This past weekend I made my yearly trip to Utah for the General Relief Society Broadcast. This is a meeting my church has every year that is for women. To be uplifted and enlightened click on the above link.
I had been looking forward to this trip for awhile now. But as the days got closer I found myself feeling less and less excited. The day of my trip I felt so heavy. I felt guilt about leaving Aric and the girls. I felt guilt about the money that it took for me to take this mini vacation. As I waited to board my plane I was holding back tears. I actually thought about bagging the whole thing but my ticket and car rental were already paid for.
Once on the plane I pulled out my journal and decided to write down everything that was weighing me down. It took the entire hour and fifteen minute flight to emotionally purge. I said a prayer and asked God to please help me enjoy this time and make the most of it. He answered my prayer.
My flight landed at noon so I had a full day still ahead of me. I was starving so I met my cousin Monica for lunch....Cafe Rio of course.
Then went straight to Springville to visit my fun friend Kara whom I met when I lived in Boston ten years ago.
She was my partner in crime, our friendship and the adventures we had deserve its own post. This is a pose we did a lot back in our Boston days. I got to spend time with her and her three darling boys. And I finally got to meet her husband (whom she was writing on his mission when we were in Boston). When describing them to Aric I said they are "salt of the earth" kind of people.
I left her home with allergy meds to get me through the weekend, two jars of homemade salsa, a giant bag of tortilla chips, a jar of freshly canned peaches and a far of freshly canned pears. So YUMMY! She totally spoils me.
After a few hours with Kara I met up with my cousin Leah. We enjoyed some of Kara's peaches.
We had dinner with Monica and Chris and watched the season premiere of "The Office". So funny and I am so happy I have my Thursday night shows back! Leah and I had some good quality girl bonding. I stayed with her at her darling apartment. (This is the view from her apartment. I took this view for granted the four years I spent in Provo.)
On Friday I went up to Sandy to go to Tai Pan of course! My dear friend Alisyn met me there.
We hadn't seen each other in five years! She found my blog a few months ago and we have been able get back in touch. We met over eight years ago when we both lived in Western Washington. Her husband Jason and my Aric got along very well....too well. We had the best times with them. It was great to catch up. We had lunch at....Cafe Rio...(yes I'm a junkie!) and I am so glad we are back in each others lives.
After lunch I went to the airport to pick up Kerry, my bosom friend. (If any of you know Anne of Green Gables you can appreciate that description)
She lives here in my little town but we never get to hang out so we plan this little get away every year. Her main goal, besides going to the broadcast, was going to Layers. It is a store that sells clothes, mainly online, but they also have a very hard to find boutique in Salt Lake. After looking for it for an hour we finally found it. It was so worth the work! I'll post about that later....
We also went to a Deseret Book store. Seriously, a spiritual experience in and of itself, I was in there forever! I feel so jipped not having one closer. I got lots of good stuff....I'll post that later.
We stayed with Kerry's parents the next two nights.
On Saturday morning we got up and went hiking around her parents neighborhood. I am still hurting from that! Then it was off for more shopping. I HAD to go back to Tai Pan because they over charged me 20 bucks, I ended up spending it anyway because I found something I couldn't live with out....another later post.
After a good afternoon of deal finding (I was totally on a budget) we went to Gateway and walked around for a bit until the broadcast started. Monica and Leah were running late so I had to leave their tickets with Brother Bastian. A very helpful volunteer at entrance number 7.
Luckily the girls found him and got their tickets and we were able to enjoy the wonderful experience together. The Conference Center holds 21,000 people. This is what it looked like from where I sat.
All the talks were so inspiring. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk especially struck a cord with me. It was about service to others and creating something out of nothing. He also hit on some other wonderful topics. (President Uchtdorf is a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
From the music to the speakers...the spirit was amazing. Just being in the presence of our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, was testimony building. In the picture below Pres. Monson is in the gray suit. His counselors Pres. Henry B. Eyring is at his right and Pres. Dieter F. Uchdorf is at his left. You can also see the General Relief Society Presidency at left of President Uchdorf. (Julie Beck, Silvia Allred and Barbara Thompson)
You can go to lds.org to learn more about our prophet, our other leaders and read any of their talks/sermons. Actually you can hear some of them speak at General Conference which is coming up this weekend...you don't have to be a member of my church to get something out of the amazing talks that will be given. If you need be uplifted tune in.
After the broadcast we went back to Gateway and had dinner at a Brazilian Restaurant called Tucanos....the best dining experience I have ever had! And I forgot to document it with pictures. DANG! So fun and so good. My evening would have been perfect had the knuckle heads at Rocky Mountain Candy Factory not closed 15minutes early so I wouldn't have missed my traditional carmel apple dessert. I'm still bitter about it.
After that it was my good-byes to Monica and Leah...which were not short.
I have to cram all the advice I can in the little time we have together...I know it's their favorite part of my visit. My hope is that these incredible girls know much I love them and if they listen to my counsel it will save them from some of the mistakes I made. Those mistakes were painful and life changing. So the precious time that I spend with them I have to make the most of it.
Then it was back to Kerry's parents house. Kerry and I talked in the car until after midnight then off to bed.
Sunday morning we got up early and headed out to Temple Square for Music and the Spoken Word. It is radio broadcast put on by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The music was so beautiful and it was the perfect way to end the weekend. We rushed to the airport where my bag was 10 pounds over the weight limit of 50lbs. I went into the bathroom and unloaded all the books I bought and some clothes. I stuffed them into my purse and other carry on bag and dropped those ten pounds to avoid the $90, yes your read that right, over the weight limit fee.
As I boarded my plane I felt so light. Nothing had changed over the past three days. The economy was actually worse, I still didn't have a baby, I still have all the worries that I had before. But somehow I felt like my heart was going to burst with joy and I couldn't help but have a spring in my step.
Something had changed. My heart had changed and my focus had changed. The Lord has promised us that if we follow him and live his gospel, our burdens will be made light. If we set our sights on him and trust in him we will have peace during these uncertain times.
We have been taught for years by the prophets that we should live within our means, and be prepared by having food storage. We have been taught to read the scriptures and pray daily. We have been taught to get as much education as possible and/or learn a skill or trade so that we can be self reliant. We have taught to focus on our families, strengthen our marriages and spend quality time with our children. We have been taught to pay our tithing.
I realized that although Aric and I are not perfect by ANY means. We are trying our best to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have listened to the prophet. We are prepared and although these are unnerving times, we can have peace knowing that as long as we continue to follow the counsel of the prophet, which is the word of the Lord, we will be okay. Our family will be okay.
Aric had a great weekend with the girls and I don't think they missed me much at all. I am so lucky to have a husband that enjoys being a father and actually has fun with the kids instead of just putting up with them. He didn't make me feel guilty about leaving, in fact he was the one that encouraged me to go. He made sure that I knew he had everything under control while I was away. He is such a keeper!
Clearly I am blessed.