Monday, April 06, 2009

Conference Weekend

We just wrapped up General Conference weekend, one of my favorite times of the year. My cousins Charlotte and Emily (both BYU students) came to stay for the weekend and it was so much fun to have them, they brought a real party atmosphere with them.

We don't plan any other activities during Conference weekend -- we are serious watchers -- no friends are invited over, we all gather and we watch all of the sessions together. I take notes, so I can get more out of it (and sometimes to keep me from dozing off). This time I was knitting as well, setting my knitting aside as needed to take notes. We also eat good food during Conference weekend so we are richly fed physically as well as spiritually.

This time we held our inaugural Donut Night so that Charlotte and Emily wouldn't have to miss out on their family tradition. The women & girls make homemade donuts while the men & boys are at the Priesthood session.

They indulged me by posing for a picture holding their hair back like Eva always does...

I couldn't find the same deep fryer that Denise uses, but I bought one that was similar enough. It came with this handy basket, which lessened my fears about getting burned from splattering oil.

I was the fryer and the girls did the glazing. They turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself! I was afraid they might not come out right the first time, but I was definitely pleased with the results and they were actually easier than I had expected. Eva loved them so much she now says she only likes donuts and wants to make them every day. It could be dangerous having a deep fryer, I think I'll store it in the garage to lessen the temptation! Next time I think I'll try a chocolate glaze... (I will be posting the recipe on my recipe blog shortly in case you want to try making donuts of your own.) I only wish I had taken a photo as beautiful as Denise's to document Donut Night!

We also played lots of games in-between sessions and at night: our own version of Bananagrams, played with our Scrabble tiles; Electronic Life, and Ticket to Ride.

My kids were thrilled. Now we need Emily and Charlotte to come over again so we can play cards and Catan (and Lucas really wants a reprise of Life).

It was such a fun weekend, I'm kind of sad I hadn't thought of inviting them for Conference every time! I hope they'll want to come from now on, as long as they're living in Utah, of course.

Now, onto the highlights from my notes:

Robert D. Hales
  • Provident living is more important now than ever before. We must learn to distinguish between wants and needs.
Margaret S. Lifirt (?)
  • Reverence is a profound expression of respect, mingled with love.
  • We should be modeling respect to our children in all aspects of our lives.
  • Reverence invites revelation.
  • Every child deserves a chance to progress. (this has me thinking about opportunities I can give to my children)
Michael A. Nieder
  • We should be earnest students of God's words, and of all correct principles.
  • In order to merit the discernment of the Spirit, we must do our homework.
  • Lifelong learning should be a priority.
Allan F. Packer
  • When we are acquainted with the voice of the Spirit, and learn to trust it, we can hear that voice above all others. (this is beautiful to me)
D. Todd Christofferson
  • We need strong Christians who can maintain their faith amidst trials, who can convert tribulation to triumph.
  • Obedience gives us greater control over our lives and enhances our capacity to overcome difficulties. As we obey, we are endowed with greater faith.
Henry B. Eyring
  • With all the differences in our lives, we all share at least one thing in common -- adversity. The advent of adversity can bring fear, and sometimes even anger. We may experience feelings of injustice. If left unchecked, these feelings can lead to a loss of faith.
  • We must earn Heavenly Father's trust by passing through affliction without losing our faith.
  • Being obedient when it is hard to do is invaluable.
  • Affliction blesses our lives when we humble ourselves.
  • The Lord always suits the relief to the individual in need.
  • In Alma 34, the people were instructed to give to others what they had hoped the Lord would give to them. No matter our financial or spiritual state, there are always those worse off that we can help.
  • We can pass every test we are given. (this gives me hope!)
M. Russell Ballard
  • Some of life's most meaningful counsel comes from those who have lived longer than you. They can steer you away from trouble and pain if you will listen.
  • Do not exhaust your spiritual strength repeating the mistakes of the past.
  • The boundaries of good taste and public decency are being pushed to the point of having no boundaries at all.
Quentin L. Cook
  • We must show respect to members of other faiths, as well as members of our own faith who may be in a difference place than ourselves. (good point -- the latter might actually be more difficult for us)
Kevin W. Pearson
  • Faith as a principle of power is the result of consistent obedience. It is always bestowed on those who continually seek after personal righteousness.
  • It can be enticing to choose doubt over faith. Fear and faith cannot co-exist; we need to constantly root out sources of unbelief.
  • 6 Destructive D's: doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience, and disbelief -- all erode our faith
Rafael N. Pino
  • There is no tragedy in death; only in sin. (President Kimball)
  • In our most painful moments, we should never forget that the Savior experienced our every pain, and knows how to succor us.
Richard G. Scott
  • How can we gain greater benefits from temple attendance?
  • Focus on the atonement and our relationship to the Savior.
  • Participate in all of the different ordinances.
  • Remove your watch!
  • Focus on the person you are performing the ordinance for.
Russell M. Nelson
  • Prayer gives us spiritual sustenance that cannot be obtained in any other way.
  • If we really care for others, we should pray for them.
  • It is possible to pray or fast for too long -- this is not necessary and is not any more effectual. (I found this interesting)
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  • People are constantly looking for some new theory, some new solution to their problems. But every worldly solution falls short of the lasting change we seek. The gospel of Jesus Christ contains the answers to our every problem.
  • A friend had asked for his advice on dealing with a problem, then a week later replied, "I tried what you suggested. It didn't work. What else have you got?" We have to stay with it! The fruits of discipleship come over time, with continual effort.
  • It is not enough to surround ourselves with the symbols of discipleship.
  • The first step on the path to self-improvement begins from exactly where we stand today.
  • It is always the right time to walk in his way -- it is never too late.
  • Jesus Christ has the power to heal any wound, bridge any gap, and help us to face any challenge.
Neil L. Andersen
  • With all his nervousness and humility surrounding his new calling, he does know one thing with perfect certainty: Jesus is the Christ.
  • The prophet reminded us in the Priesthood session that the Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it. (this is so beautiful and poetic to me)
Steven E. Snow
  • How can we prepare for inevitable change in our lives?
1. Follow the prophet.
2. Keep an eternal perspective.
3. Have faith.
4. Be of good cheer.

Barbara Thompson
  • His arm is sufficient, though demons oppose.
  • We know that Satan will try us, but the Lord will strengthen us and make us equal to the task.
Jeffrey R. Holland
  • To all those who feel alone or abandoned, those who are bereft: think on the loneliest journey ever undertaken, the Savior's solitary task of working out our salvation and his triumph over death.
  • His lonely journey was undertaken largely without comfort or companionship.
  • The loss of mortal support he had anticipated, but he may not have been fully prepared for the emotional and spiritual suffering of the Father's withdrawal.
  • Against all odds, and with none to uphold him, Jesus of Nazareth triumphed over death. His faith in his Father in Heaven carried him through his trial.
President Monson
  • The global financial outlook is grim.
  • The moral footings in society are weakening.
  • It would be easy to be fearful and pessimistic, but let us focus on our blessings and be of good cheer.
  • Our trials will not be removed from us, but we will be given strength to face them head-on and to persevere.
Dallin H. Oaks
  • It is not easy to give up our personal desires.
  • He who lives only unto himself withers and dies, while he who loses himself in service to others grows and blossoms in this life and in the life to come.
  • You cannot love the Lord without serving His children.
  • The gap between those who are willing to surrender their personal priorities to the Lord and those who are not is widening.
  • Latter-day Saints are uniquely committed to sacrifice.
  • Satan desires to sift us like wheat -- to make us common and like those around us. Christ desires to make us precious and unique.
  • Satan's sin was in wanting to be the center, to be his own master, outside of God and apart from God. Selfishness leads us to please ourselves, rather than God.
  • Sacrifice is out of fashion now. The worldly aspiration is to get something for nothing -- entitlement. But getting something for nothing is contrary to the laws of the gospel and the law of the harvest.
  • When we go to church, we should be looking for opportunities to life and serve others. (a great challenge to try)
David A. Bednar
  • The covenants we make at baptism are more fully realized in the temple, where we more fully take upon us the name of Christ.
  • I have come to better understand the protection offered to us by temple worship. There is a great difference between members who accept callings and pay tithing and occasionally go to the temple, and those who commit to regular and faithful temple attendance. (ouch.)
  • We should not be surprised by Satan's efforts to thwart temple service.
  • Do not allow anything to distract you from it.
Gary E. Stevenson
  • You are never lost when you can see the temple.
  • Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness. Understanding the eternal nature of the temple will draw you to your family, and vice versa.
José A. Teixeira
  • We are not left alone. The Lord has given us spiritual gifts to help us navigate our lives.
  • We have all been given the gift to choose, and we are all born with the natural capacity to choose between right and wrong.
  • Our lives will depend on the decisions we make -- because decisions determine destiny. (President Monson)
President Monson
  • Pray that your children will be strengthened against temptation.
  • Express love to each other.
  • Avoid degrading media and influences wherever they may be.
  • Go to the temple often.
  • Constantly nourish your testimony.
  • Choose you this day whom ye will serve.
It really seemed like the major themes of this conference were: recommitting ourselves to obedience and holding fast to our faith in the midst of adversity. I love the way these two principles are intertwined -- our faith motivates us to greater obedience, and when we are obedient, we are endowed with an increase of faith. It sounds like most pertinent counsel for these times.

I love the way I feel buoyed up after Conference weekend -- I am ready to tackle the challenges in my life and recommitted to following the Savior's way.


rebekah said...

they are such pretty, pretty girls!

i love that you're a family of serious conference watchers! whenever i had roommates i would try to sequester myself in my room so that i could enjoy conference alone. i've had more than one experience sitting through conference with other people who, for some reason, chose to talk the entire time. it drove me batty! along the same lines of frustration, but even more so, are people who chit chat through temple sessions. what?!

deep frying things is one of those magical culinary experiences, like watching something rise as it bakes or beating cream or egg whites into fluffy peaks. it must be the sudden transformation, i don't know. but i do know that i'll probably never have enough will power to whether the temptation of owning a fry daddy.

wende said...

we are serious watchers too.

i love donuts, for this reason i have never owned a deep fryer. even storing it in the garage would not be enough for me. yours turned out beautifully.

jenn said...

fun tradition- is it too late to start one? we usually just clean house and get ready for bed.

listening was a challenge this year with the commotion my kids made- I'm really excited for the Ensign because I loved so much of what I heard and wanted the full message!

Liz said...

It sounds like you had a really lovely conference weekend. Your weekend is how I always invision ours to be. But this weekend was a far cry from yours. My kids were absolutely at their worst this weekend. I barely heard any of the talks, and I was quite sad about that. I caught bits and pieces here and there, but I will have to go back and watch again. Thanks for your great notes, I appreciated them!

Denise said...

Your donuts are beautiful--absolutely perfect! Thanks for inviting the girls over, they had such a great time, and it was so nice for them to be in a family atmosphere for Conference. I love knowing that my girls are being lovingly cared for while they're away from home.

Thanks for the awesome notes. I'm actually going to print them off for future reference!

Michelle said...

Your donuts look amazing - what a great girls night - and I love that there was game playing in between each session! If the garage is too close you can store the deep fryer at my house :)!

Jen said...

this is how i want my conference weekends to be. seriously- like when life returns to normal, i'm hoping my child won't scream and draw on things he shouldn't. :)

i love those donuts by the way...

and thanks for posting your notes. i attempted- and i always love to see the difference between what i hear and what others find striking. it's great b/c i always learn something new from someone else's notes.

melanie said...

Your note taking skills are impressive! I don't mind watching all 4 sessions either. This year I had way too many distractions from a one year old. Maybe October will be better.

Really, your conference weekend sounds perfect. I'm glad you had such a good time. Now I want one of your donuts!

April said...

I love the idea of incorporating games into Conference kids would surely look forward to that. I need to work more on my preparation.

I love deep fryers and all the ways they make me happy.

You went on a comment spree on my blog...and it always means so much to me. Thank you for all you generous and lovely comments.

Amie said...

How impressive that you typed out all of your notes. An awesome thing to have.

I love conference weekend at your house. I will think of you as I try to step it up next time.

Melinda said...

I wish I would have taken notes. You have some really great ones. My kids saw the donuts and now they are bugging me to make them. They look so good.

charlotte said...

I read this yesterday and thought I had commented--apparently not! I had such a great time with you this weekend--a reprise is definitely in order.

Susan said...

I think you got the donuts down pat! Olivier crispy cremes!!

I love your notes, but how in the world did you take such good ones while knitting??!! Holy Moly!

I had to work on Saturday and missed all of Conference that day. Sunday was delightful, but I love having your notes to refer to. I 'm going to print them out as a reminder. You are wonderful, pretty daughter of mine.

amy m said...

I too felt so buoyed up after conference, like anything was doable.

I'm glad it was such a fun weekend with family. Those donuts look amazing.

Miranda said...

Those are impressive doughnuts AND notes. Too bad I can't print off the doughnuts the way I can the notes!

Robyn said...

How fun to have your cousins there! They are so cute. Looks like you had so much fun. I love the Game Night! Wish I could have tasted those doughnuts. My stomach literally growled at the sight of them. Yum. Your family has great traditions!

Jill said...

I think it's so great that you had Charlotte and Emily over for a fun, Conference weekend, what a treat for all of you!

The donuts look so, so good. I think having that technology would prove lethal for me. Donuts really started me on the road to ruin in the first place.

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