Sunday, June 15, 2008

Time Out for Jillie and Me

I have some serious catching up to do! (read: this will be another really long post!) I swear life at the end of the school year is probably as busy as the holiday season!! Right now I've got lots of plates spinning with Reagan and Jillie's birthdays this month, Girls Camp pre certification/meetings galore, RS Enrichment, putting together a slide show of the graduating seniors from the Buffalo Stake for Seminary graduation, Father's Day, end of the year music programs, end of the year gymnastics show, color guard practices for the July 4th parade, end of the year before school parties & during school parties, field days, teacher appreciation gifts (which includes a "dollar book" I'm scrambling to get done for Reagan's teacher as I am her room parent.), last minute extra credit projects, getting a exterminator to come get rid of the carpenter bees that are taking over the playground and fence, car repairs, friends birthday parties, friends over to swim in the pool & play, not to mention the regular things that have I been slacking on like laundry, groceries, and cleaning.

Tonight I need to back track to the end of May. Jillie keeps asking me if I got this post done yet, so I need to get to it first. When I saw that Time Out for Women was coming to Toronto, I knew I had to go. When Jillie saw that Jane Clayson Johnson was going to be speaking at the conference she begged to go along too. Tickets were bought and it was beyond fabulous!

This event had a 3 hour Friday night session along with the 7 hour Saturday session. Unfortunately we got a late start, and needed to stop for some food along the way so we missed about the first hour. We did get to hear much of Sheri Dew's talk on the unique influence of women. She speaks fast, I wish I were able to write down her every word in my notes.
She spoke about the fact that righteous influence is a spiritual gift & that as women of God our influence has no end. She spoke about how the Church provides unique leadership training. In this church women have profound influence. She comes from a business background (CEO of Deseret Book) & she talked about how in any business or organization you want a leader at every chair. She equates this to our families and our role as mothers- we want leaders in every chair. I really like that analogy. I need to think about how I can set an example of leadership as a mother so that my children are leaders too. Strong and confident in what is right and influencing others for good.

Following her talk it was time for a break. While we walked around, I saw Hilary Weeks. Jillie didn't know who she was, but when I told her that she was a famous LDS singer, Jillie wanted to meet her. She was kind enough to take a picture with Jillie.

After the break we got to experience a great musical presentation from Jenny Oaks Baker. Oh my, I didn't know I could be so entertained by someone playing a violin. She is amazing- so cute and funny too. Here's a couple little snippets...

As the evening ended, Jillie and I headed up front to get an autograph and picture of her with Sister Baker and tell how much we enjoyed her presentation.

We left and went to our hotel where I was reminded that we are in Canada!

Pool depth has to be measured in feet and meters. And of course the recycling boxes. Pretty cool I think. Everywhere you go in Toronto, if there is a trash can, there is also a recycling box right next to it!

We went to bed that night nervous about waking early enough to get a seat up front and our hopes of being able to talk with Jane Clayson Johnson the next day.

As the doors opened, Jillie made a dash to the front where we got some seats in the 4th row. We left out new "Time Out for Women" tote bags to save our space and did a little shopping at the mini Deseret Book set up at the back. Then the fabulousness began again. All of the presenters for the day got up and gave us a little intro of themselves. (*There she was... Sister Clayson Johnson!! Oh the excitement and anticipation!*) Hilary Weeks introduced herself with this little diddy about what her favorite things are. It is to the tune of the Sound of Music's "These are a Few of My Favorite Things". I didn't get the beginning taped. It begins "Nap time and bedtime and bedtime and nap time; Naptime and bedtime and bed time and naptime..." A true mom of young kids! Enjoy her intro...

Mary Ellen Edmunds spoke first- oh my word! She is the funniest lady ever! She is so sarcastic. We loved her. She spoke on being a peacemaker. It was hilarious. She'd give an example of some situations you might come across in life that makes you mad or impatient- and what you might be thinking in your mind that you really want to do to that person. Then she'd sarcastically say, "But no! Today I am a peacemaker! (grrrr!)" Then she'd give us the peacemaker's response to these situations. It was actually very effective. Jillie really got it. Now when she gets angry I can say, "No! Today I am a peacemaker " & she'll smile:). I wish I could write everything I remember that they each said, but this is already a long post- so I'll hold back from writing everything from my notes! :)
At our first break, we went up to see Jane. :) Jillie was so nervous. I thanked her for her book I Am a Mother and explained how my sister sent it to me after my grocery store experience. She understood. Then I introduced Jillie to her- explaining that even though she is just 11 she wanted to brave a room full of old women and hours of talks to meet HER. Well, I'm not allowed to tell you how that went so you'll have to check Jillie's blog (June 1 post) about that. Let me just say after we walked away there were some tears of joy shed by daughter- and then mother. :) We are very appreciative.

The rest of the day included many musical presentations by Hilary Weeks. She spoke about the importance of even a little personal scripture study every day. She spoke about that fact that we moms have a lot to do so we need to pray to know which of those things He wants us to do & He will help us get those done more efficiently. By the way- look for her new album coming in the fall including an amazing song called If I Only Had Today.

We also heard from Douglas Brinley. Excellent. Spoke of Heavenly Father as our parent and parenting role model. How blessed we are to be parents & that the great punishment of Satan is that he can not be a father.

Merrilee Boyack had a wonderful ( & wonderfully funny) presentation on service as a family as a means to unify your family. "When we do His work, we become like Him." She spoke about giving away 5 split seconds a day- to give a compliment to 5 people each day. She knows we're all busy, but maybe we could even stretch ourselves and give away 10!! seconds a day! :) Then there are the bigger acts of service- we need to care and then respond & teach our children to do service- make it a family tradition.

Jane Clayson Johnson's talk was a lot of what her book is about- being a mom & realizing the importance of that calling... I am not "just a mom". We are sometimes asked to do things that we thought we couldn't do. Have humility to stop and listen to His plan for you.

Chris Stewart spoke about trials- that our trials are specific to us and our needs. He made analogy about only being able to see the stars until it is dark...It is through the darkness that we truly see The Light. He also reminded us that we will feel emotions, sorrow, etc. It is OK- it is not ungodly to feel this way. We just have to be willing to pay the price although it will not be easy- because then true happiness comes through testimony and experience.

I'll just add this other little diddy that Hilary Weeks performed. A little song that explains what a mom does all day. Enjoy... :)

The whole weekend was a great experience for both of us. We agreed on the way home that we really didn't want to get back to the real world. We also wished everyone could feel the way we did then- uplifted and full of the Spirit. Thanks to Greg for making it possible to leave for a day and a half! TOFW plans to return to Toronto in 18 months. (Only about 1.5 -2 hours from my house!) I'll be there, probably with Jillie too- any takers?


Shan said...

That was the best post ever! Thanks for sharing it all Nik - I want all your notes. LOVE the songs- made me laugh hard! I can relate to both too much. I love Sister Edmunds too. She was a teacher in the MTC when I was there and was always hilarious. All your tidbits from the talks given are just what I needed!! I want to go next year with you.

Andrea said...

First off just reading your to do list wore me out. Second what an awesome post. Brother Brinley was my LDS Marriage and Family teacher at BYU. It was a good semester. Good luck with all of the stuff you need to do. I will add you to my prayer list.

Andrea said...

One quick question about the dollar book. Do you glue the money in so it becomes unusable?

Nikki said...

The money is glued in- but like a notepad where you can just rip the sheet off without any damage to the paper. SHe can rip out the $150 to use, but still keep all of the little quotes from her class.

Abby said...

I loved that post Nikki. You are such a great writer! I'm glad you both had a great time. I also LOVED the songs...needed a good laugh this morning!

Michelle said...

Wow - that sounds like such an amazing experience! Jillie is going to have such great memories of doing that with her mom. Very nice post!

Beth Soelberg said...

I've always assumed (wrongly) that the Time Out conferences were a little chumpy. You know, just a venue for people to sell books.

BUT - after hearing your experience, I think I might just want to go! My mom also went to one in Chicago and had a nice time, too.

It's wonderful that you and Jillie could do this together. What wonderful memories to carry into grown-up-hood!

dad said...

Who says you're not super-mom!
You ARE a leader in many ways, and continuing to be moreso.
I think the most wonderful part of TOFW was the fact that you and your daughter SHARED it; that's awsome.

Holly said...

Oh I laughed until I cried!! SO FUNNY! ANd I need to plan early because I want to go next time. :) Thanks again for the special gift to help me feel like I was there. I am going to go watch it now!! :) Love the post and I am so glad that all the maddness is over today! :)