Wow, it's been a really nice weekend. No commitments really, just time with the fam sitting and watching general conference. I love General Conference. (If you're not familiar, it's a biannual conference held by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is broadcast from Salt Lake City around the world. The speakers are prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as other Church leaders.) At first 8 hours of listening to speakers in a weekend sounds like a long haul, but the more you listen, the more time flies by and by the end, you feel so uplifted and don't want it to finish. We watch conference over the Internet with our couch pulled in front of our computer. The boys played with Lego's, did a little coloring, got a few backscratches, ate a few snacks but were for the most part there to listen to all the sessions. To me, the talks seemed to generally fall into two different categories: first, very basic gospel principles such as sabbath day observance, paying tithing, strengthening faith, strengthening the family, loving and serving others, and attending the temple; second, reminders that the growth we seek, whether in our families or testimonies or for divine help or just regarding our eternal progress in general, is incremental. I liked Elder Bednar's examples of turning a light on in a room (instant clarity) versus a sunrise (where the light grows almost imperceptibly, moment by moment). I think I will try to remember that as I work on new goals I have made--to not expect of myself amazing progress in a short time, but also to remember that consistent small effort added up does amount to big changes. Also Elder Ballard's example taught this--that of the prospector who found great wealth and success, not by discovering big nuggets of gold but by acquiring little flecks of it from the rock, bit by bit. I need to remember, as the scriptures say, that "by small and simple things great things are brought to pass, and small instances in many instances doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls" (Alma 37 in the Book of Mormon).
The Orlando Temple, a little piece of heaven on earth.
So this week, my little efforts at being better will make a difference and I should not give up on them. It's nice to have that hope restored. :)
So having the Spirit in our home so much this weekend also led me to think about all the things I am grateful for. First I am grateful that even though it is already beginning to be fairly hot here in Tucson, I'm grateful for the beautiful sunshine that without my directly realizing it MAKES ME FEEL GREAT! It feels like liquid hope pouring into my heart and mind and seeping through my skin. I'm also thankful for a house with big windows that lets in all this beautiful light. The two big windows in my bedroom by the rocking chair I rock Graham in are wonderful.
I'm also thankful for a husband who was already pretty darn helpful and supportive, but who has on his own really stepped things up since I had Graham. He seeks every opportunity to let me sleep in if he can (actually has gotten in trouble a few times for letting me sleep in too long!). He bathes and puts Henry and Wes to bed more, does more of the bedtime stories, helps with cooking, does the boys' chores with them on Saturdays, etc. all while unraveling the earth's mysteries of evolutionary biology as it pertains to bugs. Yes, he is a pretty great husband.
Entomologist by day, domestic helper extraordinaire by night
I'm thankful for where we're at in life. I don't even know how to describe where that is. Compared to a lot of people in the US, we're not super well off. For a family of five we don't make tons. However, compared to quite a lot of the world's population, we are as rich as kings, and I appreciate that we live in a world now where we can have a better idea of how people live and I can see how very blessed we are, as Americans, as college educated people, as Latter-day Saints, as people with safety, jobs, family, liberty, etc. So let's just say I think it's great that we've graduated to a great $50 craigslist entertainment center from our $15 spruced up entertainment center we had in Georgia, which was an upgrade from our cardboard box TV stand. We have one awesome car that is still nice and reliable and serves us well. We have a two-car garage--amazing! We have a little, private yard, lots of floor space and closet space, we have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. We have a 401(k) and great benefits. We have a super treadmill and digital pressure cooker and great bookshelves. We have a great iMac that has the best picture on it. I love all these things. It feels good to see how much the Lord has blessed us. I love my house and the ability to take care of my family so well in it. It's a good place to be.
Goodbye to this little gem of an entertainment center from Georgia. Actually, given that we only paid $15 for it, it was not too bad!
Finally, I'm thankful for the experiences in my life that have confirmed to me that my Heavenly Father is real and loves me. There's not much in the way of discouragement, despair, difficulty, or lack of confidence that can stand in the way of knowing that the Supreme Being of the Universe made you and loves you. I remember my mom saying once that she was always a little amazed at how confident her children were in the face of whatever it was they decided to do, ha ha, which now that I think about it was maybe a veiled attempt to tell me I was being cocky (which, OK, may have happened once or twice). But in whatever sense it was good and that I still have that, I feel like my confidence, my ambition, my hope and any subsequent success I have comes from that belief in the nature of God, the role of His Son, Jesus Christ, and my relationship to Them.
I guess that's the source of my good mood tonight after listening to conference. No weakness in my character that currently gives myself or others grief need stay a part of my life. There are no insurmountable hurdles when it comes to choosing and doing what is right. I'm excited to make and live up to ambitious plans about the good I can do with my life, shaped and directed by my Creator's plan for me and His much better knowledge of what He would have me do. Yep, it's going to be a good week. :)
Who wouldn't do anything in the world for these sweet boys? And now I've got three!