1)  We were out of town for conference.  
And while we got to watch most of it while we were away, we missed the Women’s session.
So on Sunday morning my girls and I sat down and watched it before church.


These pictures can’t do justice to the thick beauty that gathered around in the air of that room as we listened.  I adored every single talk, and would highly recommend listening (you can find those talks HERE.)

One of my favorites was Joy D. Jones who talked mostly about ministering to others, and loving them as God loves them.  But my biggest take-away in my notes was that the greatest need in the world is to foster a personal relationship with God. 

I loved that Michelle Craig talked about “divine discontent” vs. “destructive discontent,” and how BEING MORE doesn’t equal DOING MORE…and how our weaknesses can turn us to Christ if we let them.

I loved that Christina Franco talked about the Widow’s Mite, and how to give our hearts.

I could go on and on about all of them as well as Elder Oaks and Elder Eyring.  They all spoke right to my heart.  But right here I want to talk about the actions that President Nelson invited us to take, including reading the Book of Mormon by Christmas.

My mom, being the awesome mom that she is, emailed us all to ask who wanted to join her in that reading.  My girls and I are going to do it (in varying ways).  Here’s the schedule if anyone wants to join in:

The girls plan to read to the best of their abilities to keep up, but we will supplement in our scripture study each morning.  I pulled out all these “helps” to help us keep caught up:

I’ll have to come back and report as we continue…that’s a lot of quick reading in a busy time, so there may be some skimming, but I’m excited.  Already there are some great thoughts going back and forth about what everyone’s read so far in our group email my mom started.

2)  Halloween is a holiday that I have a love/hate relationship with.  By the time I clean up all the paraphernalia and candy lingering around after the big day I get grumbly about it, but each year when I pull out the decorations I kind of love it.

First of all, it means Fall is in the air, and that slight crispness that seeps in when we reach October is SO WELCOME in the desert!

But I also love the sentimental stuff.  Like this little “family” Max, Elle and Grace each made in their high school “clay” class in their own respective years.

…and this goofy witch I picked up at some grocery store when my kids were little…she makes jokes and we’re all a little attached to her…except for Dave 🙂

There’s also Mr. Bones who is quite adored around here (not pictured but more about him back HERE.)

Yep, fall is in the air.
3)  My mom is amazing.  Someone on this blog recommended this book, and she saw the comment and bought a copy for both of us:
(THANK YOU to whoever sent that recommendation!) 
Not only did she have a copy sent to me, but she read it and sent me an email with her favorite parts on her favorite pages to read so I can help Lucy with some of the things she’s struggling with right now. 
One of those excerpts in particular affected me in a pretty profound way with an experience recently, and I’m just so grateful for the added insight I had in dealing with it from that book.
I love my mama.
4) Last but not least, I got to meet up with my mom and a couple sisters for a couple days and we went to a really cool museum.  This was my favorite sculpture:  

Why?  You might ask?

Well, because this was the title:

I love how that gnarled wood suspended in air to me represents life, and the extending metal sprawling out this way and that from the closed-in “life” represents the spreading glory we can take from the moments we often take for granted.  Not worrying about what’s past or what’s to come, but appreciating the very NOW that is so beautiful.  

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  1. Speaking of Women’s Conference and women in the LDS CHURCH I highly recommend reading Monica Bielancho who has a different, but no less heartfelt, perspective on being an LDS girl and woman.

    She says in part:
    Salt Lake City has more plastic surgeons per capita than Los Angeles.

    Young women coming of age in the Mormon church are exposed to widespread, systemic sexism….
    The all-male hierarchy of the church has given women specific roles involving women and children. As men are doing the organizing, via visions from god, it shouldn't surprise anyone that men, 99% white, have, and will likely always be in control at the highest levels all the way down to the lowest levels. There are no women leaders of Mormon "wards," which are the highly structured equivalent of Catholic parishes. Just as the folks in charge of the American government have a penchant for creating laws that keep themselves in power, Mormon men are very nearly deified by the powers and duties bestowed upon them… by themselves.


    It is unsurprising that Salt Lake City has more plastic surgeons per capita than Los Angeles.

    Not only does the Mormon church quietly force an unrealistic standard of perfection both spiritually, morally and physically on its members via guilt and shame – either the Opioid or suicide epidemic ravaging the state is evidence of that – but young women coming of age in the Mormon church are exposed to widespread, systemic sexism from the instance of their birth.

    The church has organized itself around the male sex, women are simply compliments to the men who hold positions of power. Boys are conferred more religious power than their mothers when they are given the Priesthood, which is essentially "the power and authority of God," at just 12-years-old. Thus begins a journey whereupon these young boys move up the ranks until, if they choose, they reach the highest level, apostle, and become counsel to the Prophet, the leader of the church. Women are not offered this option

    1. Why do you read here? I’m genuinely curious. You rarely comment anything positive. You seem to only criticize. As a woman in the church I have never been made to feel less-than or inferior in any way.

      Men do not “move up the ranks” to choose to be an apostle. It’s not a career move. My husband is a bishop and never chose it. No one in their right mind would aspire to be a bishop (or stake president, etc). It’s not a cushy, “look at how important I am” kind of thing. It’s HARD for the entire family. And to vilify men because they are white is just as bad as profiling other races. It’s insulting. I did take a look at their blogs and I’m not impressed. Monica left the church 20 years ago and is very bitter (and if the first photo I see on a blog is a meltdown over hair, no thank you. Drama much??). Why would I give her opinion any more relevance? She left the church but can’t seem to leave it alone. Why is that? Most people leave something and move on.

    2. Jolene, I read here and the other Eyrealm blogs because I’m really invested in thoughtful parenting as well as interested in religious minorities. I feel like being family first does not need to be (and actually should not be) based on a patriarchal family structure. The Eyre women are smart and articulate and I often ask questions when I see parenting meeting patriarchy in their blogs. I’m surprised you think I comment mostly negatively. I Post positive feedback and I ask questions about the religion and role of women. I think it’s interesting that you perceive that as “negative.”

    3. Jenny (also) I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for my entire life. I have never been made to feel like I was less of a person or less important because I am a woman. I also have never "deified" any of the male leaders in our church. I respect many of them, yes. But I also respect many of the women leaders who have taught me throughout my years.

  2. Jenny (also), I encourage you to take the time to listen to conference!! Open your heart as you do so and make your own opinion as you listen. Don't rely on what others say, figure it out for yourself.
    This woman sounds like she has had a bad experience and I'm sorry about that. The only thing that I feel as a woman in the church is that women have power!! It doesn't have to be the same as men to be equal, nor should it be in my opinion, because we are different!! If people feel compelled to be live up to an unrealistic standard of perfection it is not because of gospel teachings. I think they are misunderstanding the essence of the gospel.

    I am so incredibly grateful for the empowerment I feel as a woman having grown up in this church, and for the power of the other women in my life because they have internalized what it means to be a daughter of God. I'm so grateful for the relationship it's helped me gain with God. And for the joy that has infiltrated into my life and my family. It sounds like you may have already made up your mind about what you think, but if you can, I totally challenge you to listen with a completely open heart, not thinking of what anyone else has told you, and see what you FEEL as you listen!

    1. Sounds like a really good idea. I’ll listen to women’s conference with a truly open heart if you read the beautifully written blogs by Monica and C Jane Kendrick with the same idea of “not thinking of what anyone else has told you” with a truly open heart. Deal?

    2. The “ because we are different” reasoning just doesn’t make sense. NO ONE forbids men from rocking babies, entertaining guests, snuggling up with their children, providing emotional support, etc etc but your church forbids women from many formal leadership roles.

    3. Forbids is the wrong word. Just as a doctor has a different job than a police officer, so men and women have different roles and responsibilities. Not better or worse, higher or lower, just different.

    4. One is a calling another an occupation.

      There are churches with women clergy. Reform synonogues. Even in the latter movement community of Christ has women in the priesthood. So if you believe Joseph Smith and BOM you are all set. Is it God that is the problem or do you just want to be mad?

    5. Deal. I read the accounts of those two ladies and you are right, they are beautifully written (they are both great writers). I am so sad that they both seem to be going through some pretty tough soul-searching, and I sincerely hope they find the answers that will make them truly happy.

      The link to watch conference is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EM4RjQmvkM To me there is so much hope and goodness and love in the words spoken in that conference.

    6. Deal completed! I thought it was interesting at times and Alison sometimes boring and teietituve. . The music was a very different style than I was expecting and everything was very well planned, coordinated, and organized. I was struck that the speakers had a very careful and controlled demeanor. One main thing that struck me, that I’m not able to understand, is the focus on personal revelation and at the same time the very specific structure of God (3 or 4 parts?) and the very specific systems within the LDS Church that dont seem to vary from person to person. Also it was interesting in one talk the encouragement to rely on God/Heavenly Father and to give things to him or something like that which is very different from my understanding of God. It was like “you and your best efforts are enough but only with God.” Thanks for sharing, jenny

  3. Women's Conference was AMAZING and beautiful. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the love, happiness and peace I feel being a member of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am so grateful for a living prophet. I have taken the challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I am highlighting every reference to Christ- as Pres. Nelson encouraged us to do- and I am also using a different color to highlight the tactics of the adversary (when Pres. Nelson was here visiting us in the Pacific Northwest, he spoke of how the Book of Mormon not only testifies of Jesus Christ, it also exposes the tactics of the adversary). It has been an incredible experience. The Gospel is beautiful.

  4. The messages given by the speakers at women's conference were good and I appreciate them. I am discouraged that during the general session, only one woman spoke out of 27 or so speakers. What kind of message is that sending to all members of the church? I'm frankly tired of making excuses for this. I will no longer try and sugar-coat for my daughters or others. It's wrong. Women need to have more of a voice. I think patriarchy is damaging for all involved, not just the women. We need to get out of our bubble and really examine our church. The whole gospel vs policy debate is nonsense. Utah has a very high rate of child sexual abuse and suicide. I'm done excusing the church. We need to really examine ourselves.

    1. I am also an advocate of helping decrease sexual abuse and decreasing suicide. Some accounts I have really loved and glean from are Q.NOOR on instagram, PapaOstler on Instagram, MamaBearFitness on Instagram

      they are all about empowering those groups who are at risk!

    2. Mel: I read your statement about the discrepancy between men vs women in General Conference. It made me decide to pray about it–which sounds different in a comment, but I know the Lord wants to answer our questions big and small. I asked, truly wanting to know for myself. Could this be a test for me? I mean, the scriptures are replete with tests each person is given–the men with the drinks of water (hands or faces in the water), Elijah, Joseph. Is this just a challenging "question" for me (I transitioned to thinking of multiple choice tests in my head there). Should I choose to be offended? I think of those different answers and the likely outcome of each choice and I am given the insight to step back. See it from a different, clarifying angle and the choice is clear. Allow for human frailty. I've prayed and I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know that Jesus Christ was perfect and he died for us. I know that Joseph Smith was an imperfect Prophet of God who did his utmost best. I know that the leaders of the Church are imperfect today; yet they are striving to do their best. That is what the Lord has to work with–imperfect, utmost striving individuals. I know the scriptures–The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are the scriptures that we've been given to learn of our Savior. Oh what joy I feel in the Gospel! I choose not to be offended. I choose to have great hope in the future and faith in the men over the Church that they will be guided and directed to do what the Lord needs them to do and us in our strivings for our own personal revelation. Thanks for making me think. –M

    3. I think it's so important to remember that this church is led by imperfect people who are just trying their best to follow guidance in the best way they can, and I thank them and respect them so much for that! I agree, I would have LOVED to see more women speak in conference. There are so many eloquent and wonderful women in our church! But I do chose to give whoever makes those choices the benefit of the doubt and realize that some things take time. And I chose to soak in the words of all who speak, men and women, sharing such great messages of hope and love and guidance to help us become better followers of Christ.

  5. Jenny (also), I have read C Jane Kendrick’s blog, because I truly have a desire to understand all perspectives even if I do not share them, and I have to be honest, I didn’t like the whole tone of her writing. Not because I have been convinced over the years to feel a certain way, but because I follow my heart and , honestly, my gut in my life and the way that Jane presents topics and even the words she chooses to use at times leave me feeling sad that she has those perceptions and also leave me feeling rather hopeless about the negativity perceived in the world. As I watch brilliant and educated women speak at General Conference, I feel inspired to find the good and to be the good in the world. To use the gifts that are uniquely mine as a child of God to leave this world a better place than it was when I came. I know you can do the same,you are obviously very strong and passionate and I can’t even imagine the good you can bring to the world. 🙂

  6. I hope it wasn't your intent, but that last couple of sentences seemed like a manipulative jab at Jenny(also)…or at least was really condescending. I don't think you know enough about her to assume that she isn't finding good in the world just because she sees things differently. We don't ever have to agree with one another, but we should always listen (and you and Shawni both did, as did I) The "stay sweet" messages to women have been very dangerous means of silencing women who have been advocates for positive (dare I say more egalitarian and Christ-like) changes in society. Women were telling Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, and Malala, to magnify their God given roles (of their time and society) and what if they had heeded that advice instead of taking 1000 shots from well meaning, wonderful women, who were encouraging them to "quit being so angry"? We stand on their backs, but would we have slinged mud behind them if we were close with them? I don't see things as C. Jane does either, but I loved her statement that "anger is just ignored instinct getting louder". I have found that to be true as I age. Anger is not exclusively a tool of the adversary to distract us from good, it can be a tool to galvanize and lift people. Or wake us up from our comforts to lift the hand that hangs down from our privileged perch. And though I feel I am getting a wee bit over dramatic regarding simply the conversation here on this little blog, I do see the need to police any emotions a woman has other than the stereotypical "positive' ones as a loss for us as women, and as sisters in the gospel. Righteous indignation is still…righteous. Anyway, I enjoyed this little blog discussion. I am angry I am late to the party though (kidding, kidding)

    1. That last sentence! 😀

      Ans I appreciate the rest, too. "We don't ever have to agree with another, but we should always listen." So very important!

      Also Jenny, what do you think after having watched the Conference?

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