General Conference weekends are two of my favorite weekends of the year. I have been thinking about it with anticipation for a few weeks. My prayers were focused these past few weeks in preparation...hoping that I would be open to listening spiritually what I need most in my life. Saturday morning as soon as I woke up I put on some gardening clothes and headed outside. My earphones were ready to carry the message to me as I worked. My flower and garden beds need some preparation for the winter that is coming.
Before the conference talks began I took a large leaf bag to our square foot garden. Our garden has been a bit disappointing this year. I felt like the production was weak and we really didn't look after it much. There were greens planted that I never once harvested. I started with the swiss chard. I cut it down and realized it was still in great shape---so I quite happily put it into the colander instead of the leaf bag. Next to the chard were some other greens. I thought it was the same...but a red variety. I observed the weakness of the leaves and determined it wasn't worth saving. Instead of cutting I pulled it up...root and all and I discovered that they were beets! (Do you know how much I LOVE beets!) I was thrilled and didn't have the slightest memory of planting those seeds. As I pulled each root up and placed it in the colander I realized how negligent I have been. There were volunteer tomato plants (the tomato plants I had actually planted did much better) all over the garden beds. They never produced much but they crowded out what I had intended to grow (zucchini, jalapenos, squash, etc...). After I finished harvesting the beets I pulled out all of the volunteer tomato plants, that without cages were spreading wide and covering too much of the soil. It felt good to take the time to care for this little plot of ground.
As I worked through the morning with words of the prophets and apostles in my ears, I realized that this is what I love about conference. There are so many good things I have in my life to focus time and attention on...yet are the goods things (volunteer tomato plants), that are not the better things (beets) I intend to harvest in my life, taking over? Having too many good things without caring for what I really need and intend to have grow, can create a busy yet unproductive life. Yep, my life has been a lot like my garden. General conference helps me to evaluate where I am (my heart, thoughts and time) and where I really want to be. I receive quiet whispering to my soul as I listen. This conference I tried to write down the quiet whisperings of what I should change or do. These are a few:
Elder David Bednar- help the girls make their own family history books, making sure to give them room to learn and put it together themselves with out too much help. I also need to edit and organize images for my own family histories (starting with the family reunion we enjoyed this summer).
Elder Neal L. Anderson- contemplate the blessings of being a mother. Study the definition of "replenish." We are commanded (from the time of Adam and Eve) to "multiply and replenish the earth." The "multiply" part is complete for us now...yet what does it mean for my life to "replenish?"
Elder Robert D. Hales- read and study Jesus The Christ by James E. Talmage. I had the same impression as I listened to Sister Barbara Thompson in the General Relief Society Meeting.
Elder Ian S. Ardern- write down my goals...prioritize and strive toward reaching them. Manage my time as a precious commodity, because it is oh so precious. Remember that being busy does not mean that I am productive.
Elder Carl B. Cook- Print this scripture and display it in our home: "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend." Book of Mormon; Mosiah 4:9
I know these are different for everybody because we are all different and unique. And really, what I took from the talks may not have had anything to do with what they actually said. Saturday morning after I finished with the vegetable garden beds I went to the front to give some attention to the lavender that borders a walkway to my front door. It has grown and grown. Danny and I decided to give it a 12" trim. We cut the branches down (to almost nothing) in hopes of pruning it for the better and prettier border next spring. That's what I hope to do with what I have learned at conference---prune back the unnecessary and focus on the very best...down to the roots of what is right for me and my little family. Overall the feeling that was most overwhelming in each talk I heard---was that our Father in Heaven loves me and He loves everyone of His children that lives, ever has lived and ever will live. What he wants most is that we love Him in return by seeking him and loving all of His children.
photos from 09.07.10 (left) and 07.29.11 (right)