Women's Conference = Windows of Light
This past weekend I attended a local women's conference. I was really excited to hear Sister Kristen Oaks speak. She talked like she was speaking to friends. Although the room was filled to capacity she made me feel like she was talking to just me. (and from comments I heard from others they felt the same way too - that is talent!)
I wanted to share a few thoughts I had from the conference. One of my favorite things she said was to 'immunize yourself by knowing God's voice'. I thought to know God's voice you have to hear it. To hear it you have to listen through scripture reading and prayer, even singing or listening to Hymns. She said, 'negative thoughts are not from God, He may tell us hard things but in a loving way'. I knew that, I know that but sometimes I get caught up in the negatives. It is important to remember God loves us and chastises with peace and love, never chaos, confusion and anger.
Another thought she shared that I love was a quote from I believe it was Elder Holland but don't quote me on that! "Salvation is not a cheap experience." Meaning Jesus Christ's life was not easy, his suffering was not easy, even his preaching the word was not easy. Why then would life be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him. Sometimes I want things to be easy. Life, love, relationships but in reality life is not easy it is how we live that makes life enjoyable. I believe that Christ was a happy person not because His life was easy but because he choose to be. It also relates to a workshop I went to on being happy she said something like 'deeper sorrow contours a place for greater joy'. Experiencing the hard, the sorrow, the pain grinds out valleys in our hearts for love, joy, laughter to resonate. I actually thought about this nature show I watched about the creation of valleys, created either by glaciers grinding away, or volcanoes bursting open, or earthquakes tearing things apart. Not an easy process but look at the beauty that is left behind.
She spoke about many things but the last thing that really struck me was she told us that we must 'never disconnect ourselves from the real world'. She said she loves the Internet and movies and books but relationship with friends and family over a hot meal (or a cold one - everyone laughed) are really important. I love my friends and family and honestly most of the time because of long distance we can only connect over Facebook or blogs or emails but I hope that I am capable and willing to leave the virtual world and live in the real world too.
Then I went to three workshops. I will give one or two of my favorites parts from each:
First I listen to Ann Madsen she has been teaching Old Testament at BYU since 1976 (which is almost longer than I have been alive!). For the past several years her focus has been on the teachings of Isaiah. She also lived and taught at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Talk about a women with amazing experience.
She talked about studying the scriptures saying 'once you know, the Spirit will help you remember'. She spoke a lot about the scriptures being an 'anchor' and I thought about the storms of life and how I need to remain anchored.
Then I went to a photography class. Which is ironic considering the fact that I do not own a camera but here it to hoping. There were three things that stood out to me. First was change your perspective. The second light, light and more natural light. And finally, observe and find the beauty. (she also gave several hand outs about actually taking pictures)
I thought those were not only good tips for shooting pictures but living. Sometimes I just do not understand circumstances, other people but by changing my perspective I can perhaps see. She talked a lot about light, she said, 'sometimes we get too caught up with the background ... and we don't pay enough attention to the light'. Sometimes I get caught up in the background forgetting the really important things. And lastly observe. She said, 'there is so much that can go unnoticed in everyday life that is worthy of your attention'. She, of course, was speaking of photographs but I was thinking about the little miracles that happen all around me and that I would feel more peace and find more joy if I just took the time to notice.
Finally, I went to a workshop on Humor, the title of the class was "Finding Humor and Peach through Lives Journey." She said we have to have in our arsenals humor at the ready. The quote on the picture says, "Never in recorded history has housework been finished." So true, so true. So we have to find the humor in living. She was a very funny lady and I hardly took any notes because I just kept laughing but I learned that we have to laugh, laughing makes me feel better. And anyway, it is much better to laugh than to cry. Although I did hear that crying is great for the complexion (after the redness and swelling go down that is...)
Really I learned three things: 1. God loves me. 2. There are wonderful women (and men) around me that lift me up. 3. Laughter is a good thing. (oh and I really want an camera)