Saturday's LDS Women's conference provided much to think about. Julie Beck encouraged women to reach higher and do better. It seems that every time Sister Beck speaks some people take offense, but I found her remarks thoughtful and appropriate. In spite of what some critics say I don't think she was telling us to run faster or take on more projects. The message I received is one of encouragement to be the best we can be, to put spiritual goals ahead of worldly goals, choose to spend our time doing that which has the most lasting meaning, to appreciate beauty more, put in the time and effort to build better family relationships, and take time to refresh our own souls. I felt she understands the rushed, multi-tasking world we live in and chose to encourage us to reach higher and do better in those areas that matter most eternally.
Perhaps because of my own calling to work in the temple, I was particularly touched by Sister Allred's talk concerning temples and the importance of building temples, worshipping in temples, and honoring the covenants we make there. Barbara Thompson is a dear friend; we lived in the same ward for years, and she taught my daughters in Young Woman. I was thrilled with her message concerning the privilege which we have of being women, of being LDS women, and of belonging to Relief Society. President Uchtdorf rounded out the conference with a timely speech, encouraging women not to undervalue themselves or their efforts.
Perhaps it was the messages given at the conference or perhaps the fact that more than a year has passed since my family was last all together in one place, but I found myself feeling a little introspective as we got together for a "birthday party" honoring all of our August, September, October birthdays. We've gotten pretty good at quarterly birthday parties--no presents, just lots of food and fun. Talk turned to how much all of the grandchildren have grown, changes in our lives, and a bit of silliness. I found it a little difficult to think our oldest grandson is a senior this year and busy making plans for a mission and college. My daughters and I glanced out the window and saw that the teenage boys had discovered a little blue car in their much younger counsins' backyard that had been theirs when they were little. Perhaps they were feeling a little nostaligic for the past too because the twelve-year-old climbed in first and nearly got stuck trying to get back out. The fourteen-year-old said, "no way." He's the tallest of the three and has the lankiest build. The seventeen-year-old couldn't resist. He squeezed himself inside, then came the problem of getting out.
By the time he got out we were all laughing and instead of looking back we started making plans for our next family vacation. I think maybe that was the overall message I gained from the Women's conference; the past is full of pleasant memories, but it's the future I need to look forward to. There are more truths to learn, more service to perform, golden days with family ahead, and a few more books to write. The future is for reaching higher and doing more.