Monday, December 03, 2007

Stake Conference

We were running uber late this morning. We rushed to get ready, ate breakfast as we were going out the door, and sprinted out to our car. On our way out, we noticed that our neighbour's door was open, although their screen door was shut. We figured they were still trying to get their girls ready to go.

I know there is pride in comparison, but we proudly boasted, "Ha! At least we're earlier than the Wilsons!"

By the time we got to the Stake Center, the meeting had already started. This was unfortunate because I was assigned the closing prayer and I didn't really want to walk all the way from the back of the cultural hall up to the stand to say it. I probably would have fainted half-way if I had to walk that far just by thinking about how many people I was about to stand in front of. I said a silent prayer that I wouldn't have to walk that far.

As we rushed through the doors and started beetling down the hall, an usher stepped out of the back of the chapel and said, "Hey, Sister!"

I don't really respond to "Sister" yet. I'm still getting used to the fact that I'm old enough to be called "Sister" and also that it often has "Heiss" tacked on the end of it. Who's "Sister Heiss?"

After he hissed at me a few more times I finally turned around. Not really because I realized that he was addressing me but to see who kept yelling in a whisper.

When he saw that he got my attention he asked, "How many?"

"Ummmm..." I paused. Andrew was already disappearing down the hallway and I didn't want to lose him or the baby.

"How many with you?"

"Just two," I said, "Me and my husband."

"Well, I have two seats right up front."

Thank you!

I've never actually been to a church function where the ushers actually do their job. The Young Men are usually in charge of that and more often than not are goofing off instead of helping people find places to sit. This particular usher was a leader though, so he was behaving himself and was apparently in tune with the spirit. It was a small miracle that I asked for, but a miracle nonetheless. Truthfully, we should have been condemned to sit on the stage--farther than even the backest of the back rows, we were that late. But as it happened we sat up in front on a nice cushy bench about twenty paces from the pulpit.

I know now why I was asked to give the closing prayer and not the opening prayer...the Stake President was probably like, "She's been late to every single meeting since she had her baby. Better ask her for closing prayer."

It didn't make me feel any better that there were a few mentionings of our dedication to the gospel and how people in some places travel for hours to get to church. If we had to travel to Ogden to go to church, would we still go? Do we just go to church out of habit?

Yikes! We have like 4 buildings all within walking distance and we can't even make it on time.

I suppose we're usually on time to sacrament meeting but that's only because we often are in charge of the music and aim to get there in time for prelude.

Stake Conference was good. We discussed a lot about improving teaching--how we need to be teaching the gospel in our homes to our children and asking a lot of questions like, "Why is this important?" instead of lecturing all the time. Motherhood was mentioned with special focus on Sister Beck's talk Mothers Who Know. I really like that mothers who know "permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally." We talked about how the world is trying to undermine woman's divine role as nurturer. We talked about how children, families, and service are what make us truly happy--which isn't always what the world would have you think.

Also made mention was determining what is good from that which is better from that which is best, Elder Oaks' talk. We should seek for the best. I really like that. When Rachel's little friend, Amy, was blessed in sacrament meeting last month, her father blessed her that she would be able to determine that which was good from that which was best. What a wonderful thing to be blessed with. I hope that as I teach my children the gospel that I can instill in them that ability. I'm not sure that I even have it down myself yet. It's a good thing I'm a firm believer in life long learning!

Sister Smithee talked about small and simple things. Things like reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, and going to church--the basic Sunday School answers for everything. Those things are so important. They are easy to do and easy to let slide.

When President Millet finally got up, he started talking about diet and exercise. He mentioned that "the first step is always the hardest," that he finds that "exercise makes [him] feel good but it's stopping eating that really helps [him] to lose weight."

Andrew and I were both expecting him to tie that into something spiritual, but he never did. In fact, he turned it around on us and told us that we are a "fat" stake and that the Lord has charged us to take care of our bodies and we need to start doing that. He then rattled off a list of things that he wanted us to remember, few of which I actually do recall, like not going into debt over the holidays to buy meaningless things, not to get too involved in things that take us outside of the home, etc.

I think that the theme the Stake Presidency was trying to put across was to improve gospel teaching. They've been pushing that in stake meetings for quite some time... But what I got out of Stake Conference was that I need to be a better steward for the Lord.

He's given me many stewardships and I need to be working on those above all else. I have a lot of things "on loan," as blessings from Heavenly Father. Charges that he gives me to tend to: children, my body, money and all my worldly possessions and so forth. I am to take care of those things with the same care that He would. They belong to Him and should be treated with love and respect. I have also been given many responsibilities and rights along with those. Motherhood, church callings, and being a wife to a worthy priesthood holder are among those.

I need to learn to see the good from the better from the best. I need the best things in my home. The spirit, the gospel, the scriptures, and so forth. Making sure that I seek the best things will help me be a better steward.

Oh, and I think I'm going to try to bear my testimony more in fast and testimony meeting. For some reason this scares me. But I survived standing in front of the whole stake. Surely I can survive standing for two minutes in front of the ward.

And by the way...we didn't beat the Wilson's leaving. They left five minutes before us and just forgot to close their door. So when my neighbor came home with her two girls, leaving her husband behind at the church she was rather distraught to find her door open. I mentioned that I remembered it being open when we left but we had Andrew go in first to make sure there were no bad guys lurking around. When we got the all-clear and she took her little girls in leaving Andrew and I laughing that we had been so proud as to think that we had beaten the Wilsons to church. Shame on us.


  1. As I was walking around my house after Andrew vacated the premises, I looked around and was a tad bit embarassed. Geez, Andrew now knows we're slobs. I usually like to keep that a secret. And Nancy knows. And Rachel knows. Soon the whole ward is going to know our carefully-crafted facade of a clean house is a fake. Oh the shame! :) It could've been worse, I guess. In any case, thank you Andrew for risking your life for my and my girls' sake! The most ironic part of the door left open saga was that just the day before, some of our friends told us the same thing happened to them on Thanksgiving. I think they may have cursed us.

  2. If it would make you feel any better, you can come walk around my house...I'm sure we're healthy competition when it comes to being messy. I still haven't made my bed yet today :)

  3. By the way, I agree with your comments about the Stake President's talk. Interesting choice of topic, eh? I, too, thought he was going to use it symbolically or something, but perhaps he intended for us to draw our own spiritual conclusions. Or maybe, in fact, he did intend to say we're fat and need to get off our duffs.