Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Conference Reflections

I am a little slow.  I posted thoughts about Saturday sessions of Conference on Saturday...and then I never posted thoughts about the Sunday.  So here I am to post a few reflections.

First, we hung pictures of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve on the wall.  I bought sticky notes so that at the end of each talk, each of us could write a favorite quote or a summary of the talk...what stood out to us.  I found some cute sticky notes that looked like thought bubbles, and for the most part it kept my children and our two neighbor children (who joined us for Saturday's sessions) quite engaged.  Especially in conjunction with completing the conference packets they were given by the Primary Presidency and listening for key words that allowed them to jump up and get a treat (some healthy, most not so healthy).  There was only one problem.  The cute thought bubble sticky notes weren't so sticky.   They mostly fell off on the ground.  I guess, in a way, that provided an extra challenge, because after each session of conference, we would pick up the notes littering the ground and try to restick them to the correct person.

See what  I mean:

 But all in all, it was still pretty successful.  And I felt so inspired and thankful to hear the counsel given.  My favorite talks were probably President Uchtdorf's and Elder Andersen and Elder Bednar's.  However, Elder Perry's talk probably best answered the personal question I went to conference with.  And  I don't know that I listened very carefully to Elder Christofferson's talk during conference.  But I reread it on Sunday as I prepared Family Home Evening for this week.  He bore powerful testimony of the Savior's Atonement.  It was beautiful.  So was Elder Amado's testimony of the Savior.

One thing that stuck out to me was that I finished conference with a list of ideas for activities and lessons to do in Family Home Evening to better teach my children the messages from conference.  I have ideas for 10 different lessons based on the talks given in conference.

Another thing that stuck out to me is that we must decide now to stand faithful.  Challenging times are coming.  Challenging times are here.  But if we stay on the Lord's side of the line, He will not abandon us or leave us comfortless.  It reminds me of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:16, "And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."

I was really touched by Elder Michael John Teh's talk about our priorities.  He asked us whether we are chasing things of a temporal or spiritual nature.  He spoke about our priorities, desires and appetites.  It is far too easy for me to get caught up in the world and thinking about and worrying about things of a temporal nature.  I want to be sure that my true treasure is things of the spirit.

Perhaps the talk that most affected me was President Uchtdorf's talk.  His language was so beautiful.  It seemed that nearly every line was quotable.  Here are a few of the lines that stood out to me:

"But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding."

"Commandments are opportunities to exercise our agency and to receive blessings. Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness."

"Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be."

"This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer."

And one final quote:
"There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.  Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. .. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.  How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."

Bishop Stevenson's talk about our Four Minutes on Earth really touched me as well.  

So much inspiration, guidance, wisdom and most of all LOVE.  I know that God loves me.  I know that he is aware of me.  I am so thankful that He knew what I needed to hear...that He answered the questions I had AND he answered questions that I didn't even know I had.  I am so thankful!