Showing posts with label Relief Society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Relief Society. Show all posts

Monday, March 7, 2016

Celebrating You - It's All Okay, Part 1

I will use this font for the agenda of the activity, things taught and learned
I will use this font for my own thoughts and (unfortunately) wandering mind
and quotes that don't have pictures

I so wish I had the memory to make sense of my notes so that I can remember all the details of what was said.  Of course I don't have the all the details.  I may have most of the highlights however.  It was a great conference . . . .

           On Saturday there was a Relief Society activity for the stake.  I'd forgotten that the dress was casual and wore my Church clothes.  Before we entered the chapel, we were each given a schedule and a colored bracelet to wear.

      I enjoyed how the RS president started out the meeting by telling us not to compare our "behind the scenes" moment to somebody else's "highlighted" reel.  I like that quote.  I don't know whether it was hers or not, but I really like it. 

            She told us about a blog called Drops of Awesomeness and gave us some suggestions from the blog.  She showed us a large jar full of pompoms - only she didn't call them pom-poms. (I didn't write down the name she used) It is to be used reward system. 

             Only good things go in. Nothing comes out.

            We were all encouraged to fill our buckets and do something great.  So often we measure ourselves by how we are seen by others.  But we need to stop and look at ourselves and view ourselves through God's eyes.

            Our RS president confessed that she is not good at keeping lists. Some people create lists of things to do, things to purchase, things to make . . . . many will cross off those things they've accomplished, purchased or made.  And if we don't do the things on the list and cross them out, perhaps we feel like failures.

            We were encouraged not to focus on the list of things we failed to do but rather the accomplishments that were crossed off.  Instead of being upset that the entire house didn't get clean, focus on that one drawer you were able to clean up.  Perhaps you aren't in shape enough to do more than two push-ups.  But hey, you did two push-ups!  Embrace that!  Focus on your accomplishments.  How many lists do we need to keep ourselves going anyway?  Recognize the good that you do and give yourselves credit! Give yourself credit for those accomplishments you have made.

            You may start out walking to the mailbox each day, and perhaps after a while you'll be motivated to walk even further down the street.  Perhaps after that you can go around the block. 

As you make routine a part of your day, you will find joy.

We then broke up into classes.  Each instructor was given 15 minutes to teach a habit of happiness found in this book by Wendy Ulrich

            The first class that I attended was taught by Sister Fitt.  Her room had been set up with a bunch of cleaning products, and she had a monitor for us to view quotes

            Again, we need to celebrate our accomplishments:

            I did do two push-ups
            I walked to the mailbox
            I can now see the two shelves that are in my closet
            I got out of bed

She then showed us a calorie chart to prove to us that we can celebrate our accomplishments.

This is not the actual chart she showed us, nor were the
posters the actual quotes.  But you get the jest, I'm sure

            The next class that I went to was taught by Sister Friend. She asked several questions about what each of us can do to "bid" on friendship.  I looked around the room and noticed that I was the only one in the group of us that attends a certain ward.  I had been putting in "bids" with each class by introducing myself - which she had asked us to do by the end of class.  She had also passed out this handout

           We were supposed to rate each area 1-7 seven being the highest number.  We were told to pick one or two with lower scores to work on.

 We then took a break from our classes to have lunch. 

            I've had Hawaiian Haystacks before, but always with chicken gravy or soup - never a ginger or teriyaki sauce.  While the chicken itself was really good, I thought the sauce was a little strong. 
            There was actually a lot of food and "birthday" cake for dessert (the Relief Society Organization will be 174 years as of March 17)    

            After lunch, I went to a class taught by Sister Bond. 
            We watched a video about a girl named Brittany who was diagnosed with a rare disease that paralyzed her digestive system.  And certainly it was a downer to learn that she could no longer eat or enjoy food as she had before. But Brittany did not let that bring her down.  Instead she allowed herself to focus on her talents of making sock monkeys and creating coloring books and finding comfort in working with others at the hospital and teaching others to make sock monkeys  (Brittany's story is found here and here)

We are told not to feel sorry for ourselves, but to reach out to others.  As our instructor was running out of time, she briefly summed up this story as told by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Just before we left for the next class, she passed out this thought:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Come Unto Christ – Wise Men Still Seek Him

I vaguely remember reading a story about a young boy who had the honor of traveling with his father to see the Christ child – or perhaps it was that he wanted to go, but was too young to make the journey.  I don’t remember when or where I read it.  I hadn’t thought about it until yesterday when Kristen gave this years first lesson in Relief Society.  Such a beautiful lesson.  I don’t know why I had never connected the dots before.

Kristin started out her letter with a video portraying the wise men who had traveled for over two years before they reached the Christ child – who was a child and not an infant resting in a manger.  I remembered being told that “they found him in a house” but had never really considered the long journey they had made.  I had forgotten how I had read about the anticipation and excitement and the long wait.

We read from the Bible Dictionary and Matthew 2.  We looked up the words Magi and Three Kings and talked briefly about Epiphany and Three Kings Day and what each of the gifts mean. Kristin pointed out their journey with following the star to our own personal journeys in seeking out Christ and following His teachings.  I don’t remember feeling so touched and awed by a lesson such as I was yesterday.  It was awesome!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thank You for the Prayers

I suppose I should have waited for Pamela to call back before I created that last post.  She had told me that she’d be going out of town.  I didn’t think of that until after I left the message.  I had tried to contact Scarlet when I thought that Pamela was out of town.  (Perhaps it’s Scarlet who is out of town?)

Pamela returned my call and will be helping me on Super Saturday rather than at the Appreciation Dinner.  I still had not gotten a hold of Scarlett, but sent another email to ignore my first.  But for some reason I had entered the wrong phone number and so I turned the computer on in order to look up the correct number.

Before the computer warmed up, my cell phone rang.  It was Sharon – another sister in my ward – offering to teach a class on making popcorn balls.  Seriously!  Super Saturday is looking like it might be super after all.  Thank you to my readers who took the time to pray for me.  Appreciate the miracle.  It’s going to be great!

Murphy is More Opposed to Super Saturday than I am

If anything can go wrong,
it will
– Murphy’s Law

this post may be a bit long
and a bit drawn out
especially if I put it
in verse style. 
You don’t have to read it.

Just after we moved
to West Valley and 
attended church,
I was called to be
on the committee for 
the activities for 
the Relief Society. 
Kristen was the activities’ director 
(or enrichment hostess
or homemaking guide
or whatever they called it then)
I was grateful to be
and enjoyed my calling
on the committee
but not as the chief.

It couldn’t have been more
than five months (or so it felt)
before Kristen was called to be
the primary president
and Loretta was handed the reigns of 
RS activity director. 
She did not seem to
want a committee. 
I thought she was bananas.

When Loretta moved
out of the ward,
Hannah was asked to do the calling.   
Enthusiastic Hannah who
always puts such excitement
into no matter what position
she is called to
and always serves with a genuine and powerful smile. 
She actually reminds me a lot of
my sister-in-law, Sunny,
who always radiates positiveness.

I didn’t think
anyone could ever fill her shoes – just as I didn’t think
anyone could fill Super Ruby’s shoes
(who at the time
was serving as Relief Society President)
but most callings
(at least that’s been my observation
in this ward) don’t last
more than a couple of years
(leadership positions would be the exception)

Meanwhile Kristen
(the same one who had been called
to primary president)
was returned to Relief Society
– this time as RS president.
Hannah had actually worn many hats
all at the same time (or so it seemed)
and was released a while later
to fulfill other callings. 

Pamela’s calling was short lived
or so it seems. 
She was called to be a primary worker. 
She is currently enjoying
the coveted positon of teaching
the class in which my daughter
is the only female member
in attendance. 
And guess who got called
to be RS activity chief
after Pamela left?
What was the Lord thinking
to call me to that position? 
What’s more, why did I agree?

Pamela appeared
to be quite organized
as she handed me a binder
full of information
that I could use or change
at my discretion. 
Kristen asked if I wanted
a large committee. 
Heck, yes. 
How many sisters could we call?  
I wanted at least one representative
of every age
and personality.  
I think we ended up with twelve. 
We’ve never held a meeting
with more than six (well eight
with me and Scarlett – who is
the enrichment/activity/homemaking counselor 
– whatever her title is. 
Heck.  I don’t even know my own title)

So the first thing on the agenda
is Super Saturday (I believe) 
which I so don’t care about. 
Actually there have been scads of activites
that I haven’t cared about. 
I usually to the enrichment/activity nights for
the association and not for
the activity itself. 
It hasn’t mattered which ward
I’ve been in. 
I have never stayed for
an entire Super Saturday.
And in this case
Murphy wants to take over
– has from the start. 
Stupid Murphy.

Kristen conducted the first meeting
as I appeared clueless on
what the word “conduct” even meant. 
She wrote down ideas and
outlines on the board. 
She has always had the appearance
of being greatly organized. 
Some of the members on my committee
took great notes. 
One actually took a picture
of the board. 
I was still in a trans. 
After I returned home,
I realized I had done absolutely nothing. 
I had not written anything. 
That’s not good.
I should be released.

Our Super Saturday was set
for August I believe,
but we hadn’t advertised,
nor did we ever
have a large audience to advertise to.
Summer seemed unproductive. 
Church attendance was down
all the way around. 
Good time to travel,
I guess.

I changed Super Saturday to September. 
Or tried to.  T
turned out not to be a good month
 for my instructors.
We had four activities to choose from
– I think. 
Pamela would teach sisters
to sew really cute pot holders,
Kim had her blocks
that seemed to be quite popular
at the last Super Saturday.
I was going to do
a recycling demonstration
and Tina had offered to teach flowers
or else we would frost cakes or cookies? 
Perhaps that was a suggestion for another activity? 
But nobody could do it in September. 
Change date again? 
or cancel all together? 
I wish I had just cancelled. 
I didn’t realize that Janice
(one of my committee members
who had come to just our first meeting)
had made arrangements to have
her niece speak that month.

Meanwhile I planned a 
different activity for September – 
one in which we would get 
to know one another.   
We pulled it off.   
Those who attended 
said they enjoyed.   
Super Saturday may not have 
the same results.  
For here is the latest catastrophe:
Yesterday I receive an invitation
to attend a luncheon
given by the wives of the stake presidency
to the wives of the bishoprics
the Bishopric Wives Appreciation Luncheon. 
Guess when it is? 
The same day scheduled as Super Saturday. 
I’d really like to go to it. 
But that’s not the worse of it. 
Pamela is one of the people to RSVP
– she can’t do the luncheon
and teach on Super Saturday. 
Right now I cannot get a hold of her.

Guess I’ll be emailing Scarlett. 
I have a feeling it’s going
to be a chain of reaction thing
that will affect Kim
one way or the other. 
Or perhaps all the sisters who signed up.
Would it be possible to change it again?
I should be released.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Women of Righteousness - Our Role in the Work of Salvation

         I’m not good at taking notes at conferences or Spiritual meetings.  I get so caught up in trying to get the exact quote or comment or whatever that I end up missing on so much more.

Last night there was a Relief Society stake activity called “Women of Righteousness” featuring artist Megan Rieker.  I didn’t think the event well advertised  - at least in our ward.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect.

Turned out to be a truly eventful night.  And I learned things – not just about the artist paintings but discoveries within the past as well as my own self.

I’d taken an art appreciation class several years ago in order to appreciate fine art more than I do.  It backfired.  I often rolled my eyes when learning about contrast and balance and was more unappreciative about the entire fine art world long before the class was over. I started looking at paintings and wore less-than-flattering expressions.  I didn’t have an eye for art before I took the class.  I still don’t.  I appreciate hearing about it almost as much as I love algebra – though I do understand the concept of art a lot better than any mathematical terms. 

The paintings themselves weren’t as appealing to me as the stories behind them or choosing the model or the prayer involved.

The first painting she showed us was of Ester.  While explaining it, she shared a quote from one of James E. Faust talks taken from the October 1995 priesthood session of conference. (Interesting that it was from Priesthood)

“The Lord has a great work for each of us to do. You may wonder how this can be. You may feel that there is nothing special or superior about you or your ability.”

As I was following along with her reading, I thought, “You’ve got that right.  Nothing special about my talents that I would be called to be the enrichment leader.  That is crazy.”

“The Lord can do remarkable miracles with a person of ordinary ability who is humble, faithful, and diligent in serving the Lord and seeks to improve himself.”

Well, I’ve got two out of three.   I’m definitely not humble.  Not even close.  Though I feel I may be closer than to where I was 10 – 25 years ago.  Is that why I’ve been called to this position?  So I can humble myself?  There’s an interesting thought.

         I hadn’t actually noticed too many sisters from my ward.  It was during the Ester painting when Joni came in and sat down next to me.  She had gone to the wrong building.  

         Our stake center is actually the smallest stake center I have ever seen – smaller than any of the ward houses.  It doesn’t have a font for baptisms.  That is in another building we refer to as “the south building” Most stake activities are held at the south building rather than the stake building – but that’s beside the point.

         Joni made a few comments throughout Megan’s discourse.  I really didn’t mind.  It’s usually me that is making remarks.  I did not share what thoughts were already in my head.

The next painting was the one that appeared on the card that was handed out to each sister as she walked through the door.  Megan kept referring to it as “The Five Wise” but the flip side of the card says, “The Hour Draws Nigh”

She talked about the work that went into this piece that had taken over two years to create.  She took photographic pictures to illustrate the steps that she took.

Meanwhile Sally DeFord (along with Valarie Olson) was creating a musical piece called “The Painter’s Hand” and was looking for illustrations to go along with it.   Megan then showed us this video

At the conclusion she expressed though the steps may have been important to the video, she didn’t feel like the entire painting itself actually related.  But I think it does. 

Five wise virgins waiting for the master who can make a masterpiece of all of them if they but will it.  The painting expresses that they do.  They are just five of his masterpieces.

          Megan then moved onto a painting which had the name of the pioneer woman, and she read from her journal (the women’s) but I for the life of me cannot find the name of the woman.  It started with a J.  You can read a passage of her journal entry at this site along with other illustrations of Megan’s beautiful work.

         No, I’m not trying to promote her work.  I never even heard of Megan Rieker until last night. There are more to view than what I saw last night, and if the reader would like to know what they look like, I've chosen a link option.

         I suppose the painting that touched me the most was the last one that she showed.  It wasn’t framed as she had just barely finished. (reader can find the steps on Megan Rieker's facebook page) It wasn’t even the painting itself as what I had learned or had been reminded of.

         The painting was/is of two girls on a rocky path.  One is holding onto the iron rod and reaching her hand out towards the other. 

         When someone mentions “Strait and Narrow” I always think of “straight”.  I supposed most of us do.  But Megan shared the definition of “being difficult” – which made sense. Why wouldn’t it be difficult?

          Her painting actually reminded me of the pioneers’ struggles as their path was most often difficult – climbing over rocks and boulders, enduring wintery snows and cold and such.  I had never thought of it that way before, but I suppose they had their own metaphorical iron rod.  And it wasn’t an easy grasp for many of them.
         I sat next to a sister from another ward that shares our building.  The geographical boundaries in this stake are NOT on a grid.  They are broken up and very weird in my opinion.  Some of their ward boundaries overlap into our ward boundaries.  Several of their ward members are sandwiched between our ward members.  Strange.  I personally think the stake boundaries ought to be redone.  But that is just my opinion.  I don’t have (nor will ever have) the authority to change them.

         I realize that changing the boundaries would upset the membership a little bit – but in time it would be worth the change and finding new friends.  Often Mormons are so caught up in going to meetings and such that they overlook social opportunities.  We get caught up in a routine and robotic moves that we often don’t notice “the forest for the trees”

I’d never met this particular sister before, but she actually lives closer to me than the few members I did see from my own ward.  I asked Sister Gustar if she would take me home. She has put herself in a position of playing chauffeur and nobody else seemed to mind. I actually live closer to her house than the other two from her ward that she dropped off at their homes. I have often walked by her house without even having known it.

         Overall, it was a really worthwhile night.  I not only saw "women of inspiration" through the paintings.  I have met many as well. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another Sunday

          When I was younger I remember having only two meetings on Sunday then.  There were three for priesthood holders – but for the first fifteen plus years of my life I recall there being only two meetings.

            I don’t recall the specific times or the length of time that took place between the two meetings.  I remember Sunday School being first, coming home to have dinner and returning to the church at a later time for Sacrament meeting.

            The other meetings were spread out during the week.  (e.g. Relief Society was on Tuesday nights, Mutual on Wednesday nights and Primary was on Thursdays after school.) but as the growth of the membership had taken place outside of Utah, the meetings were changed so that all meetings would take place on Sunday.

            It wasn’t until my last year of mutual (Young Men/Young Women formally called MIA – Mutual Improvement Association) that the meetings were changed to three in one block.  Relief Society (or Young Women’s – though I don’t believe we called it that then) was first followed by Sunday School and then Sacrament meeting was last. 

            So until I got married, I remember Relief Society always being first and Sacrament meeting being last.  But in Kearns in was the opposite.  Sacrament meeting was first.
            I think most wards have Sacrament meeting first – or at least that is my belief.  Currently I attend a ward in which Relief Society is taught first and Sacrament meeting is held last.  The stake President says as long as he is president that is the way it will remain.

            So here is my church experience for today:

Combined Meeting

(every fifth Sunday the RS and Priesthood meet together)

            Bishop gave the lesson.  His prepared lesson was to get us motivated for General Conference which takes place next weekend. 

            He started off by asking questions about “Why do we have general conferences?” “What are some things that can be learned?” and “What was your favorite talk from 1985?”  1985?  Is he serious?  He would have been in primary.
First I had to visualize where I was.  April 1985 was the last General Conference in which Bruce R. McConkie would give an address.  I knew when I watched him give his speech that it would be his last. 

I also remember the opening prayer being the absolute longest prayer I’d ever heard in my entire life.  No, I did not time it, but it felt like it had been somewhere between eight minutes and an eternity.

            I was on my mission.  It was a hard area.  Neither my companion nor I were in the right frame of mind to even receive instruction.  I don’t think a lot of the elders were overly thrilled with the area either.  I looked around to see how many had the same attitude as my companion and I shared.

            Bishop had asked for participation by asking us to share what Conference talks had made an impact on each of us.  I must admit that I do not retain things very well.  I remember last night’s session was quite beautiful and I remember thinking, “This is a great talk.”  Sadly I can’t tell you anything about what was said without referring to it again.  And I’m so grateful that we have ample opportunity to do so.

            So as I was trying to think of an example in which I could actually name the speaker and come up with enough words to paraphrase my mind wandered to General Conference October 1992.  That was the longest weekend of my life.  That was the last weekend that dad was upon the earth.  The TV was turned on to Conference but I don’t think I got anything out of it.  And even if so, I can’t remember any of it.

            General Conference April 2004.  My water broke on Friday.  My mom and my sister and my husband were all in the birthing room with me.  The TV was turned on to Conference on Saturday.  Jenna still hadn’t come and I KNOW I don’t think I got anything out of it.  I was exhausted Sunday.

            I’ve had some really nice Conference weekends – unfortunately those are not the ones I thought about.

Sunday School

            The classroom was full!  First time ever we had run out of chairs.  Six youth and four leaders.  I love it when the Young Men leaders sit in.  They participate and add thought provoking ideas and wisdom.  There’s one youth who will participate by answering questions.  I love the participation.

            The theme this month has been on commandments.  Some people have left the Church because they have found that the commandments are too restricting – which they’re not.  But sometimes freedoms aren’t understood until the restrictions have been removed and then there’s that “a-ha” moment.

            Wade shared his upbringing with family rules in addition to the commandments – restrictions that he didn’t understand as a youth but certainly appreciates right now.  One of those restrictions was that he couldn’t hang out at the mall.  Everybody hung out at the mall.  Was this for real?  It was mortifying.  But now he understands.  Two of his “mall friends” are now in prison.  And he just recently attended the funeral of another.

            I shared an experience that happened to me when I was fairly young.  The weather had turned from warm summer to breezy fall and mom said that if I wanted to play outdoors I had to wear a sweater.  Well that was humiliating.  None of my friends wore sweaters!  I had a sweater on when I left the house.  I intended on removing it before I played with my friends.

            One friend, who had heard my mom’s “command”, said that she was “lucky” because her mom didn’t care if she wore a sweater or not.  I don’t know how old I was, but her words hit me hard – “My mom doesn’t care . . .” and I thought myself the lucky one, the blessed one.  I had a sweater on because my mom cared about me.  And it stayed on.  And I tried not to question her commands because I knew that she did it out of love.

            James talked about the Word of Wisdom – which is a commandment for LDS members.  James reminded each of us that we all have the freedom to choose.  Each of us could smoke if we wanted to.  But the smoker doesn’t necessarily have the option of NOT smoking – it has become an addiction.  The smoker has become a slave to his or her habits and although they think they have freedom – for most it’s a long painful road to finally quit and remain smoke free.  (That is just one example) 

            Participation usually always makes for a very great lesson

Testimony Meeting

            The second counselor made the announcement that the bishop’s wife would be released from teaching Sunday School.  A chorus of groans could be heard by many members who attend her class and are not anxious to see her leave her teaching position. I for one am excited as she has accepted the position of activity’s day leader and that will be helpful to Jenna.

            After the counselor bore his testimony, he opened up the meeting for the rest of us who would like to bear our testimonies. I felt impressed to bear my thoughts of gratitude – to my family and friends and Heavenly Father, for the support, for the celebration of mom’s life, for goodly parents – for the bishop’s wife’s new position.  I went up to the stand.  But Brother Cole beat me to the pulpit.
            I think every ward has a Bother Cole – the one who drones on and on endlessly and the Spirit seems to have left the room.  His talk did start off as testimony but after two minutes he started rambling the same words over and over – even after the bishop told him to sit down.  He just doesn’t get it.

            The ironic thing was that his focus seemed to be on sharing testimonies and not wasting one’s time.  How about following your own advice and stop wasting the time that belongs to all of us?

            I should have stayed seated when I saw him walking up to the stand.  I don’t know how long he was at the pulpit – his head was in the way of the clock.  By the time I stood up there was only thirty minutes left and I had lost my train of thought.  If I hadn’t already been on the stand, I would not have gotten up.  I think my heart must have hardened when Brother Cole rattled on endlessly, wondering if I would even get a turn.

            I’m not the only one who lost my train of thought.  The sister who’d come up behind me said only one sentence before she returned to her seat.  I think the 11 to 14 people behind us eventually returned the Spirit back to us.  Still I was a bit upset about the way I had handled the situation and wished I could have a do over.

            Actually I will have an opportunity to bear my testimony after Conference – provided that the weather is drivable and I actually have a working car.  I plan on returning to mom’s ward where my testimony will be more meaningful (to me at least) as I still have a connection with so many of the members of that ward – the ward I still consider family.  For that I am grateful.