Friday, May 3, 2013

Life is Just a Bowl of . . . Trials? BYU Women's Conference

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to BYU Women's Conference for my first time.  Since becoming a mom, I've made it to Education Week for a day a few times, but this was my first time at Women's Conference.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but wanted to give it a try because I'd heard such good things about it.

A couple years ago I went to Time Out for Women, and enjoyed it, but felt like I was in a Deseret Book commercial.  As I've attended Disney on Ice since then, I'd now describe TOFW kind of like Disney on Ice for LDS Women.  So, if you like that kind of thing, great, but it was a little intense for me.  It wasn't the presenters that made me squirmish, more the overall feel of it.  I would, however, be happy to purchase the DVDs of TOFW, just maybe not attend, especially since I do live close enough to BYU to attend Education Week or Women's Conference.

I was impressed at the organization of Women's Conference; I wouldn't expect less.  I love the variety of classes offered at Education Week, so I was a little worried at the WC emphasis on women things like relationships and mothering; however, I was still filled!  I wasn't sure I'd like the schedule for the day, but ended up LOVING having opening and closing combined sessions and the three breakout sessions with the 30 or 45 minute breaks in between.  I also enjoyed that at each class I went two, two or three people spoke.  At Education Week I get so excited about so many classes, then end up going to them, and then my brain feels like it's going to explode at the end of the day.  Five total classes won't make your brain explode.  At WC I felt relaxed!  Perhaps it helped that I was crocheting a scarf from one of the WC make and take kits and wasn't concentrating as hard?

I LOVE the service emphasis of WC.  The make and take kits are brilliant as you're just sitting there listening (and sometimes taking notes).  I also LOVED the service night and all the projects!  Because I wanted to finish my scarf before leaving for the night I worked on it instead of the projects, but my friend helped with a project.

I also LOVED how friendly people were!  I could just strike up a conversation with anyone, and everyone was so helpful.  It was a little piece of heaven.  I felt like I was back at Ricks College where you said hi to everyone.  As a student, BYU was nice, but it was not as friendly as Ricks.  Plus, as an added bonus, I ran into a bunch of people I know---from a gal I worked with in 1996, to another co-worker from the Church Office Building, to a mom I swap with for volunteering at the school, to people in my ward, to two of my aunts!

I was able to stick around for the concert, which I thought would be fun.  It was, but it went a little long for my tastes, and some of the singers I didn't particularly care for.  Let's just say, I don't know what Michael McLean was smoking when he came up with Threads---A fashion show from The Twilight Zone???  It was funny, and the singer was great, but it was just a bit weird.  I also wasn't a huge fan of Justin Cash, but I would have probably liked listening to him in college.  We left during the Deseret Book boy band.  They were good, but kind of danced like they were half paralyzed.  Plus, it was after 10 and we were really tired and had an hour drive to make.  Mercy River's bedtime song made me laugh so hard that I cried.  As a mom I'd be totally embarrassed to get up there and dance like teenage rock stars like they did, but they were good, really good, and their song was SO TRUE!  I loved Sandra Turley's Les Mis mix and Josh Wright's piano playing was beautiful.  I REALLY loved Hilary Weeks new song, I Found Me (I found you, then I found me.).  I could write a whole post on that, and maybe I will some time.  So overall I'm glad I stayed for the concert, but I could have skipped a few of the artists.

OK, now back to the classes and the title of this post.  From the opening combined session by sweet Elaine Marshall, I realized that life is not perfect, it never will be, and it's okay.  We just roll with it and do our best.  I don't have this premonition that life should be perfect, but we've just struggled so much lately with some of our kids, that I wonder if it's normal, and yup, it is.

For my first breakout class, I attended "Being a Gracious Receiver" and expected it to be about accepting help when you need it; however, it was about receiving trials with grace.  There were several stories about trials, including death, yet, we just deal with it and move on, and it's okay.  Second, I went to "The World's Greatest Champion of Woman and Womanhood is Jesus the Christ."  My friend, Cheryl, presented part of this one and she and her partner spoke with such power.  After that I went to "Mothering Young Children," and realized our kids are pretty darn good.  When one mom talked about her kids making the table into a slip and slide or something, I thought, wow, my kids would never do that, and I felt really blessed. So, even though I complain about how hard this phase of life is, I'm really grateful for these wonderful little kiddos in my stewardship who really are pretty obedient and fun, even though they do have their problems and things to overcome just like the rest of us.

Mine would, however, pick all the tulips in the yard while I was gone.  (Not that it hasn't happened before.)
So, I came away feeling incredibly grateful for my own family and knowing that other people do have it worse, so I should stop whining (so much).  I felt that we're not doing too bad a job with parenting---probably better than  I imagined.  I recognized that life is full of trials for everyone, and that's okay.

In the end, would I go to BYU Women's Conference again?  Definitely---especially since my dear husband handled the day like a champion:  kids fed, to school, preschool, book club, baseball, bed, and even a clean house when I came home.  I felt like such a lucky girl.