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.
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.
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
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
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?
I was in Home Goods one day, they had just put out all of their Halloween & fall/Thanksgiving stuff. While walking around looking at all the pretty things, I came near the candles & sconces, I am a sucker for yummy smelling things!! I proceeded to smell & gush over anything vanilla & lots of others that made me gag & then on the bottom I saw several black canisters, I was hesitant to smell them because there were some that were packaged kind of similar to where it reminded me of the horrific scent of said candles.
BUT!! I HAD to it said Lumberjack, & By golly you bet your tukas it was meant to be holy hannah I LOVE this candle!! I tried to Google some info on these candles & supposedly Neiman Marcus used to sell them? Don’t quote me on that, that’s what Google said. But aside from eBay I have not had luck finding these anywhere!! Until one day I was checking out at Marshall’s & they have all of those racks that tempt you with things you don’t even need or to keep you entertained while you wait in the line with everyone in the store who decided that when you check out is the best time to check out, & I spotted it!! That same black canister, I turned it around & it said… Lumberjack!!
I did a happy dance inside. If I ever come across more I am for sure going to snatch em. Have you tried these candles or let alone heard of them? I hope they are still around somewhere & not gone forever that would be so sad. I also have the suit & tie candle & that one smells just as yummy!! You know how good your Honey Bun looks in a suit? Yeah if you could put that into a scent, that is what the Suit & tie one smells like, sexy man 😉 They are definitely more masculine scented but in a strange amazingly good way. If anyone knows more info on these Please tell me!! I will bake you cookies & let you snuggle Diesel!!
I ADORED General Conference this past weekend!! Well, I always adore conference ha! But really, I always write down questions that I ponder before conference, sometimes, even weeks & months before conference. I think this quote sums up & answered all my questions in one!! I needed to hear this soooo much!! It never fails EVERY TIME I come to conference with questions every single one gets answered even the ones my forgetful brain forgot that I had! Aside from this talk President Uchtdorf gave I received so many more answers to questions I’d had through inspirational messages from loving leaders of this church. Before Conference weekend started I shared a post about a box I’ve had since being a little, I went through it & reminisced!! Most of it was all silly, primary drawings & paper craft about lessons I’d had in primary, the other lot of it were quotes, journals & such from my youth. I am really looking forward to studying more into those because that is where my testimony of the gospel really helped me become who I am today.
Aside from the excitement of “The Box” I began thinking of traditions to start. Being married now we’ve always done pretty much everything with family, which is awesome & a blast, don’t get me wrong. But there comes time where you as a couple begin on the adventure of creating traditions as a little family. There are somethings each family does that we both love & want to carry on, but also looking for new ideas of things that inspire us & help us as a family celebrate the different events of life.
I began listing some things that we already were doing (Conference tradition wise) & then I started brainstorming & Googling. I know there are a TON out there but here are some of the Ideas that I loved
- One month before General Conference Begins, Read the previous General Conference Ensign. (a talk each day leading up to the new Conference)
- These awesome people started 30 DAYS OF CONFERENCE, which is where this idea sprang from, they have an Instagram account that you can follow which helps you stay on top of reading each talk for the 30 days before conference.
- Between Conferences read the Conference Ensign, so for example, after the April Conference Ensign comes out read talks each week (for FHE, or on Sundays) leading up to the October General Conference. It most of the time works out perfectly.
- I know these first two are almost the same But! I suggest doing the second if not both!! My husbands family does the second & I loved that they did that & that is something we now do in our home. It is such a great thing to do. I think about how excited I get for General Conference & by doing this it keeps that excitement & spirit year round. It comes in handy especially when previous challenges or topics are revisited in the next conference. I also love that not only do I get to revisit the talks that I loved so much, but that some of the talks which at the time “didn’t apply” to me (or so I thought) sometimes have an effect on me a couple months later, when I may be going through something & I need to read & hear words from someone maybe I didn’t pay that close attention to at the time. Oh my in laws would also play the talk they were on in the Conference Ensign on the computer so that they would be seeing & hearing the voice of the speaker whose talk they were on that week.
- Build a Fort.
- Have kids? Don’t have kids? Kids out of the House? Who cares Build a Fort!! Brush up on those skills & get goin. Its the little things that make the Bigger things way more exciting & memorable!!
- Between Session Picnic
- I knew a family who did this, they would bring a picnic with them to the church where conference was broadcasted & then instead of going home & then coming back right away they’d go out to the church field & have a picnic & enjoy one another, reflect, review, discuss the talks given, share testimonies, giggle at the times when a speaker made a funny, or if President Monson wiggled his ears again over the pulpit, or when the apostles fist bump one another. Most people view from home now, which totally works too. Go have a picnic in the backyard or go to a local park!!
- Go on a walk
- I Love walks probably now more than ever because I have a puppy to walk with. This is such a great way to get out & get some fresh air & stretch between sessions. Like the picnic idea, take this opportunity to reflect on questions you had/have, were they answered yet? how? What was said that comforted you? Not only is it a relaxing thing to do but it gets you outside while your in the mindset of all things conference & full of the spirit, take a look around & love & appreciate where you are now, & the Beauty that surrounds you!
- This one is a repeat, write down questions you have to ponder during conference
- The Key to this is WRITE THEM DOWN!! If you have a great memory more power to ya But I am a BIG writer downer. This Works. I Promise you!
- Candy Jars/Buckets/Bags
- I loved this one especially if you have little ones (or a Big little one 😉 hehe) write down some major topics that are likely to be discussed. Write on the container directly or on a paper then attach to said container & set up on a coffee table or console near the TV. So that whenever the word/phrase is said or they recognize the topic of the talk they can go up & grab a candy/healthy snack from the container. This helps little ones get excited for conference & to practice listening & paying attention to the talks that are given.
- Conference Countdown
- I am all for countdowns, I am impatient sometimes when it comes to holidays, I want them to be here as soon as the holiday is in season but then again preparation wise I gain my patience right back up! There are many count down ideas out there, but I even just liked the idea of a good ol paper chain count down calender, this would also be a good idea to coincide the countdown with the Conference Ensign reading schedule!! I guarantee if your kids see you get excited to countdown for conference they will develop a love for doing so too & a Love for Conference.
- (BIG) Conference Basket
- I was planning on doing this one this past weekend, but my parents came into town & in between conferences we were spending time together. But this I LOVE!! I am bummed I didn’t have time to do it when I found the Idea because I was looking forward to having pictures to share, but bet your bottom be on the look out in April because I’m so doing it!! Get a Big basket the bigger the family the bigger the basket. Load that puppy up!! When I saw this idea it reminded me of Easter. But I liked the idea of one big family basket vs individual baskets, which may not be a bad idea down the line or if you do have kids. But for now I like the Big one, some ideas for things to put in the basket are: Journals, Pens, Snacks/Candy, Blankets/Throws, you can include the family pet & get a bone/toy/treats for them, & whatever else floats your boat!
- After Conference
- Along with things previously listed, Something that we are doing this week & I think has been adopted into a tradition is, after conference weekend, play a session each day:
- Women’s Conference (Saturday Before Conference Weekend/week before conference)
- 1st session (Saturday morning)
- 2nd session (Saturday afternoon)
- Priesthood Session (Saturday Night)
- 4th Session (Sunday Morning)
- & 5th Session (Sunday Afternoon)
- if you divvy those up in order or whichever order you prefer, that’s a session a day (6 sessions/6 days) & will last you until the next Sunday. I thought this would be a great idea because during conference there is so much going on especially Saturdays when there are 3 sessions in a day, it can be exciting but a little overwhelming. Like reading the talks in between conferences, this helps to focus more in depth to the messages that were shared & is less overwhelming, especially if you work on conference weekend or due to life, watching it the exact second its broadcasted isn’t realistic at the time. This gives you an opportunity to watch it for the first time, & taking your time or gives you the opportunity to focus again or hear things you missed before.
- Along with things previously listed, Something that we are doing this week & I think has been adopted into a tradition is, after conference weekend, play a session each day:
Do you have Conference Traditions?
I’d love to know if any of y’all use these in the future if you do please tag @theflorallumberjack /use hash tag #theflorallumberjack
If your reading this & wondering what in the world General Conference is…
visit here What is General Conference?
or here http://www.mormon.org/eng