Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time Out For Women 2013-Kansas City

The weekend of April 19 and 20 I went to Deseret Book's "Time Out For Women."  The theme for the year's tour has been "Higher," how we can be higher in our thoughts, words, actions, and connection with our Savior.  I was only able to attend all day Saturday, so Friday night I went to the Kansas City temple with my sisters-in-law.  I completely forgot to get a picture at the temple, but I did get one of us when we went to dinner later.
Sorry it's a little fuzzy, but you can tell we had a great time together.   Here, we're at Chipotle. Yum!
Anyway, it was fantastic.  For those of you, who don't know what it's all about, Time Out For Women is an amazing program put on by Deseret Book.  It's a time for women (mothers, daughters, wives, single women) to take a "time out" to recuperate, refresh, and revive our hearts, minds, and souls.  Speakers are invited from all over to talk about ways we can uplift ourselves.  People, it was wonderful!  I've gone before, about 5 years ago but haven't been able to go since.  My dear husband insisted I go and have a wonderful time and even spent the weekend with his brother and their kids so we sisters-in-law could have a great time together!  It was so what I needed.  I love my family.  I love my babies.  But sometimes we really need to remember ourselves and refill our spiritual cups without everyone else's needs.  It makes it so much easier to deal with the day to day things that happen and need our attention and patience and and and.

So here we are waiting for the show to start.  We are all made up.  I'm wearing earrings AND a necklace and no one has peanut butter or snot on her pants or shirt. Yes, it was a good morning. :)

I would love to tell you all about everything that was said, but I just couldn't give the whole program justice.  I will share a few thoughts that really touched me and encourage you to make the time and sacrifice to go to one of these programs offered all over the US.  It's only about $60 for the weekend, and if you order your tickets early enough and with a group, you can really cut down the price to about $42.  Amazing!

What I will talk about a tiny bit is the difference in the programs offered that weekend.  We were upstairs in this huge exhibit hall, talking about how to be above the world, think "Higher," pray better, come closer to our Savior, learn to rise above fear through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and simply be better people inside and out.  The women there were of all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. They were young and old.  They were married, single, divorced, and widowed.  They were mothers and grandmothers.  And some were not yet either of those.  Let me tell you: they were all beautiful.  They may never have won a beauty contest with their physical looks, but their sweet spirits shined through their eyes and you knew these women knew something special.  They were excited about a "time out" and about having such a spiritual feast and such a great clean fun time!

Aren't we lovely?!  This is my sister-in-law, a couple friends we bumped into, and me after the program ended.  We had such a wonderful time!  Can you see the light burning through us?  We had been so uplifted this whole time.  We had been filled. And, extra cool to me, this program came to us just a couple weeks after the General Conference of the church and this week is another women's conference for my stake.  So many great opportunities to grow!  Yes!

 Now, let me direct you to the event going on downstairs.

 Now, I realize it could have been so much worse. And I'm not saying that a pageant is necessarily even a bad thing.  There are some really beautiful people out there.  And I love to see beauty.  I see it all over and I like to appreciate it.  And, wow, having a group of physically beautiful women in one group is actually pretty great.  The problem is when we take the focus away from all the good.  When we take all the credit on ourselves.  When we start to tear one another down.  When we allow Satan power over us by thinking that maybe we aren't good enough and that we need to do some drastic work to make us better.  I see the before photos here and think they sure look nice to me. Fit and healthy is good, of course, but the vendors' purpose was to focus on the flaws and let their self esteem take a hit until they bought into their product or service.
 The other service I saw advertised there was some plastic surgery group.  They closed their booth down before I decided to get a picture, though.  Can you imagine with me for a second?  These are already beautiful people.  God gave them the gift of physical beauty and they are using that gift.  But then Satan steps in with the "You're not good ENOUGH, though," and they start doing plastic surgery to make it "better."  It blows my mind.  So, we walked passed this pageant and the vendors outside.  I saw the girls waiting for their turn.  They had trendy and beautiful clothes.  They had obviously spent time working on their hair, nails, and makeup.  They had airbrushed tanned skin.  Nice jewelry.  But I looked at their faces.  They were lovely, but they were nervous.  I would be, too, if I were standing in front of a group of people and asking them to judge me!
I prefer to be judged by my Savior and my Heavenly Father.   They don't look on the outward appearance but on the heart.
We were excitedly going up the escalator to the learn more and become "Higher."
 One of the speakers, S. Michael Wilcox, talked about becoming "Higher" in our prayers.  He said if he could change one religious jargon to another phrase it would be "saying your prayers."  We shouldn't just "say" our prayers.  We should be as Hannah in the Old Testament who so badly wanted a child. "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore" (1 Samuel 1: 10).  She "poured out her soul in prayer."  When we are filled with sadness or anger or loneliness, there's no room for healing.  We are already full.  We have to first "pour out."  Christ showed this to the apostles, on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24.  They were mourning the loss of their Savior and Friend.  Jesus, who appeared a stranger to them, was walking along the road also.  He asked them why they were sad.  They responded with surprise:  "Don't you know? Are you a stranger here that you haven't heard?"  And they tell him all that happened.  Jesus then expounds the scriptures to them, explaining that it was part of the plan.  It is coming on evening and they invite him to stay with them and eat with them.  At dinner, their "eyes were opened" and they realize that He was with them.  Then he disappears.  Did you see the healing that happened?  They were filled with sorrow. Of course our Savior knew why they were sad, as He knows why all of us feel.  He wants us to tell Him, to "pour out," so He can fill us with the Spirit and to heal us.  This completely changed the way I look at prayer.  I want to be filled with the Spirit.  He commands us to pray ALWAYS.  What a connection that He wants us to pray and "pour out" so He can fill us with Healing!

You can probably see why I love these programs.  They are so worth attending.  They bring growth and closeness to the Spirit of God and to our Savior.

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