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RAINY DAYS

Diesel Paws

When I think of rain . . .

the sounds, the smell

open windows w/ the trickle of drops grazing every surface from the leaves of the trees to the sun beaten blades of grass

pajamas all day & cuddles

the crackle of flickering candles that embrace the air w/ aromatic smells

the soothing tunes of vinyl making the rounds on the record player

cozy blankets nuzzled up w/ a mug of marshmallow topped cocoa

intriguing books & romantic movies

breakfast for dinner

diesel paw prints

a face mask & sugar scrubs soaked in a hot bubble bath

getting creative w/ colors or projects or crafts or paints

belting out ballads

puppy kisses

squeaky rain boots & bubble umbrellas,

puddles & dancing

the only thing missing is a fire worthy of toasted roasted gooey marshmallows

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Conference Countdown

It’s that time!!

General Conference is one month away, traditions have started & the countdown has begun!!

I wanted to share what I do to prepare myself for General Conference. Honestly I have tried so hard to be better at this & I am determined to be better prepared. I in no means do any of this to say “Oh look at me I’m so spiritual” But to help others realize what a great thing General Conference is & what a great blessing & added strength it can add to your life because of what it has done for mine.

When I was in high school attending seminary, our teachers would encourage us to write down questions we had been wondering about, whether they were about our faith or our personal daily lives. They also had different techniques they shared that encouraged us to pay attention to General Conference. It was then that I developed a true love for General Conference. I learned how to make the best of something. I used the tools they provided us to magnify my experience, & now have added upon those tools & developed my own that I have molded to my way of learning to achieve the best results for me in getting the most out of my conference experience. It may seem extreme & over the top but I sometimes don’t feel it’s enough. When I was little I thought there was only one session of General Conference not 6!! As I got older I loved that there were in fact more sessions to learn from.

I am so grateful that I was taught & learned at a young age a Love for General Conference. It’s so wonderful to hear from a living prophet, along with all the many others who speak. Being older still I too have gained an appreciation for the speakers as individuals, if you truly think about it, when you prepare a talk how much effort do you put into it? I’m sure a lot, A lot of prayer in asking for guidance, A lot of praying for those who you will speak to that you can communicate to them what the Lord would have you say. It’s really humbling that there are 6 sessions full of people called together to deliver messages that they each individually prepared Just For You. Even if a talk isn’t “for you” or at the time doesn’t seem to apply to you, if you immerse yourself in conference even during those “talks” the spirit can still teach you things the speaker isn’t saying.  These practices not only will affect your General Conference experience but from practice I can tell you it has also magnified my weekly experiences at church.

I was always shocked when people would say “oh that speaker was so monotone”, “that person is a convert what do they know about the subject”, or “honestly I just wasn’t feeling it”. . I am Not trying to bash talks of any kind! I am guilty of mustering attention to pay to… bless their heart, those who have more of a monotone way of speaking. But I have found the secret, at least the one that works for me. Turn off your cell phone, or at least the volume. No where is it polite to have your phone out messing around on your favorite app. (This too is a pet peeve of mine, when I see kids & Adults!! playing on their phones at church, why even come?? I know that’s bold but honestly!?!) Things that have helped me is I carry a journal & the latest issue of the ensign & scriptures with marking pens/highlighter. These help me if I feel I can’t hold attention to the speaker or Even if I am at full attention, the thing I have learned is that if I make an effort & prepare myself for church or conference whatever the case, If I invite the spirit, whether its what someone says or the spirit speaking To me… The spirit is there & more often than not it starts with someone who is speaking who has brought the spirit, & because of their efforts to do so, along with my preparation, I get carried off with promptings of the spirit & write them away in my Journal. These sometimes are things I need to do, answers to prayers, a memory I totally forgot about that was brought back to memory to record & apply to my life.

When the spirit is invited, It will do the rest.

That may have seem a little off topic but I hope that made sense in the fact of when you Learn how to best interpret & learn from the spirit, you can apply it to different things & make the most out of a spiritual setting & experience.

So here is what we are implementing for our tradition this year

I start off by snagging the last issue of General Conference & pop up the calendar on my phone or planner. I plan out the talks to about a talk a day.

Conference Countdown 4

Then there are some much needed tools you’ll be using for the next month.

A journal to record quotes, challenges by the speaker, etc…

Highlighters, pens, to write in your journal & copy of the ensign- I love the pilot pens for journal writing, I love a thick pen point. I also use the black & multi colored papermate felt tip markers. The papermate ones are great for scriptures & ensigns because they don’t bleed & don’t smudge.

Conference Countdown 2

If you have kids or are a kid at heart you can make a paper countdown chain, just snag a sharpie or marker of your choice, a stapler, & cut some strips of paper to interlock into a countdown chain like this one

Conference Countdown 3

As for official conference weekend stuff, I’ll do a post a little bit closer to conference & share a couple things that we also plan to do as mentioned in a previous post

Conference Traditions

You can do this Conference Countdown may different ways:

  • Read a talk a day leading up to conference
  • Go to lds.org watch individual talks & follow along in the ensign, or just watch the individual talks
  • You can listen to sessions or individual talks a day with the gospel library app
  • You can spread out the sessions over the Sundays of this month & watch a session a Sunday leading up to conference weekend

I hope this has helped, I know it may not seem realistic & time consuming, but if you think about it each session is 1-2hours & each talk is 10-15 minutes long so if you can’t do sessions, start small & do a talk  or if your a crammer, do sessions & not talks. If you’re a listener, listen, if you’re more visual, watch, & if you’re a reader, read! Do what works best for you!! It’s just my hope that others can find a love for general conference in making it more meaningful in our lives. We’re never done learning & whether your in need of comfort, encouragement, peace or need a single question answered. It never fails, I have gone to conference with one question & by the end of it all, that question(s) is answered & I come away with so much more & even answers to questions I forgot about or didn’t even know I had! This Gospel is so great! These times of years are truly superb, I don’t know what I’d do with out conference to get me through my year. There are always tons of talks that just uplift me when I need them through out the year.  Sometimes it’s just a single phrase that reminds me that my Heavenly Father is aware of me & loves me.

Do this, Do something, find what works for you, It will make all the difference. I am nowhere close to where I’d like to be, but being sensitive to the spirit & treasuring it & practicing doing so has enhanced the likelihood of me receiving further light. That is one of the best promises I could ask for that I happen to receive through that practice.

How do you countdown to conference?

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Pop Talks

I am a Texan, a Patriot of the Extraordinary USA, I am very stubborn which at times is a blessing as much as at times it can be a curse haha (my hubby & family can attest to my stubbornness), but that Lethal combination I guess you can say is a large basis of a vocally strong individual.

I am a Strong Woman.

That is one thing I have never doubted about myself. I am surrounded by strong women; my momma, my sisters, grandmas & strong people in general, always have been. Young women leaders, friends & people at church who with or without their knowledge, their strength gave me strength. I seek out strength. Those physically & spiritually strong have always grabbed my attention. Whether I saw their strength at times of normalcy, or when they were broken but carried strength possibly unseen by themselves, it was seen by me. Strength is probably one of the most admirable qualities because as unfortunate as it is, it is very uncommon. The reason being is that Strength is not bought or sold, it is earned & often in our meekness given as a gift. The Beauty with strength is that it can be found in weakness & at times of  pure humbleness. At those times, strength comes in doses that build a foundation of strength that can pull you through anything. I say anything in that I, from recent experience have experienced things I never have before & some I have. I had to look at every aspect of my life even going back several years to gather up every bit of strength I could muster. When I thought it was impossible, I was Given added strength from a loving Heavenly Father & Savior. Its sometimes the hardest trips to our own Gethsemane that we are presented with that strength as an added gift & reminder of love from our supreme creators. I am fully aware & believe & more so Know that all that I have & hope to be in my individual life & as a patriot of this nation that I am privileged to call home, would not be possible without our supreme creators. My life, my country, & my family was & will be founded upon by strong, God fearing individuals. I have Big dreams & many many goals but I still at the ripe young age of 25 don’t know what the heck I want to do with my life. However, being eternally grateful for past & current examples in my life, I have Always known the Woman I want to be.

With recent trials I was reminded of & reflected on conversations I had with my pops throughout my life. I often wondered why I had to go through all I had & was going through at the time. But, being a father of three girls (which must have been terrifying for a man, & father) he always knew what to say. He is Not a strong woman but he is a Strong man, physically & spiritually & raised 4 strong children & 3 strong daughters who grew to be strong women. Below is a quote that sums up what he taught & my recorded reflections of those conversations.

If you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people.

It’s because God knows they’re capable of handling it.

My dad was a great example of this, anytime I was struggling or going through something my dad would come have a talk with me & explain that what I was going through was unique to me, & that as big & strong as he is, if he were faced with the same struggle he may not be strong enough to handle it as I am.

My dad is a big guy, (from one of my favorite stories of my moms) He has arms that could bend rail road tracks. Having several of these talks with my dad it always put in comparison & a little shock that someone so big & strong wouldn’t be able to handle what I was going through. But more than that, aside from the many things that those talks taught me, one in particular was a lesson in strength. Not so much of the physical aspect, but being spiritually strong.

If you know me & what I have gone through in my young life, strength is something I desperately needed on a daily basis & now being grown I still cherish those talks & when “bad things” happen, I just whip out my spiritual rail road track bending strength because I’m capable of handling whatever trials life has for me, just like my dad.

After all I am little sam.