Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Wonderful World of Women's Conference 2012

This year was my eighth year at Women's Conference, and it was just as wonderful as always.  I don't expect to ever miss a year until I die.  This year was sad because my sister  Amie had a baby and couldn't come and my mom didn't come this year, but as you can see my other two sisters and I still managed to have some fun.

The first speaker of the conference told us when we have hard days to think back and remember the feeling of sitting in the Marriott Center with so many other righteous women.  It really is amazing.  So often as a mother I feel that I am in hand to hand combat with Satan, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and alone.  To sit in a room full of others who share my convictions and goals to raise a righteous family is fortifying in a way that is hard to describe.  This is one of the reasons I go to Women's Conference.  That and the food.

After the first general session, my sisters and I headed up to the conference center where we listened to a wonderful class given by Chad and Michelle Lewis titled: Mormon's Warning: Arming your home and family.  While we listened we made these bunnies.  Their cuteness is somewhat questionable, but hopefully they will be given to children with nothing and that will make them look better.  They are certainly better than nothing.   That or blind children might enjoy them as well.

Brother Lewis shared a story about climbing Kilimanjaro last summer as part of the wounded warrior project.  There was a soldier from Iraq with them who had lost his leg in an injury and had a metal leg.  That soldier became too sick to go on and had to turn back, but the others told him that they would take his leg to the top even if he couldn't make it.  As they climbed the air became thinner and thinner and the task became more and more difficult.  Brother Lewis was helping carry the leg and was determined that he was strong enough to make it happen as a sign of respect for this soldier and his sacrifice.  But it became very difficult for Brother Lewis and the guide with them finally said "Let me carry the leg.  I am used to the elevation and the thin air, I climb this mountain all the time."  And so Brother Lewis let him carry the leg and he compared this to how we try to carry our own burdens and the Savior is right there trying to help us if we will only let him. He is pleading with us to cast our burdens on him, for his yolk is easy and his burden is light.   It was a wonderful class.  And such a good lesson.

Jen poses with her cute blue bunny.

Look I made a purple one.
Of course there was the BYU mint brownie consumption.  That is mandatory and a completely necessary part of the whole experience.  Look I got a corner piece.  Yummmy!
And of course there are the spiced almonds.  I have to admit to purchasing 3 of these bad boys.  One each day, and one to bring home.  How do I love these almonds?  Let me count the ways.  And the fact that they are warm when you get them is not a bad thing for warming ones hands or face.  Delectable and delicious delicacies.
Here is the group shot on day one.  After all the learning and the sewing and the eating, we went to Brick Oven for dinner with our two sisters in law.  Somehow we did not get photographic evidence of the eating going on there, but it happened, true story.  After dinner we headed back to the Smith Fieldhouse for the evening of service.

As we were about to enter the Fieldhouse, who should come out but, Sandra Rogers.  Now most of you will not know her, but she is the academic vice president of BYU.  She has also been in charge of Women's Conference for the past 8 years.  She gives wonderful talks and even better etiquette videos.  I have snapped pictures of her from the stands for years, but I never dreamed I would get this close to her.  I love this woman who is responsible for something I look forward to each year and has changed my life for good.

And then as if  Sister Rogers was not enough who should come out next, but the entire new Relief Society General presidency.  Now  those of you who know me well, (and really who would be reading this, if they didn't know me well,) will know that I had a goal to get my picture taken with this dear, sweet lady, Sister Burton.  Of course in my wildest dreams, I never really thought it would happen.  But as I posted on Facebook, the stalking Gods smiled upon us and we were able to get this picture.  Look she doesn't even seem that scared or anything.

A BYU Brownie and my picture with the new General Relief Society president, how could this day get any better?

But wait there's more.

We went into the Fieldhouse, where we helped with the finishing up of putting together 35,000 back pack kits for Title 1 schools in Utah county.  Service really is one of my favorite parts of Women's Conference.
 Then we went into the Sports Museum and I got my picture with all of the Jimmer memorabilia.  That is pretty awesome, isn't it?
 And then look we made our sister from Utah State pose with us and the cougar.  She was a good sport about it and it is a pretty cute picture of all of us.  I mean really who doesn't need a picture with a large bronze cougar?

And then it was back to the Marriott Center for the evening concert hosted once again by Hilary Weeks.  I got my picture with her last year, in case you forgot.  This evening was a tribute to Relief Society complete with a visit from Eliza  R Snow.  It was very moving and I would have to say one of the best.

Here is a Youtube video of the last song.  This video does not quit capture the magic of the moment, but you can get some idea.  Click on the button that says skip to the best part.

That was Day One.  Hard to believe that it all happened in just the span of twelve hours.  Time to head home and sleep and rest up for Day Two.

I didn't really have any classes picked out for Friday, but I noticed that Blaine Fowler and his wife were teaching a class.  He is a sportscaster and often calls  BYU Football and Basketball games.  I knew that I had to go to his class and see if I could get a picture with him.  When I got there I asked the lady at the door if she thought I might get a picture.  She said she wasn't sure because he wasn't there yet.  I went and set up position in a seat on the front row in the preferred stalking section.  It wasn't too long before the lady brought Blaine up to me and said "This is the lady that wants a picture with you."  How nice was that of her to facilitate my stalking?

This is what I had to say about this picture on Facebook:" Here is today's installment of "See Pat stalk people at Women's Conference and raise questions about her sanity or at the very least her manners." This lucky/unlucky victim is Blaine Fowler. Most of you will have no idea who he is, but he was a quarterback at BYU when I was at school there. And he went on to be a sports broadcaster. I have watched him call games on TV many times. He was very kind and a bit shocked that I would want a picture with him. Look how well he masked his inner terror in this picture? His wife was also kind to share him for a minute as if she had a choice or anything."

And next as I was walking back to the Marriott Center, who should I run into, but Sister Dibb, President Monson's daughter.  She very unsuspectingly asked me if I knew where the shuttle stop was. Of course I did and was glad to tell her, but not before I snapped this little gem.  So nice of her to come to me, even. 

And here is the group shot on day two.  Don't tell but I may or may not have snapped this while a speaker was speaking, but it was necessary before we all split up to go to different classes.

And here is one more at the end of the day.  Look at the crowd thinning out behind us.  And look how cute we are with our matching bags.  Too bad I missed the memo about bending my arm and hence ended up looking like my arm was amputated.  For any of you concerned, I do in fact have a hand at the end of my arm.

And so another successful Women's Conference comes to an end.  Sigh.  It is hard to say which part is my favorite: the speakers, or the classes, or the spirit, or the General Authorities, or the General Auxiliary Presidencies, or the musical performances, or the food, or the stalking, or the service, or the time with sisters, or the shopping in the bookstore.  Pretty much all of it is my favorite part and makes it two days of the year I can not do without.

And here is a shot of my beloved Y.  I know all of you are sick to death of hearing me go on and on about BYU, but it is a place that is near and dear to my heart.  I understand that not everyone feels the same way, and that is OK.  I don't ask that you do.  But for me, after growing up in the mission field and being alone a lot of the time, I loved going to BYU and being part of the majority.  And each year I get to relive those golden college years for two days at Women's Conference.  That is my other favorite part.  So thanks for the memories.  See you next year. 


val of the south said...

You totally crack me up! The Fowlers are in my anytime you want to further stalk him, just let me know!!

Barbaloot said...

I am never sick of hearing you talk about BYU! I think it's great as well:) Plus, if you weren't so crazy about it, I never would've met you!!

I've never attended Women's Conference---the crowd always freaks me out. Maybe one day. You make it sound pretty great.

Pat said...

Wow, Val that is pretty cool. They both seemed like really nice people. It really was one of my favorite classes. Good to hear from you. Hope all is well.

Pat said...

Barb, it is true that if you don't like crowds or lines then you would not enjoy it. Glad to have met a fellow cougar lover.

Smart Helm said...

I was so jealous of ur escapades with family... glad you had so much fun and got some good documentation. That stalking gods comment is still making me laugh :)

Garden of Egan said...

Wow! I love all of it! The pictures are amazing and I know that I can count on you to stalk and snap pictures of famous people.
I live vicariously through you.

Glad you were able to enjoy the chocolate mint brownie. I remember your gushing and going on about them last year. I had to go to the Deseret Bookstore and buy me one right then and there.

Kris said...

Thanks for documenting my life, I'm so glad someone is. Love ya and I hope I will never miss it either.