Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lesson Learned from an Unexpected Source

Last weekend was our yearly broadcast of Stake Conference. It was given from Utah State University to all of Northern Utah & I'm assuming parts of Idaho and Wyoming as well. We've only had one other broadcast, and that seemed to be mostly talks about someone else's relatives coming across the plains. Not really enough to keep this ADHD stricken girl attentive. It made me not generally a fan of the broadcast ones, and let's face it--once the lights go down in the chapel, it triggers my sleep response. Its one redeeming grace is the fact that our Stake Center is not big enough to house everyone, so they show the meeting in two sessions. This removes any guilt I may have for not making my kids sit through 2 hours of sacrament meeting. Mike goes to one session and I go to the other. It really is least until the kids are old enough to not be a complete disruption. In fact, because Maggie was baptized a couple of months ago, I thought she was ready to come to conference with me, so we packed up our scriptures, our notebooks and pens an headed out.
I think the last time I took a notebook and pen to a meeting was in college. There really is no point, now that I have kids. Unless I grew a third arm for writing, and a second head that could pay attention to something other than flying crayons and elbows. I asked Maggie to bring her notebook along as well because I knew she couldn't be still and pay attention the whole time either. She let me read some of what she had written earlier--things like: I *heart* Hannah Montana. Jana is my best friend. And some story about being a fairy. Gotta love that girl of mine.
I had forgotten how much more I get out of meetings when I'm writing. Some of the things I wrote down were:

  • "Going to the temple will peel off the selfish shell." I have not made a valiant enough effort to get to the temple. I've used my children as an excuse, and I've used the Mortuary as an excuse for not having enough time to go. I had the distinct impression as I was listening to Elder Rasband's talk that I've proven I can get up early to work out, so I also need to get up early to go to the temple. Mike and I have two weekends a month that we are not on-call, so we can trade off going to the 5 or 6 am session on those Saturday mornings. Imagine how I felt when I shared this impression with Mike and was told he had thought the exact same thing. Guess you know where one of us will be Saturday.
  • "The degree we to which we keep the commandments is the degree to which we love the Lord." (quoted from a talk by Pres. Uchtdorf) I need to more closely examine the things in my life that would keep me from loving the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. Most pressing on my mind is the command to "pray always" as I've NEVER been good at prayer. Meredith was telling me about a talk she heard--I apologize for not knowing the reference--where it was said that prayer cannot be sincere without sincere scripture study. I'm still struggling to find that daily study time, though we've been quite successful at family scripture study. I think this may be my missing link.
  • "If others have come up easier, they have not learned so much."--John Tanner, on crossing the plains and losing everything. Not only does this help me keep my trials in perspective, but it really made me want to go read more about my progenitors. I guess I can pay attention to pioneer stories.
  • "Optimism is THE virtue to be considered during tribulation." and "Hard times create a great place to raise latter-day families."
  • "Be CONSISTENT: in family prayer, in scripture study and in alone time with each child." I love President Eyring. I think if we knew each other, we'd be great friends. Of any of the apostles, I feel like he just has love laced through every sentence he utters. We are very consistent in family prayer. We are becoming consistent in family scripture study. I need to be better about spending more individual time with Maggie, Brooke and Katie.
All of these are things I wanted to remember. Things that made an impression on me, and things that, if incorporated into my life, will make me a better person. I expect to find nuggets like this in the meetings I attend, when I look for them. What's an even greater blessing is when you find nuggets without searching. During Pres. Eyring's talk, I noticed Maggie busily scribbling away in her notebook. Her writings had entertained me so much before, that on the way home I asked what she'd been writing. She said, "Oh, just some things that I thought that I should do when I was listening to that talk."
"Like what?" I asked.
"Like, I should love others more and be nicer to my sisters."
I immediately thought of Elder Scott's talk from General Conference on acquiring spiritual guidance. I was able to help Maggie understand that the thoughts she had during Elder Eyring's talk was the Holy Ghost giving her inspiration. What an amazing experience to be able to teach my daughter about something so seemingly intangible to a lot of people, in such a tangible way. I hope she won't forget our conference experience together. I know I certainly never will.


Fiddlefish said...

I loved this post -- especially the "...the degree you keep the commandments shows the degree you love the Lord." Very good point.

Tasha said...

Wow, that is awesome. It has definitely been a long time for me as well since I was able to listen in church. Each of the points you highlighted are ones I needed to hear too. Thanks for being a good note-taker and example.

julie said...

Amanda, how sweet! loved this post! Especially since we did go with both our girls and I missed most of Pres. Eyrings talk.
Why have I never thought about going to the broadcast alone? You're brilliant! Too bad that's not how stake conference is too!