Friday, April 11, 2014

184th annual general conference: sunday sessions

As promised, I have split up my favorite parts of this year's General Conference into 2 posts. These are my favorite quotes and things I learned from the Sunday morning and afternoon session. You can watch both sessions and the entire conference here.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed my increase in usage last weekend and the hashtag #ldsconf. This has become one of my favorite parts about conference because I'm able to share my thoughts immediately to the thousands of other Conference viewers in the Twittersphere. I've also noticed that some of my non-Mormon followers favorite my #ldsconf tweets and who knows, maybe they looked up the talk to read the whole thing. As much as people complain about our phone obsessed generation, I think that there are some benefits to having and sharing information instantly via social media. Thanks for not unfollowing me during Conference and thanks for everyone else who posted their #ldsconf tweets :)

Photo credit Meg Ricks

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  • Someone on my Twitter feed made the comment that one of the most inspired things President Monson has done as a prophet was calling Elder Uchtdorf as one of his counselors and I couldn’t agree more. This man is called of God, not to mention he is the king of producing the most perfectly, pinteresting quotes.
  • Be thankful in our circumstances instead of for things
  • How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God there is rain? – I can already see this wall decal in the homes of Mormons everywhere. But truly, we need to stop waiting for trials to be over to thank God. We should always have an attitude of gratitude in our hearts regardless of our circumstances.
  • Why do we resist endings? Because we’re made of the stuff of eternities
  • Endings in mortal life are merely interruptions
Jean A. Stevens
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a checklist of things to do, it lives in our hearts
  • The gospel is not a weight, it’s wings
David A. Bednar
  •  Happiness is not the absence of a load—I make this mistake all the time. When my life is great and easy, I think, “Man, this is happiness. Nothing to worry about,” but it’s not true.
  • There is no anguish of the soul we face that the Savior hasn’t felt first. HE GETS ME. But seriously. The Savior gets you and loves you. 
President Thomas S. Monson
  • Everyday of our lives we are given the opportunities to love others
  •  The people we meet everyday in parking lots and elevators are the portion of God’s children He has given us to love—awww! That is so hard to think though because I feel like I encounter so many people I don’t everyday I have no interest in loving, but they’re put in my life to love. 
Lawrence E. Corbridge
  • Elder Corbridge bore testimony of Joseph Smith and his fundamental role in restoring the gospel back to the earth. This was a timely message for me because I recently finished reading Under the Banner of Heaven and learned of some not so shining moments in church history.
  • The truth will always be opposed—Much like the Savior was ridiculed and eventually crucified, Joseph Smith faced persecution until his dying day. People can’t leave the truth alone and it will always face opposition.
  • The family is the pattern of heaven
D. Todd Christofferson
  • Our lives are His—Because the Savior gave His life that we might live again, our lives and everything we do are really His
  • If Christ was resurrected He is a divine being and had to have been a God and what He taught was true because God cannot lie. Basically Elder Christofferson made the connection starting from Christ’s resurrection to His life to His teachings to His gospel and how if one happened, then everything that followed had to have happened. It was very cool and reminded me of my Philosophy 215 class at BYU.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to listen to the prophet and his counselors during General Conference. I know the talks are inspired and the men and women giving them are called of God. Thank you for reading! Feel free to shoot me any questions or share you favorite from this April General Conference.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

184th annual general conference: saturday sessions

On April 5 and 6 I had the opportunity to listen to General Conference. I love Conference because it always seems to fall at the perfect time of the year. When I was at BYU, it was always right before finals and right after the school year started. I miss living in Provo because it was so easy to get tickets to Conference and attend one or multiple sessions. However, we are so blessed today to watch Conference from the comfort of our own homes, which is exactly what I did this year. I want to highlight my favorite talks and quotes from the weekend and I would love to hear your feedback and answer questions! (I am writing this post based on the notes I personally took while listening, so some of the quotes may not be exact and are most likely paraphrased).

Photo Credit to Meg Ricks

I’ve split up this post into Saturday and Sunday sessions to save you from reading a super long post. Here are my thoughts from Saturday morning and afternoon sessions:

Jeffrey R. Holland
  • Talk about starting strong. Elder Holland is known for delivering powerful and emotional messages and this talk was no exception. My favorite part from this one was this line: It is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat boat but don’t even row it
  • Christ-like love is the greatest need we have on this planet.
  • Living the gospel is hard but it’s the most worthwhile thing we’ll ever do in this life.
Ronald Rasband
  • To sustain our leaders is a privilege and is coupled with the responsibility to share their burdens
  • What He asks of us is to take up the joyful burden of discipleship- discipleship is JOYFUL burden. Whoever thought the words joyful and burden would be used to describe one another. But this goes back to Elder Holland’s talk and the difficulty of living the gospel but the infinite blessings we receive from doing so.
Carlos H. Amado
  • Props to the speakers who deliver messages in languages other than their native tongue. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be, and yet they still manage to convey their thoughts and the Spirit so well
  •  Even during His immense suffering, Christ continued to pray for and think of others
Neil L. Andersen
  • You are infinitely more precious to God than a tree- Ok ok, I know this is taken out of context but I giggled so much when he said this line. Like sweet, I’m more special than that sequoia!
  • While many well-intentioned governments and politicians redefine marriage, God does not—simple statement about the sanctity of marriage.
  • God has saved you for His final preparations before His return—I always get emotional thinking about being part of a chosen generation. It sounds a little conceited, but we truly have been saved for the last days. It’s frightening that of all the human lives who could have been brought to earth at this time, I am one of the ones chosen to live in this day and age- yikes. This concept makes me think of EFY and singing “As Zion’s Youth in Latter Days” and feeling a flood of emotion and humility.
  • Elder Andersen talked mostly about the ever-increasing gap between the standards of the world vs. the Church. As Latter-day Saints we stick out more and more and have become more and more recognized throughout the world. Now more than ever we need to live like disciples of Christ and be the best examples of His Church we can be. 

Russell M. Nelson
  • Even if everyone else is doing it, wrong can never be right—simple statement but hard to live but so, so true.
  • Courage, not compromise brings the smile of the Lord’s approval
  • Stand up for what you believe in. Let your faith show. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel.
Richard G. Scott
  • Shoutout to Elder Scott for consistently mentioning his Sweet Jeanene every time he speaks. I actually yelled, “I LOVE JEANENE” during this talk to which Preston responded, “I know.”
  • Teach with the vision of the importance of being sealed in the temple—It’s gonna be awhile before I’m teaching my own little ones about the importance of the temple, but it makes me remember how important the temple was in my family growing up. We always had a picture of the Washington, D.C. temple in our home and it was emblazoned in my mind that my goal should be to get married there someday. I dreamed about my wedding since I was little and imagined all the frivolous things like my dress and flowers, but my mom always reminded me that none of that mattered unless I was sealed to my husband that day. Yay for that dream coming true :)
W. Craig Zwick
  • Kept shooting glances at Preston this whole talk cuz it was all about COMMUNICATION y’all. This talk is called “What Are You Thinking?” and I thought it was one of the most useful and practical addresses of Conference. Elder Zwick shared his own personal experience of miscommunication with his wife as well as an example from the Book of Mormon of different viewpoints resulting in abrasive words and hurt feelings.
  • The willingness to see things through each other’s eyes transforms corrupt communication to ministering grace—Think before you speak! Think about what the other person might be thinking. This talk was for me because my feelings are easily hurt and I am a champion at holding a grudge and refusing to speak. 

Thanks for reading both my Saturday sessions thoughts. You can watch both Saturday morning and afternoon sessions here

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

huskies, wildcats and cougars oh my!

Preston and I had a great weekend. First, it was General Conference (post to follow!) which meant breakfast in bed and listening to great talks in pajamas. This weekend was also the Final Four and our sweet city hosted most of the festivities. 

Friday, Saturday and Sunday there was a March Madness music festival held in Union Park, a couple of blocks from our apartment. We went all three days and saw a plethora of artists from Jason Aldean (Friday. LOL) to Bruce Springsteen (Sunday. RULES) and rode the ferris wheel twice. It was like a itty bitty baby Coachella, for free! Friday night was mostly ferris wheeling and wandering around the back of the Jason Aldean crowd. After conference on Saturday we walked over for The Killers. I gotta be honest, I didn't know many songs from any of the artists we saw, but I could sing along to all of the Hot Fuss singles. Brandon Flowers is a hot dad and put on a fun show. On Sunday we waited in the rain for Fun. and Bruce Springsteen. Again, didn't know many songs from either artist, but Fun. was high energy and, well, fun. Nate Ruess reminded me of a 5 year old boy. We ended the night with Bruce Springsteen and he was my favorite show of the weekend. The E Street Band is HUGE and such a spectacle. Bruce is an incredible performer and so interactive. He crowd surfed (we touched him!), brought people onstage and sang to random girls in the audience. I had a lot of fun despite the rain, cold and bladder almost exploding. The pics above from L-R are The Killers, Fun. and Bruce crowd surfing.
Last night we went to Arlington to watch the championship game between the UConn Huskies and Kentucky Wildcats. AT&T stadium embodies everything about Texas and America. It is a monstrosity and such sight to see. Basketball is my favorite sport to watch and I have always wanted to attend the Final Four. I had a great time cheering for the Huskies (cuz only a small fraction of the crowd were UConn fans and Preston explained to me UConn was the real underdog despite their higher seed than Kentucky). I also talked Preston into getting the ultimate nachos which are not pictured but deserve their own mention.
All we really wanted was a good, close game and we got it. Both teams were fun to watch and it was just a treat in itself to be in attendance at such a huge sporting event. After UConn won I couldn't help but vocalize to Preston how happy I was for UConn to which Preston made fun of me and said, "You're always so proud of them (them being any winning team)." But come on, they worked so hard and beat so many teams! Plus, who had UConn taking it all on their bracket? I think they were out in the Sweet 16 on mine. I just get really happy and emotional for the winning athletes in big sporting events that I care about.
The energy was so high at AT&T Stadium and I can only imagine how much more excited I would be if BYU ever made it and I was in attendance. Speaking of the cougars, look who we ran into! They had a little advertisement about BYU winning the 6th fan competition and we let out what we thought were the only cheers in the stadium, but before the game started we saw Coach Rose himself a few rows away from us. At the end of the game we went over and said hi and got a pic. We luv BYU. 

 I don't know when we'll get the chance to see another Final Four game so I'm really glad we took the opportunity this year. So ends another fun weekend in sweet Dallas, TX. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

undwindulaxing part 2: provo, ut

After spending a few days in Palm Springs with the Kutneys, I flew to Utah to spend a week with my friends and attend the wedding of Jadyn and Sean McGrath on March 30. Most of my time in Utah was spent eating which is one of my favorite activities, so I had an excellent time.

I flew into Salt Lake on the afternoon of the 25th and was picked up by Kylie. We met up with Jenny and had a life conference aka dinner in Salt Lake. I love those glam ladies. Then I drove back to Provo with Jenny and lived with her until Friday. Wednesday I went to campus to give Terrance a package from his mom and it was very weird being on campus. No one knew that I don't actually go to BYU anymore. I had lunch at Cubby's which is just as good as I remembered with Blythe, Kaile and Alyanna (pictured above). That night I had Slab with my soon-to-be newlyweds Grady and Molly (below). I also third-wheeled with them to Cafe Rio because TEXAS DOESN'T HAVE ONE. 
Another fun thing I got to do besides eat was attend Xtend Barre with Molly. She works and will soon be teaching class there and if you like pilates + ballet + cardio, you need to try Xtend Barre. I have been forever saying how much I want to take a dance class but a) can't find any b) am too self conscious. Xtend Barre was great because it combined ballet technique with pilates moves plus cardio. I got an awesome workout and broke a sweat. I'm going to try and find a close by class I can go to here in Dallas. Xtend Barre/Barre Method/Pure Barre is very popular among the SMU sorority chicks out here.

I am sooo excited for Grolly 2014. We have already bought our tickets to Nashville and now I just need to find the perfect outfit for June 6!
I tried Sodalicious because I've seen it on Instagram so many times and Emilee is a loyal customer. Above is us rolling in the grass after my first Sodalicious experience. I had to say goodbye to Blythe who was heading to New York for the week. 
Friday night to Saturday morning was all wedding activities and I have a whole post dedicated to that lovely day. I spent Sunday with my sister and Monday I bought an entire Slab pizza. This is something  have always wanted to do. I brought back a slab for Preston because I am the nicest wife and there it is in my carry-on.
Utah was great and I sure do miss living 5-45 mins away from all my best friends, but I was glad to come back to Dallas but wish I could bring Slab with me.