We woke up to Christmas! Well, snow on the ground and for us Arizonans that is like Christmas. There wasn't really any on the ground in Provo but Draper was covered in the beautiful powdered sugar dusting that I love. I don't miss the cold of living in Utah - but I do think the snow is lovely.
We dressed in our first matching outfit and headed out! Per usual, we were running a little late and our dash to the Marriott Center was hectic - but it warmed us up plenty! We found some not so great seats for the opening session and fell in love all over again with Sheri Dew. She introduced the theme of "Awake, Arise and Come Unto Christ". She told us to Awake to who you really are. Arise and make your life a ministry and Come Unto Christ by leaving the world behind.
She also talked about the influence that women throughout the world can have - she even mentioned having a BLOG and sharing your testimony through it! She shared this wonderful quote from Pres. Spencer W. Kimball: "Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. " And then Sister Dew asked us "Are we ever going to Do more than just quote President Kimball? It was an important moment for me to reflect on what I do more than what I believe. I really love that Sheri Dew!
The next class we attended was called LAY HOLD UPON EVERY GOOD GIFT. The main reason we chose this class is because Barbara Thompson was one of the speakers and she is the hilarious 2nd counselor in the general RS Presidency. But both speakers were so good. Elizabeth Ricks taught us that each of us has important gifts to contribute and that we need to discover the gift, develop the gift and then honor that gift. She brought it all home by saying that when we fail to honor the gifts that Heavenly Father has blessed us with, we fail to honor HIM. My favorite thing that Sis. Thompson said was a quote from Joseph Smith that said (paraphrasing here) to be cheerful - people like to be with other people who are cheerful. Just listening to and watching Sister Thompson made me cheerful.
The other thing that made me cheerful was our matching clothes. People started noticing us and we saw a few ladies with the same jacket - as soon as we did, we would run over and tell them they needed to walk with us or sit with us or whatever. We ran in to this girl, Brittney from Provo, who was also wearing a yellow shirt with her jacket. She thought it was hilarious and came up and asked us if she could get her picture taken with us. It was fun. Of course in our minds, we were becoming Women's Conference legends with our matching shirts, hoodies and necklaces - we had a blast with this.
We attended two more classes on Thursday one was called: I'LL KNOW THE SCRIPTURES ARE TRUE: ESTABLISHING SCRIPTURE READING TRADITIONS. One thing we have learned in our vast Women's Conference experience is to choose classes that you know the presenters are going to be great. We have been burned in the past by choosing classes based solely on the title or whatever is close to where we are. This is a bad idea - choose the speakers! We chose this scripture one because of Vicki Matsumori - a counselor in the General Primary Presidency. The other presenter was Jean A. Stevens whose main message was that the Lord wants us to succeed in reading the scriptures and understanding - we just need to make an effort and He will bless our efforts. Sister Matsumori said that family scripture study is important but that everyone knows it is hard - she quoted her bishop who is fond of saying that the Lord's plan allows for families to be together for eternity because it will take them that long to finish the Book of Mormon together.
Our last class on Thursday was called A MERRY HEART MAKETH A CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE - we went because of Emily Watts. We knew it would be light and funny and give us a break. She did not disappoint. It was fun and funny and lifted our spirits. Another great thing that happened during this class is we met Jodi from Denver who came to Women's Conference alone because she knew she needed it in her life at that moment. Here we were five crazy loud women drawing attention to ourselves with our antics and I was reminded how important the messages of WC are to so many by Jodi. I really enjoyed visiting with her and I was so glad to gain a little perspective from her.
We ditched the closing session in favor of doing a little shopping at the BYU bookstore. My kids had put in their souvenir orders so I had to oblige, three CTR rings and one BYU magnet. I bought a few other things (candy) and then we went to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. We wanted to stay close so we could return for the concert that night. I didn't have the desire to throw my bra at Michael McClean but I did almost wet myself while Eclipse had the stage. They were fabulous, as were Jenny Jordan Frogley, Hillary Weeks and Kenneth Cope. I am about to get rude here so if you went to the concert and you loved it - stop reading, this is the end of the post anyway. There was a group of women singers called Mercy River and they were not good. They were bad. They were really very bad. Type 2 embarrassing kind of bad. I wanted to see a long cane pull them off of the stage, I wanted the lights and equipment to all of a sudden go out, I wanted Hillary Weeks to come out and say it was all a joke and she just pulled these three no-talent women out of the audience - it was that bad. It was so bad that we were begging for Mercy (river). Michael McClean totally saved the concert with his set - at the end he had everyone learn and sing the chorus to a good-bye song. It was a spirit manipulating move - but I soaked it up and cried many salty tears.
We got home late, stayed up late, talked all night about forming our own girl group - came up with a name for it, and were so excited to go back on Friday.