Sunday, April 3, 2011

Conference Report

First, let me just say that the last four days since my last post have been NUTS! Some weeks really are crazier than others. 

Between Thursday and Saturday we had no less than FOUR piano things: a monthly group lesson, regular lessons, a bi-annual recital, and the annual AIM Program (Achievement In Music) which provides ten levels of testing and awards. (Both the recital and the AIM program required "Sunday best" clothing so you can imagine how my kids appreciated that on a Friday and Saturday . . .) Then there was a TH soccer practice and a SA game. William's 10th birthday (which requires a post of it's own) was on Thursday so I made a trip to the school to spotlight him/take in a treat, and then we had a party for him with friends on Friday night. Of course, Brandon was on call all weekend and pretty busy, so that made everything even nuttier, and I just couldn't stop myself from going into super cook/bake mode for my son's birthday, making huge messes in the kitchen that I just STARED at last night after this long run of crazy days. (I won't tell you how many episodes of "Last Cake Standing" I watched last night, coat still on after going to the grocery store at 9pm, unable to move amid the mess and my fatigue, until Brandon got home from the hospital around midnight and put me to bed.)

But how can I complain when I am busy with so many good things?  I'm not really complaining, I just get aggravated when I do finally run out of gas and hit the wall. (Oh, that I didn't need sleep!  The things I could accomplish!)

On top of everything else, this weekend was General Conference, our church's bi-annual world-wide meeting. It's broadcast all over the world, but since we live so close and we had tickets, Kate and I actually got to go to the Saturday morning session in the Conference Center. There are four, two-hour sessions for the general membership spread out over Saturday and Sunday, with other gender specific sessions for the men and women on Saturday nights. (I don't know what you would compare this to--maybe going to the Vatican to hear the Pope address the entire Catholic church? Except that there are several speakers, both men and women in leadership positions, not just the president of the church. I'm not aware of any other type of meeting like this among other faiths, though I'm sure there are.) 

In any case, among all those other "good things," this was the best. And it was so fun to go to a "live" session with just Kate and I! Brandon went to the men's session on Saturday night with his Dad who is in town from California, and today we watched it at home on TV with his Dad, his brother, wife and kids who are also in town from California for their spring break. Happy days!

I know it sounds crazy if you aren't a member of our faith, but conference weekend really is a highlight in our year. (I know, eight to ten hours of religious instruction in one weekend? Thrilling, right?) It's just a great time to gather as a family and feast on inspirational messages and music that bring a wonderful feeling into the heart and home. (And we ate some pretty good food too. That never hurts.) 

In the Conference Center:

Nice, fuzzy close-up of the president of our church and his two counselors:
 Kate and I:

 Fountain in the foyer:
Looking up:
One of the fun things about going to General Conference in person besides the obvious (among other things, hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform live is seriously thrilling), is seeing how things happen behind the scenes. Kate had never been before, so she was a little surprised by the security check at the door:
And the ever present anti-Mormons and security:
If you can't read the sign below it says, "LDS: Liars, Deceivers, Seducers" Sweet! That's totally how I see myself and the leadership of our church. For an interesting take on how we view the leadership of our church, click here. As hard as they try, it's tough for people outside our faith to really get it, and I always end up feeling like I'm being made to look like a blind fool. This article does a pretty good job of trying to show balance, but it still misses the mark for me.
 21,000 people fit in the Conference Center, so it's pretty busy outside between sessions (the Salt Lake temple is just across the street):

Kate and I were so sad that we had to hurry home since Brandon had a surgery to attend to, because the temple grounds were SO pretty, showing signs of spring everywhere:

Then there is the architecture. We're a little starved for plant life and historical buildings where we live (we're always wondering why we don't live on the east coast) so we feast on this stuff when we can:

It's kind of crazy to think of what this valley must have looked like when Brigham Young and those pioneers showed up over 150 years ago.  It wasn't even part of the United States then!
"This is the right place."
Here's to a calmer, saner week ahead . . .

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