{ Some thoughts on General Conference }

I can say without reservation that General Conference around our house is one of my favorite times-even though things don’t go as smooth and bicker-free as I would like, there is this immensely peaceful spirit that just takes over the whole house. I look around at my kids furiously taking notes, happily coloring pictures, or just thoughtfully taking in the spirit they feel, and my heart almost bursts with joy. It makes all those other really hard mothering times SO worth it.

This last weekend was General Conference again, and last week working up to it was quite a doozy. From Sunday on, it felt like everything was going wrong, insanely busy, or just downright ripping apart at the seems. By Day 2 of the week, we knelt down for family prayer, and I announced that I had figured out our problem. I’m sure my kids did a half eye roll at that one-positive that I would mention how they were fighting too much, or on devices for far too many hours in the day, or maybe how they should all help out a little more. I wish they were wrong at all those thoughts-because at one time or another I certainly have thought of those. But that night was different.

I was positive that our problem wasn’t really a problem at all, but just a clear sign that this weekend’s conference was about to be amazing. The one person (Satan) that didn’t want us to hear true words of wisdom from up above, delivered so eloquently by our beloved Prophet and Apostles was trying to do everything in his power to make us be tired, grumpy, fighting, annoyed, weary and just plain frustrated that we would want to do anything but sit for 8 hours and feel of the Spirit. Luckily, my family agreed, and the rest of the week went worse than the beginning, but each time we just looked at each other and said, “This weekend is going to be AMAZING!” And amazing it was.

As each talk was so beautifully delivered we would look over at each other and say, “That was awesome!” It was just the things we needed to hear. When conference was over we felt so uplifted and more importantly energized to make changes. Though to some the changes seemed little, it was just the reminder to get back to basics and do a lot better at doing those basics to the best of our ability. Sunday night we had a great family council and talked for a couple hours about how we were going to make our family scripture time and personal prayer and scripture times happen more effectively. If we were going through all the effort to just be “going through the motions” we felt like that was a bit of wasting our time. We all wanted to make that time count towards strengthening our testimonies. We decided that morning prayer can be the hardest-we discussed some of the talks that had addressed that. Brianna had a great idea to all meet up in the playroom at 5:45am before family scripture time. By all meeting there and waking up a little we could then go off to our own quiet places and prayer and then meet downstairs for scripture time. There is something about being accountable to someone else that makes it work. I was so grateful for Brianna’s insight and wisdom in coming up with that.

We also used the time to discuss how our jobs around here were kind of suffering. We brainstormed ideas about how we could do it differently, and I had mentioned switching to zones rather than having smaller individual jobs. I know other families do that and it seems to work okay. Austin ran with it and suggested that they have zones and each have a “team” to do them with. They were happy to be divided up by our “Straight, Curly, and Mediums” groups and felt actually excited to do jobs again. I would be kidding myself to say that they were done perfect and everyday now, but they sure are doing amazing compared to how we were doing before. I am so proud of them!

They love their little teams, and encourage each other to get the stuff done. Brianna and Abby are in our “Curly group”. They decided that after school they are both so tired, so they were going to work on their zone then while listening to music to get them awake more. So far it has worked great!

Austin, Erika, and Ryan are in our “Medium” group. They are just the two to encourage Ryan and make sure that he feels important by helping out. He is my super dishwasher unstacker, and loves to help with the laundry. It has been nice to have them encourage him to sit more quietly during prayer time and at dinner. It makes a difference to have one of the siblings ask instead of mom and dad.

Our “Straights” are Brooke and Scott. They are doing great, but Scott is having a little harder time getting motivated. Money isn’t very motivating to him these days. I know it will at some point, but for now all I can do is help Brooke encourage him and help him see what an important part he plays in our home.

We used our Conference board again and then I just printed out packets and had them stapled inside cute file folders. We had bags with snacks like we usually do, but other than that we were all just excited to listen, especially after the week we had had. In all of our intense listening this conference I really didn’t take any pictures. This one from the General Women’s Conference the week before is all I have. So fun to have all of my girls now old enough to go with me to it.

Women's Conference Oct 2014 blog-1

Brianna-16  Brooke-11  Erika-9  Abby-8

The little girls took notes on packets they had gotten from their Activity Day Girls leader and Brianna took notes on her iPad. I was happy to just sit and listen, especially since Aaron got home at the last minute and was able to keep Ethan home with him. It was a nice “All girls” night out. We ended out the night with our usual IHOP and Longhorn Steakhouse chocolate stampede dessert run. I was happy to donate mine to my babysitters so I could go and be with my girls and fully listen. Such a fun couple weeks of Conference. It feels so good to be motivated again.

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