I had the best time today! My friends Stephanie Sabaitis and Melanie Hancock and I went to Las Vegas to the Deseret Book Time Out for Women Conference. I had heard a lot about this from friends who had gone in the past and I've always wanted to go. The speakers were Virginia H. Pearce (President Hinckley's daughter), Hillary Weeks (singer/songwriter), Michael Wilcox (U of U Institute of Religion Instructor), Pam Hansen (author, Running with Angels), Amanda Dickson (KSL Radio, Grant & Amanda Show), and Chris Stewart (author, The Great and Terrible).
All of them were so inspirational and talented. These were some of the noteworty moments. **Warning...this is a long post! I couldn't help myself.**
Sis. Pearce spoke about the universal power of prayer. She talked about how sometimes we don't recieve definite answers to our prayers but if we do our best to do God's will, He will honor our decisions. Even if we make mistakes, He will turn our folly to our good, which is very comforting since we all make errors in judgments sometimes despite our best intentions. It is good to remember that all the Lord expects of us is to try to do our best to honor Him and do His will. My other favorite thing she said was: the Lord is waiting to bless us if we will exercise our free will and ask Him for the things we need. In other words, He respects our agency so much that He can't give us blessings unless we choose to ask for them. I had never thought of this in quite that way before.
Michael Wilcox took his theme from the Primary song Tell me the Stories of Jesus, which 3rd verse begins "Tell me in accents of wonder..." He spoke about the many wonderous creations, talents, and promises the Lord has given us. My favorite part was when he talked about the temple and how it is a refuge from life's battles and reminded us that the Lord will always keep the promise He made to Adam and Even in the Garden that Satan will be crushed and that the righteous will always prevail. He talked about forgiveness & how most of us think of ourselves as "pink people"...we forget that the Lord promised us that through Jesus Christ, "though our sins be as scarlet, they will be made white as snow." We need to forgive as He would and not make ourselves a higher judge than He is...even for our own sins. He talked about how he loved playing chess as a child and how the Queen must lead the offensive if you want to win the game. He told us that he believes Heavenly Father is leading with His queens...the mothers and daughters of Zion and that it is through us that He builds the kingdom on earth.
Pam Hansen gave a very heartfelt talk on "Finding Joy in the Mirror." She shared her experiences of trying to learn to see herself as Heavenly Father sees her and not focus on every wrinkle or extra pound she sees. It made me think of my Taylor and how sometimes she gets so focused on one red dot on her face or one flaw she sees and forgets to look at herself as a whole...not just the physical whole but with her personality, talents, attitude, and spirit added in. I have told her many times, "I wish you could see what I see when I look at you." I'm sure our Heavenly Father wishes the same thing about us. Pam told us that only 2% of women surveyed said they were happy with the way they looked. I think more of us would see our true beauty if we could look at ourselves through Heavenly Father's eyes.
Amanda Dickson was so funny! She was the most entertaining of all the speakers. She gave a great presentation on letting go of our faults and failures. She talked about how so many of us crave things in life and when we don't get them, we blame and give oursleves a really hard time. What we should be doing, however, is giving away the thing we want most...give love and love will come back to you, give money and money will come, give service and you will find caring, loving friends to help you when you need it. I really believe this is true...Karma, the Secret, the Law of the Harvest...whatever you want to call it. This is a universal principle that really works!
Chris Stewart talked about how trials help us discover the gifts the Lord has given us in our premortal life to help us and guide us while we are here earth. That He wants us to be happy and that happiness comes through testimony and life experience. Every trial is for our growth and development. One of my favorite quotes was this: "You can't make any mistakes that the Lord can't fix."
My favorite of all the presenters was Hillary Weeks. I'd heard of her, but I had never heard her sing or speak before. She was so witty and fun...and a beautiful voice. I had to buy one of her CDs so I can listen to it and feel the same Spirit I felt when she sang at the conference today. I could really tell that she wanted all of her music to reflect Heavenly Father's messages to us and she feels like she is the instrument by which the Lord sends His love to us.
A few more nuggets from the day-- Concerning Fear: 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind."
Concerning Guilt-- Let it go. The Spirit of the Lord is peace. Do all you can do then let the Lord have His victory.
Concerning Daily Work-- There is no mundane task. Every job can bring spiritual gifts. Trust that you are doing your part in the Lord's plan.
These were just the highlights. I was truly fed spiritually today...and I'm so glad I got to share it with some of my friends. I wish we could have taken a big group down to experience it. Next year, they are holding an event on Nov. 6-7 in St. George. I've already got it on my calendar. If anyone is thinking of going, I would highly recommend it! Next year, I want to do the Couples session, and the Girls session and the Concert and everything. If you want to see more details of the event, you can click here!