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?


Stained Glass Windows

I love looking at this picture.

This is one of my favorite temples. In fact I will say it probably is my favorite. It has such sentimental meaning in my life.

This was the first temple I had the opportunity to “walk through”. It was the first open house I was old enough to attend, & I had the privilege of touring the temple before it was dedicated.

(If you have never been to a LDS Temple open house, I challenge you to go, if you are ever in an area where one is being held. Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not. Young & first timer or if this ain’t your first rodeo & you’ve been to many or have been many many times, go. Go again, take your family, go alone, take a neighbor it’s a beautiful place to be in every possible way.)

I remember the day, driving up to the stake center where we would wait to load the shuttles that would take us to the temple grounds. I remember people not of our faith handing out pamphlets & papers saying some not very nice & not at all true words about our faith.

I remember looking out the window of our car, it was dusk & you couldn’t help but see into this couples backyard window into their home. You could see silhouettes, they were dancing, hand in hand. I remember thinking how sweet that was & how I hoped I would one day dance in my kitchen with my hubby.

I don’t recall walking into the temple but I remember seeing things I recognized from youth temple trips. I remember having personal experiences in each room of this temple that day. Some of which I got to revisit often in my youth & others I hadn’t gotten to revisit until earlier this year, since we moved to Texas.

I remember walking into the celestial room & standing in the room with my family & some people from our ward who had also come to the temple open house. I remember feeling the spirit so strong & that this must be what heaven feels like. I remember thinking, I have to make it back one day.  If the spirit is This strong & the temple isn’t even dedicated yet, I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I actually go through for the first time when I’m older.

Six years later in the Salt Lake City, Utah Temple, I had that very chance as a newly endowed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My soon to be hubby was there, my family, & soon to be in-laws were there. I was overwhelmed, I quickly reflected my experience at the San Antonio Temple open house & I remember I couldn’t wait to experience that feeling again. Six years later,there it was. That magnitude of that feeling I remembered or thought I remembered exploded in my heart & my spirit.

Words cannot express that day. My thoughts were many just being overcome by the spirit & the amount of love I felt blew me away to the point where it was hard to catch a breath (but in a good way if that makes sense haha) I had tears of complete gratification. It was confirmed in my heart that this is why we are here. No worldly thought had a chance in my mind at those moments. That day, I received my very own personal glimpse into heaven.

After we went to the celestial room in the tour of the temple open house, we entered a sealing room.

Til this day I cannot tell you what clicked, I cannot tell you why they initially first stuck out to me or what drew me to them; but the stained glass windows of the sealing rooms memorized me. On both of the sealing room windows of the Texas San Antonio Temple, there are stained glass murals of the Tree of Life.

I admired their beauty.

Years I would walk around the temple gazing up at that stained glass dreaming, wondering, & awaiting when I’d get the chance to be in that room again.

One of the many things I’d be reminded of when I looked upon the beauty of that stained glass was the story of Lehi & His love for His family. How he with all of his heart, might, & spirit Desired for his family to partake & experience that which he knew to be true, The goodness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’d apply that to my life in feeling that like Lehi, my Heavenly Father desires for me to make it to the temple. He wants with all of his heart for me to partake in the goodness of Christ.

Six years & trials later, I was sealed to the man I now call my Lumberjack in the Logan, Utah Temple on March 12th, 2011. I did always want to get married in the San Antonio Temple but now Logan, Utah has my heart for that reason. Almost four years after that, so ten years since I first walked through the doors of the San Antonio Temple, I was sitting in that sealing room with my hubby performing temple work.

While waiting I looked around admiring the beauty of temple & my eyes drifted across the room & fell upon that beautiful stained glass window.

The feelings & thoughts of a young youth came flooding back into my heart & my thought was…

I made it.

I did it.

I made mistakes, there were times in My opinion I wasn’t ever going to make it there. But there I was, sitting there in that room I so longed to be back in & remembering those thoughts & desires of my youth & now knowing things I hadn’t before & seeing with my heart things I hadn’t before.

I felt a special spirit that day. I was so glad to be there. That day I was proud of myself & That day, I knew I wasn’t the only one.

I was there

Looking at that stained glass window but now…

From the inside.

It’s way more than just an experience for me. That temple sculpted me into who I am today. As a youth those windows were a constant reminder of my goal to return & the love of a Heavenly Father.

I am beyond happy to live near this temple I love so much & have the privilege of visiting often.

Its’s not a matter of making it there, it’s a matter of continuing to go, often. I Love the Temple. Learn to Love the temple. Do all in your power to make it there & then go, go again, & again. You are not the only one who is waiting for You, there.

{samantha harris}


a long awaited transformation

The most important room in home in my personal opinion is the Master Bedroom.

Married or not, children or not; Your bedroom should be your getaway, your place to unwind, withdrawal from worries of the day, a place to relax, a place of love & tranquility.

Well that’s selfish what about the family room or the kitchen the “Heart” of the home?

I’m sorry, but the heart of my home is the bedroom (master bedroom). Whether you have kids or not the bedroom like the marriage should be the “mantle” so to speak of the home. Its a place where husband & wife reconnect & hey we all sleep right or at least attempt to? If a husband & wife can recollect themselves & each other it then  makes life in and out of the home easier when tackled as a team.

No matter the budget big or small you can always work within your means to make your house a home.

I had been getting after my sister to transform her bedroom for a while, & it honestly didn’t take much convincing because she wanted to do it badly as well. The convincing part was more so dropping other parts of the home she wanted to work on & put all focus on their bedroom.

It is still a work in progress but its almost there!! It looks gorgeous & I am so happy for her!! It was a blast looking & hunting for deals & unique items to incorporate in their room.

Details about the room:

Bedding: Duvet, coverlet, shams, & brass rhino were all purchased at West Elm

Various Decor Items: all animal heads (minus the larger deer mount), lamp, were found at our local Home Goods

Front throw pillows & Nighstands/side tables: were hunted down at our local Marshalls

The Head board was proudly designed & built my my sisters awesome Hubby

The  Alfred Deer mount was purchased from White Faux Taxidermy

(FYI if you have not checked out White Faux Taxidermy do it PRONTO!! You will want everything, & become addicted like we have haha)

I hope this inspired you & I challenge you if you have yet to, Give that Bedroom Oasis some love, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take Your time, Look for pieces you LOVE & fall back in Love. Best of Luck!!