.

    Her story doesn't stop when she joined the church or even when she left on her mission.  A story that was shared in a video by her former Mission President.  One day, as he was walking, Mariama was running towards the South Gate of the SLC Temple (where she served her mission).  He asked where she was going.  She told him that she was going to meet a black person at the South Gate.  He said, "Good for you," and went on his way.  Later, he found her talking to a black man and giving him information about the church.  After he had gone, the Mission President asked who had made the appointment for her.  She replied, "No one," and proceeded to tell him how this all came about.  

    There weren't a lot of people like her there and she really wanted to teach and help someone like herself.  So that morning she knelt and prayed and asked Heavenly Father to send a black person who was from Africa to come for her to teach.  When she finished her prayer, she got up and ran to the South Gate.  She waited about five minutes and a black man from Ghana (I think?) came and you know the rest.  "If we do what He asks us to do He will give us the promised blessings."

    One of the trials she faced while on her mission was not receiving mail, especially in comparison to the others who were there.  She had lost all her family and there wasn't anyone for her to write or get letters from.  While others would receive their packages, she would wish she would have one of her own.  The other sisters felt sorry for and wrote home to their mothers to make a package for her.  Soon enough she was receiving more packages than anyone else.  "Mine angles will be round about you to lift you up."

    Two thoughts last thoughts that I wanted to share:
- Listen to the promptings of the spirit so that you might serve others.
- Don't take the small things for granted.  Mariama gave a small list of things she is grateful for among them were shoes, carpet, and a bed.  Her list gave me some good ideas for my thankful posts for November.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Time Out For Women - Seattle, WA 2011 - John Bytheway

   Another Time Out for Women has come and gone.  This time was better for me, but there were some points where I wasn't sure how what the speaker was saying fit into the theme of "Choose to Become".  At the end of the day that didn't matter so much because I was uplifted and enjoyed my time there.  We made it in time for Friday night and so I was able to take notes.  Hopefully, I'll be able to decipher them enough to create posts that will in some way make sense and do justice to the speakers.  :)

    First up is John Bytheway.  A classic among LDS culture and I was so excited that this was my second time to hear him speak in person (the first time was at BYU-Idaho 7 1/2 years ago!).  I was also full of giddiness when he did his Don Knotts "Barney from Mayberry" impression.  Luckily, I caught it on video on my phone, but I won't be posting it because I found out the next day that that is a no-no.  Whoops!

    He shared the story of his parents and how they got married.  His mother's sister, Gerry, was quite sick and on the day they received their endowments, after leaving the temple, she collapsed and fell into a coma.  She would come in and out of a coma during the week and all she would talk about was the reception.  John's parents were married on Friday and had a gathering of sorts that evening.  Saturday, Gerry passed away and instead of attending a wedding reception, his parents attended a funeral.  I love the sentiment he shared that she could have chosen to become bitter or better from the experience and she chose to become better.

    Among the many quotes he shared I think I liked this one the best from President Boyd K. Packer from "That All May Be Edified", 39.
Source
"No good thought is ever lost. No turn of the mind, however brief or transitory or illusive, if it is good, is ever wasted. No thought of sympathy, nor of forgiveness, no reflection on generosity or of courage or of purity, no meditation on humility or gratitude or reverence, is ever lost. The frequency with which they are experienced is the measure of you. The more constant they become, the more you are worth, or, in scriptural terms, the more you are worthy. Every clean thought becomes you. Every clean thought becomes you."

    How many times have you heard you are what you eat? While I'm trying to loose weight, I've thought it a lot.  Our thoughts are where our actions begin.  I love that he took the positive perspective of our thoughts.  Sometimes, I think (haha get it?) I easily forget my more positive thoughts and punish myself for all my negative ones.  I want to start focusing on my positive thoughts because it's those that I want to determine the woman I become.
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