Thoughts from a women’s conference

I’m lucky to belong to the largest women’s organization in the world.  Seriously, seriously, lucky.  There is a huge strength when women come together to work and learn.  (I’m talking about the Relief Society, the women’s organization in the LDS church.)  


We recently had our annual conference- the theme was taken from a recent address from President Dieter Uchtdorf, one of the apostles of our church.  He spoke about the little forget-me-not flower, and how as a little boy, a war refugee, he would look at that little flower that is so easily forgotten, and hope that God hadn’t forgotten about him.  He used the five petals to teach us five things that we should never forget.


First, “Forget not to be patient with yourself.”  I have to accept that I am not perfect, I’m not SUPPOSED to be perfect.  Neither are you.  Expecting perfection is depressing- you won’t ever, ever, every measure up.  We can be patient with others, and we can be patient with ourselves.  Accept where you are in your journey, and know that if you are moving forward, God is pleased with you. 


I’ve been trying recently to remember this about others, too.  I can’t change who my children are.  I can’t change anybody, but I can choose to accept them where they are, accept their quirks, and choose to love them.  We can’t confuse our journey with anybody else’s- we receive the experiences that we do, and we all learn our own lessons.  Inspecting someone else for imperfections is pointless- we’ll leave that up to God!  We can be grateful for the small successes in our lives- success is a path built on small achievements.  So much of life is just staying the course, being patient, and moving forward.


Second, “Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.”  Staying up all night, losing sleep, with an infant who needs  you is a good sacrifice.  Staying up all night to sew a dress and make a matching hair bow so your daughter will look cute in church tomorrow…no.  Probably not a good reason to lose sleep!  We need to remember to commit our limited time and energy to what matters most.  This is near and dear to my heart right now, since I recently spent two weeks overhauling our entire house, trying to organize it to reflect what is important to my family.  I got rid of SO MUCH STUFF.  My life is so much better.  My family is absolutely sick of hearing about it, I’m sure.  I’ve been geeking out for months now.  


Third, “Forget not to be happy now.” The woman who spoke about this showed us a neat little trick. Assign a the value of 1, b the value of 2, etc..  Now, add up all the letters in the word “Attitude.”  It equals 100!  Attitude is EVERYTHING.  It is 100%.  We could waste our lives waiting for our someday- I’ll be happy when I’m skinny, when I’m married, when I have a house and a yard, when I have more money, when my kids are grown up, when I have grandkids…’s terrible, you could truly spend your ENTIRE life waiting for something to come along and make you happy.  


I’ve been feeling poorly the past few years, because I just never get chosen as a soloist.  I audition.  I get my hopes up.  I feel like a fool.  I compare myself.  There always seems to be a music major, probably from BYU, standing in the wings who gets the spot.  Her voice is bigger, her stage presence is bigger.  I’m just mousy (according to one woman I auditioned for.) 


 I applied to the music school as an 18-year-old college junior, and they told me to come back when I was older.  I wonder, did I give up my spot as a soloist when I turned to the business school and accounting, instead of spending my 4 years at a university building up my vocal strength?  Did I just never have it in me to begin with, no matter how badly I wanted it?  But, that business degree supported us in our early marriage.  It expanded my mind, and helps me be a true partner with my husband (who is also an accountant.)  I think it was worth it- I don’t want to spend these years waiting someone to tell me that I’m good enough.  (Although, I do believe this would be easier if later, when speaking to the ladies who WERE chosen as soloists, they didn’t spend weeks complaining about the time commitment.  As a perennial runner-up in the vocal competitions, from middle school on, this is a long time pet peeve!)  


Fourth, “Forget not the why of the gospel.” Why do we do what we do?  What is the purpose?  The purpose is to keep our covenants, and some day return home to be with our Heavenly Father.  That’s why I do what I do.  


Fifth, “Forget not that the Lord loves you.”  Never.  Never forget.