Tag Archives: general conference

Regaining Patience and Sanity

Last week I road tripped to my brother’s house, 2-year-old in tow, to watch his 3 kids for him while he and his wife took a little weekend away. Hurricane Irene brought a few (more like a lot) of stresses to their home and so I offered to give them a break. I saw this as a great opportunity for my son to spend some time with his cousins as well as give me some practice with multiple children. I realized I need a lot more practice. I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly patient person but I’m not the most impatient person I know either. Last week I was the most impatient person I know. I really started to wonder if I would be able to handle multiple kids (a little late now!). I mean, what are you supposed to do when someone has a stinky diaper that is emitting toxic fumes, a 2-year-old is scaling the kitchen cabinets in search of marshmallows and the other 2 kids are wrestling to the death? All at the same time!  Fortunately for me though, Saturday night brought some much needed perspective.

Saturday there was a meeting held worldwide for the Relief Society, the women’s organization or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I watched this meeting via live stream on lds.org. There was one segment of one of the talks that really stuck out to me. The person who shared this message is an apostle of the Lord, just like the apostles of Jesus Christ in the New Testament times. I also have great respect for this man, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, because of his life story. As I’ve mentioned before, some people think that all Mormons are totally naive and closed off to the world. Not this man. He grew up in Soviet controlled East Germany. His family eventually had to flee to West Germany because it became too dangerous for them in East Germany due to his father’s differing political views from the Soviets. When this man talks about surviving hard times, keeping perspective, or hope I listen extra hard. He has experienced the worst of what the world has to offer. This particular message is about patience.

Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.

In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him. If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose or dazzling orchid, you may miss some of life’s sweetest experiences.

As a mother I feel like most of my successes go unnoticed or are considered tiny. I would imagine that people in other circumstances feel the same way also. After listening to this message I realized that the person I was most frustrated with was myself, it wasn’t the kids. I should have been able to go in there and be the super fun aunt/mom that everyone wanted to obey and knew how to take care of 4 kids with ease. When I realized I was losing control of the situation quickly and I had no idea what I was doing, I lost all patience with myself. But, when my sister-in-law came home she proclaimed with joy, “The house is still here and the kids are alive! Thank you!” That is a success I will take. I survived elementary school pick-up for the first time; a success I will take (and trust me, this is a big one). We didn’t go to the ER, not even once; a success I will take. All the children went to bed every night; a success  I will take.

I am grateful for apostles of the Lord that share inspired messages of hope. I know these men and the other leaders of The Church are called of God. I never feel so empowered and so filled with hope than when I listen to their words. There will be more messages shared by these men and women this Saturday and Sunday. If  you are interested in listening, you can do so here. I know their words will help you no matter your situation or circumstance. I know I’ll be listening.

Happy Anniversary: A reflection on a year in trial

This week marks a couple of significant 1-year anniversaries for me and although June is not when I would typically conduct an annual self-assessment, it seems particularly appropriate to do so now.

In many ways, this past year has been about surviving – specifically, learning how to live as a survivor. Littered with intense personal loss and disappointments in concert with frequent professional and mental strain – the past 12 months have given me constant opportunities to reflect on a term often heard in Mormon vernacular – “enduring to the end.” In its simplest form, enduring to the end implies fierce and proactive survival, allowing life’s challenges to mold and refine us into the very best version of ourselves.

I didn’t get any of the miracles I prayed for this year. I lost everything I prayed so hard to keep. However, unexpected miracles stretched my understanding of God’s intimate knowledge of my needs and brought comfort in times of extreme sorrow. The miracles I didn’t receive, made it possible for me and those I love to experience even greater blessings we could never foresee including an increased understanding and appreciation for God’s eternal plan, strengthened family ties, and second chances.

Orson F. Whitney, a former Church leader, once said:

“No pain we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility…It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

With this perspective, I realized the peace I felt amidst the most difficult experiences of my life was the sweetest miracle a Father could ever bestow on a grieving child. He did not grant my pleas for an easy path nor did He deny someone else their right to choose. Instead, He exposed me to deeper layers of love, tolerance and forgiveness.

During the last General Conference, Kent F. Richards, shared a personal reflection on pain, experienced one night as he lay awake in a hospital room.

“I came to understand,” he said, “that during His mortal life Christ chose to experience pains and afflictions in order to understand us. Perhaps we also need to experience the depths of mortality in order to understand Him and our eternal purposes.”

I know there are still plenty of challenges ahead of me, but there’s also a lot of healing already behind me and it gives me hope that I can be a better survivor. I’m grateful to my Father in Heaven for His constant watch and unwavering support to see me through.

We are a Caring People

This past weekend we had the opportunity to listen to voice of our prophet and many other leaders of our church. It’s always a great opportunity for me and most members of the church to get revitalized and recommitted to God and to our religion as Jacob wrote on his post this week. Even though there’s no assignment to any of those who are going to speak, I always find there is a reoccurring theme to every conference I have watched. This time it was about what we call the welfare program of the Church. This program, as Bishop H. David Burton explains so well in this talk is in operation for 75 years and is based on the principle that the Savior taught by example: love and care for others as we do for ourselves.

Not too long ago, I thought that the only way I could help the poor was doing some type of voluntary work such as help building houses, schools or hospitals in some undeveloped country like somewhere in Africa, for example. It wasn’t until I became a member of the Mormon Church that I realized that there were so many opportunities to reach out for those who are around us or ever further away. This could be cooking a meal to someone, visiting a somebody who is sick, donating to Church welfare system so that we could help those who are in need such as those affected by the recent earthquake in Japan, for instance, and so on.

Meeting Temporals Needs

“For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?” Doctrine & Covenants 38:26

Throughout the relatively short history of the Mormon Church, temporal welfare has been emphasized with as great fervor as an individual’s spiritual wellbeing. This past weekend a semiannual conference was held by the church and temporal welfare was the topic of no less than three speakers addressing church membership. Henry B. Eyring, Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke about the church’s current welfare program.

His talk further inspired my interest in finding ways to help others less fortunate than myself. Other very impressive talks during conference on the same subject can be found here and here. These are must reads!

Mormon General Conference

Ever had one of those days where you are just walking around feeling like life couldn’t get any better? I did, today.  I love days like that.  Think of the Carpenter’s song “Top of the World” and you’ve got the idea.

There are lots of factors why I was feeling so great this morning: I just whittled my to-do list in half (why do we have to-do lists and not to-be lists?), I’ve started exercising again, I’ve got an AWESOME wife, and as I’m about to graduate I’m just feeling generally grateful. However, I think the real reason I feel so amazing is the way I spent this past weekend watching 10 hours of talks in our church’s general conference (mentioned by our friends at Mormon Perspectives).

One thing I absolutely love about being Mormon is the opportunity it gives me for renewal.  This weekend was a perfect example.  As I listened to the prophets and apostles speak, I felt great.  There were so many talks that genuinely left me feeling uplifted and inspired.  I not only feel like I want to be a better person (kinder, more compassionate, more full of faith, and more hard-working, etc.), but I feel like I have actually become a better person. I’m not exactly sure how to explain it, but I feel changed by the experience.  It’s like I’ve moved a little from knowing I should do something, to actually desiring to do it. The best analogy I can think of is exercising.

Most of the time, I just think of exercising as something I should do and when I don’t follow through I feel bad about it.  However, every once in a while when I am consistent enough about my workout routine, I really look forward to hitting the gym.  I start to relish it.  That’s the kind of change I feel after this weekend, but with deeper things like spirituality, love, compassion, faith, hope, and true commitment.

The great thing is that general conference isn’t the only time I feel this.  It’s not uncommon for me to have a similar experience after attending church on Sunday.  Some days it happens when I’m reading my scriptures.   Sometimes it’s when I go to a church service project or activity. My point is that as a Mormon my life is full of these types of experiences that leave me feeling renewed, revitalized, and recommitted.  I’m grateful for that.  It makes me happy!

What types of things leave you feeling renewed?  I’d love to hear.

Come listen to a Prophet’s voice

This weekend, Mormons around the world are tuning in to listen to our modern Prophet and Apostles speak and instruct us on how to become better disciples of Jesus Christ and in turn better people. Our friends at MormonPerspectives.com have outlined what Conference is and why it’s important (1, 2, and 3 times!). If you’re interested in watching any of the sessions, the player below has been embedded for your convenience and curiosity.

**Update – The sessions have now completed and the in-page video player has been removed. The talks, songs, and messages from Conference are available by video or audio feed here. Text will be uploaded on Thursday, 4/7. **

Like conferences happening around the world, participants are actively tweeting about what they hear, what they feel, and what they think while watching Conference. Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ldsconf.

What did you hear that resonated with you? Has your heart been softened or changed?